God Gave the Torah; Then He Gave Christ

The God who gave the Law of Moses (Torah), gave Christ – that is, something greater – in its place.

The Torah was words on a page; Christ was the words lived out for human observation.  For this reason, the apostle John said:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory…

If the Torah was given to teach God’s people how to live, how much more Christ was given to teach God’s people how to live.

There can be no doubt of the superiority of Christ for teaching us.  He is living, breathing truth.  Therefore, with the advent of Christ, the Bible ceased to be a guide for the people of God.  It became at that point a guide to Christ, and Christ is then our guide to all things.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible.

For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The “Law of Moses” Became the “Law of Christ”

The New American Standard Bible has 23 verses using the expression “law of Moses,” and 2 that use the expression “law of Christ.”  These latter two occurrences refer to the transition that took place during New Testament times, in which Jesus used the Scriptures to proclaim His teaching.

The words had always been there, but Jesus brought the dimension of spirituality to Moses words and thus altered the focus of the sacred texts.  Thus five times in the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount we hear Jesus, quoting the Old Testament in each case, say, “You have heard…but I say to you…” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44).  He was using Moses’ words to make a far more spiritual point.  Thus we also see verses like these in the New Testament:

Mark 7:18 And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,
Mark 7:19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?
1 Corinthians 9:10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.

By such passages we see that the Law of Moses had a focus on physical aspects of life that would ultimately be translated into a spiritual focus through Jesus Christ.  Thus the Law of Moses became the Law of Christ.  And here then is how that Law of Christ can be summarized:

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

and

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

The Law of Moses was intended to regulate the nation of Israel until Messiah came, at which time it was converted to Messiah’s royal law (i.e., “the law of Christ”), which is…to love.  None of the words of Moses changed – just the meaning.  And the new meaning did not violate the initial meaning.  Rather, the meaning was elevated and intensified.  That is, the moral requirement was raised.  For example, under Moses murder was wrong.  Under Christ, even nursing anger in your heart is wrong.

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.)

What Changed About the Tree of Life from Genesis to Revelation?

After the fall of Adam and Eve, here’s what happened regarding the tree of life

Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”–
Genesis 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

Fast forward through the entire Scripture until we come to the final chapter of the final book:

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

What happened that the tree of life that was off-limits became accessible?  Jesus Christ our Lord was revealed.  He Himself is that tree of 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. 

Luke 15 and Jeremiah 17 – The Lost Inheritance

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the younger son of a wealthy man sought his share of the estate, and subsequently lost it through “loose living”  (Luke 15:12, 13).  Things got even worse when, because of a severe famine, the prodigal was forced to become a servant to a stranger, feeding pigs.

In Jeremiah 17, God had said through the prophet:

Jeremiah 17:4 And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance
That I gave you;
And I will make you serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know…

Note the similarity.  The prodigal son had “let go of his inheritance,” and was “serving his enemies in a land which he did not know.”

Now…ponder how we ourselves squander the inheritance God gives us through Jesus Christ.  And – if we’ve wandered – let us “get up and go to the father!” (Luke 15:18) that we might be restored to Him.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 33:5 – Jesus Is the Exalted Lord, Dwelling on High

Isaiah 33:5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high…

In this verse the prophet Isaiah is telling about the One who would come:  Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus was crucified.  Three days later, He was raised from the dead.  Forty days after that, He was exalted to heaven.  Ever since then, He has dwelt on high.  And He will dwell on high forever and ever because His kingdom has no end (Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 7:14).

Let us live – today and always – for this Lord who is alone is exalted and who alone dwells on high!  (Isaiah 2:11, 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. 

Ezekiel 37:21-22 – Jesus Is the King Who Ezekiel Said Would Unite the Divided Kingdom

Ezekiel 37:21 “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;
Ezekiel 37:22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.

Surely you can see Jesus of Nazareth fulfilling this prophecy as He was exalted to the right hand of God as king of Israel.

And surely this was the sort of passage under discussion on occasions such as those described by Acts 17:2-3, 11.  Who else but a king of heaven could ever bring back together those two houses?  For even in the days of Jesus’ flesh, “Jews had no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9).  The resurrected and exalted Lord changed all that:

Acts 8:14 …the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God…

and

Acts 8:25 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Thus the king prophesied by Ezekiel brought together Judah and Samaria (formerly the southern and northern kingdoms, known by the names Judah and Israel).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

SL011 – The Epistles

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand, and better understand, Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.  Proverbs 25:2 and Jeremiah 15:19 speak of discerning the principles to be found in this ancient set of texts.  See also James 1:5.

Understanding the structure of the Bible (OT = Old Testament, NT = New Testament):

The order of our study in these podcasts: Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets, Epistles, Pentateuch, History, Wisdom

OT: Pentateuch (Law of Moses), History, Wisdom, Prophets
NT: Gospels, Acts, Epistles

OT: History, Wisdom, Prophets
NT: History, Letters

I.  Review and Introduction to the Epistles (begins at 00:00 )

Epistles = Letters
To churches, not individuals
To be read publicly, not privately
The epistles finish out the NT (nothing for skeptics, no catechisms, no formal confessions of faith, no FAQ)
Chronological order in NT in the sense of 1) what happened 2) when written

II.  The Epistles of Paul (begins at 22:54 )

Named after recipient
The seven undisputed letters of Paul (Rom, 1 & 2 Cor, Gal, Phil, 1 Th, Phile)
The earliest New Testament documents we have (c.50-60 AD)
Paul was a Pharisee from Tarsus; he was hostile to the name of Jesus
Paul’s Three Missionary Journeys, related in the book of Acts
Romans  (Acts 19:21; 23:11; 28:14)
1 & 2 Corinthians  (Acts 18:1)
Galatians  (Acts 16:6)
Ephesians  (Acts 18:19)
Philippians  (Acts 16:12)
Colossians  
1 & 2 Thessalonians  (Acts 17:1)
1 & 2 Timothy (Acts 16:1)
Titus
Philemon

III.  The Other Epistles and Conclusion (begins at 49:44)

Named after sender Called “catholic” or “general” epistles (excluding Revelation) Hebrews
James (sibling of Jesus, became the leader of the Jerusalem church)
1 & 2 Peter (the apostle)
1 & 2 & 3 John (the apostle, son of Zebedee, brother of James)
Jude (sibling of Jesus)
Revelation

This is the conclusion of the Epistles
This is the conclusion of our discussion of the NT structure
The NT is where to start a study of the Bible since it is most explicit about Jesus Christ
As prophets were responsible for the OT, so apostles were responsible for the NT

Total time elapsed is 1:08:51

Additional Reading:

The Unity of the Testaments

More relevant information at Key Posts of the Bible Reader’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom

Psalm 91:16

Psalm 91:16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

Like the verses before it, this verse prophesies of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead in this way:

Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again…

How’s that for “long life”?

In His resurrection, Jesus received “an indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16).  There cannot be a longer life than that!

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 91:15 – Jesus in the 91st Psalm

Psalm 91:15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.

Like the verse before it, this verse prophesies of Christ.

As the New Testament says:

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.

Thus when Jesus called, God answered.

Who has been honored like Jesus?

Do not regard the words of this psalm verse lightly.  Imbibe them deeply into your soul.  They speak of our Savior.

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 91:14 – Jesus Was Set Securely on High Because of What He Did on Earth

Psalm 91:14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

This psalm, of course, prophesies of the resurrection of our Lord.

Did not Jesus love God?

Did not God deliver Jesus from death?

Did not God set Jesus securely on high?  (Even at His own right hand, far above all rule and power and authority.)

Did Jesus not know the Father’s name and honor it?  (Read John 17 to remind yourself of Jesus’ devotion to God’s name.)

Let us love Jesus the way He loved God.  That is, let Jesus be our God.  In this way, we, too, will be “set on high” with Him.  That is, let us walk in His steps (1 Peter 2:21) that we might complete His course and end up where He ended up.

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. 

That You May Obtain the Salvation Christ Designed for You

Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

I can relate to this sentiment.  I write so that you may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus.

If you do not yet feel thoroughly blessed in your soul, know that this is awaiting you in Christ the Lord.  Give yourself wholeheartedly to Him and seek His kingdom until you find it.  In that kingdom is the salvation Christ died to bring 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.)

Salvation Comes to Those Willing to Be Sanctified in Faith and Truth

Salvation is a subject well worth studying.

Once you decide that you want our Lord’s salvation, you seek it by separating yourself to His truth.  And you do that by trusting His truth.  As Paul wrote:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Do not think there is any shortcut to the kingdom of God.  It is sought and found by the diligent.  Read 2 Peter 1:5-11 with care.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Our Salvation Is in the Midst of Their Wrath

Paul wrote:

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

These two destinies of “wrath” and “salvation” take place side by side, for God is able to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked (Malachi 3:18).  For this reason, Paul could write in his second letter to these Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 1:6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
2 Thessalonians 1:8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…

Thus while the disobedient suffer, the obedient are delivered.  For this reason, the righteous experience life as a Passover in the midst of the destruction that is taking place all around them.

It becomes easier to see how our salvation can be experienced in the midst of their wrath when we realize that our salvation is of the soul, just as it suggests in Romans 2:9, 10.  This is why Christ could tell Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace.  We do not have to suffer as evildoers.  We only have to be willing to suffer for Christ (2 Timothy 3:12).

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. 

Galatians 6:16

Galatians 6:16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

This verse comes at the end of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, which is largely a definition of who constitutes “the Israel of God.”

The point of Paul’s letter is that whether one is Jewish or Gentile in the flesh is of little consequence.  What matters is being a Jew “in heart.”  As he wrote in his letter to the Roman believers:

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Thus “the Israel of God” that receives peace are those who have set their minds on the spirit:

Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

Or as Paul said earlier in Galatians:

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants…

Belonging to Christ makes you true Israel.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

SL010 – More on the Prophets

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand, and better understand, Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.

Understanding the structure of the Bible (OT = Old Testament, NT = New Testament):

The order of our study in these podcasts: Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets,
Epistles, Pentateuch, History, Wisdom

OT: Pentateuch (Law of Moses), History, Wisdom, Prophets
NT: Gospels, Acts, Epistles

OT: History, Wisdom, Prophets
NT: History, Letters

“The Prophets” can refer to all of the OT or part of it.

I.  Jesus Grew Up on the Prophets (begins at 12:03)

Matthew 1:1
Luke 2:41-47
Luke 4:16-30 (Isaiah 61:1-2)

II.  Jesus Staked His Life on the Prophets (begins at 32:32)

Luke 24:25-27
1 Peter 1:10-12
Acts 8:26-35
Mark 7:1-9 (Isaiah 29:13)

III.  More Examples of the Prophets in the Gospels (begins at 47:33)

Matthew 4:12-17 (Isaiah 9:1-2)
Matthew 8:14-17 (Isaiah 53:4)
Matthew 12:15-21 (Isaiah 42:1-3)
John 12:38-41 (Isaiah 53:1; 6:1ff)
Isaiah 53:1-12; 54:1ff

Total time elapsed is 1:14:38

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Galatians 4:10

Galatians 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

Paul is here referring to the various feasts laid out in the Law of Moses.  Paul’s point is that these all foreshadowed Christ.  Therefore, the point wasn’t for the Galatian Gentiles to become Jews, but rather for Galatians Jews and Gentiles together to appreciate how these “days and months and seasons and years” in their various ways pointed to Christ.

One example is that Christ is our Passover. Another is that His church in the New Testament was the Feast of Booths.

Drill into your minds that the Old Testament foreshadows Christ, for this is what Jesus taught (John 5:39).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Chronicles 12:33 – Helping Christ with an Undivided Heart

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

David, of course, is a type of Christ (Jesus is, in fact, our David).  How do we help Jesus Christ?  With an undivided heart.  For as Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…”

Let not your heart be divided.  Otherwise, you’re of no help to Christ.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, first described in the Law of Moses (specifically, Exodus 12:1ff; and first named in Exodus 12:11), speaks to us since New Testament times of unvarnished truth – the unvarnished truth of God.  As Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 5:7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

For this reason, we who seek to speak the word of God should be careful not to infect it with our own opinions.

We also know that truth is personified in Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  Therefore, we can see the Feast of Unleavened Bread as foreshadowing Christ – the truth Himself!

Jesus is “the bread that came down out of heaven” (John 6:41).  There is no hypocrisy or insincerity in Christ at all.  Thus He is “unleavened” bread for our souls.

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. 

Life Is a Passover for the People of God

Christ is the Passover lamb, and thus He is the nourishment for the people of God as they weather the storms of life.

We who seek to live for God in this world do not seek a life of pleasure:

Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

And we know that the judgment of God begins with us:

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

Therefore, it is not a life of ease we are expecting.  It’s just that our lot will be better than that of those who forsake the Lord:

1 Peter 4:18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?  [quoting Proverbs 11:31]

Thus earthly life is to us a Passover.  With difficulty all around us, we take refuge in our Lord who protects us and sustains us.  For this reason the prophet said:

Jeremiah 45:5 ‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'”

Therefore, let us live life as our Passover, feasting on the lamb provided by God Himself.

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.)

Exodus 12:5 – The Unblemished Lamb

Exodus 12:5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old…

Moses spoke of the need for the Passover lamb to be unblemished.  Thus Peter did as well (I pared down the words to get to the heart of Peter’s point):

1 Peter 1:18 …you were…redeemed with…
1 Peter 1:19 …a lamb unblemished and spotless…Christ.

Who else besides Jesus of Nazareth has led an unblemished 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. 

Christ Is Our Passover Lamb

Paul makes reference to Christ as the fulfillment of Jewish Passover:

1 Corinthians 5:7 …Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

In his instructions for the Passover, Moses had indicated this requirement:

Exodus 12:5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

And, of course, we see a predicate for this passover lamb in Abraham’s experience with Isaac:

Genesis 22:8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” …

Like Paul, Peter made reference to Christ being the Passover Lamb to which Moses’ instructions and Abraham’s experience were ultimately alluding:

1 Peter 1:18 …you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
1 Peter 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

We can remember also that John the Baptist, too, called Jesus the lamb of God:

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

And then we have the fact that the apostle John goes on to mention this Lamb some 30 times in the book of Revelation.

Thus, the thread of Christ being the lamb of God runs throughout the Scripture.  And, truly, all of Scripture is about Christ our Lord.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

An Upward Call or a Sideward Call?

Paul wrote in his letter to the believers in Philippi:

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If Paul considered the call of Christ upward, why do so many today make a big deal about belonging to a local church?  Wouldn’t that be a lateral or sideward focus?

Christ is above – let us worship Him there.  There is no street address on earth given where He is to be worshiped.

As the apostle John records:

John 4:21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Let us therefore be done with the worship of an earthly nature and instead worship Him who is in heaven.

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. 

SL009 – Scriptural Literacy: The Prophets

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.

Understanding the structure of the Bible:

Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets (major), Prophets (minor),
Epistles, Pentateuch, History, Wisdom

OT: History, Wisdom, Prophets
NT: History, Letters

I. Introduction to the Prophets (starts at 7:15)

The Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets
A prophet spoke for God
Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7)
A prophet was a seer (1 Sam 9:9)
Not all prophets wrote (Elijah and Elisha)
2 Chronicles 20:20
2 Chronicles 36:15-16
Zechariah 7:12

II. Jesus and the Apostles on the Prophets (starts at 23:16)

Matthew 5:11-12; 23:29-39
Matthew 11:9-11; Luke 7:26-28
John 1:29, 36
Proverbs 4:18
Luke 6:20-26
Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48
Acts 3:24; 10:43; 13:15, 27; 26:22, 27; 28:23
Romans 1:1-4;16:25-27
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Hebrews 1:1-2
1 Peter 1:10-12
2 Peter 1:12-21

III. The Major Prophets  (starts at 1:02:50)

Acts 8:26-35
Isaiah 56:7 in Matthew 21:13 (1 of 55)
Jeremiah 7:11 in Matthew 21:13 (1 of 4)
Lamentations
Ezekiel 37:27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16 (1 of 2)
Daniel 7:13 in Matthew 26:64 (1 of 1)

IV. The Minor Prophets (starts at 1:21:12)

Hosea 6:6 in Matthew 9:13 (1 of 6)
Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:17-21 (1 of 2)
Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:16-17 (1 of 2)
Obadiah
Jonah 1:17 in Matthew 12:40 (1 of 1)
Micah 5:2 in Matthew 2:6 (1 of 2)
Nahum
Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:17 (1 of 3)
Zephaniah
Haggai 2:6 in Hebrews 12:26 (1 of 1)
Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37 (1 of 5)
Malachi 3:1 in Matthew 11:10 (1 of 2)

Total time elapsed is 1:45:01

Patience and Kindness as Aspects of Love in the Mind of Paul

The apostle Paul famously linked patience and kindness with love when he wrote [emphasis added throughout]:

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind

He also mentioned patience and kindness in the same breath with love when he wrote these verses:

2 Corinthians 6:6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness

It’s therefore clear that when Paul thought of love, he considered patience and kindness as two essential elements of it.

