Revelation 19:10

Revelation 19:10 …For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The prophets who wrote the Old Testament testified of Messiah who would come.  The apostles who wrote the New Testament testified of Messiah who came.  Both testaments testify of Christ and both are thus imbued with the spirit of prophecy.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Scarlet Thread

There is a “scarlet thread” running from one end of the Bible to the other.  It is the blood that has flowed to bring the truth to us in modernity.

All the prophets who were slain for their faith – from Abel to Zechariah – testify to us about the truth of God.  Then, in New Testament times, Jesus Himself suffered death by crucifixion.  And post-biblical tradition tells us that only one of the twelve apostles lived to a natural death, all the rest being martyred, and usually in some particularly cruel fashion.

This scarlet thread bears witnesses to the veracity of those prophets and apostles – and of the Savior Himself.

Let us never read the Bible without an appreciation for the price that was paid to bring it to us.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What God Did Through Christ He Had Promised Long Before Through the Prophets

What God did through Jesus Christ, He had promised long beforehand.  Consider how Paul refers to this fact in the opening of his letter to Titus:

Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Titus 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,
Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

This is the way of God – to announce His intentions to His prophets.  This is so that His prophets might proclaim His intentions – that is, His promises – to His people.  Those promises would be written down, and then once they were fulfilled, all the generations that followed could glorify God for His faithfulness to His word.

Blessed be God, who revealed to His prophets what He was going to do.  As Amos said:

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Gospels Were Written in Anticipation of the Coming Kingdom

The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – were originally called “The Memoirs of the Apostles.”  (This phrase comes from Justin Martyr writing in the mid-2nd Century A.D.)  When you read the four Gospels, it’s obvious that they are written for believing communities – that is, those gatherings of believers in Christ that had sprung up all around the Mediterranean world in the mid to late 1st Century as a result of the preaching of the apostles.

The Gospels were not written to or for skeptics.  They were not written for those who had no familiarity with the story of Christ.  Even the Gospel of John, which is the only Gospel which states that it seeks to elicit faith (John 20:30-31), lays out its case for an open-minded reader – not a hostile one.  It is easier to imagine its initial use to be for a new generation of believers rather than to convince the surrounding skeptical culture.

The Gospels seek to reinforce faith, especially in light of the coming of the kingdom of God.  It appears that the Gospels were written late, not early, in the lives of the apostles.  Reading the book of Acts, and the letters that follow it, it’s clear that the apostles’ mission was one of preaching and not publishing.  In fact, the production of the Gospels seems tied to the apostolic mortality rate and the need to preserve the witness of Christ’s life.  In other words, if the apostles were not being persecuted and killed to the point of extinction, it’s possible they might not have written gospels.

You can especially see the impending kingdom, and the judgment that would come with it, looming in the narrative that Matthew provides.  It’s not just the story of Jesus being recounted, but being recounted in a way that emphasizes preparation for the coming crucible through which the kingdom of God would be birthed.

Imagine being a 1st-century believer who is hearing Matthew’s Gospel being read in the congregation.  Listen to the teaching of Jesus, knowing that Matthew is preparing you for the judgment that Jesus said would come.  Think about the wheat being separated from the chaff, the sheep being separated from the goats.  Know that you want to respond to Jesus and His teaching so that you will be found among the wheat and found among the sheep.

You will gain more from the Gospel of Matthew – and all the Gospels – when you read them from this perspective.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Take Heed That Habakkuk’s Prophecy Doesn’t Apply to You

Acts 13:40 “Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:
Acts 13:41 ‘BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH;
FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS,
A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.'”

I have explained carefully to you how everyone is going to heaven in The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.  Therefore, be careful that you don’t disbelieve it and thereby make yourself as a fulfillment of Habakkuk’s prophecy.

(The apostle Paul is the speaker in these verses and he is quoting Habakkuk 1:5.)

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

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

The Lord’s Will for You Is Strength of Heart

God does not want you to be weak in heart.  Rather, His will is that you be strong in heart.  Consider and meditate upon the following verses:

1 Corinthians 16:13

Ephesians 6:10

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

2 Timothy 2:1

Hebrews 12:12; 13:9

James 5:8

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 145:21 – Jesus Is the One Whom All Mouths Will Praise

Psalm 145:21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

We who know Jesus the Lord speak the praises of Jesus the Lord.  Those who are humble hear that praise and rejoice (Psalm 34:2).  Those who are wicked gnash their teeth (Psalm 37:12).  The wicked, however, do not last forever (Psalm 37:28).  Therefore, all flesh will praise Him for there is no end to the extension of His government (Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 13:33).  “Every knee will bow” and “every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord” (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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 145:20 – The Lord Keeps All Who Love Him

Psalm 145:20 The LORD keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.

Read the prayer of Jesus in John 17 (John 17:1-26), especially verse 12 (John 17:12).  Therein, Jesus says that He “kept” all those who loved Him.  He mentions also the one who did not love Him, and who was therefore not kept.  (Though everyone goes to heaven, not everyone gets there standing.)

God came to earth living as Jesus of Nazareth that we might understand what He is like (1 John 5:20).  As He behaved on earth, so He behaves from heaven.  If we pay attention to what kind of man He was, we will understand what kind of God He is.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 145:19 – The Lord Jesus Will Hear Your Cry and Save You…as You Walk in Obedience to Him

Psalm 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.

Read Matthew 14:22-33 and see how Jesus of Nazareth “fulfilled the desire” of Peter (“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”).  See also how Jesus “heard” Peter’s “cry and saved him” (verses 30-31).

As He did for Peter, so He will do for you.  Listen for His commands, and obey them (Luke 6:46).  And when you obey them, don’t think highly of yourself (Luke 17:10); rather, think highly of Him who came to bless you by turning from your evil ways (Acts 3:26).

