Daniel 7:18 – The Saints of the Highest One

Daniel 7:18 ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’

Who are “the saints” of the Highest One?  Those individuals who are set apart to Jesus Christ.

Can you name them all?  No, but the Lord can, for “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).  These are the ones who abstain from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19).  He has taught them His ways, for they are His disciples (John 8:31).

Do you want to be among their number?  Then “submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” and “use your freedom as bondslaves of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16).

Join with the saints of the Highest One who say, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory!”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

SL006 – Scriptural Literacy: The Psalms

Last week was the second of two episodes on the Gospels.  I’ve decided to spend two weeks on the book of Psalms as well. This first episode on the Psalms is divided into three segments. The next episode will continue and conclude our study of the book of Psalms with four segments.

I. Quick Tour of the Book of Psalms (begins at 00:00)

John 17:20 (We believe Jesus through the word of the apostles)

Luke 24:44 (A link between the Gospels and the Psalms)

The Gospels are 90 chapters in total compared with 150 chapters in the Psalms.  In my Bible the Gospels take up about 180 pages while the Psalms take up about 225.  Of course, the Gospels are prose and the Psalms are poetry so the pages of Psalms have more “white space.”

We can think of the Psalms as a hymn book.  They are sometimes collectively known as “The Psalter.”

They appear to have been divided into five books at an early age, but these divisions are seldom referenced today.

Book 1 – Ps 1-41; Book 2 – Ps 42-72; Book 3 – Ps 73-89; Book 4 – Ps 90-106; Book 5 – Ps 107-150

Some of the psalms have ascriptions, which are not included in the verses.  They are not always easily understood.  Read, for example, the ascriptions at the beginning of the following psalms:  Psalm 3, 4, 5, 6, 16, 17, 18.

II. The Nature of Hebrew Poetry (begins at 17:03)

Distinguishing Hebrew poetry from English poetry: “rhyming ideas” instead of rhyming sounds” (parallelism).

The shortest psalm and the longest psalm:  Ps 117 (2 verses) and 119 (176 verses).

Psalm 119 is divided into 22 stanzas of eight verses each, with each named for a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and each verse of the respective stanza beginning with a specific letter.  The entire psalm is an ode to the word of God.

By nature, the psalms are more memorable than prose: a very useful way to memorably convey truth in a largely oral culture.

There is poetry also in the Prophets.  For example, compare Psalm 1 to Jeremiah 17:5-8.

III. David and the book of Psalms (begins at 33:05)

In Acts 2:30, the apostle Peter declares David a prophet.  Thus, even though David was a king, he was a prophet as well.

In Acts 4:25, Psalm 2 is attributed to David – even though there is no ascription of Psalm 2 to David in the copies of the Old Testament text we have.

In Acts 13:22, the apostle Paul declared David to have been “a man after God’s own heart.”

David was a type of Christ.  David and Peter seemed to be cut from the same bolt of cloth.

David was a king, but also a prophet.  The Psalms can rightly be considered his collection.

Total time is 44:16

Daniel 7:18 – The Highest One

Daniel 7:18 ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’

“The Highest One” is an expression that can be found four times in this chapter of Daniel (Daniel 7:18, 22, 25, 27).  To whom can it refer other than the One who was raised “far above all the heavens” (Ephesians 4:10), “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 1:21), “far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9), and who was given a name “which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9)?

Jesus Christ is “the Highest 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. 

Psalm 103:19 – The Lord Jesus Established His Throne in the Heavens

Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.

The Lord Jesus came to earth so that He might become a king.  He did not, however, establish His throne in the earthly Jerusalem as His forefather King David had done.  Instead, Jesus established His throne in the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22), “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21).  In this way, His sovereignty is truly “over all,” for there is no name above His (Philippians 2:9-11).

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. 

As It Was for the Prophets, So It Is for the Saints

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If you follow Christ, your lot in life is persecution – just as it was for the prophets.

Thus the apostle Paul would write:

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Do not, however, ever stop living godly.  It is the way of God, the way of Christ.  Do not forsake it.

How can He call you one of His if you are not walking holy?

