What Jesus Did as a Man Depicted What the Father Was Doing as God

In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see portrayed before us what was going on the behind the scenes with God.

Jesus appeared, walked among us, died, and was raised from the dead to live forever.

Behind the scenes, God died to Himself and became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth.  Through the resurrection, ascension, and coronation of Jesus, God regained the stature He had sacrificed on our behalf.

Christ is a type of God.  And Christ is God.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

The Last Will and Testament of God the Father

The Old Testament constitutes the last will and testament of God the Father.  It is the word of God, having been written by holy men in many portions and in many ways, all through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:14-15; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

In this “last will and testament” God was leaving everything He had as an inheritance to His Son (Hebrews 1:2).  Who was the Son?  It would be God Himself who would take on the role of Messiah.  As if to confirm His dying wish, a voice came from heaven over Jesus of Nazareth in the presence of His disciples: “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him!”  (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35).  This angelic announcement was part of that last will and testament, and was part of the plan that had been arranged by God long before His incarnation.

Oh, the glory of the wisdom of God: to bequeath to Himself all that He had.  No one knew what He was doing at the time – each step was revealed only after He accomplished it.  He was not announced as Messiah and Lord until after He’d been raised from the dead, and He was not announced as God until the kingdom of heaven came at the Second Coming.

The last will and testament is inviolate.  The estate has been settled.  Jesus Christ has inherited all and is ruling over it eternally.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) – a perfectly reasonable statement if He is God.  And He is.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

God Set His House in Order That He Might Be Raised from the Dead…Better Off

2 Samuel 17:23 says that when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he set his house in order, and died.

When Hezekiah became mortally ill, Isaiah went to him and said, “Set your house in order for you shall die.”  (2 Kings 20:1)

It is common in literature that “setting one’s house in order” is the thoughtful act of someone who knows he’s about to die.

When God saw that His counsel to Adam and Eve was not followed, He set His house in order, and prepared to die.  Of course, it took quite a while for this setting in order to occur because it took thousands of years to get to the point when He could descend to the earth undetected and live a human life as Jesus of Nazareth.  For one thing, all the Scriptures had to be written which would record the history and promises necessary for the Messiah to find His calling in them.  Moreover, God knew all along that His counsel would not be followed and His entire creation was designed to solve a problem which had existed prior to that creation (see Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven).  God was taking His time with a plan that would have dramatic and eternal consequences for every living being.

In setting His house in order, God was not preparing for His end but rather His new beginning.  (Similarly, He has made death so for us: Everyone Is Going to Heaven).  He became the Messiah – but kept it a secret from everyone until the Second Coming revealed it.

God set His house in order…because He had His eye on a better order in the future.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Concerning Christ There Is Much to Say

Hebrews 5:11 says “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have  become dull of hearing.”

In our age, we might put it this way: “Concerning Christ there is much to say, but it is hard to explain, because the Trinity has made Christians dull to hearing more about Christ.”

Seek Christ!

For more information on how to do this, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Clear Out the Old to Make Room for the New

In 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul invokes Leviticus 26:10 by telling the Corinthians to “clear out the old to make room for the new.”

What is the old we must clear out?  The conception of God as someone interested in circumcision, animal sacrifice, and all sorts of other cultural rules that seem out of place in our society.

What is the new for which we are making room?  The conception of God as demonstrated to us by Jesus Christ who gave generously of Himself to everyone around Him, living not for the approval of man but for the love of His fellow man, and the approval and glory of God.

One of the problems with the trinity concept is that it tries to retain the old and the new in one package.  And it just doesn’t fit.  We have to clear out the old to make room for the new.  Otherwise, we’re just inundated…and therefore confused.

Worship the new.  Worship Jesus Christ.  And become new yourself in the process.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

“They Sang a Hymn to Christ as to a God”

Ancient Roman Pliny the Younger (61 AD to 112 AD) wrote that Christians “were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god.”  That sounds right.  Christ is God.

Do you sing to Christ as God?  (Or do you sing to a trinity as God?)

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Who Begat You?

From a spiritual standpoint, who begat you?

Jesus begat you.  You were born of Him, made in His image.

How do I know this?  God created everyone.  God gave everything He made as an inheritance to Jesus (Hebrews 1:2), including all humanity (Hebrews 2:13b).  Jesus is God, having been the Creator originally and then having become the Redeemer through the Incarnation.  He never lost track of you through this process.

Turn to Him who begat you.  Be like Him!  Love Him.  Adore Him.  Live for Him.

Turn from your sin, which is to say, turn from your selfish living and live for Him who begat you.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Please the One Who Enlisted You

In 2 Timothy 2:4 Paul exhorts Timothy to please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.  Of course, the one who had enlisted them both was named by Paul in the previous verse:  Jesus Christ.  Thus Jesus is the one whom we should please, not one of three whom we should please, as it were. (Trinitarians, take note.)

Have you noticed that all the instructions in the New Testament are from Jesus and not from the Father?  When the Father does speak He’s saying, “Listen to My Son!”  (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35).  As for the Holy Spirit, He never says anything on His own behalf anyway.  In the Old Testament He was speaking on behalf of the Father and beginning with the day of Pentecost, He’s been speaking on behalf of Jesus ever since.  Therefore, it should not be too much problem pleasing the one who enlisted you seeing that the Father and the Holy Spirit are telling you to do the same thing: please Jesus!

Since there’s only One to please, concentrate there.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

God Is Dead; Long Live God!

You’ve heard the expression, “The king is dead; long live the king!”  It refers, of course, to the fact that the king of a country has died, and another king has taken his place.

This offers a parallel to what happened when God the Father died as King of the heavens and the earth and made Jesus Christ the new King of the heavens and the earth.  Of course, in this case each King is the same person because it was God the Father who became Jesus Christ.

All the power of God is now invested in Christ.  We should worship and serve Christ as God…because He is God.  God has transformed Himself in an entirely new presentation of Himself: Jesus Christ, Lord of all.

The King is dead; long live the King – Christ the King!

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

God the Father Gave Birth to God the Son…but How?

God the Father gave birth to God the Son by becoming the Son.  That is, God gave up His life as God to live life as a human being.

As it says in Philippians 2:7, He “emptied Himself.”

God the Father became Jesus of Nazareth that He might be raised from the dead as the Son of God (Romans 1:4) so that He might become Father to all once again (2 Corinthians 6:16; Isaiah 9:6) – only this time with humans being destined for heaven at death instead of Hades (Sheol):  Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

God the Father Is Who Jesus Was Before He Became Jesus

God, the Father of all creation, gave up His life as God and became Jesus of Nazareth.  Therefore, God the Father is who Jesus was before He became Jesus.  (This is part of the transformation of God that was described in yesterday’s post.)

Therefore, the God that was Father to Jesus is the God of the past.  Jesus is the God of the present and of the eternal future.  He is our Father…now and forever.  And He always was…because God the Father is who Jesus was before He became Jesus.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

The Transformation of God

God created the heavens and the earth.

Man sinned.

God set in motion His plan for redemption, which He had conceived even before He created the heavens and the earth.

That plan involved many elements but revolved around the calling of a man named Abram (later renamed Abraham) and the formation of his descendants into a nation whose national records would include the Scriptures (what we have come to call the Bible).

Unbeknownst to anyone, God left His throne that He might be implanted in the womb of a virgin named Mary as an embryonic human being.  He was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth.  He had a ministry in Israel that lasted approximately three years.  As Jesus of Nazareth, He relied not upon His status as God but rather upon the Scriptures which had made many wonderful promises to the descendants of Abraham, and especially to a particular descendant who would come through the line of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David.  Through the Scriptures Jesus of Nazareth learned many things, including the fact that He was Israel’s Messiah which meant that He was the recipient of all of those promises.  Said promises included the narrative arc that He would be rejected by His own people, killed, and then raised from the dead three days later.

After being raised from the dead, Jesus was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God.  In the great coming of the kingdom of God, His true identity was revealed: He was the God who had created heaven and earth.

This transformation of God was a work so great that the prophets said it would not be believed by some even when described (Acts 13:41; Habakkuk 1:5).  And indeed today there are many even in the so-called church of God who do not believe it.  The foolish doctrine of the trinity was concocted after all the apostles had passed away precisely because those who concocted it did not realize that Jesus has fulfilled His promise to come again.

Don’t be one of those who refuse to believe in the transformation of God.  Be one of those who because he believes in the transformation of God, also comes to see the transformation of himself.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

God Laid Down His Life for the Creation…That He Might Take It Up Again

Jesus is a type of God.  Therefore, what we see Jesus the human saying in John 10:11 and 18 applies to God.

Jesus was the good shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep.  No one took His life from Him.  Rather, He laid it down of His own accord.  He had authority to lay it down, and He had authority to take it up again.  All this symbolized what God Himself was in the process of doing.

God was the good shepherd of all creation.  No one took His life from Him.  Rather, He laid it down of His own accord.  He had authority to lay it down, and He had authority to take it up again.  Do you see this?

God ceased to be God so that He might become a human being named Jesus of Nazareth.  He became Jesus of Nazareth so that He might be raised from the dead to become Lord of all creation once again.  Through His resurrection, ascension, and Second Coming, Jesus Christ became the God of all creation.  This Jesus Christ is the same as the God who had preceded Him.  God is one.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Treat Jesus Christ as if He’s God Almighty…Because He Is

Regard Jesus Christ as if He were God Almighty…because He is God Almighty!

The reason there aren’t more people acting like Jesus in the world today is because there aren’t more people regarding Him as God.

