2 Samuel 5:20 – The Lord Was the First to Break Through Death

Jesus was the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5).  As such, He broke through death.

2 Samuel 5:20 So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.”…

As a military man, David appreciated a Lord who could break through enemy lines.

Death is surely our enemy.  As Paul wrote long ago:

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Even today, death is the last enemy God abolishes for us because it is the last enemy we face in life.

In a more cosmic sense, Jesus has already defeated this enemy of death for us:

Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Hebrews 2:15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Jesus defeated death by breaking through it.  He broke through it to heaven.  Because of this, we are free from slavery to the fear it can induce.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Jesus was the first.  And because He was, He won’t be the last.

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. 

Opening the Womb That Had Been Barren

“Sheol” and “the barren womb” are mentioned in the same breath in Proverbs 30:16.  This is appropriate given that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Sheol became a womb opened.  Prior to that, it had been a womb – as well as a tomb – closed.  (For more on how God opened Sheol see this book.)

Jesus broke through death.  He made a place for us in heaven.  He went through death to get to heaven so that a way might be paved for us to follow.

Jesus thus became the firstborn of “many brethren” (Romans 8:29), because many brethren were going to die…and thus raised from the dead.  This is why Paul could say:

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

If Jesus had not paved the way for us, death would still be a dead end for the human race.  Because of Christ, death has become an advancement rather than a demise.  To enter into death means entering the womb that leads to new life.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Audio Book Available

I have just published a complete audio version of my book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact.  Though you can listen to the entire book on this blog, it will be a few days before you can download it to your smartphone or other mobile device.  That’s because it’s being listed in iTunes and other podcast directories separate from my other podcasts, and that process takes a few days.

If you have not read the book, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to listen to it.  Beyond that, you might want to read it and listen to it multiple times until the issue becomes completely settled in your mind.  This settling is important because you will be impressing upon yourself just how faithful the Lord is to His word.  What He promises, He does.  Just as He kept His promises concerning Messiah, you can be sure He will keep His promises concerning you.

Because I want you to have time to listen to this book, and because I needed the time to record it, there will not be an edition of the Biblical Literacy podcast this week.  It will take you three and a half hours to listen to the book.  The next episode of Biblical Literacy should be released first thing Friday, April 11th.

Psalm 89:27 – The Firstborn Who Is Highest of the Kings of the Earth

Psalm 89:27 “I also shall make him My firstborn, 
The highest of the kings of the earth.

How did God make Messiah His firstborn?  By raising Him from the dead.  This is the significance of the word “make” in this sentence.

How did God make Messiah the highest of the kings of the earth?  By placing Messiah far above all the kings of the earth, for a psalmist also prophesies:

Psalm 97:9 For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.

This “far above all” place is none other than the right hand of God.  As David himself says:

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

As for this highest ranking, Paul confirms it twice in Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

*****

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens…

And the apostle John would confirm this status [Emphasis added to make clear the connection with Psalm 89:27.]:

Revelation 1:5 …Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Thus God made Messiah His Firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The “Only Begotten” Is Also the “Firstborn”

Today’s post builds on yesterday’s, just as it built upon the one from the day before.

In Acts 13:32-33, Paul makes clear that Psalm 2:7 is prophesying the resurrection of the Messiah when it says, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”  This “begetting” by God was the resurrection act which brought Jesus forth from the dead below the earth to live forevermore in heaven above the earth.  While earth was home to the “sons of men” (i.e., human beings), heaven was home to the “sons of God” (i.e., angels).  Jesus, however, was unique among these sons of God, not only by being placed at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1), but also because He was “begotten” from the dead – a characteristic which none of the other sons of God could claim.  This made Jesus the “only begotten” son of God.

Jesus was not only was the “only begotten” of God, He was also he “only begotten” from the dead.  For who else had ever been born from death?  Death was a curse, inherited by humanity because of sin.  But God was making death a blessing through Jesus Christ. For Jesus was not only the “only begotten” from the dead, He was also the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5).

The purpose of Jesus’ round trip from heaven to earth and back to heaven again was the redemption of the human race.  Thus Jesus was to be the “firstborn of many brethren” (Romans 8:29).  He was the firstborn who opened “the womb that had been death.”

