Even the Very First Messianic Promise Conveyed Both the Suffering and Glory in Store for Him

You should be aware of the importance of “suffering and glory” as a theme where biblical prophecy of Messiah is concerned.

Consider Genesis 3:15 wherein God promises that “the seed of the woman” (the first messianic title) would be bruised on the heel (a defeat for Messiah) yet would bruise the serpent on the head (a victory for Messiah).  The imagery is unmistakable: Christ would be wounded, but would ultimately triumph over Satan.  Through crucifixion (that is, bruising Messiah on the heel) and then resurrection-ascension (that is, bruising Satan on the head), Messiah would right the wrong that the serpent had done to Adam and Eve.

(With respect to suffering and glory, be sure to notice Luke 24:25-27 and 1 Peter 1:10-12 – both of which are mentioned in the link above.)

Thus, even from the very beginning, God was predicting that Messiah would both suffer and be glorified.  What’s most important about this is that the suffering comes first, and the glory follows.  This means that suffering is temporal but glory is eternal.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Contrasting the Jesus of the Gospels with the Jesus of Revelation

The New Testament opens with the four gospels, describing the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.  In these writings, Jesus was clearly a man – but a man with God’s hand upon Him.  Even so, he died ever so weakly on a Roman cross.  Fast forward to the book of Revelation and we see Jesus portrayed as a heavenly figure – angelic in all respects, unbounded by the constraints common to manhood.

Acts and the epistles, which lie in between the gospels and Revelation, help us with Jesus’ transition from human to godlike status.  It began with the resurrection.  Even by the end of Acts 1, the apostles could no longer simply walk up to Jesus and ask Him a question.  Rather, they had to approach Him through prayer to heaven.

Some people apparently think God’s plan was to reverse the course of this progression in order to execute a Second Coming that would present Jesus once again in the flesh.  This would be backwards, of course.  The progression for Christ was from the limitations of man to the limitlessness of God.  Thus Isaiah said that the increase of the government of Christ would see no end (Isaiah 9:6-7).  And thus no physical eyes saw Jesus when He came again.

Let us follow the Son, that we might follow God.  He is going somewhere, and we are following Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Apostles Were a Subset of the Disciples

It may seem mundane to hear this, but apostles were selected from among the disciples (Luke 6:13).  (Paul was an exception as he was selected to be a disciple and apostle simultaneously – see Acts 9, 22, 26.)

A “disciple” is a student, a pupil, a learner.

An “apostle” is a sent one, a messenger,

A disciple is one continually coming to God, receiving instruction, correction, even rebuke.

An apostle is one continually going from God, taking His message to others.

Both aspects are important to our living for Christ in this age.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Lamb, Stone, Bread – Images Foreshadowing Messiah

A lamb, a stone, bread – these are but a few of the many images used to describe Messiah in the Old Testament.  We are given hints of how these images were used in various New Testament passages.

Regarding a lamb, for example, consider John 1:29 and 36 as well as 1 Peter 1:19 as instances where Jesus is described as a lamb in terms that bring to mind Old Testament images.

Consider also how Jesus Himself used an Old Testament passage about a stone in Matthew 21:42-46 to describe His place in God’s plan.  Peter mentioned other such Old Testament passages in 1 Peter 2:4-8.

And then there is John 6 where Jesus portrays Himself as bread, which correlated with the manna produced by God in the wilderness for the sustenance of the Israelites saved from Egypt.

We must not let these New Testament references be the end of our reflection on such metaphors.  Rather, they should be the beginning.  We should use them to look back into the Old Testament – what is also called the Hebrew Bible.  Remember that apostles had only the Hebrew Bible to work with as the New Testament was not assembled until after they had all passed the scene.  Thus the Scriptures they were using to promote these understandings were the Old Testament Scriptures.  We should seek to understand them better if we are to understand Christ better.

Don’t ignore the Old Testament.  Just let the New Testament guide you through it.

The Apostles Taught from the Old Testament, Not the New

The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Our Role in Gaining Insight into the Truths of God

Deuteronomy 29:29 declares that God keeps the hidden things to Himself, but what He reveals belongs to us that we might act in accord with such revelation.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Messiah (Colossians 2:3).  Are we to wait passively until God reveals these treasures to us or are we to actively seek them out?

Proverbs 25:2 says that it’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of man to search out a matter.