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 145:18 – As the Lord Was on Earth, So He Also Is in Heaven

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Was not Jesus of Nazareth “near to all who called upon Him?”  Did anyone who “called upon Him in truth” fail to receive an answer?

As He was on earth, so He is in heaven.  As He helped those who called upon Him on earth, so He helps those who call upon Him 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. 

Psalm 145:17 – The Lord Jesus Is Righteous in All His Ways and Kind in All His Deeds

Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.

Do you recognize Jesus of Nazareth in this verse?  Does it not describe the way that He walked the earth in the 1st Century?

His miracles were all acts of kindness.  Everything He did was right; none of it was wrong.

As He was on earth, so He is in heaven.  As He was as a man, so He is as God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Hosea 12:13 – Jesus Is the Great Prophet to Come

Hosea 12:13 But by a prophet the LORD brought Israel from Egypt,
And by a prophet he was kept.

Remember that Moses said God would raise up a prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Jesus was that great prophet.  By that great prophet, the people of God were delivered from the world of flesh, and by that same prophet they are kept from the world of flesh.

Christ who saves you from your sins, keeps you from sin.  In the same way that He saved you, He will hold you.

As you received Christ in the beginning, so walk with Him always.  As Paul wrote:

Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

That is, in the way you came to Christ, you stay with Christ.  You came to Him in faith.  Therefore, you stay with Him by faith.

Why do people who think they are saved by “the sinner’s prayer” think that they are going to be kept by some other method – say, like churchgoing?  As you called upon Christ in the sinner’s prayer, so walk with Him day by day.  Churchgoing is no substitute for faith.

Just as you prayed the sinner’s prayer with a conviction of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1), so live your life with that same conviction.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Genesis 7:5 – The Greater Noah

Genesis 7:5 Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.

This scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  That is, Noah was a type, or foreshadowing, of the Christ who would come.

If Noah “did according to all that the Lord had commanded him,” how much more did Jesus do according to all that the Lord commanded him?  For God used Noah to save a few people from his generation, but God used Jesus to save all people from all generations:  Everyone Is Going to 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 31:19 – The Resurrection of Christ Elevated His Goodness to the Heavens

Psalm 31:19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

This verse prophesies “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

As we heed “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” we draw upon the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – the work of God.  For God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).

See:  The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Changed Everything

Through the resurrection of Christ, the goodness of God was “stored 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Philippians 3:14 – The Upward Call of God Is in Christ Jesus

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

The “upward call” of God is, of course, rooted in the resurrection of Christ.  That is why this “upward call of God” is “in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus of Nazareth lived the exemplary human life, and was raised from the dead to heaven that our attention might be drawn there.  Heaven is the light of the earth.  Heaven was dark to us – unknown – until Jesus illumined it.  In His human qualities (e.g. humility, gentleness, and kindness) are reflected the divine qualities of our Creator.

God is calling us through Jesus Christ, for Christ is the message of God.  Listening to this message draws our attention from earth to heaven, and so enables us to live in the manner that our Lord did.

Let us keep listening to the upward call; let us keep following the upward call.

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. 

Put Your Trust in His Prophets and Apostles and Succeed!

Consider this Old Testament verse:

2 Chronicles 20:20 They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”

Of course, in Old Testament times God spoke through the prophets “in many portions and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1), but in New Testament times spoke through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2) – who sent the apostles to proclaim His message.

Therefore we may update the words of Jehoshaphat and exhort the people of God in this way:

“Put your trust in His prophets and apostles and succeed!”

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. 

“Walk Before Me and Be Blameless”

“Walk before Me and be blameless” is the charge God gave to Abram when He changed his name to Abraham in Genesis 17:1ff.

Abraham walked before God as he understood Him.  Abraham’s descendants were to do the same.  Of course, that understanding grew enormously with the coming of Jesus Christ.  As the apostle John said:

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Therefore, the charge to “walk before God and be blameless” carries significantly greater meaning for those living after Jesus than it did for those living before.  This is, of course, because we can see the “Me” so much more clearly in Jesus.

Even pious Jews were at first shocked by the idea that the Messiah could be crucified, because they could not see God putting up with that sort of treatment.  To put it another way, the psalmist could write “His mercy endureth forever” but wouldn’t have had the chutzah to say, “Well, sure, God would be willing to have Himself crucified by evil men” – even though, when you stop and think about it, that’s just what a “forever enduring mercy” would do.  God redefined mercy beyond limits that most human beings would consider appropriate.

Therefore, to walk before Jesus and be blameless requires much more of us than walking before a Creator God whose character and response to evil is something we have not yet fully tested.

Let us therefore walk before Jesus Christ and be blameless.  We have seen for ourselves through the pages of the Gospels just what sort of behavior He considers blameless.

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. 

Amos 3:3

Amos 3:3 KJV Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

How can we walk with the Lord except that we have an agreement with Him?  Such an agreement speaks of a covenant, which the Lord offers to all those willing.

As Jesus Himself said,

John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.

This covenant is “the new covenant” in His blood (Luke 22:20; 2 Corinthians 3:6).

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 – The Remnant

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.”

Recall also:

Romans 9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;

Thus, if you would be numbered among the people of God – that is, the “remnant” – then “do no wrong and tell no lies.”  As Zephaniah’s fellow prophet Zechariah put it, “Speak the truth” (Zechariah 8:16).

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.)

Zephaniah 3:11

Zephaniah 3:11 “In that day you will feel no shame
Because of all your deeds
By which you have rebelled against Me;
For then I will remove from your midst
Your proud, exulting ones,
And you will never again be haughty
On My holy mountain.

These words from the prophet Zephaniah spoke of a work God was going to do, whereby He was going to purify the people of God.  Jesus spoke of this same work when He said to the chief priests and elders of Israel:

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

Thus Jesus also said;

John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

To purify Israel meant to remove those Jews who did not belong and add those Gentiles who did.  That is, the true people of God are those who live His way – be they Jew or Gentile according to the flesh.