Thus was it prophesied:

Psalm 89:27 “I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

And thus was it fulfilled:

Revelation 1:5 …Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

BL002 – The Mechanics of Bibles

This episode describes all that is added to Bibles to get them from their original state to the way they appear to us in book stores.  By that, I mean the translation from an ancient language to a modern one, the addition of punctuation, the separation of letters into discrete words with upper and lower case letters, chapter and verse divisions, and more.  We also go through the Bible’s contents, section by section, and sometimes book by book.  The goal is to get you more comfortable with your Bible.

This recording is divided into three segments:

1. Starts at 00:00 – How and why the Bible’s contents are arranged as they are

2. Starts about 26:14 – What’s been added to the text as part of the translation process

3. Starts about 40:35 – The variety of translations and kinds of Bibles

The following notes refer to, or add to, material covered in the recording.

A sample of the variety of Bibles that are available today.  (And here’s the accompanying pdf that I mentioned.)

Here’s a brief post that will review for you some of what’s covered here:  Points to Remember When Reading an English Bible

 Since the terms “Bible,” “Old Testament,” and “New Testament” aren’t in the Bible, see how the Bible does refer to itself by reading this post: What the Bible Calls Itself.

Here are brief posts about my favorite translation (Why I Love the NASB) and favorite Bible study tool (Why I Love Strong’s Concordance).

See also:  Points to Remember When Reading an English Bible

Subscribe to this podcast through:  iTunes | Stitcher RSS

 

All Occurrences of “Only Begotten” in the NASB Along with the Underlying Greek Term

(This post builds on yesterday’s post.)  The literal expression “only begotten” occurs only six times in the NASB, all in the New Testament.  All apply to Jesus, albeit one in typological fashion (Hebrews 11:17).  Here they are  [Emphasis added]:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

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

In all six cases, the underlying Greek term is “monogenes” (Strong’s 3439; if “Strong’s is an unfamiliar term, see just below for link to an explanation), which is, of course, a combination of “mono” (3441) with “genes” (1085).

Searching the NASB Strong’s Concordance (NASB refers to the New American Standard Bible) reveals that there are three additional occurrences of this Greek word in the NASB New Testament, which are translated differently.  I show them below with the word translated from “monogenes” in bold print.

Luke 7:11 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.
Luke 7:12 Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.

Luke 8:41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house;
Luke 8:42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

Luke 9:38 And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy,
Luke 9:39 and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves.

It seems clear that the NASB translators left off the “begotten” from the Luke references since, given their contexts, it would have been redundant.  However, in the six occurrences having application to Jesus, the full term – indicating the uniqueness (mono) associated with the begetting or birthing (genes) – was translated.

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 Only Begotten of the Sons of God

In biblical times, the expression “sons of God” was often a reference to angels, especially superior angels (Job 1:6; 2:1).  Therefore, when the apostle John called Jesus the “only begotten son of God” (John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9), it was a way of distinguishing Him from the heavenly host.

This distinction that John made can be traced to Psalm 2 wherein it says:

Psalm 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

You can see here how “begotten” and “son” are connected in the psalm.  By adding the adjective “only,” John is emphasizing what is unique about this “son of God.”  John uses this phrasing “only begotten” as applied to Jesus elsewhere, albeit in slightly different form (John 1:14, 18).  The point is the same, however: to clearly distinguish Jesus from the rest of the heavenly retinue.  Jesus had made it clear to those who heard Him that He had come from heaven.  John was intent on showing that He wasn’t just one of the gang.

The book of Hebrews focuses on this verse in Psalm 2 for the same reason John did: to distinguish Jesus from the angels.  However, it is more explicit about its intent than John was.  Thus it says:

Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say,
“YOU ARE MY SON,
TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”?…

(The all capital letters portion is the writer’s quotation of Psalm 2:7.)  The writer’s point is that while the angels have been called “sons of God,” none of them – except Jesus – has ever been referred to as “begotten” by God (as it does in Psalm 2).  Thus Jesus’ sonship has a status which is unique.

The writer to the Hebrews confirms this point in the remainder of 1:5 which reads:

Hebrews 1:5 …And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”?

