The Royal Law Is the Law of Christ

James 2:8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.

James tells here what is “the royal law.”  The NASB marginal note says that those words could also be translated as “the law of our King.” Who is “our King” but the Christ?

Compare this with something Paul says:

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Isn’t Paul speaking about the same King and the same law?

Thus “the royal law” and “the law of Christ” are the same thing.  James and Paul agree.  Since this gives us a more sure word, let us therefore be all the more determined to live our lives according to it.

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

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.)

The Apostles Tell Us How to Understand the Old Testament…But Only Indirectly

The New Testament explains how we are to understand the Old Testament.  That is, the apostles interpret the prophets.

We know that the defining principle of the Old Testament is that it testifies to Jesus Christ (John 5:39; for more explanation, see The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ).  The apostles help us to work out that principle with their writings (i.e. the New Testament).

Bear in mind, however, that the apostles did not sit down to pen a letter to the ages in which they would explain to all succeeding generations what they had learned from the Lord.  No.  In fact, the New Testament documents seem all to be written for very specific purposes and for purposes that applied to specific groups living in that generation.

According to Bible scholars, the earliest New Testament documents we have were the seven letters of Paul (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon) that were written roughly 50-60 A.D.  Since Bible scholars peg the death of Jesus at roughly 30-33 A.D., this means there was at least fifteen years of development in thinking about Christ before the first New Testament document was written.  And when you read those letters you get a sense of how very much was already commonly understood by believers at that time.

There are so many things they mentioned that we would like to understand better.  I’m talking about things not explained in the letters because the writers knew that the recipients already understood them and therefore only made fleeting references.  Sometimes these were very important issues.  You know that when you are writing letters to a family member from whom you are temporarily separated, you write mainly about issues that are relevant to the time.  You do not write about settled issues, important issues that are well understood by both of you and don’t need repeating.  “Remember what a great time we had at Nantucket” may bring forth a host of important memories for writer and recipient alike – but who living centuries later would have a clue as to what was meant?

Yet we can gain understanding of the Old Testament documents through the New Testament documents.  We just have to study them carefully.  And…we also have to obey the instruction of the Lord in them because it is only by the light of the Holy Spirit that the truths of Scripture will come forth (2 Peter 1:19-21).  The Holy Spirit is not given where Jesus is not obeyed (Acts 5:32).

Thus it is not the apostles writing to us directly that brings the fullness of understanding we need of Jesus Christ.  Rather it is the apostles writing indirectly and the Holy Spirit’s illumination that helps us understand what the apostles understood (2 Timothy 2:7).

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.)

As He Is, So Also Are We (If There Is One, There Will Be Many)

1 John 4:17 …as He is, so also are we in this world.

Thus…

…if there is an anointed one (Isaiah 61:1), then there will be anointed ones (Psalm 105:15).

…if there is a righteous one (Isaiah 53:11), then there will be righteous ones (Psalm 97:12).

…if there is a holy one (1 John 2:20), then there will be holy ones (Psalm 16:3).

…if there is one called (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15), then there will be many called (Matthew 22:14)

…if there is a chosen one (Isaiah 42:1), then there will be chosen ones (Psalm 105:6; Revelation 17:14).

…if there is a servant of the Lord (Isaiah 52:13; 53:11), then there will be servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17).

…if there is a stone (Psalm 118:22), then there will be stones (1 Peter 2:5).

…if there is a branch (Zechariah 3:8), then there will be branches (John 15:5).

…if there is a person (1 Peter 1:11), then there will be a people (1 Peter 2:9-10).

…if there is a prophet (Acts 3:22), then there will be prophets (Psalm 105:15 and Numbers 11:29).

…if there is a priest (Hebrews 5:5-6), then there will be priests (1 Peter 2:9).

…if there is a firstborn (Hebrews 1:), then there will be many more born (Romans 8:29).

…if there is a son (Psalm 2:7), then there will be many sons (2 Corinthians 6:18).

…if there is an heir (Matthew 21:33-41; Psalm 2:8), then there will be many heirs (Matthew 5:5; Romans 8:16-17)

…if there is a king (John 18:37), then there will be many kings (2 Timothy 2:12; Romans 8:16-17; 1 Corinthians 4:8)

…if there is a witness (Isaiah 55:4; John 18:37), then there will be many witnesses (Acts 1:8).

As He is, so also are we – we who believe and obey Him.

See also this post about scriptural names for the people of God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Whose Law Do You Love?

Psalm 119:97 O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Who is the “Your” in this verse?  Of course, it’s the Lord.  But is it the Lord’s law through Moses that is in view or the Lord’s law through Christ?

When it was written, Israelites understood the verse to refer to the Law of Moses…because Christ had not yet come.  But now that Christ has come, how can we think it still applies to the Law of Moses?  Jesus is Lord and therefore it must be His law that we love.

Where do we go to find Jesus’ law?  Well, we can certainly find it summarized in New Testament verses like Mark 12:28-34 and John 13:34.  But there is so much more to understand about Christ in what we call the Old Testament (John 5:39).  There, however, we must lean upon the Holy Spirit to give us understanding of what we’re reading (2 Peter 1:19-21), for we cannot see the kingdom of God except by the Spirit of God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Jesus Christ Came to Transition Us

Jesus Christ came to transition humanity…

…from the kingdom of earth to the kingdom of heaven.

…from the kingdom of man to the kingdom of God.

…from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

…from living according to the flesh to living according to the spirit.

The church was merely the vehicle for this transitional process.  Thus it was only to have lasted for the New Testament.  It was never intended to last this long.  We should be seeking the kingdom of God, not 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. 

From the Kingdom of Earth to the Kingdom of Heaven

The terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are attributed to Jesus interchangeably.  They’re just different ways of saying the same thing.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, Psalm 2’s ultimate meaning was achieved.  Its initial meaning referring to the Zion where King David reigned, where Solomon reigned, and where Jews everywhere hoped David’s great descendant promised from God would one day reign.  However, when that great descendant finally came – Jesus of Nazareth – He demonstrated through His crucifixion and resurrection that the Zion ultimately intended by the words of that psalm was the Zion of heaven.  Thus it says  that the Lord’s anointed (king) would be installed on “Zion, My holy mountain.”  Psalm 110:1-2 confirms this, as does Hebrews 12:22.

“Kingdom of heaven” implies a whole new orientation to the things of God.  No longer anchored in earth, they would be anchored in heavenly places (thus the book of Ephesians speaks of “heavenly places” five times – Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12).