2 Timothy 2:19 …”The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

Those among the people of God who harbor wickedness are not harbored themselves.

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 3:10

Zephaniah 3:10 “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
My worshipers, My dispersed ones,
Will bring My offerings.

See how Zephaniah’s words were fulfilled in the New Testament church according to Peter’s first letter regarding God’s “dispersed ones” [emphasis added]:

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…

Note also how Peter said they were “bringing offerings”:

1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
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.

Thus the apostles continually reported how the prophets words were being fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  As Paul said, the apostles were:

Acts 26:22 “…testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;

The words of Zephaniah 3:10 were thus being fulfilled in New Testament times.

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 3:9

Zephaniah 3:9 “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on the name of the LORD,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

Through Jesus Christ, God gave purified lips to those who love Him.  With Christ as the sacrifice, the worshipers of God were cleansed.

As the apostle John wrote:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thus the people of God – Jew and Gentile – called upon the name of the Lord – Jesus – with purified lips.

As the prophet Isaiah had written:

Isaiah 6:5 Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Isaiah 6:6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
Isaiah 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

The Lord wants those who call upon His name to do so with pure lips…and He Himself is willing to do the purifying necessary to allow 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. 

The Two Destinies in Zephaniah 3

The destiny of the people of God as outlined in Zephaniah 3:1-7 matches that of “the earthly Jerusalem” described by Paul in Galatians 4:21-31.  The destiny of the people of God as outlined in the remainder of the chapter (Zephaniah 3:8-20) matches that of “the Jerusalem above” described in the same Galatians passage.

Note how dramatically different are the destinies of these two “cities.”  One dies, and the other lives.  One is judged, and the other is able to rejoice.

This prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Jesus.  See Matthew 21:43 where He gives warning to the religious leaders of Israel that God was making a choice in that generation.

In every age there is the false city of God, and the true city of God.  In our age there are those who pursue church versus those who pursue the kingdom of God.

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

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

Seeing Jesus in Zephaniah 3:8

Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD,
“For the day when I rise up as a witness.

Didn’t Jesus “rise up” from the dead?

And when Jesus rose from the dead, didn’t He do so “as a witness”?

Indeed, as for being  witness, the apostle John wrote of Him:

Revelation 1:5 …Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead…

The prophet Zephaniah wrote centuries before Christ fulfilled this prophecy.  How blessed are those who waited for it to be fulfilled!

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 Did Not Have the New Testament

The New Testament was not gathered into a collection of 27 books until after the apostles died. So, even though the apostles wrote the New Testament documents, they did not have the New Testament at their disposal to settle New Testament controversies.

The apostles had to rely on the Old Testament in order to settle New Testament controversies.  Give that some thought, would 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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

Matthew 11:28-30 and 1 John 5:3

Note the similar point being made by these two passages, one from Matthew and the other from John:

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  [quoting Jeremiah 6:16]
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

#####

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Know then what a mistake we make when we mutter to ourselves that the way of the Lord is too hard.

Let us not dishonor Him with such wholly inappropriate complaining.  His commandment are not burdensome.

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.)

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. 

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.)

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. 

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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

As the Scriptures say:

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

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

As Solomon Spoke of Animals, so also Did Christ

[Emphasis added]:

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

If Solomon spoke proverbs, Christ has spoken many more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Solomon on Trees as a Type of Christ on Trees

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

Consider some of them:

Psalm 1  “like a tree”

Psalm 92:12-15  “like the palm tree”

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

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

Isaiah 61:3  “oaks of righteousness”

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

Matthew 13:31-32  “becomes a tree”

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

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

For more on trees, see these posts.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

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

Therefore:

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

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

1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
1 Kings 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
1 Kings 4:33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
1 Kings 4:34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

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

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

As Paul wrote, Christ Himself has become our wisdom:

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

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

In this verse, Noah is a type of Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus, the Righteous One, told His disciples:

John 14:2 “…I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

This is why Paul could say:

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

This ark of salvation endures forever.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

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

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

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

Jesus is “our Noah.”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus is “our Enoch.”

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Psalm 97:9 – Seeing Jesus as the Lord Most High

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

As we have seen, Jesus fits this sort of Scripture to a T!

Regarding this exaltation, consider also:

Philippians 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This description applies to Jesus our Lord and no other!

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.  In the case of Philippians 2:10, it’s Isaiah 45:23.)

Psalm 95:3 – Seeing Jesus as a King Above All Gods

Psalm 95:3 For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

Isn’t the Lord Jesus a great God?  Isn’t He a great King above all gods?

When He was raised from the dead, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth:

Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet…

If everything is “under His feet” doesn’t that mean He is “above all gods”…and everything else, too?

Truly, Psalm 95:3 prophesied of the resurrection of Messiah!

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Jesus Inherited His Names from the Old Testament

The New Testament begins with the following verse:

Matthew 1:1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

This verse is laden with references to the Old Testament.  And there is much more to them than just establishing Jesus’ earthly lineage.

What we read as “Jesus” was “Joshua” in Hebrew.  The word means “The Lord saves.”  It was the name that Moses gave to Hoshea the son of Nun (Numbers 11:36) – the man who would be heir to Moses’ authority, and therefore the foreshadowing of the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19.  Thus the very name by which this Nazarene carpenter would most commonly be called would provide a constant reminder of Moses and the promises he made on behalf of God.

What we read as “Messiah” was in Hebrew “Anointed” – a term referring to the king of Israel, and especially to the great king who God promised would one day come from the descendants of David.

What we read as “the son of David” would have evoked in first-century Jews a great set of expectations associated with the promises God made to David.  These would center on what the prophet Nathan spoke to David in 1 Samuel 7:8-17, perhaps most notably, at least in hindsight, the words God spoke in verse 14, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.”  These words were to ring with dramatic new clarity in the resurrection of Christ (Acts13:33, which is a quotation of Psalm 2:7; and Romans 1:1-4, which echoes this same theme).

What we read as “the son of Abraham” would similarly have evoked the great promises God gave to a very old man at the inception of the Jewish race.  The miracle of a hundred-year-old man and his ninety-year-old wife becoming the progenitors of what would be God’s own nation, was an amazing beginning to remember – and an indicator of just how special this Nazarene’s life might be.

Thus this beginning verse of Matthew carries all sorts of meaning that is lost on anyone not familiar with the history of Israel as recorded by its prophets (i.e. the Old Testament or, as it is sometimes called, the Hebrew Bible).  Therefore, if we are to understand and properly appreciate the name of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, we must study the Old Testament.

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.  

Deuteronomy 18:15 – The Prophet Like Moses in the New Testament

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

This verse is alluded to in the following four New Testament verses, all from the Gospel of John:

John 1:21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

*****

John 1:25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

*****

John 6:14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

*****

John 7:40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.”

*****

This idea also seems to be what the woman at the well of Sychar in Samaria has in mind during her conversation with Jesus (see especially John 4:19-26).

This prophecy by Moses is also quoted outright in Acts 3:22 and 7:27.

Some 1st-century Jews saw “the Prophet” as someone separate from “the Messiah,” while others considered both scriptural ideas to apply to the same person.  Of course, they did.  Jesus made this clear to the disciples in the wake of His resurrection from the dead.  Jesus of Nazareth is the prophet who is raised up and the Messiah who became king.

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 119:99 – Jesus Had More Insight Than All His Teachers

Psalm 119:99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

I’m sure these words were true when they were written, but how much more importantly and profoundly they were true when fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

When Jesus was twelve years old, he went with his parents to Jerusalem for Passover.  Through some confusion, his parents lost track of him.

Luke 2:46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

Even when Jesus became an adult, people would still be asking “Where did he get this wisdom?

Jesus had more insight than all his teachers because the Scriptures had been his meditation.  In doing this, Jesus was doing nothing more than what the Scriptures themselves prescribed.  (See Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1; and don’t forget that Jesus would have grown up knowing about Psalm 119 – and therefore the verse we quoted from it above.)

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 3:12 – The Humble and Lowly People

Zephaniah 3:12 “But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.

Who would these people be but the those conformed to the image of the Son, for He Himself said:

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

Mustn’t His people be like 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.  

Haggai 2:9

Haggai 2:9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts…

This scripture was fulfilled the New Testament church, which was the body of Christ bearing witness to the whole world of the great work of redemption performed by God through Christ.  This glory was greater than all the glory of Israel in the days of David and Solomon by just so much as spiritual glory is eternal and therefore greater and infinitely more enduring than any earthly glory.

Thus the last days of Israel were more glorious than her first days.  Let me say that again: Thus the last days of Israel through Messiah Jesus were more glorious than her first days through Abraham and Moses, David and Solomon.

As Jesus Himself said, “Something greater than Solomon or the temple” was present in Him (Matthew 12:6, 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.  

Deuteronomy 33:3 – Jesus as the Lord

Deuteronomy 33:3
…All Your holy ones are in Your hand,
And they followed in Your steps…

Note how Jesus echoes these words of Moses:

John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Note also that while Moses was speaking of God, Jesus was speaking of Himself.

Thus Jesus fulfills these words of Moses, and for this reason Jesus said to those Jews who resisted Him:

John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
John 5:47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

And even all the Scriptures are about Jesus our Lord.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 78:5 – He Appointed a Law in Israel

Psalm 78:5 ..He…appointed a law in Israel…

Who is He?  Jesus our Lord.  What law did He appoint in Israel?  The law of love.  (If you’re seeking the kingdom of God, this is the law of that kingdom.)

The Old Testament – including, of course, the Psalms – speaks of Christ.  (The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus 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. 

Ezekiel 21:2 – Seeing Jesus

Ezekiel 21:2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and speak against the sanctuaries and prophesy against the land of Israel;

Jesus referred to Himself often as “the Son of Man.”  In this scripture the term originally addressed Ezekiel, but it’s obvious to us now that it spoke prophetically of Jesus.  That is, Ezekiel was acting as a type of Jesus.

Indeed Luke evokes the memory of Ezekiel’s words when He describes Jesus’ march on Jerusalem.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,  (King James Version)

And when He got there, Jesus had to lament:

Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

The leaders of Jerusalem had apparently learned nothing from the history of their own city.

Jesus was thus the consummate “son of man” in the consummate prophetic role of warning about judgment to come.  That judgment certainly came – in 70 A.D.  That is, His words of warning were fulfilled within the generation of those who heard Him uttter them.

Jesus is the Son of Man.

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.

Seeing Jesus in Judges 5:31

Judges 5:31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD;
But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”…

Who showed more love for God than Jesus?  (Asked another way, who did a better job of obeying the greatest commandment?)

And who of His enemies did not perish?  (Was not Jerusalem itself destroyed in 70 AD?)

And who rose like the sun in its might?  (Is He not called “the Sun of Righteousness” who rose?)

Jesus our Lord is the one who loved God with all His heart and soul and mind and strength, and who rose, and whose enemies have perished.

As He loved the Lord His God, let us love Him – the Lord our God.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Seeing Jesus in 1 Samuel 20:31

1 Samuel 20:31 “For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established.

King Saul is speaking these words to his son Jonathan about David (the son of Jesse).  It reminds us of the parable Jesus told in which the vine-growers realized how they could keep from losing control of the vineyard:

Matthew 21:38 …’This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’

Thus in 1 Samuel 20:31 Saul is analogous to Satan, Jonathan is analogous to the chief priests and elders to whom Jesus was addressing the parable, and David is analogous to Jesus.

There is the heir according to the flesh and the heir according to the spirit.  It is the heir according to the spirit who will prevail because God will see that this is the outcome.  (See Galatians 4:21-31 for a similar example.)

The pattern is that sinful man resists and fights against God’s choice.  However, resistance is futile.  Resisting appears to work in the flesh, but it is heaven that ultimately rules.  The most notable example of this is that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in the flesh but raised to eternal kingship in the spirit.  Fleshly authority reigned over Him only for a moment, while His vindication, by contrast, was eternally permanent.

It turned out that Jonathan was wiser than his father.  May we similarly be wiser than Satan.

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 Chronicles 16:9 – Seeing Jesus

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…”

Did God strongly support Jesus?  Absolutely!  In fact, God did more miracles through Jesus of Nazareth than through any other human being who ever lived.  Therefore, when it comes to “strongly supporting,” God outdid Himself when it came to Jesus.  We may therefore say that Jesus must have given His heart completely to God in a way that no one before Him ever had.

In other words, this verse is teaching us – among other things – cause and effect.  The heart given to God is the cause; the response of God on behalf of the individual is the effect.

If you would that God do more through your life, release more of your heart 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. 

Jesus in Deuteronomy 17:15

Deuteronomy 17:15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.

God was saving place for Jesus, eh?

In fact, God has set Jesus “over” all.  That’s what being “raised from the dead” (that is, “over”) to “the right hand of God” (that is, “all”) means.

To the Jews, this verse meant that their king had to be a Jew…and He was.  But to the human race it meant that he had to be a human being…and he was (1 Timothy 2:5).  But He was also more than a human being.  He was 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.  

Jesus in Psalm 68:18

Psalm 68:18 You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives;
You have received gifts among men…

The apostle Paul made clear that these words applied to the risen Christ when he wrote:

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Ephesians 4:9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

Jesus is the one who “ascended on high.”  He leads captive the captives of death, for all were in Sheol (Hades) before He released them.  (He was “the Breaker” who went up before them.)  Therefore, as the King James Version says, “He led captivity captive, ” just as Abram and David had done before Him.

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

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

Psalm 68:5

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

How is Jesus “a father of the fatherless?”  Did He not promise:

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

And how is He “a judge for the widows?”  Was it not said:

Acts 10:42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

And thus James could remind in his letter about the needs of orphans and widows (1:27) and later warn about the coming of the Judge who would deliver them:

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

Truly the Lord Jesus is “a father to the fatherless and a judge for the widows.”

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 68:1

Psalm 68:1 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate Him flee before Him.

This scripture was fulfilled when Jesus rose from the dead.

Those who hate Him are still fleeing before Him.  Only the righteous seek His presence.

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 68:20

Psalm 68:20 God is to us a God of deliverances;
And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.

Jesus escaped from death.  And because He did, everyone else escapes it by His hand.  Thus this scripture is fulfilled in Jesus 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.  

Psalm 61:6

Psalm 61:6 You will prolong the king’s life;
His years will be as many generations.

Jesus was mockingly crucified as “King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:29, 37).  Having been given up for dead, and buried, God raised Him from the dead according to promise.  When raised from the dead, Jesus was elevated to everlasting life.  That is, He is never to die again (Romans 6:9).  Has God not thus “prolonged the king’s life?”  Are this king’s years not “as many generations?”

Truly, God has done “exceeding abundantly beyond all we could have asked or thought” (Ephesians 3:20) in our Lord Jesus 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. 

Isaiah 51:2 Again

Isaiah 51:2 “Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was but one I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him.”

In this passage, Abraham is a type of our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.  For as Abraham was one when called, so also Jesus was one when called.  And just as many came from Abraham, many more came from Christ.

And who was Sarah representing in this verse but the apostles of Christ and the New Testament church who bore so much pain that we might learn of Christ (John 17:20).  So much pain that she died in childbirth.    That generation bore more pain for God than any other (Matthew 24:21-22).

For more on this verse, see this prior post on it.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Isaiah 51:1

Isaiah 51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.

Do you pursue righteousness?  If so, read on.

If you seek the Lord, you must pursue righteousness because that is what He cares about.  If you pursue righteousness, you must seek the Lord for He is the source of all righteousness.  You cannot truly do one without doing the other.

As Jesus said:

Matt 6:33 “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”

And who is “the rock from which you were hewn?”  Paul tells us:

1 Corinthians 10:4 …the rock was Christ.

Peter concurs by quoting Isaiah 8:14, and identifying Jesus as:

1 Peter 2:8 …”A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”

Let us never forget this rock from which we came, and let us always “look to the rock”:

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus…  [King James Version]

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 stand out in the text.)

Is It a Surprise That God Would Choose a Man After His Own Heart to Script His Human Inner Monologue?

Paul wrote that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).  One of the reasons he could say this is that so many of the psalms reflect the heart cry of the one who would be Messiah.  Thus by reading them, we know the mind of Messiah.  (The term “Messiah,” of course, means “Christ.”

Psalm 22 and Psalm 69 contain poignantly painful expressions which serve to describe in advance the sufferings of the Messiah…and to confirm afterwards that Jesus of Nazareth, crucified by the Romans, was indeed the Messiah prophesied.

For example, in just these two psalms we see expressions like:

 Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Jesus uttered these words from the cross itself.

And then there is:

Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

There are many such expressions throughout the psalms which effectively convey to us the thinking of Christ in his time of crisis.  Since God knew what He would suffer when He became Jesus, He wanted scriptures written which would not only guide Him in those difficult moments, but also be signs to the faithful that the suffering man they were seeing before them was indeed the one who was promised.  Who could write such scriptures?  Who would know God well enough to put into human language the emotion He would feel when being tempted as a human being?  A man after God’s own heart.

 1 Samuel 13:14 …The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

This description of David – “a man after God’s heart” – is repeated in Acts 13:22.  Thus a psalm of Christ would literally be, and best be, a psalm of David.  Messiah would not only be David’s physical seed, he would be like David in spiritual zeal and other ways, too.  Jesus of Nazareth even had a warrior spirit, though his battles were not against flesh and blood but rather against evil forces operating in the spiritual dimension of this world.

David is certainly not the only Old Testament poet to prophesy of the sufferings of Christ, but the biblical record on this count would not be nearly as rich without his contributions.  Think of God as an artist using the instrument of David to play the songs of His heart – both those of joy and of sadness.  David knew both extremes and was well able to give full expression to the mind of Christ (i.e. Messiah) in the psalms.

The psalms of Christ are thus the inner monologue (or man’s side of dialogue with God) that God wanted recorded as a script so that as young man growing up He could learn them.  This was so that one day He could fully live them out, being faithful to them, and thus fulfill the promises He had made to humanity through Abraham, David, and others.

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 Psalm of Christ

Jesus began uttering Psalm 22 while hanging from the cross (to see this, compare Psalm 22:1 to Matthew 27:46).  Matthew 27:39 and Mark 15:29 both take note of how the phrase “wagging the head” in Psalm 22:7 was an apt description of the mockers passing by the awful crucifixion scene.  Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, and John 19:24 all testify of the fulfillment of Psalm 22:18 in the dividing of, and casting lots for, Jesus’ garments.  And the book the Hebrews quotes Psalm 22:22 in its entirety.  Thus the  writers of all four Gospels make it abundantly clear that Psalm 22 – written by King David a thousand years before Christ was even born – prophesies with dramatic precision the crucifixion of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Like other psalms of Christ, Psalm 22 gives us a prophetic view of the mind of Christ.  This enables us to understand the mind of one who would be moral in an immoral world.  That is, they guide our way in the living of God’s command to love Him first and others before ourselves.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 19:7 – The Law of the Lord

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul…

Who is the Lord but Jesus, and what is His law but to love?

And does not the mere thought of the Lord and His commandment restore our souls?  As James said:

James 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

Indeed “perfect” is a word James used to describe this law that restores our souls.  Just a few verses later, he says:

James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

And this puts us in mind of Psalm 1, for the restoration that this law gives is not complete unless we do the law.  It is not enough just to hear it.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 19:7 – The Testimony of the Lord

Psalm 19:7 …The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Who is the Lord?  Jesus.  What is His testimony?  That which He gave in the days of His flesh.  As He said [emphasis added]:

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Indeed, if we listen and take heed to the testimony of the Lord (that is, what He testified to us), then we shall become wise.  Thus:

1 Corinthians 1:30 …Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God…

Therefore, having a sense of how good it will be for us, let us pay much closer attention to the Lord’s testimony – that we might heed it with all that is within us.  His testimony is the truth.

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 – A Psalm of Christ

The letter to the Hebrews makes clear that Psalm 45 is of Christ.

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says,
“YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER,
AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.
Hebrews 1:9 “YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS;
THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU
WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.”

This passage from Hebrews is quoting verses 6 and 7 from Psalm 45.  (That accounts for the letters that are in all capitals.)

Psalm 45 is about the marriage of the king of Israel.  Of course, there are references to the people of God in the New Testament as the “bride” or “wife” or “virgin” being prepared for Christ.  This reminds us of Esther being prepared for King Ahasuerus.  In that story, Queen Vashti represents those who were to be betrothed to the King but were not worthy.

Over and over the New Testament extols “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and indeed Psalm 45:2 says to the king, “Grace is poured upon [or through] your lips.”  The Greek word in the Septuagint version of this verse (ABP) is the same as the one used in the New Testament for grace.  (This is also the case in Psalm 84:11 which speaks of the Lord and His grace.)  The glory of Christ can be seen throughout the wedding psalm numbered as 45.

As the final verse of Psalm 45 suggests, may the King’s name be remembered in all generations.  And in our generation we may add, “Especially ours!”

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

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

Psalm 40 – A Psalm of Christ

With great ease, Hebrews 10 takes words from Psalm 40 and puts them in the mouth of Christ.  (See Hebrews 10:4-10 and compare to Psalm 40:6-8.)  Thus we see that Psalm 40 is of Christ.

We can even see that Psalm 40 is of Christ from its very first verse, for compare the following two verses:

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

and

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 we can see how Psalm 40 fits Christ perfectly.  Read the rest of the psalm comparing it to the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and see.  Truly the Old Testament was written for and about Him.  This is how the New Testament church read the Scriptures. Surely we don’t think we know more about the Scriptures than they did, do 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. 

Psalm 94:16 – Jesus Took a Stand

Psalm 94:16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?

Jesus took his stand against evildoers.  He took his stand against those who did wickedness.

When Jesus took this stand, he found himself all alone.

When Jesus took this stand, he fell (not through his own fault but because he was struck down)…but God made him to stand again.  Forever.

Isaiah 40:8 …the word of our God stands forever.

He is “the word” (John 1:1).  Who will stand with 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.  

God Chose the Righteous Man of Psalm 1 To Be the Anointed King of Psalm 2

Was Jesus not the truly righteous man portrayed by Psalm 1?

And was he not the one chosen by God to be worthy of the role of Messianic King in Psalm 2?

In Psalm 1, we see the humility practiced by Jesus and in Psalm 2 we see that humility challenged with suffering…and then, because of the righteous way He handled the suffering, rewarded with glory.

Truly, in the juxtaposition of Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 we see the pattern outlined in the Christ Hymn of Philippians 2.

Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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.  

