Numbers 11:29

Numbers 11:29 “…Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

In this verse the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2 is foretold.  For then God indeed poured out His Spirit on all flesh.

Alas, much of that movement became institutionalized and calcified, yet it remains true that God delights to give His Holy Spirit to whoever will ask:

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Questions and Exclamations of Jesus of Nazareth

There are times in the ministry of Jesus that He seemed surprised by the kind of thinking He encountered in His fellow Jews.  His attention was arrested and He seemed to be full of wonder at what He was beholding.  It wasn’t that people thought differently from the way He did – it was that He seemed genuinely surprised that this was the case, as if He expected their thinking to be more like His.

It’s at moments like these – the juxtaposition of His mindset with that of His contemporaries – that we can make a choice about how we ourselves want to think.  That is, given this clash of diverging perspectives, do we want to keep on thinking “normally” or do we want to think the way that He considered normal?

The best way to explain further what I mean is to just start noticing some examples.

Matthew 14:26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
Matthew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Matthew 14:28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Matthew 14:29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Obviously, Jesus’ question is, at least to some degree, rhetorical.  He wants Peter to think.  But that aside, Jesus seemed more focused on helping Peter understood why he sank after a while than he did on the rest of the guys, none of whom even dared venture out of the boat.  If Jesus thought Peter had “little” faith, what would He have said about the other eleven?

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Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”
Mark 6:5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
Mark 6:6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.

Technically speaking, we don’t have a question or exclamation here from Jesus.  We only have Mark’s description of His bewilderment at their unbelief.  Sure, they knew Him, but should familiarity breed that much contempt?

Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

This is actually an exclamation and a question from Jesus.  Read in context, Jesus is surprised that His disciples don’t get that the prophets had long prophesied His death and resurrection.  None of them expected Jesus to be raised from the dead, and He seems genuinely surprised that they are surprised by His resurrection.

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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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Joshua 6:27

Joshua 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

The English name “Jesus” and the Hebrew name “Joshua” are the same name.  Stated another way, the English name “Jesus” is a transliteration of the Greek name “Iesous” which is a translation from the Hebrew “Joshua.”

For this reason alone, we can see Jesus in this verse from the book of Joshua.  Yet we see Jesus in the verse all the more so because God was with Jesus, and indeed His fame was in all the land.

If Joshua’s fame was great, Jesus’ fame was far greater.  Thus Joshua was a type of our Lord.

Jesus’ fame was great in Israel even before His resurrection from the dead became known:

Luke 24:18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?”
Luke 24:19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,

How much more so did His fame grow after word of His resurrection had spread:

Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Acts 10:39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem…

These are but word pictures that foreshadowed the extent to which Jesus’ fame continues to grow in all the earth even after almost two thousand years!  Is not His fame growing through what He is doing in your life?

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, unless otherwise noted.  

Scriptures on Fear of Man

God does not want us to be afraid, and therefore “Do not fear” is a common refrain in the Bible.  Perhaps the consummate verse on this subject is 1 John 4:18 (see below).

The fears that plague us go by many names: anxiety, intimidation, worries, and so on.  Here then are some verses through which God seeks to calm us [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Deuteronomy 1:21 ‘See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

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2 Samuel 17:2 “I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone,

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Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building,

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Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

There’ the solution in a nutshell:  fear the Lord of goodness so that you might not fear any evil.

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Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
Psalm 27:2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Psalm 27:3 Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

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Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

Anxious thoughts do seem to multiply, but they can be counteracted by the consolations of God.

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Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

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Isaiah 54:4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

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Mark 4:18 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
Mark 4:19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

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John 9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

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John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

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Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

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1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

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1 Peter 3:6 … do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

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1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

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1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

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Contrast this post with Scriptures on Fear of God.  The word “fear” is covered in both posts, but oh, what a difference in the meaning depending on where the fear is focused.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Fear of God

The Bible speaks of “the fear of the Lord” in a variety of ways.  The purpose of this post is to demonstrate some of them.

The fear of God is not an idea about which pop culture has much to say, unless to mock those who subscribe to it.  The biblical idea, though, is quite healthy and, if practiced sufficiently, will lead to a strong faith.

The great irony of the fear of the Lord is, of course, that if we truly fear Him we needn’t fear anyone or anything else.  This is why Jesus was so utterly courageous.  His only fear was His Father in heaven.

Here then are some verses showing the variety of terms used to refer to godly fear [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!

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Nehemiah 7:2 then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

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Psalm 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.

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Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

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Psalm 34:9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

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Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

Godly wisdom doesn’t come from educational degrees but rather is rooted in the fear of God.

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Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.

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Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

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Psalm 135:20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD;
You who revere the LORD, bless the LORD.

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Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

There is a direct correlation between fearing the Lord and turning away from evil.  That is, the more you fear the Lord, the more you turn away from evil.  Conversely, the less we fear the Lord the more we turn to evil.

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Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

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Isaiah 57:11 “Of whom were you worried and fearful
When you lied, and did not remember Me
Nor give Me a thought?
Was I not silent even for a long time
So you do not fear Me?

The less we hear the word of the Lord, the less we fear the Lord and the more we fear people (“Of whom were you worried and fearful?)

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Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

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Jeremiah 2:19 “Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the LORD your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.

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2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

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Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Hebrews 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

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Contrast this post with Scriptures on Fear of Man.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Costly Cornerstone

The prophet said that this cornerstone we know to be Christ would be costly:

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

David tells us the importance of paying the price for a gift:

1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.”

(Perhaps the moral of Nathan’s tale in 2 Samuel 12 was still smoldering in David’s conscience.)

In any case, we can go to Jesus to find out how true cost is measured:

Mark 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
Mark 12:42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
Mark 12:43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
Mark 12:44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

Thus it’s not how much you pay, but how much you have left after you pay, that counts.  When God gave us Christ, there was nothing left…for He had given us His all.

When you understand this, you will come to see that Christ is the costliest cornerstone there could possibly have been or ever 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Jesus Is King = Messiah = Christ = Anointed = King of Israel = King of the Jews

Was Jesus a king?  Pontius Pilate asked Him this very question…point blank:

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Therefore, if Jesus is the Christ, He is the Anointed, He is the Messiah, He is the King, He is the King of Israel, and He is the King of the Jews.

When we read the Scriptures we need to see their continual focus on Messiah.  These various titles are mutually reinforcing, and, when viewed consistently, make clear to us His role in creation and therefore in our lives.

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, unless otherwise noted. 

Jesus = The Christ = a King

To proclaim Jesus as the Christ was to proclaim Him a king, for the term “Christ” refers to “kingship.”   Just to validate this point, read Acts 17:1-7.  In verses 2 and 3, Paul is explaining to the Jews in Thessalonica’s synagogue that Jesus is the Christ.  This created a division among his hearers.  Subsequently, Paul’s antagonists began dragging some of his supporters before the local authorities on the charge that they were promoting another “king.”  These antagonists knew that calling Jesus by the Jewish synonym for king* was not as likely to inflame the passions as the more commonly understood term “king” itself.  Thus we read at the close of this passage:

Acts 17:7 “…they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

Paul’s opponents wanted to make sure the authorities viewed the dispute as a political one in which the authorities should take sides.  Thus to say “the christ” in biblical times and lands was just another way of saying “the king.”  Therefore, whenever we hear or think of the term “Christ” we should think of His authority.

* (i.e. the Christ; for an explanation of why these terms are synonymous, see here)

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, unless otherwise noted.  

Scriptures on Giving Thanks

We teach our children to say “thank you” when someone gives them something.  How then shall we fail to thank God for all He has given us?

Here are some verses to help us think about the importance of thanksgiving [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

1 Samuel 25:21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good.

Whether to God or to man, we should always return thanks even if we cannot return the favor.  1 Samuel 25 tell the story of Nabal, who neither thanked David nor returned the favor.  His wife Abigail was a much better person than he was, interceding with David on Nabal’s behalf.

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2 Chronicles 32:25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.

Sometimes a failure to give thanks can be particularly egregious.

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Psalm 50:23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”

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Luke 17:11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;
Luke 17:13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Luke 17:14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.
Luke 17:15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,
Luke 17:16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?
Luke 17:18 “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

Thanklessness is rampant, but God recognizes those who thank Him.

