Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Sun has come and you’ve been left behind

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The Sun has come and you’ve been left behind

This is a movie review done on the 2014 movie “Left behind” please also check out our other movie reviews on our media page.

When doing an article like this you have difficulties even in the Christian camp, mainly because not everyone has the same view of what will happen at the end of the world. You have to realize that although these books and films were wonderful pieces of literature and film, they were and still are fiction, regardless of how many of the events that have been hypothesized have actually happened.

At no time did Jenkins/La Haye ever market these books as prophesy so the detractions from the people who dislike them really have little ground. For me it is Christian fiction, much in the same way that you would read Lord of the Rings as secular fiction. I would no more base my faith on Left Behind as I would Lord of the Rings.

I was excited when I heard there would be a new Left Behind movie and I was happy when I heard it would include such a high profile actor as Nicholas Cage. I had some hopes about the new Left Behind films such as

1) Would they stick closer to the book this time?
2) How would Nicholas Cage do the Rayford Steele conversion scene?
3) Would this be a big draw from the Non-Christian market?
4) Would there be more LB movies?
5) With advances in technology, would this enhance the films?

Fan of the books

I must admit I am a fan of the literature and I was sad when the original film tweaked certain things in order to make the film work. They also made two sequels that didn’t work in fully with the books. These complaints I am sure are commonplace for any movie that mirrors a successful book. So my hope was they wouldn’t tinker with the story too much.

The movie itself

Nick Cage is Rayford Steele, a pilot who is in a troubled marriage, he has had difficulties since his wife’s conversion to Christianity and hides himself in his work. Rayford is a transatlantic airline pilot who is a non-Christian and is flirting with the idea of having an affair with a air hostess called Hattie.

The movie surrounds an event called “the rapture” and this movie takes the same idea as the original ones that the bodies will vanish. This has interesting ramifications worldwide as all the Christians and children too young to have made a choice are gone and taken up into heaven.

I say this is interesting as planes, trains, cars and any other vehicle that you can think of are crashing worldwide, in fact Rayford’s copilot is no longer there after the rapture. Also communications are jammed and the world goes into a panic.

This movie is different from the original left behind in that it exclusively charters Rayford’s flight from JFK to Heathrow, in the original movie this was doen within the first 20 or so minutes of the flight, however this movie goes into much greater detail of what happened.

The movie is very well done, they did use modern technology to make a movie that would appeal to both Christian and non-Christian alike.

Spoilers

This film charters Rayford’s journey to get landed somewhere in the NY area after turning his plane back when the rature happens. Using investigative techniques he realizes that with the vanishing of the co-pilot, his wife and another air hostess that all the missing people were Christians and he recalls conversations that he had with his wife regarding this event.

He turns the plane and due to the communication crisis and also the fact that the other plane has lost its crew, Ray’s flight clips the right wing in a mid-air collision as the other flight plummets to its doom. This causes problems later in the flight as Ray loses some fuel and cannot fully elevate the plane to make the gas last longer. This adds to the drama later.

Criticisms

For me, I loved the film and had I not read the first Left Behind book I would probably have taken the film on its individual merits as a good action film giving an example of what could happen at the end of the world.

The film barely mentions the Pastor and there is no mention of Ray and his conversion. It was more of an action film as opposed to being the evangelical effort that the first one was. It is a decent spectacle however as a Christian I had hopes that as we are attracting more of a cross audience with this film that we would not miss that opportunity to evangelize. In fact in one scene Chloe when she confronts the Pastor (Who preached well but did not believe himself) she rejects what he has to say.

Chloe is a much more developed character in this version of Left behind and she is beside herself with grief at the loss of her mother and kid brother, she then goes on to check the hospitals to ensure the babies are all missing and plays a big part in the rescue and landing of the plane.

For me it would have been a better movie had it not mainly taken place on the plane. Sub plots (such as Ray missing his birthday to go away to London with Hattie) had to take a more prominent role due to the limited options keeping the movie based on the plane.

That to me was the main problem, it was a good idea keeping it on the plane, however it also created a glass ceiling that couldn’t be penetrated. The main character was also flipped from Buck Williams being the main one in the original Left Behind movies to Ray Steele being the main one in this one.

In conclusion

Really they made a film of the first third of the first book and turned it into an hour and forty minutes of entertainment. It was a decent action film, but for me it missed the point of the original message of the Left Behind series.

I think they attempted to make this more palatable to a Non-Christian audience and having read reviews on this, Christians and Non-Christians alike had criticisms.

Thank you for reading this article, I pray that this is a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th

Thank you for reading our twenty fourth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be seated at Gods right hand. We read this is the book of Psalms chapter sixty eight and one hundred and ten which both are awesome pieces of prophetic scripture…

Psalm 68:18 (ESV) You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah 20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Like so many of these prophesies, David writes about his individual situation before and after this piece of messianic prophecy. When I read this piece of scripture I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church in chapter four verse eight where Paul quotes this as referring to the messiah Jesus of Nazareth. (The Christ) I have attached the first 10 verses for context of the full manner of scripture:

Ephesians 4:1 (ESV) I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

From this piece of scripture we see fundamental basic Christian doctrines, there is One of the following.