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 Least in the Kingdom of God Is More Than a Prophet

Jesus said that John the Baptist was “a prophet and more than a prophet.”  Jesus went on to say that of all those born of women, John the Baptist was the greatest…yet he who was least in the kingdom of God was greater than John.  (See Matthew 11:7-11.)

For this reason, we can know that he who is least in the kingdom of God is a prophet and more than a prophet.

The blessing of being in the kingdom of God is great, but so also is the responsibility.  This is not something that can be achieved with part-time effort.  A true disciple of Christ must count the cost…and pay it (Luke 14:25-35).

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. 

 

Revelation 19:10 – The Testimony of Jesus Is the Spirit of Prophecy

Revelation 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The New Testament disciples walked in the path  of the prophets before them.  Jesus had walked that path, and His disciples were following Him.  That put them all on the same path.

The “testimony of Jesus” was “the word of the Lord come to them.”  Thus, the disciples followed Jesus just as the prophets had followed God.

Thus Numbers 11:29 was fulfilled, that “all God’s people were prophets” for “all had His Spirit upon 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.

1 Samuel 19:20 – The New Testament Disciples Were a Company of Prophets

[Emphasis added in the following verse:]

1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied.

The disciples about whom we read in the New Testament gathered in assemblies where all of them could prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 5, 31).  The “word of the Lord had come to them” (John 1:1, 11-12) and they were all prophesying.

The word “company” in 1 Samuel 19:20 in the Septuagint is the same word translated as “church” in the New Testament.  No wonder.  (In this regard, consider also Numbers 11:29.)

The people of God walk the path of the prophets.

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. 

“And the Word of the Lord Came to Me Saying…”

A well-known refrain of Israel’s prophets was, “And the word of the Lord came to me saying…” or some variation thereof.

Now all of us who have heard the account of Jesus Christ can say the same thing.  For indeed Jesus was the word of the Lord (John 1:1) which came to us (1 John 5:20).

Therefore, let us – like the prophets – heed the word which we have heard.

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. 

SL005 – More on the Four Gospels

The Bible is an ancient text of timeless truths for a modern age. Our goal in this podcast (Scriptural Literacy) is to become more familiar with the Bible so that we might read it profitably.

This week’s episode is an extended discussion of last week’s episode about the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The teaching is a little over an hour and is divided into four segments of roughly 15-20 minutes each.

Segment 1 of 4 starts at 00:00 – More on the Gospels

Part of the reason for this additional week on the Gospels is because I did not do a good enough job last week; part is because there is so much in them to cover.  They are important!
Here’s how we’re going to cover the structure of the Bible (at the rate of one subject per week):  Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets (major), Prophets (minor), Epistles, Pentateuch, History, and Wisdom.  These are nine natural divisions into which the Bible’s books can be divided.

The Gospels are the most explicit about Christ: what He said and did.  Therefore, they are the cornerstone of the structure of the house that is the Bible.

Know how to dip into the Bible; find safe landing zones; and draw strength.

Segment 2 of 4 starts at 16:08 – Question: Why Don’t the Gospels Tell More of Jesus’ Childhood?

Paul grew up in Tarsus and didn’t know Jesus during earthly ministry – so far as we know.  It fell primarily to the original twelve apostles to carry the message about Him to Jews scattered all over the world.

Jesus’ family (Jude and James, his brothers…and, of course, Mary) seemed estranged from Him during His earthly ministry (Luke 8:19-21), but came around by the time He was raised from the dead (Acts 1:14).

What is in secular literature about Jesus is limited (www.jesusoftestimony.com); the primary responsibility for telling His story would fall to men specially chosen by Him.

The apostles were witnesses chosen ahead of time by the Lord Himself.  They had the character necessary for the difficult task that would be assigned to them: to tell the truth about what they saw and heard.  It was a simple task, but a most difficult one.

The apostles were sent from the Lord on earth,  just as the prophets had been sent from the Lord in heaven.  Thus the prophets and apostles may be both be considered as the Lord’s spokesmen.