This is a quotation of 2 Samuel 7:14, which was a promise from God through the prophet Nathan to King David.  It could thus apply to no one other than the special son that would one day come through David – that is, the Messiah.  Since this promise applies to Jesus alone, it further distinguishes Him from all other “sons of God” – or angels.  None of them had been the subject of a promise to come to earth through human parentage.

The apostle John and the letter to the Hebrews are both making the point that while angels may have been called “sons of God,” none of them were ever called “begotten” sons of God.

By the way, another sharp contrast that would come to mind for a reader steeped in Scripture is between this uniquely begotten son of God and the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6:1-4.  Those sons of God came to earth not by way of human birth but to pursue pleasure, while this son of God came to forego pleasure and live life as an offering to God.  Thus we are not surprised to see earlier in Hebrews a reference to Jesus as someone who has been “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (4:15).  It is clear from this and other passages in the Hebrews letter that the author is emphasizing the human experience which Jesus had as another differentiator between Him and all the rest of the heavenly beings.

The book of Hebrews also uses the phrase “only begotten son” in a typological way:

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

(By the way, we have now quoted or referenced in this post all the occurrences of “only begotten” in the NASB.  There are six of them.)

The writer of Hebrews knows that his readers will be well aware that Abraham had sired Ishmael before Isaac.  However, that Isaac had come as a result of God’s promise through Sarah rather than through Abraham’s striving through Hagar made Isaac unique.  Thus Isaac is here labeled “only begotten son.”  Using Isaac as a type (Hebrews 11 is a long string of biblical characters who are types of Christ, each revealing a different facet of His glory), Jesus is again being clearly distinguished from all other heavenly beings.  In due time it would be revealed that Christ was God Himself, but in this letter – as in the references made above to the “only begotten” phrases of John – the point was that Christ was not to be seen as just another angel, no matter how glorified.  (God had to bring people along gradually.  First, they experienced Jesus as a man.  Then it they realized that He had come from heaven.  Later they would learn that He was God.  This is God’s way of revealing truth: progressively.  See Psalm 97:11 and Proverbs 4:18.)

To sum up, when John says “only” he is making the same point as Hebrews when it says “to which of the angels did He ever say.”  Both are saying that this “begotten” characteristic of Christ is unique and not to be found applying to an angel anywhere in Scripture.  Therefore, whenever we see the word “begotten” with respect to Jesus, our minds should go back to Psalm 2 and the utterly unique status that it was granting the One of whom it spoke.

For more on “the only begotten” as a reference to Jesus, see these posts.

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

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

Ecclesiastes 4:8 – Love Knows Those for Whom It Labors

Ecclesiastes 4:8 There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.

Jesus commanded us to love (Mark 11:28-34).  A person who loves “knows for whom he is laboring and depriving himself of pleasure.”  He is laboring and depriving himself of pleasure for the sake of those he loves.  No one has to tell him who they are.  Neither does he have to stop and remind himself.  The man who lives for love – by definition – knows for whom he is living, else he couldn’t be living by 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.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Ecclesiastes 9:17 – Christ Is the Best Preacher You’ll Ever Hear

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

It’s better to hear the wise words of Christ’s Holy Spirit in the privacy of your own heart than to attend a big church with a great preacher.

Therefore, prefer Christ to the greatest preachers.  Christ will come to you, you know.  As He promised:

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

Therefore, listen to Christ more than you listen to anyone else.

(I hasten to add that I have recently begun podcasting.  I hope that you will listen, and here is where you can find the latest episode.  However, “it is better to hear the wise words of Christ’s Holy Spirit in the privacy of your own heart than to” listen to any podcast from me.  Of course, this could go without saying, but I wanted to emphasize the point.)

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 111:10 – The Understanding That Comes from Doing the Commandments

Psalm 111:10 …A good understanding have all those who do His commandments…

If understanding the Bible were a matter of academics, this scripture would not hold true.  For if academics were key, then it’s the PhD.’s who would have the greatest understanding of the Scriptures.  The reality is, however, that it’s those who do God’s commandments who receive the understanding He wants to give.

Paul reiterates this point:

1 Corinthians 7:19 …what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

Biblical scholarship has its place, but that place is not central in the life of God.  What is central is to trust and obey what God has said:

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.