1) One body
2) One spirit
3) One LORD
4) One faith
5) One baptism
6) One God and Father

Paul confirms that Christ ascended but also writes that “he led a host of captives” which would be the Old Testament saints into the glory of heaven. The sacrificial system that came before Jesus was good, but it only temporarily put away sin it was never meant to grant eternal life. Jesus died for the sins of the world, past and present. When sin was conquered then the faithful of old were led by Christ into glory.

1st Peter also confirms that only the blood of Jesus (not of the animal sacrifices) was enough to “pay the ransom of sin” here is the verse in full:

1 Peter 1:17 (ESV) And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Going back to Psalm 68, the best explanation I have heard for this was said by the founder of Calvary Chapel Chuck Smith Senior when he said…

“But hell, prior to the death of Christ, was separated into two compartments. One compartment was of suffering for the unbelievers; the other was a compartment of comfort by Abraham for those who were trusting in the promises of God and in the fulfillment of God’s promise. Now these Old Testament men of faith all died in faith not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off they held onto it and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here. And they were just looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. Now when Jesus died, He descended into hell. He who has ascended is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, it is then that He led captivity captive. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, the prophecy concerning Christ, it said, “He is going to set at liberty those that are bound and open the prison doors to those that are bound.” Set at liberty those that are chained, open the prison doors to those that are bound. Those that were bound by death, waiting with Abraham for the promise of God. When Jesus died He descended into hell and He preached to those souls that were in prison. The glorious fulfillment of God’s promise. The redemptive program is complete. The blood has been shed, whereby your sins are now put away once and for all. And now with their sins put away, they can ascend into the heavenly scene. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And then He gave gifts unto men. That is, within the church, He gave gifted men as apostles, as prophets, as evangelists, as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints. So, Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4, and of course, it just ties together a whole group of scriptures. Luke, the sixteenth chapter; Acts, chapter 2; and Ephesians, chapter 4; and the reference there in Peter where He went and preached to those souls in prison; and Isaiah 61. So you can look those up and find them tied together.” Credit – Pastor Chuck Smith Snr. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa C2000 Series

Explained it way better than I ever could. Let’s look at Psalm one hundred and ten:

Psalm 110:1 (ESV) A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I  make your enemies your footstool.”

This gives a great insight into where Jesus is in the kingdom of heaven. At present he is sitting at the right hand of the father, which is why it states The LORD says to my Lord. Father God is speaking to the Son and gives the messianic promise also that his enemies will be trampled underfoot.

One Messiah – Two comings

Skeptics of the bible raise the question and claim that this could not possibly apply to Jesus as he did not trample his enemies underfoot when he died on the cross. I would say that it had a partial application during his first coming (conquering sin and death) and will be fully fulfilled in his second coming.

This verse is quoted as a Messianic Psalm in the book of Matthew chapter twenty two:

Matthew 22:41 (ESV) Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Jesus had been questioned by the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Herodians about different points of scripture and always had given answers that were straight from God and had exposed flaws in their theology and now Jesus asks the Pharisees a question when they were all together. He came to them when they were at their strongest, they loved to debate great points of scripture and show themselves holy among their peers.

He asks a question about himself as he knows that they do not believe that he is the Christ. You see, Jesus was a threat to these guys, they quoted the Rabbis who had gone before them when they interpreted the scriptures, Jesus did not. Jesus spoke with authority straight from the father and these “holy men” knew that he was different.

In asking this question he could see where their hearts were, whether they were asking for knowledge sake or whether they were genuinely seeking. Jesus asked a similar question of his disciples in which the Spirit revealed to peter who Jesus is.

Jesus used the thing they held upmost, the scriptures to demonstrate who he was. He knew they were going to answer “The Son of David” because that was one of the great titles of the messiah (See the earlier blog on this title) It is unknown whether they did not know of Jesus lineage and that through this mother and mothers husband he qualified as a “descendent of David.

The part they didn’t get was that the messiah was both human (Son of David) and divine (LORD of David) which is why they could not answer Jesus. Jesus accurately shows them that the Son of David was also the messiah; the messiah was also the LORD God coming with all authority given to him by the Father. And let’s look at Mark chapter sixteen that shows that he was actually lifted up…

Mark 16:19 (ESV) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

What a fulfillment of scripture right here in the book of Mark (and also in yesterday’s verse in Luke chapter twenty four) He quite literally went to “prepare that place for us” and he fulfilled prophecy right there and then.

Jesus is in heaven at present and he desires that you join him. As we look at Christmas and draw an end to our advent series, I ask that you examine closely the claims of the messiah, hopefully the case that I have put forward in these twenty four parts will in some way to resolve some questions you had about who Jesus is.

December 25th is the day we hold in memory to remember the one who came to die for our sins and was the author of the faith that bears his name (Christian) My hope to you is that you get a Christmas gift that cannot be bought but it is worth more than gold. I of course refer to the gift of eternal life.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd

Thank you for reading our twenty third installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy in the book of Psalms chapter twenty four which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will ascend to heaven…

Who is this King of Glory?