Ezra 7:10 describes Ezra as a man who first studied the law of the Lord and then sought to obey it…before he ever sought to teach it.  Thus study of the Scriptures was the first step.

1 Peter 1:10-12 says that the prophets, who first wrote the mysteries of God for us, themselves “made careful search and inquiry seeking to know…”  Thus they were actively pursuing God for revelation of these mysteries.

God’s revelations to us are by His grace – but His grace can only be found by those who are seeking it.  Dogs don’t know what’s holy, and swine can’t recognize pearls (Matthew 7:6).

Let us therefore stir ourselves up to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness – that we might find it.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Son

The title of this post seems so simple, doesn’t it?  Perhaps some would even think it simplistic.  Those two words, however, are most profound.  Do they not evoke for you the most wondrous thoughts of the One God promised, the One God sent, the One God became?

The Son – that singular figure who changed the course of human history, both for this life and the one to come.  In fact, without Him we would not even have a life to come.  He is the one who gave us immortality – and He did so by the sacrifice of Himself.

Oh, the Son.  The Son of God.  We can never stop singing His praises as long as He continues to reveal Himself to us.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Scriptures Are Inspired and Interpreted by the Holy Spirit

The Scriptures are the writings of human beings inspired by the Holy Spirit.  See 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

The prophecies of Scripture (and they all prophesy of Jesus Christ) are interpreted by the Holy Spirit. See 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is involved in the Scriptures both on the front-end and on the back-end.  That is, the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit inspires the proper understanding of the Scriptures when they are read.

For these reasons, there is no point in trying to understand the Scriptures without involving the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Messiah Was Raised from the Dead Without Human Agency

Jesus Christ was raised from the dead without human agency.  That is, God used no human  being to go to Jesus’ grave and call him out as Jesus had gone to Lazarus’ grave and called him out.  The resurrection of Christ was utterly unique; there was no human agency involved.  This is worth pondering.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Moses Wrote; Abraham Didn’t

Moses, of course, was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We have no record of writings by Abraham.  We just have his story, preserved orally through the generations until the time of Moses.  That’s when his story, along with that of his son and grandson, was recorded in the book we call Genesis.

Moses was, if you will, a scribe.  He set the pattern for all the writing prophets and apostles who followed.  He put the word of God in writing.  And, because of that, we who are separated by so much time from biblical events have  a trustworthy source to tell us about them.

As Moses wrote about Abraham, so the apostles wrote about Jesus Christ.

Abraham was a type of Christ because he lived by faith.

Moses was a type of Christ because he led God’s people.

Learning about the ancients Moses and Abraham are means to an end.  The end is learning about Christ.  And that is as modern as can be.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

When the Son Finally Took Over, What Was There Left for the Father To Do but Retire?

Yesterday’s post, and the several days that preceded it, were about the transfer of position from the Father to the Son accomplished in two stages across the New Testament period.  This series began with this post.

Once all things had passed from the Father to the Son, what was left for the Father to do but retire?

Actually, the Father did not “retire” per se, but it was revealed that as God had fulfilled the role of Father in the old order, He was fulfilling the role of Son in the new order.  This explains why the apostles were so intent on pointing attention to the Son, the Christ, the Messiah of God.  All allegiance was being transferred from the Father to the Son.

For example, the apostle John insisted in 1 John 5:11-13 that he who had the Son had the life – not he who had the Father.  Likewise, in 2 John 9 he says whoever continued in the teaching of Christ had both the Father and the Son while he who did not abide in the teaching of Christ did not have God.  Indeed, God has given us eternal life…and this life is IN HIS SON!

To learn more about the Son versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

When Jesus Was Lord but Not Yet Judge of All

We know from Ephesians 1:22 that Jesus was made head over all things and given to the church at His resurrection-ascension.  This is consistent with what He reported to His disciples in Matthew 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  Nevertheless, it was not yet time for Jesus to exercise His authority over all mankind.  New Testament times were the first stage in transferring God’s power (see yesterday’s post).

The church age (that is, the period of time covered from Acts through Revelation) was a time when Jesus exercised His lordship over all those who submitted to it.  Thus Psalm 110:3 called them “volunteers.”  (This evokes, by the way, the Song of Deborah from Judges 5 which celebrated leadership and volunteerism by the people of God – Jesus providing the leadership and the believers being the volunteers to follow Him, some of them even unto death – see Judges 5:18.)