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Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

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1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Ephesians 5:3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
Ephesians 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

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Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

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Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always;
1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing;
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

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Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

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Related post:  Scriptures on Glorifying 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Glorifying God

We have the privilege of glorifying our Creator.  Let meditate these verses that we might be more mindful to do so [emphasis added]:

Luke 17:11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;
Luke 17:13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Luke 17:14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.
Luke 17:15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,
Luke 17:16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?
Luke 17:18 “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

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John 7:18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

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Romans 4:20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,

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1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

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1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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1 Peter4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Related post:  Scriptures on Giving Thanks

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Judgment

The concept of judgment is prominent in the Scriptures.  However, people recognize it more readily in the Old Testament than they do in the New Testament teaching.  Yet judgment is portrayed just as prominent in the kingdom of God as in all the administrations of God prior to it.  For example, consider this admonition of Peter:

1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Consider also that Jesus coming to judge the living and the dead was a prominent theme of apostolic preaching.  Therefore, need to see a continuity between the judgments of God in the Old Testament and those that would come with the kingdom of God.  The list of verses that follow should help you do that [emphasis added]:

Genesis 18:25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”

This is Abraham speaking to God at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment.

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Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.

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Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The Greek word translated as “hell” in this verse is “Gehenna” which was a valley outside of Jerusalem which symbolized judgment.  Therefore, it is not talking about afterlife but rather the judgment upon those outside the kingdom of God.  For more on this see Chapter 10 of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, titled “But What About Hell?”

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Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

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Acts 10:40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
Acts 10:41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Acts 10:42 “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.

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Acts 17:30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

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Romans 2:14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
Romans 2:15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
Romans 2:16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

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1 Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

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Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

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James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

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1 Peter 4:15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;
1 Peter 4:16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?
1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

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For more on God’s judgments, see Scriptures on Examples and Pronouncements of Judgment.

God’s kindness leads us to repentance that we might avoid His severity.  (See Scriptures on Kindness and Severity.)

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Anointed = The Messiah = The Christ = The King of Israel

Those who mock and insult the Lord might be telling the truth – great and important truth – even when they don’t realize it.  This was certainly the case with Jesus at His crucifixion.

Mark 15:32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Sometimes the words of mockers are profoundly true.  Jesus was indeed “Christ, the King 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

The Anointed = The Christ = The Messiah = The King of the Jews

See Matthew 2:1-6.  (The Anointed = The Messiah = the Christ by translation; the Christ = the King of the Jews by this passage.  That is, this passage uses “Christ” and “King of the Jews” interchangeably.)

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.

 

Scriptures on Christ as Moses

It is clear from the New Testament documents that the apostles saw Jesus as the one prophesied by Moses in this passage from the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

The apostle Peter said so explicitly in this New Testament verse:

Acts 3:22 “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.

The martyr Stephen confirmed it:

Acts 7:37 “This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’

The New Testament disciples thus saw Jesus as the “new Moses” and “greater Moses,” raised up as mediator between God and His people – just as Moses had been, only far more so.

There are other places in the New Testamet where we can recognize the apostles holding this particular view of Jesus.  Here are some of them:

1 Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

The phrase in capitals appears multiple times in the book of Deuteronomy (13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21), where it is an admonition from God through Moses for the people of God to keep themselves separated from sin.  That Paul quotes it as relevant to the church at Corinth indicates that the New Testament church saw itself as the new Israel and Jesus as the new Moses.

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1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;
1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”
1 Corinthians 10:8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
1 Corinthians 10:9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
1 Corinthians 10:10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

It’s obvious in the passage that Paul is having his readers remember the incidents involved in Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypy precisely because he believes they have application to their present situation.

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Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The phrase “to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” in verse 14 is an allusion to Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 4:20; 7:6; and 14:2 wherein God declares His intention to establish Israel as a people for Himself and His purposes.  Thus believers in Christ were the new “nation of God’s people.”

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Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
Hebrews 3:2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
Hebrews 3:3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Hebrews 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

This passage makes the explicit comparison of Moses and Christ – showing the superiorities of Christ in the process.  This comparison continues throughout this chapter and into the next.

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Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
Hebrews 12:19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.
Hebrews 12:20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.”
Hebrews 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
Hebrews 12:26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.”
Hebrews 12:27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Hebrews 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

This passage compares and contrasts Moses at Mount Sinai with Jesus at the heavenly Mount Zion.

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1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1 Peter 2:10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

Most of the phrases in verse 9 were originally uttered by Moses to the children of Israel.  Peter is applying to those who are now following Jesus Christ – whom God has seated “in the chair of Moses” (see Matthew 23 2 and how Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for attempting to seat themselves in that place).

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Jude 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

This reminder would have no purpose unless, of course, the experience of Jesus and the New Testament church was to parallel the experience of Moses and the chldren of Israel.

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Related post:  The Apostolic Mind

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Kindness and Severity

God is all-powerful.  He sends His judgments in the earth, as is His responsibility as its rightful judge.  Yet we may repent so that our behavior calls forth His blessings rather than His curses.

God is good, but that does not mean we should not be fearful when we sin.  Therefore let us take heed to both His kindness and His severity.  Consider this verse [emphasis added here and throughout; bold for the kindness, and bold italics for the severity]:

Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

Let us therefore consider this list of verses which speak to the full spectrum of God’s power that we might fear His judgments and turn from our wicked ways.

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

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Exodus 4:11 The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

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Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
Deuteronomy 30:20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

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Deuteronomy 32:39 ‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

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Joshua 23:15 “It shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.

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Joshua 24:20 “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you.”

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1 Samuel 2:3 “Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.
1 Samuel 2:4 “The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.
1 Samuel 2:5 “Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease to hunger.
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.
1 Samuel 2:6 “The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
1 Samuel 2:7 “The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.
1 Samuel 2:8 “He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.
1 Samuel 2:9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.
1 Samuel 2:10 “Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

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1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:25 “But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”

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2 Kings 5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.”

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2 Chronicles 7:13 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
2 Chronicles 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

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Job 1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
Job 1:21 He said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

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Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

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Job 5:17 “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
Job 5:18 “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
Job 5:19 “From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven evil will not touch you.

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Psalm 37:22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off.

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Proverbs 3:33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.

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Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider–
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

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Isaiah 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these.

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Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

For the righteous, God’s day of judgment is “favorable” but for the unrighteous, it means “vengeance.”

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Isaiah 63:4 “For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.

See note on Isaiah 61:2 above.

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Jeremiah 32:21 ‘You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror;
Jeremiah 32:22 and gave them this land, which You swore to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Jeremiah 32:23 ‘They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore You have made all this calamity come upon them.

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Lamentations 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?

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Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

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Zechariah 8:14 “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Just as I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I have not relented,
Zechariah 8:15 so I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear!

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Malachi 2:2 “If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.

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Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

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John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

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Rom 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
Rom 2:2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.
Rom 2:3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
Rom 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Rom 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Rom 2:6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:
Rom 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;
Rom 2:8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
Rom 2:9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,
Rom 2:10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Rom 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.

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Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

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1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

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1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,
1 Thessalonians 2:15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men,
1 Thessalonians 2:16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

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1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians 5:10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

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James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

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Related posts:

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Apostolic Use of the Old Testament

The apostles did not preach and teach from the New Testament because it was not compiled until after they had all died.  Their authoritative text was the Old Testament.  If we don’t take this truth seriously, we will not properly understand the New Testament.

Even though the apostles preached and taught from the Old Testament, they never called it that.  The terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” post-dated the apostles as well.  Rather, the apostles referred to “the Law of Moses.”  Or they might say simply “the Law,” or even more simply, “Moses.”  Or they might refer to “the Law and the Prophets,” or simply “the Prophets.”  They could also say “the Law and the Prophets and the Writings.”  They could say “the Scriptures” or simply “Scripture.”  They might use the name of the specific prophet they are quoting, such as Isaiah or Daniel.  Or they might simply say “it is written.”  In all these cases, however, they are referring to what we call the Old Testament.