Psalm 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

I am reminded of a song that we used to sing at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville which has the words of verse 8 verbatim. The messiah (Jesus Christ) had been through death and reappeared to his disciples, but there was still one last act to do while on earth and that is to ascend into heaven where he is today.

One of the questions that is asked by those who have not studied the Bible is “Where is Jesus today?” well I would point them towards the following verses in Mark and Luke, these explain better than I ever could where my messiah is today.

One Psalm – Two parts

The 24th Psalm is a wonder to me, like many Psalms it is one in two parts, part one is verses one thru six and part two is seven through to ten. I love that in the beginning of the Psalm in verse one and two he confirms the creation account and in verse three it asks “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” in verse four he answers “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” and verses six and seven talk about the righteous reward.

Jesus confirms this in the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter five:

Matthew 5:8 (ESV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Part two speaks of the messiah and asks “Who is this King of glory?” it also mentions the gates of heaven and the ascension of the LORD as well as the invitation for him to come home. Reminds me of the hymn I used to sing at Sunday school:

“This world is not my home; I am just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue,
The Angels beckon me, from heavens open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

Make no mistake about it, heaven was open and willing and waiting for the messiahs return. We read that the messiah gets two distinct names that are befitting his majesty. He is called THE KING OF GLORY and LORD OF HOSTS, two very regal and majestic names that could barely do him and his glory justice. Let’s look at the book of Mark to see how he ascended.

Ascension (Part 1) Mark’s Gospel

Mark 16:14 (ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

So when Jesus came back it was not all hearts and flowers, like any good teacher he had to deliver a tough lesson to the eleven remaining disciples (twelve minus Judas Iscariot) he had to “rebuke them for their unbelief and hardness of heart”. Can you imagine this? They have spent three years with the best bible teacher ever to walk this earth, they have seen him die and be brought back to life and they still had unbelief?

Suddenly I don’t feel bad about having doubts on occasion about trivial things that happen in my life! Jesus makes sure that they are accountable for believing what they had been taught, don’t get me wrong it is a supernatural thing to hear and unless you had some sort of confirmation that it was correct it would be a tough one to swallow, but these guys had been in Jesus inner circle, they were well warned about what was going to happen.

They are given their (to use a British Army term) “Part one orders” They were to be the beacons of light to the world, they were the new evangelists and go to everyone proclaiming Jesus message. This is still the Christian’s commission today; we are to share Jesus with whoever God puts in our path. We are commanded to make disciples and those who believe will be saved. It is our job to be the tool used by God; the Holy Spirit convicts the heart unto repentance.

Jesus then ascends to heaven and sat at the right hand of God (where he is today) He promised that he was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:3) and to make intercession for us (Romans 8:3) He is in the right hand of the father to show his place in the order of heaven, much higher than the angels. Jesus also ascended leaving the Holy Spirit to minister to us; we are not alone or cut off from God waiting for his return.

The disciples followed Jesus command and “went out and preached everywhere” we do know historically that the gospel was not spread much beyond Jerusalem until after the Christian persecution.

Lastly we read that “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” I love this and this is where we mess up a little today in church, in the original blueprint the preaching came first and then the signs and wonders came after. The stuff that could change people’s lives was allowed to be the foundation and then the supernatural stuff follows to confirm the message.

Ascension (Part 2) Luke’s Gospel

Luke 24:50 (ESV) Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Luke being a physician is a little more clinical on his witness account of what happened next, he gives the exact location that Jesus left them, (Bethany) he listed what he was doing (lifting his hands and blessing his disciples) and what happened afterwards.

Jesus took his place as his last act on this earth prior to the second coming to assume the role of the disciples High Priest. Jesus spent his life blessing people and with the power and love that came from these hands, this blessing was for real.

As he was blessing them he went home. This was no ET moment, this was the culmination of forty days of intense ministry for the disciples and appearing before witnesses to prove the resurrection, even as he was leaving the earth he was putting the finishing touches on the disciples preparation for ministry without Jesus.

Jesus literally fulfilled the ministry of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) what greater example we could have but Jesus himself?

They had great joy knowing that Jesus mission was complete; imagine if Calvary had been the end? There would be no Christianity! They returned to Jerusalem (at least until the persecution) and went to the temple and kept in prayer and praise to God. They really believed that it was true and they now lived as public followers of Jesus. By attending the temple they wanted to be in God’s house, in his ministry and in his service. This is a true example of lives changed by Jesus.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

Thank you for reading our twenty second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at Psalms chapter sixteen which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will resurrect from the dead…

Holy One not corrupted

Psalms 16:10 (ESV) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

This is an awesome piece of prophecy that is often quoted when we are looking at Messianic prophecy. Like many of David’s prophecies in Psalms it has two direct applications:

1) The life of David
2) The life of Jesus

The life of David

David was sure in his faith that his soul would not be abandoned to the grave.

The life of Jesus

As we read in Acts 2 (further down this article) Peter quotes this verse and refers it directly to Jesus. This refers to Jesus by stating the words “Holy One” as Jesus never committed any sin and was the literal first born without blemish that is called for in the Law.

Jesus would not see corruption as his body would only lie in the tomb until the third day, his physical body would not deteriorate until day 4, again fulfilling prophecy. This is confirmed in both Matthew and Acts as we read below.

