Category: Doctrine

Wolves Among You – Beware

Ethan-Vanderbuilt-A-Wolf-in-Sheeps-Clothing

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)

The other day I read an article that was written by a young man. In this article the young man said that he was a profession Christian. He also went on to talk about how he, at moments in times past, had very passionate evangelistic experiences, where he went and testified to people about Jesus, and tried earnestly to win souls to Christ.

Then he went into error; the young man put forth the argument that Jesus is not the only way to God. He explained that since God created everything, then by virtue of God’s omniscience, he also created the other religions of the world. This faulty reasoning had led him to believe that God had given us numerous ways to approach him in the various religions of the world. “After all don’t all religions end up in the same place?” I want to make sure that everyone knows; that this young man’s doctrine is a false doctrine. I will concur that all religion does led to the same place.  They all lead to hell.  Religion does not save a single soul. Only believe in Jesus as the Son of God, who sacrificed himself for our sin, and acceptance of this truth in faith; that he died, was buried, rose again, and will return to establish his kingdom, and this is the only way to the Father will save anyone.

Please pray for this young man, because; the deceptive lies and half-truths that he speaks shows that he is not saved, because he actually does not believe and have his faith in Jesus Christ alone. In John 8:44 it reads, “ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

So then if you do the will of your father and you show signs of lies, deceipt, rebellion against the will of God, trying to make your own way to God then you are your father the devil.  What then in the will of God the Father? Jesus puts this all into very simple terms, “And this is the will of him (the Father) that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son (Jesus), and believeth on him, may have everlasting life:  and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6.40).  Acceptance of Jesus as the only way to the Father shows you to be in the will of God, and a child of your heavenly Father.  This is the way to life eternal with God.

In the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus explains that the devil intentionally places it agents in the midst of the church. “He answered and said unto them, he that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are of the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tears are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.” This verse along with Matthew 7:21 tells us that not everyone who says Lord, Lord, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that do at the will of my father which is in heaven.  Instead the devil puts in tares among the wheat, that is he puts in false believers among the believers.  These false believers sow in false doctrines in an attempt to confuse and weaken the faith of the true beleivers.

This false concept of having more than one way to God, or more than one God, is nothing new. In Isaiah 14:13 – 15, which is believed to have been written between 740-680 B.C., it reveals the intent of Satan to exalt himself above the throne of God.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:  I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”(Isaiah 14:13-15)

The worship of other gods has never been accepted by the one true God. Exodus 20:3 – 5 states, “thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto the any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” this is a very serious offense that the Lord warns us not to commit. By way of example, you can open your Bible to 2 Kings and see the story of Moab in the first chapter. In this story Ahaziah tried to consult one of the profits of Baal-zebub, who was the god of Ekron, and the Lord slayed him because he sought another god.

Now let’s take a look at what the Lord says in the book of Isaiah. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: if you’re me there is no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, and the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:10 – 11). As you can see the Lord is very clear on this point, there is only one God, and the Lord is that God. There is no other way to salvation, but through him. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). The book of the Gospel of John testifies, “in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was the life; and the life was light of men.” (John 1:1 – 4).

The consequence of believing that Jesus is just another god, or that there are many ways to God other than Jesus, is evidence of lack of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. With this profession, you condemn yourself. “I said therefore unto you that she shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24). So I warn you now, if you hear anyone putting out any other gospel other than salvation through Jesus Christ alone than that is a false teacher that is going to lead many people to death. You do not need to listen to them because all they will do is try to confuse you.

I will close with this Scripture from Galatians 1:6 – 10, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, say so I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

If anyone declares any other gospel to you, other than the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation, no matter how nice they talk, or how convincing the logical argument might seem, they are in error and should be removed from your presence.