He was certainly the sacrifice for our sins, but if that’s all He is to you then you are probably living the same way you used to.  Fall on your knees and truly worship Jesus and you will repent of your sins and live more like Him.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

There Is No God But the Son of God

There is no God but the Son of God.  Let us worship Him with reverence (Psalm 2:11), and do homage to Him lest we fall under the judgment of our own sins (Psalm 2:12).

God the Father ceased to be…that He might become the Son of God for our sake.  Thus, the Son of God is our Father.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

All Things Are Open and Laid Bare to the Eyes of Jesus

Hebrews 4:13 says that “all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  Who is “Him”?  Who could it be but Jesus our Redeemer, without whom we have no place in God at all!

(If the verse had referred to the trinity then it would have said “them” instead of “Him” since all persons have eyes.)

Therefore, “the eyes of  Him with whom we have to do” are the eyes of Him who turned the other cheek when being slapped, who did not revile in return when being reviled, who did not complain when His life and dignity were stripped unfairly from Him.

This is the One who eyes are watching us.  We must never give Him less than our best, for this One surely never gave us less than His best.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

There Is No Other Lord But This One

Jesus is the only Lord.  There is no other Lord but He.

There was a time when we were uncertain about Jesus’ identity.  The gospels portray Him as a human being, and without any doubt He clearly was.  But He was more.  And  revealing His identity as God was what the Second Coming was all about – revealing that Jesus had been God in the flesh.

Since this is the case, let’s be done with vain imaginings like the trinity which postulates a three-headed god.  Rather let us bow our knees to the one name that is above all names: Jesus Christ our Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

Obey Him.  Imitate Him.  We can only do this by living a life of repentance towards Him.  Do not fear, however: He will forgive us (Psalm 130:4; 1 John 1:9).

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

This Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 begins speaking of the Lord who is “my shepherd.”  Who is this Lord?  It is Jesus of Nazareth, raised from the dead, never to die again – son of David, Son of God.

God intended that this psalm be personalized between you and Him.  If you can’t see the resurrected Jesus as the only rightful recipient of your praise in this psalm, you are not reading it rightly.  God became Jesus of Nazareth that your perception of His character might be accurate.

Christ is Lord!  Let us follow our Shepherd, forsaking our sin and living for His glory.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Who Is the Lord?

When you read the Bible and you come across a verse that reads “the Lord,” to whom does it refer?  It refers to He who was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9; Micah 2:13), He who was the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5).  This was anticipated by Jesus in Matthew 22:41-46, and declared as accomplished by Peter in Acts 2:34-36, though it had been a mystery hidden in God until that time (Romans 16:25-27).

We live in the day of Christ Jesus which was prophesied by Paul (Philippians 1:6).  Do not be like Pharaoh who claimed insufficient knowledge of the Lord to obey Him (Exodus 5:2).  Jesus is Lord!

See also Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 1 of 2.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others 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 New Testament Church was Shiloh – The Church Afterward Was Ichabod

Jeremiah warned the people of God about their laxity regarding sin by invoking the lesson of Shiloh (Jeremiah 7).

In earlier times, the ark of God rested in Shiloh but the people of Israel ignored the laws handed down to them by Moses.  They kept up a certain amount of ritual, but tolerated corruption in those who represented them before the Lord (1 Samuel 2:27-34).  God withdrew Israel’s protection and the ark of the covenant was taken from Shiloh by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:16-22).

This foreshadowed the experience of the New Testament church.  As the early church grew, it became lax in its zeal for righteousness.  Its leaders gave in to the corruption that so often comes with power.  By no means was everyone in the church corrupt.  When the Lord came, He plucked out those whose hearts were true to Him and gave them His light in their hearts to guide them.  The rest were left in their darkness to continue in the institutionalization of the church.  For this reason it is Ichabod (that is, “the glory has departed” – 1 Samuel 4:21-22).

Thus you may think of the church as Ichabod ever since.  Yes, the light of Jesus flickers here and their through church history whenever and wherever His word is preached.  However, it never takes long for the forces of corruption to infect such movements and siphon off their energy as they attempt to institutionalize that which cannot ever be put under the control of men: the Spirit of God.

What are we to do?  Seek the Kingdom of God Instead of 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.

Antigod Is Not the Problem – Antichrist Is

John warned of the spirit of antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).  He did not warn of the spirit of antigod.  Why is this?

John made the answer clear.  He said that anyone who did not stick with the teaching of Christ would not have God (2 John 1:9).  Did you catch that?  He who has Christ receives God.  He who passes by Christ to get to God does not get there.

John also said that he who has the Son has the life and he who didn’t have the Son didn’t have the life (1 John 5:12).  John’s point was that God has given us eternal life and that this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).

Satan’s strategy in this age is to go against Christ…because that’s where God is.

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

“The Apostles’ Teaching” Is the Lord’s Teaching

Acts 2:42 says that those who believed in the message of the resurrected Christ were continually devoting themselves to “the apostles’ teaching.”

Where did the apostles get their teaching?  They got it from the Lord.  They had spent the previous three years living with Him as He conducted His itinerant ministry in and around Galilee.  But they received His teaching with a much finer point during the forty days between His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven.

Luke 24 (especially verses 25-27 and verses 44-48) tells how Jesus opened the Scriptures to the apostles by showing how the Scriptures from beginning to end referred to Him.

We see this strikingly in the opening chapters of Acts where Peter quotes confidently from Joel (Acts 2:16-21) and the Psalms (Acts 2:25-28; 34-36).  There can be little doubt that the Lord Himself had pointed out to Peter how these passages, as well as many others, spoke of the resurrected Messiah.

As is true for the opening chapters of Acts, it is true for the entirety of the New Testament: the apostles’ teaching is the Lord’s teaching.  What the apostles teach us about the Lord is what He wanted them to teach us.

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

“My, My, My” Lord

Even though yesterday’s post, “Everyone’s” Lord, made clear that Jesus Christ is, and always will be, the Lord and Savior of every single human being, there is still great personal advantage in acknowledging (that is, accepting or embracing) this fact.  Consider how the Psalms so often personalized the knowledge of God (underlining added; all from the NASB):

Psalm 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd…

Psalm 27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation…

Psalm 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield…

Psalm 118:14  The Lord is my strength and song…

Psalm 119:57  The Lord is my portion…

Let not God be a distant deity to you.  Draw near to Him.  Call Him “My Lord,” “My Savior,”..and “My” everything else!

(God Wants a Loving Relationship with 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.

“Everyone’s” Lord

Yesterday’s post, “My Lord,” spoke of the personalized way in which the Messiah (i.e. Christ) was addressed: first by David, and then by those who embraced Messiah (i.e. Jesus of Nazareth) throughout New Testament times.

Now consider the fact that since Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again (i.e. the Second Coming has been an accomplished fact since the close of the New Testament age), Jesus Christ is now everyone’s Lord.

For emphasis, let me repeat and paraphrase.  Throughout New Testament times Jesus was only the Lord of those who called Him Lord, but since then the kingdom of God has come and Jesus is Lord over everyone – whether they call Him Lord or not (Jesus Is Our Lord and Savior…Whether We Want Him to Be or Not).

One more time: Jesus is not just the Lord of Christians – He is the Lord of everyone!

Hallelujah!  Let us repent and be grateful.

(Repent, and follow Jesus Christ our Lord!)

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

“My” Lord

In Psalm 110:1, David prophesied of the Messiah – whom he called “my Lord.”  We’ve been talking about the “Lord” aspect of that the last few days, (How Jesus Came to Inherit the Title “Lord,”  What Is the Name That Is Above Every Name,  How Long Will Jesus Have the Name Above Every Name?)

Today, think about that personalization: “My.”

David was writing in the hope of resurrection – that same hope that animated even the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.  Jews disagreed about the shape resurrection might take, but it was a common hope, even if a few, like the Sadducees, didn’t partake of it.  When the hope of resurrection took clear form in the case of Jesus the Messiah, the word “my” became a personalization for many more than David.  Three thousands souls embraced His name in Jerusalem where He was first declared as Lord (Acts 2:36).

Even Paul echoes this personalized address when he writes in Philippians 3:8 of “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  We can also hear it echoed in the salutations and benedictions of the epistles which refer to “our Lord Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Gentiles had no basis for applying a possessive pronoun to Deity, but through the Christ (i.e. the Messiah of Israel) they could be as possessive about the Lord as any Jew.

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

How Long Will Jesus Have the Name Above Every Name?

How long will Jesus be the name that is above every name?  (That is to say, how long will He be Lord?)  The answer is…forever.  And ever.

Ephesians 1:21 says He was given the name above all names not only for the biblical age, but for the eternal age to follow it.

Daniel 7:14 says the dominion He would given would be everlasting.

Isaiah 9:6-7 says there would no end to the increase of His government.

There will never be a name higher than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Never.

He will always be the Lord.  And there is no other.

How then could the Trinity be true?

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

What Is the Name That Is Above Every Name?

Philippians 2:9-11 says that Jesus has been given the name that is above every name.  What is that name that He was given?  Lord.

In Psalm 110:1 David prophesied that God would seat the Messiah at God’s right hand.  For this reason, David called the Messiah “my Lord” in this verse.  Peter tells us in Acts 2:34-36 that this Scripture was fulfilled when Jesus ascended into heaven not many days before that dramatic day of Pentecost described in Acts 2.  This is when Jesus was made Lord.  This is when He received “the name that is above every name” – which is “the Lord.”

Some people think that “Jesus” is the name that is above every name.  When they do this, they miss the pivotal point of all history which was when Jesus was made Lord through His resurrection and ascension.  He had been named “Jesus” just prior to His birth, but that was not the name above every name at that time.  “Jesus” did become the name above every name when He was made “Lord” of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

Because He is Lord, Jesus – by whichever of His many names He is called – is the name above every name.