Matthew 28:1 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Why the two Mary’s?

The two Mary’s come to the tomb and expected to see a dead Jesus, remember how I keep saying that God is in control? God knew the calendar and knew that the Sabbath would be slap bang in the middle of this, God planned it this way and the two Mary’s come to finish the body that had hurridly been taken off the cross and put in Joseph’s tomb.

We read there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone and sat on it. We are not privy to whether the earthquake was due to the angelic intervention or did God send the earthquake to loosen the stone? Does this not give a demonstration of the power of God, that one of his angels could effortlessly move huge stones?

Where were the guards?

The guards were also missing, now Roman guards were there “on pain of death” so it was not a usual circumstance that they would appear “like dead men”. The angel was reassuring to the women and wished to confirm that Jesus was indeed resurrected and the angel said where they would find Jesus.

Answered prayer

We see that the women got an answer to prayer that they were not expecting, Jesus had in fact been resurrected. They whole idea of coming back from the dead and living eternally was beyond what they thought was possible. You have to understand that they had personally witnessed Jesus die in the cruelest way possible and they literally saw the blood and water hit the ground as Jesus was pronounced dead and were there at the last possible minute and saw their Savior died.

An appropriate place

Which is why it was completely appropriate that they took the angels invite to see the place where Jesus was placed. This solidified any testimony they had relayed to the disciples and others stating that the messiah was no longer in the tomb. They were now eye-witnesses and primary witnesses to the fact that he had resurrected.

The two Mary’s were given an appropriate place in relaying the news both to the disciples and also in being one of the first to see the resurrected Jesus. They were truly Women of faith having the desire to come to the tomb, even when they thought their Savior was dead. They worshipped at his feet giving him the praise that was due him, if he was not God they would be sinners under Jewish law.

Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon

Peter confirms this on the day of Pentecost, lets look at the book of Acts chapter two:

Acts 2:22 (ESV) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit spoke in a very volatile situation with no fear. You have to remember that this is Peter who just about fifty days earlier had denied his LORD three times under far less pressure.

Peter speaks what is known in scripture as “Peter’s sermon”, whilst this is a good title I would suggest that “The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter” is more apt. Peter quotes the verse that we stated above as well as another verse in Psalms chapter 16, which Peter goes onto explain why the Holy One could not be bound by death, the full quotation is below:

Psalms 16:8 (ESV) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Peter begins with the words “hear these words” or to paraphrase “listen to me” in addition to the speaking in tongues, the miraculous signs and wonders and the explanation from the prophet Joel, Peter makes sure that they are fully aware of the reason behind this is Jesus.

This is a challenge for me as I know how many opportunities I have blown because I have not given full attribution to the LORD Jesus Christ. So many good deeds that could have given glory to God but I did not go that extra mile. People that have crossed my path but I have not introduced the gospel to them, I lament in my soul but I am encouraged by Peter’s boldness and makes me realize that God can use even the flawed to accomplish his will.

Peter pulls no punches and lets them have the truth, this is barely two months after Jesus was crucified (basically says “You crucified the messiah sent by God!) Let’s just say that people will have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, it was a big deal when he was speaking of these things. He starts with “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” Everyone in that crowd was aware that he died and was crucified, this is a sound evangelical principle to begin with what people know about Jesus and build from there, but Peter does not stop there.

Peter goes on to attest that he rose again in verses 24-33, he quotes the verses much better than I have and explains wonderfully that the one who was quoted to “not see corruption” was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. (Known also as the Christ)

What a wonderful Gospel message, that Jesus took the full wrath of God that was reserved for us who remained in our sins. Jesus was the only innocent, sinless one who not only died as a sacrifice for our sins in the cruelest, most barbaric way that was ever designed for a criminal to die, he also resurrected and these people attest and are witnesses to the fact to show that because of the resurrection we have proof that Jesus sufficiently paid for our sins. He also tells us that we need to call on the LORD to be saved in verse 21, the full quotation is below:

Call upon the name of the LORD

Acts 2:21 (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

And that is the truth, Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and be reconciled to God. Obviously I want to see you join me in heaven, but only you can make that choice to accept Jesus as LORD of your life. If you are still in your sins, you are already in slavery to whatever you have as your God; this has no eternal value so I urge you to investigate the claims of Jesus as your messiah.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

Thank you for reading our twenty first installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Isaiah chapter fifty three which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will be a sacrifice for sin…

Pierced for our transgressions

Isaiah 53:1 (ESV) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

You cannot do a series on messianic prophecy and not include Isaiah 53. For a rock fan like me it would be like Queen touring and not singing “We will Rock You” or the Rolling Stones touring and not singing “Start me up” (Or for that matter The Who and “Pinball Wizard”) I was only going to quote from verse five onwards, however the whole chapter speaks of Jesus and is a wonderful look forward to the coming messiah and how that is shown to be the person known as Jesus of Nazareth who is known as the Christ.

The whole chapter tells of how the messiah will suffer for sin, we spoke a few days about the root of Jesse that he will spring from (verse 2) we spoke of how he came from Nazareth and was despised and rejected (verse 3 & 4) and now we look at how he would suffer.