It is critically important to recognize the Old Testament roots of New Testament teaching.  Otherwise, we might think the apostles are bringing us new ideas when they are actually explaining the ideas of the prophets before them.   As Jesus Himself said:

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

People who think that we should read only the New Testament and discard the Old Testament are like a man who keeps the key but stays away from the house that it unlocks.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Ought

The word “ought” is a wonderful word.  For when we know what we ought to do, we are strengthened to do it.  Though we be tempted not to do it, we can persevere and do what we ought.

Let us meditate on this idea of ought [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Matthew 25:24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:25 ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
Matthew 25:26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
Matthew 25:28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

This is a portion of  parable and you may need to read the fuller context to appreciate the “ought” here.  The point is that the servant had no good excuse for his failure to follow instructions – even though he thought he had an airtight one.

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Luke 17:10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

We never have a basis for bragging before the Lord.

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Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

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Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

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1 Corinthians 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

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Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Ephesians 6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
Ephesians 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Let the one who speaks in His name do so boldly.

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2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

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2 Thessalonians 3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,
2 Thessalonians 3:8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;
2 Thessalonians 3:9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

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1 Timothy 3:14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long;
1 Timothy 3:15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

There was a way that a good Jew ought to act in the time of Moses.  There was also a way that a good disciple ought to act in the time of Paul.  And there is also a way that we ought to act in the day of the Lord.

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1 John 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

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1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

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1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Listening

God made us to listen to Him, for in hearing Him we have life.  We should also be quicker to listen to our fellow man than we are to speak to him.

Consider these verses [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Psalm 81:13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

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Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

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Isaiah 30:30 And the LORD will cause His voice of authority to be heard,
And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger,
And in the flame of a consuming fire
In cloudburst, downpour and hailstones.

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Jeremiah 32:33 “They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction.

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Jeremiah 35:13 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the LORD.

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Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

We are listening in our hearts for the whispers of the Lord.

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Luke 10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Luke 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Luke 10:41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
Luke 10:42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Note that Jesus says listening is “the good part.”

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John 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
John 8:46 “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
John 8:47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

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John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

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Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

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James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
James 1:20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

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1 John 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

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We can listen best when we are quiet.  Therefore, consider this related post:  Scriptures on Quietness.

A metaphor for listening to the Lord is “eating” or “partaking” of His words.  Therefore, see the post Scriptures on Eating.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Quietness

Quietness is important to the believer – quietness of life and quietness of heart.  It is in quietness that we are best able to hear the voice of our Lord, for He is gentle and profound.

Therefore, let us think about these verses that speak of quietness that we might practice it [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife.

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Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

We who seek to be as the bride of Christ should keep quiet, not contentious, hearts before the Man of the house.  See also the reference to Luke 10:38-42 below.

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Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

See also Matthew 6:7-8 below.

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Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

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Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,

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Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

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Matthew 6:7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The idea here is quite similar to the word picture in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 above.  Go to Christ in quietness, not in wordiness.

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Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

How are we going to hear a whisper if we are not quiet?

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Luke 10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Luke 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Luke 10:41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
Luke 10:42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Although this passage contains no explicit mention of silence or quietness, it is easy to infer from Mary’s behavior…and noticeably absent from Martha’s.  Consider also the similarity between Martha and the “contentious woman” of Proverbs 21:9 above.

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1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

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Although quietness is itself a virtue, it also supports our ability to do something that pleases the Lord:  Scriptures on Listening.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Eating (Food)

God designed living creatures such that they require regular sustenance in order to survive.  Humanity, being made in God’s image, requires also spiritual sustenance – food for the spirit within.  Even when the Bible talks about physical food, there’s a spiritual lesson to be learned.

A wide variety of words come into play when we consider how the Scriptures speak of this issue:  bread, dine, eat, food, fruit, manna, morsel, nourish, partake, and more.  Let us therefore meditate on such verses (or should I say partake of them) [emphasis added]:

1 Kings 19:8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

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Job 12:11 “Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?

Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Job 34:3 “For the ear tests words
As the palate tastes food.

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Psalms 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

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Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife.

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Proverbs 24:13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
Proverbs 24:14 Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.

This passage makes it explicit that eating food is a metaphor for ingesting God’s word.

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Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.

Spiritual language can be graphic, but then so is life.

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Ecclesiastes 10:17 Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time–for strength and not for drunkenness.

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Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.

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Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”

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John 4:34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

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John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.

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Philippians 1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

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1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

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Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

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Revelation 2:17 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

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Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

The King James Version uses “sup” in place of “dine.”

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Since the purpose of eating is to gain strength, consider this related post:  Scriptures on Strength.

Spiritually eating is akin to spiritual listening.  Therefore, see Scriptures on Listening.

The metaphor of eating can also be considered as a part of the broader metaphor of vegetation.  Therefore, see The World of Vegetation Provides Many Comparisons to Spiritual Realities.

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, unless otherwise noted.

(In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Messianic Expectations in the New Testament

The New Testament, especially the Gospels, reveals that the age in which Jesus lived was one in which there were strong and widespread expectations among Jews that God was finally sending His Messiah.

What follows is a catalog of some of those passages which indicate this palpable messianic expectation.

Bear in mind that the expectations were not uniform.  That is, there were lots of different conceptions of this “coming one.”  People were looking for different things.  Most notably, of those who were expecting God’s messiah (and not everyone was), none of them seemed to be expecting him to be crucified.  Of course, once the resurrection occurred, messianic expectations among the faithful were realigned to the reality that Jesus of Nazareth had demonstrated.  Prior to that event, however, let’s see what sort of expectations existed in early first-century Palestine.

Matthew 2:1-23 (Here we see the magi hoping for the messiah and King Herod fearing for that messiah.)

Matthew 22:42ff  (Jesus takes note of informed messianic expectation that nonetheless cannot fully explain itself; This account is parallel to Mark 12:35ff and Luke 20:41ff.)

Matthew 27:40-44 (Jesus is taunted with messianic titles because He appears so “non-messianic” to His “messiah-expecting” critics.)

Mark 12:35ff  (This account is parallel to Matthew 22:42ff and Luke 20:41ff.)

Mark 15:32  (Same as Matthew 27:40-44.)

Luke 20:41ff  (This account is parallel to Matthew 22:42ff and Mark 12:35ff.)

Luke 23:2  (Same as Matthew 27:40-44.)

John 1:19-25  (These priests and Levites from Jerusalem were obviously expecting messianic figures, and were sent to John the Baptist to find out which one of them he might be.)

John 1:41  (Of course, this statement would make no sense if people didn’t know what a messiah was or weren’t expecting one.)

John 1:45-49  (Philip and Nathanael believe that Jesus matches the messianic expectation they each have.  Philip’s is a statement is about comprehensive resemblance to the scriptural portrait while Nathanael’s seems to speak specifically to Jesus’ fit with Psalm 2.)

John 4:25 (The Samaritans were expecting the messiah, as this Samaritan woman indicates.)

John 6:15 (The desire to make Jesus king likely was driven by messianic hope, inflamed by his feeding of thousands.)

John 7:40-53 (Here you see an example of some of the varied expectations associated with the promised one.)

John 12:34 (The crowd understood that the Scriptures promised an “everlasting” kingdom of the messianic descendant of David.)

There is no parallel in the Scriptures, or in our time, for this sort of sensitivity to Messiah’s coming.

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, unless otherwise noted. 

Hebrews 13:7

Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

Who has led us more than Jesus Christ?  Who has spoken the word of God to us in a greater way than Jesus Christ?

Let us therefore imitate His faith.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Strength

These verses have to do with spiritual strength, being spiritual strong.  This is God’s will for us, so the more we know about it, the better.  This not only means meditating on verses that speak to strength and being strong, but also those which reference weakness.

Here then are some verses on the subject [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

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Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

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1 Samuel 30:6 Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

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1 Kings 19:8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

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Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.

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Psalm 119:28 My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

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Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

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Ecclesiastes 10:17 Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time–for strength and not for drunkenness.

We partake of the word (grace) of God so that we might have strength to do His will.  To consume His word for the blessing it brings without returning to God the blessing of acting on that word is akin to drunkenness.