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

How Jesus Came to Inherit the Title “Lord”

In Acts 2:34-36, the apostle Peter declares that Jesus’ ascension into heaven (after His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection) was the fulfillment of the Psalm 110 prophecy about the Christ (i.e. the Messiah).  By seating Jesus at His right hand, God was declaring Jesus to be “Lord” (Psalm 110:1).  This is, of course, consistent with what Jesus reported to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 – that He had been given “all authority in heaven and on earth.”

From this point on, Jesus – as Lord – was able to execute all powers and fulfill all promises of the Scripture that had been made in the name of the Lord.  For this reason, Peter could characterize the promise from Joel 2:32 (quoted by Peter in Acts 2:21) – “[W]hoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” – as being fulfilled for those who called on the name of Jesus (see Acts 2:37-39).  Since Jesus was now “the Lord,” calling upon Jesus was calling upon the Lord.  And calling upon the name of Jesus was calling upon the name of the Lord.

Jesus was now prepared to fulfill all the promises that God had made as “Lord” to whoever called upon Him.  Physical ancestry through Abraham was no longer an issue.  For this reason the apostle Paul could say that all the promises of God were “yes and amen in [the Lord Jesus]” 2 Corinthians 1:20.  To have Christ as Lord was indeed “an administration of” the promises of God “suitable for all time” (Ephesians 1:10).

Reconsider the Old Testament if you haven’t already.  Jesus, having inherited the title of “Lord” from God the Father (see also When Jesus Became Lord), is prepared to display the faithfulness of God to all who will trust Him.  Review all the promises of God and observe how our Lord Jesus Christ administers the universe (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

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

If You Can See Christ in the Verse, Then You Can See Yourself in the Verse

In 1 Peter 2:21, the apostle Peter wrote that Jesus Christ left an example for us to walk in His steps.  Of course, this is broadly true.  However, it is also true in a very specific and practical way that involves the Scriptures.  Peter goes on to demonstrate this in the very next chapter of his letter.

Remember that while the apostles produced the New Testament, they had only the Old Testament as their Bible.  Let’s pay close attention to how they read it.

In 1 Peter 3:10-12, as he continued to write about following the example Jesus set, the apostle quotes Psalm 34:12-16.  Of course, Psalm 34 was a messianic psalm.  That is, it was a prophecy of the Christ (i.e. the Messiah, the Anointed) who would come to deliver God’s people.  In this vein, the Gospel of John (19:36) makes explicit reference to Psalm 34:20 applying to Christ.

Peter is showing that because this psalm referred to Christ, it can now be used as a pattern for us to follow.  That is, as “the eyes of the Lord” spoke to Jesus of His Father, so “the eyes of the Lord” now speak to us of Christ.  As Jesus followed God the Father, so we follow Jesus.  This is because God made Jesus Lord at His resurrection and ascension when God seated Jesus at the right hand of the throne of heaven and declared Him “Lord” (Acts 2:34-36).  (For more, see When Jesus Became Lord.)

Thus, “the Father” was “Lord” to Jesus, but “Jesus” is “Lord” to us.  For this reason Jesus was given, for we did not have His ability to follow a holy God.  Only through following Jesus can we find our way.  Or rather, His way.

You can practice this all over the Bible – especially in the Old Testament prophecies of Christ…and thereby see more clearly how to live the life of faith and righteousness.

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

When Jesus Became Christ

Jesus did not become the heavenly Son of God until He was raised from the dead (see the recent post When Jesus Became the Son of God).  And He did not become Lord of heaven and earth until after He was raised from the dead (see the recent post When Jesus Became Lord).  He had become Christ well before that.

Jesus became the Christ when He was conceived in His mother’s womb (Matthew 1:20).  The fullness of Christ’s role, as prophesied by the Scriptures, however, began with His suffering which culminated in His crucifixion.  This would be followed by His glorification.  The Scriptures taught that Messiah would experience sufferings, followed by glory (Luke 24:26; Acts 3:18; 1 Peter 1:10-11).  Thus, being declared “the Son of God” and “Lord” were part of the glory that followed the suffering of the cross.

The suffering of Christ is finished (John 19:30).  The only suffering that the Lord and the heavenly Son of God would suffer would be when He shared in the sufferings of His people (Acts 9:3-5).  Hallelujah!  His suffering is over; only His glory remains.

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

When Jesus Became Lord

Jesus was occasionally called “Lord” in the gospels.  Sometimes, this was a sign of respect from His devoted followers (sort of like calling Him “Sir”).  Sometimes it was a reference made to Him in retrospect by His apostles who wrote or provided the information for the gospels.  He was not Lord in the sense of “God,” however, until the process described by Peter in Acts 2:34-36.

Being seated at the right hand of God was a glorification of Jesus that God gave Him based on the life of devotion that He had lived during the days of His flesh (Philippians 2:5-11).  That Jesus had not been Lord during His earthly life was clear.  Upon being asked to divide a family inheritance during that time, He responded that no one had made Him a judge or arbiter over the questioner (Luke 12:13-14).  However, after His resurrection and ascension He was declared to be the one who would judge heaven and earth (Acts 17:31).

Know for certain, therefore, that Jesus was made Lord according to the prophecy of Psalm 110, which was fulfilled in Acts 1:9-11.  That was the moment that the Messiah assumed His role as Lord.  A more momentous event for us can hardly be imagined.  We do well not to deprive that moment of its significance.  For if we embrace it, our understanding of God will grow.

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

If Jesus Had Not Been Made Lord, the Gentiles Would Have No Inheritance in God

Jesus was well aware that God’s promises to Abraham were not available to Gentiles (Mark 7:26-27).  The key event which altered this distinction was described in Acts 2:34-36.  In this passage, Peter quotes Psalm 110 and declares that it was fulfilled when Jesus ascended into heaven.  From that point, Jesus was lord over heaven and earth, and thus the Gentiles had opportunity to profess allegiance to this Son of David and receive of His inheritance.

For this reason, in Romans 15:11 Paul quotes Psalm 117:1 and makes this very point.  You need to fully appreciate the import of Paul’s declaration here.  When he quotes “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles” from Psalm 117:1, he is doing so on the basis of the declaration Peter made known on that awesome day of Pentecost in Jerusalem described in Acts 2.  That is, “the Lord” is now Jesus.  Therefore, Gentiles are commanded to praise Jesus, the risen Messiah.  He is the one who brought the Gentiles in by virtue of His resurrection and ascension to the highest place of honor in creation.

Thanks be to God for opening this door!

See also the post Psalm 117.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others 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 Proclamations About Jesus in the Book of Acts

In the Acts of the Apostles we see several bold, emphatic, and repeated declarations regarding Jesus of Nazareth as a result of His resurrection from the dead:

He is the Christ (Messiah) – Acts 2:36; 3:18-20; 5:42; 8:5; 9:22; 17:3; 18:5, 28

He is the Lord – Acts 2:36; 8:16; 10:36; 11:17

He is the Son of God – Acts 8:37; 9:20; 13:33

Jesus’ true nature and identity were glimpsed by some before His suffering and death.  And certainly, since the gospels were written well after Jesus’ resurrection, His apostles’ high view of Him can be seen in their retrospectives we call the gospels.  Nevertheless, Jesus’ identity as Christ, Lord of heaven, and Son of God went largely unnoticed during His earthly life.  This was all according to plan, for Jesus ministered as an anointed son of Abraham during the days of His flesh.  In the days of His spirit, however, He was made Lord of heaven and Son of God in a way that outstripped all earthly glory of those titles.  The epistles return to these truths about Jesus again and again.  Meditate on them and understand who Jesus is to us.

Behold the Lamb of God in the book of the Acts of the Apostles…and enjoy Him 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.

Psalm 27:1

In John 8:12 Jesus said He was the light of the world.  If this was true when He was on earth, how much more when He was enthroned in the heavens!

Given His abundantly merciful character, how blessed are we human beings that Jesus was raised from the dead to glory in heaven and declared to be Lord of all (Acts 2:34-36; 10:36).

We have no one to fear and no one to dread.

If our bodies are destroyed, we have better ones waiting for us in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1).  Indeed, there is nothing at all that can separate us from the love of God through Him (Romans 8:35-39).

No wonder the Lord Jesus is our light.  His face is like the sun shining in its strength (Revelation 1:16) for He is the sun that rose from the dead (Malachi 4:2).  As Isaiah exhorted, let us walk in the light of this Lord (Isaiah 2:5).  That is, let His penetrating eyes disinfect us of every unworthy thought and word (Revelation 21:23; 22:5).

Do not think of the Lord as uncertain and nebulous.  Jesus has put a sure and certain face on God (2 Corinthians 4:6).

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

Psalm 117

Who is the Lord who should be praised by all nations?  Jesus.

Who is the Lord who should be lauded by all peoples?  Jesus.

Who is it whose mercy is great toward us?  Jesus.

Who is it who truth is everlasting?  Jesus.

Who is the Lord we should praise?  Jesus!

For explanation, see Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 1 of 2.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others 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 Ancient Mind Versus the Modern Mind

When we read the Bible, we are aware that the people who originally wrote it and read it didn’t have computers, telephones, televisions, automobiles, and all sorts of other devices that are commonplace in our lives today.  That is, we are usually conscious of how many aspects of life we don’t share with those folks.  On the other hand, we can also conscious of the many aspects of life that are unchanged between then and now: birth, life, death, love, afterlife, and so on.  However, we often forget that ancient prophets and their readers didn’t always have the same ideas about these common issues that we modern readers do.