10 points that Isaiah makes about the messiah

1) Messiah would be rejected
2) He would be a root from the dry ground
3) Messiah would be despised
4) Messiah would carry our sorrows
5) Messiah would be pierced for our transgressions
6) Messiah would have no deceit or violence
7) Location of his grave
8) By his knowledge his followers would be counted righteous
9) Messiah would pour his soul out to death
10) Messiah makes intercession for the transgressors

We could really end the article there but I write this article as a resource for both the skeptic and the believer, for the skeptic I write in order that you may have an answer to why I believe in the messiah and to the believer I write that it may be edifying to your faith.

The reason I post the ten reasons is that I could write 100 articles on this part of scripture and not cover it adequately. I wished to get the bullet points in case there is something that is not covered in this “broad strokes” look at this passage of scripture. The reason for this disclaimer is that in this article we are going to focus on the individual prophecy that he will be a sacrifice for sin.

Isaiah uses very graphic words that leave us in no doubt that the messiah would suffer the way Jesus suffered, reading from verse five we read words such as “pierced”, “crushed”, “chastisement”, “oppressed”, “judgment” and many more like it. Isaiah 53 clearly speaks on the first coming of the messiah where he would be the suffering servant.

This reminds me of a great old hymn which had the lyrics:

“Man of sorrows what a name, for the Son of God, who came, ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Yesterday we spoke of the Passover lamb and how the lamb and the blood were used as a sign that the children of Israel were with God, later in the Levitical law we see the practice of laying a hand on the sacrifice to signify the sin atonement the sacrifice was making, We read in verse 4 that “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”. He takes it all, our griefs our sorrows, all laid to rest at Calvary.

Verse six gives the point of the crucifixion when it states “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus died and placed himself “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (v7) He paid the price that he knew we could not. After the messiah there was no need for a temporary sacrifice. Jesus blood is enough!

Isaiah also predicts the manner of Christ’s death and how he would be buried when he states “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” As we read in the Gospels, he was crucified with sinners and buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man. (Joseph of Arimathea – Matthew 27:57-60)

The reason we are Christians (those who believe) in the first place is in the next part of the verses “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” It shows what we have been saying in the last few articles that God was in control, he had ordained this sacrifice. It was not the will of the Jewish leaders, the Romans or whoever, it was God’s will and plan to redeem the world. We see that in verses 11 and 12 that Jesus was the intercession for the transgressors. Anyone who has sinned, Jesus died for!

Christ died – at the right time!

Paul writes in his Epistle to the Roman church…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus died for us, the ungodly! (v6) Regardless of how holy or righteous you think you are, without Jesus you were going to hell! Can you think of a group of people that are as undeserving? (v7) Reading through the bible it is the character of God to reach out to those and account unto them righteousness when it is barely deserved.

Jesus died for you whether you choose to accept it or not, (v8) if you don’t then that is really your choice, no one will force you into a relationship with Jesus. There are two eternal destinations at the end of your life and you can remain an “enemy of God” (v10) or be saved from the “Wrath of God”. (v9) Obviously I would love to see you become a brother or a sister and be reconciled to God (v10) and receive eternal life with the creator. That is why Jesus became a sacrifice for sin.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty – December 20th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty – December 20th

Thank you for reading our twentieth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would not have his bones broken. We read this is the book of Exodus chapter 12 which talks of the Passover lamb…

Exodus 12:43 (ESV) And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. 45 No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. 49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”

I chose this verse to show a comparison between the temporary sacrifice that the Jews were doing in preparation for the messiah coming. The Passover lamb was a sacrifice and a way for the children of Israel to outwardly show that they were following God.

In the recent movie “Son of God” there was a beautiful picture of the Passover lamb being sacrificed in the temple as the Lamb of God was being sacrificed on the cross at Calvary. The very people who were the ones carrying the lamb into the temple were also the very ones who had condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. It was a beautiful comparison and one of the highlights of the movie.

I loved to see it but I lamented as I realized the point that the moviemakers were making that they were so ritualized and so in tune with keeping their traditions that the very ones who should have recognized the messiah first, were the very ones who were calling for his death.

The idea of Passover

Passover was instituted as a sign of faith to God from the children of Israel, an outward sign in a foreign country that they were identifying with God. Talk about nailing your colors to the mast huh? Being slaves in Egypt, this would not have been a very safe thing to do.  This is why they stated that no foreigners should eat it, it was not to be defiled and it should only have been eaten by those who were of the faith in your family or anyone who had been circumcised into the faith.

Passover was to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, it was important that the lamb used was a firstborn, without spot or blemish and without broken bones. What a wonderful picture of the messiah Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was going to deliver them out of slavery not from Egypt but of sin and into a permanent relationship with God the Father. We see further prophetic proof in Psalms thirty four:

Psalm 34:20 (ESV) He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

We see that this verse is quoted in John nineteen. (As seen below)

John 19:31 (ESV) Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not  remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

This was unusual of the day, normally the protocol was that they would break the legs of the deceased. I have heard a few reasons why, some commentators state it was in case the criminals were taken from the cross barely alive and could escape. I find difficulty with this as I have issue with being able to escape after surviving scourging and being hung to asphyxiate to death that they would be able to prop themselves up and escape.