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Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,

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Jeremiah 23:14 “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing:
The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;
And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
All of them have become to Me like Sodom,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.

This is a misuse of the power to strengthen.  It is strengthening the wrong people for the wrong purpose.

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Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;
Luke 22:32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

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Luke 22:43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.

This is what happened to Jesus when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified.

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Acts 14:21 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

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Acts 15:32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.

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Acts 18:23 And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

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Acts 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

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Romans 8:26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

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Romans 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.

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1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

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Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

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Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

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1 Thessalonians 3:1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone,
1 Thessalonians 3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,
1 Thessalonians 3:3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.

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1 Thessalonians 5:14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

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2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

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2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

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Hebrews 12:12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,

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Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

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1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

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A related post is Scriptures on Strengthening and Encouraging Faith and Hope, which has a slightly more specific focus.

Spiritual strength arises from spiritual sustenance.  Therefore, see Scriptures on Eating (Food) as well as Scriptures on Listening.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Messiah = The Anointed = The Christ = The King

The following terms literally have the same meaning:  Messiah and Anointed and Christ.

Given their biblical usage, we can also say that these terms are all synonyms for “the king.”  Specifically,”the king of Israel.”

Thus when those who crucified Jesus put a sign above His head saying “The King of the Jews” they were speaking the truth, though they hardly knew the import of what they were saying.

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, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

When the Prophets Speak of “The Anointed” They Are Speaking of “the King”

When Israel demanded that they have a king like all the other nations had, God sent Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel.  (More about that here.)  From that point on, “the anointed one” became a synonym for Israel’s king.

Given the parallelism that is intrinsic to Hebrew poetry, you can see “the anointed” equated with “the king” in 1 Samuel 2:10, 2 Samuel 22:51, and Psalm 18:50.  And even though it’s prose, 1 Samuel 26:16 also demonstrates “the anointed” and “the king” being used as synonyms for each other.

Further, if you were to search for all Bible verses which contain both the word “anointed” and the word “king,” (the four verses mentioned above will be among them), you will find some 25 verses, most of which are relevant enough to the point so as to give even more reason to appreciate the inextricable link between the terms “king” and “anointed.”  There are also occasions, such as Psalm 2, where the terms “anointed” and “king” are used interchangeably though not within a single verse, but those would take more time to catalog (cf. v. 2 and v. 6).

The best way to think of the expression “the anointed” is as an ellipsis for “the anointed king.”  Thus when someone in Israel spoke of “the anointed,” it was with the word “king” being understood even though it wasn’t uttered.

There are occasions where the Bible will refer to an anointed priest (e.g. Leviticus 4:3) or an anointed prophet (e.g. Isaiah 61:1) or even to a group of these (e.g. Psalm 105:15), but the singular expression seems, practically speaking, to always refer to the king.

These equivalent terms “the king” and “the anointed” arose in usage at the same time in Israel’s history – at the beginning of kingdom.  This was the time of Saul and David.  As for David, God promised him that a distant descendant of his would one day rule on his throne “forever.”  After David died, the glory of Solomon led to the apostasy of Solomon.  Then the kingdom was divided.  Eventually, and inevitably, it fell.  Israel was exiled from its land.  It did ultimately return, but in much humility, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.  The glories of David and Solomon were long past and David’s promised great descendant remained the ultimate hope of those who wanted to see the “latter glory” of Israel exceed the “former glory” (Haggai 2:9).  Thus more and more hope came to be attached to the promised descendant of David who would one day become “the Anointed” in promised glory.

Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled and outstripped all these hopes.  Whenever we think of “the Anointed,” we should think first and foremost of Him – for He is “the King.”

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 Seed of Abraham

As Jesus was the seed of David, so He was – by lineage from David, if nothing else – the seed of Abraham as well.  This is because, of course, David himself was a descendant of Abraham.

David took the covenant that God made with Abraham seriously (“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” – 1 Samuel 17:26).  Thus David was imitating the faith of Abraham.

Jesus came in that same spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13) – so much so that in Hebrews 12:2 He is called “the author and perfecter of faith.”

Of course, there’s much more to this concept than this.  Consider, for example, what Peter says here:

Acts 3:25 “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’
Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

Thus Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham, a point confirmed by Paul:

Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

That Jesus is the seed of Abraham is a thought well worth meditating extensively.

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, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

Scriptures on God’s Activities

Do we think God is idle?  Of course not!  His work, however, is done in hiddenness.  Therefore, we need to trust in His workings, knowing that the evidence of His acts will inevitably become manifest.  Therefore, let us remind ourselves of His doings, and the conditions under which they take place [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Psalm 126:6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Whether a farmer sows his seed with sorrow or with joy, God causes the seed to grow.  See also Mark 4:26-27 below.

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Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

He saves us from our sins by leading us, by His Holy Spirit, away from them.  He also saves us from our sins at death by taking us to heaven.

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Mark 4:26 And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;
Mark 4:27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows–how, he himself does not know.

Man’s work is to sow the seed.  While he rests, God works.  This is consistent with the picture painted above in Psalm 126:5-6.

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John 5:17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

Jesus is reminding His fellow Jews that God was thinking and acting on behalf of His plan for them.

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1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

Paul outlines the division of labor, familiar to anyone who understood agriculture – and, of course, consistent with Psalm 126:5-6 and Mark 4:26-27 above.

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2 Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain–

This “working together” that Paul references is of that nature described a little more specifically in his earlier letter to these folks (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, which see above).  God gives the growth – but we have to be sure to plant the seed and water it!

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Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

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Philippians 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

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Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

God reveals things to us; that is, He makes things known to us.

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Colossians 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

It is right that we should believe in the working of God, and, for this reason, we believe that Jesus’ resurrection was God’s work.  Let us never lose faith in the working of God, because, even when we sow in sadness, He works (see Psalm 126:5-6 above), and even when we sleep, He works (see Mark 4:26:27 above).  God is faithful; He “watches over His word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:12).

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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.

This allusion to the seed of the word of God in the heart is consistent with the imagery of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (see above).

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2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

The Lord reveals things to us, He makes us to understand them. See 1 John 2:27 below.

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1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

The Lord has a teaching ministry even today.  He will teach you all things.  Have faith in this work of His.  By this work of His – that is, He teaching ministry – you have received understanding (see 2 Timothy 2:7 above).

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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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Understanding Bible Mysteries

When the Bible speaks  of a mystery, it is speaking of something not understood until God explains it.

For example, consider the closing passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
Romans 16:26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
Romans 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

We can see that Paul is characterizing the Messiah as God’s mystery – something that was written about throughout the Old Testament, but not clearly understood until Jesus came along and demonstrated how all the prophecies were being fulfilled through His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation.

Paul spoke similarly to the Colossians:

Colossians 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
Colossians 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Again, the prophecies for Messiah were mysteries, hidden until the time for their fulfillment.  With the resurrection of that Messiah, the revelation of those mysteries had begun.  Thus Paul spoke of the apostles as “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

As Jesus said:

Luke 12:2 “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Thus what is hidden by God will be revealed by God.  For every mystery, there awaits a revelation.  And because Christ is the central work of God, that’s why the apostles place so much emphasis on revelations of Him.  See these scriptures:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:7
  • Galatians 1:12
  • Ephesians 1:17
  • Colossians 3:4
  • 2 Timothy 1:8-11
  • 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:13; 5:1
  • Revelation 1:1

As Moses had promised at the very beginning of the Scriptures:

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever…

The Bible’s mysteries are all revealed in Christ.  Therefore, if anyone starts talking to you about a Bible mystery that is weird, strange, creepy, etc. – know that he is off track.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Seed of David

God promised David in 2 Samuel 7:12, “I will raise up your seed after you.”  (“Seed” is the literal for “descendant” according to the marginal note in the NASB.)

Peter confirms this in Acts 2:30 when he says, “God had sworn to [David] with an oath to seat one of the fruit of his loins.”  (Again, I’m using the literal expression provided by the NASB in the margin.)

Paul, in both Romans 1:3 and 2 Timothy 2:8, emphasizes that Jesus was “the seed of David.”

This expressions “the seed of” implies more than just physical descent, however; it also implies that Jesus would come “in the way of” or “in the manner” of David.  And indeed Jesus did.  For David was merely a foretaste of the courage, zeal, and devotion to God that Jesus of Nazareth displayed.

Jesus was the son of David in more ways than one.

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, unless otherwise noted.

Connecting the Biblical Metaphors of Light and Vegetation

The Bible makes extensive use of physical realities to teach about spiritual realities.  One expansive set of comparisions revolves around light.  Another of them is vegetation.

Consider then how this verse links those two metaphors:

Psalm 97:11 Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.

This brings together the expanded comparisons of light and vegetation – deepening our understanding of both.

For more on the Bible’s use of figurative speech, see Figurative Speech in 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Christ’s Life Replaces the Law – That Life Is the Scepter, Rod, Staff, and Measuring Rod

The life of Jesus of Nazareth was so glorious and wonderful that it replaces the Law of Moses by just so much as it was the embodiment of that very law.  “And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  As the embodiment of God’s law, since it was God Himself living that law, that life becomes the eternal standard to which our lives are compared and to which we should look for inspiration and direction.  The Law of Moses was words on a page, but the life of Jesus was living and breathing.

Jesus’s life is the scepter [emphasis added throughout]:

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says,
“YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER,
AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.

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Jesus’ life is the rod, the staff of the Shepherd:

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

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Jesus’ life is the measuring rod:

Revelation 11:1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

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Jesus’ life is the branch…cut off.  For isn’t that what a rod, staff, scepter, and measuring rod are – a branch cut off?

Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

Daniel 9:26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

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(See also the reference to “plumb line” in Our Zerubbabel and in Amos 7:7-8 – Jesus Is the Plumb Line.)

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Difference Between Seeing and Recognizing

The scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus, but they didn’t recognize Him.  That is, they saw the same Jesus of Nazareth that all His followers saw, but they did not recognize Him as the Messiah.  Because of this failure to recognize, they crucified Him.

Acts 13:27 “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.

Likewise, anyone can read Paul’s letters, but only the spiritual can recognize them for what they are:  the word of God.  As Paul himself says:

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.

Similarly, Paul could thank God for the Thessalonians’ ability to recognize the word of God in his message to them:

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.

Thus when someone says that the Second Coming of Christ has not yet occurred because Revelation 1:7 (quoting Zechariah 12:10) says “every eye will see Him,” recognize yourself that though every eye sees Him not every eye recognizes Him.  As Isaiah said (quoted here by Paul):

Acts 28:26 saying,
‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
“YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
Acts 28:27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”‘

Therefore, do not be like them.  Look up and recognize that “the One “whom we have pierced” is looking on us now:  Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

For this reason, we should be Practicing the Presence of Christ and recognizing that The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

We should recognize that Church Is Not the Answer; Christ Is and therefore be about 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, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verse are rendered in all capital letters.)

Proverbs 4:18

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

Understanding dawns on us.  It does not come to us in full force all at once.  Like the sunrise gradually becomes the noonday, so our understanding grows at a pace we can handle.

Thus we do not understanding everything as well, or as deeply, in the beginning as we will in the end.

For example, when Nathanael said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the son of God; you are the king of Israel” in John 1:49, he probably meant those words in the way that most early first-century Jews understood them: as meaning that Jesus was the descendant of David who should reign as king in Israel.  This was the way people generally understood Psalm 2 to be prophetic of the Messiah.

Later, when Jesus was crucified – an event none of them suspected was the fate of the Messiah – the messianic hope in Jesus was dashed…momentarily.  The third day those hopes came roaring back with the concomitant understanding that Psalm 2: 1-3 had been prophesying the crucifixion, and Psalm 2:4-9 had been prophesying the resurrection.  In other words, Nathanael had understood Jesus to be the fulfillment of Psalm 2…but later came to understand the point far more fully.

Thus passages of Scripture like Psalm 16 or even individual verses like Psalm 118:22 could be understood in an ordinary sense.  Once God did something greater in fulfillment, however, the meaning of such passages and verses took on a whole new grandeur.  “Something greater…was here”  (Matthew 12:6, 41, 42; Luke 11:41,42).

Thus the dawning of understanding can lead to the noonday of understanding – with a growing understanding in between.  To take another example, Peter called Jesus “the Holy One of Israel” in John 6:69.  Yet Peter had no idea just how holy until he saw the Lord endure with grace and dignity the shame and indignation of the cross (described by Peter using Isaiah’s words in 1 Peter 2:21-24).  Peter had grown in his understanding of the Lord.

You and I can grow in our understanding of the Lord, too.  This is the path of the righteous.  Expect a growing awareness of truth…and keep pursuing it (John 8:30-32).

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, unless otherwise noted.

Scriptures on Understanding

God wants us to understand.

God wants us to understand Him.

God wants us to understand life.

God wants us to understand what’s important and what’s not.

Here are some verses that speak of understanding [Emphasis added]:

1 Chronicles 12:32 Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.

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2 Chronicles 2:12 Then Huram continued, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.

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Psalm 49:20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding,
Is like the beasts that perish.

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Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

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Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

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Isaiah 1:3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.”

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John 12:16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.

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Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–
Ephesians 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
Ephesians 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
Ephesians 3:4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

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Ephesians 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
Ephesians 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

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Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Colossians 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
Colossians 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
Colossians 1:6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

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2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

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Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

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James 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

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2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

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1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

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Jude 1:10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.

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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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How to Understand the Lord

Please read these three verses, especially the parts I’ve italicized:

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

Assuming you are looking for understanding, can there be much incompatible about seeking the Lord, listening to His word, and doing it?  No one should be in doubt about how one goes about gaining a better understanding of the 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, unless otherwise noted.

What the Terms “Messiah,” “the Anointed,” “the Christ,” “the Anointing,” and “Christian” All Have in Common

“Messiah” is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning “anointed.”

In 1 Samuel 10:1, the priest Samuel anointed with oil (that is, poured oil over, or smeared oil on, the head of) Saul, the first king of Israel.  Most kings become so through being “crowned” in a “coronation.”  In somewhat similar fashion, inaugurated by Samuel, Israel’s kings were “anointed” in an “anointing.”

When Saul later disappointed God in the exercise of his rule, Samuel was instructed to anoint David king, as replacement for Saul.  Therefore, “the anointed” became a synonym for Israel’s king.

Since God promised David that an everlasting kingdom would be given to one of David’s distant descendants (2 Samuel 7:12-13, 19), and Israel’s kings had become scarce in the wake of its apostasy from God and the judgments it brought, that Davidic descendant became the primary figure people thought of whenever the term “the Anointed” (i.e. Messiah) came up.  Further heightening the importance of the term, other biblical promises (e.g. the ones God made to Abraham) were thought to be invested in this future individual, too.  “The Anointed” (i.e. “the Messiah”) was someone to come in whom a great deal of Jewish hope was being invested as the Common Era was approaching.

“Christ” is simply the English transliteration of the Greek word meaning “anointed.”  Thus Messiah, Christ, and Anointed are all synonyms.

When Jesus of Nazareth came, the Holy Spirit was “poured out from heaven” on Him (Isaiah 61:1) – enabling Him to do miracles (Acts 10:38) – such that His anointing was considered to have been by God with the Holy Spirit rather than by a priest with oil.  Thus through Jesus there came to be a whole new understanding of what it meant for the king to have been “anointed.” Therefore while the reference to “the Anointed” in Psalm 2 was originally understood to speak of the inappropriate antagonism of neighboring rulers to God’s choice for Israel’s king (i.e. the one anointed by a priest with oil), the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth put the psalm in a whole new light, demonstrating that earthly rulers were being antagonistic to the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in an individual (Acts 4:24-28; 7:51) – an individual that three days later would be raised from the dead, proclaimed as God’s own Son (Psalm 2:7; see also Acts 13:32-33 which makes this very point).

