When the Kingdom of God Was Partial

In the post “‘Something Greater Than…’ = ‘When the Perfect Comes…’,” I quoted this verse (among others):

1 Corinthians 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

The kingdom of God was partial in the nation of Israel.  That’s why, when Jesus came, He could make this statement to them on the eve of His crucifixion and resurrection:

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 “the kingdom of God” was partial or provisional in Israel.  Of course, the people to whom it was given are chronicled in the New Testament from the book of Acts onward.

Then, at the coming of the kingdom, prophesied in Matthew 24-25 and throughout the New Testament, the kingdom was taken away from the visible church and given to those within it who were truly sanctified – those found worthy of the fullness of the kingdom.  The New Testament is not able to tell us who they were  by name because it was written by the apostles who were largely martyred before the kingdom came.  This, too, was as Jesus had prophesied.

Thus the partial (ancient Israel and the New Testament church) was done away when the perfect (the kingdom of God) came.

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Church Was a Transitional Stage Between Ancient Israel and the Kingdom of God

God used the church (that is, the one that existed in New Testament days) as a bridge between ancient Israel and the kingdom of God.  It was therefore a temporary ordering of things, just as the Feast of Booths had foreshadowed – and just as the time Noah and his family spent on the ark was a temporary ordering of things.

From the beginning, God had been planning to administer a redeemed creation (that is, redeemed from the sin that had marred it) through the kingdom of God.  The New Testament church was the last stage of preparation for that kingdom and therefore did not need to last long.

This explains why today’s churches have to write by-laws for themselves when, by contrast, ancient Israel had theirs provided by God through Moses.

If the church was God’s vehicle for today, there would only be one church instead of the myriad denominations we have.  A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and God’s kingdom is certainly not divided against itself.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Kingdom of God Replaced the Church as the Church Had Replaced Israel

When God does a new thing, the old thing is supplanted.  Thus, once Messiah came, the temple was rendered obsolete for God’s purposes.  This is the way of God.  This is how He works.

Therefore, when the church came into being, the nation of Israel was rendered obsolete for God’s purposes.  And, similarly, when the kingdom of God came, the church was rendered obsolete for God’s purposes.  Granted, the time frame of the church was much shorter than that of the nation Israel.  It was approximately 1,500 years from the time God used Moses to form a bunch of slaves into an independent nation until the time of the church, but only one generation after that before the kingdom of God came.  Nevertheless, the church became obsolete just as the nation of Israel had because the kingdom of God superseded it just as it had superseded Israel.

Nothing will supersede the kingdom of God, however, for we have been clearly told that it is eternal (Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:13-14, and elsewhere).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Daniel 2:34

Daniel 2:34 “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.

Jesus – the Messiah – is “the stone” (Psalm 118:22 and elsewhere).  That it was a stone “cut without hands” is a reference to our Creator.  That is, Messiah was not the work of men; Messiah was the work of God.

Messiah’s kingdom struck down and prevailed over Satan’s kingdom of the world.  Thus the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of God through His Messiah (Revelation 11:15).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 18:2-3

2 Samuel 18:2 David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.”
2 Samuel 18:3 But the people said, “You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.”

The people knew that David was the one whom the enemy wanted; their own lives were inconsequential in the light of his.  Therefore, they rightly sought to guard their king at all costs.

For this reason, David’s descendant – the heir to his throne and the Messiah of Israel – said this to Pontius Pilate:

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Jesus was bringing in a new covenant, wherein He would reign from heaven and not earth.  This is why David was protected but Jesus was sacrificed.  Once sacrificed, Jesus was raised from the dead, never to die again and therefore never to be at risk from enemies again.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Day of the Church Versus the Day of the Lord

The day of Israel gave way to the day of church.  That is, when Jesus was raised from the dead, He called to Himself all of the true sons of Israel.  The faithful of Israel became the faithful of the church, and we read about them in the New Testament.

However, the day of the church quickly gave way to the day of the Lord, for the New Testament’s vibrant pulse is the expectation of the coming of the Lord in that generation.  Indeed, Christ came in the kingdom of God and thus ushered in the eternal day of the Lord.

Of course, we live in that day.  Let us therefore stop focusing attention on church and focus it instead on the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zechariah 14:9

Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Who is the Lord who would be “king over all the earth?”  Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth, Son of David.  He is “the only one,” and “His name is the only one.”

This is the kingdom of God:  the lordship of Christ.  Do not allow yourself to be misled from the simplicity of it.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

The kingdom of God has come, and Jesus is its king!  His is the name above every other name (Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 2:11

2 Chronicles 2:11 Then Huram, king of Tyre, answered in a letter sent to Solomon: “Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them.”

We know that Solomon, being the son of David, is a type of Christ.  The name Solomon means “peace” and Jesus is, of course, “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  In this verse it is prophesied that Jesus was made king over God’s people because God loves His people.  That is, Jesus was not made king for Jesus’ sake.  Nor was He made king for God’s sake.  Rather Jesus was made king for the people’s sake.

Obedience doesn’t do anything to improve God status.  It does, however, improve our status.  Therefore, we should always be thankful for the kingdom of God.  It was instituted for our sake, not His.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Is Jesus a False Prophet?

Is Jesus a false prophet?  Perish the thought!  It’s an entirely repugnant thought.

Why then do I raise such a thought?  Because those who deny the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises of a coming kingdom are inadvertently begging for Him to be labeled false.  Remember that Moses said:

Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Therefore, if Jesus’ words about the imminent coming of the kingdom of God in the 1st Century A.D. are today deemed to be wrong, then Jesus is, in effect, being labeled a prophet whose prophecy did not come true.

Yet His prophecy did come true!  Jesus Christ did come again – just exactly as He had promised.  Many people simply misunderstood His promise.  They expected Him to come in earthly or worldly glory, but Jesus had already turned down that kind of glory when He was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4, Luke 4).  No, Jesus was promising to come in heavenly glory.  How could He have made this more clear?  He kept calling it “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” – not “the kingdom of man” or “the kingdom of flesh.”

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. 

2 Chronicles 2:1

2 Chronicles 2:1 Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself.

This Scripture was fulfilled in New Testament days, during which we see the “greater Solomon” (i.e. Jesus) building a house for the name of the Lord.  As it says in Hebrews:

Hebrews 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

The New Testament church, which became the kingdom of God once it was purified, was the house Jesus built for the name 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. 

1 Chronicles 12:23

1 Chronicles 12:23 Now these are the numbers of the divisions equipped for war, who came to David at Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.

As the faithful of Israel turned the kingdom Saul to David, so the faithful of 1st Century Israel turned the kingdom of flesh to the kingdom of Christ.  The leadership of fleshly Israel had crucified Jesus.  The resurrected Jesus drew to Himself all those Jews who truly loved God.  Once that had been achieved, He began drawing the God-fearing Gentiles (John 10:16)…until all true Israel was saved (Romans 11:26) and the kingdom had come.

Thus this Scripture from 1 Chronicles was fulfilled in New Testament times – as we can see by reading the book of Acts and the Epistles.

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 Temporariness of Our Life Here on Earth

2 Samuel 11:11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.”

The NASB marginal note for this verse says that “temporary shelters” could also be translated “booths.”  Other translations say “tents.”

The term “booths” reminds us of the biblical Feast of Booths, which is also called the “Feast of Tabernacles.”  All of these terms speak of the temporary and fragile nature of the dwellings used by the Israelites during the time of their sojournings in the desert between their captivity as slaves in Israel and their entrance into the promised land of Canaan as free men.

Through these Old Testament references, God is wanting to teach us something important.  This life is only temporary, and the bodies in which our spirits dwell are likewise temporary.  We should never forget that our time here on earth is temporary, and that we are preparing to enter a more permanent state.

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 Scriptural Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

As from the Tent of Meeting to the Temple, so from the Church to the Kingdom of God

2 Samuel 7:1 Now it came about when [King David] lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies,
2 Samuel 7:2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.”

The tent curtains of which David speaks were, of course, those that were part of the tabernacle Moses had built in the wilderness.  Such a temporary dwelling was needed because Israel was on the move at that time – even wandering in the desert for forty years.  A permanent dwelling for any of them was out of the question.

Now that David has a permanent home in the promised land, he notices how inappropriate it is that God is still “living” in temporary quarters.  Consequently, David would build a permanent structure – the temple – through his son Solomon.

Similarly the church of the New Testament was a temporary structure.  The kingdom of God was the permanent structure which would replace it, just as Jerusalem’s temple replaced the tent of the desert.

Therefore, as you go to meet God, seek him no longer in the church but rather in His kingdom.  It is in our midst (Luke 17:20-21).

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.)

2 Samuel 3:1

2 Samuel 3:1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.

We are in the midst of a long war between the house of the flesh (that is, the institutional church) and the house of the spirit (that is, the kingdom of God).  The period of this warfare extends beyond our generation, and we must do what we can to advance God’s cause so that our generation will be a benefit to those that follow us.

Give your allegiance to the Lord who died for you; stop serving the man-made church which diverts the Lord’s resources to itself.

Remember also that while Saul attacked David, David did not attack Saul.  Bear up under persecution, knowing that the Lord’s cause will prevail.  You will not have to defend yourself because the Lord will defend you.

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

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

2 Samuel 5:2

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

And so it is that the Lord Jesus has been leader all the time that the institutional church was lord over us.  Let us therefore shed the institutional church and serve the Lord Jesus with a whole heart.

The institutional church is the kingdom of man but the lordship of Christ is 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. (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 22:28

Psalm 22:28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S
And He rules over the nations.

The king of the kingdom of God is the Lord Jesus Christ: He who descended from heaven to bring us back with Him when He ascended. From there, He rules over the nations, for:

Revelation 11:15 …The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  (King James Version)

One God saved us: He who was, and is, and will always be.

He did not send a part of Himself – rather, He Himself came for us, and redeemed us from our sins by His blood (Revelation 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.)

Hebrews 13:14

Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

In Revelation 21, the apostle John spoke of this city which was to come – the kingdom of God, upon which the faithful of the New Testament church were waiting.  They knew that the church gatherings in which they participated were a temporary arrangement (a Feast of Booths) in anticipation of the coming promised land.  Therefore, they did not fall prey to the apostasy, which was to take hold of so many in the late New Testament church (Acts 20:29-30).  They believed in the day that was coming, spoken of in Hebrews 10:25, the day of the Lord (Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16).  For this reason, they were blessed (Luke 1:45).

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.)

It’s “Thy Kingdom Come,” Not “Our Kingdoms Come”

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to plead “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 KJV; Luke 11:2 KJV).  Why then are Christian leaders seeking their own kingdoms?  They might as well be praying “Our kingdoms come.”

The Baptists are seeking to grow the Baptist kingdom.  The Catholics are seeking to grow the Catholic kingdom.  And so on.

At some 30,000 denominations and counting, there is a lot of self-seeking – and not much kingdom-seeking – going on in Christendom these days.

Let us get back to seeking the King and His kingdom.  It’s hypocritical to pray “Thy kingdom come” and then live in pursuit of your own kingdom.

Leaven the Whole Lump of Your Mind

Matthew 13:33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Let the good news of Jesus Christ enter and permeate all of your thinking.

So many people give Jesus a corner of their mind.  Give Him all of your thinking.  Love Him with “all of your mind” (Mark 12:30).

The kingdom of God was meant to affect all of your thinking the way leaven is supposed to permeate the entire lump of dough.  Picture your brain as that lump that needs to be fully leavened.

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.)

Acts 23:1-5 – The Flesh v. the Spirit

Acts 23:1-5 illustrates the difference between walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh.

In verse Acts 23:5, Paul defends himself by saying that he wasn’t aware that had reviled Israel’s high priest.  That is because, by this time, Paul recognized the resurrected Christ as the high priest of God’s people (Hebrews 5:1-14, especially Hebrews 5:10).  Paul was “walking according to the spirit,” just as he had instructed the believers in Rome (Romans 8:3-4).  He was setting his mind on things above, as he had instructed the believers in Colossae (Colossians 3:2).  For Paul, Jesus Christ – not the man in fancy clothes standing before him – was the high priest of Israel.

Notice the stark contrast of the two different mindsets.

THE MIND SET ON THE FLESH:  Paul’s accusers had their minds set on the flesh.  They were Israel according to the flesh.  They had a high priest according to the flesh, and in their minds Paul had insulted him.  Since Moses had said it was wrong for a citizen to speak evil of such a leader, they condemned Paul.

THE MIND SET ON THE SPIRIT:  Paul’s mind was set on the spirit, things above.  For him, Jesus was the “ruler of the people” to whom Moses’ admonition would apply.  Therefore, all of Paul’s accusers were violating Moses’ admonition by speaking evil of Jesus and those who served Him.

Thus, whether one walks according to the flesh or the spirit can cause one to have a dramatically different view of a situation.

For a chart of Bible verses that lay collectively describe and delineate these two viewpoints see Flesh Versus 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. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Revelation 21:22 – The Lord Himself Is Our Temple

Revelation 21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

In this age, the Lord Himself is our temple.  We need no earthly structure in Jerusalem.  We need no gatherings of believers in various cities under human leadership.  We need only gather to our Lord Himself.  So, whether we are alone from human standpoint, or in the midst of other humans calling on His name with us, it is His presence that we seek and value.  He will not overlook us.  He knows those who call upon Him in sincerity of heart and without personal agendas (2 Timothy 2:19).

This is the day and age to which the prophets looked forward. This is the day which the apostles saw as imminent – the day in which the Christ would be fully revealed.  We now know Christ to be not merely an emissary of God, but rather God Himself in the flesh.  Truly, truly, He is Immanuel, “God with us.”

Therefore, look not for a house of the Lord unless it is the Lord Himself you seek to house you.  For these are not the days of the ancient nation of Israel.  Nor are these the days of church.  These are the days of 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. 

Lineage in the Kingdom of God Is by the Spirit and Not by the Flesh

In 1 Peter 3:6, Peter writes that those who behave as Sarah become her children.

In Galatians 3:7, Paul writes that those who practice faith are the sons of Abraham.

In Romans 2:28-29, Paul writes that being a Jew had become a matter of the heart rather than a matter of the body.

What these and other scriptures make clear is that being a “son of” – at least in the kingdom of God – is a matter of “being like.”

Therefore, in the kingdom of God it’s not a matter of who claims to be a son of God (as many Christian would have it) – it’s rather a matter of who behaves like 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. (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 Apostles Proclaimed the New Order That Was Replacing the Old Order

The apostles of Jesus Christ proclaimed that God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, had established a new order in creation.  This new order was in fact the beginning of the new creation God had promised through Isaiah 65:17 and Isaiah 66:22.

According to the apostles the new order was replacing the old order, which had been in place since the beginning of the original creation.  Here’s how the new order was described by an apostle as supplanting the old:

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

and

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Satan was the god of the old order (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  Israel knew his identity because God had revealed it.  However, the rest of the world submitted to his rule without even knowing he was there.  That’s why the world, which is his domain, is called “the domain of darkness.”  Thus Paul wrote of the nations that unwittingly served him:

Ephesians 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
Ephesians 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
Ephesians 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Satan has far less power today because God has triumphed over him through Christ (the victory foreseen as on the immediate horizon in Romans 16:20). Yet even in his diminished status, Satan is still able to keep many in darkness – those unwilling to give up the lusts of their flesh in order to find the truth.  It is therefore not so much Satan’s power but rather that human unwillingness which accounts for the darkness in the world today.

Knowledge of Christ the Lord and the light is the antidote to that darkness.

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 Name “Jesus” Means “the Lord Is Salvation”

“Jesus” in its original Hebrew form is “Joshua,” which is a combination of God’s name (“YHWH”) and a word which is most often translated into some form of “save,” “deliver,” or “help.”

There is much that can be realized by simply meditating on this fact about Jesus’ name.  I will leave it to you, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to do so.  This will take you time, but it will be time well spent.  It will be time invested that is rewarded with understanding.