 

 

Wolf Image from Ether Vanderbuilt

The Roman Road

Matthew 4:17-19, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”

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1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

In a web article written by R. C. Sproul published in 2014 for Ligonier Ministries, the Reform Theologist declared,

“One of the most important subdivisions of theology is Christology, which is the study of the person and work of Christ.  Within that field of study, when we want to get at the aspect that is most crucial, the aspect that we may call the “crux” of the matter of Jesus’ person and work, we go immediately to the cross.  The words crucial and crux both have their root in the Latin word for “cross”, crux, and they have come into the English language with their current meanings because the concept of the cross is at the very center and core of biblical Christianity.  In a very real sense, the cross crystallizes the essence of the ministry of Jesus.”  (Sproul, R.C. “What Does It Mean to Know Nothing except Christ and Him Crucified?” Ligonier Ministries, 11 Apr. 2004, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-christ-and-him-crucified/.)

Every Christian should be in the business of witnessing for Christ and the power of the Cross in our lives. We should be sharing what Christ can and will do for those of whom we are speaking to, or communicating with.  When Jesus told Peter that he was going to be a “fisher of men”, he meant that his purpose in life was to make disciples.  This is the mission of every Christian who is on the face of the earth.  The first part of discipleship is the process of personal evangelism.  As we see by the example of Paul, the cross is the center or our message.

This is our objective then, to share Jesus Christ, and his work of salvation that was completed at the Cross, Jesus declared on the cross, “it is finished” (John 19:30).  These are probably the most important words ever said in the history of man on earth, maybe even in all creation.

What are we trying to tell the individual about this work of the cross?

Personal Evangelism is about relaying this information:

  • The individual is lost
  • Christ made sufficient provisions for them
  • Salvation is only obtained by faith in Jesus and the work of the cross
  • A choice must be made

As we begin our personal evangelism efforts; we must consider how important our relationship with to whom we are speaking.  It is actually very rare to find someone, especially in the United States, that has not already heard something about Jesus.  They have been informed from a wide variety of sources.

Most of these sources are unfortunately untrustworthy.  There have been a lot of false teachings, frauds, and legalist that have convoluted the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gain authority or financial supremacy over others.  Many have been enslaved by false doctrines and blinded by Church Dogma. Their perception of Christ has been understandably distorted.

For this reason, evangelism is an ever changing process, but one thing will always remain true.  The best way to evangelize is always through a personal relationship with the prospect.  Gaining the trust of the lost soul, in order to show them Jesus Christ. In this manner we can show what a personal relationship with Jesus looks like.

A genuine relationship disproves lies, and breaks down fears, stereotypes, pain, and anger.  It gives you an opportunity to speak to the heart of the individual and address their spiritual need on an ongoing basis, developing trust, and opening doors through the intervention of prayer and the Holy Spirit.  The importance of this was relayed by God himself.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14a).  God, through Jesus Christ, became accessible to man on an intimate level. To dwell among us means to reside, or live with.  God came and shared his time with us.  This is what the church needs to do.  This is what you need to do as a Christian. Get into the neighborhood, embrace a neighbor, learn their stories, develop relationships for the sake of spreading the gospel, showing them Jesus.  Jesus ate with sinners, ministered to the sick, confronted false doctrine.  If we are the salt of the earth, then this is how we must live to be effective for the cause of Christ.

The most common route of scripture that is used for leading someone to Christ is referred to as “The Roman Road”.  This is a selection of scriptures from the book of Romans.  These verses lay out the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  There are some small variations, however they following verses are commonly used.

Rome1

The “Roman Road” Plan

  • Gain the attention

o   Romans 3.23

o   Romans 3.10

o   Romans 5:12

  • Establish the Need

o   Romans 6:23

  • Supply the Answer

o   Romans 5:8

  • Close the Deal

o   Romans 10:9-10

o   Romans 10:13

o   Reassure

o   Romans 10:17

Deeper Look

We must never assume that whoever we are speaking to has a proper understanding of God.  We must also never assume that they are ignorant of scripture.  When I share scripture with someone I generally either tell them the scripture in a form of conversation or either locate the scripture and pass my bible to them and have them read it aloud for themselves, then I begin a dialog with basically asks them to tell me what they have read and what they think it means.  This is where knowing other scriptures than the Roman Road comes into play.  The other scriptures can be used to explain the text and give it context.  Your personal witness gives you the ability to make it real to them.