Jeremiah 30:9

Jeremiah 30:9 ‘But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

Here God promises to “raise up.”  Of whom did this promise speak?  Jesus Christ, of course.

Jesus of Nazareth was a descendant of David who was raised to be king according to the promise God made to David (Acts 2:30) and reaffirmed here through Jeremiah.  David’s seed was to be raised up as king.  In fulfillment of this promise, Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead after being crucified (Acts 13:32-33).

Thus Jesus of Nazareth was made king of Israel according to Psalm 2, thereby installed in heaven to reign forever and ever (Psalm 45:6; 110:1-7; Daniel 7:13-14)

Throughout the New Testament you can see the apostles and the disciples “serving the Lord” and “David their king.”  For example, consider how the apostle James begins his letter:

James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…

This God and king – spoken of in Jeremiah 30:9 – James and the others did proclaim to be serving.  Thus New Testament times fulfilled the promise of Jeremiah 30:9.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Zechariah 9:9 – Gentle and Humble

[Emphasis added throughout.]

The prophet Zechariah says:

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

When Matthew quotes him, it comes out like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers 12:3

We find this in the Old Testament:

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

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

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

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

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

Thus we have:

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Offices of Prophet and King Came Together in David

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Wrote a Gospel that Strengthened Peter’s Confession

Recall Peter’s confession of Jesus:

Matthew 16:15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then consider the rationale John gives for his gospel:

John 20:30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

You could almost say that John wrote his gospel to deepen understanding and strengthen conviction of Peter’s confession, which, by this time, many people had adopted.

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.  

Allusion to Psalm 2 in Matthew 27:40-44

As Jesus is hanging on the cross, He is surrounded by critics who are taunting Him for claiming to be the Messiah.  Their point was that if He was indeed “the Son of God,” “the King of Israel,” He should have enough power to deliver Himself.  Little did they know.

Here they were, fulfilling the opening verses of Psalm 2, and yet not even recognizing that they were doing so.  Thus Paul could say:

Acts 13:27 “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.

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

Allusion to Psalm 2 in Luke 23:2

Luke 23:2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

Even if there were no Psalm 2, this statement could still be understood, since “Christ” (meaning Anointed) had been a synonym for Israel’s king since the days of its first king Saul.  In 1 Samuel 10:1 the priest Samuel anoints Saul with oil to indicate God’s choice of him as king for God’s people.

Even so, we may think of this statement as an allusion to Psalm 2 since it stands at the beginning of the Psalter and so emphatically describes Israel’s great king as “Christ” (“Anointed”), “King,” and “Son of God.”  Anyone laying claim to the title of Messiah would have to make a case for being worthy of this rhetoric.

Of course, Jesus of Nazareth, by His crucifixion and resurrection, stripped all prior understanding of this psalm and fulfilled it an eternally dramatic fashion.  How ironic that His accusers in this passage did not realize how well they were fulfilling the second verse of this psalm (as confirmed by the apostles in Acts 4:25-28).

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

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

Allusion to Psalm 2 in Mark 15:32

Mark 15:32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

The “Christ” is mentioned in Psalm 2:2 (though your Bible may say “Anointed” in its place),  and “king” is mentioned in verse 6.  You could say, technically speaking, that this expression “Christ, the King of Israel” is redundant, since “the Christ” was a term referring to “the King of Israel”  However, the expected figure was often described with such a “double” title, whether it be “Christ and King” (as in this verse), or “King and Son of God” (in John 1:49 – “son of God showing up in verse 7 of Psalm 2), or “Christ and Son of God” (as in Matthew 16:16).

Note also that these references to Jesus as the Messiah could be spoken in hope (as Nathanael did in John 1:49), faith (as Peter did in Matthew 16:16), or even mockery (as the chief priests and scribes did in Mark 15:32 when they were observing Jesus being crucified).

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. 

Allusion to Psalm 2 in John 1:49

Early in Jesus’ ministry (John 1:49), Nathanael (who was later to become one of the twelve apostles) is introduced to Jesus in a remarkable way and consequently says to Him, “You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”  Such a statement would be recognized in that time and place as an allusion to Psalm 2, which was what Bible scholars call a “royal psalm.”  Specifically, its recitation evoked memories of David and of God’s promises to David for a great successor who would rule over an ascendant and triumphant Israel.

I mention this because some people reading the gospel of John might think that Nathanael was calling Jesus divine.  Jesus is divine, but it is not likely that Nathanael had recognized it at this time.  Nathanael was simply using the biblical phraseology that would mean Jesus was the promised king.  Nathanael was saying, “You deserve to be in charge of this place!”

This sort of thing happens throughout the Bible.  That is, people see Jesus, saying something true about Him, but only later realize in a deeper and more profound way just how right they were.

This is another reason why it’s so important in studying for Jesus in the Bible to study both testaments.  People who read only the New Testament fail to appreciate just how much of its language is borrowed from the prophets who wrote the Old Testament.  They see the expression “son of God” and think of it in terms of something they heard in catechism class or read in a theology book, and this causes them to misinterpret what they’re reading in the text.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 7:11

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

This is the promise of God to David.

Now here is Jesus reiterating that promise:

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Scriptures on Jesus’ Regard for the Prophets

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

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

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

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

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Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

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

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

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

The Seed of Abraham

As Jesus was the seed of David, so He was – by lineage from David, if nothing else – the seed of Abraham as well.  This is because, of course, David himself was a descendant of Abraham.

David took the covenant that God made with Abraham seriously (“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” – 1 Samuel 17:26).  Thus David was imitating the faith of Abraham.

Jesus came in that same spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13) – so much so that in Hebrews 12:2 He is called “the author and perfecter of faith.”

Of course, there’s much more to this concept than this.  Consider, for example, what Peter says here:

Acts 3:25 “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’
Acts 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

Thus Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham, a point confirmed by Paul:

Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

That Jesus is the seed of Abraham is a thought well worth meditating extensively.

