Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three – December 23rd


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.


God gave them up


God gave them up

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Romans 1:26 (ESV) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

In our last article we spoke about how they had exchanged the truth for the lie. They stopped looking to God and began on a road to their own self destruction; in this passage it shows one of the ways that this was the case. They chose sin which was from their own desires.

Now let me be clear, I believe that people who have sinned all have the same opportunity to come to God and that I don’t view one sin more grievous than another. As stated previously, Paul is writing this letter from Corinth, which was basically Amsterdam and Las Vegas of its time, anything goes and if you were called a “Corinthian” it was a major insult as they were questioning your morality.

These people were in sexual immorality and had fallen into idol worship also. What a combination huh? They had chosen to not go with God’s plan for marriage as one man and one woman and went after their own kind (lesbianism) this did not mean that the men were exempt also, they had done likewise and entered into same sex relationships too.

Now I am not going to go all Westboro Baptist here (God does not hate gay people, he hates the sin) and start screaming at people, but this passage of scripture does show God’s will for marriage is reiterated as one man and one woman. Paul calls it “dishonorable” (or vile) passions, he speaks to a culture where this has been commonplace for at least 200 years, in verifiable history there were many Governors in multiple relationships with both male and female partners, sometimes at the same time and sometimes as separate “relationships” so this had to be addressed as unacceptable for the believers in Rome.

Here is where I am going to get personal, if you are reading this and have been in the gay lifestyle, if you are still in the gay lifestyle or if you are in a promiscuous lifestyle where physical attraction is like a throwaway toy. It is not to late for you. Despite what the world may say about you and despite your thoughts about yourself there is still hope. There is someone who will love you more than any partner could, his name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus will accept you regardless of your history and regardless of the consequences you have reaped because of your actions. Many pastors or teachers will make the logical connection between STD’s and promiscuity, that is an easy link to make, however it is not just a same sex issue.

Yes there is disease involved with this type of sin, but there is also emptiness involved in that type of damaging relationship where the “hook up” is the highlight and everything else is just a hassle. In many cases this is what happens in many bars up and down the country where “hook up” is the reason you go there.

Of course the “hook up” culture is not all that goes on in that lifestyle, there are folks who set up as couples, begin relationships and attempt to change things such as the definition of marriage. It is done in a militant fashion and is done in the name of “equal rights” but usually it means nothing of the sort.

I read of a recent LBGT event that has banned “straight” people from attending, not exactly all inclusive I am afraid.

Let us look at the genetics of it from a scientific point of view, if we are using evolution as a blueprint then by definition if the human race was to choose a 100% homosexual then from an evolution standpoint it would render itself extinct within a person’s lifetime. The ability to reproduce would not be there.

I don’t suffer (perhaps suffer is the wrong word as people who are usually living a life of sin, when it is good it is good and if sin was not appealing then it would not be such a struggle) from this sin so I have no idea what someone who has this attraction/deals with this sin/lives this life (choosing my words very carefully as it is a very sensitive issue) is going through. To them it is a case of “who they are attracted to”.

Like anyone caught in a life of sin, these folks need prayer and not condemnation. I would pray for them as fervently as you would for an opposite sex (or straight, dependent on your terminology) couple who are in sin. As said previously, God see’s all rebellion from him, regardless of the flavor of that particular vice.

Gay people are not the enemy; not to be demonized as some higher level of sinner, and they are just like everyone else who needs Jesus! They need love and an opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and make an educated choice on where they want to spend eternity.

This is a tough passage of scripture because the message has to be delivered in love, there will be some who will not take it that way and that is unfortunate. My heart in writing this is a desire that ALL come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.

It is also tough and difficult because there are emotions involved. I have a few friends who live in the gay lifestyle, they know I love them and I have had them vouch for me on occasions where there has been contention and people have thought I have been attacking the lifestyle.

I pray that this article finds you well, that you are blessed and I would request that you prayerfully consider liking, commenting or sharing this article as the LORD leads