Romans 3.23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3.10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

With these opening verses we establish some facts concerning God.  We show that God is a holy God. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5).  He has established a set of laws, we commonly refer to as the 10 Commandments.  These were established to show us the holiness of God, and how impossible it is to be righteous and holy like God is.

It does not matter how “good” we are in compression to someone else.  If we point the finger at our neighbor who cheated on his wife, and yet we look at his daughter with lust, we are still just as guilty of adultery as our neighbor is (Matthew 5:28). So when the Lord said thou shalt not commit adultery, you violated that commandment. But the list goes on, how many “white” lies have you told? How many times have you passed on gossip about someone else?  If so then when the Lord said thou shalt not bear false witness of they neighbor, you violated the law in both external application and internal intent.

The Ten Commandments are only an outline of the Law, if you could not even keep them, then how could you ever hope to keep the whole law?  But even if it were possible to keep the entire law with every jot and every tittle you would still have the inherited sin of rebellion that has been passed down from the original sin of Adam.  Some sins follow generations.

Ever here of “Sins of the father?”  This is an illustration that shows a spiritual principle, “Sin has a consequence for the sinner and his whole family, even to the children and grandchildren.”  This is also why some sins take what is called a Break in the Cycle to alleviate.  An example is child or spousal abuse, or even alcoholism, or drug abuse.  Lee Strobel cites that almost down to the last, every predominant atheist in history has had issues with their Father, either abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  Prisons are filled with men and women who had the same issues.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The argument then comes to “I didn’t know”.  There are some terms that are thrown around in the legal system.

  • Malum in se (latin) – meaning wrong or evil in itself. In other words, “the act is inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing conduct.
  • Malum in prohibitum (latin) – meaning wrong because prohibited.
  • Ignorantia juris non excusat or inorantia legis neminem excusat (latin) – basically both terms mean that ignorance of the law excuses no one.

So if we as mankind expect adherence to our laws, customs, and norms of society, and do not excuse ignorance of the law as a defense to defer adjudication, then why do we expect God too?

Now knowing that we are all guilty of violating the law of God and thus fore failing to live up to God’s standard of Holiness what does that mean?  Just like when you violate a law in society there is a consequence.  The consequence is death.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15).

Death brings an end to the hope of redemption.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27).

Death brings a time for judgement.  You can kind of explain it like this.  When you break the law, the police come and arrest you.  You are put in jail and then you are brought before the judge.  But unlike here in the United States, you only have a prosecutor, “Satan” and no lawyer for your own defense.  You are brought before the court, God is the Judge, the Word of God is the Law you are judged from.  Satan is the prosecutor and the witness against you.  It doesn’t matter what kind of “cool dude” you thought Satan was while you were living, he is revealed as your enemy and takes pleasure in insuring you fate,  a sentence of Death.  There is no appeal process.  Because God is just and holy, and  there is no higher authority, His judgement is final. Ignorance, willful or not, is no excuse.

The death penalty is so fierce it is described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and described as fiery torment.

  • Matthew 13:42 – And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 13:50 – And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 22:13 – Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 24:51 – And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 25:30 – And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I know there are allot of preachers out there that say we should not speak of hell, but I don’t see how we can love someone and not warn them of the truth of their fate without Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ignorance is no excuse, and judgement is final, the consequence is death.  But there is hope!  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17). Jesus Christ himself, who is God, provided the payment for the penalty.  Jesus died in your place.  This was the whole purpose for Jesus coming to the earth. He voluntarily took your place and received your death sentence.

He died so that you would not have too. In doing this, he stepped in as your lawyer in the throne room of God. Every sin you have ever  inherited from Adam, or committed in your life or will be has been removed from your account by the death of Jesus.  You have been set free from the penalty of death because he died.

That is what is so different of Jesus from any other religion on earth.  God loved you so much the God died for you.  NO other religion, no other philosophy, no other science can, nor will make that claim.  Not Buddha, Not Mohammad, not the Pope, no one can say that they restored you to God, but God himself in the form of Jesus who is the Christ, the living Son of God.

On top of that, you did nothing to earn it.  Look again at Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It is a gift! A gift is a contribution, bequest (inheritance), bestowment, payment on behalf of someone else.  In it’s truest form requires no cost to the receiver.  This is more than just a “get out of hell free card”. More than just getting into “heaven”. This gift is eternal life in communion with God.  This gift restores you whole being to what it was meant to be before Adam ever sinned.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If you confess faith in Jesus, and Lord and Saviour of your soul and really believe in your heart that Jesus provides justification through his death, and believe that Jesus rose from the grave then you shall be saved according to your acceptance and profession of faith.  It takes an internal belief, acceptance in faith that results in a public profession in Jesus.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Whosoever means “anyone who will” believer and choose to act on their belief will be saved.  The bible says that even the demons believe in Jesus.  So believing in God, or even believing that Jesus existed and was a “good man” or a “prophet” won’t save you.  You have to understand that Jesus is the only way to salvation and call out to him.  You have to depend on him for your salvation.  If you were hanging out the window of a burning building, and a fireman on a ladder told you to take his hand and to trust him not to let you go, you can say all you want to, but until you take his hand you wont be saved.  It’s the same with the kingdom of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Now is your time to choose.  Do you believe what I have told you?  Do you understand what the scriptures say about life and death?  Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God that was sent to die for you?  Do you believe that he wants you to live in freedom, right by his side?  Will you accept his give of life, or will you choose to die?

 

John 7:41-43 Hath Not the Scripture Said?

 

“Others said, This is the Christ.  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people of him.” (John 7:41-43)

I sat in a church as a guest a few weeks back and they had a guest speaker.  The guest speaker started off saying how he could encourage the members of the church on how they could have confidence in their bible.  I did not have a real problem with this, however; it became evident that he had some issues against the Authorized Version of the Bible.  This is what most of us know as the King James Version of the Bible.  Now I know that there are allot of differences between the versions of the Bible and I have my own view of which one is best.  However, I did not understand how telling someone NOT to read a version of the Bible that has lasted for over 400 years and had such a great impact on the English speaking world would be productive.

So in light of that I thought that I would share my own ideas on why we can have trust in the scriptures.  No there are not allot of dates and scripture textual comparisons, instead, I am looking from the perspective that the scripture is consistent.  There are allot of people who say that the Bible contradicts itself, and this is one of the main arguments used against new Christians who are bold enough in their zeal to try to evangelize.  This lie has been told so many times that many Christians have assumed that it is true.  I will use this scripture as an example of how a lack of study, and proper context can be misleading.

There is an estimated 400 plus prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament.  (Associates for Biblical Research. Website. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/07/27/400-Prophecies-of-Christ-in-the-Old-Testament.aspx#Article)

  • 117 prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Law
  • 144 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Writings
  • 153 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Prophets

So does the Bible contradict itself?  Are the Old and New Testament in disagreement with one another?  The confusion caused by this lie has gone on since the book of Genesis.  Even Satan tricked Eve with misleading the message of the Word of God. This though process as we will discover is not a new phenomenon.  This belief comes from a lack of knowledge of Scripture.

  • Some Scripture can be ambiguous.
  • Some Scripture can be symbolic and require dedicated study.
  • But some Scripture just takes a little research to gain understanding.
  • Some Scripture is written so plain that it cannot be missed if it is read in context with other Scripture.
  • All Scripture should be read and studied with an attitude of prayer and direction of the Holy Spirit.
  • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Scripture tells us and most readily accept that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth yet Jesus chose the Galilean fishing village of Capernaum as His home base during His ministry. However, for those who were closet to the time period, they did not know all the circumstances of Jesus’ early childhood, that we are privileged to.

Capernaum comes from two words:  Kaphar Nachum (Village of Nahum), though it does not refer to the prophet Nahum. We don’t read about this village in the Old Testament because it simply did not exist in the time period of the Old Testament.  Capernaum first appeared during the 2nd century BC.

Why did Jesus privilege Capernaum as His ministry base?  There has been allot of speculation.  Different scholars and historians have tried to have relevant reasons for Jesus centering his ministry in this reagion.

  • Some might say because Capernaum is where he successfully called the following disciples:
    • Peter
    • James
    • John
    • Andrew
    • Matthew

 

  • Others might say because Capernaum offered a seaside escape from the hostility and drama of urban Jerusalem.  But even in Capernaum, a town of about 1,500 people, Jesus would withdraw “by boat to a secluded place by Himself.”(Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35–37)

 

While these are some good reasons and may have contributed to the reasoning of Jesus, there is one that is already recorded hundreds of years prior.  The restoration of the Kingdom of David would be set to begin in this rejected area.  Israel would be redeemed to her King and her God. The real reason that Jesus chose to begin His ministry in Capernaum is that it fulfilled prophecy and set the stage for the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel and all nations of the world.

Eight centuries before the incarnation of Jesus the Messiah, God allowed the empire of Assyria to capture and take into captivity the ten tribes of northern Israel, whose land included the Upper and Lower Galilee. God had warned His people for centuries and even up to their final days that if they did not repent, then this would be the judgement they would receive.  They would be chastised by God for their disobedience. God warned them through a prophet named Hosea.  Hosea 11:1-6 reads:

 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.  (Hosea 11:1–6)

By 724 BC, Assyria had captured northern Israel.  This invasion brought a massive change of populace.  The influx of Gentiles repopulated the region, bringing with them their culture of pagan idols, rituals, and customs.  This changed the Israelis and their way of life.  This was recorded in 2 Kings.

“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria [the capital of Northern Israel] in place of the sons of Israel.  So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.”  (2 Kings 17:24)

For this reason, the region took on the name Galil ha’Goyim (Galilee of the Nations or Galilee of the Gentiles). These Gentiles incorporated Jewish customs into their own pagan practices, developing a range of superstitions and false doctrines. However, evidence suggests that by the time of Jesus’ arrival, many parts of Galilee had regained its Jewish identity.

Jesus’s choice of Galilee as His home base caused a stumbling block for those who looked to Scripture for Messiah, because they were ignorant.  They said,

“Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?  Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”  (John 7:41–42)

  • These people did not understand thatJesus was, indeed, born in Bethlehem of Judea, where David lived (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4–20).
  • He then had to flee to Egypt to escape to avoid death from the State
  • After the death of King Herod Jesus returned and His family was directed to Nazareth, located in the Lower Galilee
  • Jesus grew up in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13–23; paralleled in Hosea 11:1, 5).
  • Later Jesus moved to Upper Galilee, in Capernaum.

It is from Capernaum that Jesus would begin the work of restoring this once contemptible land to glory, as Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 9:1-2 says:

 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

This is what Matthew is referencing when he records:

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:13-16)

Isaiah said that this glory comes from a “great light” Just so that there would be no confusion as to who or what will be the source of this “great light” in Galilee, Isaiah tells us just a few verses later how to identify it: Continuing from Isaiah 9 at verse 6.

 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Everlasting, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus himself said that He (Jesus ) is the light, the way, and the truth!

700 years after Isaiah’s prophecies we find that Jesus has arrived.  He has been baptized (by immersion) by John the Baptist, then he was taken into the wilderness for trails and testings (put through the fire), and now enters Nazareth to declare His arrival as Messiah (Luke 4:16–21; Isaiah 61:1–2).

During this time, John the Baptist had been immersing people for the remission of their sins, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (Matthew 3:2) Jesus had begun recruiting his early disciples and started his missionary journey in Nazareth. But while in Nazareth, Jesus learned that John had been arrested.

The apostle Matthew tells us that when Jesus heard this news, “He left Nazareth and made His home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. …”  (Matthew 4:13–14; see Isaiah 9:1–2)

Matthew wants us to know that Jesus came to this ancient land that God took away from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali (due to their disobedience) because he wants us to understand that restoration has now arrived, as Isaiah prophesied.  That restoration is in Jesus.

Matthew tells us that Jesus entered Capernaum proclaiming, just as John the Baptist — “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

  • The Kingdom of God- Has Arrived
  • Jesus being there is in the direct fulfillment of prophecy
  • There is no error in Scripture
  • There is only error in human thought
  • John the Baptist declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Jesus the Messiah declared, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Christian you should be declaring, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

 

There, in the spiritual darkness of Galilee, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12; also Luke 2:29–32)

Jesus declared he was indeed the messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives,  And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus backed up His claim Messiah by performing glorious acts of physical and spiritual restoration before the people of Galilee.  Some examples are:

  • Jesus healed a woman with an issue of blood
  • Raised the dead daughter of Jairus
  • Healed a nobleman’s son
  • Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law
  • Jesus multiplied a handful of bread and fish to feed four thousand (Matthew 15:29–39) and five thousand (Luke 9:10–17).
  • Jesus expelled a legion of demons from a tormented man (Mark 5:1–20).
  • Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22–33) and calmed a raging sea (Mark 4:35–41), restoring and strengthening His disciples’ faith in Him.

These people whom Jesus touched in some way in Galilee believed in His identity as Messiah and did not at all take offense at Him.  Because of that, they were greatly blessed.  The message that God has told us from Genesis to Revelation is still the same. God is always reaching out to you and me and even to Israel and the whole world to restore us back to Himself. The message of the Bible is – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

After His baptism, Jesus came to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali in the Galilee where God’s wrath against Israel’s disobedience first manifested in exile, as prophesied by Isaiah, and He is coming again to complete the physical and spiritual restoration of David’s kingdom for both Jew and Gentile, as prophesied:

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd.  And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.”  (Ezekiel 34:23–24)

You see the scripture can be trusted.  The Old and New Testament support one another and edify one another.  What we need to do is get serious with our study.  If we truly believe that God exists, and that Jesus is his Son and He has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, then what are we doing?  When the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus the voice of God said, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, -LISTEN TO HIM.

 

Self-Study of Scriptures Fulfilled by Jesus.

Scripture Prophecy Fulfillment

 