One very important example of this difference in outlook is heaven.  To the ancient mind, heaven was not a place for human beings (whether in this life or the next).  Heaven was where the gods dwelt.  See, for example, Acts 14:11 where Paul’s hearers (wrongly) thought he and his companions were gods descended from the heavens because of the miracle God had performed through them.  See also Acts 17:18 which took place in a different city where Paul’s hearers (rightly) understood that Paul’s claim of Jesus’ being raised to heaven was a claim for His divinity.  Examples abound in the Bible – whether of Jews or Gentiles, believers or pagans – which show this fundamental difference in practical cosmology between ancient people and modern people.

Modern people have a wide variety of ideas about who and what is in heaven.  Ancient people had a clearer and more consistent view, varying only in which and what kind of gods occupied heaven.  And they certainly didn’t envision human beings up there.

Only by acknowledging the ancient world view that heaven was for gods and earth was for men can you fully appreciate what a dramatic assertion it was for the apostles to say that Jesus had been raised from the dead to sit at the right hand of God.  It was literally life-changing for anyone who heard it and believed.  This is explained in the seventh chapter of the book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

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

Genesis 18:20-21

Genesis 18:20-21 foreshadows the mission of Jesus who heard the outcry from the earth and chose to “go down and see” if the world’s sins were as great as their outcry.  Whether it was or it wasn’t, God said, “I will know.”

Indeed, Jesus came to know firsthand the sins of humanity – and that they were indeed very great.  Our sins were so great that we rejected and murdered the One who created us and who has always loved us.  But cheer up!  Jesus was raised from the dead and He reigns forevermore to save us from our sins by turning us from our wicked ways (Acts 3:26).

Turn to Him now and turn away from your selfish living.  Let us live properly – that is, as servants of the King, doing His will (Psalm 103:21).

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.

Psalm 115:1

A recent post described how “Jesus” became the name of the Lord.  Essentially, this was the result of God raising Jesus from the dead, seating Him at His right hand, and thus fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 110:1 in which David wrote, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand’.”  In this way Jesus became Lord and thus His name became the name of the Lord.

You can see how the apostles were praying with the attitude of Psalm 115:1 in Acts 4:24-30 (NASB) when they asked that “signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”  The apostles were not seeking glory for their own names, but for the name of the Lord: Jesus.

It is also fascinating to continue reading through Psalm 115 and see its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, especially in the references to eyes, ears, nose, hands, and feet – all of which Jesus brought to the throne in a whole new dimension!

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

Genesis 4:26

Genesis 4:26 (NASB) includes these words “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.”  This foreshadows what we see taking place in Acts 2.

By the beginning of Acts 2, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God.  From there, He pours out the Holy Spirit on the 120 (including the apostles) who were assembled, praying, and waiting in Jerusalem for this very outpouring (because Jesus had promised it to them).  As a crowd gathers, Peter begins his explanation of the event by quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32) which speaks of everyone who “calls upon the name of the Lord” being saved.  Peter proceeds to quote other passages (from what the apostles called “the Scriptures” and we call “the Old Testament”) which he connects to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Peter then dramatically announces to the surrounding crowd that God has made this Jesus “Lord” (Acts 2:34-36) and goes on to exhort them to call upon Jesus, the name of the Lord – evoking his previous mention of Joel’s prophecy about the name of the Lord.

When Jesus was on earth, people could approach Him as they could any human being.  But now that He was in the heavens at the right hand of God, they had to “approach” Him the way they had always “approached” God: by calling on His name.  On earth, Jesus had lived as a man; in heaven, He now lived as a god – and needed to be addressed as such.  Had the believing Jews not clung so tightly to the longstanding prophecies of Messiah and of resurrection, they might not have even been able to contemplate such a change in circumstance for Jesus.  But if this was the way God chose to reveal His Messiah and begin the resurrection, they would believe it!  May we learn from them and imitate their example by calling on the name of the Lord: Jesus Christ!

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

The Name “Lord” in Acts 2

(If you haven’t already, you may want to first read yesterday’s post, The Name “Lord” in Acts 1.)

The name (or word) “Lord” appears 8 times in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles.  The bulk of this chapter consists of Peter’s sermon in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven.  The verses that precede and follow the sermon are narrative that give the context of the sermon.

The two key occurrences of the name “Lord” occur in verses 34 and 36.  This is the part of Peter’s oration where he quotes the prophecy of Psalm 110 in which King David declared that the Lord (God) would instruct David’s Lord (who would be David’s descendant and the Messiah) to sit at God’s right hand (the highest place of authority in the heavens).  This riddle (of David’s son also being his “lord”) had confounded the religious leaders of Jesus’ day as is evidenced in Matthew 22:4-46 (repeated in Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44).  Of course, Jesus knew what no one else knew at the time and He therefore challenged the religious leaders to answer the riddle.  The answer was that the Messiah was indeed David’s descendant according to the flesh, but became David’s Lord through the resurrection.

Thus Peter boldly declared in verse 36 that the riddle had been dramatically answered – that “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  This striking declaration explains what would otherwise have been a strange quote of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:17-21.  For the passage in Joel promises salvation to those who “call on the name of the Lord” and therefore Peter was claiming (specifically in verse 36 and again in verse 38) that “the name of the Lord” had become Jesus by virtue of His resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand.  Without Peter’s connecting the name of Jesus to the name of the Lord, a listener could have called on the name of the Lord while rejecting Jesus of Nazareth.  Indeed, those who rejected Peter’s message and Jesus did think they were calling on the name of the Lord in doing so – but they were wrong.

This was a startling development for anyone familiar with the Hebrew scriptures.  No longer could any verse which made reference to “the Lord” be read in the same way (and note that there are thousands of such verses in the Old Testament alone).  The resurrected Jesus had been declared “Lord” and thus given the Scriptures new life with a spiritual and not a fleshly orientation.  Passages like Psalm 23 and Psalm 27 would now be particularized and personalized around the exalted Jesus of Nazareth.

The many references to “God the Father and the Lord Jesus” which began and ended so many of the New Testament epistles was a clear and unequivocal reminder of the faith in which the apostles and their disciples stood: Jesus, the Son of God, had inherited the title of “Lord” from His Father.  To continue to read biblical references to “the Lord” without references to this transference was, and is, a denial of God’s will…and of reality.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others 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 Name “Lord” in Acts 1

The name (or word) “Lord” appears three times in the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles.

The first occurrence is in verse 6 where Jesus’ apostles address a question to Him beginning “Lord, is it at this time…”  Clearly they are questioning Jesus for it was Jesus who had gathered them and was speaking to them in the preceding verses…and it was Jesus who answered this question in the following verse.

The second occurrence is in verse 21 where Peter is mentioning Jesus and calls Him “the Lord Jesus.”

The third occurrence is in verse 24 when they began their prayer with “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two [Joseph or Matthias] you have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

Given that in this opening chapter the first two occurrences of “Lord” applied to Jesus, it is logical to assume that the third did as well – especially since there was no reference to “God” or “the Father” that would have offered an alternative understanding.  (Luke had mentioned “the Father” in verses 4 and 7 so he certainly knew how to make it known if the Father was being addressed instead of Jesus if that had been the case.)  It is also logical that this group would appeal to Jesus to name the replacement since it was Jesus who chose apostles in the first place.  The reason for addressing Him in prayer in that He is no longer on earth but now in heaven at the right hand of God.  There is no reasonable basis for thinking that this occurrence of “Lord” applies to anyone other than Jesus.  The assembled group had prayed, and they had prayed to Jesus.  It’s that simple.  (There was no formula of “praying to the Father in the name of Jesus as trinitarians would have it.)

Thus all three references to “Lord” in Acts 1 apply to Jesus and none apply to God the Father as some might suppose.

For more on how Jesus became “Lord” and what this means for our understanding of the Old Testament, see:

Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 1 of 2

Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 2 of 2

For more on what this means about following Christ, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus 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.

Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 2 of 2

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, you will want to do so before reading this one because I pick up here right where I left off there.

Not only does the New Testament tell us that we have a new and specific meaning to ascribe to “Lord” in the Old Testament through Jesus Christ, we also learn in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus has a different law for us to follow than what Moses laid down.  Of course, Jesus does not discard the words of Moses; He just stops interpreting them according to the flesh.  That is, Jesus doesn’t care about physical circumcision, about which foods we eat, or about whether our oxen are muzzled or not.  Rather He cares about whether we love God and neighbor, and He uses the true and underlying meaning of Moses’ laws to teach us that.  Hebrews 7:12 speaks explicitly of the “change in law” that occurred when Psalm 110 was fulfilled.  1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 each speak of this “law of Christ.”  James called it “the perfect law” (James 1:25) and Paul called it the proper summation of all the commandments: love (Romans 13:8-10).

Therefore, when you read Psalm 1, not only think of the Lord personally as Jesus.  Also think of His “law” as what it specifically is: love…as Jesus practiced it.  This supreme love is devotion to God and selflessness toward others.  This makes Psalm 1 much  more of a guiding light than it would be otherwise.  This same approach should be used with all the references to Lord in the Old Testament because Jesus came to put a face on God (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Jesus makes the Bible (including passages such as Psalm 1) far more personal to us from God than they would be otherwise.  This is the kingdom of God – rejoice 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.

GICNAT

Reading Psalm 1 in Light of Jesus and His Kingdom – Part 1 of 2

In Acts 2:36 the apostle Peter boldly declares that in raising Jesus of Nazareth from the dead God was declaring Jesus to be “Lord.”  This term had very specific meaning in the Old Testament, appearing in thousands of verses.  Jesus had foretold that the Messiah would be Lord in Matthew 22: 41-46 when He was challenging the Pharisees with the riddle of Psalm 110 (where the Messiah, who was David’s son, was also declared to be David’s Lord – a paradox only resolved by the resurrection of Messiah).  Peter made reference to Psalm 110 himself in Acts 2:34-35.

On the basis of Jesus inheriting the title “Lord,” Peter could also declare in that same Pentecost sermon that whoever called upon the name of Jesus was calling upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21, which is a quote of Joel 2:32).  Paul, by the way, made a similar declaration of Jesus being Lord in Romans 10:9 and that He thus inherited the position of Lord in Joel 2:32 (in Romans 10:13).

That Jesus inherited the title of “Lord” from the Old Testament means that He is now seen as the grantor of such promises and we, those who trust in Him, are recipients of those promises.  (Jesus had inherited all from the Father: Isaiah 22:24; John 3:35; 16:15; Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:2.)  Thus, all the promises of God are activated for Jews and Gentiles in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Taking Psalm 1 as an example (You could similarly take any of the thousands of Old Testament passages that apply to “Lord”), let’s read it in this new personalized way Jesus has made for us.  Whenever and wherever you see the word “Lord” substitute “the Lord Jesus” or “Jesus” or “Christ” or “Messiah” – you get the idea.  See if this does’t make the Scripture come more alive to you.  The apostles were clear and consistent that Jesus had been made “Lord” not just in the general sense of being a leader, but in the specific sense of becoming the “Lord” mentioned in all the Old Testament promises.

This is how the promises of God work in the kingdom of God.  The days of ancient Israel and the church are over; these are the days of the kingdom of God, and they will never end.  Jesus is 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.

GICNAT

The Apostles Learned How to Read the Scriptures from Jesus

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that the apostles teach us how to read the Scriptures.  The point I want to emphasize today is that it was the Lord Himself who first taught the apostles how to read the Scriptures.

Although the apostles were all Jews and therefore raised by their families and friends to know the Scriptures, they did not understand them nearly as well as Jesus did.  (Of course, that’s  not a fair comparison; maybe I should have said “they did not understand them nearly as well as He eventually would lead them to understand them.”)  In fact, after Jesus’ crucifixion, the apostles were completely demoralized.  They had no expectation of the Messiah being resurrected on the third day because they had no expectation of the Messiah being crucified.  In this regard they were no different from any other 1st Century Jew (except one, of course – Jesus of Nazareth).

Once Jesus was raised from the dead, He began to explain to the apostles how everything that had happened to Him had been prophesied in the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27, 44-48).  This sort of instruction continued for forty days (Acts 1:1-3)…until Jesus ascended into heaven.  These apostles had been common folks before Jesus chose them  – fishermen, tax collectors, and the like.  They were not trained rabbis and were not considered theologically literate.  Once their Teacher showed them the true meaning of the Scriptures, they had every reason to embrace it wholeheartedly.  And so they did.

How wonderful it is that the Lord who spoke the Scriptures in the first place, came to earth to teach us how to understand 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.

The Bible Was First Written to Jews, But Now Speaks to Every Human

The Bible was written by Jews (both testaments).  However, the intent all along was that its words would have their ultimate meaning and fulfillment through Jesus Christ who would become Lord of all humanity.

Note that I said “Lord of all humanity” and not merely “Lord of Christians.”  Indeed He was Lord of Christians in New Testament times but that brief age was merely an earnest, a down payment, a deposit on the time when He would be Lord of all humanity.  His dominion over all humanity was accomplished at His Second Coming which occurred in the latter part of the 1st Century A.D.  (For more explanation, see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)

Jesus Christ now reigns supreme as Lord and God.  He is not the God of Christians only, He is the God of all of us.  And through Him, the truths of the Bible are ours.  You do not have to become a Christian to appropriate its benefits, you only have to trust in 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.

The New Testament Was Written for New Testament Times

If the apostles wrote in expectation that their writings would be collected and labeled the New Testament hundreds of years later, they gave no indication of it in what they wrote.  On the contrary, what they wrote pulsated with concern for their contemporaries.  For they were all preparing for the day of the Lord, which the Old Testament had long promised.  Which day, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth had said was soon going to dawn.  (See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)

In writing for their contemporaries, the apostles wrote either because they were bearing witness to Jesus and their early proclamations of His message (i.e., the Gospels and Acts) or because they were addressing issues which arose among believers in various locations around the Mediterranean Sea where the message had reached (i.e. all the rest of the New Testament letters, or epistles as they’re sometimes called).

Leaving aside for the moment the eyewitness accounts of the four gospels, it’s clear that the apostles did not write at all in order to supplement the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament).  It’s obvious that the apostles considered the Scriptures sacred and sufficient.  The problem-solving concern that drove most of their letter-writing was directed at producing a better understanding of those then-existing Scriptures – not producing alternative Scriptures to replace the then-existing ones.

As for the gospels, those were indeed intended to supplement the Scriptures – but again, not to show the Scriptures insufficient.  On the contrary, the purpose was to show how correct and reliable those Scriptures had been.  The gospels thus testified dramatically of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures we call the Old Testament.

We might wish that the apostles had written more for us today and less for their contemporaries.  On the other hand, they actually served us best by writing for their contemporaries because this leaves us driven to read both testaments for a full understanding of the times in which we now live – and eternally will live.  (See All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled.)  We should not be allowed to build our understanding of God on the New Testament alone.  The way that it was written guarantees that we cannot succeed at such an effort.  God be praised!

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

1 John 2:2 Says Everyone Is Going to Heaven

In this verse the apostle John states that Jesus Christ provides covering for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.  What sins therefore are not covered by His work?  None.

The notion of only certain human beings making it to heaven runs counter to everything God has revealed about His nature and His power.  Are we to believe that the devil is mean enough to tempt everyone to sin, but God is not kind enough to lead everyone to salvation?  And are we to believe that the devil is powerful enough to succeed in getting everyone to to sin, but God is not powerful enough to save everyone from sin?

It is foolish to believe that God’s righteousness is insufficient to redeem us from our sins.

Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Romans 11:32 Says Everyone Is Going to Heaven

How many people has God not shut up in disobedience?  That’s how many will not receive His mercy.

In other words, His mercy extends as far as human disobedience.  There is no disobedience that can exceed His mercy.  (Likewise, make sure no one’s disregard for you can exceed your mercy, for God would always have us to imitate Him as a child lovingly imitates a father.)

Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Many Who Are First Will Be Last

Even though Everyone Is Going to Heaven , don’t think that there won’t be an accounting in heaven for how we lived our lives on earth.  Indeed, there will be a re-ordering of humanity in heaven.  Many who enjoy prestige, power, and position in this life will be humbled in the next.  Conversely, many who suffer unjustly, live righteously, and show kindness to others will be elevated.

In God’s accounting, He does not care about your fame, success, monetary wealth, or any of the other measures that the world commonly applies to a person’s life.  He is concerned with how much you cared for others, helped the poor, turned the other cheek, and served those around you.

Let’s be as wise as the unjust steward in Jesus’ parable (Luke 16:1-13).  Face the fact that your life on earth, sooner or later, will be taken away from you.  Make sure you prepare for that transition by building up your heavenly account while you still have the chance.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Stephen’s Last Prayer

At the end of the seventh chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen is being stoned for his testimony about Jesus being the Messiah.  Stephens’ last words were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  This is reminiscent of words Jesus Himself spoke as He was dying on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

If Stephen could imitate Jesus and want everyone to go to heaven, can’t you?

Fortunately, God is pleased by prayers like this and indeed everyone is going to heaven 

By the way, there was a young man present at the stoning, fully approving of the execution.  He was known as Saul at the time, but came to be known far and wide after his conversion as the apostle Paul.  He, too, learned to think this graciously about those who opposed him.  In 2 Timothy 4:16 he asked regarding all those who had deserted him, “May it not be counted against them.”  All these prayers and expressions reveal, of course, the spirit of love, which does not take into account a wrong suffered (1 Corinthians 13:5).  If God is not counting people’s trespasses against Him (2 Corinthians 5:19), why should we count their trespasses again us or Him? 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Jacob’s Ladder

In John 1:51 Jesus alludes to Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28:12).  Of course, this was the dream that Jacob had about angels ascending and descending on a ladder that reached from earth to heaven. 

Jesus was the ladder.  The descending angels were Satan and his host who were cast down from heaven (Revelation 12:9).  The ascending angels were deceased humanity who were raised to be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30).  Jesus accomplished this through His resurrection, ascension, and the establishment of His eternal kingdom – the kingdom of God. 

Through Jesus the Ladder, Everyone Is Going to Heaven .

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Satan Fell From Heaven Like Lightning

Jesus said (in Luke 10:18) that He was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  This was a percursor to the great fall of Satan.

The great fall of Satan occurred when the dead were raised from Sheol (Hades) to heaven in the aftermath of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  This dragon was “thrown down,” as it says in Revelation.   The prophet Isaiah spoke of such a star that would fall from heaven (14:12). 

This fall happened in “the twinkling of an eye” when the dead were raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52) at the coming of the Lord, which itself He compared to a lightning flash (Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24). 

Satan was removed from heaven to make room for all of us (Everyone Is Going to Heaven ).  Blessed be our God who has been so gracious to us by sharing His home with us for all eternity.  Sorrow may be for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).  And this day that has dawned will never ends!

The proud always fall – even those who think that the judgments of God apply only to everyone else.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Dragon Has Been Contained

Biblical references to the dragon are usually to Satan, the Adversary, the devil.

As it says in Revelation, the dragon has been thrown down.  The one who exalted himself has now been humbled. 

Because Everyone Is Going to Heaven , the dragon no longer has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). 

The image of a dragon strikes fear.  And nothing on earth has struck more fear than death.  We, however, have overcome the dragon through Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood (Revelation 1:5).  (When I say “we” I mean the entire human race; not some subset of it.)  This dragon who has lived and reigned in the sea of death has been slain (Isaiah 27:1) and the sea of death itself has been dried up (Isaiah 51:10; Revelation 21:1). 

You need not fear the dragon.  Fear only Him who has power over the dragon.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

God Turns the Curse to a Blessing

When Joseph’s brothers cast him into a pit and walked away, God did not try to stop them.  Instead, God turned it into a blessing by subsequently making Joseph ruler over Egypt and providing food and shelter for his entire family when famine came.

When Haman prepared gallows on which he would hang Mordecai, God did not prevent him.  Rather, God turned the tables and allowed those gallows to be used to eliminate Haman himself, a mortal enemy of the Jews.

When the leaders of the Jews and the Romans conspired together to crucify the Son of God, God did not stand in their way.  Rather, He used the event to execute a great deliverance for humanity.

God turns a curse into a blessing.

In a world of human freedom, many things occur that are not God’s will.  However, God will use those bad things and make them into good things.  Our faith gives us eyes to see this. 

Therefore, when death was pronounced as the penalty for our sin, it was only a matter of time before God would turn the curse of death into a blessing.  Through Jesus Christ death has become a blessing because it no longer leads us away from Him.  Instead, it leads us to Him in heaven. 

If you still think of death as a curse then you haven’t yet understood what Jesus Christ did to it.  Go back to Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven! and follow each day’s post between then and now.  Also, be sure you read Everyone Is Going to Heaven 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Psalm 111:2 (Studying the Works of the Lord)

When we study the works of the Lord we deepen our relationship with Him. 

Consider His great work of victory over death.  What can compare with it?  He rendered powerless Him who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).  He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through His gospel (2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:26).  The half of the story of His work has not been told.  We must spread the word of His great work of redemption! 

I have been describing it to you, but I must say more.  His work is worthy of so much more description and praise!

Consider this:  He has shut the door of Sheol (i.e. death) and no one can open it.  He has opened the door of heaven and no one can shut it.  (Revelation 3:7)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Death Is Not the Same

Through Jesus Christ, death has come to mean something entirely different than its original conception.  In the ancient world, it was something to be feared because it meant the end of conscious, visible existence.  It meant sleep below in Sheol (Hades).  Jesus eliminated Sheol and made heaven the destination of all those who pass from this earth.

Therefore, death is a graduation to heaven.  This requires a completely different mindset on our part.  Graduations require preparation.  If you don’t do the work required, you don’t have as happy a graduation.  On the other hand, if you work hard, you can graduate with honors. 

For this reason, Jesus said that we should not work for the food that perishes (John 6:27).  For reason He also said we should forsake greed and seek to be rich toward God (Luke 12:15-21).  For this reason He also said we should seek to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (Luke 12:33). 

Many people are going to get to heaven and be full of regret for how they lived on earth (Luke 16:14-31).  Don’t let that happen to you.  Prepare for graduation!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Sea Monster Had to Give Up Jonah

In Matthew 12:40 Jesus used  Jonah’s experience to outline His own destiny.  He said that as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the sea monster so He would be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.

The sea monster was a type of death.  Like a monster, death had been consuming all of humanity since the beginning.  Yet, through Jesus Christ, God commanded death to give up all that it had consumed.   

We are no longer to be afraid of death.  It no longer consumes anyone.  Through what Jesus Christ did for the world, death has become simply the transition from our life on earth to our life in heaven.  (If you haven’t yet heard, Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

Blessed be our kind and generous Creator God!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Out of the Eater Came Something to Eat

Out of the eater came something to eat,

          And out of the harsh came something sweet.  

This is, of course, a play on Samson’s riddle (Judges 14:14).  This riddle gives a pattern which, while it had specific and limited meaning in Samson’s day, has far greater import for the ages.  This is because the pattern speaks to the greatest issue a human being will ever face: death.

Death is the “eater” who with insatiable lust was consuming every human being.  Through the work of Jesus Christ, the monster of death was required to give up all that it had consumed.  The dead now live in heaven with God.  The Father thus feasts upon the sight of His children around His table (thus “out of the eater came something to eat”).  Therefore also, out of the harshness of death came the sweetness of eternal life.

You and I do not need to be afraid of being consumed by death.  Jesus Christ has transformed it into a gateway that leads to life everlasting.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

To Die Is Gain Even For 21st Century Humanity

Paul wrote the words “to die is gain” (the subject of yesterday’s post) in the 1st Century A.D.  He was speaking of the improvement in existence that occurred when one left this world for the one above. 

People today aren’t as clear about the improvement.  They often think of heaven as sitting around on clouds with not much to do.  This sort of vision has no appeal for a society steeped in the myriad pleasures of amusement parks, television, computer games, and more.  Indeed, for some of them, heaven could seem a disappointment…at least at first.

Heaven is not designed to be a pleasure palace.  Indeed, there are manifold pleasures for the righteous, but they are not of the same nature as the passing pleasures of sin we see on earth.

Heaven is a place where the will of God is done.  This means that love will be behind every thought, word, and deed.  That’s what makes it infinitely preferable to existence here.  Yes, it will be wonderful that we won’t ever get sick or die there.  Yes, it will be wonderful that no one will be missing there.  Yes, there will be innumerable wonders to discover just as there have been on earth.  Yet, the most important difference – and it undergirds all the other differences – is that the will of God is done there.  Our righteous souls will cease to be tormented (2 Peter 2:7-8) and there will be no need for repentance for no one will be sinning.

With that in mind, let us pray today and every day until we go to heaven, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (See also Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

To Die Is Gain

Paul’s words “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) were radical for any time, but especially for the ancient world from which he came.

People might have hoped in a resurrection from the dead, but until the gospel of Jesus Christ no one had heard God’s plan for exactly what He would do about it.  The gospel made His plans clear, in terms more wonderful and more precise than anyone had expected. 

Leaving aside for the moment the mechanics of what would occur in the apostolic (i.e. the New Testament) age, let us dwell on how things would work for everyone afterward…including us, of course.  When we die, we immediately go to heaven to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).  We immediately receive new bodies which are suitable to life in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:35-44).  In those new bodies we are neither male nor female (Luke 20:34-36); that is, there is no marriage and thus no procreation in heaven.  It’s unnecessary because we will no longer be subject to death.  Thus we will live eternally in heaven with God.  Let your relationship with God be built on this glorious foundation of a secure future. 

No wonder Paul said that to die was gain!  The ancient world had seen death as a lifeless existence in a vague netherworld.  They could never think of dying as gaining…until they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

John 11:25-26 (Never Die)

Even the faithful of ancient Israel knew that they would one day die.  They knew it without a doubt, and had no hope that it could be avoided.  Delayed, yes; avoided, no.

Death was for them a time of silence, sleep, darkness.  It took place in a region below called Sheol.  Sheol housed all the dead.  It was assumed that those who lived rightously enjoyed a better state than those who lived unrighteously.  Yet everyone was dead, and captive to that overall state.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and took all the captives to heaven to be with Him forever, it created a whole new way of looking at life and death.  It would take even believing humanity some time to adjust to so dramatic a change.

According to the New Testament, Jesus went to heaven immediately but the rest of the dead did not follow until approximately a generation later.  That was when all the messianic promises were fulfilled: the kingdom of God came, the day of the Lord dawned, the new covenant took effect, and the new heavens and new earth were established.  This new order of creation no longer had a need for Sheol (Hades) because the dead were all transferred to heaven (“He led captivity captive”) in the instant of transition.  Every person who died thereafter would no longer descend to Sheol but rather ascend straight to heaven.  There would no longer be a sleep of death.  Humans would simply undergo an immediate metamorphosis to the new body that would required for life in heaven.

Because of this new order for us, Jesus could say that we would “live even if we died” and that we would “never die.”  The faithful of ancient Israel would understand exactly what He was talking about, for the arrangements for afterlife were different enough to justify such a dramatic description. 

Praise be to God who has delivered us from so great a peril as death – it no longer holds any power over us!

Jeremiah 29:11 (A Future and a Hope)

As human beings, we had no future beyond death.  We put death off as long as we could, but in the end…there it was.  Blackness.  No future.  No hope. 

Then God revealed His plan through His chosen people, the seed of Abraham, the nation of Israel.  Specifically, He revealed it through the most noble person that great people ever produced: Jesus of Nazareth.  That plan was that Jesus would die, but then be born again from the dead.  He would be born the Son of God.  He would be the firstborn Son of God who would open the womb of death.  Thus, He would be the firstborn of many brethren.  And the entire family of God would live forever in heaven.  What a future!  What a hope!

Do you wonder what people first thought when God promised through Jeremiah hundreds of years before Christ that He had plans to give them a future and a hope?  Could their expectations have been anywhere near as wonderful as what God ultimately revealed through Jesus Christ?  I can’t see how.  God has done exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think!

Humanity had no future and no hope beyond death.  It now has the hope of heaven with each other and with God.  If life on earth is interesting (and it was created by God), how much more interesting must heaven be!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Sons of God Were Made For Heaven

Everyone in the ancient world knew that heaven was the residence of deity. For the Jews it was the home of one God. For the Greeks and Romans it was the home of all the gods. Regardless of mindset, therefore, heaven was for deity and earth was for humanity.  The dead dwelt in Sheol (Hades) below; they certainly did not dwell in heaven.

