Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Zechariah

BIAY – Bible in a year – September 30th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for September check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September Thirty.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Zechariah 11-14.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – September 29th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September Twenty ninth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Zechariah 6-10.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

BIAY – Bible in a year – September 28th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September Twenty eighth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Zechariah 1-5.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
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 Thirteen – December 13th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Thirteen – December 13th.

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

This is a very hard article to write, the first twelve articles have been nice and easy to write as they have been about the birth and young life of the messiah, and now we will be look at his adult life, death and resurrection.

What makes this hard is that we know that Jesus hand-picked twelve men to disciple and feed into during his ministry time on earth. Today’s prophesy deals with the prediction that one of his trusted twelve will betray him. Let’s look at Psalm 41…

Psalm 41:9 (ESV) Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

This verse is quoted in the Gospel of John chapter thirteen:

John 13:18 (ESV) I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

We could close the article there and say “that proves it” but that has never been my style. I love that in the verse in Isaiah he speaks of his own circumstances before and after this verse and this small pearl of prophecy is hidden and spoken by our LORD to verify the validity of the prophecy. I think it is awesome and I am blown away by the inerrancy and infallibility of the bible.

In the passage in John, Jesus had just finished washing the disciple’s feet and had sat down to his final meal prior to the crucifixion that we now know as “The last supper”. Can you imagine the sorrow in his heart as he knows already that one of the twelve that he had chosen (v18) that he had washed his feet and that he was sharing a meal with had already taken money to send him to his death.

Don’t think for a second that Jesus was not tight with Judas, if you did a report card of the disciples Judas would score high. He said the right things, he looked after the money and he seemed like one of the most solid of them all. He had 3 years of training with the greatest biblical teacher the world has ever known and when it came down to it, Judas sold out his friend for a few silver coins.

Knowing Jesus, his troubled soul was not for himself, but compassion on his friend. The phrase “lifting up his heel” and “betray me” have similar meanings. He knew that the man sitting within touching distance was the one who was a fulfilled prophecy in the worst possible way. We read further prophecy in the book of Zechariah in chapter eleven…

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Interestingly in the book of Zechariah, we have the price of the transaction which was thirty pieces of silver. This was the price of a slave. I find it remarkable that Judas could have sold out someone who was his kin for at least three years for the price of someone who you would buy to work in your field or vineyard. Such a small price for such a large amount of sin.

Because that is the point of all this. Jesus knew he was coming to this world to sacrifice and be a ransom for many. He knew that he would be doing this for those who would accept and those who would reject him. Not everyone would take him up on his offer.

A wee parable if you will indulge me…

I am a book guy, biographies, history and theology is my preferred reading materials, and recently I was gifted over 150 books, I was blessed because I took that person up on their offer. Now having those books in my possession will not make me more historically or theologically aware unless I actually pick them up and read them.

That is what it is like with Christianity, simply knowing about Jesus love for us and knowing that he died for us is practically useless unless you make your own individual commitment. You have to open that book and learn to live the life that God intended for you.  Don’t take that silver and sell out your savior, let’s look at how this all happened in the twenty sixth chapter of the book of Matthew…

Matthew 26:14 (ESV) Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

This is heartbreaking but glorious at the same time. This guy was hand-picked by Jesus, he served with him, saw miracles, saw dead raised, lame healed and the blind saw in his presence. He saw more than we would in ten lifetimes.

God used him to betray Jesus. Judas made that decision all by himself, he used his free will to ask that question “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” and those who wanted rid of Jesus offered him a slaves wages and Judas accepted the price.

Judas was paid on the spot (verse 15) and he began looking for an opportunity to betray the LORD. A lot has been made of Judas repenting after the fact and throwing the money down in the temple. These verses share with us that there was a time elapse between Judas being paid and Judas betraying Jesus. He had opportunity before the money became “blood money” to return it but he chose financial gain over spiritual.