Essentially, the apostles were saying that “this” (i.e. the New Testament) is “that” (i.e. the Old Testament).  In other words, the New Testament was testimony of how the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah were fulfilled – how God’s promises were kept.

Segment 3 of 4 starts at 34:36 – More Distinctions Between the Four Gospels

The apostles probably wrote their originals on papyrus.  In any case, they have not survived.  However, we have more than enough copies to know what they wrote.

Tatian the Assyrian (120-180 AD) produced the Diatessaron (160-175) – a harmony of the four gospels.

Twenty years after Tatian’s harmony, Irenaeus (early 2nd Century to 202 AD; a hearer of Polycarp who was a disciple of John) expressly proclaimed the authoritative character of the four gospels.  He compared the four gospels to the four winds.

The work of Papias dated 96-120 by most modern scholars; Papias provides the earliest extant account of who wrote the Gospels. Eusebius preserves two verbatim excerpts from Papias on the origins of the Gospels, one concerning Mark and then another concerning Matthew.

A few more distinctives about the four gospels:

Matthew: Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, the Lord’s Prayer
Mark: Read what Papias said about it being Peter’s unordered recollections
Luke: He’s pulling together various accounts from various people
John: He began before the birth, before creation itself

Harmonies of the Gospels are available today, but they really don’t appeal that much.  People usually want to read the Gospels as they were originally written.

Segment 4 of 4 starts at 55:10 – The Meanings of the Word “Gospel”

The “gospel” is good news.  Not “I’ve got good news and bad news.”  God has solved death.  And the cure is not worse than the disease.

Everyone believes. You either believe the Gospels are true; or you believe they are false.

It’s a Jewish Gospel; to the Gentiles, it’s foolishness.  Except for the God-fearing ones.

(The notes in this post do not coincide exactly with the audio teaching.  There are some points being made in the text here that are not mentioned there, and vice versa.  This is not intentional.  It’s just a function of my limitations.  If this raises questions in your mind, please ask them in the comments below.  Thanks.)

 

Jesus Came To Be a King

In 2 Samuel 7 (see 2 Samuel 7:1-29), God spoke through Nathan the prophet to King David.  God promised that He would raise up one of David’s descendants and establish his kingdom.  David acknowledged in verse 19 (2 Samuel 7:19) that this promise would be filled in the distant – not immediate – future.

In Psalm 2, David prophesies of the coming of that descendant and his kingdom.  In the psalm, God is saying, “I have installed My king upon Zion, my holy mountain” (Psalm 2:6) This was the mountain of heaven (Hebrews 12:22), and thus the reorientation to a “kingdom of heaven” (also known as “the kingdom of God”) would begin.

In Psalm 89:27, God says He will make His anointed one “the highest of the kings of the earth.”

In John 18:37, Pontius Pilate asks Jesus if He is a king.  Jesus replies positively, but Pilate thought a king who “bore witness to truth” was a strange king indeed.  In John 19:12, when Pilate is looking for an excuse to release Jesus, the Jews cry out, “Everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”  In verse 14 (John 19:14), Pilate presents Jesus to the Jews and says, “Behold, your king!” and orders Him crucified.

Jesus was subsequently crucified as “King of the Jews” – a sign to that effect having been placed on His cross.

In Acts 17:7, hostile Thessalonian unbelievers attacked believers before city authorities by shouting the accusation, “they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

And, of course, Jesus was called the “king of kings” in the last book of the Bible (Revelation 17:14 and 19:16).

Jesus came to reign as king – just as God had promised He would.

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. 

Paul Did Not Take His Stand on Visions He Had Seen

[Emphasis added in the following passage:]

Colossians 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

These words are taken from a letter written by Paul – the same Paul who had a vision of Christ.  Paul’s vision was recorded three separate times by Luke in the book of Acts (in chapters 9, 22, and 26).  In his letters, however, Paul never makes extended reference to this experience.  On the contrary, he took his stand on the Scriptures and on the traditions passed down (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) from the earliest disciples of Christ.  Yes, Paul had seen the Lord, but he had a more sure word of testimony (2 Peter 1:19) and was not about to lose sight of it.