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

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

Proverbs 4:18

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

Understanding dawns on us.  It does not come to us in full force all at once.  Like the sunrise gradually becomes the noonday, so our understanding grows at a pace we can handle.

Thus we do not understanding everything as well, or as deeply, in the beginning as we will in the end.

For example, when Nathanael said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the son of God; you are the king of Israel” in John 1:49, he probably meant those words in the way that most early first-century Jews understood them: as meaning that Jesus was the descendant of David who should reign as king in Israel.  This was the way people generally understood Psalm 2 to be prophetic of the Messiah.

Later, when Jesus was crucified – an event none of them suspected was the fate of the Messiah – the messianic hope in Jesus was dashed…momentarily.  The third day those hopes came roaring back with the concomitant understanding that Psalm 2: 1-3 had been prophesying the crucifixion, and Psalm 2:4-9 had been prophesying the resurrection.  In other words, Nathanael had understood Jesus to be the fulfillment of Psalm 2…but later came to understand the point far more fully.

Thus passages of Scripture like Psalm 16 or even individual verses like Psalm 118:22 could be understood in an ordinary sense.  Once God did something greater in fulfillment, however, the meaning of such passages and verses took on a whole new grandeur.  “Something greater…was here”  (Matthew 12:6, 41, 42; Luke 11:41,42).

Thus the dawning of understanding can lead to the noonday of understanding – with a growing understanding in between.  To take another example, Peter called Jesus “the Holy One of Israel” in John 6:69.  Yet Peter had no idea just how holy until he saw the Lord endure with grace and dignity the shame and indignation of the cross (described by Peter using Isaiah’s words in 1 Peter 2:21-24).  Peter had grown in his understanding of the Lord.

You and I can grow in our understanding of the Lord, too.  This is the path of the righteous.  Expect a growing awareness of truth…and keep pursuing it (John 8:30-32).

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 and John Both Saw Jesus as “The Holy One”

Peter and John had reasons to see Jesus in similar fashion.  They also held similar views on how the Old Testament sacrificial system foreshadowed what Jesus did.  They also both saw Jesus as “The Holy One” – as demonstrated in their respective first letters:

1 Peter 1:15 …like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One…

Given that they spent so much time together serving Jesus (especially at momentous events, whether large like the early days of the church described in Acts 4, or small like the Mount of Transfiguration described in Matthew 17), it’s no wonder that these two men would have common ways of referring to our Lord.  What’s interesting is how different their writing styles are.  Truly God can speak in a variety of ways through a variety of persons while delivering a consistent message (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Glory be to Him!

Also, before closing, I should add the source for this title of Jesus (“The Holy One”):  Psalm 16:10, as evidenced by Peter’s quoting and explaining it in Acts 2:24-31.  Thus both Peter and John were quoting Scripture when they called Jesus “the Holy 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.

Numbers 11:25

Numbers 11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit who had been upon Jesus (Acts 10:38) was poured out upon those who were calling upon His name.  And, as exemplified in 1 Corinthians 12-14, this Holy Spirit outpouring continued throughout the church age.  That is, whenever the church gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them.  For this reason, the disciples were encouraged not to forsake the assembling of themselves together as they saw the day of the Lord approaching (Hebrews 10:23-25).  When Jesus came again, the Holy Spirit was removed from the church as “the glory” had been removed from Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:1-15; 1 Samuel 4, especially vss. 19-22).

Thus the church since apostolic times has held church councils but has not been able to say “thus saith the Lord” as the apostles and prophets did.

Therefore, we see in this passage from Numbers a prophecy of the temporal nature of the New Testament church.  The church’s purpose was to be a transitional device between ancient Israel and the kingdom of God.  The spirit of prophecy does not reside in the man-made church but continues on in the hearts of those who testify to Jesus, for:

Revelation 19:10 …the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

See also:

The New Testament Church was Shiloh – The Church Afterward Was Ichabod

How Did We Go from Shiloh to Ichabod?

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 28:16

Genesis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Surely the kingdom of God is in our midst and many do not know it.

Wake up to the Lord!  (See Ephesians 5:14.)

The kingdom of God has long since arrived.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 28:18 – The Anointed Stone

Genesis 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top.

As for the stone, Peter tells us who it is in 1 Peter 2:4-8, quoting three Old Testament verses in the process.

As for the oil poured out on its top, can this mean other than the pouring out of the oil of the Holy Spirit on Jesus as referenced by Peter in Acts 10:38?

Thus Peter helps us to see that Jesus is the stone anointed with the oil of God’s Spirit.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Seed Was Planted by Crucifixion

The Messiah (i.e. the Christ, the Anointed) was promised as a seed.

He would be the seed of Abraham.

He was the seed of David.

He was even the seed of Eve.

He was the smallest of all the seeds that grew to be the greatest of all the trees.

Jesus is indeed the seed that was promised long before it was planted.

Of course, the seed would never have sprouted unless it had first been planted – and this planting speaks of His crucifixion.

By crucifixion, Jesus was killed and then planted in the ground.  Seeds do not grow until they are planted in the ground, and indeed Jesus did not begin His glories until He after He was buried.  For once planted in the ground, He sprang forth on the third day that He might be taken up 40 days later to the glory of the right hand of God.  And from there He came to judge us and save us forever.

Thus the apostles said that Jesus had to suffer before experiencing His glories (Acts 17:3).

We we think of the messianic seed, therefore, we should think of crucifixion.

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.

 

Genesis 6:22

Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

As Noah did all that God commanded him, building an ark for the salvation of his household, so Jesus did all that God commanded Him, building an ark for the salvation of the world.  Thus, this verse speaks, above all, about Jesus Christ.

Moreover, the entire Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – is about Jesus 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.