Learning a New Language, a Language of the Spirit

The language of Scripture is the language of prophecy.  They are both the language of God.

God has a different perspective from ours.  It’s a higher one (Isaiah 55:8-13).  He calls us to hear…and speak His language.

This means learning a new language.  This should not surprise us because this is what infants do.  And are we not infants in the Lord, children to be reared?  Shall our Father not teach us to speak?

Walking with God means learning a language with which we can exchange thoughts with Him.  That language is laid out for us in the Bible.  Jesus was its most effective and eloquent practitioner.  Listening to Him is the best way to learn God’s language.

Remember: it’s the language of righteousness.  It’s the language of love.

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

 

The Language of Prophecy Is Like the Language of Scripture

The language of prophecy is like the language of Scripture because they have a common author:  The Holy Spirit.  See 2 Peter 1:19-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Prophecy is speaking from the dimension of existence we cannot see, telling us how that dimension is affecting the dimension that we can see.

Prophecy is the voice of God.  So is Scripture.  No wonder they speak the same language.

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.  

Prophecy Is a Language All Its Own

The first two chapters of Luke gives the accounts of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus.  These accounts make known the activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Elizabeth, Zacharias, Simeon, and others.  The utterances of these people when moved by the Holy Spirit are not the normal sorts of things we here people say when children are born. Read these chapters yourself and see that these folks are speaking the language of the Spirit, the language of prophecy.

These everyday folks sound like Isaiah or Jeremiah or Joel…because they are being given utterance by the same Holy Spirit who gave utterance to those Old Testament prophets.

Prophecy has its own approach to life.  You could say of prophecy what the officers sent by the chief priests and Pharisees said of Jesus after encountering Him:  “Never man spake like this…” (King James Version).  Jesus spoke by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the common voice behind all prophecy.  We should not be surprised therefore that prophecy has a certain identifiable characteristic to it, no matter who is speaking it.

Prophecy is indeed a language all is own.

See also:

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Psalm 126:3

Psalm 126:3 The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.

The Lord Jesus Christ has indeed done great things for us.  He has emptied Sheol (Hades) and opened heaven.  The breaker went up before us and made a place for us in heaven (John 14:2-3).  This is a great work, and we shall believe when it is described to us (Acts 13;40-41)!

The “us” in Psalm 126:3 is the human race, for who is there among our brothers that we do not love enough to reclaim?  Shall any be forgotten?  God forbid it!

“Not one of these will be missing; None will lack its mate,” is the way Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 34:16).

Therefore we shall be glad in the Lord, for who could not be glad at this wonderful news of restoration!

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.  

Obadiah 1:21

Obadiah 1:21 …And the kingdom will be the LORD’S.

Who is the Lord but Jesus?

And what is the kingdom but the kingdom of God?

This scripture is fulfilled.  It is fulfilled in Christ.

The kingdom of God is here and now, with Jesus as Lord.  Let us serve Him with all our hearts!

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

1 Chronicles 5:2

1 Chronicles 5:2 Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph),

The leader that would come from Judah was, of course, Jesus.

That “the birthright belonged to Joseph” speaks of Joseph being more worthy than Judah as a type of Christ.  And indeed he was.

Jesus can be found everywhere in the Bible.  Pray for eyes to see Him and you will not need me anymore.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Genesis 49:10 – Jesus the Messiah

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Ancient Jews knew that this prophecy from Jacob referred to the Messiah – that most special descendant of Abraham – who would one day come and fulfill all the promises God made to Abraham.  Thus when the kingship fell to a descendant of Judah – David by name – the promises of Messiah were confirmed and expanded (as in 2 Samuel 7:12-16; posts on 2 Samuel 7).

When Jesus – descendant of David – rose from the dead, the promise made through Jacob in Genesis 49:10 was fulfilled, for Jesus said at that time:

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

Thus was He bequeathed the obedience of all peoples.  Truly, all the nations were being given to Him (Psalm 2:8), and He was being made “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:1-2).  In the coming of His kingdom, all was consummated.

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 19:1

Psalm 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

In the law of Moses, this verse spoke of the physical heavens and earth.  In the law of Christ, however, it speaks of the new heavens (Isaiah 65:17) which Jesus created (John 14:2-3).

In these new heavens, the righteous shine – including the apostles and the New Testament church.  They distinguished themselves from all other generations.  And, of course, all the biblical worthies from prior times shine with them (Hebrews 11:1-40) in these new heavens.

All the dead used to descend to Sheol (Hades); now they ascend to heaven.  There, they are all telling of the glory of God – from the least of them to the greatest of them, for they all know 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.)

Daniel 6:5

Daniel 6:5 Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”

And so it was with Jesus of Nazareth, the One to whom all Scripture testifies.  The opponents of Jesus plotted against Him. They tried to trap Him into saying something in public by which they could discredit Him (Matthew 22:15; Mark 12:13)…unsuccessfully.  In the end, the only thing they could think to do was to accuse Him of something “with regard to the law of his God.”

What then did they do?  Here’s the irony: they accused Him of being the Messiah.  This was a point which Jesus had to admit was true…and He did at His trial.  Thus the only accusation that stuck was the one that was absolutely true but which was not in the least a sin!  (Mark 14:53-65).

Thus Daniel typified and foreshadowed Jesus in this regard.

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 Parable of the Unjust Steward Tells Us to See This Life as Merely Preliminary to the Next

Jesus told us to “hate” life in this world that we might “love” it in the next.  He makes the same point in His parable of “The Unjust Steward” (Luke 16:1-8).

In this parable, Jesus tells of a steward (or “manager” in some translations) who deals dishonestly.  For this reason, the master is taking the stewardship away from him.  This is analogous to our place in this world.  We are given life as a stewardship.  That is, we are to live our lives in service to the Creator who placed us here to rule and benefit His creation (Genesis 1:28).  However, we all sin.  And because we all sin, we all die (Romans 3:23; 5:12).  Thus we know our “stewardship” will be taken away from us.  That is, we shall all one day die.  What then shall we do?

The point of the parable is to use the resources we have at our disposal in this life to “make friends” who can help us when whatever comes after the stewardship comes.  Of course, we make friends with God (who else could do more for us in the life to come?) by doing things for those who cannot themselves pay us back (Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 14:12-14).  Thus we are to “hate” our lives in this world, which means that we are to stop living for the riches, honor, and glory of this life and starting living for the riches, honor, and glory that are eternal.

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

 

More from Jesus on Loving and Hating

Here’s another example of what could be called “love-hate comparative terminology” in the teaching of Jesus:

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Verse 25 is much easier to understand, of course, when you take it in the context of verse 24.  Thus Jesus is pointing out that our life in this world is like a seed.  If you have seed corn, you value it more for the corn that it will ultimately produce than for the corn that it is now.  For this reason, you don’t eat your seed corn, that you might eat from an abundant harvest of it down the road.

Thus “hate” in this teaching is not to be taken in a literal, absolute sense, but rather in a comparative and hyperbolic sense.  People who eat their seed corn will have to depend on the mercy of others for a taste of the harvest.

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.  

Does Jesus Want Us to Hate People He Tells Us to Love?

If there is a kind of love that’s appropriate for a man to show himself, what then did Jesus mean when He said:

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Jesus is here speaking in comparative and hyperbolic terms, for it is quite obvious by His example and His teaching that He thought honoring parents was very important.  As for His example, see, for instance, John 19:26-27 when He, hanging from the cross, made sure His mother received care after He died.  As for His teaching, see, for instance, his condemnation of the Pharisees for disrespecting parents with their religious practices.

In Luke 14:26, Jesus is telling us that coming to Him is such a polarizing act that we must be prepared to withstand the pull of every other source that we  might remain pulled to Him.  He experienced this dynamic Himself as even His own family members tried to draw Him away from His devotion to God (Mark 3:21).  They thought they were doing Him a favor…but they weren’t.  He forgave them.  We should likewise forgive those who seek to hold us back from being fully devoted to Christ.

Love yourself least of all; love Jesus most of all.

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.  

Is It Really Okay to Love Ourselves?

Jesus said, repeating and affirming Moses in the process:

Leviticus 19:18 …you shall love your neighbor as yourself…

Thus love of ourselves is appropriate.

And the apostle pointed out the simple fact that:

Ephesians 5:29 …no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…

That is, no one intentionally drops a brick on his own toe.  In fact, we don’t even step on our own toes.  Therefore, let’s don’t step on anyone else’s either.

We are to love God first, others second, and ourselves last, for this is the law of the Lord.  It will do no one any good if you decide to treat yourself shabbily.

Just be sure to love everyone else more.

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.  

More on the Law of the Lord that We Are to Meditate and Do Day and Night

Psalm 1 gives us the picture of how the righteous man lives his life.

Again, who is the Lord?  Jesus!

What is His law?  Love!

Who are we to love?  Everyone!  Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last.*

And how do we love?  By serving the best interests of God and others, in that order.

*(Some people think we’re not supposed to love ourselves but the Golden Rule says we’re to love others as we love ourselves.  If we don’t love ourselves, what good is it going to do our neighbors to be treated according to that standard?)

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.

 

Meditating on His Law in the Night, Too

It is not just during the day that we can think about the Lord’s law to do it.  We can do so during the night as well.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,

Psalm 119:148 My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Therefore, we can enjoy the Lord twenty-four hours a day!

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.

1 Samuel 10:1

1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the LORD anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?

The New Testament church, in the place of Samuel, anointed the resurrected Jesus, in the place of Saul, as ruler over the Lord’s inheritance according to Psalm 2.  (That is, 1 Samuel 10:1 is a type of what happened when Jesus was raised from the dead and proclaimed as Lord of all by the church in New Testament times.)

The NASB marginal note for Psalm 2:12 reveals that the literal expression reads “Kiss the Son” which matches the language of 1 Samuel 10:1.  (That is, it’s the same Hebrew word in both verses.)

Psalm 2:8 says that the Son’s inheritance would be “the nations” and “the ends of the earth.”  As the opening of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews puts it, the Son is “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2).

Thus 1 Samuel 10:1 foreshadows Jesus our Lord.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jesus Came That We Might Perceive God More Accurately

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world [God’s] 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.

From observing creation, we can infer many of God’s attributes.  However, through Jesus Christ we can perceive God much more fully and accurately.

Through creation, we know God as Creator.  Yet the creation has been subjected to futility because of sin (Romans 8:20-21).  Thus the preacher in Ecclesiastes cries out “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity”  (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2).  Therefore, there’s only so much we can learn about God through creation.  We are not seeing its fulfillment to purpose.  It is through Jesus Christ, that we learn of God as Redeemer.

God’s goodness can be seen through what He has done as Creator.  His unfathomable goodness can be seen through what He has done as Redeemer.  Therefore, through Jesus Christ God is both the Creator and Redeemer of all that is.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

He Has Given Us Jesus That We Might Better Recognize His Spirit

Of Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15 says “He is the image of the invisible God.”  Thus to see Jesus is to see what God is like.

The Holy Spirit is called by various names in the Scripture, including “the Spirit of Christ” and “the Spirit of Jesus.”  But even without names so directly attached to Jesus, we would know that the Spirit must be like Him – for He is the Spirit of God and Jesus is the image of God.

We no longer have Jesus according to the flesh, nor have we had Him according to the flesh for almost two thousand years.  We do have, however, the Holy Spirit.  We recognize His work by the resemblance to Jesus.  We recognize His ways by their resemblance to the ways of Jesus.  We recognize His wisdom by its similarity to the wisdom of Jesus.

We would have a much harder time recognizing the moving of the Holy Spirit in this world if we didn’t know about Jesus.

He who has seen Jesus has seen the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus.

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. 

Zechariah 9:9 – Gentle and Humble

[Emphasis added throughout.]

The prophet Zechariah says:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

When Matthew quotes him, it comes out like this:

Matthew 21:5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'”

Thus we are not surprised to hear Jesus of Nazareth – the very king of whom this prophecy speaks – acknowledge:

Matthew 11:29 …I am gentle and humble in heart…

This is not the kind of king the world is used to recognizing.  May God grant us the eyes to see Him…and serve 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.)

Numbers 27:18

Numbers 27:18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;

Here we see Joshua as a type of Christ.

We recall that Joshua was not the name given this man at birth by his parents, but rather the special name given him by Moses (Numbers 13:16).  Joshua, of course, is the Hebrew form of “Jesus.”  Thus Moses commissioning Hoshea the son of Nun as Joshua reinforces Moses’ prophecy of Jesus as the prophetic leader to follow him:

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

Certainly, Jesus was a man “in whom was the Spirit,” for Peter says:

Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

As Joshua followed Moses on earth, so Jesus followed Moses on earth and in heaven – forever.

As the congregation listened to Moses, so they were to listen – ever more closely – to the one who succeeded 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. 

Numbers 27:16-17

Numbers 27:16 “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,
Numbers 27:17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

Here we have a type of Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • He is the “man appointed over the congregation.”  – see 1 Timothy 2:5
  • He “leads them.”  –  see Matthew 23:10
  • He is their “shepherd.”  –  see John 10:11.

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. 

Zechariah 4:10

Zechariah 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things?

From a worldly standpoint, Jesus’ beginnings were insignificant.

Even raised from the dead, people have wondered how he could save the world.

Like the tiny mustard seed, he grew to be the greatest of all the trees.

Why then do we think lightly of the small beginnings of Christ in our lives?  Let us take them seriously.  Let us take Him and the workings of His Spirit seriously.  For if we do, great thing will come.  Greater than we can imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

That “power that works within us” is the power of His Holy Spirit.  Indeed, “despise not the day of small things!”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Numbers 12:3

We find this in the Old Testament:

Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)

In the very next book of the Old Testament we find this statement from Moses:

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

Then in the New Testament we find this verse from Jesus:

Matthew 11:29 …I am gentle and humble in heart…

Thus we have:

  1. Moses was a humble man and great prophet.
  2. Moses said God would raise up a prophet like him.
  3. Jesus was raised up by God to speak for God…and was humble like Moses.  Even more so.

Moses was a precursor to Christ both in office and in attitude.

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. 

Esau Did Not Value the Things of God

David took seriously the things of God.  By contrast, Esau did not.  Since Esau lived before David, it is likely that David learned from his mistake.  That is, it is likely that, hearing the words of Moses from Genesis about the failings of Esau, David took those lessons to heart.  Here is the way a New Testament writer sums up the lesson to be learned from the life of Esau:

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

Esau did not take seriously what it meant to be heir to the promises God made to Abraham.  He squandered his inheritance.

We make Esau’s mistake when we don’t take seriously God’s promise that we would be heirs to Christ’s anointing – the Holy Spirit.

We who seek the kingdom of God cannot find it or abide in it without the Spirit of God:

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

No Holy Spirit, no kingdom of God.  Therefore, seek the Spirit from your heavenly father Jesus Christ:

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

David Valued the Things of God…and We Can, Too

When David faced the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, he saw some things others didn’t see.  For one thing, David appreciated the fact that he and his fellow combatants were descendants of Abraham – a man who had received promises from God signified by circumcision, to which they were all heirs.  Thus David could ask incredulously:

1 Samuel 17:26 …[W]ho is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”

Since this defiant Philistine was not an heir to the covenant of circumcision, how would his size help him against those who were?

Further, David had experience in leaning on God for help in things that would otherwise be more than he could handle.  Like any pious Jewish boy, he had been taught through the Ten Commandments that Moses gave to honor his father and mother.  Thus he was most zealous to protect the flock of his father’s sheep which had been entrusted to him.  David could recall that experience when Saul asked him how he proposed to win against an opponent who was so much larger:

1 Samuel 17:34 …David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,
1 Samuel 17:35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
1 Samuel 17:36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”

David also knew from his upbringing as an Israelite, hearing the stories of Scripture, that Israel had previously faced giants in this very land when they first sought entrance (Numbers 13-14).  Twelve Israelite spies had been sent to scout the promised land.  Ten of them came back too frightened to enter it because of its “men of great size” (Numbers 13:32).  God was so disappointed in this response that he sentenced Israel to forty years of circling the wilderness before they could enter the promised land of Canaan.  David didn’t want Israel to similarly disappoint God on this occasion.

Thus David took seriously what he had been taught about God – the promises to Abraham, the help in obeying the commandments of God, and the history of Israel.  All these things David learned from hearing the Scriptures and taking them seriously.  We can do the same.

We have been promised the Holy Spirit in this age to live the life of Jesus.  We should take this promise seriously.

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 Offices of Prophet and King Came Together in Saul Even Before They Came Together in David

We know that the offices of prophet and king come together in the Messiah of Israel: Jesus Christ.

We also know that these two offices came together in David, king and prophet of Israel long before.

We should therefore be aware also that the two offices had come together even in the first king of Israel, Saul.  See 1 Samuel 10:1-7, especially verse 6.

Saul, as it turned out, was not faithful to God in his calling and so the Spirit of the Lord left him and rested on David instead (1 Samuel 16:13-14).

Having learned from the failure of Saul, David determined not to make the same mistake.  When he was caught in sin with Bathsheba, his plea was that the Holy Spirit not be taken from him (Psalm 51:11).  By contrast, Saul’s plea when he was caught in sin was to ask that he not lose honor in the sight of the people (1 Samuel 16:30).  Thus David loved the approval of God while Saul loved the approval of men.  (See John 12:42-43.)  This explains why their fates were so different even though both started in the same position of king.

Thus the offices of prophet and king came together in Saul, but could not stay together in him because he did not keep his heart united to fear God (Psalm 86:11).  And once he lost one office, he was doomed to lose the other.

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 Offices of Prophet and King Came Together in David

Most people know David was a king, but sometimes we forget he was a prophet, too.  Peter reminds us:

Acts 2:29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Acts 2:30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE,
Acts 2:31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.

Peter is here quoting Psalm 16 which is attributed to David.  Note that Peter says explicitly that David “was a prophet.”

Thus when the strains of messianic prophecy about a prophet come together with the strains of messianic prophecy about a king in Jesus of Nazareth, we can’t say that we don’t have precedent for such a combination because they came together in David long before.  This gives the expression “son of David” all the more meaning when considering the promised Messiah.

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.)

Jerusalem’s Priests Were Unwilling to Anoint Jesus King; They Preferred to Murder Him

It was the practice in ancient Israel for a priest to anoint whomever God chose to be king of Israel.  In the days of Jesus of Nazareth, God was doing all sorts of miracles through him, indicating that this Galilean was indeed a chosen vessel of God.  Nonetheless, Israel’s ruling priests were unwilling to anoint Him as king.  Even when it was known that he was a descendant of David, and therefore a legitimate claimant to the promises made to David, they still would not take seriously the claim that he might be God’s promised Messiah.

The chief priests instead wanted to kill Jesus.  They were envious of the crowds that followed him; he was a threat to priestly power and status.  Thus they prevailed upon the Roman governor to crucify him on the charge of sedition against Roman order.

Therefore, unlike his ancestor David, Jesus had no priest to anoint him and make Him king.  All he had was the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do miracles and the power of God to be raised from the dead.  Thus the kingship God gave him was infinitely better than the kingship Israel’s priests wouldn’t give him.

We must take sober heed to this lesson because we ourselves can “murder” the Spirit of God coming into our own lives.

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

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

How Could They Say “This Crowd Doesn’t Know the Law?”

How ironic that the Pharisees who said this…

John 7:47 The Pharisees then answered them, “You have not also been led astray, have you?
John 7:48 “No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he?
John 7:49 “But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed.”

…immediately thereafter demonstrated their own scriptural ignorance.

The Pharisees were missing the messianic connection with Galilee made by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:1-2.  At the very least, they could have recognized the need to be more cautious in their judgment of this Galilean.  As it was, they condemned the crowd for being scriptural ignorant while they  themselves had far more access to the Scriptures than the crowd, and yet were ignorant themselves.  Jesus rightly called them hypocrites.

We should take careful heed to this.  Just because we read the Bible does not mean we are more aware of the ways and doings of God than people who don’t read the Bible.  Reading the Bible only commends us to God if we do what it says.

Knowing a little of the Bible and doing it is infinitely better than knowing a lot of the Bible and not doing 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. 

How Could They Say “No Prophet Arises from Galilee?”

John 7:50 Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) *said to them,
John 7:51 “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?”
John 7:52 They answered him, “You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.”

Did these critics not read their own Scriptures?

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
Isaiah 9:2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on 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.