Whatever the reason I take great comfort in the fact that God was in control of the proceedings. I know that the Romans who took the decision to pierce his side to see the blood and water hitting the ground were not proficient in Jewish religious prophecy. That tells be that even although they had no idea that they were playing a part, they were being used by God to fulfill prophecy.

God also knew the calendar (and in fact wrote time itself!) and knew that because of the strict Sabbath laws (that he put in place) that the body of Jesus would not hang on the cross over the Passover weekend. I find it wonderful that it was the Jewish leaders who asked for the real Passover lamb to come down to allow them to begin their rituals.

We have to be careful as Christians that we don’t replace Jesus for religion or rituals. We have to come with our contrite and repentant heart and keep ourselves in constant communion with our Savior. Christianity is supposed to be a relationship as opposed to an empty religion.

We are the only ones who believe that God loved us so much that he sent his firstborn and apple of his eye to die to save us all. All other religions are about the adherents trying to appease or keep sweet an angry deity.

Psalm 22:17 (ESV) I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;

David when he writes about this also realizes that despite all of his scars and near death experiences he is not suffering from broken bones. This is near prophecy, but in the life of Christ we see that this has far reaching prophecy, this was written over half a century prior to Jesus being born in Bethlehem.

Jesus ties up the Passover (Exodus 12) he is that lamb without spot, without blemish. He is sinless and died a criminal’s torturous death in order to set us free from our sins. He did not have his bones broken and he could see the people below mocking him. Being both God and man he was also the only one who could fulfill this prophecy.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV) He is the only way to heaven and the only way to have your sins forgiven and restore communion with your creator.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Nineteen – December 19th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Nineteen – December 19th

Thank you for reading our nineteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would have his clothing gambled for. We read this is the book of Psalm chapter 22 which was written by King David …

Psalm 22:18 (ESV) they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

We carry on from where we left it yesterday in Psalm 22. David spoke about he could see his bones and now he laments that his garments were divided amongst his adversaries. Although he was speaking about things that would happen in his life, he was also referring to the coming messiah.

Imagine being the King of Israel and ending up so bereft of power that you could not even stop the ones who are against you taking your possessions for themselves and dividing the spoils as if it were they owned it themselves… But there is more…

Imagine the one who was there at creation with the Father, humbled himself to come to earth to be the sacrifice for all. Nailed to a cross in the cruelest way devised to inflict as much pain and torture to an enemy of the state as possible. The Romans were not known for their hospitality to criminals.

While he is hanging up there in excruciating pain he looks down and sees the following… (Verse 34)

Luke 23:32 (ESV) Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Jesus while going through pain that we can’t possibly imagine had the compassion on those who hated him enough to death to say (and mean it) “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That to me is mind blowing. He is looking down at the foot of the cross and he sees that the people below are gambling to get his clothes. We also read in the next two pieces of scripture (Matthew 27 & John 19) another two accounts of the literal fulfillment of this scripture.

Matthew 27:32 (ESV) As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

The messiah was stripped down to an almost naked state; the Romans spared nothing in humiliating those who they wished to punish. In Jesus case they had mocked him by dressing him in a scarlet robe, thrust a crown of thorns through his head, gave a thirsty dying man vinegar wine to drink and gave him a reed as a scepter. They were mocking both Jesus and the Jews at the same time. Even the notice above his head was written in mockery. The Jews asked Pilate to change what he wrote and he said “What I have written I have written”. Funnily it is the only time we see Pilate going against the Jewish religious leaders.

The soldiers desired Jesus clothes, they wished that they not be ripped, and we read this in John chapter nineteen…

John 19:23 (ESV) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Can you imagine being in that unnatural position, one that is designed to cause the maximum pain, discomfort and suffering, being stripped down to the bare minimum, in front of the woman who had given birth to you and anyone who wanted to witness this crucifixion and public humiliation. Jesus suffered that last humiliation but was always in control; John chapter ten tells us that;

John 10:14 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Jesus was in control of the situation, he was as much God as he was man and he surrendered to the baying hordes in order to fulfil prophecy, in order to be the substitute for our sins. He took the punishment that we deserved in order that we may be reconciled with the father and have an opportunity to spend eternity with our creator.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

Thank you for reading our eighteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Psalm chapter 22 which was written by King David …

Psalm 22:16 (ESV) For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Prophecy is Gods truth foretold

I find prophecy fascinating, several hundreds of years before the Roman Empire was even thinking of expanding beyond the borders of modern day Italy and before the idea of nailing criminals to a cross as a means of punishment and law and order was ever thought of David speaks in a prophetic fashion about the messiah being pierced with his hands and his feet.

What is crucifixion?

Crucifixion was by far the most barbaric and public way of displaying wrongdoers and keeping law and order. Often times these criminals would be put in a place outside of the city walls that could be seen from all parts of the city. Jesus was marched up to Calvary which was a hill that was visible to inhabitants of Jerusalem.

This was no picnic, the criminal was hung and nailed to hard wood, in Jesus case he had been scourged, whipped, beaten where breathing was problematic, his body had been through so much trauma he could not carry the cross the whole way. He was hungry, thirsty and by this time in his ordeal his body was in shock. On his head was a crown of thorns that had been forced and imprinted on and through his head.