If God intended for us to live in heaven, therefore, He had to have a way to make humanity into the offspring of deity.  Jesus was birthed from the dead that the rest of the dead might have a means of qualifying for adoption by God.  Otherwise, how could we live in His house? 

Consider the physical creation in which we dwell.  Every creature has its designated habitat.  Birds in the air, fish in the sea.  If a caterpillar is to become a butterfly, it’s habitat will change, for a caterpillar is designed for the land while a butterfly is designed for the air.  Therefore, while man is designed for the earth and angels are designed for heaven, God made resurrected man (that is, a human being born out of death – Jesus being the first) for the habitat of heaven – His home. 

Because Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29), we are by that fact sons of God and shall dwell in our rightful home with our heavenly Father for all eternity once our time on earth is complete.  “O Death, where is your victory?”  (1 Corinthians 15:55; Hosea 13:14)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Jesus Was Born the Son of God from the Dead

Although Jesus is referred to throughout the gospels as the Son of God, there is a particular way to which His Sonship is tied to His resurrection.

The apostle Paul speaks of this in Acts 13:33 when he quotes Psalm 2:7.  In that psalm, God declares to the Messiah, “You are My Son; today I have begotten You.”  This, of course, attaches a day of birth to the Sonship.  Paul makes the point in Acts that it was through the raising Jesus from the dead that these words were fulfilled. 

Paul makes this same point in the opening of Romans when he writes that while Jesus was the son of David according to the flesh, He was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” 

Up until the resurrection, the arc of Jesus’ life was exactly like that of all other human beings:  conception, birth, life, death.  Jesus introduced a new step in the sequence by being born out of death (or you could say born again after death) to eternal life.  He was raised from the dead, past earth, all the way to heaven.  This was now to be the extended progression for all humanity. 

As the Son of God in this resurrection sense, He belonged in heaven for that is God’s home.  Thus He ascended there.  Because we are being conformed to the image of God’s Son, we shall follow.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Firstborn Among Many Brethren

In Romans 8:29 Paul says that Jesus was intended to be the firstborn of many brethren.  He was not speaking, of course, about Jesus’ earthly birth.  Rather, he was speaking about Jesus being the firstborn from the dead. 

Our modern minds must continually be brought to remember that before Jesus’ resurrection, no one expected the afterlife to exist above in heaven.  Rather, it was understood to exist below in Sheol (or Hades in the Greek language).  This was the case for everyone who died.  No one went to heaven when they died.  No one even hoped they would go to heaven.  It was an unheard of notion.  People were doing well just to hope that God would some day resurrect the dead to earth, yet they knew it would create complications.  For this reason the Sadducees parted company with the Pharisees, the former giving up on the idea of resurrection altogether because of such complications (e.g. multiple husbands for widows who had remarried). 

Out of this very uncertain hope of resurrection, God raises Jesus from the dead and brings Him all the way to heaven indicating that resurrection would not be to earth, but to heaven.  Jesus had already made this known during His earthly ministry (Matthew 22:30), but punctuated the lesson dramatically when He was lifted up in the sight of His apostles (Acts 1).  

The point of all this was not for Jesus to have this experience for Himself but that He might create a way for humanity to have a permanent and blessed existence after death.  Thus we human beings are the “many brethren” for whom He became “the firstborn.”

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Firstborn Who Opens the Womb

Luke 2:23 explains that Jesus was brought as an infant to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord.  The Law of Moses (Exodus 13:2) had stated that “every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.”  Since Mary had been a virgin, Jesus was indeed the firstborn of her and Joseph’s family.

This earthly experience presaged the even more momentous experience that would occur in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead some thirty or so years later.  That is, Jesus would be the firstborn to open the womb of the dead!  The dead had simply been dead.  But when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was the first time anyone had been born from the dead…never to die again (Romans 6:9).

Through His resurrection, Jesus had turned the tomb into a womb.  Being the first, He had opened the womb.  And because He had opened the womb of death, the rest of the dead would follow.  Praise be to the name of Jesus, the firstborn who has opened the womb of death – let Him be called “holy to the Lord” for sure!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

The Firstborn from the Dead

In the first chapter of Colossians, the apostle Paul refers to Jesus as “the firstborn from the dead.”  In the first chapter of Revelation, the apostle John does so as well.  This is a stunning description of Jesus, absolutely true and important in every way.

Death had been the natural course for human beings ever since the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command.  No one had ever escaped death.  Everyone who died was held permanently captive by it.  God’s faithful hoped that He would do something about this dilemma, but no one knew His plan.  No one knew it, that is, until Jesus was raised from the dead, or should we say, was born from the dead. 

People had been raised from the dead before.  It was rare but it had happened.  Even Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  But Lazarus eventually had to die again; Jesus wouldn’t be there in the flesh to continue raising him.  God’s solution was to birth people from the dead so that they would never die again.  Jesus was the firstborn of this plan. 

One of the unmistakable implications of the term “firstborn” is that there would be others.  For if something is “first,” how can it be the “only”?  In fact, it was for the others (i.e., us – those who are subject to death) that Jesus Himself went through this process.  He did not need the redemption for Himself for He was the Author of life!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

David Led Captivity Captive

In 1 Samuel 30, we read of the Amalekites taking captive from Ziklag the women and children of David and his men.  David was particularly distressed because, in addition to losing his own family, his own men were threatening to stone him for having let this happen.  David inquired of the Lord and, having received encouragement, set about with his men to rescue the captives.  David succeeded in his mission, and brought back everyone single person who had been taken into captivity.  Thus we have in this narrative a type or picture of the deliverance that Jesus brought to those who had been taken captive by death.  (See the earlier post Jesus Led Captivity Captive and also Abram Led Captivity Captive.)

As a footnote, this story also relates how during the process of the mission, David had to leave behind 200 of his 600 hundred men because they were too exhausted from previous battles to go to this one.  When the 400 returned with the spoils and everyone was rejoicing in the victory, some “worthless and wicked” men of the 400 complained that the 200 should not receive a share since they had not fought.  David would have none of it, saying that since it was the Lord who had granted the victory everyone should share in it.  Even so, in our day some will complain the everyone who dies should not get to go to heaven.  Jesus will have none of this talk.  Everyone shares.  As to how big a share each should get in heaven, He will be the judge of that.

(For more on this, see Does It Bother You That Everyone Is Going to Heaven?)

Abram Led Captivity Captive

When King Chedorlaomer and his allies made captives of Lot and his family (Genesis 14), Abram set out to rescue them.  Abram was successful and brought back Lot and all that was Lot’s.  Thus Abram led captivity (Lot and his family) captive.  This was a type or picture of the rescue that Jesus would undertake on behalf of those who had been taken captive by death (see yesterday’s post: Jesus Led Captivity Captive).

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Jesus Led Captivity Captive

In Ephesians 4, Paul quotes Psalm 68 when He describes Jesus as having ascended on high, leading captivity captive in the process.

Who was the “captivity” He led?  Those captive to death – in other words, every human being who had died.  God had pronounced the sentence of death for sin in the garden of Eden.  Every human being who sinned, therefore had to die.  Every human being (except Jesus) did sin, and thus died.  All were thus held captive by death.  Their resting place was Sheol (or, as the Greeks called it, Hades).

This group then is the captivity that Jesus led captive into heaven.  They did not go with Him immediately, however, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.  Though “captivity” had not yet made it to heaven when Paul was writing letters, they made it not too long afterwards.  Those who have died since have proceeded directly to heaven.  Thus you and I will go directly to heaven.  There is no longer any Sheol or Hades.  This earth is now as low as you can go in this creation (because we live in the new heavens and new earth that Isaiah, John, and Peter promised).

Those who had been captive to death would now be captive to heaven…because of the generosity of Him who led them!

(If you are unaware of the Bible’s teaching that we all go to heaven at death, see Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Jesus Punched a Hole in Heaven!

No one had ever ascended into heaven before Jesus Christ (John 3:13).

We should dwell upon the glory of His having done so.  It opened a way for all of us.  As it was prophesied in Micah 2:13, the Breaker went up before us.  He led the way.  He is our King, and He certainly went before all of us.  In fact, we know that He went to make a place for us (John 14:2). Had He not done so, the grave would still be our home, for there was no place for us in heaven apart from Him.  We humans were designed for earth and consigned by death to a pit below (which the Hebrews called Sheol and the Greeks called Hades).

The pit below was only for those people who had sinned.  The problem was, everyone sinned!  Therefore, everyone went below.  Jesus, because He did not sin, broke out of that pit not just back to earth, but all the way to heaven!

He “punched a hole” in heaven, if you will, that we might go in after Him!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Jesus Is the Breakthrough

In 2 Samuel 5, David was fighting the Philistines.  They had arrayed themselves across the valley of Rephaim.  David inquired of the Lord as to whether he should attack.  The Lord gave the clearance and David achieved victory that day.

In gratitude and humility, David named the place Baal-Perazim.  The first part of the phrase means “lord,” “master,” or “possessor.”  The second part means “breaches” or “breakthroughs.”  Therefore, we could translate David’s intended memorial as “Lord of the breakthrough.”

Among other things, David was a military man.  To have a Lord capable of breaking through was no small advantage.

Of course, the Lord Himself is our breakthrough.  He broke through the heavens to take upon Himself flesh and live as one of us.  He broke through the unbelief of this world and carved a path of righteousness that we can follow.  He broke through the bonds of death, making a way for all of us.  He broke through the heavens once again to return to His throne.  He is indeed the Lord of the Breakthrough.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

See Jesus in the Scriptures, and Follow Him – Addendum

(Be sure you’ve read yesterday’s post first.  Today’s post will give you another example of the process.)

See the promise in 2 Chronicles 16:9?  Was anyone’s heart more completely God’s than Jesus’ heart?  Therefore, Jesus fulfills this Scripture. 

Now remember that after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and was named Lord.  Therefore, since then it has been His eyes that have been moving to and fro throughout the whole earth. 

Does the Lord Jesus see your heart?  Absolutely.  Is it completely His?  Only you and He can say.  But if your heart is completely His, then He will surely show Himself strong on your behalf.  This is how you inherit the promises that were His.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

See Jesus in the Scriptures, and Follow Him

In Psalm 34 we read that the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.  In his first letter, Peter quotes these words (1 Peter 3:12) and makes clear that they are a means of blessing for us – even though we know we are sinners and undeserving to be called righteous.

Here’s how we receive the blessing:  Jesus is the Righteous One.  It is to Him that these words first and foremost apply.  David was a prophet and knew that God had promised to one day seat a descendant of his upon his throne.  Therefore, he looked ahead and wrote of the Messiah (Acts 2:30-31).  Therefore, the eyes of the Lord were upon Jesus and God’s ears were open to His cry.  Indeed in the days of His flesh, Jesus cried with loud crying and tears that He might be saved from death…and was heard because of His piety (Hebrews 5:7).  Thus He was raised from the dead, never to die again (Romans 6:9).

Jesus was raised all the way to heaven and named Lord (Psalm 110:1).  Now therefore He is the Lord of Psalm 34:15.  We are the righteous by virtue of belonging to Him.  Thus He hears our cry.  He is the one who has made a way for us to be beneficiaries of this promise.  Thus, Peter says we “inherit” this blessing (1 Peter 3:9).  Indeed, all the promises of God are ours in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).  Jesus received these promises by being a descendant of Abraham and David according to the flesh (Matthew 1:1); we receive them by belonging to Him (Galatians 3:29).

To summarize: see where Jesus fulfills prophecy as a man, understand that Jesus has now changed places and become Lord, and call upon Him as Lord while you take His place in the promise as human being.

Further to the point, here is an addendum to this post.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Everyone Knows Him

We live under the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12).  Under this covenant, God’s laws are inscribed on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).  This is true for every human being – not just Jews or Christians, for Paul wrote in Romans 2:14-16 that in our day (i.e. the days of the kingdom of God) even the Gentiles would demonstrate that God’s law was within their hearts.

For this reason, we do not need to exhort anyone to “know the Lord” for all know Him (Hebrews 8:11).  You can, however, exhort them to return to the Lord when  they have wandered, for he who thus turns a sinner from the error of his way saves his soul from death and covers a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20). 

All are children of God and we are not to be judges of one another (James 4:11).  However, if you see your brother sin, love requires you to admonish him gently, looking to yourself lest you, too, be tempted (Galatians 6:1; Leviticus 19:17; Matthew 18:15).

Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, of the living and the dead, of the Jew and the Gentile, of the Christian and the non-Christian.  He is Lord of all.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Do You Know What Kind of Spirit You Are Of?

Jesus rebuked the sons of Zebedee for wanting to call fire down from heaven on a village of Samaritans (Luke 9:51-56).  His point was that they didn’t take note of the spirit that was animating them.  Of course, James and John were merely trying to reenact the experience of Elijah (2 Kings 1:9-16) in which he called down fire from heaven to consume two companies of fifty soldiers each before the commander of the third company pleaded for mercy.

This experience shows the potential peril of “doing what the Bible says.”  God’s not looking for us to imitate the outward form of actions we see in the Bible as much as He wants us to adopt the inward motivations of righteous thinking.  Jesus wanted the apostles to imitate the spirit of Elijah.  It was of no value to imitate Elijah’s actions because the times were different.  God’s purpose transcends all generations but His approach was different in Old Testament times than it was in New Testament times.  Elijah lived in a time when God was managing the kingdom of earthly Israel.  Jesus had come to bring the eternal kingdom of God.  Those are two different administrations which required very different approaches.

We see the same difference when David is commended for taking on the giant Goliath but Peter is rebuked for taking a sword and cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything.  Make sure you know what spirit is motivating you.  Otherwise, you can’t fulfill Galatians 6:1.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Let Us Labor in Their Spirit

The prophets and the apostles are the foundation of all that we know of the Lord from the Scriptures, He Himself being the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

They and all who labored with them were of sterling spirit.  They were human beings of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:32-40). 

It was proverbial for a prophet to be persecuted, and the apostles fared no better.  Yet they never complained. 

Those of us who labor in the name of Christ should embrace the spirit of those who have labored before us.  If we do their work, in their spirit, we shall receive their persecutions, but, more importantly, their reward.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The New Testament Is Not the New Covenant

The parts of the Bible written before Christ are called the Old Testament and those written after Him are called the New Testament.  There’s nothing wrong with naming them that way except that people can assume that they are two sets of documents each representing a separate covenant.  This, of course, is not true.

In the times of Jesus and His apostles, there was only one set of Scriptures and it is what we call the Old Testament.  It contained the covenant between God and Israel.  This covenant included a reference to a new covenant that God would make (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  When Jesus Christ came, He made it clear that He had come to enact that new covenant.  The new covenant was actually implicit in the old.  That is, the old covenant referred to the Law of Moses, and spoke to things of the flesh.  The new covenant would be to take those same words but allow them to apply to spiritual matters.  For example, when Jesus was raised from the dead He made it known that references to Zion or Jerusalem would henceforth refer to heaven – that is, spiritual Zion or spiritual Jerusalem. 

What we call the New Testament was therefore not the new agreement (that is, covenant with God).   That new agreement was the Old Testament understood in new terms.  What we call the New Testament therefore could perhaps be more accurately thought of as “the apostles’ teaching” Acts 2:42) – which was really “the Lord’s teaching” since He was the apostles’ source for this point of view.  Of course, the Lord was simply being consistent with what the Old Testament prophets had seen all along (1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Romans 15:4).

There is nothing wrong with calling the New Testament by that name, but just remember that the new covenant is actually the old covenant interpreted in spiritual rather than physical terms.  Another term for this is the kingdom of God.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Law Through Moses; Grace Through Jesus

The apostle John crystalized the understanding that the Lord had given the apostles when he wrote that the Law was given through Moses but grace and truth were realized through Jesus (John 1:17).

What Moses wrote as a legal and religious code for the nation of Israel was transformed into the charter of the kingdom of God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  In one of the most notable examples of this transformation, circumcision was no longer to be a physical act undertaken for the descendants of Abraham according to the flesh.  Rather, it was recognized as a work of the Spirit by which hearts would turn to the Lord and worship Him in spirit and truth.  It is the same set of words about circumcision, but with a spiritual (the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ) instead of a fleshly (the Law of Moses) meaning.

Not all of this meaning was opened immediately.  Even today, most of us do not see all of Moses’ Law laid out in terms of grace.  Yet Moses Himself said that Jesus would explain everything to us if we would only give heed to Him (Deuteronomy 18:15).  If our understanding has ceased to grow, it can only mean we have ceased listening to our Teacher.  Let us return to Him!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

Jesus Is Explicit in the New Testament, Implicit in the Old Testament

That Jesus Christ is the subject matter of the New Testament needs no emphasis.  This fact is plain to anyone who reads it.  Open the New Testament to any page and Christ is the focus.

What is less obvious is that Christ is the subject matter of the Old Testament as well.  Some references to Christ in the Old Testament are clear.  They are the prophecies of Messiah.  These include passages about one to be born who would bring God’s rule to earth (e.g. Isaiah 9:6-7; Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:12-14).  Other passages speak of Him more obscurely.  These include, for example, the description of the Passover lamb.  This lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ for our sins and gave rise to John the Baptist calling Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).  Even the entire Passover feast itself speaks of Christ, such that the apostle Paul calls Christ “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7). 

You can find Old Testament references to Christ by reading the New Testament.  This is much easier if you use a Bible that distinguishes Old Testament quotes clearly and give the chapter and verse in a sidenote or footnote.

You can also find Old Testament references to Christ by simply reading the Old Testament and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit who can quicken your heart when He wants to make known a reference to Christ.  When that happens, don’t take the experience lightly.  Pause and reflect on what you have seen.  Act on the light that such a revelation of Christ beings to you.  As you act on what you learn, more will be shown to you.  Nothing is hidden, except to be revealed.  Let the Holy Spirit make Christ recognizable in the Old Testament.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share

The Scriptures Are About Jesus

It’s obvious to everyone that the New Testament is about Jesus Christ.  What’s less obvious is that the Old Testament is about Him, too.  When Jesus walked the earth, and the New Testament did not yet exist, Jesus said that the Scriptures bore witness of Him (John 5:39, 46).  ‘

Upon being raised from the dead, Jesus made known to His disciples just how extensively the Old Testament wrote of Him (Luke 24: 25-27, 44-45).

(I should say parenthetically that when you read or hear the Scriptures speaking of Jesus, it does something to your heart:  Luke 24:32.)

Years later, Paul would remind Timothy that the Old Testament leads nowhere else but to faith in Christ (2 Timothy 3:14-15). 

In his first letter, Peter made clear that the Old Testament was not written primarily for the sake of people in Old Testament times but rather to reveal and bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:10-13).  In his second letter, written just before his death, Peter stressed that the apostles’ eyewitness testimony made the words of the Old Testament even more sure (2 Peter 1:15-21).

(Let me say parenthetically again that it is the Holy Spirit who does that something in your heart:  2 Peter 1:20-21.  Only He inspired the Scriptures; only He can interpret them.  And He always interprets them to us as a disclosure of Jesus.)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.

Bookmark and Share