Taking the Epistle

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The ACTS Files – Why do you wonder at this O’ Israel? – Acts 3:11-16

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The ACTS Files – Why do you wonder at this O’ Israel? – Acts 3:11-16 – 04/25/2016

Acts 3:11 (ESV) While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article looks at an account where Peter and John went to pray and God used them in a mighty way. My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in chapter three verse eleven…

V11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?

The man clung onto Peter and John, he knew that these guys had something special and I believe that what Peter said was maybe for the man who was invading their personal space as much as it was for those who were gobsmacked that God had worked in such a real and tangible way. This is a danger that we as Christians can be like these people, who know all about God but are genuinely surprised when God shows up in a real way. Makes us question how strong our faith actually is huh?

They surrounded Peter and John and Peter suddenly realizing he has an audience addresses the people! He took advantage of a willing crowd to seek explanation of what was clearly supernatural. He makes sure that they are aware that this was Jesus and not him. He shows humility in a manner that we could all learn from. This could have been Peter’s ticket to the top table of religious scholars but he made sure he attributed the glory to Jesus and Peter was doing what we see in the book of Romans…

Romans 10:14 (ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Peter knew that although they saw a miracle then that would not be enough to save them, they had to hear the word of God and understand and believe. That was the purpose of Peter preaching and that is important today, because many churches seek signs and wonders and do not focus on the other majors such as prayer and decent doctrine. Peter never wanted to give the impression that it was him or his spirituality that healed this man, he was simply the vessel used by God.

Peter asks “why do you wonder at this?” for three years Jesus went around healing people and Peter was leading the charge in claiming that he rose again and he was alive with his father in heaven so why would it be weird that he would still be distributing healing power in his name from heaven? Peter was consistent in his doctrine from the moment he picked up the man and all the way through the sermon in the portico; it was all in the name of Jesus.

V13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.

In case you wondered what God, Peter gives the genealogy of this one. The Jewish people did not even write the name of God down out of reverence for the name of God. It would be easy to say you know God but not know which God they served. Here is an example… I am a big guy who is Caucasian in skin pigmentation with dark hair and brown eyes, if someone claimed to know me and stated that I was 150lbs, blue eyes and ginger hair then you would state that “you may know William but it is not the one I know” and Peter to avoid discussions like these makes it absolutely clear that he is talking about God. He was the God of their fathers and the one who had an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He also declared that Jesus was sent from God and was on a mission from God, he switches the sermon back to the point of what he wanted to say, this was all about Jesus and not in any way about Peter. When your mission becomes as much about you as Jesus then you know you have lost focus, here Peter stays on point.

And Peter reminds them of what they have done in John 18 & 19; Pilate was looking for any loophole to release Jesus as he could not find anything that he could sentence him to death for in the Roman laws. He found him guilty of no crime but because of the difficult local political situation and the desire to avoid a riot, he listens to the Jewish people and their denial of Jesus, Peter shows the Jews (who were just as much to blame as the Romans) culpability in the death of Jesus, this is a bold move and showed that Peter was indeed a changed man that the one who cowered on the night Jesus was arrested.

V14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

Peter goes into great detail in case they had forgotten what happened (unlikely as were are talking less than a few months after it happened) He calls Jesus by who he was “Holy and Righteous” and I spoke earlier about the culpability of both the Romans and Jews in the crucifixion of Christ but the fact remains that one side could not have done it without the other. Two peoples who were normally at odds rounded up on the Holy one!

And to compound their shame he reminded them that they asked for a murderer, a local terrorist of the Roman occupation, a savage to be released instead of God’s own son! That is how far they had fallen! Peter reminds them (or perhaps tells the ones who could claim they were never told) that Jesus, the “author of life” rose from the dead and despite the best efforts of the people; death could not hold him as God raised him from the dead.

The interesting thing about peters declaration here is partly the boldness but also the public refute of the lie that had been told by the Jewish scholars that the stone had been rolled away by his followers and his body was stolen to perpetuate a lie that he had risen from the dead! (Matthew 28:11-15) He and the apostles were witnesses to this and history tells us that many went to their death for being that witness! What tremendous example of the truth of the account as who would honestly go to death for a lie?

V16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

Peter reminds them, now he has established the following facts…

  • Who God was and made sure they understood it was God
  • Who Jesus was and made sure they knew which Jesus he referred to

The second one is important because there are many versions of Jesus out there even today, we have cults who try to decry and deny the very deity of Jesus and claim he was less than God, or just a good man, or some other lie to perpetuate their cultish false doctrine.