His hands had been bound to a heavy beam and he was under a guard as much to allow him to not escape (the escape ratio was low) as to also stop the baying crowd from killing him before he got there. When he got to the top of the hill his hands and feet were nailed to the wooden structure that he would die on. Eventually he suffocated, alone covered in his own blood and in great pain. The lamb had been slain for the sins of the world.

This was further prophesied in the book of Zechariah…

Zechariah 12:10 (ESV) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

We see in the prior verse the words “In that day…” this sparks interest in my soul, mainly due to have sitting under the teaching of Ryan Ruckman who pastors a church in Porterville who has a great love for messianic prophecy. The words “in that day” are classic prophetic words that refer specifically to the messiah, now it may refer to his first or second coming but it still talks about the messiah.

God will pour out to the repentant ones a “spirit of grace and pleas for mercy” they will have saving grace and repentant prayer and god will move among them. When we become a Christian this is the first step. We have to acknowledge we have a sin problem. We will not recognize our need for a messiah if we don’t believe that we need to be saved; also we will not think we need a messiah if we have no idea what we need to be saved from. Have you had your problem solved? Do you recognize your need for a messiah? Do you need to turn back to God with a repentant heart?

Then they will mourn for the pierced one. When we understand why the sacrifice was necessary and why he went to the cross in the first place, understand why such high a price had to be paid for us who, let’s face it are not worth it!

They will realize what they have done and that they bear responsibility for the crucifixion of their messiah. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Jewish people will mourn due to the rejection of the one who came to save. They will mourn like one who was the most loved.

Lastly in this verse we read that “they will look upon me” which is yet again another confirmation that the “me” is Jesus, a member of the triune God. This is the Father sending the Spirit so that the people would turn to the Son and be saved. This to me is a beautiful picture of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

Still have doubts?

John 20:24 (ESV) Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas is remembered for this in scripture, I am sad for Thomas as in his mind Jerusalem was a melting pot of religious fervor. Rumors would be flying around asking what happened to this Jesus that was crucified, the religious people would be trying to shut people up, and followers of Jesus would be claiming he was alive.

I feel for Thomas’ confusion. He seen his LORD, the guy who he had hung on every word arrested, beat to a pulp, marched up a hill and killed in the cruelest way possible. Any rational man would be a little skeptical, I am sure that the disciples would have been praying between the crucifixion and the resurrection. This to me is a lesson in prayer; if we pray for something we had better prepare our hearts in case God grants that prayer and not be super freaked out if he does.

What a lot of people miss about this passage of scripture is that the people who are telling Thomas that they have seen Jesus have already seen his hands and feet, he has shown them in verse 20. They seem so much more confident than Thomas but Jesus has already shown his wounds and he has breathed on them, of course they are confident he is alive!

He is known universally as “doubting Thomas” but I have empathy for him and would put him no higher than a healthy questioning skeptic. For reasons listed above he had good reasons to have questions until he had some tangible evidence. This guy has seen a guy that he was close to, lived with and learned so much being brutally murdered so he is going to have a few doubts. Also if they were going to profess this Jesus was alive, it could almost certainly lead to their death so I understand why he wanted to be sure. Who wants to die for a lie?

Thomas had to wait eight days to get the validation that his hopes were true, Jesus granted him the opportunity to place his finger, touch the wounds and gave him what he required to believe and bear testimony that Jesus did in fact return from the grave and conquered death.

Thomas believed! It would have been tragic if Thomas had made all these requests and still refused to believe. We read in Acts that when Judas was replaced only one man was chosen to make up the twelve do we know that Thomas became a disciple again and believed. (he called him “My Lord and my God”)

Jesus closed by stating “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And that is us, the last recorded historical face to face meeting between a human and Jesus in the bible is in Acts 9 when Saul is converted on the road to Damascus. We are the ones he is referring to, I believe because I have faith and having examined the evidence I have found it to be reliable, inerrant, infallible and true. My prayer is that these articles will help you do likewise.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Seventeen – December 17th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Seventeen -December 17th

Thank you for reading our seventeenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be a Nazarene. We read this is the book of Isaiah chapter 11…

Isaiah 11:1 (ESV) There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

What a picture of the coming messiah! That he came from the stump of Jesse (The end of Isaiah 10 talks about the tribes being shewn down) so this stump of Jesse would birth Israel’s greatest human king, the man known historically as King David.

I love this prophesy as it honors David’s father and shows humility, had he started with David many more would have taken notice, but he grew that branch out of Jesse and gave honor to him.

I love the prophetic implications as the line of David had not been on the throne of Israel for at 600 years at that point, wouldn’t you say that was a dead stump? Who else but God could spring life in something that was considered dead? And to give it the life that is life – the Messiah!

Jesus the Nazarene

Let’s look at the gospel of Matthew chapter twenty three:

Matthew 2:23 (ESV) And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Nazareth was not a great place to be from, as humble as coming from the stump of Jesse was, if you were from Nazareth you were pre judged. Let’s look at this in scripture in the Gospel of John:

John 1:43 (ESV) The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

The answer from Philip was typical of the attitude of that day, people from Nazareth were not regarded well, were not seen as valuable. The messiah who would be humble and rejected by the very people that he came to save. Interestingly the Hebrew word translated Branch sounds like “Nazir” (neser).