As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:13, God was still judging those outside the confines of the church.  Yet the apostles were warning everyone that the day was coming when Jesus Christ would be the judge of everybody everywhere, and that He would judge according to the thoughts and intentions of each human heart.  See Acts 10:42; 17:30-31; 24:25; and Romans 2:14-16.

We live in that day, the second and final (that is, eternal) stage of the Son’s assumption of power from the Father.  Thus, this is “the day of the Lord” – “the day of Christ Jesus.”  See 1 Corinthians 5:5 and Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16.  It came like “a thief in the night,” and thus unrepentant hearts and minds do not recognize it (1 Thessalonians 5:2).  Thus Christ is now judge of all.  Let us do homage to Him so that we experience His blessing and not His wrath (John 3:36 and Psalm 2:12).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

GICNAT

The Transfer from Father to Son Took Place in Two Major Stages

The transfer of authority, power, and prominence from the Father to the Son, the subject of yesterday’s post, took place in two steps, both occurring in the generation of Jesus and His apostles.

The first step was the seating of Jesus at the right hand of God after His resurrection from the dead as predicted in Psalm 110:1.  This event can be pegged at the end of the gospels and the beginning of Acts.  In this way, Jesus became King of Israel according to the will of God, and as prophesied in Psalm 2 as well.

Jesus remained at the right hand of God until not long after the New Testament documents were written (that is, sometime late in the first century) when He came in the kingdom of God as prophesied in Daniel 7:13-14.  This was His “coming in the glory of His Father” to assume the full authority of God – that is, King of the Universe (not just of Israel).

For this reason, Jesus at His trial made reference to each of these two major stages (preliminary and final) by saying to His accusers that they would see Him “sitting at the right hand of Power” and “coming on the clouds of heaven.”  (See Matthew 26:64 and Mark 14:62.)   That is, Jesus would first be made King of Israel and then be made King of the Universe.

See more on these two stages at The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven: Chapter Eight – The Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

GICNAT

The Transfer from the Father to the Son

The New Testament testifies of the transfer of power from the Father to the Son.  You could call this The Great Handoff .

In Matthew 11:27, Jesus says “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.”

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

In Luke 10:22, we hear again Jesus saying, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.

John 3:35 says “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.”

John 5:22 says the Father “has given all judgment to the Son” so that “all would honor the Son even as they honor the Father.”  Since people honored the Father as the one true God, honoring Jesus similarly would mean transferring to Jesus the honor of being the one true God.

John 13:3 says that Jesus knew the Father had given all things into His hand.

In John 16:15 Jesus said, “All things that the Father has are mine.”

Hebrews 1:1-2 says that God made the Son “heir of all things.”

Isaiah 22:24 prophesies that all the glory of the father’s house will be hung upon the son.  In Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; and Luke 9:26 Jesus confirms that His Second Coming will be in the glory of the Father.

Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies that the government will rest upon the shoulders of the Son and that there will no end to the increase of this government.

Daniel 7:13-14 portrays the Ancient of Days presenting the everlasting kingdom to the Son of Man.

Because church leaders and theologians didn’t believe that this transfer of power was actually consummated, they developed the philosophical concept of God as a Trinity.  However, this philosophy obscures the word of God and the actual handing over of power from the Father to the Son which is to the glory of God.  As the Father was God, so the Son (Christ) is God.  And thus is Christ now our Father.  Look to no one but Him.  He will love you.  He will save you.  He will deliver you.  He will never leave you.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

If you are confused by the Trinity, be aware that you must first resolve in your mind whether or not God indeed kept His promises.  I can assure you that He did.  Here’s some explanation:

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Work of God in Christ Was in Fulfillment of God’s Promise

God is faithful.  He keeps His promises.

The Hebrew Bible (that is, the Old Testament) is the accumulated record of various promises God made concerning that person we generally call “Israel’s Messiah.”

In Acts 13:23, the apostle Paul characterizes the coming of Jesus of Nazareth as fulfillment of these promises.  Paul makes the resurrection a focal point of the promises in verses 32 and 33.  And indeed the resurrection is the central point in the work of God through Christ.  (Paul reiterates this central point in the opening verses of his letter to the Romans.)

We can celebrate the fact that God announced well in advance, by promising, the great work of reconstruction that we see in Jesus Christ.  As Peter said in Acts 3:18, God had “announced beforehand” what would happen through Christ – the sufferings first, and the glories to follow (Luke 24:25-27; 1 Peter 1:10-12).  These “announcements” came in the form of “promises.”  Thus God not only accomplished great things through Christ, He also demonstrated in the process His faithfulness (that is, His dependability, His reliability, His trustworthiness).  He keeps His promises.  We should know that by now.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Eternal Work of Christ Was Accomplished in the Days of His Earthly Contemporaries

In Acts 13:41, the apostle Paul invokes Habakkuk’s stern prophetic warning from God: “Behold, you scoffers, marvel and perish, for I am accomplishing a work in your days…”  (Habakkuk 1:5)

Of course, the work being spoken of was the eternal work of God in Christ establishing the redemption of all creation.  If God says that this work was to be accomplished in the days of those scoffers, why do many Christians today say that this work is still unaccomplished umpteen generations after that one passed away?

If God says the work was to have been accomplished in those days it must have been accomplished in those days!

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Work God Accomplished Through Christ Was According to a Predetermined Plan

God was not making decisions about Christ on the fly.  All preparation was made well in advance, and comprehensively, if enigmatically, recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures.  Therefore, we are not only able to consider in awe the work God accomplished through Christ, our awe is compounded as we realized that God was executing an intricate and long-standing plan to keep His promises regarding Messiah.

Note carefully Acts 2:23 where Peter makes clear that the work wrought through Christ was thoroughly planned well in advance of the execution of that plan.

How wise is our God – our Creator and Redeemer!  He makes even the unwilling to advance His agenda!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Appreciating the Work of God in Christ

Regarding the work accomplished by God through Christ, hear what these scriptures say:

2 Samuel 7:12 quotes God as saying about the Messiah’s kingdom “I will establish [it.]”

Psalm 118:23 says of Christ being made the cornerstone, “This is the Lord’s doing.”

Acts 13:41 (quoting Habakkuk 1:5) describes what was happening through Messiah as God saying “I am accomplishing a work in your days.”

Daniel 2:34 and 45 refer to Messiah as a “stone cut without hands,” an obvious allusion to divine activity.

It is clear that the resurrection of Christ, and all the change that was wrought through it, was the work of the Almighty God.  Glory be to God for the working of His hands.  He can do that which is impossible for our hands!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Translation Is the Work of Translators; Interpretation Is the Work of the Holy Spirit

Scholars study the ancient texts that comprise the Bible.  They translate these texts to our modern languages.  Scholars also provide study aids to help us in understanding what the texts say.

Once we know what the texts say, we are in a position for them to be interpreted as to the relevance for our lives.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Since the Scriptures were originally inspired by the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it is only right that they are in our time interpreted by the Spirit 2 Peter 1:20-21).

To summarize and repeat, translation is from the scholars – interpretation is from the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, let the scholars do the translation but don’t let them do the interpretation.  Interpretation is the Spirit’s business.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

He Who Was a Seed Is Now a Mighty Tree

From the beginning of the Scriptures, Messiah was called a “seed.”

In Genesis 3:15 he was the seed of the woman.

In Genesis 22:18 he was the seed of Abraham.

In Genesis 26:4 he was the seed of Isaac.

In Genesis 28:14 he was the seed of Jacob.

In 2 Samuel 7:12 he was the seed of David.

In Isaiah 6:13 he was the holy seed in the stump of a great tree that had been felled.

In Isaiah 55:10 he was the seed sent from heaven.

In John 12:24 he was the seed who was all alone.

In Matthew 13:31-32 he was the smallest seed that became the largest tree.

This seed was cast into the soil of earth by the cruelty and hard-heartedness of man – crucifixion.  God raised this seed from the dead, as He raises all seeds which are properly planted, and caused it to spring forth into a plant that eventually became the tree that gives shade to the whole earth.

This seed is Jesus Christ and He reigns as King in the kingdom of God which now rules the entire universe.

He who was a seed is now – and forever – a mighty tree, a tree which cannot be felled – because it is the tree of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

King David Made Preparation for the Messiah…in the Scriptures

1 Chronicles 22:5 speaks of the preparations that King David made for the house of the Lord that his son Solomon was to build.  Specifically, the verse says that David made ample preparations.

Not only did David make preparations for Solomon, he also made preparations for the far greater descendant who was to come much later – the one called Messiah.

David had received God’s promise about this far greater descendant in 2 Samuel 7.  In verse 19 of that passage, David acknowledges that this descendant would not be arriving soon thereafter, but rather after a long period of time.  The apostle Peter makes clear in Acts 2:30-31 that David, knowing that this Messiah would one day arise, wrote Psalm 16 in such a way that, while it had some reference to David’s experience, its fullest meaning would come when God would raise this Messiah from the dead.  Are we to think that Psalm 16 is the only psalm which David wrote with this foreknowledge?  Hardly.  Making a broader statement about all Old Testament prophets (including David) in his first epistle, Peter says that they  knew they were writing not for themselves but for those who would live in the age of Messiah (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Another example of this prescience can be seen in Psalm 110.  David surely wrote it with an understanding and a hope that the Pharisees lacked (see Matthew 22:41-46).  He knew that the Messiah would be his heir and therefore his subordinate; yet he also knew that Messiah would be greater than he and thus deserving to be called by him “Lord.”

Yes, David made ample preparations for his son Solomon to build a temple, but he also made ample preparations in the psalms to describe the greater son who would one day reign not just over Israel but over the whole earth.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“I Will Establish His Kingdom” – 2 Samuel 7:12

“I will establish his kingdom.”  You may recognize these words from 2 Samuel 7:12.  God is promising to establish the kingdom of David’s descendant – David’s seed.  This descendant will live many years after David (see v. 19 in the same chapter).  We know this descendant as the Messiah – Jesus.

God fulfilled this promise by raising Jesus from the dead and seating Him at the right hand of God according to Psalm 110:1.  Thus it was to be a heavenly kingdom – and therefore far more authoritative and powerful than any earthly kingdom.

Oh, the glory of what God did when He kept that promise and raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead to eternal glory.  God is faithful (2 Corinthians 1:18).  What He promises, He is able also to perform (Romans 4:21).

Imagine the joy of the angelic corps on the day this promise was fulfilled!  We can still sense the thrill they felt – and all the more so given the cruelty and degradation of Jesus’ death by crucifixion.  That kingdom still reigns – and it always will!  (Luke 1:33 and Isaiah 9:7)  Let us serve this King!  (Daniel 7:14)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Building Cisterns That Hold No Water

Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God spoke of those who forsake a reliable fountain of water to build cisterns – and broken cisterns at that (Jeremiah 2:13).  Of course, the reliable fountain represented God.  We can see today that the broken cisterns are the churches that so many seem intent on building.

Churches cannot hold water.  Isn’t this apparent by now?  Let us therefore return to the Lord Himself – the fountain of living water.  He will not forsake us.

God is not like a dessert wadi which can only occasionally quench our thirst.  Rather He is an “ever present help” (Psalm 46:1).

What are broken cisterns in comparison to Him?

Consider Practicing the Presence of Christ as the appropriate alternative to cisterngoing -er, churchgoing.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Building Arks That Only Leak Water

Noah built an ark.  How would he have survived if his ark had leaked?

Christian leaders today are trying to imitate the wrong thing.  They are trying to imitate the social movement that was early Christianity by building up gatherings in the Lord’s name.  Alas, they are doing so in the name of innumerable denominations (not to mention non-denominational churches) and not in the name of the Lord.  They are building arks that leak.

Note that Moses did not imitate Noah by building an ark.  Rather he imitated Noah’s by trusting God and building a tabernacle instead.

This is the lesson of Hebrews 13:7 which distinguishes between imitating the faith, rather than necessarily the specific actions, of those who’ve walked with God before us.  In this regard, note that Hebrews 11 lists a wide variety of actions that the believing took on behalf of God.  The common thread was therefore not some physical act or ritual, but rather the common faith that animated the various actions.

Therefore, imitate the faith of the heroes of the faith.  Don’t make rituals of their actions.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Truly, Never Was So Much Owed by So Many to So Few

In some of the darkest days of World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered eloquent praise to the Royal Air Force fighter pilots who had warded off the German Luftwaffe and helped deter Hitler from invading England.  Churchill said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”  The phrase stuck not just because it was eloquent, but because it was deemed true.

Churchill’s encomium was qualified with “in the field of human conflict” – that is, in the annals of war.  We can therefore remove the qualifier, let the statement apply to all human activity, and say truly that never was so much owed by so many to so few in the case of the early disciples who spread the word of Israel’s Messiah:  Jesus Christ.

We know the names of Peter, Paul, John, James, and others.  But there were many more, nameless to us, but memorable to God and the host of heaven, who secured for us the knowledge of salvation, preserved now in the collection of texts we call the New Testament.  This collection, of course, makes the Old Testament come alive with meaning for us because the New Testament testifies of the fulfillment of Old Testament promises.

May we never forget those who gave so much that we might know of the great love God has for all of us.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Index to Posts on Sufferings and Glories

This index is not complete.  To find more posts on this subject, do a search on the site for “suffer glor” (without, of course, the quotation marks).  Recognize, however, that some of the posts found in this way may only mention sufferings and glories in a peripheral way and/or be redundant to what you read here.

Here is the key post to read on sufferings and glories:  The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

The Sufferings of Messiah and the Glories to Follow

We Know Something of the Sufferings of Christ, but We Need to Study More the Glories

The Sufferings of Christ and the Glories to Follow

UPDATE:  I’ve since created a “Category” for these posts.  Look to the right in the sidebar for the category “Suffering and Glory.”  That will provide a more comprehensive and up-to-date list than this index.  Note, however, that the instruction above about a blog search on “suffer glory” is still useful as the category will not capture every single post that references sufferings and glories.

Index to Posts on Riddles

This index is not complete.  To find more posts on this subject, do a search on the site for “riddle” (without, of course, the quotation marks).  Recognize, however, that some of the posts found in this way may only mention riddle in a peripheral way and/or be redundant to what you read here.

Samson’s Riddle

Our David

Out of the Eater Came Something to Eat

The Old Testament Is a Riddle to Which the New Testament Is the Answer

The New Testament Is a Riddle to Which the Old Testament Is the Answer

The Son of David and the Son of God

2 Samuel 7:12-14

What Jesus Taught Peter About the Bible

UPDATE:  I’ve since created a “Category” for these posts.  Look to the right in the sidebar for the category “Riddles.”  That will provide a more comprehensive and up-to-date list than this index; thus this index will no longer be updated.  Note, however, that the instruction above about a blog search on “riddle” is still useful as the category will not capture every single post that references riddles.

Those Who Led the Many to Righteousness

Daniel 12:3 says that those who lead the many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.  Of whom can this be more true that those first-century Jews who believed Jesus of Nazareth and spread His word?

The New Testament is a collection of documents that have survived from those stalwart believers who endured persecution which would have dissuaded less worthy souls.  They endured the same sorts of shame, deprivation, discouragement, rejection, violence, and even death that had come upon their Master.  They were “a people of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 10:38).

Because those first-century disciples imitated Jesus even to the point of death, we can know of the glory that took place when God descended to become a human being.  They will truly shine like stars forever and ever.  And we can thank God that they already shine in our hearts!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Word of God Is the Primary Agent of God

The main way God touches us is through His word.  That is, through His thoughts and ideas.

The apostle John testified to this in the opening of his gospel.  See John 1:1-3.

See also the opening of the letter to the Hebrews because it confirms this point of view.  See Hebrews 1:1-2.

Jesus was, of course, the word of God made flesh.  See John 1:14.

Thus, that Jesus is the primary expression of God and that the word is the primary agent of God and that Jesus is personification of that word…all make perfect sense.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Are We Lovers of Pleasure or Lovers of God?

Take a look at the phrasing Paul uses in 2 Timothy 3:4.  It’s pretty clear that he considers these two categories mutually exclusive.  Why then do we act as if they are not?

Let us be like those before us who chose rather to endure ill treatment for serving God than to pursue the passing pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

God Put His People in the Cleft of the Rock Until He Passed By

In Exodus 33:21-23 Moses tells of when God passed by him.  God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock so that he might not be overwhelmed by the glory of God.

This foreshadowed the time when God would come to earth as a human being.  He did not present Himself in the fullness of His glory.  That is, God did not present Himself as God.  Rather, He came as a mere human being, a humble Jew, the son of a carpenter.  Through the gospels, we see the paradigm of Father and Son as He lived out His humanity.  In the epistles (or, more specifically, in Acts through Revelation) this distinction was blurred, yet it remained.  This was the “cleft” in the rock which protected humanity from knowing that truly God was in our midst.

Once the Second Coming occurred, however, the full truth could be revealed.  “Immanuel” had literally been true!  (See Matthew 1:23.)

The Trinity doctrine is a misapprehension of God’s passing by.  There’s only one God, though He appeared to put a cleft in Himself for our sakes.  Blessed be our Rock!  (See Psalm 18:2.)

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

We Are Joint Heirs with Christ…of the Earth

Romans 8:16-17 says that we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” – at least when “we suffer with Him that we might also be glorified with Him.”  This might remind you of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount – that the humble shall inherit the earth.  Certainly, it takes humility before God to bear up under suffering when suffering unjustly (1 Peter 2:19).  Jesus demonstrated this humility that we might imitate it (Philippians 2:3ff).

The result of living this way is that the earth is ours!  This is a promise worth pondering.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Who Could Believe All Those Old Testament Promises Were About One Person?

One of the reasons that the messianic prophecies were veiled until the time of Jesus of Nazareth was that the promises were so numerous and their scope so vast that it would not have been natural to think of them all applying to one person – until Jesus of Nazareth came along and fulfilled them all!

You can see evidences of this in the gospels as people alternatively guessed that Jesus might be the Messiah, or the Prophet, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets (Matthew 16:14; John 7:40-41).  So many and so varied were the promises that it was natural to think they prophesied of different figures.  Yet Jesus Christ fulfills them all!

Thus Paul could write in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that all the promises of God are “yes” in Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Jigsaw Puzzle That Is the Old Testament Portrait of Messiah

Jesus told the apostles that the Scriptures were about Him (John 1:45; 5:39-40; Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48).  Of course, Jesus was speaking of what we call the Old Testament.

Old Testament prophecies of Jesus work in a variety of ways.  What follows is describes one of those ways.

Psalm 2 was a well-known messianic prophecy because it spoke specifically of Messiah.  Verse 2 makes reference to the Lord and His Anointed.  “Anointed” is the word from which “Messiah” is derived.  It refers to pouring oil on the head of the person chosen to be king, as the prophet Samuel poured it on David’s head when the latter was chosen by God to be king of Israel.  Verse 6 makes reference to the Anointed being installed as “king in Zion.”  Thus we get the connection between “Messiah” and “King of Israel” confirmed.   Psalm 2 can now be correlated with a passage like Zechariah 9:9, which speaks of Jerusalem’s king coming mounted on a donkey.  Psalm 2 can also be linked with God’s promise to David for an heir to his throne (2 Samuel 7:14) because both passages reference Israel’s king and his reign.  Since the 2 Samuel 7:14 context makes reference to the seed of David (which would, of course, by necessity also be the seed of Abraham since David was a descendant of Abraham) then we can link all these passages to others which refer to the special “seed” that God had promised.  These include Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 6:13.  The Isaiah 6:13 references calls the seed “holy,” which allows us to then connect with passages which refer to the Holy One whom God would send – such as Psalm 16, which Peter quotes and explains in Acts 2:25-32.

In this fashion of linking, various glimpses of Messiah can be brought together into a single composite portrait.  No one passage could contain all His names or all descriptions of Him.  Thus, each prophet contributes a portion to our understanding of Him.

Look for the links when studying an individual passage.  That is, look for an image in one passage that makes you think of an image in another passage.  Here’s another quick example, extending the chain of links already begun above:  Psalm 16 is a psalm of David.  This links to the promise in Isaiah 11:1ff about “the stem of Jesse.”  Since Jesse was David’s father, we recognize the familial connection.  Isaiah 11:1 goes on to say that the promised one is a branch.  This matches Jeremiah 23:5 which explicitly mentions “David” and “Branch” and “King.”  It also contains the promise from God “I shall raise up” which, of course, speaks of the resurrection of Messiah.  This passage can then be linked to Micah 5:2-5 which references the house of David, the resurrection (“will arise”), and several other ideas we can bring into the messianic portrait.

And on and on it goes.  And it’s exciting to see the picture come together.  This is the sort of excitement the disciples felt in the wake of Jesus’ resurrection as they recognized that God had planned all along the incredible events they witnessed!  It was all described in the texts they had heard since childhood, but whose ultimate meaning was hidden from human understanding until Jesus came and opened human eyes by living out the life that had been so long promised by God Almighty.

All pieces of this jigsaw puzzle come together in Jesus of Nazareth.  Glory be to an all-wise God!

P.S. Remember that this is but one way to find Messiah in the Old Testament.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.