The kingdom of God becomes real to you through such meditations.  And all the more so as you act on such meditations.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

If You Are Born Again, How Do You Live?

If you are born again, you live for the kingdom of God.  This is how:

Romans 6:13 …do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

As we do this, Peter’s hope becomes real for us:

Acts 3:26 “…God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

And Matthew’s prophecy is fulfilled where we are concerned:

Matthew 1:21 …you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Do not be stillborn.  Live for 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. 

Discerning the Dead from the Living

You cannot be spiritually alive unless you have been born again through the seed of Jesus Christ.  There are, however, many people who claim to have been born again who have obviously lapsed back into spiritual death.  As Jesus said to such people:

Revelation 3:1 “…you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Thus there are two kinds of people in the earth today:  those who are dead to God (Ephesians 2:1)  and those who are alive to God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:11).

Another way of saying this is that there are two kinds of people in the world:  those who “see” the kingdom of God and those who don’t.

Thus Jesus could say to the man who wanted to follow Him but hesitated:

Matthew 8:21 Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
Matthew 8:22 But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”

A characteristic of the dead is that they do not praise the Lord:

Psalm 115:17 The dead do not praise the LORD…

By contrast:

Isaiah 38:19 “It is the living who give thanks to You…

Are you dead or alive?

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. 

Perceiving the Kingdom of God in the Resurrected Christ

Ancient Israel had a kingdom.  There was a long line of kings.  God promised its greatest king – David – that a descendant would one day come who would be greater even than David.  When that heir apparent appeared, He was crucified.  This did not thwart God’s plan for the descendant’s great kingdom but actually launched it, for God installed this king in a heavenly throne by raising Him from the dead (Psalm 2:6).

Just as ancient Israel was a kingdom, so this was a kingdom – but with the throne in heaven.  This required a complete re-orientation for all faithful Jews.  More than any prior kingdom of Israel, this one was the kingdom OF GOD – because it was of heaven.  For this reason it is also called “the kingdom of heaven.”

Understanding how this kingdom is administered begins with understanding its king.  The king is alive, not dead.  He is in heaven, not on earth.  With that basic understanding a loyal subject can begin to re-order his life so as to be a faithful servant in this kingdom.

All understanding of the kingdom of God centers on understanding Jesus as its king, enthroned in heaven, alive and engaged with the world beneath.  It is an idea that His true disciples take seriously.  No one who disregards this idea should be ever be expected to perceive or appreciate 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. 

Being Born Again Is a Requirement for Perceiving the Kingdom of God

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

John 3:3 …”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus went on to distinguish spiritual birth from physical birth:

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Our earthly parents gave us earthly birth.  To be born again means to be born from above.  What then is the seed above from which we can be born again?  Referring to Jesus as “the last Adam,” Paul says:

1 Corinthians 15:45 …The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

This life-giving spirit is the seed in heaven from which are born.  As Peter says:

1 Peter 1:3 …God…has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

and

1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

This is the name “Word” of which John spoke in John 1:1 and again in Revelation:

Revelation 19:13 …His name is called The Word of God.

Thus Jesus prophesied to Nicodemus of His crucifixion and resurrection when He said:

John 3:14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

If you would understand the kingdom of God, Jesus – the resurrected Jesus – is the place to begin.  Thus the title of this blog is “a…guide to Jesus and His kingdom.”  No Jesus, no kingdom.  He is the king of 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. 

1 Kings 12:19 – Rebellion Against Jesus

1 Kings 12:19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

Judaism and Christianity today are in rebellion against Jesus the Messiah.  That is, organized religion is resisting the movement of God’s Spirit in the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is administered by faith (Ephesians 1:10) and not by human administrators.

God’s commandment is that we believe in the name of Jesus Christ and love one another (1 John 3:23) – not that we belong to some humanly-led organization.

The stone which the builders have rejected – that is, the Spirit of Jesus Christ – is the chief cornerstone of the kingdom of God (Psalm 118:22; Romans 14:17).

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. 

Psalm 45:1 – Jesus Is the King of the Kingdom of God

We know from Hebrews 1:8-9 that Jesus was the king foreseen in this psalm.  Thus we read its opening verse with this awareness:

Psalm 45:1 My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

The writer is prophesying of the king to come – the descendant of David that was promised through Nathan the prophet in 2 Samuel 7.  This descendant would inherit not only what God promised through Nathan – he would also inherit the promises to Abraham since, as David’s seed, he would also be the seed of Abraham.

Thus Jesus of Nazareth would say some thousand years later:

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Jesus was the promised king of the kingdom of God.  The New Testament testifies to the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises to Abraham and David.  (This is what makes the genealogies important.)

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. 

Daniel 7:18 – The Kingdom of the Highest One

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

What is the kingdom of the Highest One but the kingdom of God?  This kingdom of God – also known as the kingdom of heaven – was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching.  Attaining to it was the fondest hope of the New Testament church.

Today’s churches have all but given up hope for this kingdom.  They either defer it to the future, claim they are said kingdom, or some combination of the two (“the already but not yet” concept so frequently given in response by Evangelicals to current-day inquiries about the status of the kingdom about which Jesus preached with such emphasis).  This is missing the point for which the New Testament church gave its life.

The kingdom of God is in our midst, available for entry by those who will make themselves holy by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Here then are the keys to that kingdom:

2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2 Peter 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2 Peter 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2 Peter 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

God forbid that Peter should have put the keys in our hands and we fail to enter as Israel failed to enter the promised land (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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

Here is what God offered Solomon:

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

And here is what Christ offers you:

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

What will you do with what Christ is offering you?

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

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

The Spiritual Jews

The spiritual Jews are those who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4).  Thus He disperses them throughout the earth like salt that they might preserve it (Matthew 5:13).  Spiritually, they are one flock who follow Him alone.  In the flesh, however, they are  scattered among the nations.

The house where they gather is the prayer closet (Matthew 6:6) – that is, the house of prayer, as Isaiah put it (Isaiah 56:7).  No human being can see them rub shoulders, but the one whom they serve always watches everything they do.

These spiritual Jews are the ones who look to the one truest Jew:  Jesus of Nazareth, Lord of heaven and earth.  According to the promises to Abraham (Genesis 26:4), they are a blessing to everyone around them.  They don’t curse the nations; they bless them.

This is the way God has established for them

Zechariah 8:23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.””‘

The spiritual Jews are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) because they never take their eyes off the Light of the world, Jesus Christ (John 8:12).  They “endure as seeing Him who is unseen” (Hebrews 11:27).

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.  

The Kingdom of God – Taken from One and Given to Another

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of all 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.

And He said to His disciples:

Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Thus Jesus took the kingdom away from one and gave it to the other.  Be sure to be among those to whom the kingdom is given and not be among those from whom the kingdom is taken away.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 John 4:21

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

In this regard, recall that during the days of His flesh (which was years before John wrote this letter), Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”

Note carefully how Jesus answers (beginning with a quotation of Deuteronomy 6:4-5):

Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’

But note that Jesus doesn’t stop here.  He keeps talking (quoting also Leviticus 19:18):

Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

That is, when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He gave the greatest two commandments.  He was unwilling to talk of loving God without mentioning in the same breath that loving one another should be the primary expression of our love for God.  John took note of this and that is why 1 John 4:21 says what it does.

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.)

Obadiah 1:21

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

Who is the Lord but Jesus?

And what is the kingdom but the kingdom of God?

This scripture is fulfilled.  It is fulfilled in Christ.

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Genesis 49:10 – Jesus the Messiah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 19:1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More from Jesus on Loving and Hating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Is It Really Okay to Love Ourselves?

Jesus said, repeating and affirming Moses in the process:

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

Thus love of ourselves is appropriate.