How does this make him a Nazarene?

The honest answer, because Jesus said it does! Let’s look at Paul talking about his conversion in Acts twenty two:

Acts 22: (ESV) 3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’

So we have it confirmed from Jesus, he was Jesus of Nazareth. We also read in Acts twenty four in Tertullus accusations against Paul to Felix:

Acts 24:5 (ESV) For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

So we see quite clearly that the term Nazarene was prophesied, used for Jesus and his followers. The term Christian came much later, Jesus in many ways came and redeemed the name of the Nazarene because from humble roots he was born into humble surroundings into an area that was much maligned and not regarded as anything.

To the scoffer this would be regarded as foolish, however Paul writes about things such as this in his first letter to the Corinthian church, which reads:

1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV) But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

Still think you are too small and insignificant to be used by God? He allowed his son to come from an area that was humble, live a life that was perfect, allowed him to die in the cruelest way possible and raised him to life three days later to buy your freedom. You are worth that much to God.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Sixteen – December 16th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Sixteen – December 16th

Thank you for reading our sixteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be the Son of God. We read this prophecy in the 2nd Psalm verse seven.

Begotten not created

Psalm 2:7 (ESV) I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

I love this prophecy it tells me two things about the coming messiah:

1) He is the Son of God
2) He is begotten

Here is where we lose our Muslim friends who claim that Allah is the same God as the God of the Bible. In Islamic literature we read that “Allah has no Son”. So with Jesus being the Son of God, they worship a different God. I know folks like Tony Blair and his faith foundation may disagree with me, however both holy books (the Bible and Qur’an) say it is not so.

This is not to say that people who were born into the Islamic culture cannot go to heaven. They can! In the same way as anyone who is still in their sin can go to heaven, by trusting in Jesus Christ and following him as your Savior. You will no longer be a Muslim but a Christian.

I also find it awesome that the word used is “begotten” as we stated in a previous article, he was both born of a woman and born of a virgin. (Notice how prophecy comes together?) He was born in exactly the same way that we were, God could have created him as a man, much like he did Adam, but God decided to have Jesus be born as a child. This passage is also quoted in the book of Hebrews…

Hebrews 1:5 (ESV) For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

The writer to the Hebrews quotes two well-known pieces of scripture (to the Hebrew audience at least)  and ties them to messianic prophecy. He quotes Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14, here is the latter for full context:

2 Samuel 7:14 (ESV) I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

This takes away the heresy that was perpetrated through both the secular world and to a lesser extent the church that jesus was an angel and not actually the Son of God. These verses categorically refute this.

Bible versus opinion

I like it when the bible explains way better than I ever could. I would much rather quote the bible to explain a theological position far better than I ever could. I may stumble, have bad grammar or just not explain it well. The Bible on the other hand would explain, give prophecy and draw a line between scriptures to show God’s perfect will.

Truth be told, my opinion is flawed, like any man and subject to bias. The way that I look at these articles is that if I cannot back up the claims or theological ideas that I put forward with scripture and elementary theological reasoning, then what I write is bunkum.

My Son – Who I am well pleased

Matthew 3:16 (ESV) And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There is nothing finer than a proud parent. When my daughter does well I am so proud. I also love to extend words of love to her as well as warm embraces. It is important to me that she knows that despite her faults I love her unconditionally.

But when she makes me proud, an example of this would be when she sings out, makes a craft that she has invested time or is proud of or even does well at something, my heart swells to an almost exploding rate and I am so proud. God is in that situation with Jesus. Here is the Son of God, humbling himself and allowing himself to be baptized by a man to be an example to the ones who will follow him.

I recently had a birthday and my daughter made me a cake (with adult supervision) and you should have seen her face as she brought that to me. She was so happy to be giving something to Daddy on his birthday. She was glowing to see daddy’s response.

Again (if we really needed it at this point) is further confirmation that Jesus is Gods own son. The firstborn and the apple of God’s eye, equal in deity with God but also humanity incarnate.

Deity versus humanity

This is the most common problematic issue with looking at the life of Jesus. We have to treat all situations acknowledging that whilst he is fully human, he is also fully God. Angels worship and serve Jesus, which gives us his place in heaven. (Hebrews 1:6; Deuteronomy 32:43)

We can’t promote the humanity in place of the deity (and vice versa) He is fully God and fully man. He is God because we see in these scriptures that Father and Son share the same being, because he is both he is the only one who could atone for the sins of the world. Unlike the Jehovah’s Witness and Latter Day Saint (Mormon) churches believe, Jesus is confirmed as being both God and man.

Jesus is unique, there is no-one else that came down and knew from the beginning that he was there to die for our sins. He gave everything, never sinned, lived a perfect life, was blameless and man tried to send him to his death because of their own sinful hearts.

But death could not hold him; three days later he rose again, strengthened his followers by appearing to them before ascending into heaven to sit at the Fathers right hand. He will come again to judge the world, but it is your choice whether you are found guilty or not.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE