“You Shall Have No Other Gods Besides Me”

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”  –  Exodus 20:3

You probably recognize this as the first of the Ten Commandments.  In the margin of the New American Standard Bible an alternative translation is given, which would be:

“You shall have no other gods besides Me.”  –  Exodus 20:3

The trinity concept places other gods alongside the Lord.  Of course, proponents of trinitarian doctrine claim that it’s one God in three persons, but that, of course, is just semantic gymnastics.  There is one God, and He does not want any other gods – or persons – to be brought alongside.  He’s made that clear.  Thus we can say as well:

“You shall have no other gods beside Me.”  –  Exodus 20:3

For more on what it means to follow Christ as the one true God, 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Stone That Was Rejected in the Beginning Became the Chief Cornerstone in the End

God is the stone who was rejected in the first creation (by Adam and Eve), but became the cornerstone of a whole new world – that is, a new heavens and new earth.

We are accustomed to thinking of Jesus as the stone that was rejected, and He was.  But this merely reveals to us what has been happening between God and human since the garden of Eden.  Jesus, after all is a type of God.  Therefore, let us think of the rejected cornerstone in this broader sense.

Psalm 118:22 speaks of the stone that was rejected by the builders becoming the chief cornerstone.  Of course, we know that God was rejected by Adam and Eve.  Rather than  becoming and remaining offended, God worked to eventually become one of their descendants – Jesus of Nazareth by name.  Though rejected again as Jesus, He forgave those who rejected Him and rose from the dead…never to die again.  The plan was for this Christ to be given first place in everything.   Thus God returned to first place in the order of His creation.

Thus God truly was “in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” ( 2 Corinthians 5:19).  In the Second Coming of Christ, God is revealed.

For more on what it means to follow Christ as the one true God, 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

John 5:23 – Honor the Son even as…

In John 5:23 Jesus tells his listeners to honor the Son even as they honor the Father.  Since His listeners honored the Father as the one true God, this meant that the listeners should therefore honor Jesus as the one true God – in due time, of course.  The resurrection, ascension to heaven, and coming of the kingdom of God would have to occur first.

All those things have occurred (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).  Thus if you want to honor Jesus in the way that the Father wants us to honor Him, it means honoring the resurrected, ascended, and exalted Jesus as the one true God.  After all, He is the “heir of all things”  (Hebrews 1:2).  He proceeded and came forth from the Father…for He is that Father, transformed eternally into the Son for our sake.  God wanted to bring forth a new creation, and He began with Himself.

For more on what it means to follow Christ as the one true God, 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Jesus Fulfilled the Scriptures…and He Explained Them

Jesus didn’t just fulfill the Scriptures, He explained them as well.  And Jesus didn’t just explain the Scriptures, He fulfilled them.

To explain the Scriptures means to tell us what they mean.  To fulfill the Scriptures means to demonstrate what they mean.

Thus Jesus practiced what He preached…and preached what He practiced.

Jesus is the embodiment of the Scriptures, and He is the one who makes us to understand what they mean.

Never has there been – or will there be – a teacher of the Bible – or of anything else – like Him.  He does all He says, and says all He does.

Let us do Him the honor of imitating Him, however imperfectly.  By His grace, He shall bring us to perfection.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Notice the Many and Varied Ways That the New Testament Describes the Lordship of Christ

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…”  –  Matthew 11:27

“…You gave Him authority over all flesh…”  –  John 17:2

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  –  Matthew 28:18

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…”  John 13:3

“For He has put all things in subjection under His feet.”  – 1 Corinthians 15:27

“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord…”  –  2 Corinthians 4:5

“…seated [Christ]…far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named…”  – Ephesians 1:20-21

“And He put all things in subjection under His feet…”  –  Ephesians 1:22

“bestowed on Him the name which is above every name”  –  Philippians 2:9

“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,”  –  Philippians 2:10

“…every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…”  –  Philippians 2:11

“For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.”  Hebrews 2:8

The variety of expressions demonstrates all the more clearly, and all the more forcefully, that “Jesus Christ is Lord!”

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Why Do Some People Say That the Scriptures Do Not Claim To Be the Word of God?

When people say that the Bible makes no claim to be the word of God, it seems they are ignoring verses like these:

John 10:34-35 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?  If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),”

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Of course, all these come from the New Testament.

Note also that the phrase “Thus saith the Lord” occurs 413 times in the King James version of the Bible.  (All are, of course, in the Old Testament.)

Consider also statements like this one:

John 3:34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

Thus, whenever someone like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, or even Jesus, claims to be sent by God, they are implicitly claiming to be speaking for God.  If their words were then written, those words become no less the word of God in the process, would they?

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Notice How Personally the Old Testament Speaks of Jesus

Notice that the New Testament tells us to look for Jesus in the Old Testament.  And particularly notice how the Old Testament’s testimony about Him is considered personal.  [Emphasis added.]

Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

John 1:45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Acts 10:43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Thus we are not to read the Old Testament in search of dry doctrine, but rather in search of testimony to a living and vibrant Person!

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Matthew 12:6

“But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here”  –  Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:6

As Jesus said this in his time, so we can say in our time:  “Something greater than the church is here.”

That something greater is the kingdom of God.  Let us seek it!  (See Matthew 6:33 and Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church).

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Prophets Told the Story of Jesus Long Before He Lived It

The prophets of Israel wrote the script for Messiah…and they did so long before Messiah ever came to earth.

See references to what they wrote ahead of time about Jesus in Acts 13:27, 40; 26:22-23, 27; 28:23-27; Romans 1:1-7; 16:25-27; 1 Peter 1:10-12 – just to mention a few such references.

The prophets knew much of what we know, and long before we knew it.  They were God’s servants…and they served Him well.  Their work is still serving Him – and us – today.

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.

 

Jesus Was Foreshadowed by the Prophets, and He Himself Was a Prophet

Jesus was a prophet.  (See John 4:19; Luke 24:19; and elsewhere.)

Thus each of the prophets was a foreshadowing of Him.  As they spoke boldly in the name of the Lord, so did He.  As they were persecuted for doing so, so was He.

That the Messiah would fit the mold of a prophet was only partially understood by Jesus’ contemporaries. If His opponents had fully understood, they would not have crucified Him.

Nonetheless, the prophets of Israel gave their lives to provide types (foreshadowings) of Christ and give a context to understand Him.  They shone like stars, and He was like the sun in whose presence their light was outshone.

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.

 

Jesus Came to Vindicate the Prophets

Jesus directed these words of judgment to the religiously learned of His day:

“Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.  So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.  For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’  – Luke 11:47-51

Jesus not only spoke the words of the prophets, and walked in the steps of the prophets, he also vindicated the prophets by his life and his resurrection from the dead.  Never had they been given so great a vote of confidence!

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Jesus Walked in the Steps of the Prophets

Jesus learned at an early age how to walk with God by hearing of how Israel’s prophets did it.  It’s clear he believed in their cause and took that same cause upon himself.

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.

 

Jesus Honored the Prophets by Quoting Their Words

In Luke 4, Jesus quotes Isaiah’s words from Isaiah 61.

In Matthew 21:13, Jesus was quoting both Isaiah and Jeremiah when He said that His Father’s house should be “a house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7) and not “a robbers’ den” (Jeremiah 7:11).

In Matthew 27, Jesus begins speaking the 22nd Psalm.

Jesus thus brought honor to Israel’s prophets by quoting their words, and living by their words.  He was vindicating the prophets, for most of them died in shame and estrangement because of their faithfulness to preach the words God had put in their hearts and mouths.

What greater glory could those prophets have been given than to be on the mind and lips of the Holy One of Israel!

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 Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ

Most people know that the New Testament is about Jesus Christ.  What’s less well known is that the Old Testament is about Him, too.  The Old Testament, which is also called the Hebrew Bible, also has Jesus Christ, albeit in a less explicit way, as its unifying theme.  This is the claim made by the New Testament.  See:

Matthew 5:17

Luke 18:31-34

Luke 22:37

Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48

John 1:45

John 5:39-40, 46-47

John 12:16

Acts 3:18-26

Acts 8:26-35

Acts 13:26-41 (especially Acts 13:32-33)

Acts 26:22-23

Acts 28:23

Romans 1:1-10

Romans 3:21-26 (Note that the Law and Prophets bear witness to the things of Christ)

Romans 16:25-27

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (Note: “according to the Scriptures” in verses 3 and 4)

Galatians 3:24-26

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (Note: “the sacred writings” are, of course, the Scriptures – the Hebrew Bible)

1 Peter 1:10-12

Revelation 19:10

To take this a step further, the Old Testament is not only about Jesus Christ, it is about His suffering and glory.  That is, when God made promises about His Messiah, He did so in terms of how Messiah would suffer and how He would be glorified.  For this reason, it was hard for people to understand how all the prophecies fit together until they saw them fulfilled in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  For more on this, see 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.

 

God Forbid That the New Testament Ever Be Divorced from the Old Testament

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.  –  Matthew 5:17

Jesus anticipated that some people would take one look and Him and at the Old Testament and immediately assume that the two had nothing to do with each other.  Therefore, He took pains in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and elsewhere, to make clear that His teaching, His motivation, and even His very being sprang from Old Testament inspiration.

Jesus revered the Old Testament prophets and sought to bring honor to their sacrifices.  He Himself was the great Prophet promised by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).  He used the halting steps of Moses and the prophets to forge a pathway – even a highway – to God for all of us to follow.

If we think that the New Testament is something to be understood apart from its organic connection with the Old Testament then we deprive ourselves of its true meaning.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The New Testament Displays the Glory of Israel

“‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts…”  –  Haggai 2:9

This latter glory of the house of Israel is on display in the New Testament.  Its glory was greater than the glory of David’s and Solomon’s days by just so much as Jesus is a greater king than either of them.  David and Solomon put on a physical (i.e. fleshly, material, earthly) glory in God’s name, whereas Jesus Christ through His body, the New Testament church, put on a spiritual (i.e. heavenly) display of glory for God’s name.

For this reason we can say that the New Testament generation of Jews was the greatest generation of Jews who ever lived.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Old Testament Is the Promise; the New Testament Is the Performance

“…being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”  – Romans 4:21  (emphasis added)

The Old Testament is about the promise; the New Testament is about the performance.

In the Old Testament, God’s prophets wrote His promises of a great Messiah and kingdom to come.  In the New Testament, Jesus’ apostles wrote of how He fulfilled those promises and brought that kingdom.

Promise…and performance.

Truly, what God promises…He performs.

May we all be as Mary, of whom it was said:

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”  – Luke 1:45

The New Testament is fulfillment of that which the Old Testament promised.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ (Replaced by later post: see below)

The Old Testament, which is also called the Hebrew Bible, testifies about Jesus Christ.  This is the claim made by the New Testament.  See:

Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48

John 1:45; 5:39-40, 46-47

Acts 3:18-26

Acts 8:26-35

Acts 13:26-41

Acts 26:22-23

Acts 28:23

Romans 1:1-7

Romans 3:21-26 (Note that the Law and Prophets bear witness to the things of Christ)

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (Note: “according to the Scriptures” in verses 3 and 4)

Galatians 3:24

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (Note: “the sacred writings” are, of course, the Scriptures – the Hebrew Bible)

1 Peter 1:10-12

In more specific terms, the Old Testament testifies about the sufferings and glories of Christ.  For more on this, see this post:  The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

[This post has been replaced by this one which has more scriptures and a little longer explanation at the end.]

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.

Micah 6:8

“He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what the Lord doth require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  – Micah 6:8  (Webster’s Bible Translation)

Who has shown us?  The Lord.  And who is the Lord?  Jesus Christ.

Jesus didn’t just tell us how to live.  He showed us.

Therefore, let us not just do what He said, let us also imitate His example.  Since He practiced what He preached, either approach will yield the same outcome.

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 Essential Claim of the Bible Is Historical

The Bible makes a dramatic historical claim.  Specifically, its New Testament documents claim that the promises made by God in the Old Testament documents are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, and that this Jesus was crucified and resurrected from the dead in fulfillment of those promises.

On this fact, the credibility of the Bible hangs.

Related post:  Dialogue with Tim O’Neill on Quora About the Historical Reliability of the Bible

Consider also:  Can We Trust Jesus through the Bible Without Being Religious?

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 Biography of Jesus Christ Was Written Before He Was Born

Jesus’ life was described by the Prophets (that is, the Old Testament).  More specifically, He was promised by the Prophets.  As Jesus Himself said:

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  –  Luke 24:44

Many great human beings have had the honor of a biography, but who ever had his biography written in advance of his birth?

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Prophets Made Promises on Behalf of God…Which Jesus and His Apostles Confirmed

The Old Testament is the name we give to the documents associated with Israel’s prophets, Moses being foremost among those prophets.

The New Testament is the name we give to the documents associated with Jesus’ apostles.

Israel’s prophets made promises on behalf of God about what He would one day do through a special figure.  This special figure was given many names by the various prophets, but the one that came to be more prominent than the rest was “Messiah.”

The apostles’ writings (that is, the New Testament) can be summed up as making the point that Jesus of Nazareth embodied the fulfillment of those promises.  Note these passages to that effect (emphasis added):

“…Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,”  – Romans 15:8

“From the descendants of [David], according to promise, God has brought to Israel, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,”  –  Acts 13:23

“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’  –  Acts 13:32-33

…the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son…”  –  Romans 1:1-3

And particularly note how Jesus put it shortly after being crucified and then raised from the dead, and having been subsequently confronted with some of His doubting disciples:

“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?  Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”  – Luke 24:25-27

Thus Jesus was the only human being ever to have his biography written before he was born.  He was promised…and then He was a promise that was kept…and that will always be kept.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Apostles Confirm the Prophets

The Old Testament contains the writings of the prophets.

Jesus Christ came to confirm the word of the prophets.  After His resurrection, He said to His disciples:

“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”  – Luke 24:25

Peter took heed and later wrote:

“So we have the prophetic word made more sure…” – 2 Peter 1:19

And Paul preached that his testimony to the resurrection of Christ and the judgment to come was:

“…stating nothing but what the prophets and Moses said was going to take place;” – Acts 26:22

Peter had also preached in the early days after Christ’s resurrection:

“…all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward…announced these days.”- Acts 3:24

And later, when first preaching to the Gentiles, Peter said:

“And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.  “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”  –  Acts 10:42-43

It’s all enough to remind us of the words by which King Jehoshaphat exhorted his countrymen:

“Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”  – 2 Chronicles 20:20

Thus it was written of Jesus:

“…Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,”  –  Romans 15:8

…and…

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…  –  Hebrews 1:1-2

Therefore, let us trust the word of the prophets about Jesus, just as the apostles have instructed us.  And let us trust Jesus, of whom the apostles and prophets solemnly and faithfully testified.

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Apostate Church Gathered the Scriptures

The church leadership had fallen away from Christ by the time of the Lord’s coming (see The Apostasy and The Church Went Apostate When It Went Hierarchical).  It was only in the generations after the New Testament generation that the apostles’ writings were combined with the Old Testament documents and called the New Testament.  Thus it was the apostate church that actually executed this task.

The apostate church gathered the apostles’ writings because it added stature to the church to do so. What these church leaders did not recognize was that they were sowing the seeds of the church’s ultimate dissolution by doing so.  This is because the apostles taught that the church would be replaced by the kingdom of God, and, of course, their writings reflected this view.  Hierarchical church leaders simply tried to explain away the apparent “delay” in the coming of the Lord, but, of course, there was no delay.  Jesus Christ came just when He said He would.

Why would God use an apostate church to gather the apostles’ writings (i.e., the New Testament documents) for the sake of true believers in all generations?  As it is written:

“The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”  – Proverbs 13:22

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 Church Went Apostate When It Went Hierarchical

The New Testament church fell away from the Lord in the latter days.  This is called the apostasy, and it was prophesied by the Lord in His Olivet Discourse – Mathew 24:10-13, to be more precise.

One of the marks of this apostasy is that the church went hierarchical.  The apostles never exercised a top-down authority over the churches they formed.  All leadership was collegial, and from a posture of service rather than of superiority.  The apostles had asked the Lord “who was the greatest” (i.e. who was in charge) and He answered them that the should be as children and as servants.  Therefore, they were not about to lord it over anyone.  Instead, they appealed to others as equals in the sight of the Lord.  See, for example, the way Peter writes to other leaders in 1 Peter 5:1-4.

The apostles were succeeded, however, by leaders more intent on being in charge and holding on to a flock.  For example, see the apostle John’s reference to a certain Demetrius in 3 John 1:9-10 who “loved to be first among them.”

All churches after the apostolic church have been hierarchical. They are either governed by a pope, a bishop, a pastor, a group of elders, or…pick your title.  Beware the hierarchical church.  Seek instead the kingdom of God.

See:

Church Is Not the Answer; Christ Is

Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church

Church Is Not the Answer; Christ Is

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Are You Holding Fast to Christ?

Colossians 2:19 speaks of holding fast to Christ.  People who read the Bible will often hold on to all sorts of things besides Christ.  They will hold on to “the Trinity,” or they will hold on to their theology, or they will hold on to their pet “ism” – that is, Calvinism, Arminianism, Dispensationalism, and so on.  The list is endless.

Over and over the New Testament epistles make the point that Christ must be central to us.  Of course, Jesus in the gospels had established that point clearly with statements such as:

“You shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  – John 1:51

Only by holding fast to Christ can you come through life in the way God wants you to come through life.  Do not let go of Christ!  You hold on to Him with faith in your heart.  Keep returning your thoughts to Him, and He will keep returning His blessings to your heart.  (See The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.)

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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

What Do I Believe About the Bible?

1. What is commonly called the New Testament (NT) consists of those historically-reliable, first-century documents attributed to the apostles of Jesus Christ (that is, those disciples of Jesus of Nazareth commissioned by him to spread his message).

2. In these NT documents, Jesus and His apostles declare, and demonstrate, what we call the Old Testament (OT), or Hebrew Bible, to be the word of God – that is, communication from God by His Holy Spirit through holy prophets of Israel. Thus we may, by Jesus’ authority, consider the OT to be divinely-inspired and commensurately authoritative.

3. The OT, having conferred divine status on Jesus Christ by virtue of His resurrection and ascension, implicitly confers the same status on Jesus’ apostles as Israel’s prophets had held. Thus we may, by Jesus’ authority, consider the NT to be divinely-inspired and commensurately authoritative as well.

4. The OT and NT – being the product of ancient Israel, the unique testimony of Jesus Christ, and written before the final transition from the old age to the eternal age – are effectively a closed canon of such materials. In other words, nothing else written can be assigned to that class.

5. Instead of thinking with the terms Old Testament and New Testament, I generally think of this division as “prophets and apostles.”

I state similar thoughts in Why the Bible Can Be Trusted and explain my motivation for writing in Why I Write About the Bible.

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.

Can You Give a Calendar Date for When the Kingdom of God Came?

His coming was “not with signs to be observed” (Luke 17:20-21).  It was in “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).  Only the sanctified experienced it (Hebrews 12:14); to the unworthy He came like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  Thus I do not know how to make the date more precise than between 70 A.D. and the death of the last original disciples (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34) .  As you know, precise dates for the deaths of the disciples are unknown, but it is unlikely that any were after 100 A.D.  Thus, we can say that the Second Coming of Christ occurred sometime  70-100 A.D.  Since the apostle John could have lived into the 90’s and wrote with the Lord’s coming still in the future, we might say that the Lord’s coming was probably closer to 100 A.D. than to 70 A.D.

The point for us is not to yet one more day to circle on a calendar that we might make a feast of it, but rather to know that it occurred in the first century – that is, long ago.

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.