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 Kings 3:9 – What Solomon Answered God, and What You Will Answer God

Here is Solomon’s reply to God when offered, “Ask whatever you wish:”

1 Kings 3:9 “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil.

If you are as wise as Solomon, you will ask Christ for wisdom.  But when you do, be sure to use the wisdom He gives you.  Otherwise, these words from the book of Hebrews might come to apply to you:

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

You must practice discerning good from evil.  It does no good to receive wisdom if you don’t practice it.

And remember:  As simplistic, naive, and foolish as it sounds to the world around us, the wisest wisdom around is simply to turn away from evil:

Proverbs 14:16 A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil…

The wisdom of the world means trying to be smarter than the next guy.  The wisdom of God means trying to do what’s right.

Worldly people are greedy for gain.  Godly people are eager to please the Lord; they know, and don’t care, that it will cost them to do so.  This is beause they love their Lord even more than life itself.

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 Kings 3:5 – What God Offered Solomon and What God Offers You

Here is what God offered Solomon:

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”

And here is what Christ offers you:

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

What will you do with what Christ is offering you?

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.)

BL001 – Biblical Literacy: The Basics of Bible Reading

This audio teaching is the inaugural episode of the podcast Biblical Literacy: An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age by Mike Gantt.  (You can find the notes for this episode at www.blogforthelordjesus.com/BL001.)

My plan is to do two weekly podcasts.  The first one, Scriptural Christianity: Understanding the Way Jesus Teaches Us to Live, has already begun.  (You can hear the first episode by going to www.blogforthelordjesus.com/SC001 or by downloading on iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast app.)  I plan to release a new episode of Scriptural Christianity first thing Mondays and new episode of Biblical Literacy first thing Fridays.

Biblical illiteracy is a problem:  Three in ten UK children have not heard of the crucifixion.  Because today’s senior citizens are biblically illiterate, succeeding generations are even more so.

In this Biblical Literacy series (for that is what a podcast is), I am seeking to write for two groups: novices and ministers.  And I want to not just teach you, but equip you to teach others.  That is, you may be a father or mother wanting to learn and teach your children or you may be a pastor who wants to return to the basics so that you can teach the flock of God better.  So, whether you are a minister with a seminary education or a parent with a desire to achieve biblical literacy for the sake of yourself and your children, I hope to help you.  (By the way, if you’re going to teach others, always be sure you’re practicing first.)  This goal of mine could  therefore be very challenging, and I may eventually have to give it up as too ambitious.  With your indulgence, however, I’m going to give it a try.

In reading the Bible, there are some important points to always keep in mind – points that distinguish it from other books.

  • It’s an ancient, not a modern book
  • It’s an anthology (collection, library), not a single book
  • It has multiple authors, not a single author
  • It includes various genres, not a single one
  • It was compiled across centuries, not written at one time (i.e. it’s multi-generational)
  • It was not written in English
  • It’s a Jewish, not a Gentile book

Further to these points, the word “Bible” is not in the Bible.  Rather, these writings are called the Scriptures or the Prophets or the Law of Moses or some other similar variation.  This leads to one more concept that distinguishes the Bible from other books: it claims to be the word of God.  Inerrancy is a related idea, but inerrancy misses the point.

As we remember these things, we improve our chances of finding the timeless truths that the Bible holds.  We must also bear in mind, however, that reading and understanding the Bible is not a mere intellectual exercise, as it would be in reading other books.  You have to have an open mind, an open heart.  Then God, through the Holy Spirit, can show you things – that is, cause you to  understand them.

The word canon refers to the decision about what gets into the Bible and what doesn’t.  Here is a brief history of the canon:

  • The Law of Moses
  • The Priests and Prophets
  • The Septuagint
  • The New Testament
  • The Apocrypha

Though fuzzy around the edges, the core canon (of 66 writings, however you count them) is a settled issue among Jews and all three major branches of Christendom (Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant).

Biblical scholarship exists across a spectrum from conservative to liberal.

There are many Bible reading plans to help you (e.g. YouVersion).  There are even smartphone apps (e.g. Bible in One Year) .  All these can be very helpful.  I have used Bible reading plans, but I have also found a very effective strategy in securing a “landing zone” to which I can return again and again…which allows me to “venture out” from that point, securing additional “territory” over time.

The Bible is ultimately about Jesus Christ.  He is where everything points.  As the prophecies pointed to Him, He taught His followers to begin reading the Bible in a different way.  Being Jewish would be a matter of the heart, not of the flesh.