When Jesus subsequently ascended into heaven, He Himself poured out the Holy Spirit on His followers beginning on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.  Thus Jesus’ followers had an “anointing” of the Holy Spirit as well (1 John 2:20, 27), and were called by some observers, though probably derisively, “Christians” (Acts 11:26) – that is, “little Christs.”  The derision of unbelievers, by the way, was a relatively common reaction to the Holy Spirit’s activities in believers (see Acts 2:13; 1 Corinthians 14:23) .  Nonetheless, Peter told the disciples to wear this badge of shame proudly (1 Peter 4:16).

Thus you see the common threads that run through these words:  Messiah, Anointed, Christ, Anointing, and Christian.  Note also that each of these words might be preceded in the biblical text by “the.”  And the terms may or not be capitalized.  (Ancient texts, of course, did not distinguish between upper and lower case as modern texts do; therefore, capitalization is a choice of the translator, not the person who originally wrote the document.)

Your reading of the English Bible will be enriched as you keep what is common to these five words in mind.

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.  

Peter and John Both Saw Jesus as “The Holy One”

Peter and John had reasons to see Jesus in similar fashion.  They also held similar views on how the Old Testament sacrificial system foreshadowed what Jesus did.  They also both saw Jesus as “The Holy One” – as demonstrated in their respective first letters:

1 Peter 1:15 …like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One…

Given that they spent so much time together serving Jesus (especially at momentous events, whether large like the early days of the church described in Acts 4, or small like the Mount of Transfiguration described in Matthew 17), it’s no wonder that these two men would have common ways of referring to our Lord.  What’s interesting is how different their writing styles are.  Truly God can speak in a variety of ways through a variety of persons while delivering a consistent message (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Glory be to Him!

Also, before closing, I should add the source for this title of Jesus (“The Holy One”):  Psalm 16:10, as evidenced by Peter’s quoting and explaining it in Acts 2:24-31.  Thus both Peter and John were quoting Scripture when they called Jesus “the Holy One.”

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, unless otherwise noted.

Numbers 11:25

Numbers 11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit who had been upon Jesus (Acts 10:38) was poured out upon those who were calling upon His name.  And, as exemplified in 1 Corinthians 12-14, this Holy Spirit outpouring continued throughout the church age.  That is, whenever the church gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them.  For this reason, the disciples were encouraged not to forsake the assembling of themselves together as they saw the day of the Lord approaching (Hebrews 10:23-25).  When Jesus came again, the Holy Spirit was removed from the church as “the glory” had been removed from Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:1-15; 1 Samuel 4, especially vss. 19-22).

Thus the church since apostolic times has held church councils but has not been able to say “thus saith the Lord” as the apostles and prophets did.

Therefore, we see in this passage from Numbers a prophecy of the temporal nature of the New Testament church.  The church’s purpose was to be a transitional device between ancient Israel and the kingdom of God.  The spirit of prophecy does not reside in the man-made church but continues on in the hearts of those who testify to Jesus, for:

Revelation 19:10 …the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

See also:

The New Testament Church was Shiloh – The Church Afterward Was Ichabod

How Did We Go from Shiloh to Ichabod?

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, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 28:16

Genesis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Surely the kingdom of God is in our midst and many do not know it.

Wake up to the Lord!  (See Ephesians 5:14.)

The kingdom of God has long since arrived.

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, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 28:18 – The Anointed Stone

Genesis 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top.

As for the stone, Peter tells us who it is in 1 Peter 2:4-8, quoting three Old Testament verses in the process.

As for the oil poured out on its top, can this mean other than the pouring out of the oil of the Holy Spirit on Jesus as referenced by Peter in Acts 10:38?

Thus Peter helps us to see that Jesus is the stone anointed with the oil of God’s 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 29:20

Genesis 29:20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

The more you love the Lord Jesus, the less lengthy seems your service to 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Shall We Rush to Teach?

[This post springs from a comment on this post.]

Just because  spiritual maturity means showing others the way, does this mean we should rush to teach?  God forbid!

James warned:

James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

A six-year-old child may realize that he will one day drive a car, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to go looking for the keys.

EVERYTHING IN ITS TIME

James’ admonition must also be read in context and compared with other verses speaking to the same subject.  For example:

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

and

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

Thus James is warning against premature teaching.  There is a sequence to be followed in our growth:  we must practice what we preach and we should practice before we preach.  Note this sequence in the example of Ezra:

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Teaching was the last step for Ezra – and by no means the first.

ALL TEACHING IS NOT THE SAME

There are another kind of verse that must be considered as well.  For example:

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

and

Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

and

Matthew 23:8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Such verses suggest that we have no warrant or need to ever teach at all.  We must remember that Jesus is the Teacher of His people.  Therefore, He does not need us to be teachers of them.  However, we can – and should – be “teachers” of a sort when it comes to showing others the way to the Teacher.

Let’s say you struggle with your golf game.  I tell you about my golf teacher.  It’s my golf teacher who is going to help you with your golf game.  He is the one doing the actual teaching.  Yet I have in a sense taught you in the very act of telling you about the golf teacher.  Once I get you connected with Him, however, my teaching is done.

WE ARE ALL “TEACHING” WHETHER WE INTEND TO OR NOT

Another aspect of this subject is the silent teaching in which we’re all engaged.  That is, teaching by deed occurs long before teaching by word.  For example:

Daniel 12:3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

That is, we who seek to follow Jesus are already “teaching” others by our example.  It may be a good example or it may be – God forbid –  bad one.  Yet we can’t help but “teach” with our lives, even if we never utter a word.  For this reason Paul warns:

Romans 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
Romans 2:24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

And he warns:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

How are we going to “lead the many to righteousness” if we are living lives of unrighteousness?  Before we ever utter a word on Christ’s behalf, we should amend our ways (Jeremiah 7) so as not to bring dishonor to Him.

Fortunately, God can impress those who observe us through our progress long before we ever approach perfection.  As Paul told Timothy, “Let your progress be evident to all” – not your perfection.

1 Timothy 4:15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

When people see us turn from our wicked ways, they will take notice.  As Peter wrote:

1 Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

and

1 Peter 3:16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

and

1 Peter 4:4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

If you read this words of Peter in context, you’ll see that this sort of “teaching” is not always humbly received by those for whose sake it is being given.  And this speaks of yet another dimension to this subject.

ALL TEACHING DOES NOT INVOLVE A LECTERN AND A MICROPHONE

Even when the time comes to move beyond teaching by example to teaching by word, it does not at all mean that we should set up shop as teachers of God’s people because it can distract from the Lord’s teaching ministry (as mentioned above) and because it is not necessary to accomplish the goal.  Much, if not most, of our “teaching” – even in our most mature state – will simply be confessing His name and His presence to those around us.  This confessing is not – and this is a direct application of James’ admonition (James 3:1) – something we should do right away.  Some people say that a person accepting Christ should immediately begin to witness to others, but I think this contradicts James.  Yes, we see some new believers doing this in Acts.  However, we must remember that such people were pious and lifelong Jews, steeped in the Scriptures.  The knowledge of Messiah’s resurrection was the missing puzzle piece for which they had been looking.  They were well-prepared to confess this Christ to others.  For many of us, however, our lives are in much more disarray when we first hear of Christ.  We are just beginning to put the puzzle together.  Christ is our first piece rather than our last piece.  Therefore, we should be slower to speak (which is yet another admonition from James – see James 1:19).  For this reason: Don’t Tell Anyone You’re a Christian Right Away.

SUMMING UP

Walking with Christ is a learning process.  Eventually, that process involves speaking of Him to others…but we should not rush that process.  Neither, however, should we shrink in fear from that which He Himself will – in due time – make us able to do.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Apostles Prepared the Disciples for Divine Leadership

Read the New Testament letters and see that the apostles were not trying to prepare the disciples for ongoing human leadership.  Thus the notion of apostolic succession by bishops and popes is absurd.  Rather, the apostles were preparing the disciples to be divinely led.

Thus Paul said the kingdom of God was “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”  in Romans 14:17.

Thus Peter said he and his fellow shepherds would be giving way to “the Chief Shepherd” in 1 Peter 5:4.

Thus John said “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but…His anointing teaches you about all things” in 1 John 2:27.

Thus we may say:

Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Those who choose to be led by popes, bishops, pastors, elders, or anyone else…are missing the point of the kingdom of God.