Tomorrow we will look further at Judas (LORD Willing) and what happened afterwards.

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

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

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Your mission field should you choose to accept it

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

In a previous article I spoke of Agape love and gave a brief definition of what it was, when beginning this study I decided to take a short look at something Christ said. This question occurred when the Pharisees (The teachers of the Law, the ones who should know better) were questioning him about what the greatest commandment was.

Jesus answers in the gospel of Matthew 22:35-40 when he says:

 

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

I find this wonderful and what a teacher our LORD was, broke down the 10 Commandments in one sentence! (If you wish to read the 10 Commandments they are in Exodus 20:2-17)

10 Commandments in a paragraph

I am no way as good a teacher as our LORD so I will try to do this in a paragraph. (I also studied this a lot as I wanted to write a book on the subject) The first 4 Commandments refer to your relationship with God. (Verses 3-11) The last 6 refer to your relationship with others. (Verses 12-17)

You can’t love people the way God wants you to until you first love God.

How so you treat your neighbour?

Lets have a reality check here folks, I was in a meeting recently with a local Pastor and we were discussing an issue that was divisive in the church at large and I eventually said to him “we all have to own how we treat each other!” (This was 2014 and it was concerning two Christian brothers at opposite ends of Christendom as far as how they reach people for Christ)

Jesus himself advised this self same point in the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37, so many of us become a “Diotrephes” and become puffed up and start to think we are the main show when we are simply the tolls used by the master craftsman.

The thing that strikes me today about that parable is it is the ones who have been overlooked for the “show ministries” that are making the difference to the guys who are in the ditches, Praise God for those with a Samaritans heart that just get on with it and have the heart to do it for Gods glory and not for the praises of men.

Those folks to me are showing the real Christ, those guys who show Jesus’ love and not judgement to the guy in bondage to drugs, to alcohol or whatever their vice is. That to me is true agape love.

Verses that show the value of keeping the last 6 Commandments

Lastly, we have further reading in the Scriptures that show the principles of the Ten Commandments in other parts of the Bible. They are below:

Respect authority – Ephesians 6:1-3; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Protect Life – Deuteronomy 19:11-12; 1 John 3:15

Protect Marriage – 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; James 4:1-4

Respect Property – Exodus 22:1-15; Malachi 3:8-10

Honour Truth – Zechariah 8:16-17; Ephesians 4:29-32

Reject Greed – Psalm 106:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Love is showing them Jesus

In conclusion, I want to share that it is great to love people on this earth and attend to their day to day needs, but if we really wish to love them we also have to show them Jesus.

To do the first would be like performing the role of a triage nurse in an ER room to a gunshot wound victim. Whilst your role is important, if they don’t have surgery they will not survive. We have to book the person we are agape-ing (is that a word?) in For a “Salvation-ectomy)

Step 1 – Bear them in love

We read in the book of Ephesians the following words:

Ephesians 4:2 (ESV) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

That is what we were talking about before, this applies to our relationship with believers and non-believers, if you clean a man up when he is at his lowest, he will listen to you when you try to show him a better way.

Step 2 – preaching is not just words

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

You notice the word that is in both verses “patience” I love this because when I was in sin, I loved it! I was Mr. I can drink more than you, I can eat more than you, I can party more than you.

The person you are “agape-ing” may still be there, they may have one foot in both camps, they may still be in sin, you have to teach them honestly sound doctrine and show them the reason you are there and why you love.

Step 3 – Have compassion but save by fear

This point is summed up beautifully in the Epistle of Jude:

Jude 1:20 (ESV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Some will believe when they hear of Jesus love, some will believe because they do not wish to spend eternity in the lake of fire! (Revelation 20:11-15)

Hell is real folks! Lets not forget, as Christians our MO is to keep as many folks out of there as possible. We are to be missionaries to where God has planted us, and to do what he has called in our lives.

I pray this was challenging and an exhortation to you! God bless you and TGBTG
TTE