It is sad and perplexing that almost two thousand years later so much of the Christian movement is still holding to an earth-anchored experience.  Let us forsake the church of men and join the church of God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

The Law of Moses or the Law of Christ?

The New Testament church struggled over the assimilation of the Gentiles, as evidenced in the book of Acts, but even more notably in the letters of Paul.  This reflects Paul’s assigned ministry, which although he was a Jew, was to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:6-9).

Though not an exclusively Jewish movement, the New Testament church was primarily a Jewish movement.  And it was certainly a Jewish-led movement.  Jews were raised to observe the Law of Moses.  When Messiah came, pious Jews were ready to receive Him but they did not reject the Law of Moses in the process.  The recurring Gentile controversy of the New Testament was whether or not Gentiles should be required to observe the Law of Moses as Jews did.  Paul’s answer was an emphatic “no.”

Paul rightly understood that the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) could be understood in one of two ways:  according to the flesh (which is the way Moses had laid it down) or according to the spirit (which is the way Jesus was taking it up).  For this reason Paul writes:

Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

By the first reference to “Law” in this sentence, Paul is referring to “the Law of Moses,” which we’ve just identified as the law according to the flesh.  The second expression – “the Law and the Prophets” – refers to Scripture which testifies to Messiah and His kingdom (what we call the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible).  This leads to a different law because there is a different lawgiver.  Thus Paul could write about “the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2).  Christ is a king, and every king has a kingdom and every kingdom has a “law of the land.”

Those observing the Law of Moses, for example, would regard “Zion” in Psalm 2 to refer to Jerusalem on earth, but those observing the law of Christ would regard that Zion to be in heaven (as confirmed in Hebrews 12:22).

The Law of Moses had its purpose for a time, but the Law of Christ was instituted to be eternal.  It still applies today.  In its simplest terms, the Law of Christ is love.

The Law of Moses required animal sacrifices in a specific physical location  The Law of Christ requires personal sacrifices in a specific spiritual attitude.  There’s no more temple to receive animal sacrifices in the earthly Jerusalem, and there hasn’t been for a long time.  Therefore, it’s long past time for us to take up the Law of Christ, which is love.  Let us do so!

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 Purpose of the New Testament Is to Explain – Not Replace – the Old Testament

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus 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.

Why then do people act as if the Old Testament is to be avoided in favor of the New Testament?

Only through the New Testament can we properly understand the Old Testament…but understand the Old Testament we must!

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. 

Greek Words Translated as “Servant” in the NASB New Testament

There are a variety of Greek words that get translated as “servant” in the NASB New Testament.  When I say “servant” I am referring not just to the word”servant” per se, but also to any hyphenated form in which “servant” occurs.  There are two of these forms that we find when we search the NASB New Testament for “servant.”  They are “bond-servant,” and “servant-girl.”

The variety of Greek words that are translated into servant, or hyphenated version of “servant,” are often translated into words other than “servant.”  Other translations of these words (which you will see identified below) include “minister,” boy,” “child,” “slave,” and “bondslave.”

The word “servant” appears 80 times in the NASB New Testament.  These occurrences can be broken down as follows [emphasis added for visual clarity; the Greek words are listed in the order of their prominence in accounting for the English word]:

servant(s)” – 49 times

1249 diakonos; of unc. or.; a servant, minister:–deacons(3), minister(7), servant(10), servants(9).

3816 pais; a prim. word; a child, boy, youth:–boy(4), child(1), children(1), girl’s(1), male children(1), men(1), servant(12), servants(2), slaves*(1), son(1).

3610b oiketês; from 3611; a house servant:–servant(2), servants(2).

1247 diakoneô; from 1249; to serve, minister:–administered(1), administration(1), cared(1), contributing…support(1), do…the serving(1), employ…in serving(1), minister(3), ministered(2), ministering(3), servant(1), serve(4), serve as deacons(1), served(2), served as deacons(1), serves(5), services…rendered(1), serving(4), take care(1), wait(1), waited(3).

2324 therapôn; a prim. word; an attendant:–servant(1).

bond-servant(s)” – 25 times

1401 doulos; of unc. der.; a slave:–bond-servant(11), bond-servants(12), bondslave(3), bondslaves(8), both men and women(8), servants(1), slave(58), slave’s(1), slaves(39).

4889 sundoulos; from 4862 and 1401; a fellow servant:–fellow bond-servant(2), fellow servant(2), fellow servants(1), fellow slave(2), fellow slaves(3).

servant-girl(s)” – 6 times (1 of these is a fill-in of an ellipsis; therefore the Greek word only appears 5 times)

3814 paidiskê; dim. of 3816; a young girl, maidservant:–bondwoman(5), servant-girl(4), servant-girls(1), slave-girl(2), slaves*(1), women(1).

[Note: the occurrences listed above total to 80, while the NASB Strong’s concordance lists 76.  The reason for the difference is that the NASB Strong’s concordance lists number of verses in which the word occurrences (rather than number of occurrences of the word).  Therefore, when you have two occurrences of the word in a single verse – as you do here, on four different occasions – the count does not increase.  I also checked these numbers against the Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance, published by Zondervan.]

Regarding the term “bond-servant,” while it shows up frequently in the NASB New Testament (25 times), does not appear at all in the NASB Old Testament.  Note that the underlying Greek word “doulos” (Strong’s 1401, or its cognate 4889) is also translated as “bond-slave,” “slave,” and even once simply as “servant.”  “Doulos” (Strong’s 1401) actually shows up often in the ABP, but is translated there as “slave,” “bondman,” “manservant,” “an ancillary,” or “subject.”

As with “bond-servant,” there is no occurrence of “servant-girl” in the NASB Old Testament.  The ABP shows the underlying Greek word “paidiske” (Strong’s 3814) showing up over three dozen times, with the English translation being “a female child,” “a girl,” or a “maidservant.”

The simple word “servant” shows up many, many times in the NASB Old Testament.  In the ABP English-Greek Index the following relevant entries are shown, the Greek words being followed the Strong’s number (the words to the right of the dash alternative translations to the main one):

servant, a

diakonos (1249) –

paidion (3813) – boy, child, offspring

pais (3816) – boy; child; girl; maidservant; manservant

servant-lad, a

paidarion (3808) – boy; boyhood; young man; youngster (this is the masc. dim. of 3816 as 3814 is the fem. dim. of it, shown above)

bondman

desmotes (1202) – prisoner

doulos (1401) – man-servant; slave; subject

bondwoman

dole (1399)

slave

doulos (1401) – bondman; manservant; subject

Thus the ABP LXX seems more consistent in translating “diakonos” and “pais” (and their cognates) as “servant,” while translating “doulos” (and its cognates) as slave or bondman.

In the NASB Old Testament there are no occurrences of “bond-.” That is, there are no occurrences of any of the terms above that begin with “bond,” whether with or without a dash.  You can find, however, about 30 occurrences of “bondage,” “bond,” “bonds” – most of which have to do with slavery (e.g. “both bond and free in Israel”).

The NASB Old Testament shows over 300 occurrences of “servant,” the vast majority of which are translations of “ebed” (Strong’s Hebrew 5650).

5650 ebed (713d); from 5647; slave, servant:–attendants(1), bondage(2), male(24), male servant(7), male servants(5), male slaves(1), officers(1), official(2), Servant(6), servant(332), servant’s(4), servant*(1), servants(353), servants'(2), servants*(12), slave(25), slave’s(1), slave*(4), slavery(11), slaves(19), slaves*(8).

There are only about 1/10 as many occurrences of “slave” in the NASB Old Testament as there are of “servant.”  Most of these, too, are translations of “ebed” (5650).

Conclusions

Normally, the NASB is more consistent in its translation.  Its failure to consistently render “diakonos” (1249) as servant and “doulos” (1401) as slave in the New Testament creates confusion – especially when it comes to the important task of correlating these respective occurrences with their counterparts in the Old Testament.

The lack of consistency for pais (3816) is more understandable since this word correlates to our own colloquial use of the term “boy” to refer to a child (“my boy Timmy”) or a worker (“my boys will start construction next week”).

While there are obviously nuanced differences in meaning between these various terms (and sometimes perhaps more difference than a nuance), we should be able to generally understand “servant” in the NASB New Testament to mean the same thing as “servant” in the NASB Old Testament.  And we should not make too much of variations like bond-servant, slave, and so on, except as these terms might be differentiated in a specific passage for a specific purpose.

Obviously, this has implications for studying Jesus because He is the “servant” of Isaiah 42:1; 52:13; and 53:11 (even though the first two are “pais” and the third is a verbal noun from “doulos”), as well as the “servant” of Acts 3:13,26; 4:27, 30 (even though all four occurrences are of “pais”).  (By the way, these are the only references to Jesus as “servant” in the book of Acts, for more on the Acts 4 references 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. 

Psalm 45:2 – Seeing Jesus as the One with Grace

Psalm 45:2 …Grace is poured upon Your lips…

These words were spoken by the psalmist to “the King” (verse 1).  We know that these words are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  That is, “the King” is Jesus, because He was “the Anointed.”

As for grace being poured upon His lips, consider what was said of Jesus of Nazareth after He spoke in the synagogue of Nazareth:

Luke 4:22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips…

The alternate translation for “gracious words” is given in the NASB as “words of grace.”  Thus, words of grace were “poured upon His lips.”

Thus we may read the words of Psalm 45 as being ultimately addressed to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 1:8-9 concurs.

For this reason, many of the letters in the New Testament begin with an invocation of “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” because it is through His words that we have come to know salvation (Hebrews 2:3).

Note also that we should imitate our Lord and His speaking in grace:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

If we imitate Him successfully, then people may see how Jesus is indeed “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

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. 

We Can Only Serve God in This Generation

We can only serve God in the generation in which we find ourselves.

David “served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36).  We can only serve God in this generation.

Jesus said:

Matthew 23:29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
Matthew 23:30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
Matthew 23:31 “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

The scribes and Pharisees thought sure they were siding with the prophets and the righteous of prior generations, but were trying to murder Jesus – a prophet and a righteous man – in their own generation.  And they succeeded, thus testifying against themselves.  They would have been against the prophets and righteous men of prior generations – not for them.

We often like to think what we would do in ancient times.  The answer is found in what we do in our own times.

Today is the day to serve the Lord.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow.  Today.

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

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.)

Meditate on the One Who Removes Sin

Jesus Christ removes not only the stain of sins past, but He guides so as to remove sin as an activity in our lives.

Ponder these verses and deepen your perception of Him as the One – and the only one – who removes sin from our lives.

There are, of course, many more verses than these…but these will start you well.

Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

John 3:14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
John 3:15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

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

John 1:29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 13:8 Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

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.”

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.

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 Trees

Everything in the creation is a potential metaphor for God to teach us about Himself, about life, and about ourselves.  Here are some examples of how God uses trees to teach us about living with Him [emphasis added].

1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.

“He” refers to Solomon.

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Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

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Is 61:3 …
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

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Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

Note the vivid contrast between “a bush in desert” and “a tree by water.”

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Daniel 4:26 ‘And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.

Daniel was here prophesying that Nebuchadnezzar was like a tree cut down, that would eventually be restored.

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Matthew 3:10 “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Contrast this tree with the tree of Psalm 1.

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Revelation 22:1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Revelation 22:2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

In addition to relating back to the tree of life in the garden of Eden, this image also evokes the imagery of Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17:5-8 (both above) with the tree beside life-giving water.

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For more on other metaphors from the world of growing things 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.)

Loving the Things of God

If we would love God, should we not be loving the things of God?

Strong relationships are based on shared interests.  Therefore, let our thoughts, words, and deeds be about the things that matter most to God.

Here are some verses to help you identify those things that God would have us love.  I cite the chapter and verse, and then follow with a brief summary.  I have not tried to eliminate repetition, nor have I tried to identify synonyms (e.g. “law” and “commandments”).

Psalm 33:5  (Let us love righteousness and justice.)

Psalm 45:7  (Let us love righteousness and hate wickedness.)

Psalm 119:47, 48, 127  (Let us love His commandments.)

Psalm 119:97, 165  (Let us love His law.)

Micah 6:8  (Let us love kindness.)

John 3:19-21  (Let us love light and not darkness.)

John 12:43  (Let us love the approval of God and not the approval of men.)

2 Corinthians 9:7  (Let us love to give cheerfully.)

2 Thessalonians 2:19  (Let us love the truth.)

2 Timothy 3:4  (Let us love God instead of loving pleasure.)

2 Timothy 4:8  (Let us love His having appeared.)

Hebrews 1:9  (Let us love righteousness and hate lawlessness.)

Hebrews 6:10  (Let us love His name.)

 

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 the Centrality of Christ

The scriptures that follow speak to the central place Christ is to hold in our thinking.  Christ is not peripheral to our faith.  He is not one of its most important facets. He is not part of a trinity with whom He shares importance.  He is nothing less than the utter essence of our faith and life.  He is our all in all.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

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2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

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Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

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Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

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1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

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1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

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2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

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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.)

Psalm 15:4

Psalm 15:4 …He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

He who swears to his own hurt and does not change walks in the steps of God.

Didn’t God swear to Abraham that he would have a son who would bless the all the nations?  (Hebrews 6:13-18).  And didn’t God swear to David that He would seat one of his descendants on his throne?  (Acts 2:29-32)

Wasn’t Jesus the fulfillment of both of these promises and the oaths that confirmed them?  And doesn’t it pain God when we insult His grace?  And doesn’t He keep His oaths anyway?

Let us be like Him, keeping our word no matter what.

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. 

2 Samuel 7:11

2 Samuel 7:11 …The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.

This is the promise of God to David.

Now here is Jesus reiterating that promise:

John 14:3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

The house He made for us is heaven – the new heaven (Isaiah 66:22).  This is the house to which David and all the rest of us are going.  God built it…according to promise.

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 Bible Is More About Promises Than Predictions

It is certainly not wrong to say that God predicted through the Old Testament prophets that His Messiah would one day come.  However, it better conveys the reality to say that God promised through the Old Testament prophets that His Messiah would one day come .  That is, Messiah’s coming was not a matter of sterile prediction but rather of personal promise.  God invested His integrity into this plan.

Yes, God predicted.  But, more importantly, He promised.  Catch the spirit of the apostle Paul’s characterization of God’s commitment…and His fulfillment of that commitment in these verses:

Acts 13:23 “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
Romans 1:2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
Romans 1:3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Titus 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,

Yes, you can say there was prediction or prophecy in the Old Testament, but God’s personal involvement in the plan is perhaps best conveyed by the word “promise.”

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 24:17

Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

Though Balaam (who spoke this prophecy in the time of Moses) knew that the star he was describing would rise one distant day, Jesus testified over a thousand years later that the day had finally come:

Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

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 Was in the Ark of the Covenant?

What was in the ark of the covenant?  The short answer is, “the covenant.”  For the longer answer, keep reading.

In the heart of the tabernacle, and subsequently the temple, was the ark of the covenant.  The nations, among whom Israel assumed a place when they came out of their slavery in Egypt, typically worship idols – graven images.  God commanded the Israelites to do something very different.  They had no image of God to carry around.  On the contrary, they hauled around a box in which was the agreement (covenant) between God and His people – said agreement being encapsulated in the Ten Commandments given to Moses.  Hence the name: the ark of the covenant.

This symbolized that the connection between the true God and His people was not some visible image but rather a covenant relationship adhered to in the hiddenness of the heart.  If God’s people were faithful to the covenant, God would be faithful to bless them in every way.  If God’s people were unfaithful to the covenant, they would be inviting curses upon themselves.  We see this dynamic played out in the history of the Old Testament.

Today our covenant is with Jesus as Lord, and we obey His command to love.  The ark of this covenant is our hearts.  We are the temple of the Lord.  Or at least we hope to be, eh?

Here then are scriptures on what was in the ark of the covenant [emphasis added]:

Deuteronomy 10:1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood for yourself.
Deuteronomy 10:2 ‘I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.’
Deuteronomy 10:3 “So I made an ark of acacia wood and cut out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hand.
Deuteronomy 10:4 “He wrote on the tablets, like the former writing, the Ten Commandments which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me.
Deuteronomy 10:5 “Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the LORD commanded me.”

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2 Chronicles 5:6 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.
2 Chronicles 5:7 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.
2 Chronicles 5:8 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles.
2 Chronicles 5:9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day.
2 Chronicles 5:10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

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2 Chronicles 6:10 “Now the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in the place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
2 Chronicles 6:11 “There I have set the ark in which is the covenant of the LORD, which He made with the sons of Israel.”

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Hebrews 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
Hebrews 9:3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
Hebrews 9:4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;
Hebrews 9:5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

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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.)

The Greek “Archegos” (Author, Prince) in the New Testament

There are four occurrences of the Greek word “archegos” (Strong’s 747) in the New Testament.  The NASB’s Strong’s concordance shows the term as meaning “founder,” or “leader.”  It shows the word as coming from 757,” meaning “to rule” or “to begin,” and 2233 “hegeomai” meaning “to lead” or “suppose.”  In the New Testament, this term is translated twice as “prince” and twice as “author.”  Here  are the four occurrences [emphasis added]:

Acts 3:15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.

Acts 5:31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Considering these four verses, we could rightly say that Jesus was the Author of life…faith…and salvation.

The ABP’s Lexical Concordance gives the meaning as “leader,” “originator,” “ruler,” “founder,” “chief,” “head,” and “author.”  It lists 24 occurrences in the Septuagint.

In considering all this, another English word that comes to mind for this term is “progenitor” – as in Jesus is the progenitor of…

Jesus is indeed the ultimate progenitor.

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. 

Joshua 5:12

Joshua 5:12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.

This speaks of that moment when the New Testament church ceased receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its gatherings.  That is, “he who restrains the lawless man” (2 Thessalonians 2:6) was removed that the apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3) might run its full course.  For those who were sanctified (Hebrews 12:14), it was time for “the hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17).

That is, when the kingdom of God came, Jesus began explaining everything privately to His own disciples.  Do not worry that any disciples will be forgotten;, for “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19), and He will feed them.

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.)

How the Old Testament Refers to Itself

We are using to see how dependent the New Testament is on the Old Testament.  In fact, without the Old Testament, the New Testament would make no sense.  Thus the Old Testament lays a foundation that the New Testament builds upon.

We should also be aware that the Old Testament itself – being written and compiled over a 1,500-year period – is built in layers, with each successive layer referring to the ones prior.  The first layer was the Law of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  As books are added, we can see them making reference to things written in the books that were already there.

Because the order in which the Old Testament books appear is not strictly chronological, the linkages from one book to another are not always “from right to left.”  For example, you can see below that the book of Ezra refers to the books of Haggai and Zechariah.  However, in most English Bibles, the book of Ezra precedes the other two rather than following them.  Therefore, the intertextual links don’t always appear to be sequential.  Understanding the Bible’s pervasive intertextuality, however, allows the Bible to become a commentary on itself – reducing reliance upon others to explain its contents.

Below are some examples of an Old Testament book referencing something from a previous Old Testament book.  It only scratches the surface of the Old Testament’s self-referential nature.  Perhaps, though, it will be enough to give you a feel for how interwoven are the Bible’s ideas.

2 Samuel 11:21 ‘Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’–then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'”

In this verse, Joab is recalling for David an incident from Judges 9:50-54.

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2 Kings 14:6 But the sons of the slayers he did not put to death, according to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, as the LORD commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the sons, nor the sons be put to death for the fathers; but each shall be put to death for his own sin.”

This verse is speaking specifically of Deuteronomy 24:16, which is, of course, part of “the Law of Moses.”

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2 Kings 17:7 Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods
2 Kings 17:8 and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced.
2 Kings 17:9 The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the LORD their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city.
2 Kings 17:10 They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree,
2 Kings 17:11 and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD.
2 Kings 17:12 They served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.”
2 Kings 17:13 Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.”
2 Kings 17:14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God.
2 Kings 17:15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.
2 Kings 17:16 They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.
2 Kings 17:17 Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him.
2 Kings 17:18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.
2 Kings 17:19 Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced.
2 Kings 17:20 The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.
2 Kings 17:21 When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin.
2 Kings 17:22 The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them
2 Kings 17:23 until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day.

This passage explains why the Northern Kingdom (called “the Kingdom of Israel” in contrast to the Southern Kingdom which was called “the Kingdom of Judah”) was captured by the Assyrians and taken into exile.  The simple reason?  Failure to heed Moses and the Prophets.  This passage characterizes and encapsulates Israel’s history from the time in Egypt to this point in the book of 2 Kings.

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2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.

The “He” to which this veres refers is King Hezekiah.  The incident with Moses and the bronze serpent is found in Numbers 21:8,9.  (The incident is also mentioned by Jesus in John 3:14.)

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2 Kings 18:5 He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.
2 Kings 18:6 For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.

King Hezekiah is the “he” referenced here.  When the king adhered to the Law of Moses and the warnings of the prophets, the nation fared well.

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2 Kings 18:11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and put them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
2 Kings 18:12 because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded; they would neither listen nor do it.

The “he” referenced here is King Hoshea of the Northern Kingdom.  Because he was a wicked king, like those who had preceded him, the people fared poorly.  The nation rose and fell based on its faithfulness, or lack thereof, to the Scriptures first handed down by Moses.

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2 Kings 21:8 “And I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.”

This verse is making a general reference to the Law of Moses.  There are so many of them in the Scriptures that only a minuscule fraction of them can be shown in this post.

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2 Kings 23:21 Then the king commanded all the people saying, “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.”
2 Kings 23:22 Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.
2 Kings 23:23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the LORD in Jerusalem.

Verse 22 makes reference first to the time covered by the books of Judges and Ruth, and then by the time covered by the books of Samuel and Kings.  Of course, the reference to the original Passover is a reference to Exodus 12.

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Ezra 5:1 When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them,
Ezra 5:2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.

Haggai and Zechariah are two prophets, responsible for books that bear their names in the Old Testament.  See also Ezra 6:14, where a similar reference is made.

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Malachi 4:4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

The prophet Malachi is here calling the people of Israel to be faithful to the Law given to them through Moses.  Of course, this was a common appeal by the prophets.

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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 Spiritual Time

The scripture makes reference to spiritual time, which operates differently than the time on a clock or calendar.  Spiritual time, or season, hsa to do with the appropriateness of an activity – especially from the standpoint of righteousness.

We ourselves use “time” in this sense when we say to someone, “It’s time you learned how to do this yourself” or “There’s a time and place for everything.”  Likewise, think of spiritual time in this way:  What time is it when you see a starving man?  It’s time to feed him.

Perhaps the best known biblical reference to time in this sense comes from the book of Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–
Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes  3:5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes  3:9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?
Ecclesiastes  3:10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

References to “seasons” or “signs” can also be allusions to this sort of time.

Here then are some verses that speak of time when used in this sense.  You may have to read some of them in context to properly appreciate the time refeence.  [Emphasis, and occasional comments, added]

2 Kings 5:26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants?

The obvious implication here is that it was not “time” for these things.

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2 Kings 7:9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”

What made waiting until morning light was the circumstances in which these people found themselves.

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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.

This verse is perhaps one of the most illuminating regarding “spiritual time.”  See that it’s connected with what ought to be done – that is, with righteousness.

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Esther 1:13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times–for it was the custom of the king so to speak before all who knew law and justice

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Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

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Ecclesiastes 8:5 He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.
Ecclesiastes 8:6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him.

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Haggai  1:4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”

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Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
Matthew 16:2 But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
Matthew 16:3 “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?
Matthew 16:4 “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.

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John 7:8 “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.”

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John 8:20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

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John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

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Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 1:28 in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

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Other posts on various aspects of time in the Scriptures:

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.)

Samson, Saul, and Shiloh

Samson, Saul, and Shiloh.  What do these three have in common?  They all received the Spirit of God, and then had the Spirit of God taken from them.

The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on Samson (Judges 14:6), but because of his loose lips, then left without him even noticing (Judges 16:20).

The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Saul (10:10), but because of his disobedience, the Spirit of the Lord left him – and was replaced by an evil spirit that terrorized him (1 Samuel 16:14).

Shiloh had been the resting place of the ark of the covenant since Joshua brought Israel into Canaan.  1 Samuel 4 tells the story of its demise, and of how the name Ichabod (meaning “the glory has departed”) came to be.  Psalm 78:60 makes reference to this, and Jeremiah evokes the name “Shiloh” as a proverb in Jeremiah 7:1-15).

Above all, therefore, let us pray like David:

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

David had seen first hand what such deprivation meant in the life of Saul, who loved David – but in the absence of the Spirit sought to murder him.  Such a difference the Spirit makes!

It is not by our own strength, but by the strength of His Spirit that we prevail:

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.

Those of us who seek the kingdom of God know that the Holy Spirit is essential:

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

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

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 Dates, Years, and Times

The prophets and apostles did not write with reference to the calendar we use.  Yet there are occasional verses which make refence to a lapse of years between one event and another that help us to keep track of time periods.  Here are some of them:

Genesis 15:13 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
Genesis 15:14 “But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

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Exodus 12:40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
Exodus 12:41 And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

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Numbers 32:13 “So the LORD’S anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the LORD was destroyed.

For other references to these 40 years, see Deuteronomy 2:7; 8:2, 4.

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Deuteronomy 31:1 So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel.
Deuteronmy 31:2 And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’

For other references to these 120 years, see Deuteronomy 34:7.

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1 Kings 6:1 Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

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2 Chronicles 36:20 Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,
2 Chronicles 36:21 to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

As for the prophesy by Jeremiah of a seventy year exile for Judah, see references from his book below.

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Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:

Though without explicit reference to the seventy years that Jeremiah gave, this is a reference to Jeremiah 25:1-12 and 29:10-11 (see below).

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Jeremiah 25:10 ‘Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.
Jeremiah 25:11 ‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Jeremiah 25:12 ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the LORD, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.

Jeremiah 29:10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.
Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

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Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans–
Daniel 9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Daniel was one of the exiles, so he was seeking to understand what would happen at the end of the seventy year exile that Jeremiah had prophesied.

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Zechariah 1:12 Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?”

Zechariah 7:5 “Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years, was it actually for Me that you fasted?

Zechariah is looking back on the sevety years of exile that Jeremiah had prophesied (above).

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Acts 7:2 And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
Acts 7:3 and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’
Acts 7:4 “Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living.
Acts 7:5 “But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.
Acts 7:6 “But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.
Acts 7:7 “‘AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’

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Acts 13:17 “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.
Acts 13:18 “For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness.
Acts 13:19 “When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance–all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.
Acts 13:20 “After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
Acts 13:21 “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Acts 13:22 “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’

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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.
Galatians 3:17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

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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.)

Why Pursue Obsolete Things When the Reality Is Available?

Why pursue things that are obsolete when the reality they represent has become available?

Consider this:

Psalm 45:7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

Which would you rather have:  the oil that represents joy…or the joy?

Don’t pursue the shadows when the substance is right before you.  Just as Paul wrote:

Colossians 2:17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Christ is the reality we should seek above all else.  Everything in the Bible is merely a pointer 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.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

Expressions of Devotion Which Are Fitting for the Lord

Here are expressions of devotion found in Scripture which we may adapt for use in expressing our devotion to the Lord.  Let these be impressed deeply in our minds, that we might genuinely think and feel them toward the Lord in the deepest privacy of our hearts.  He will see, and if we express them in sincerity, He will be blessed.

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
Ruth 1:17 “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

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1 Samuel 20:4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”

Jonathan and David were committed to each other in covenant friendship.

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2 Samuel 15:21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”

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2 Samuel 19:24 Then Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace.
2 Samuel 19:25 It was when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?”
2 Samuel 19:26 So he answered, “O my lord, the king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself that I may ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame.
2 Samuel 19:27 “Moreover, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is like the angel of God, therefore do what is good in your sight.
2 Samuel 19:28 “For all my father’s household was nothing but dead men before my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right do I have yet that I should complain anymore to the king?”

This passage relates how Mephibosheth (son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul) responded to David’s successful return to reign.

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2 Samuel 19:29 So the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decided, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.'”
2 Samuel 19:30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him even take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.”

This is the coda to Mephibosheth’s response.

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There is no reason why we cannot feel these kinds of stirrings for the One we love so much.

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.)

When God Makes Things Obsolete

Whenever God makes something obsolete, there are always some people who want to hang on to it anyway.

We’ve seen how God rendered obsolete the practice on anointing with oil a king for Israel.

Christians can recognize this mistake in Jews who want to hold on to old covenant understandings, but don’t seem to recognize the same tendencies in themselves.  Some Christians cling to communion, even those it is obsolete.  They cling to water baptism, even though it is obsolete.  They want to cling to church, even though it is obsolete.

Jews and Christians alike recognize that God has rendered animal sacrifice obsolete – why can’t they recognize that animal sacrifice is not the only biblical practice that biblical principles have rendered obsolete?

Hebrews 8:13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Yet how can what’s obsolete ever disappear if people keep clinging to it?

Leave behind the types and shadows, and pursue the reality of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God!

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Scriptures on Principles, Pronouncements, and Examples of Judgment

The Lord executes His judgments in a variety of ways.  (For more on His judgments see Scriptures on Judgment.)  Here are some examples [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

1 Samuel 25:39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” …

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1 Samuel 26:9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed and be without guilt?”
1 Samuel 26:10 David also said, “As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish.

David knows that it’s wrong to judgment into his own hands.  That’s why he declares that Saul’s evildoing will be judged by the Lord in due time, and with appropriate justice.

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2 Samuel 3:39 “I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil.”

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2 Samuel 6:23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

To appreciate the meaning of this judgment, you really need to read the whole chapter and not just this closing sentence.

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2 Samuel 12:9 ‘Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
2 Samuel 12:10 ‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
2 Samuel 12:11 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
2 Samuel 12:12 ‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'”

This is God’s judgment against David for his sin with Bathsheba.

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Jeremiah 50:29 “Summon many against Babylon,
All those who bend the bow:
Encamp against her on every side,
Let there be no escape.
Repay her according to her work;
According to all that she has done, so do to her;
For she has become arrogant against the LORD,
Against the Holy One of Israel.

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Jeremiah 51:56 For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon,
And her mighty men will be captured,
Their bows are shattered;
For the LORD is a God of recompense,
He will fully repay.

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Obadiah 1:15 “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you.
Your dealings will return on your own head.

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Habakkuk 2:8 “Because you have looted many nations,
All the remainder of the peoples will loot you
Because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land,
To the town and all its inhabitants.

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Related post:  Scriptures on Judgment

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 New Creation

We know that God is the Creator of heaven and earth (see Scriptures on God as Creator).  We also know that the first humans – Adam and Eve – spoiled the creation by their sin.  And we also know that God promised to redeem and renew His creation.  Here are some verses which speak to this promise which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Lord [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Isaiah 43:18 “Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

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Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

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Isaiah 66:22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD,
“So your offspring and your name will endure.

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Acts 3:19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 3:20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
Acts 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

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Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

The “Adam to come” is, of course, the beginning of the new creation.

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1 Corinthians 15:45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

That Jesus is “Adam” speaks of a new creation; that He is the “last” Adam speaks of the eternal nature of that new creation.

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2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

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2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

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Galatians 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

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Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

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Ephesians 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
Ephesians 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
Ephesians 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
Ephesians 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Ephesians 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

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2 Peter 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Peter surely would have been thinking about the promises through Isaiah (listed above) when he wrote this line.

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Revelation 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

Whether it’s the original creation or the new one, it is true that Messiah was the beginning of it.

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Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
Revelation 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

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Related post:  Scriptures on God as Creator

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.)

When Anointing the King with Oil Was Rendered Obsolete

The first king of Israel was designated by anointing him with oil.  Thereafter, that became the standard way of designating a king in Israel.

The anointing oil was symbolic of God’s presence in the life of the one He had chosen to rule over His inheritance.

When Jesus was designated as king of Israel He was anointed with the Holy Spirit in a measure beyond that which any other king of Israel had ever enjoyed.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus made the lame to walk, healed the lepers, opened blind eyes and deaf ears, and even brought the dead back to life.  What was oil compared to the Holy Spirit?  What was the symbol when compared with the reality?

Thus oil was rendered obsolete in the anointing of kings. For that matter, the anointing of kings was rendered obsolete as Israel would never need another one.  This one would reign forever!

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 God as Creator

Of course, the Scriptures give an account of God as Creator in the first two chapters of Genesis.  Nonetheless, there are many other places in the Scriptures where the prophets and apostles reference this important truth, even if only fleetingly.  This idea would not be mentioned repeatedly in the Scriptures unless it were important, and the fact that it is therefore challenged often in the world today is no surprise.  Here then are some of the verses which reinforce the truth of creation [emphasis added]:

Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

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Deuteronomy 4:32 “Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it?

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2 Kings 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

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1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.

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Nehemiah 9:6 “You alone are the LORD.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.

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Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
Psalm 24:2 For He has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.

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Psalm 90:1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

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Psalm 95:5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.

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Psalm 96:4 For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.

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Psalm 102:25 “Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

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Psalm 115:15 May you be blessed of the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth.

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Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

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Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

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Psalm 134:3 May the LORD bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.

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Psalm 136:5 To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Psalm 136:6 To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Psalm 136:7 To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
Psalm 136:8 The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
Psalm 136:9 The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

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Psalm 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Psalm 146:6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;

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Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.

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Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

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Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.

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Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,
“I, the LORD, am the maker of all things,
Stretching out the heavens by Myself
And spreading out the earth all alone,

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Isaiah 45:11 Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons,
And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.
Isaiah 45:12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it.
I stretched out the heavens with My hands
And I ordained all their host.

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Isaiah 51:13 That you have forgotten the LORD your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth,
That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor,
As he makes ready to destroy?
But where is the fury of the oppressor?

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Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the LORD,
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
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 10:12 It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.

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Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

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Jeremiah 33:2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name,

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Jonah 1:9 He [Jonah] said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.

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Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

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Mark 13:19 “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.

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Acts 4:24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM,

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Acts 14:14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out
Acts 14:15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM.

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Acts 17:23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
Acts 17:27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

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Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
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,
Romans 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

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Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

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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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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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2 Peter 3:5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,

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Revelation 10:5 Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven,
Revelation 10:6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer,

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Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;
Revelation 14:7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.

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Related post:  Scriptures on the New Creation

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 Law of Moses as a Microcosm of the Scriptures

As the Law of Moses was completed on the eve of Israel’s entrance into the promised land, so the Scriptures in their totality were completed on the eve of spiritual Israel’s entry into the kingdom of God.

That is, the New Testament – as the captstone of Holy Scripture, which, up until that point, consisted of the Old Testament – was completed just as Jesus was about to come in His kingdom.  Of course, that kingdom came in the late 1st Century A.D. (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again), and has reigned eternal ever since.

Thus God put in writing what each generation would need to take the promised land.  In the case of ancient Israel, that promised land was Canaan.  In the case of spiritual Israel, that promised land is the whole earth (Matthew 5:5).

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 Jesus’ Regard for the Prophets

Jesus thought highly of the prophets.  He trusted them.  He believed that they spoke for His Father.

Jesus modeled His own life after the prophets, and encouraged His disciples to do the same.

Jesus believed everything that His Father had said about Him through the prophets.  Here are some verses which make clear Jesus’ trust in the prophets [emphasis added]:  

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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

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Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luke 24:46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
Luke 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things.

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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.)

1 Samuel 10:27

1 Samuel 10:27 But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.

There are some who wonder, “How can Jesus Christ deliver us?”  They cannot conceive of how the kingdom of God is encapsulated in His being.  This one…THIS ONE…came to us as a single human being, tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.   And so some despise Him, and bring Him no gift.

Yet He keeps silent to them.

To we who love and embrace Him, however, He speaks.  Therefore,

Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking…

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 14:4

Numbers 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

Here is encapsulated the apostasy that marked the end of the glory of the New Testament church.

It wasn’t just the leaders drawing the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30), it was disciples themselves being complicit by following after the flesh instead of the spirit.

If God appointed a leader (Moses), what were these people doing appointing their own?

If Jesus Christ was appointed head of the church, what human being is going to be able to take His place?

If the apostles weren’t willing to take on that role, who else dares?

There are today tens of thousands of Christian denominations.  In each and every case, its members have “appointed a leader to return to Egypt.”

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.  

Joshua 4:14

Joshua 4:14 On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.

Was not Joshua a type of Jesus in this verse, and does it not, the same way as Deuteronomy 18:15, foreshadow the following verse from David?

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

Ponder.  (It is not the multitude of man’s words that matter; it is deep attention focused on any words of God that makes all the difference.)

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. 

Joshua 3:7

Joshua 3:7 Now the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.

If this was true for Joshua, how much more true it was for the Joshua that we call Jesus.

And if it was true for Jesus the day He began His earthly ministry, how much more it was true when He was raised from the dead!

Even more so than Joshua, Jesus was the “prophet like Moses” raised up by 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.  

Words That Go with Doubt, Double-Mindedness, and a Divided Heart

Doubt is double-mindedness.  It is the state of a divided heart.  It is the going back and forth between believing and not believing.  Put another way, it’s the unwilling to settle on belief or unbelief.  Certain characteristics go with this state.  Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the words that the Bible uses to describe the characteristics of this state:

“halting”  –  From the King James Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” below)

“hesitating”  –  As in Elijah’s challenge: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21).

“limping”  –  From the English Standard Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” above).

“unstable”  –  See James 1:8 where the double-minded (i.e. doubting) man is said to be “unstable in all his ways.”

“vacillate”  –  Although 2 Corinthians 1:17 doesn’t explicitly reference doubt or double-mindedness, the similarity with the idea cannot be missed.  Thus a doubting man is vacillating between belief and unbelief, and therefore is of two minds.

“wavering”  –  See Romans 4:20 where Paul says that Abraham did not “waver in unbelief.”  Also from the New International Version of 1 Kings 18:21 (see “hesitating” above).

windblown  –  This word is inferred from the description of the doubting (i.e. double-minded) man in James 1:6, which says that he is “like the surf of the sea drived and tossed by the wind.”  (By the way, this calls to mind the phrase “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” found in Ephesians 5:14-16.)  This word also fits with Jesus’ question to Peter “Why did you doubt?” when Peter was provoked to fear by the wind and began to sink in his walk on the water to Jesus.