It’s also clear that Paul saw patience and kindness as key aspects of God’s character:

Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

And because of this, he obviously thought that patience and kindness should become parts of the believer’s character as well:

Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

It would therefore almost go without saying that anyone speaking in the name of the Lord should not be harsh or impatient:

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,

Therefore, whenever we think of the love of God, we should always consider patience and kindness to be included in its definition.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Our Jacob

Jacob is a type of Christ.

Jacob was the son who treasured the promises of God.  This foreshadowed Jesus who forsook all earthly rewards that He might obtain the promises made to his forefathers David and Abraham.

Jacob was the son through whom the twelve tribes of Israel came forth.  This foreshadowed Jesus who chose twelve of His disciples to spread His message throughout Israel and the world.

Jacob strove with God and man and prevailed.  Even more so did Jesus strive with God and man and prevail.

Let Jacob remind us of Jesus our Lord.

“Anointing” Is an Apt Metaphor for the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is said to be our anointing.  And this word “anointing,” of course, refers to the ancient practice of anointing with oil.

What a wonderful metaphor for the Holy Spirit!  Even in our age, we understand how anointing works because we so often apply various kinds of lotion or oils to our faces.  Oil blends in.  Oil permeates and becomes a part of the person. Oil makes the person’s face glisten.  Once applied, it is not easily removed.  It must be replenished, but that is only a problem if you have a limited amount of oil.  God is able to give the Spirit without measure:

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

*****

John 3:34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

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. 

Even Messiah Was Not Meant to Be Alone

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

All Scripture speaks of Messiah.  Thus, we see that Jesus was not left alone, but rather was anointed with the Holy Spirit as His helper:

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

This is the helper of which Jesus spoke:

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.

We are to be conformed to the image of Messiah. Thus we are to have the Holy Spirit as our helper, too.  Because of this, it becomes possible for us to say as Jesus did:

John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Messianic Allusion in Genesis 1:26

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…

Throughout the Scripture, there are hints (types and shadows) of the Messiah to come.  This is one of them.

God speaking as “Us” was an allusion to God and His Messiah, which, in the wake of Messiah’s resurrection, His apostles would have seen as referring to Messiah – at God’s side from the beginning (just as Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6).

Of course, Messiah was referred to more explicitly just two chapters later:  in Genesis 3:15 (“the seed of the woman”).

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 Prophets Saw the Lord Long Before the Apostles Did

Isaiah wrote of Jesus centuries before Jesus actually lived.  As the Gospel of John testifies:

John 12:41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.

Thus Isaiah looked ahead and spoke of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as David had done before Isaiah (see Acts 2:30-31).  And, of course, this foresight was present in all the prophets (see 1 Peter 1:10-12 and Acts 3:24).  Moses, too, for that matter “saw” the Lord who was to come (John 5:46).  (For a broader look at just how much the prophets saw of the promised Messiah, see this post.)  Yet even Moses and the prophets did not see with the clarity that was given in New Testament times (Matthew 13:17).

Let us therefore walk in the clearer-than-ever light of the Lord – that is, the light of Jesus Christ our Lord.  The Old Testament was pregnant with Him…and the New Testament birthed Him.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Bible Is a Covenant Book for Covenant People

The Scriptures were written by Jews and for Jews.  Of course, this does not mean that there was anything secret about them.  God intended for Israel to be a light to the world, so He placed them at the crossroads of three continents that everyone might know about them.  Nevertheless, the Bible’s documents were for Israel – to instruct it and guide it as it bore witness for God to the rest of the nations.

Many skeptics tacitly complain that the Bible was not written to them.  You can notice this complaint when you realize that such skeptics criticize the Bible for not addressing their skeptical concerns.  The Bible’s authors are far more interested in explaining the ways of God to believers than they are in defending the existence of God.  In fact, the existence of God is taken for granted in these texts.

Beginning with the Law of Moses, the Scriptures were addressed to the descendants of Abraham – a man who had a covenant with God.  Even the New Testment centered on the long-promised descendant of Abraham who fashioned a new covenant that was eternal in nature.

A covenant is an agreement that forms a relationship.  Therefore, the Bible is written for those in relationship with God – or at least those who are giving consideration to entering a relationship with God.  To try to understand it outside this context leads to confusion.

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.)