Therefore, if anyone had an opportunity to “take his stand on visions he had seen,” Paul was one of them.  Yet he did not do this. Neither therefore should we.

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 Twofold Confession of Jesus as “Christ” and “Son of God” in Psalm 2 and the New Testament

Psalm 2 is that notable place  in the Old Testament where the Scripture speaks of God’s Anointed (i.e. Christ) as God’s Son.  (See especially verses Psalm 2:2, 7, 12.)  Consider the numerous twofold confessions that this has spawned in the New Testament!  Here are just some of of those occasions where Jesus is referred to as Christ and Son of God in the same breath:

Matthew 16:16

Luke 4:41

John 11:27

John 20:31

2 Corinthians 1:19

1 John 2:22-23

1 John 3:23

1 John 5:20

2 John 1:3

When you consider that “Christ” is a synonym for “the king of Israel,” verses like the following can also be seen as echoes of this twofold confession:

John 1:49

Colossians 1:13

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 Greatest Commandment Cannot Be Understood Apart from the Second Greatest

When Jesus was asked in Mark 11:28 “What commandment is foremost of all?” He answered with not one, but two commandments:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
Mark 12:33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

(The all capital letters refer to the fact that Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 as the great commandment and Leviticus 19:18 as the second.)  Note that the questioner did not ask “What are the two greatest commandments?”  Rather, he simply asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

The other synoptic gospels convey a similar pattern in reporting this exchange (or similar exchanges).  In Matthew 22:36 the question comes as “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the Law?”  Again, Jesus’ response comes in twofold fashion and He adds this coda:  “On these two commandment depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  In Luke’s version (Luke 10:25ff), the answer is also given in dual form.

Jesus seems to be saying that the greatest commandment cannot be properly understood without including the second greatest along with it.

Thus the apostle John could write:

1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

We should be certain therefore, that we cannot be truly and properly loving God if we are not loving each other.  Thus John also said:

1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Thus the greatest commandment cannot be understood apart from the second greatest.

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.)

Hosea 8:12 – How Many Times Has He Got to Say It?

Hosea 8:12 Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,
They are regarded as a strange thing.

There are over 30,000 verses in the Bible.  Therefore, God was not exaggerating when He spoke these words through the prophet Hosea.

You can understand God’s frustration when He has given us thousands upon thousands of “precepts” and yet we who claim allegiance to the Bible act like it’s a strange thing.  That is, we act like it’s a foreign concept to love our neighbor, turn the other cheek, seek the good of others more than ourselves, and so on.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 5:2 (1 Chronicles 11:2) – Christ or the Trinity?

2 Samuel 5:2 “Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.'”

(1 Chronicles 11:2 says practically the same thing.)

Even those Trinitarians who seek godliness know that the Son is the One who takes the lead and gets things done.  Thus, even though Trinitarians proclaim the Father, it is the Son who the faithful ones follow.  No one knows the Father except through the Son anyway (Matthew 11:27).  Devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) has always been what has advanced the kingdom of God.

The organized church has always had within its shadow those who truly sought the kingdom of God.  These souls brought down the blessings of heaven upon us not because they were part of the organized church, but rather in spite of the fact that they were part of the organized church.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zechariah 12:10 – Looking on the One We Have Pierced

[Emphasis is added in the following verses to show their connection.]

Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

*****

Revelation 1:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

The “all caps” in Revelation 1:7 above are the translators’ way of telling us that the writer is quoting the Old Testament; in this case, Daniel 7:13.  However, the writer is also alluding to Zechariah 12:10, which is obvious when the verses are juxtaposed as they are above.

In the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we see God “pierced,” for God was in Christ.  Thus when we look upon the one we have pierced, we are looking upon God; and when we look upon God, we are looking upon the one we have pierced.

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.)

SL004 – The Four Gospels

This podcast episode focuses on the Four Gospels.

The Bible contains four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

These Gospels can be considered ancient biographies, taking a slightly different form from modern biographies.

Gospel comes from a word meaning “good news” – particularly, an announcement or proclamation of good news about a new kingdom or king.  The word “gospel” is rooted in the Old Testament:  Isaiah 40:9; 52:7; 61:1

The four Gospels cover the period of Jesus earthly ministry and say very little about His childhood or early adulthood. This is because those who were called to bear witness to HIm (i.e. the apostles) generally knew Him during that period and not before.

The Gospels report the deeds and the teachings of Jesus.

The Gospels spend the greatest time on the Lord’s last week before His crucifixion.

Each Gospel gives different details, but all are consistent on the essential facts.

Part I:  Intro to the Gospels
 
Part II:  Matthew and Mark
 
Part III:  Luke and John
 
IV:  Summary of the Four Gospels
See the new documentary “Jesus of Testimony” at www.jesusoftestimony.com.  See my review as well:  “Jesus of Testimony” – New Documentary Testifies to the Historicity of Jesus Christ

Practically all of the 12 apostles died as martyrs.

At the end of the post, I quoted “One Solitary Life” which can be found at this post:  One Solitary Life

Relevant related posts from this blog:

The Word “Gospel” in the Old Testament

New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words

Posts from other sources:

Number of Chapters, Verses, and Words in the New Testament, by Book

 

Zechariah 12:10 – The Spirit of Grace We Do Not Want to Insult

[Emphasis is added in the following verses to show their connection.  I’m wanting you to see clearly that the New Testament verse (i.e., Hebrews 10:29) is quoting an expression from the Old Testament (i.e., Zechariah 12:10).]

Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

*****

Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

The New Testament writers relied completely on the Old Testament Scriptures as enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  The writer of Hebrews is here evoking the spirit and words of the prophet Zechariah.  This “Spirit of grace” permeated the New Testament church (John 1:14, 16, 17), but was in danger of being taken for granted.  For this reason the letter of Hebrews was written:  to exhort believers to stir themselves to pay much closer attention to what they had heard (Hebrews 2:1; 13:22).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Word of the Lord Leads to the Fear of the Lord

Listening to the word of God causes our fear of God to grow…and that’s a good thing.  Therefore, if you want your reverence for God to grow, listen more to Him.  [Emphasis added in the following verses.]

Deuteronomy 4:10 “Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’

*****

Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

*****

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

*****

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

*****

Return to the word of the Lord that you have heard…and He will speak more to 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. 

The Apostles Have Given Us the Word of the Lord

When Jesus prayed the night before He died, He remembered those of us who would believe in Him through those He sent:

John 17:20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

They wouldn’t be bearing witness to Him in their own power alone.  He was going to send them help, for He promised them:

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

The apostles would be able to tell us what the Lord did and what the Lord taught them through Holy Spirit who would be aiding their memories.  From that point on, they just had to report what they had seen and heard.  No embellishment or rhetorical flourishes would be necessary:

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Even Paul, who was not one of the original twelve, would lean on this same Holy Spirit to bring us the word of God:

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

Thus to believe the apostles is to believe the One who sent 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. 

Psalm 149:1 – A Prophecy of Christ and the New Testament Church

Psalm 149:1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, the Psalms became a new book – filled with new songs.

Psalm 2 was no longer a song for Israel’s king – it was now a song for Israel’s resurrected king, reigning supreme in heaven over all creation!

Psalm 16 was no longer a song to celebrate how God keeps death at bay – it was now a song about how God brings about new and greater life through death and in spite of it!

Psalm 22 was no longer a song of praise to a God who helps with difficult -it was now a song about how God had overcome the greatest difficulty of all, which was death.

And on you could go through the book of Psalms.

The New Testament churches were singing these psalms in a way they had never been sung before – it was a new way!  And it was the way through death – the most formidable enemy mankind had ever encountered.  Thus the praise of Christ was sung throughout “the congregation of the godly ones,” which was, of course, the gatherings we call the New Testament church.

The meaning of “congregation” in this verse and of “church” in the New Testament is the same.  Therefore, this verse prophesied the New Testament church.  Our New Testaments bear ample witness to the fulfillment of this prophecy!

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 22 Follows the Pattern of Suffering and Glory for Messiah

Read Psalm 22 in its entirety (that is, Psalm 22:1-31) and see that from verse 1 through the 18th verse, Messiah’s suffering is prophesied – sometimes in incredible detail.  (Remember that this psalm was written centuries before Jesus was born, which makes the detail all the more astonishing!)

Then notice that in verse 19 the tone begins to turn triumphant, and it crescendos to the end of the psalm.  This marked the glory of Christ’s deliverance from death in the resurrection.

This pattern of suffering and then glory for the Messiah is a theme of what we call the Old Testament.

As Paul preached:

Acts 26:22 “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;
Acts 26:23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

You can see how Psalm 22 follows the pattern Paul lays out here.  You can even see Christ (Messiah) proclaiming that light in verse 22!  This point is then confirmed by Hebrews 2:12.  Therefore, as He suffered and was glorified, so we who suffer with Him will be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17).

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. 

SL003 – My God, My God Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

This is the third episode of this podcast. Because I am, with this episode, changing the name from “Biblical LIteracy” to “Scriptural Literacy,” the numbering sequence prefix will change from “BL” to “SL.” Thus the series will be numbered BL001, BL002, SL003, SL004, SL005, and so on.

This is an abbreviated version of this week’s podcast because I want to give all listeners time to listen to the audio book “Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact.” It is available through the same means that allowed you to access this podcast – whether that be my website (www.mikegantt.com) or the iTunes Directory, or Stitcher, or somewhere else.

The focus of this week’s teaching is understanding the Bible as a self-referential volume of writings. That is, each of the Bible’s writings often makes reference to previous Bible writings. For example, the New Testament is overflowing with references to the Old Testament. Bible readers need to appreciate this sort of “intertextuality” lest they gloss over those references and thereby misunderstand what they’re reading.

We use as a case study for this dynamic Jesus’ words from the cross “My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me.” Some people only know these words from the New Testament and don’t understand that Jesus was reciting Psalm 22 from the Old Testament.

Go to www.mikegantt.com/SL003 for more study notes on this podcast episode.

For more study on Psalm 22 and how it is fulfilled in the New Testament, see:

Psalm 22 – A Psalm of Christ

Psalm 22 – A Celebration of Christ’s Resurrection in the New Testament Churches

Christ’s Prayer for Deliverance from Death Was Heard – The Prophecy of Answered Prayer in Psalm 22 Was Fulfilled

Psalm 22 Follows the Pattern of Suffering and Glory for Messiah

On a more general view of psalms as fulfilled in the New Testament, see:

Psalms Were a Common Part of New Testament Church Gatherings

On a more general view of how dependent the New Testament writers were on the Old Testament, see:

New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words

The Apostles’ Lexicon

Video Series to Help You Do Word Studies with the Online NASB

I have written about why I love the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and why I love Strong’s Concordance.  Now I have created a 7-part video series to show you how those of you who have an interest can use them online.

  • Intro to the NASB and Lockman Foundation – Part 1 of 7  (2:07)
  • Searching for a Bible Verse in the Online NASB – Part 2 of 7  (2:14)
  • Searching for More Bible Chapters and Verses – Part 3 of 7   (3:18)
  • The Layout of the Lockman Page – Part 4 of 7  (3:14)
  • Searching for a Word in the NASB – Part 5 of 7  (3:57)
  • Limitations of NASB Searching at the Lockman Page – Part 6 of 7  (3:28)
  • How to Study a Word in the NASB Using Strong’s Concordance – Part 7 of 7  (10:54)
  • Total time for the series:  29:10

Christ’s Prayer for Deliverance from Death Was Heard – The Prophecy of Answered Prayer in Psalm 22 Was Fulfilled

Consider the plight of Jesus the night before He was killed:

Hebrews 5:7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

That Christ’s prayer was heard is foretold in the latter part of Psalm 22.  Here’s a portion:

Psalm 22:24 For [God] has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

The “heard” of Psalm 22:24 is surely the “heard” of Hebrews 5:7.  The first was prophecy; the second was a report of the fulfillment of that prophecy.