You can find notes for this episode at www.mikegantt.com/BL001.  If you have questions about anything I’m saying, you can leave them at the bottom of that page and I’ll answer in subsequent episodes.  I am not a “Bible Answer Man” – not at all.  There are many things about the Bible that I do not know.  I will attempt, however, to answer questions about anything I have written or said.  If you’d like to know more about me and all that I’m teaching, you can go to www.mikegantt.com.  There will be other resources for you there (e.g. Bible’s Reader’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom and Reference Shelf for the Kingdom of God).

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As People Came to Hear Solomon so They Come to Hear Christ

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Reading this passage makes it clear that Solomon was not on a traveling circuit to the nations.  No one had set up a “global speaking tour” that his wisdom might be disseminated around the world.  Rather, the world was coming to him.

If there were a national leader somewhere in the world today who was reputed to have wisdom greater than all the other national leaders, wouldn’t you be curious about what he or she had to say?  How much more so, therefore, that we should come to Christ for His wisdom!

As the Scriptures say:

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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.

Solomon was the foreshadowing; Christ is the reality.  Let us therefore partake of the amazing abundance of wisdom available to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us come to Him!

And how do we come to Him?  See Hebrews 11:6.  What then is faith?  See Hebrews 11:1.

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. 

As Solomon Spoke in Many and Varied Ways, so Christ Speaks in Many and Varied Ways

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Proverbs, songs, trees and such, animals and such – these represent the variety of teaching forms that Solomon used to convey his great wisdom to his contemporaries.  Christ uses even greater variety to teach all generations the spiritual wisdom that is so necessary to righteous and fruitful living in this difficult and evil place we call the world.

For example, consider the parables of Christ.  They themselves are many and varied.  And then there are dreams and visions – forms of teaching not available to Solomon.

We should not restrict Christ to any particular form of speech.  Rather, we should listen to Him through any and all manner or means He chooses to reveal His truth and His ways to us.

If Solomon was varied, Christ more so.  Let us embrace that variety and let His anointing teach us about all things (1 John 2:27).

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.  

As Solomon Spoke of Animals, so also Did Christ

[Emphasis added]:

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Solomon was just a foretaste of the greater descendant of David who was to come – the Christ.

Thus Christ, too, spoke of animals and, in doing so, He conveyed His wisdom to all those who would listen – including us today.  Here are some examples:

Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

Matthew 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

Luke 13:32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’

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

For more on animals, see these posts, especially this one.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Solomon and His Songs as a Type of Christ and His Songs

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Solomon was great, yet he is but a type of Christ.  Solomon had songs, but Jesus has many more.

All the songs of the Bible have become the songs of Christ…because they speak most profoundly about Him.

Consider also how the New Testament conducts this redirection of all biblical songs toward Christ:

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Revelation 5:9 And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

May all our songs be of Christ.  He is worthy of such devotion and adoration!

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. 

Solomon and His Proverbs as a Type of Christ and His Proverbs

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

If Solomon spoke proverbs, Christ has spoken many more.

So much of what Christ taught has become proverbial in our world – and lingered even in a decaying and decadent culture.  These sayings of Christ continue to be widely recognized, if not always attributed to Him.  Some examples are:

“To him who has, shall more be given…”  –  Matthew 13:12 and elsewhere

“Get the log out of your own eye” –  Matthew 7:5 and Luke 6:42

“No one can serve two masters” –  Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13

“A house divided against itself cannot stand”  –  Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Solomon on Trees as a Type of Christ on Trees

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

As Solomon spoke on trees, so Christ has spoken on trees throughout the Bible.

Consider some of them:

Psalm 1  “like a tree”

Psalm 92:12-15  “like the palm tree”

Psalm 128  –  “like a fruitful vine…like olive plants”

Isaiah 44:4  “like poplars by streams of water”

Isaiah 61:3  “oaks of righteousness”

Jeremiah 17:5-8  “like a tree planted by the water”

Matthew 13:31-32  “becomes a tree”

John 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches”

Jude 1:12  “autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted”

For more on trees, see these posts.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Solomon’s Prodigious Teaching Output as a Type of Christ’s Prodigious Teaching Output

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Solomon was not just wise – he was incredibly prolific.  Yet that is a drop in the bucket when compared to the output of Christ our Lord.