SL008 – Scriptural Literacy: The Acts of the Apostles

[Note: This podcast should have been released first thing this morning.  It’s my fault that it’s late going out.  I apologize.  My goal for it is first thing Wednesday mornings.]

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy.

Understanding the structure of the Bible:

Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets (major), Prophets (minor),
Epistles, Pentateuch, History, Wisdom

I. The Gospels and Acts  (begins at 4:46)

Gospels + Acts = NT History
Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-5
A two-volume set
Acts is a unique book

II. Psalms in Acts (begins at 18:07)

Acts 1:20
Acts 2:25-28, 34-35
Acts 2:34-35
Acts 4:11
Acts 4:25-26
Acts 13:33, 35

III. The Old Testament in Acts (begins at 37:46)

in specific terms:
Acts 2:16-21
Acts 3:22-23
Acts 3:25-26
Acts 7
Acts 8:26-35
Acts 13:40
Acts 13:47
Acts 15:15-18

in general terms:
Acts 3:18, 24
Acts 17:1-3, 11
Acts 18:28
Acts 26:22, 27
Acts 28:23-30

IV. Peter and Paul (and Luke) (begins at 53:12)

The Way  (related post: Regarding Jesus as the Way)
Christians
(disciples)
Galatians 2
Paul’s “three missionary journeys” (maps), Spain
Paul’s seven undisputed letters

Total time elapsed is 1:14:56

The Light That Dispels the Shadow of Death

Truly, death casts its shadow upon all humanity.  Everyone dies.  But:

Matthew 4:16 “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT,
AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH,
UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”  [quoting Isaiah 9:2]

David had told us in the 23rd Psalm that he was not intimidated by this shadow of death:

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;

This is because David knew of the Light that would one day rise (see Acts 2:29-31 to see what I mean).  This is made clear in Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, [Christ]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.

Thus the shadow of death is dispelled by the light of Christ…and we say:

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light…

Or, more nuanced to point of this post:

Micah 7:8 …Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.

So, though everyone dies, everyone also goes to heaven.

Thus death for us no longer means what it once did.  As it is written:

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

If then the curse of death has been turned into a blessing, where then is the shadow of death?  It is gone.  It has been dispelled.  For this reason, Paul could write:

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

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

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

1 Kings 8:20 – Solomon Foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah

1 Kings 8:20 “Now the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.

When King Solomon spoke these words it was only a foreshadowing of what would be true through Jesus Christ.

Consider that Jesus would say “I have risen” when He rose from the dead.  Consider also that He could say, “I have risen in the place of my father David,” for Jesus was indeed a descendant of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3).

Of course, with Jesus “the throne of Israel” was raised to the right hand of God.  And “the house for the name of the Lord” was the one of which Peter wrote:

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Through the prophet Nathan, God had promised David a descendant who would build a house for the name of the Lord:

2 Samuel 7:13 “He shall build a house for My name…

Solomon build a house of stones (which would eventually be torn down), but Jesus would build a house for God’s name against which the gates of Hades would not prevail (Matthew 16:18) and which would never be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).

Truly “something greater than Solomon” is found in Jesus Christ our Lord (Matthew 12:42).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 45:16 – The Son Comes to Take the Place of the Father

Psalm 45:16 In place of your fathers will be your sons…

Thus, in place of God the Father…is God the Son.

For this reason, the voice from heaven said:

Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”

Why then aren’t we listening to the Son?

If this idea is not clear to you, see this post: There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Bridegroom in Scripture

Yesterday we saw in Psalm 19 (Psalm 19:5) a reference to a “bridegroom.”  Since all Scripture testifies to Christ, who else would be this bridegroom be but our Lord Jesus Christ?

And indeed Jesus specifically referred to Himself as a bridegroom in Matthew 9:15.

Jesus also alluded to Himself as the bridegroom in the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).

Being “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36), Jesus is the bridegroom implied by Revelation 19:9.

Psalm 45 celebrates the king’s marriage and certainly prophesies of Jesus (as confirmed in Hebrews 1:8-9) as the bridegroom in view.

Thus Christ is the bridegroom.  His bride consists of those who are truly His.  They love righteousness, and no impurity is found in them.  Therefore, if you would be among those He calls “Bride” be sure to follow the exhortations of the apostles (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:14-16).

You may not see all there is of the bride of Christ in the world today, but He surely does:

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

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.