And the apostle pointed out the simple fact that:

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

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

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

Just be sure to love everyone else more.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Equivalent Expressions for “the Law of the Lord”

We know that “the law of the Lord” as originally written (in passages like Psalm 1 and 119, as well as many other places in the Scripture) referred to the Law of Moses.  When Messiah came, however, this law became His law, as interpreted by Him (most notably in the Sermon on the Mount).  Of course, this is just as Moses prophesied it would be in Deuteronomy 18:15.  Thus, the law of the Lord in the kingdom of God is the law of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is that we love (Mark 12:28-34 and elsewhere).  Here then are some various equivalent expressions for this law found in the New Testament, starting with the common biblical expression:

“the law of the Lord”  (Psalm 1 and 20 other places in the NASB.)

“the law of Christ”  (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2)

“the perfect law”  (James 1:25; note also that Psalm 19:7 says “the law of the Lord is perfect”)

“the law of liberty”  (James 1:25 and 2:12)

“the royal law”  (James 2:8)

“the law of our King”  (James 2:8 alternative from NASB marginal note)

“the Lord’s commandment”  (1 Corinthians 14:37)

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

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

The Law of Liberty

James writes in his letter of “the law of liberty,” mentioning it once in the first chapter, and again in the second:

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.

James 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

If you read each of these verses in context, you see that James is referring to the law that was summarized from the Old Testament and given to us by Jesus:  the law of love, you could say.

That it can be characterized as a law of liberty can be perhaps best understood by considering these verses from elsewhere in the New Testament:

Acts 13:39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Acts 15:10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

(The “yoke” Peter is here referring to is the Law of Moses.)

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.
Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

(In verse 29, the capital letters indicate that Jesus is quoting the Old Testament, specifically Jeremiah 6:16.)

Thus the Law of Moses was a “heavy yoke” which became “light” in Jesus Christ – and thus a yoke of liberty.

This, of course, does not mean at all that Christ requires nothing from us.  To say this, as Jude suggests, it to divest grace of its true meaning:

Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, let us embrace the law of liberty – freely loving, as we have been freely loved.

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 19:7 and the Letter of James

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

It is hard to believe that the apostle James wasn’t thinking about this verse when he wrote his letter.  After all, he writes this in his first chapter:

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.

You see that he references “the perfect law.”  Moreover, this came as a conclusion to his comments on asking the Lord for “wisdom” (verse 5), including the benefits this brings to the “soul” (verse 21).

Looking again at verse 25 it is also hard to imagine that James is not also mindful of Psalm 1 when writing this letter.  Psalm 1, of course, speaks of the righteous man who meditates on “the law of the Lord,” doing so “day and night” and thus not becoming “a forgetful hearer” as James would have it.  As a result, this man is “blessed” in what he “does.”

Of course, James reads these psalms in a different way than did his Israelite ancestors.  He knows that Messiah has come and is now Lord.  Thus Christ is the Lord and the law is His law of love – which James here calls “the law of liberty.”  James returns to this term in 2:25 and, in doing so, demonstrates its aptness for the mercy Jesus preached that we should show one another.  And, as James points out in the verses leading up to 2:12, all the individual commandments can be summed up as “love.”  As Jesus Himself said:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

(In the capital letters Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.)

In James 2:8 he calls this law of liberty, “the royal law.”  The marginal note says an alternate translation would be “the law of our King.”  This is “the perfect law” which James says we are to “do.”

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 1 – The Law of the Lord

Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Psalm 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

The meaning of this psalm pivots on “the law of the Lord” and what a man does with it.  Thus we need to be clear about the meaning of that phrase.

Who is the Lord to us but Jesus?  And what is His law but to love?

Those who meditate to do it prosper as Jesus did.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Romans 2:28-29 – Being a True Jew

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

A true Jew does not receive praise from men.  The truest Jew of all – Jesus of Nazareth – did not.  Instead, He sought the glory that comes from God.  We should do likewise.

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. 

Receiving Glory from Humans Impedes Faith in God

Jesus knew He was to receive glory.  See Luke 24:25-27.  That is, He knew that after the suffering of His rejection and crucifixion would come the glory given by God – beginning with His resurrection from the dead and His seating at the right hand of God, which were both works of God and not man.  All His glory therefore would be coming from God.  Thus Jesus was not willing to receive glory from men.  He says:

John 5:41 “I do not receive glory from men;

He went on to say explain why seeking glory from men instead of from God was so undesirable:

John 5:44 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?

Receiving glory from men instead of God produces an impediment to our faith.  Faith is cultivated not with men, but with God:

Romans 14:22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before 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. 

Securing a More Accurate Understanding of Scripture

In the opening verses of the gospel of Luke, he acknowledged that others had written gospels of Jesus before him but that his goal was to help his readers “know the exact truth about the things” they had been taught [emphasis added throughout].

In Acts 18:25 Luke says that Apollos was  “teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus.”  In the next verse, however, Luke says that Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside to “explain to him the way of God more accurately.”

In 2 Timothy 2:15 the apostle with whom Luke was associated, Paul, wrote to another co-worker, Timothy and exhorted, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

Thus, in the mind of God, there is a premium on improving the accuracy of our understanding of the things of God.  We need to keep growing in our understanding of Jesus the Scripture – and, through that, of Jesus and His Kingdom.

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.  

Everyone Who Names the Name of the Lord Is to Attend Church?

Paul wrote:

2 Timothy 2:19 …”Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

From Paul’s perspective, the idea is that we who claim to follow Christ should abstain from wickedness.  Why then do church leaders today say, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to attend church?”

How is this not adding to the word of God – and thus exalting the traditions of men over the word of God?  (Mark 7:9)

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.  

“For Thine Is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever, Amen”

Although the ending clause of the Lord’s Prayer – “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen” – is not found in all early manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew, there is an Old Testament verse which bears a resemblance to it:

Psalm 145:11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;

Indeed, the Lord Jesus has a kingdom, it is glorious, and it lives in power.  It is to this kingdom we must be dedicated if we would be dedicated to Jesus.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Who Is the Father of the Righteous?

Matthew 13:43 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father…

Who has fathered the righteous?  Is it not Jesus Christ?

Has He not authored our faith (Hebrews 12:2)?  Has He not authored our salvation (Hebrews 2:10)?  Has He not authored our life (Acts 3:15 – the underlying Greek word for “prince” in this verse is the same as that translated as “author” in the other two verses).

Do not the righteous live by faith?  And who was the seminal “righteous one” – prophesied to live by faith as an example for us all?  Isaiah 53:11 and Habakkuk 2:4 point to Jesus of Nazareth.  He indeed is the progenitor, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), the father of a resurrected human race.

Indeed, didn’t God promise through Isaiah that Jesus would be a father?  (See Isaiah 9:6.)

Who do the righteous resemble if not Jesus?  Can He deny paternity when the resemblance is so strong?  I am not talking about those who merely profess righteousness, but rather those who demonstrate it.

The kingdom of God was present in Jesus (Luke 17:20-21), and through His resurrection from the dead He has made the kingdom present in us who believe.  Our Father is in heaven.  That is, through His resurrection and coming Jesus became our heavenly 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.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

Whose Law Do You Love?

Psalm 119:97 O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Who is the “Your” in this verse?  Of course, it’s the Lord.  But is it the Lord’s law through Moses that is in view or the Lord’s law through Christ?

When it was written, Israelites understood the verse to refer to the Law of Moses…because Christ had not yet come.  But now that Christ has come, how can we think it still applies to the Law of Moses?  Jesus is Lord and therefore it must be His law that we love.

Where do we go to find Jesus’ law?  Well, we can certainly find it summarized in New Testament verses like Mark 12:28-34 and John 13:34.  But there is so much more to understand about Christ in what we call the Old Testament (John 5:39).  There, however, we must lean upon the Holy Spirit to give us understanding of what we’re reading (2 Peter 1:19-21), for we cannot see the kingdom of God except by the Spirit 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.  

Jesus Christ Came to Transition Us

Jesus Christ came to transition humanity…

…from the kingdom of earth to the kingdom of heaven.

…from the kingdom of man to the kingdom of God.

…from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

…from living according to the flesh to living according to the spirit.

The church was merely the vehicle for this transitional process.  Thus it was only to have lasted for the New Testament.  It was never intended to last this long.  We should be seeking the kingdom of God, not church.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

From the Kingdom of Earth to the Kingdom of Heaven

The terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are attributed to Jesus interchangeably.  They’re just different ways of saying the same thing.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, Psalm 2’s ultimate meaning was achieved.  Its initial meaning referring to the Zion where King David reigned, where Solomon reigned, and where Jews everywhere hoped David’s great descendant promised from God would one day reign.  However, when that great descendant finally came – Jesus of Nazareth – He demonstrated through His crucifixion and resurrection that the Zion ultimately intended by the words of that psalm was the Zion of heaven.  Thus it says  that the Lord’s anointed (king) would be installed on “Zion, My holy mountain.”  Psalm 110:1-2 confirms this, as does Hebrews 12:22.

“Kingdom of heaven” implies a whole new orientation to the things of God.  No longer anchored in earth, they would be anchored in heavenly places (thus the book of Ephesians speaks of “heavenly places” five times – Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12).

It is sad and perplexing that almost two thousand years later so much of the Christian movement is still holding to an earth-anchored experience.  Let us forsake the church of men and join the church 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.  

The Law of Moses or the Law of Christ?

The New Testament church struggled over the assimilation of the Gentiles, as evidenced in the book of Acts, but even more notably in the letters of Paul.  This reflects Paul’s assigned ministry, which although he was a Jew, was to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:6-9).

Though not an exclusively Jewish movement, the New Testament church was primarily a Jewish movement.  And it was certainly a Jewish-led movement.  Jews were raised to observe the Law of Moses.  When Messiah came, pious Jews were ready to receive Him but they did not reject the Law of Moses in the process.  The recurring Gentile controversy of the New Testament was whether or not Gentiles should be required to observe the Law of Moses as Jews did.  Paul’s answer was an emphatic “no.”

Paul rightly understood that the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) could be understood in one of two ways:  according to the flesh (which is the way Moses had laid it down) or according to the spirit (which is the way Jesus was taking it up).  For this reason Paul writes:

Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

By the first reference to “Law” in this sentence, Paul is referring to “the Law of Moses,” which we’ve just identified as the law according to the flesh.  The second expression – “the Law and the Prophets” – refers to Scripture which testifies to Messiah and His kingdom (what we call the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible).  This leads to a different law because there is a different lawgiver.  Thus Paul could write about “the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2).  Christ is a king, and every king has a kingdom and every kingdom has a “law of the land.”

Those observing the Law of Moses, for example, would regard “Zion” in Psalm 2 to refer to Jerusalem on earth, but those observing the law of Christ would regard that Zion to be in heaven (as confirmed in Hebrews 12:22).

The Law of Moses had its purpose for a time, but the Law of Christ was instituted to be eternal.  It still applies today.  In its simplest terms, the Law of Christ is love.

The Law of Moses required animal sacrifices in a specific physical location  The Law of Christ requires personal sacrifices in a specific spiritual attitude.  There’s no more temple to receive animal sacrifices in the earthly Jerusalem, and there hasn’t been for a long time.  Therefore, it’s long past time for us to take up the Law of Christ, which is love.  Let us do so!

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. 

We Can Only Serve God in This Generation

We can only serve God in the generation in which we find ourselves.

David “served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36).  We can only serve God in this generation.

Jesus said:

Matthew 23:29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
Matthew 23:30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
Matthew 23:31 “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

The scribes and Pharisees thought sure they were siding with the prophets and the righteous of prior generations, but were trying to murder Jesus – a prophet and a righteous man – in their own generation.  And they succeeded, thus testifying against themselves.  They would have been against the prophets and righteous men of prior generations – not for them.

We often like to think what we would do in ancient times.  The answer is found in what we do in our own times.

Today is the day to serve the Lord.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow.  Today.

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.)

Joshua 5:12

Joshua 5:12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.

This speaks of that moment when the New Testament church ceased receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its gatherings.  That is, “he who restrains the lawless man” (2 Thessalonians 2:6) was removed that the apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3) might run its full course.  For those who were sanctified (Hebrews 12:14), it was time for “the hidden manna” (Revelation 2:17).

That is, when the kingdom of God came, Jesus began explaining everything privately to His own disciples.  Do not worry that any disciples will be forgotten;, for “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19), and He will feed them.

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

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

Samson, Saul, and Shiloh

Samson, Saul, and Shiloh.  What do these three have in common?  They all received the Spirit of God, and then had the Spirit of God taken from them.

The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on Samson (Judges 14:6), but because of his loose lips, then left without him even noticing (Judges 16:20).

The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Saul (10:10), but because of his disobedience, the Spirit of the Lord left him – and was replaced by an evil spirit that terrorized him (1 Samuel 16:14).

Shiloh had been the resting place of the ark of the covenant since Joshua brought Israel into Canaan.  1 Samuel 4 tells the story of its demise, and of how the name Ichabod (meaning “the glory has departed”) came to be.  Psalm 78:60 makes reference to this, and Jeremiah evokes the name “Shiloh” as a proverb in Jeremiah 7:1-15).

Above all, therefore, let us pray like David:

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

David had seen first hand what such deprivation meant in the life of Saul, who loved David – but in the absence of the Spirit sought to murder him.  Such a difference the Spirit makes!

It is not by our own strength, but by the strength of His Spirit that we prevail:

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.

Those of us who seek the kingdom of God know that the Holy Spirit is essential:

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy 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.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

Why Pursue Obsolete Things When the Reality Is Available?

Why pursue things that are obsolete when the reality they represent has become available?

Consider this:

Psalm 45:7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

Which would you rather have:  the oil that represents joy…or the joy?

Don’t pursue the shadows when the substance is right before you.  Just as Paul wrote:

Colossians 2:17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Christ is the reality we should seek above all else.  Everything in the Bible is merely a pointer 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.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

When God Makes Things Obsolete

Whenever God makes something obsolete, there are always some people who want to hang on to it anyway.

We’ve seen how God rendered obsolete the practice on anointing with oil a king for Israel.

Christians can recognize this mistake in Jews who want to hold on to old covenant understandings, but don’t seem to recognize the same tendencies in themselves.  Some Christians cling to communion, even those it is obsolete.  They cling to water baptism, even though it is obsolete.  They want to cling to church, even though it is obsolete.

Jews and Christians alike recognize that God has rendered animal sacrifice obsolete – why can’t they recognize that animal sacrifice is not the only biblical practice that biblical principles have rendered obsolete?

Hebrews 8:13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Yet how can what’s obsolete ever disappear if people keep clinging to it?

Leave behind the types and shadows, and pursue the reality of Jesus Christ and 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.  

When Anointing the King with Oil Was Rendered Obsolete

The first king of Israel was designated by anointing him with oil.  Thereafter, that became the standard way of designating a king in Israel.

The anointing oil was symbolic of God’s presence in the life of the one He had chosen to rule over His inheritance.

When Jesus was designated as king of Israel He was anointed with the Holy Spirit in a measure beyond that which any other king of Israel had ever enjoyed.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus made the lame to walk, healed the lepers, opened blind eyes and deaf ears, and even brought the dead back to life.  What was oil compared to the Holy Spirit?  What was the symbol when compared with the reality?

Thus oil was rendered obsolete in the anointing of kings. For that matter, the anointing of kings was rendered obsolete as Israel would never need another one.  This one would reign 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.  

1 Samuel 10:27

1 Samuel 10:27 But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.

There are some who wonder, “How can Jesus Christ deliver us?”  They cannot conceive of how the kingdom of God is encapsulated in His being.  This one…THIS ONE…came to us as a single human being, tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.   And so some despise Him, and bring Him no gift.

Yet He keeps silent to them.

To we who love and embrace Him, however, He speaks.  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.  

Numbers 14:4

Numbers 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

Here is encapsulated the apostasy that marked the end of the glory of the New Testament church.

It wasn’t just the leaders drawing the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30), it was disciples themselves being complicit by following after the flesh instead of the spirit.

If God appointed a leader (Moses), what were these people doing appointing their own?

If Jesus Christ was appointed head of the church, what human being is going to be able to take His place?

If the apostles weren’t willing to take on that role, who else dares?

There are today tens of thousands of Christian denominations.  In each and every case, its members have “appointed a leader to return to Egypt.”

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 19:10

2 Samuel 19:10 “However, Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now then, why are you silent about bringing the king back?”

No matter who Christians have chosen to be over them in the Lord, such leaders have eventually died.  Why then are Christians “silent about bringing the king back?”

Let us indeed acknowledge that the king has come back…and we are His!  Therefore, let us seek His kingdom.

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. 

Judges 17:6

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Alas, this is the largely the state of Christendom today.  That is, there are some 40,000 denominations, each claiming authority over some of the Lord’s sheep.  Hear instead how the Lord would have it:

John 10:16 “…they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

Make the Lord your only spiritual leader, and be a part of the only church that matters.

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 11:29

Numbers 11:29 “…Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

In this verse the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2 is foretold.  For then God indeed poured out His Spirit on all flesh.

Alas, much of that movement became institutionalized and calcified, yet it remains true that God delights to give His Holy Spirit to whoever will ask:

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

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

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 29:20

Genesis 29:20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

The more you love the Lord Jesus, the less lengthy seems your service 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.

The Apostles Prepared the Disciples for Divine Leadership

Read the New Testament letters and see that the apostles were not trying to prepare the disciples for ongoing human leadership.  Thus the notion of apostolic succession by bishops and popes is absurd.  Rather, the apostles were preparing the disciples to be divinely led.

Thus Paul said the kingdom of God was “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”  in Romans 14:17.

Thus Peter said he and his fellow shepherds would be giving way to “the Chief Shepherd” in 1 Peter 5:4.

Thus John said “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but…His anointing teaches you about all things” in 1 John 2:27.

Thus we may say:

Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Those who choose to be led by popes, bishops, pastors, elders, or anyone else…are missing the point of the kingdom of God.

Jesus is King.  Follow Him through the leading of His Holy 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.

Matthew 21:38 – The Son Was the Heir

Matthew 21:38 “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’

Note that they “saw the son” and said “This is the heir.”

Jesus is “the Son”promised by the prophets.  As Isaiah put it, “a son will be given to us” (Isaiah 9:6).

This son is the heir.  Thus the letter of Hebrews begins by saying, among other things, that “the Son” was “appointed heir of all things.”  Of course, since all things belong to God, it is only to be expected that His Son would inherit all things.

For this reason Isaiah wrote “they will hang on Him all the glory of His Father’s house,” and Jesus said that He would “come in the glory of His Father” (Matthew 16:27).

The “heir of all things” has indeed inherited all things.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Psalm 81:13

Psalm 81:13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

Who makes this statement?  Jesus Christ.

He doesn’t say, “Oh that My people would listen to each other.”  That’s what the church leaders would have Him say, because they want us to belong to church.  Rather Jesus says, “Oh that My people would listen to Me.”

One of the marks of churchianity is that it has people listening to people instead of people listening to God.  (See also this post.)

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 Caterpillar of Israel Entered the Cocoon of Church that It Might Become the Butterfly of the Kingdom of God

The caterpillar – the nation of ancient Israel.

The cocoon – the New Testament church.

The butterfly – the kingdom of God.

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The caterpillar was chronicled in the Old Testament and in the gospels of the New Testament.

The cocoon was chronicled in Acts through Revelation of the New Testament.

The butterfly was prophesied in the Old and New Testaments, ancient Israel and the church providing foreshadowings of 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.

 

The Church Age Was Short

Relatively speaking, the church age was very short.  It lasted but one generation.  Jesus launched the church, but promised that He would return in His kingdom before that generation had completely passed away (see Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34 and this post).

Prior to that, Israel had existed as a nation for over a thousand years.  Since the church age ended, the kingdom of God began and will extend through all eternity.  The church age, therefore, was very short in comparison to the age before it, and infinitely so in comparison to the age that followed it.

When people try to preserve the church age, they just deny themselves the glories of the kingdom age.

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.

 

From Man to Family to Nation to Church to Kingdom

God wanted a kingdom.  As is the way of God, He went through a process to create it.  (He is a God of order – see Genesis 1).

God started with a man – Abraham.

From the man God built a family – Isaac, Jacob, and those who followed.

From the family God built a nation – and Moses led them from their slavery in Egypt.

From the nation God called the church – the ekklesia, or assembly of the righteous.  We read about them in the New Testament (Acts to Revelation).

From the church God purified a kingdom – the kingdom of God which reigns in our midst, and is open to anyone who cleanses himself to enter it and walk in 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.

 

From Nation to Church to Kingdom

God established the nation Israel that He might from it call the church (Acts 3:22-23).

God established the church that He might from it call His kingdom (Matthew 13:24-30).

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.

 

There Was a Time for Church, and There Was a Time for a Nation, But It’s No Longer Time for Either of Them Now

When it was time for a family, God raised up Abraham.

When it was time for a nation, God raised up Moses.

When it was time for a church, God raised up Jesus.

When it was time for a kingdom, Jesus inherited all things.

We live in the age of the kingdom of God.  Therefore, it is no longer the age to pursue church, just as during the church age it was no longer the time to pursue the national interests of Israel.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under 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.

His Nation, His Church, His Kingdom

From the time of Moses to the ascension of Christ, God looked out for His nation.

From the ascension of Christ to the coming of Christ, God looked out for His church.

From the coming of Christ and throughout all eternity, God looks out for His kingdom.

Forget trying to preserve the church.  Forget trying to preserve the nation of Israel.

What then shall we remember?

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

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 Entering the Kingdom of God

What could be more important in our time than seeking and finding the kingdom of God?  Nothing.

The most important thing to know about entrance into the kingdom of God is that it requires morality on our part – godliness.  And we can achieve that only through our Lord Jesus Christ, who promises to conform us to His image if we will but follow Him.

Here then are some scripture passages that will help you plan your approach to the kingdom of God [emphasis added]:

Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

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Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

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Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Matthew 18:2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them,
Matthew 18:3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

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2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2 Peter 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2 Peter 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2 Peter 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

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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.)

Zion – The Place of the Lord’s Interest

The glory of Zion was a theme of Psalms and the Prophets.

Zion is sometimes called Mount Zion.  In either case, it is often used as a synonym for Jerusalem, or as the heart of Jerusalem since it is considered the location of the temple.  Zion was a place always considered near and dear to God’s heart.  See, for example, Psalm 48.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, however, an entirely new light was cast on this subject.  Specifically, the Zion God was interested most in was in heaven, not on earth.  For David had prophesied of the day God would say of His Messiah in the second psalm:

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

And God fulfilled this promise when He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand (Acts 13:32-33).  Thus began the watershed moment in God’s great plan to permanently turn our affections away from things on earth so that we might place them on things in heaven.  Thus Paul could write:

Colossians 3:1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

and

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

There are many other verses along these lines, but none more notable from the standpoint of Zion than this:

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

And thus the place of the Lord’s greatest interest moved from earth to heaven so that the place of our greatest interest might follow accordingly…and that we might say, along with those who have walked this earth in faith before us:

Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

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

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

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

Even though the organized church has held sway for almost two thousand years, it is the name of Jesus that was winning hearts and defeating sin all that time.

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 Totality of God’s Redemption

God’s plan through Jesus Christ was to redeem every single aspect of life.  There is no human activity that is not covered.  The scope of His salvation is the scope of our existence.  Therefore, His interest in our lives is complete, comprehensive, all-encompassing – in a word, total.

Here are some verses indicating just that point [emphasis, and occasional comments, added]:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

The reason that “there will be no end to the increase of His government” is that there is no sphere over life to which His dominion does not apply, no aspect of life which is off limits to His authority.

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1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Does this leave anything for us to do that is not to be done in love?  Does not “all” cover everything we do?

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2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Which thoughts then are not to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ?

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Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Does this leave anything for us to do that is not in the name of Jesus?  Therefore, His name sanctifies the entirety of our lives.

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Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

In Paul’s mind, every duty of a slave could be done ultimately for the Lord rather than merely for the human master.  If a slave’s salvation was this full, can ours be any less so?

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1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
1 Peter 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Such an instruction – “in all your behavior” – leaves no room, of course, for behavior that is not to be holy.