Many of the Bible’s words can be attributed to Solomon.  All of them can be attributed to Christ.

And the Bible is but a drop in the bucket to all Christ has said and is saying.

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.  

Solomon’s Wisdom as a Type of Christ’s Wisdom

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
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.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

“Something greater” than Solomon is found in Christ (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31).  Solomon is therefore a type of the wonderfully wise king of Israel who was to come.

Certainly we can see that Christ had great wisdom and “very great discernment and breadth of mind.”  We can also see that Christ’s wisdom has surpassed the wisdom of all other wise men who have ever lived.

As Paul wrote, Christ Himself has become our wisdom:

1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God…

Let us therefore partake of this wisdom…each and every day we have remaining on this earth.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Spiritual Time – Part 2 of 2

Do you know what (spiritual) time it is?

If someone is lacking food or clothing, it’s time to give them food and clothes.

If you’re sinning, it’s time for you to repent.

If you’ve been wronged by someone else, it’s time for you to not take into account a wrong suffered.

Spiritual time is therefore determined by the circumstances in which you find yourself, and that might have nothing to do with what the nearest clock or calendar says.

Paul wrote:

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.

You need to have some sense of “the need of the moment” in order to know what words would be good for edification.  When someone  around you is doing right, they need encouragement; when they are doing wrong, they need discouragement.

Spiritual maturity means having a sense of spiritual timing.  This comes with practice.

They say that a sense of timing is very important in comedy.  It’s even more important in spirituality.

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.  

Spiritual Time – Part 1 of 2

The book of Ecclesiastes famously tells us that “there is a time for every event under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  There’s a time to do this and a time to do that, a season for this and a season for that.

Elisha reprimanded his servant Gehazi for being insensitive to the face that it was not the time for accumulating earthly goods (2 Kings 5:26).

In the book of Esther, the contrast was stark between the time when Mordecai instructed Esther to keep her ethnicity a secret (Esther 2:10, 20) and the time when he told her that she must disclose it (Esther 4:13-14).  This was clearly a case of there being “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).

In Habakkuk 2, the prophet describes how God tells him that the vision being given is not for the present but rather for a future time (verses 1-3).  David had similarly noticed a “distant” aspect to the promises God was making to Him (2 Samuel 7:19).  The apostle Peter made reference to this when he wrote that the prophets of old had inquired and learned from God that their prophecies of messianic grace were for the future – what we would call “New Testament times.”

In this regard also, Daniel said that the words he was given were “concealed and sealed up until the end time” (Daniel 12:9), while the apostle John concluded the book of Revelation with the admonition “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (22:10).  Thus there was “a time to say the prophecy was not soon and there was a time to say it was soon.”

Spiritual time is not like clock time or calendar time…but it is every bit as practical and important, if not more so.

Little children are too young to be able to tell time.  But the time comes when they should.  Similarly, our spiritual childhood begins without the ability to tell time, but the time comes when we should learn.

There are occasions where clock/calendar time and spiritual time come together in a biblical statement:

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

What is it past time for you to be doing?

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.  

Service Post-Mortem

It appears that the transition from my old web hosting provider to the new one is complete, except for the mopping up.  That is, I’ll probably spend the next few days or weeks refining the presentation of the pages because many of the settings were altered slightly, but the major problems appear to have been resolved.  If you notice any other problems, please bring them to my attention.

Anyone following the blog through the WordPress Reader were not transferred over.   Apparently, there was a technical obstacle to that which could not be overcome. Anyone subscribing by e-mail, however, should have been effectively transferred.  Again, if any problems, let me know.

As I complete the finishing touches on the transition, I look forward to working on the additional capabilities that this new environment provides so that I can bring you more awareness of His grace.  Thanks for your patience.

 

Service Update

We are in the midst of the migration from one web hosting provider for this blog to another that I announced a few days ago.  The only change you should notice from this change is that the web site address for this blog will change from

http://blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.wordpress.com

to

http://blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.com

That is, “wordpress” is being removed from the URL.  That should not create issues for you, because if you enter the old address you’ll automatically be forwarded to the new one.

Nevertheless, some issues have arisen.  For one thing, if you are signed up for an e-mail or RSS feed for each post you may not have received yours this morning.  They are working on that.  For another, some links are broken, such that if you click on a link, it may not take you to the proper page.  Also, you may run across duplicate posts or comments.  They are working on that, too.

If you encounter any other problems, please leave a comment about it below so that I can bring it to the attention of the folks that are working on this transition.

Over the past four years, I have written 6,733 posts and pages.  I should not therefore expect to transfer this much data, along with all the comments attached to these posts and pages, without a few issues.  I hope for your understanding.

Genesis 11:4 – We Gather to God but Scatter to the World

Genesis 11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Every time a new church starts today, this describes the underlying motivation.  And it’s not a good one.

We should be trusting in the name of the Lord instead.  And we should not be afraid of being scattered, because this is just what the Lord commanded we should do:

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…

God reiterated this command as Noah and his family came off the ark, not too many years before the Tower of Babel was built (Genesis 9:1).  Thus the very building of the tower was in defiance of God’s command.

From the beginning, God’s plan was that we would “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19).  That’s where we can act as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).  We gather to God but scatter to the world.  This is God’s way.

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 11:5 – The Lord Came Down to See the Tower of Men

Genesis 11:5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

Here is a foreshadowing of the Lord coming down from heaven to earth.  When the Lord saw the city and the tower than the sons of men had built, here’s what happened:

Matthew 24:1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.
Matthew 24:2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

When will men realize that the things that impress men do not impress God?

Thus Babel was a type of Jerusalem.

It was also a type of the apostate church of the late first century AD, the same man-made church that speaks as a cacophony today and that is a tower of babble instead of a single voice for Christ.  There is a true church in the world, but its only pastor is the Lord.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Genesis 7:1 – The Righteous One Who Was Allowed to Construct an Ark for the Salvation of His Household

Genesis 7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.

In this verse, Noah is a type of Christ.

Jesus of Nazareth was truly the righteous one – the one whom Noah foreshadowed.  Jesus was the only person to fully live in the likeness of God.  Not even Noah could accomplish that.

As a result, this righteous one – Jesus Christ – was granted the desire of his heart.  That desire was to save those who were his.  And who might that be?

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

As far as the curse was found, that’s just how far Jesus spread his blessing:

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Thus the “ark” that Jesus constructed for the salvation of his household was the new creation (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22).  It is in this creation that we today live.

Jesus, the Righteous One, told His disciples:

John 14:2 “…I go to prepare a place for you.
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.”

This is why Paul could say:

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

This ark of salvation endures 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.  

Genesis 6:8 – Jesus Found Favor in the Eyes of the Lord – Even More Than Noah Did

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

As Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, so Jesus found favor in the eyes of the Lord – only Jesus much more so.  Noah was delivered from a flood, only to eventually die like all other human beings.  Jesus, however, was raised from the dead, never to die again.  And because Jesus was raised, we also will be raised when we die.

Jesus is “our Noah.”

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.  

Service Announcement

In order to be able to support some additional services I want to provide you, I am switching web hosting providers.  This change will be take place over the next few days.  It may take as long as a week to complete.

We always hope transitions like this will be smooth, but there is a chance there will be some service disruptions.  For example, there may be an occasion or two when the web site is unavailable.  More importantly, there may be delays or omissions in the e-mail delivery of posts for those of you who are signed up for that.

Let’s hope for the best.  But if there are difficulties, at least you have been forewarned.  I will report to you when the transition is complete.

I need to send out this notice for each of my five blogs because I don’t have access to the e-mail addresses and therefore don’t know who is signed up for more than one blog.  Therefore, I apologize if you receive duplicates of this notice.

God bless you.

Mike

Spiritual Descent

You are a descendant of your parents, and their parents, and so on.  That, however, is speaking from a physical standpoint.  When it comes to spiritual descent, you are descended from those whose spirit you take on.

Thus Peter would write the following [emphasis mine]:

1 Peter 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;
1 Peter 3:6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

Note carefully “you have become her children if.”  That is, Peter’s readers were Sarah’s spiritual descendants if they they met that condition.  Otherwise, they were not descended from Sarah.

Speaking also of spiritual descent, Jesus said to His opponents:

Luke 11:47 “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.

Jesus was meaning their “spiritual fathers” of course.  In a different gospel, Jesus said the same sort of thing to the scribes and Pharisees:

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.

All these verses are speaking of spiritual, not physical, lineage.  Another, more pedestrian, way of making this point is to say that someone “is like” someone else.  In other words, to say someone is a “son of God” is to say “he’s like God.”  That is, he “has the spirit of God.”  Peter could have just as easily said, “You’ll be like Sarah if…,” or “You’ll be a true daughter of Sarah if…”

This sort of understanding is important because it helps us realize just how important our behavior is when it comes to walking with Christ.  Jesus’ apostles had to learn that simply being apostles did not guarantee that they’d be right in their thinking and behaving.  Jesus rebuked James and John once when they thought they were imitating Elijah (Luke 9:53-56).  Just because a person might be a physical descendant of Abraham, or might have been baptized as a Christian, does not mean that he will always do the right thing and therefore enjoy the blessing of God.  The blessing comes to those who behave in a way that is worthy of blessing.

Thus many of Sarah’s physical descendants were not entitled to inherit the honor of which Peter spoke.  Neither was anyone else who did not act in the same spirit in which Sarah acted.  Therefore, beware of those who go around claiming to be children of God but who do not act like 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.  

Genesis 5:24 – Seeing Jesus in Enoch’s Interrupted Life

Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

As Enoch walked with God, so Jesus walked with God (Acts 10:38).  And then as Enoch “was not,” so Jesus was not…because He was crucified.  This crucifixion was the at the hands of men but by the plan of God (Acts 2:23).  Therefore, “God took Him.”

That Hades (Sheol) could not hold Jesus speaks to the fact that “God took Him” to heaven.  And from there, He gathers all the dead to Himself that they might worship Him for His mercy and redemption.

When Enoch’s life was interrupted, we did not see the continuation of it.  However, since Jesus’ life was interrupted we have seen the continuation of it – beginning with what’s written in the book of Acts…and continuing through time until His workings with you today.  And through Him, even Enoch lives and reigns.

Jesus is “our Enoch.”

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 3:9 – The Joshua Who Forever Teaches the Words of the Lord

Joshua 3:9 Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God.”

Joshua is in this verse, of course, a type of Christ.  Joshua and Jesus are even the same name in Hebrew.

Where do we “come” but to “the mountain of the Lord” – which is heaven.  From there He teaches us.  As Isaiah says:

Isaiah 2:3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Therefore, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 was but a type of the great sermon on the great mount of heaven that is being eternally given to all who will listen:

Matthew 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
Matthew 5:2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them…

Thus Jesus is calling us to look to Him that we might run the sort of race He ran:

Hebrew 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
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.

Thus, if you hear this Joshua calling you, listen!

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 22:2 – Distress, Debt, and Discontent

1 Samuel 22:2 Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and [David] became captain over them.

David here in this verse is, of course, a type of Christ.

Distress, debt, and discontent – are these not the kinds of things that drive us to Him?

The question is, when He redeems us from these troubling conditions, do we continue walking with Him or fall away?

Let us love Him so strongly that He will not be provoked to say to us:

Revelation 2:4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

And if He does say it to us, let us be sure that His subsequent observation follows these lines:

1 Peter 2:25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Let us faithfully love Him who has faithfully loved us.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Esther 1:19 and Matthew 21:43

The first verse below would have been found in the Bible Jesus read while living on the earth.  The second verse came later.  Notice the similarity in the two:

Esther 1:19 “If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she.

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Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

If you think Jesus learned the plan of salvation through the Hebrew Scriptures, you’d be right.  Of course, He was relying on the Holy Spirit for understanding of those Scriptures…but through Him you and I can come to understand the things He did.

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.  

Nehemiah 13:2 – The Curse of Death Was Turned into a Blessing

Nehemiah 13:2 …However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.

We know that humanity was cursed with death because of sin.

Through the work of Jesus Christ, however, that curse was turned into a blessing.  As Paul put it:

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

Paul could say “to me” because he believed.  To an unbeliever, the notion that dying is “gaining” is irrational.  But to the believer it makes all the sense in the world.  Of course, both unbelievers and believers alike are going to heaven.  But since the unbelievers don’t believe it, they can’t be blessed by the thought.

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.