Since we ourselves would not want God or His angels to characterize us in this way, we should seek to avoid doubting

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.)

A Double-Minded Man Is a Divided Kingdom

Jesus said:

Matthew 12:25 …”Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.

He must have figured that it went without saying that neither can a man divided against himself stand.  And indeed it does, for James confidently says:  

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
James 1:8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

A double-minded man is “unstable in all his ways” just as a divided kingdom, divided city, or divided house are all unstable.  For this reason, those with undivided hearts are rightly commended:

1 Chronicles 12:33 Of Zebulun, there were 50,000 who went out in the army, who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart.

Therefore, let us serve God with undivided hearts.

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

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.)

Double-Mindedness Is Doubt; Doubt Is Vacillating Between Two Minds

To be double-minded is, of course, to be of two minds on a subject.  Where faith is concerned, this means being both believing and unbelieving.  That is, if you are double-minded then you have within you both a mind to believe and a mind not to believe.

This state of having two minds is called doubt.  Doubt is thus a vacillation, or alternation, between believing and not believing.  It is the hesitation to make a choice between those two minds.

For this reason James says:

James 4:8 …purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Get down to one mind.  That is, be single-minded in your devotion to 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Hypocrites Are Unbelievers

Jesus tells this parable in Matthew:

Matthew 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?
Matthew 24:46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
Matthew 24:47 “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
Matthew 24:48 “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’
Matthew 24:49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;
Matthew 24:50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,
Matthew 24:51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In Luke’s version (Luke 12:42-46), the parable ends with Jesus saying, “…assign him a place with the unbelievers.”  Thus we may understand that hypocrisy and unbelief go hand in hand.

This stands to reason because hypocrites are, of course, pretending.  They are playacting.  They are feigning faith.  Therefore, the underlying problems of a hypocrite are the problems of an unbeliever.

Let us not fake faith, for this would put us in an unpleasant place.  When we find ourselves faking it, let us repent so that Christ may bring us to a better place.

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.)

1 Samuel 26:9

1 Samuel 26:9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed and be without guilt?”

It’s too bad so few leaders in first-century Judea had the spirit of David when faced with deciding the fate of Jesus of Nazareth.  It’s true that they did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah…but did they think at all about His credentials?

Matthew 11:5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

At least Nicodemus had the common sense and common decency to admit:

John 3:2 …”Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Spiritual blindness leads to bad decisions.  Pray that the eyes of your heart be enlightened…always.

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.)

The Apostolic Mind

The apostles of Jesus Christ were taught by Him to read the Scriptures in a way that none of them had ever read the Scriptures before.  In a phrase, Jesus taught them to read the Scriptures according to the spirit and not according to the flesh.

This new way of reading the Scriptures caused the apostles to understand the people of God differently.  When reading according to the flesh, the people of God were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  When reading according to the spirit, the people of God were those who followed Messiah.  At first, the apostles understood this to mean Jews who followed Messiah, but in time they came to see that Gentiles could follow Messiah and be included in the people of God, too. In retrospect, this was an obvious conclusion, for why would you read the Scriptures according to the spirit, but limit their application to people according to the flesh.  Old attitudes die hard in the human mind, however, and so this understanding took a little longer to change.

What distinguished old Israel (that is, the people of God according to the flesh) from new Israel (that is, the people of God according to the spirit) was, as said above, faith in Christ.  Here, therefore, we see cases where believers – rather than physical descendants of Abraham – are regarded as God’s nation:

In Matthew 19:28, Jesus says tells His apostles that they will sit on the thrones for the twelve tribes of Israel.  That is, as the physical nation had its patriarchs (Judah, Levi, Benjamin, and the rest), so spiritual Israel would have its patriarch (Peter, James, John, and the rest).

In Matthew 21:43, Jesus tells the rulers of Israel that God’s rule would be taken away from them and given to “another people.”  Who were those other people?  People who put faith in Christ.

In Luke 22:30, Jesus makes a point similar to the one He made in Matthew 19:28.

In Romans 8:28-29, Paul explicitly distinguishes Jews of the flesh (“outward Jews”) from Jews of the spirit (inward Jews).

In the third chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul contrasts the exceeding glory of the new covenant when compared to the glory of the covenant that preceded it.  This evokes Haggai 2:9, which otherwise some might have interpreted to mean that the Messiah would have more “stuff” than Solomon, but actually meant that Messiah would have spiritual, not earthly, trappings.

In Galatians 6:16, Paul blesses “the Israel of God.”  This references those who no longer trust in circumcision, but rather in Christ Himself.

In Philippians 3, Paul uses the term “circumcision” to refer to Israel, distinguishing the “true circumcision” from the “false circumcision.”  Of course, believers constituted “the true circumcision.”  Those who gloried in the flesh were the “false circumcision” – or we could say “false Israel” or “the false people of God.”

The epistle to the Hebrews is obviously addressed to believers – not merely physical Hebrews.

In James 1:1, he addresses his letter to “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad” – that is, those who believe in Christ and who are spread all over the Mediterranean world.

In 1 Peter 2:9-10 Peter takes Old Testament expressions and applies them to believers:  “a chosen race,” “a royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” “a people for God’s own possession, and “the people of God.”  In the Old Testament, these terms had been applied to the physical descendants of Abraham; here, Peter is apply to those who believe in Jesus.

In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, the expression “those who say they are Jews and are not” is obviously an allusion to this concept of distinguishing physical Israel from spiritual Israel.

Physical Israel is an earthly and therefore temporal identity.  By contrast, spiritual Israel is a heavenly and therefore eternal identity.  (See 2 Corinthians 4:18.)  The apostles the Scriptures in the way they were ultimately intended to be read.  It took Jesus Christ Himself, however, to bring that understanding.

Related post:  Scriptures on Christ as Moses

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.)

2 Samuel 19:10

2 Samuel 19:10 “However, Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now then, why are you silent about bringing the king back?”

No matter who Christians have chosen to be over them in the Lord, such leaders have eventually died.  Why then are Christians “silent about bringing the king back?”

Let us indeed acknowledge that the king has come back…and we are His!  Therefore, let us seek His kingdom.

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. 

Judges 17:6

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Alas, this is the largely the state of Christendom today.  That is, there are some 40,000 denominations, each claiming authority over some of the Lord’s sheep.  Hear instead how the Lord would have it:

John 10:16 “…they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

Make the Lord your only spiritual leader, and be a part of the only church that matters.

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.