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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.)

Who Is Following the Apostles?

All three major branches of organized Christianity claim to be following the instructions of the apostles of Jesus Christ.  The word “apostle” means “sent one.”  Thus the apostles are the ones sent by Jesus.  We have no record that Jesus ever produced any writings of His own.  Therefore, we are dependent on the writings of His apostles to know His teachings.

The Eastern Orthodox Church claims they are following the apostles because they are maintaining churches under the authority of bishops set up by the apostles.

The Roman Catholic Church claims it is following the apostles because Peter was chief among them and that their pope can trace a line of succession all the way back to Peter.

The Protestant Churches claim they are following the apostles because they ignore the bishops and popes, substituting their own leaders who, it is claimed, adhere more closely to the teachings of the apostles than the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic do.

The remarkable thing is that none of these three churches interpret the Bible in the radical Christocentric way that the apostles did.  Even more remarkably, none of these three branches of organized Christianity believe one of the boldest, clearest, and most frequent proclamations that the apostles made: that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in the apostolic generation.  So much for organized Christianity being faithful to the apostles’ teaching.

It is strange indeed that these organizations would claim legitimacy from apostles that they do not think were right about a central tenet of the faith they proclaimed.

If you want to truly follow the apostles, repent and follow Jesus – for that’s what they did.

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

 

Who’s in Charge?

As soon as there is more than one person who believes, one of those persons is likely to ask, “Who’s in charge of the people of God?”  It is only in the weakness of our faith that we ask such questions.  Jesus taught:

Matthew 23:10 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
Matthew 23:11 “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

Even the twelve debated the “Who’s in charge?” question:

Mark 9:33 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
Mark 9:34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.
Mark 9:35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Neither did the problem go away once Jesus was raised from the dead.  Paul had to beat it back in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

If you read on from that verse you’ll see the Corinth was beginning to divide into factions, which is where the “Who’s in charge?” question always leads.

It came up again in the latter days of the New Testament church [emphasis added]:

3 John 1:9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

But this is just what had been prophesied would happen [emphasis added]:

Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Acts 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

And thus the church has dwelt in division ever since the close of the New Testament age with the coming of the kingdom of God.  When someone becomes concerned about “Who’s in charge?” they have forgotten the Lord.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The New Age Was Carried in the Womb of the Old Age Until Birth

The New Testament church was birthed in the waning days of the Old Testament.  The New Testament church was thus like an infant in the womb of its mother…that would  be born in the new age.  Thus the new age was conceived in the womb of the old.  And the mother died in bearing that child.

The seed that was conceived in the womb of the old age was Jesus of Nazareth.

Conceived in the womb of a virgin, he grew to be a man.

Rejected and crucified, he died…but was raised from the dead.  In that process, there was a transformation from “he” to “He.”

This Jesus was taken up into heaven and He called His disciples to Himself. This body of disciples (that is, His body – the body of Christ) grew and grew throughout the coming decades.

When it was finally time for the new age to be birthed, out it came with this Christ as Lord over all.  Christ inherited all things according to the promise of Psalm 2:8, remembered in Hebrew 1:1-2.

Since such great things can come from such small things, we should “despise not the day of small things”  (Zechariah 4:10).

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 New Age Began Before the Old Age Completely Expired

If you’ve ever watched a relay foot race you know that one runner passes the baton to the other runner on his team while both are running.  The first runner is winding down and the next runner is winding up, and for a brief period of time they are running together.

In a similar manner, the old age was winding to a close in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.  He Himself began His course during the last era of that old age.  It would be just a few more decades before the new age would dawn but the New Testament era was preparation for that new age.

Thus when we read the New Testament and witness its history, we are seeing before us the two runners running together – the old age ending its run and the new age beginning its run.  The baton is being passed from the old age to the new – and eternal – age.

By this understanding we can appreciate a statement like this from Jesus:

Luke 17:20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
Luke 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

How could Jesus speak of the kingdom as “coming” and yet already present?  Here’s how: It was present in Him – and no one else.  The future, however, would include His inheriting the universe as Lord (Hebrews 1:1-2) which would mean then that everything came under the kingdom of God because it came under Him.   Some Christians call this the “already but not yet” aspect of the kingdom.  That’s a valid observation – as long as you recognize that it only applies to New Testament times.  That is, the kingdom was “already but not yet” for them in that time.

Similarly, Jesus said to the woman at the well in Sychar:

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The hour was “coming” for everyone else but it was “now” for Jesus who bore and manifested the kingdom in Himself.

This eternal kingdom of God is entirely present for us, however, because we live almost two thousand years after the kingdom came.  We today should never think of the kingdom as not yet.  We should think of it as entirely present, and we should seek it according to the apostles’ instructions (such as 2 Peter 1:5-11).  Whether the kingdom is future or present, one still has to prepare properly in order to enter it.  It’s only for those who love righteousness (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 1:9; Romans 14:17).

Keep in mind always when you’re reading the New Testament that you are reading what happened at the crossroads of the ages.  That was the time when the old age ended and the new age started – ever so slightly – in the context of eternity – overlapping each 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.

We are Heirs of Christ, Not Heirs of Apostles

The promises to Abraham were to him, and to his seed after him.  The promises to the apostles were to the apostles alone.  No mention was made of their seed after them.

Neither the apostles nor their would-be successors have need of apostolic promises, for through Christ we all inherit the promises to Christ.  Didn’t Paul write:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

The apostles of Christ had a unique assignment…and they completed it.  We needn’t try to replicate what they did.  We should, however, imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).  They have led us to righteousness…and we should walk by it (Daniel 12:3).

As for the idea of apostolic succession, however, we should dismiss it and disregard those who promote it.  We live in 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.

Jesus Proved Himself as a Man, and Then Proved Himself as a Lord Before He Inherited the Universe

Through the earthly life Jesus lived (as described in the gospels of the New Testament), he proved himself worthy of resurrection.  And He was resurrected, accordin to promise.

Through the heavenly life Jesus lived (as chronicled in the book of Acts and the epistles that follow it in the New Testament), He proved Himself worthy of inheriting the universe by the way He led the Israel of God – that is, the church.  And He came again, according to promise.

In the coming of the kingdom, Jesus inherited all things – just as He was promised (Hebrews 1:1-2).

We often speak of the noteworthy life Jesus lived as a man, and it is right that we do.  Nevertheless, we should not overlook the life He lived at the right hand of God as He led the greatest generation of Jews who ever lived.  This was the bride of Christ, the true church of God that none of today’s churches can replicate.  And the Lord Jesus was the shepherd who led them.  He thus proved Himself worthy to govern all the nations.  Thus was fulfilled this scripture:

Psalm 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

And with that passing of the baton, Christ became all in all.  The kingdom of God came, and it was His.

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.

Coming in the Clouds

When Daniel 7:13-14, which is about the Son of Man coming, is invoked in the New Testament, we see its expression “with the clouds” rendered in various ways, such as:

“coming with the clouds” – Mark 14:62 and Revelation 1:7

“coming on the clouds” – Matthew 24:30 and 26:64

“coming…in the clouds” – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“coming in clouds” – Mark 13:26

“coming in a cloud” – Luke 21:27

And all this variation is within just one translation (the NASB).  Nevertheless, as you can see, all the variation is minor in nature.  The general idea holds in every occurrence: that the coming of the Lord is associated with the clouds of heaven.  And heaven is, of course, out of our physical sight.  We must relate to it by faith.

Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, was to take place behind the curtain of heaven, why have so many for so long insisted that Jesus’ Second Coming would be an earthly appearance? After Jesus ascended into a cloud on His way to the right hand of God, the angels alluded to His coming which would similarly be “in a cloud” and therefore out of the apostles physical sight (Acts 1:9-11).  That is, if they didn’t physically see the first event why would they expect to physically see the second?

There is ample reason to believe that the apostles taught that the coming of the Lord would not involve Jesus making a physical appearance.  This is just one more of them.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Two Bookend Events of the New Testament

Two great events anchor the open and close of the New Testament age: the resurrection of Christ and the coming of Christ.  These events therefore can be thought of as bookends – one on the left and the other on the right – for the New Testament age.

Yes, the gospels wrote of the time before the resurrection, but these accounts were only compiled after the resurrection.  It was the resurrection of Christ that launched the movement in His name that still continues until this day – and that therefore made the gospels worth writing.  You can best understand this when you consider the book of Acts.  Acts was, of course, written by the Luke of gospel fame.  Thus, Luke 24-Acts 1 provides the bridge between the gospel period (that is, “the days of His flesh” as Hebrews 5:7 would put it) and the apostolic period.  Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, but the rest of the dead were to rise in the great event to come.  Thus resurrection was a two-step process, and these two steps are the two bookends about which we are speaking.

In the days of His flesh, Jesus ministered only in Israel, but He sent His apostles into all the world.  Thus the earth-bound Christ was restricted to Judea and the surround regions, but the resurrected Christ had no limits on His geographic reach.  Everything Christ did on earth was preliminary to, and preparatory for, His resurrection from the dead.  This marks the left bookend of the New Testament.  The gospels are the remembrances (or “memoirs” as Justin Martyr called them in the middle of the 2nd Century) of the apostles about those events that led up to the resurrection of the Messiah.

The apostolic period, or New Testament age, was launched with that single, seminal resurrection.  The book of Acts describes what happened in its wake.  The rest of the New Testament consists of letters, or epistles, which were written or sponsored by the apostles.  The right bookend of the New Testament age is the coming of the Lord – an event to which practically every book, if not page, of the New Testament looks forward.

The coming of the Lord – that is, the coming of the day of the Lord, or the kingdom of God – was considered imminent in that age.  The apostles believed that they were living at the end, or consummation, of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1-29:26), and that Jesus promised them that at least some of them would live to see the kingdom come (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34).  Thus the New Testament never announces that the day of the Lord, or the kingdom, has come – but it does keep describing it as drawing nearer and nearer.  The book of Revelation – twice in the first chapter and five times in the last – perhaps describes that coming with the greatest sense of imminence.

Only if we doubt the word of the Lord and His apostles will we doubt that the kingdom came when they said it would.  It did.

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

 

The Path Christ Paved to the Kingdom of God

In the following passage, the apostle Peter explains how one prepares for, and gains access to, the kingdom of God.  Of course, he was writing in the days just before the kingdom came.  It has since come, and is in our midst.  But entrance to the kingdom of God is still gained only by those willing to let the Lord’s grace make them worthy of it.  Peter observed Jesus’ life and ministry firsthand for three years.  He describes here the path Christ paved that we might walk it.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2 Peter 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2 Peter 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter  1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter  1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2 Peter 1:11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Note especially the “qualities” (to use Peter’s word from verse 8) listed in verses 5 through 7.  The practice of these virtues, according to verses 10 and 11 make entrance to the kingdom available…to whoever is practicing them!  This is the path Christ paved with His own behavior.  Let us walk it!

For more on some of the specific virtues of Christ, see this post.

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. 

This Is the Age of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Name of Jesus

This is the age of the kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven, if you prefer), the Holy Spirit, and the name of Jesus Christ…according to the Scriptures left to us by the prophets and apostles of ancient Israel.

The kingdom of God was “at hand” in the days of Jesus’ flesh and surely arrived shortly thereafter, just as promised.

The Holy Spirit is the minister of Christ throughout the earth today.

The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is above every other name…and will be so for all eternity.  He rules all!

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom Became the Gospel of the King

When Jesus spoke of the gospel, He referred to it as “the gospel of the kingdom of God,” or “the gospel of the kingdom,” or just “the gospel.”

After His resurrection, His apostles, while continuing to use those terms, also began to use terms like “the gospel of Christ,” “the gospel of His Son,” and related terms – all more personal to Jesus.

It was, of course, the resurrection of Christ which allowed this intensification and expansion of meaning.  How could the multitudes have understood what that resurrection would be like and how it would change everything?

Jesus prepared His disciples as best He could.  As the sun of righteousness rose, they began to see more clearly that the kingdom of God was all about 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.

 

Heralds of the Kingdom of God

If you would be a herald, be a herald of the kingdom of God.

Don’t be a herald of a church, or your ministry, of yourself, or of anything else but the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of God is in our midst, and those who herald it are making known the truth of God.

Who can approach this kingdom?  Those who seek to purify their hearts in the sight of a righteous God.  Therefore, the heralds must proclaim this as well.

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:2)  This is what the heralds of the kingdom of God proclaim.  They do not proclaim themselves (2 Corinthians 4:5; John 3:30).

Surely the kingdom of God has come and is in the earth today.  And His heralds proclaim it…that whosoever will might enter it.

Psalm 15 is a proclamation of how we might seek to enter that kingdom.

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.

A Bible Study Method: See Jesus in the Verse, Then Imitate Him

Here’s a Bible study method worth following:

  1. See Jesus in the verse.
  2. Then imitate Him.

For example, consider the following verse:

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…”

Can you see Jesus fulfilling this verse as He trusted God?  Good.  Now you take the place of Jesus in the verse while He takes the place of God.  That is, as He obeyed the Father, so you now obey Jesus.  This is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s another example:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

If you’ve read the gospels at all, you certainly ought to be able to picture Jesus fulfilling this verse.  Once you have, now follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21) – with Him as the Lord you trust.

Here’s one more example:

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.

Again, remember how Jesus regarded His Father in this way.  Now, following Jesus’ example of devotion and trust, you regard Jesus the Lord in this way.

You can study the whole Bible this way.  And practice it.  This brings about 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.

The Marks of the Church

Marks of the New Testament church include:

  • Expectation of the Imminent Coming of Christ
  • Pursuit of Moral Purity
  • Maintenance of Doctrinal Purity
  • Unity
  • Apostolic Leadership

These five marks, especially when viewed in total, are noticeably absent in the church we see today.  This should tell us something.  Some churches today say that Christ is coming in this generation, but there are relatively few that carry the sort of urgency about it we see in the New Testament.  Some churches today seek moral purity, but most are filled with people that have about the same moral standards as society in general.  All churches today think they have maintained doctrinal purity but this has come completely at the expense of their unity.  There are some 40,000 Christian denominations.  The New Testament church zealously maintained its doctrinal purity and its unity simultaneously – through the leadership of the apostles, who are most notably absent today.

Thus the New Testament church was unique.  Church today is as obsolete a structure as a butterfly’s cocoon.  See Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church  and The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

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 Importance, Privilege, and Responsibility of the Ancient Jews

Jesus said, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), and we do well to give heed.  Jesus Himself was, of course, a Jew.  His chosen apostles were also Jews.  The New Testament chronicled the Jewish movement that subsequently came to be called Christianity – but we should never forget that it was a Jewish movement.  Gentiles were invited to come along, to be sure – but the movement remained Jewish-led throughout New Testament times.

Paul said that the Jews “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2).  This was a grave responsibility.  Because they acquitted themselves properly in the fulfillment of this responsibility, we have both the Old and New Testaments.

Paul also said, however, that being a Jew is no longer a matter of the flesh, but is now a matter of the spirit:

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

For this reason, Jesus could talk to the church at Smyrna and the one at Philadelphia about those who “say that they are Jews and are not” (Revelation 2:9; 3:9).

In this age (that is, the age of the kingdom of God), we are allowed to uphold and remember the inheritance that ancient Israel left us:  the Scriptures.  Let us never forget that these writings are Jewish from one end to the other.

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

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

The Kind of Thing Jesus Does to the Old Testament

Jesus interprets the Old Testament spiritually rather than physically.  Consider, for example, what Jesus does with the Old Testament’s dietary laws [emphasis added]:

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

Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Romans 14:16-17 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean that such provisions are to be ignored, for Jesus said:

Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Instead of a fleshly orientation, we are to read food and drink passages in a spiritual manner, as is demonstrated in Paul’s letter to the believers in Corinth:

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

Let us therefore by all means read the Old Testament – but do so through Jesus’ interpretation, not our own.

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.