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 22 – A Celebration of Christ’s Resurrection in the New Testament Churches

The opening words of Psalm 22 are ones Jesus uttered in pain from the cross:  “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  As the psalm progresses, there are prophetic references to His suffering.  These include Psalm 22:8 where He is mocked by observers (quoted in Matthew 27:43) and Psalm 22:18 where reference is made to His clothing being divided by gamblers (quoted in John 19:24).  Thus this psalm gives a vivid and poignant description of Christ’s passion – being written about a thousand years before any of it actually occurred!

Imagine then the thrill of hearing or chanting this psalm in one of the New Testament churches when it reached Psalm 22:19.  For from Psalm 22:19 to the end, the psalm obviously switches from foreseeing the suffering of crucifixion to foreseeing the glory of resurrection.  Oh, the joy and  the godly fear that must have infused those believers as they reflected on those words!

This psalm, that began in suffering and despair, concluded in the grandeur of great deliverance and redemption.  With the Holy Spirit visiting those New Testament congregations, the people were able to experience the thrill of what God was doing…through Christ…and through them.  And all of it was according to promises God had made long, long before.

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. 

Psalms Were a Common Part of New Testament Church Gatherings

It is apparent from Paul’s letters that the Psalms were an important and regular part of what happened when New Testament believers gathered with each other.  See 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19;  and Colossians 3:16.

Hebrews 2:12 is an example of how the apostles and these believers saw Christ in the psalms.  (Note how Hebrews 2:12 in the NASB is rendered in all capital letters, indicating that the writer is quoting the Old Testament.  The cross reference will then indicate that the exact verse being quoted is Psalm 22:22.  Compare the wording of Hebrews 2:12 to Psalm 22:22 and you’ll see what I mean.)

These New Testament believers saw what we call the Old Testament as the prophets’ attestation to the promises of God.  New Testament believers saw themselves as living in the midst of the fulfillment of those promises from ages long past.  How exciting it must have been for them!  And how exciting it is for us when we believe in that same fulfillment.  What was present tense for the New Testament believers is past tense for us.  However, because these are eternal truths, they can create just as much excitement in our hearts as they did in theirs.

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. 

If Messiah Is Not a Father, Why Does Scripture Speak of His Sons?

Psalm 89:27 makes reference to the Messiah as “the firstborn” and “the highest of the kings of the earth.”  As this psalm continues to describe this great one, Psalm 89:30 says, “If his sons forsake My law…”  Thus Messiah must have sons.  This should not be considered strange for how could the seed of Abraham miss out on the blessing of fatherhood?

If the blessing of Abraham, which was rightly inherited by Messiah, didn’t include fatherhood,  wouldn’t that blessing be missing its most emblematic element?

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. 

Messiah Would Rule from Heaven, Not from Earth

First-century Jews knew that Psalm 2 spoke of the Messiah to come.  This Messiah would be the king of Israel.  Being a descendant of David and an heir to more promises than anyone else in Israel had ever had (even more than Abraham and David), Messiah’s’ kingdom was sure to mark Israel’s most glorious days.

What these Jews did not know was that this king of Israel – unlike all the prior ones, great and small – would rule from heaven and not earth.  Jesus could have taken an earthly rule (John 6:15), but He knew that this was not the plan.  Messiah must complete His suffering first; then the glories would come.  Those glories would begin with resurrection, and this would be the very means of his installation as king.  As it says in Psalm 2:

Psalm 2:6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

Until the resurrection, the Jews thought this Zion was the one on earth.  Resurrection revealed this to be the Zion in heaven (Hebrews 12:22).  The concept of Israel’s king ruling from heaven was a novel one when Jesus presented it.  It did, however, cause the complex set of prophecies about Messiah to make a lot more sense.  For one thing, Messiah’s kingdom was supposed to endure forever (2 Samuel 7:16).  That seemed like nothing but hyperbole if one were thinking of it on the earth.  However, if it’s a kingdom from heaven, eternity begins to make a lot more sense as an appropriate tenure.

That Israel’s great king would rule from heaven and not earth changed everything.

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. 