Jesus is King.  Follow Him through the leading of His 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Our learning eventually leads to teaching

This post is part of a series about learning as a key aspect of life with God.  

As we learn from Christ, we mature in Him.  If that maturation process continues long enough and is successful enough, we will become teachers.  That is, we may not say much about Christ in the beginning, when we are trying to make sure that we ourselves become properly grounded in the faith.  However, once that grounding successfully takes place we are on our way to sharing the knowledge of Him with others.  Consider how these verses speak to that point:

Matthew 5:19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Full maturity would lead to greatness in the kingdom of God.  How then could we ever reach that state without sharing what we have learned with others?

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Matthew 23:8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Whatever teaching we do should never be to displace Him.  On the contrary, our teaching should consist in pointing others to THE Teacher – the one and only necessary teacher.  We teach the Teacher!

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Luke 6:40 “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

A disciple like his teacher will be, of course, a teacher.

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Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

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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, unless otherwise noted. 

How Was God Like Eve?

How could Jesus be like Eve?

When God chose to come to earth as the seed of Abraham, we knew that He was telling us that He would come as a man of faith.  This is because God is a God of faith.  He believes in us – even when we disappoint Him.  He keeps His hope up for better things.

When God chose to come to earth as the seed of David, we knew that He was telling us that He would come as a man of courage and zeal.  This is because God is a God of courage and zeal.  He courageously and zealously stood for truth even when it seemed most of heaven and earth was against Him.

When God chose to come to earth as the seed of woman – that is, the seed of Eve as promised in Genesis 3:15 – what was He telling us?  He was telling us that He bears children in pain.  And this brings to mind the words of Jesus on this subject:

John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.

No mother ever born more children than God in Christ and no mother ever bore more pain than God in Christ.  And no mother has more joy over the well-being of her children than God 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Seed Was Planted by Crucifixion

The Messiah (i.e. the Christ, the Anointed) was promised as a seed.

He would be the seed of Abraham.

He was the seed of David.

He was even the seed of Eve.

He was the smallest of all the seeds that grew to be the greatest of all the trees.

Jesus is indeed the seed that was promised long before it was planted.

Of course, the seed would never have sprouted unless it had first been planted – and this planting speaks of His crucifixion.

By crucifixion, Jesus was killed and then planted in the ground.  Seeds do not grow until they are planted in the ground, and indeed Jesus did not begin His glories until He after He was buried.  For once planted in the ground, He sprang forth on the third day that He might be taken up 40 days later to the glory of the right hand of God.  And from there He came to judge us and save us forever.

Thus the apostles said that Jesus had to suffer before experiencing His glories (Acts 17:3).

We we think of the messianic seed, therefore, we should think of crucifixion.

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.

 

Genesis 6:22

Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

As Noah did all that God commanded him, building an ark for the salvation of his household, so Jesus did all that God commanded Him, building an ark for the salvation of the world.  Thus, this verse speaks, above all, about Jesus Christ.

Moreover, the entire Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – is about Jesus 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, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 126:5-6

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Psalm 126:6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

As we sow the seed of Jesus into our own lives and into the lives of others, we shall redeem our sorrow…and it shall turn to joy.

The sowing of our Lord leads to a harvest of gladness.

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, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 97:11

Psalm 97:11 Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).  He also said that men love darkness rather than light.  Let us not be like that.

Let us receive the light that He is as if it were seed.  That is, let that light grow in us.  We cannot receive all that Jesus is all at once.  He is too great and wonderful.  Let us therefore receive what we can…and then let it grow within us.

If the seed of His light is allowed to grow in us then our happiness will grow as well.

It is a matter of doing right in His sight; that is, doing His will and not following the lusts of our hearts.  It’s doing what He wants – not what we want.

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, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 22:18

Genesis 22:18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…”

Who is this seed but Jesus Christ, descendant of Abraham.  So testifies the apostle Peter:

Acts 3:25 “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’
Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant [Jesus] and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

[Note: the NASB puts quotations of the Old Testment in all capital letters.]

See also this from Paul:

Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Thus the seed of Abraham that blesses the world is Jesus Christ our 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, unless otherwise noted.

Notes on the Word “Grace” in the NASB

This post is a study of the word “grace” in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), mainly in the New Testament.  As for more focus on the Old Testament, see The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament.

First, I’ll report on what we learn using the search tool at BibleGateway.com.  Then I’ll do the same for the search tool at Lockman.org.  Then I’ll correlate the two.

BibleGateway.com

A BibleGateway.com search of [grace] in the NASB translation yields 125 verses in which the word “grace” occurs.  These break down as follows:

11 in the Old Testament

114 in the New Testament

Of these 125 occurrences, technically speaking, 3 should be removed from consideration.  This is because the BibleGateway.com search engine will pick up any verse which includes [grace] even if the actual word is [graceful].  That is, this search function picks up any word that begins with “grace.”  The BibleGateway.com search function also searches the NASB paragraph headings which are actually not part of the Bible text.  The exclusions are:

Proverbs 1:9     because the occurrence is “graceful” and not “grace”

Proverbs 5:19  because the occurrence is “graceful” and not “grace”

Ezekiel 16:1      because “grace” occurs in the heading and not the verse itself.

Of the remaining verses, the word “grace” appears more than once in 6 of them:

The word “grace” occurs twice in Zechariah 4:7; John 1:16; Romans 5:15; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:6

The word “grace” occurs three times in Romans 11:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:10

Therefore, netting the totals for the subtractions and additions just mentioned, we have left:

9 occurrences of “grace” in 8 verses of the Old Testament

122 occurrences of “grace” in 114 verses of the New Testament

This totals to 131 occurrences of “grace” in 122 verses of the NASB.

Lockman.org

A Lockman.org search of [grace] in the New American Standard Bible translation yields 158 verses in which the word “grace” occurs.  These break down as follows:

37 in the Old Testament

121 in the New Testament

Of these 158 occurrences, technically speaking, 3 should be removed from consideration.  This is because the Lockman.org search engine will pick up any verse which includes [grace] even if the actual word is [disgrace] or [graceful].  That is, this search function picks up any word that contains “grace” whether it is a stand-alone word or whether it is preceded of followed by other letters.  Therefore, the exclusions are:

Verses with “disgrace” but not “grace” – a total of 34 verses (27 in OT and 7 in NT)

The same two verses containing “graceful” (both OT) mentioned as excluded from the BibleGateway.com search (section above).

Of the remaining verses, the word “grace” appears more than once in 6 of them:

These are the same 6 verses mentioned in the BibleGateway.com section above.  In 4 of them, “grace” appears twice and in 2 of them “grace” appears three times.

Therefore, netting the totals for the subtractions and additions just mentioned, we have left:

9 occurrences of “grace” in 8 Old Testament verses

122 occurrences of “grace” in 114 New Testament verses

This totals to 131 occurrences of “grace” in 122 verses of the NASB.

Therefore, netting of all adjustments, the occurrences of “grace” according to Lockman.org match those of BibleGateway.com – which you would expect. Those two sites search in slightly different ways but they are both working with the same underlying NASB text.

The Word “Grace” in the New Testament

Let’s re-visit the Lockman.org search and focus on the NASB New Testament.  It revealed 121 verses in which the word occurred.  Of these, 7 can be excluded because the word found was some form of “disgrace.”  They break down as follows:

“disgrace” – Matthew 1:19; Lue 1:25; 14:9

“disgraces” – 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5

“disgraceful” – 1 Corinthians 11:6; Ephesians 5:12

This nets to 114 verses in which the word “grace” occurs at least once.

To be added to the number of word occurrences, as shown in the sections above, are four verses which have the word “grace” twice (John 1:16; Romans 5:15; Hebrews 4:16; and James 4:6) along with two verses which have the word “grace” three times (Romans 11:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:10).

This nets to 122 occurrences of the word “grace” in 114 verses.  These 122 occurrences are noted by the Strong’s Concordance found in the Lockman.org site.  Note the following paragraph,taken from The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament.  The reference to 122 occurrences of “grace” can be found in it.

The Strong’s Concordance number for “grace” is 5485– charis.  That word is translated in the NASB NT in the following ways (the number of occurrences of each is shown parenthetically):  blessing(1), concession(1), credit(3), favor(11), gift(1), grace(122), gracious(2), gracious work(3), gratitude(1), thank(3), thankfulness(2), thanks(6).  You can see that while the 156 occurrences of 5485 are translated in a variety of ways, the most common way, by far, is as “grace”  (i.e. 78% of the time).

Occurrences of “grace” by New Testament Author

For this section, I will revert to verse count, since that’s what both search functions (BibleGateway.com and Lockman.org) use.  Word counts, as you can tell, require some extra work to achieve, and that level of precision isn’t necessary for what we’re trying to accomplish in this section.

Luke

in Luke – 1

in Acts – 11

Total for Luke – 12

John

in John – 3

in 2 John – 1

in Revelation – 2

Total for John – 6

Paul

in Romans – 18

in 1 Corinthians – 5

in 2 Corinthians – 10

in Galatians – 7

in Ephesians – 12

in Philippians – 3

in Colossians – 4

in 1 Thessalonians – 2

in 2 Thessalonians – 4

in 1 Timothy – 3

in 2 Timothy – 4

in Titus – 4

in Philemon – 2

in Hebrews – 6

Total for Paul – 84

James – 1

Peter

in 1 Peter – 8

in 2 Peter – 2

Total for Peter – 10

Jude – 1

The total of all these verses is, of course, 114.

Observations

Of the 114 NT verses containing the word “grace,” only 4 of them appear in the Gospels – and then only in the introductory material (Luke 2:40 and John 1:14, 16, 17).  Thus, this word which is found so frequently in the epistles is seldom found in the gospels.

Further, of the 4 verses found in the Gospels with this word, none of them are from the lips of Jesus.  Therefore, we have no record of Jesus using the word “grace” – a word that has come to be so often – and rightly – associated with Him.

There were only two sources for the teaching of the apostles: Jesus and the Prophets.  Therefore, if the apostles did not get their emphasis on the word from Jesus, it must have been from the Scriptures.  At this point, it’s helpful to remember that, as stated in summary of  The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament:

The primary conclusion to be drawn is that when the Old Testament speaks of “favor” (or of “grace”) and the New Testament speaks of “grace” they are often, if not usually, talking about the same thing.

Thus, we should look to the Old Testament to find the roots of the apostles’ understanding of grace.  I am not saying that Jesus did not teach grace.  Obviously, He taught the Old Testament and held to it tenaciously.  I am merely saying that the Gospels do not reveal how He might have expounded on the word “grace” from the Old Testament.  Therefore, if we are to enrich ourselves with the apostles’ understanding of the word “grace,” we will need to acknowledge that the Old Testament is their documentary source.

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Matthew 21:38 – The Son Was the Heir

Matthew 21:38 “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’

Note that they “saw the son” and said “This is the heir.”

Jesus is “the Son”promised by the prophets.  As Isaiah put it, “a son will be given to us” (Isaiah 9:6).

This son is the heir.  Thus the letter of Hebrews begins by saying, among other things, that “the Son” was “appointed heir of all things.”  Of course, since all things belong to God, it is only to be expected that His Son would inherit all things.

For this reason Isaiah wrote “they will hang on Him all the glory of His Father’s house,” and Jesus said that He would “come in the glory of His Father” (Matthew 16:27).

The “heir of all things” has indeed inherited all things.

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, unless otherwise noted.

Scriptures on Worldliness

This post is part of a Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves.

Here are some verses which speak of that which is of, or like, the world [emphasis added]:

1 Timothy 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

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1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”–

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2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

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 Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

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Jude 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

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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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How Our Place in the World Is Related to His Place in the World

This post is related to the previous post Scriptures on the Place of the People of God in This World.

The place we have in the world is a function of His place in the world.  As He is despised, so we are despised.  We must love those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us.

Psalm 69:9 For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

This verse is quoted in Romans 15:3 (see below).

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Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

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John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

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Romans 15:3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”

This verse quotes Psalm 9:9 (see above).  When we side with God, His enemies turn against us.

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Hebrews 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
Hebrews 13:13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

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1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

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1 John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

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Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Seed Became a Tree That Was Cut Down…But Bore Fruit Anyway

God had promised that through “the seed” of Abraham, all the families of the earth would be blessed.  See Acts 3:25 and Genesis 22:18.

That seed would become a tree.  See Psalm 1:3.

That tree would be cut down to a stump, but that stump would remain holy seed.  See Isaiah 6:13.

Like Aaron’s rod that budded, that stump bore fruit.  See Matthew 13:31-32.

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.

 

Scriptures on Christ’s Victory over the World

Previous post related to this subject are:

This post is, specifically, on the victory of Christ over the world.  His love has overcome the world and brought it into subjection.  Therefore, we are in a position to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), because He has done so in a cosmic and eternal way.  That is, we imitate on a micro basis what He has accomplished on a macro basis.

Here then are some verses which speak of how Christ – and we in His name and through His power – overcome the world [emphasis and comments added]:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Christ overcame the world through love.  His way is the way we should follow.

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John 4:42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

That Christ saves the world through His love (see John 3:16-17 above) earns Him the title of “the Savior of the world.”  See 1 John 4:14 below where this title is also used.

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John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

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2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
2 Corinthians 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

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1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

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1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

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1 John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

See comment on John 4:42 above.

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1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
1 John 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

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Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Could there be a more definitive word on the subject?  And be aware also that this prophecy has long since been fulfilled – see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

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Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on the World

What people today would call “modernity,” “pop culture,” or some other term, the Bible calls “the world.”  It represents the way of the world that is apart from, and actually against, God.  That is the subject of this post.

A related post – Scriptures on the Place of the People of God in This World – speaks of the polarization between those in the world, and those who resist its influence in order to follow Christ.

Here then are some verses which make explicit reference to the world [emhasis added]:

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
Matthew 4:9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

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Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

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John 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

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John 8:23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.

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John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

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John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

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John 14:30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;
John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

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John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

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John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

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1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

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1 Corinthians 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1 Corinthians 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
1 Corinthians 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

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2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

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Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

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Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;
Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Hebrews 11:38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

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James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

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2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

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1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

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1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

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1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
1 John 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

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1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

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Jude 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

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Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

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As mentioned at the beginning of this post, see also Scriptures on the Place of the People of God in This World.

And be sure to know how the tension between us and world is resolved: Scriptures on Christ’s Victory over the World.

Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

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, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

We Partially Understand God Before We Fully Understand

Proverbs 4:18 says that the path of the righteous “is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

Psalm 97:11 says that “light is sown like seed for the righteous.”

Even Paul wrote the Corinthians in his second letter saying, “…you also partially did understand us…” (2 Corinthians 1:14).

All these verses point to the reality that we generally apprehend God’s truths gradually.  That’s not to say that there aren’t occasional bursts of insight…but even those come in measured doses, often building on what we’ve understood up until that point…as well as laying a foundation for what we’ll understand better later.

Even though the confession  of Jesus as the Son of God was a scriptural allusion to the resurrection found in Psalm 2 (this is corroborated by Romans 1:3-4), Peter – when he first made this confession – did not comprehend that resurrection was entailed – as his strenuous objection to the idea of Jesus’ death clearly indicates (Matthew 16:21-22).

Thus when Peter called Jesus “the Christ,the Son of the living God,” he meant it and it was a true statement.  But Peter understood it far more fully on Easter Sunday and during the subsequent 39 days when Jesus was teaching His disciples just how thoroughly the Scriptures had prophesied all that was happening to Him (Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48).  After that, Jesus ascended to heaven and the disciples were dependent on His Holy Spirit to lead and guide them through the Scriptures.  We can be sure that they continued to grow in their understanding, for the implications of what was happening in their midst was just too profound to take in all at once.

As Jesus said to His disciples the night before He died, He continues to say to us now:

John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

In fact, it will take us ages to imbibe it all:

Ephesians 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

So, let’s be open to understand all He wants to share with us today so that we’ll increase our capacity to understand what He wants to show us tomorrow.

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, unless otherwise noted.