Peter advises that is was in the name of THAT JESUS, that Peter had faith and when he said to the man to stand up, that man had faith that Jesus would heal him of the illness that had plagued him for four decades and now he stood next to them as a living witness that he was genuinely healed and Jesus made him whole! The co-creator of heaven and earth had enough power to heal him through faith, what an awesome testimony!

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at Acts chapter three verses seventeen through twenty six when we look at part two of Peter speaking in Solomon’s portico. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Six – December 6th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day 6 – December 6th

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

In the last few days we have looked at the genealogy of the Messiah and we have found that Jesus Christ meets the criteria having being a descendent of both Abraham and Isaac, now we look at the prophetic claim that he will be of the descendent line of Jacob. We find this in the book of Numbers in chapter twenty four.

Numbers 24:17 (ESV) I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.

We know this messiah as Jesus of Nazareth, who is called the Christ. The person speaking is Balaam and we read that he could “see him, but not now”. He knew that he was coming but not in a time that he could see. Jesus is called the following:

1) A Star
2) A Scepter

Now a star is bright, it illuminates the darkness; we learn this in the creation account. A star is a glorious light, sent from afar to give light and direction where otherwise it would be dark and desolate. What a picture of a coming messiah!

The scepter is the stick with a ball that you see in places like Royal palaces, such as Buckingham Palace in England, castles where the royal ascent is present, such as Edinburgh Castle in Scotland where the Scottish Crown Jewels are present. (Can you tell I am British?)

The last place you will see a scepter is the place where decisions are made. In the British House of Parliament, between the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition there is a scepter, a sign that what they are discussing in this chamber has the blessing of the current monarch of the land.

So you see, the scepter is a symbol of the messiah’s majesty, of his regal authority. (Much like it is in the UK, the Queen will not sit in every debate, she will merely open and close the parliament and her aides will leave the scepter as a symbol of her patronage of the power held within) It gives us a picture of the ruling Messiah that is Jesus Christ.

This verse goes on to say that he would go on to defeat all of the territories beyond Israel. This will happen in the book of Revelation. In the messiah’s first coming he was the suffering sacrifice, he will return to signal the end of the world. This part of the prophesy is still to come.

Who was Jacob?

In the book of Genesis we read about Jacob and his brother Esau, let’s look at Genesis chapter twenty five.

Genesis 25:19 (ESV) These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. ) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

I love the story of Jacob because it is both glorious and tragic at the same time. It is glorious because God chose him to continue the line even although he was not the first born (as was the custom at that time) and verse 23 advises that “the older shall serve the younger”. But all too soon it turns tragic.

I am encouraged though by the tragic nature as Rebekah and Jacob did not learn from Abraham and Sarah trying to “help God along”. It seems that there is a faith fault in this DNA strand. This is encouraging to me as I am a mess up a lot. My DNA strand is faulty through sin! I suffer from not trusting God enough. As good as I may read on here, I will be honest and say I don’t get it right all the time. Jacob was not chosen because he was perfect, (or Esau because he was worse than his brother) Paul confirms this in the letter to the Roman church in chapter nine:

Romans 9:10 (ESV) And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

So between verses 30-34, Esau sells all that he has and all that he is going to have for a bowl of stew and some bread. (My wife makes awesome soup but i have never done that!) But the sin does not end there. Let’s look at what happens when Isaac dies:

Genesis 27:1 (ESV) When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” 5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.” 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the LORD your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed! 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” 30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.” 41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— 45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?” 46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women.  If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

The nuts and the bolts of this is that Jacob being the flawed man that he is he decided to con his father into believing that he was his brother in order to steal his brothers blessing. I have no idea whether the father was ever aware that Esau had sold his birthright or not, but he was certainly expecting Esau to come in and be blessed.

When we deceive, often times we have to add deceit on top of deceit in order to cover up the original deceit. How much easier would it have been had Jacob just allowed God to fulfil his promise to him? The real encouragement to us all is that regardless how we mess up, we can still be used by God. Jacob was eventually called Israel and the nation of the same name came through him. They were literally the children of Israel.

So where do we find this genealogy in the New Testament?

We see this in the beginning of the book of Matthew chapter one.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,

Jesus qualifies through the genealogy of his literal mother Mary as well as his legal guardian Joseph. How very God that he made sure there was no doubt that Jesus was indeed his boy. Again God is the God of keeping his promises, regardless how much we mess up! That to me is the encouragement in these verses.

I haven’t conned my brother out of money, I haven’t stolen the family fortune, but I have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 6:23) but I am forgiven for what I have done and you can be too. The answer is Jesus and co-incidentally he is also the reason for these articles and also the reason for this Christmas season.

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 Five – December 5th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Five – December 5th

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

Today we look at another prophetic claim of the messiah, that he would be a descendent of Isaac. As usual we will be looking at the Old Testament scriptures that predict this as well as the New Testament fulfillment of this prophecy. The first scripture I wish to look at is in the book of Genesis chapter 17…

Genesis 17:15 (ESV) And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

As we read yesterday Abraham was 100 years old when he got the confirmation from God that he would have a son and he would be called Isaac. This is where we lose our Muslim friends who believe that Ishmael is the true successor.

Here we read God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah as a rememberence of the covenant that the God had promised to deliver. The key here is that God had promised and God delivered. He said the child would come from Sarah. (verse 16) This rules out Ishmael as his mother is Hagar. Abraham tried to verify if Ishmael was the successor, however God tells us who the child is and what his name is, it will be Isaac.

The great thing I have found about studying the Bible is that God will date and confirm things to the letter. In the seventh chapter of the book of Acts this is dated as before he left Ur.

Acts 7:2 (ESV) And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6 And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

This is powerful stuff, this speech got Stephen stoned to death! (Acts 7:54-60) He goes on to give them a history lesson of the times of the Jewish people and a history of the Hebrew people. he concludes with this.

Acts 7:51 (ESV) “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

Stephen is a verifiable primary witness as he lived in the time of Jesus death; he was also so sold out as a believer that he knew that by saying these things in a religious melting pot like Jerusalem he was most certainly going to be harmed. He was willing to go on record, to be killed by stones and die to make sure that the link between the Messiah promised through Isaac was validated and verified as Jesus Christ.

Whatever happened to Ishmael?

Here is the deal, God promised a child to Sarai and Abram, Sarai thought God needed a helping hand and decided to have another woman birth an heir. But God showed more faithfulness to her than she did. God keeps his promises, even the ones that seem so impossible and out there that we do not see any way they could come true.

The lesson here is faith! Sarai did not have enough faith and patience to allow God to lay the foundation and do things in his time. I do not mock Sarai for this as I have much the same problem in my life. (Let’s be real here!) I have lost count of the amount of blessings I have lost because I thought God “needed my help” achieving what had been promised.

Look at this passage written by Paul to the Roman church that explains it far better than I ever could:

Romans 4:16 (ESV) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

God’s faithfulness is not conditional on us keeping our end of the bargain; otherwise NONE of us would be blessed! We all fail in some way. God also gives a timescale that this prophecy will be fulfilled, it will be done within a year, let’s look to see if a son was in fact born. Also we have the question “what happens to Ishmael?” Let’s look at Genesis chapter twenty one.

Genesis 21:8 (ESV) And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

So Ishmael starts the chain of events by mocking Sarah and Isaac, emotions are running high at this point with two women in the same dwelling having birthed children by the same man. (Could this be a warning about multiple wives or polyamorous relationships?)

Sarah rather unsurprisingly grew resentful of Hagar and Ishmael now that God has come good on his promise. Isaac was no longer a promise but a real tangible child in her arms. Things quite literally got real! Abraham knew that Ishmael would be blessed due to him; however he had the hard job of fulfilling the wishes of his wife and sending away Hagar and his son.

God however made provision for the boy, in true Godly compassion he made a place for him, gave him a nation. It would not be Israel but he would be that father of a great people. Ishmael knew what was going on being some 13 years older than Isaac. I understand this perfectly as I myself am 12 years younger than my older brother. Paul writes to the Galatian church using Ishmael and Isaac as an example; let’s look at Galatians chapter four:

Galatians 4:21 (ESV) Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Are you a child of promise? Have you accepted the free gift of salvation that is only given through Christ Jesus our LORD? It is as real as this my friends. This is talking about where you will spend eternity!

The life of Jesus – Isaac’s descendent

Now that we have successfully shown that Jesus was the one promised through the line of Isaac we must look at the life of Jesus in the gospel of Luke chapter three.

Luke 3:23 (ESV) Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Some of you may have skipped this verse a hundred times and dismissed it as a boring genealogy, I see a line of family but I see something more! A promise that was given to a faithful man and his wife which seemed impossible. God showed what a big God he is and made it happen. Nothing is impossible for God.

This has application for us all; regardless of what you face and regardless of where you are in your life God wants to use you. You must first come in complete obedience and surrender, but God is faithful and do what he promised. Don’t do what Sarah did and “give God a hand” he is faithful and more than capable of fulfilling his will in your life.

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 Four – December 4th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Four – Dec 4th

The LORD shall be from the line of Abraham

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

In the last few days we have looked at the claims of the Messiah Jesus Christ and certain prophecies that show him to be the Messiah that was foretold in the Old Testament. In previous blog articles we looked at the claims that he would be born of a woman, born in Bethlehem and also born of a virgin. Today we look at the claim that he would be from the line of Abraham.

This is foretold in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis chapter twelve; lets read from verse one…

Genesis 12:1 (ESV) Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God makes a promise to Abram (as he was known then) and God is truth. Can you imagine being Abram, with a name that means “father of many” and here he was advanced in years with no children. (God, in Genesis 17 changes his name to Abraham “father of many nations”) Such was the man’s doubt that his wife Sarai and he did not initially believe when they were promised a son. They tried to do Gods work for them and Sarai gave her Egyptian maidservant Hagar (Genesis 16) and another nation was born through Ismael. (I will touch on this in a few minutes)

I have always been blessed by the story of Abram/Abraham, he had to literally be told to go by God and leave his father’s house. He was at least in his 8th decade (verse 4) when he was told this. He was to go with his wife to a land that was to be shown to him. At this point he still resided in Ur of the Chaldees.

Talk about the ultimate mission’s trip! God says “go but I am not telling you where!” for me that is the ultimate leap of faith. Would you do likewise?

He is told “I will make you a great nation” not just a big family but a great nation. God promises that the name of Abraham will be great. Today we still talk about Abraham in three of the religions of the world.

Judaism talks of Abraham as the father of the faith, and through him came the children of Israel. This is also addressed in many of the epistles as the Jews had faith in their status as Abraham’s children above all else.

Christianity recognizes that the Messiah came through Abraham (the point of this article) It does not discount the Jewish history but sees it fulfilled through Jesus of Nazareth.

Islam sees Abraham as the father of their faith also, but through the lineage of Ishmael. (Remember that other people)

Abraham is a big deal as you can see. We read “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” and this is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven; he will bless both the Jews who believe and also the Gentiles. The Gentiles shall be justified by faith. We read that in Galatians 3:8-9…

Galatians 3:8 (ESV) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

God speaks to Abraham for the second time

Genesis 22:15 (ESV) And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.

Abraham waits so long for a son, he was 100 years old. Imagine waiting for 25 years on a promise. He watches the boy grow into a young boy and he is asked of God to sacrifice his son. I can’t imagine this in my wildest of dreams but look at the faith of a man who will trust God in the face of a direction I am sure he did not want to do and a path he cannot see the way out of. I have to say that I doubt I would do likewise.

Isaac appears in this story like a sacrifice and God knew the heart of Abraham and knew that he would follow God and his promises. In that same way we see the fathers heart and i know God was thinking ahead to the time where he would offer his own son as a sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

Confirmation in the New Testament

God confirms this to us in the first verse of the first book of the New Testament through the pen of Matthew.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

That is how important that this is true and accurate. People who cast doubt on the trustworthiness of the bible will cast doubts on the following categories…

1) Genesis
2) Prophecies
3) genealogies

In all three areas the Bible has proven itself time after time. In many cases historians verify the biblical account by such means as archaeology and historical evidence to back up the claims of the Bible. In many cases these scientists have no theological reason to prove the bible correct.

God in his wisdom decided to take the time to insert this genealogy into Matthew’s gospel in order to validate this prophecy. We also see further validation of this in the Epistle to the Roman church.

Paul’s validation of the gospel of Jesus

Simply being being a “Son of Abraham” is not enough to get you into heaven. Look at what Paul writes to the church In Rome…

Romans 9:1 (ESV) I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

That is heavy stuff huh? Paul would accursed himself in order to save his brothers. That is the heart of an evangelist.

Just like Paul’s brethren, you too can be in communion with Christ.  My prayer is this article is the beginning of a new life in Jesus. I hope that you are challenged by this apologetic article and begin to examine the claims of the prophecies of the messiah. 

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