Peter Learned the Hard Way About God’s Impartiality

Peter famously stumbled in his faith by denying that he even knew the Lord the night before the crucifixion.  Peter failed…because he didn’t think he could fail.  That is, he thought his reputation as the most devoted (“greatest” some would say) of Christ’s followers meant that even if all the others fell away, he would not (Matthew 26:33).  Peter would have to learn the hard way that there are no privileged positions with God.  We are all judged by the same standard.

Peter was poignantly reminded of his mistake after Jesus’ resurrection:

John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”…

Peter had learned that he was wrong to measure something he had no way to measure.  His responsibility was to love Jesus with all his heart and soul and mind and strength – not love Jesus “more than the next guy” as if that would get him some special place of privilege with the Lord.  Peter shows that he had learned this lesson by responding that he loved the Lord and not that he loved the Lord more than anyone else:

John 21:15 …[Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

Note that Peter left off “…more than…”

Peter had learned the hard way that there is no point in trying to achieve a privileged status with the Lord because there is no partiality with Him.

Later on, Peter would say:

Acts 10:34 …”I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,

And later still, he wrote:

1 Peter 1:17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;

Peter also shows his consciousness of our egalitarian status before this Lord in this passage:

1 Peter 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
1 Peter 5:3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

Peter was one of the “fellows” and was glad to be so.  We should be, too.

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 Apostles Kept It Simple; They Didn’t Try to Get Fancy

The first statement below comes from Paul.  The second comes from Peter.  Notice the similarity.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

*****

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

The apostles did not put on airs, or turn the gospel into an academic endeavor.

Sad to say, many who preach Christ today do not follow this apostolic example of humility and simplicity.

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 King of the Spiritual Jews

Spiritual Jews have a king.  His name is Jesus.

This is a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10).  It is the kingdom of God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10).  Their monarch is blameless (John 8:46), and He is their example (1 Corinthians 11:1).

When this king was scourged and crucified, he was mocked by the title “King of the Jews.”  And yet, this is a name he wears with honor.  For He is proud of His people who love Him and lay down their lives for Him.

Would you be true to your king?  Then be a true citizen of true Israel.

A true Jew wants to be.  No one should be – or even can be – coerced into being true.

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. 

Zephaniah 3:13 – Describing the People of Jesus Christ

Zephaniah 3:13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong
And tell no lies,
Nor will a deceitful tongue
Be found in their mouths;
For they will feed and lie down
With no one to make them tremble.”

These are the people who act like Jesus (1 John 2:6).  They are recognized as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).  It can be seen that God is with them (Zechariah 8:23).

This is so because Jesus cleanses them from their sin (Matthew 1:21).  He works in them His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He has purified them so that they are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14).

They have clean hands and pure hearts (Psalm 24:4; James 4:8).  They follow in the footsteps of their Lord (1 Peter 2:21).  They are being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Their perfected love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18).

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. 

“Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?” Now Available on iTunes

The audio book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact is now available for download from iTunes.   What this means is that you can “subscribe” to the book from your smartphone or other mobile device and then be able to listen to it from that device.  In other words, you’ll be “untethered” from your computer browser.  (The computer browser version is available here.)

To find this podcast in iTunes, you can use the link I gave above or you can search from your smartphone or other mobile device on either “whatever became of jesus christ” or “mike gantt” and find it.  (If you search on “mike gantt,” you will also find Scriptural Christianity and Biblical Literacy, the two ongoing podcasts I have begun recording and publishing.  They are each being issued on a weekly schedule, but I’m pausing that so listeners will have a chance to digest Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?)

I hope that you will take this opportunity to  impress upon your mind the faithfulness of the Lord.  That is, I hope you will take thoroughly to heart the fact that the promises the Lord makes, He keeps.  While you are driving, walking, or exercising, you can partake of the word of our Lord.  May He bless you as you do so.

(It will take about three and a half hours of listening time.  There is no cost and it is not copyrighted.  Please share with anyone you think cares about the issue.)

2 Samuel 5:25 – The Key to David’s Success

Here is the key to David’s success with God:

2 Samuel 5:25 Then David did so, just as the LORD had commanded him…

As such, David is a type of Jesus Christ.  Thus, since we are to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), we have here another verse to follow.

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.)