1. Gen. 3:15 Seed of a woman (virgin birth) Galatians 4:4-5Matthew 1:18
2. Gen. 3:15 He will bruise Satan’s head Hebrews 2:141John 3:8
3. Gen. 3:15 Christ’s heel would be bruised with nails on the cross Matthew 27:35Luke 24:39-40
4. Gen. 5:24 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Mark 16:19, Rev. 12:5
5. Gen. 9:26, 27 The God of Shem will be the Son of Shem Luke 3:23-36
6. Gen. 12:3 Seed of Abraham will bless all nations Galatians 3:8Acts 3:2526
7. Gen. 12:7 The Promise made to Abraham’s Seed Galatians 3:16
8. Gen. 14:18 A priest after the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 6:20
9. Gen. 14:18 King of Peace and Righteousness Hebrews 7:2
10. Gen. 14:18 The Last Supper foreshadowed Matthew 26:26-29
11. Gen. 17:19 Seed of Isaac (Gen. 21:12) Romans 9:7
12. Gen. 22:8 The Lamb of God promised John 1:29
13. Gen. 22:18 As Isaac’s seed, will bless all nations Galatians 3:16
14. Gen. 26:2-5 The Seed of Isaac promised as the Redeemer Hebrews 11:18
15. Gen. 28:12 The Bridge to heaven John 1:51
16. Gen. 28:14 The Seed of Jacob Luke 3:34
17. Gen. 49:10 The time of His coming Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4
18. Gen. 49:10 The Seed of Judah Luke 3:33
19. Gen. 49:10 Called Shiloh or One Sent John 17:3
20. Gen. 49:10 Messiah to come before Judah lost identity John 11:47-52
21. Gen. 49:10 Unto Him shall the obedience of the people be John 10:16
22. Ex. 3:13-15 The Great “I AM” John 4:268:58
23. Ex. 12:3-6 The Lamb presented to Israel 4 days before Passover Mark 11:7-11
24. Ex. 12:5 A Lamb without blemish Hebrews 9:141Peter 1:19
25. Ex. 12:13 The blood of the Lamb saves from wrath Romans 5:8
26. Ex. 12:21-27 Christ is our Passover 1Corinthians 5:7
27. Ex. 12:46 Not a bone of the Lamb to be broken John 19:31-36
28. Ex. 15:2 His exaltation predicted as Yeshua Acts 7:5556
29. Ex. 15:11 His Character-Holiness Luke 1:35Acts 4:27
30. Ex. 17:6 The Spiritual Rock of Israel 1Corinthians 10:4
31. Ex. 33:19 His Character-Merciful Luke 1:72
32. Lev. 1:2-9 His sacrifice a sweet smelling savor unto God Ephesians 5:2
33. Lev. 14:11 The leper cleansed-Sign to priesthood Luke 5:12-14Acts 6:7
34. Lev. 16:15-17 Prefigures Christ’s once-for-all death Hebrews 9:7-14
35. Lev. 16:27 Suffering outside the Camp Matthew 27:33Heb. 13:1112
36. Lev. 17:11 The Blood-the life of the flesh Matthew 26:28Mark 10:45
37. Lev. 17:11 It is the blood that makes atonement Rom. 3:23-241John 1:7
38. Lev. 23:36-37 The Drink-offering: “If any man thirst” John 7:37
39. Num. 9:12 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
40. Num. 21:9 The serpent on a pole-Christ lifted up John 3:14-1812:32
41. Num. 24:17 Time: “I shall see him, but not now.” John 1:14Galatians 4:4
42. Deut. 18:15 “This is of a truth that prophet.” John 6:14
43. Deut. 18:15-16 “Had ye believed Moses, ye would believe me.” John 5:45-47
44. Deut. 18:18 Sent by the Father to speak His word John 8:2829
45. Deut. 18:19 Whoever will not hear must bear his sin Acts 3:22-23
46. Deut. 21:23 Cursed is he that hangs on a tree Galatians 3:10-13
47. Joshua 5:14-15 The Captain of our salvation Hebrews 2:10
48. Ruth 4:4-10 Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us Ephesians 1:3-7
49. 1 Sam. 2:35 A Faithful Priest Heb. 2:173:1-367:24-25
50. 1 Sam. 2:10 Shall be an anointed King to the Lord Mt. 28:18John 12:15
51. 2 Sam. 7:12 David’s Seed Matthew 1:1
52. 2 Sam. 7:13 His Kingdom is everlasting 2Peter 1:11
53. 2 Sam. 7:14 The Son of God Luke 1:32Romans 1:3-4
54. 2 Sam. 7:16 David’s house established forever Luke 3:31Rev. 22:16
55. 2 Ki. 2:11 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Luke 24:51
56. 1 Chr. 17:11 David’s Seed Matthew 1:19:27
57. 1 Chr. 17:12-13 To reign on David’s throne forever Luke 1:3233
58. 1 Chr. 17:13 “I will be His Father, He…my Son.” Hebrews 1:5
59. Job 9:32-33 Mediator between man and God 1 Timothy 2:5
60. Job 19:23-27 The Resurrection predicted John 5:24-29
61. Psa. 2:1-3 The enmity of kings foreordained Acts 4:25-28
62. Psa. 2:2 To own the title, Anointed (Christ) John 1:41Acts 2:36
63. Psa. 2:6 His Character-Holiness John 8:46Revelation 3:7
64. Psa. 2:6 To own the title King Matthew 2:2
65. Psa. 2:7 Declared the Beloved Son Matthew 3:17Romans 1:4
66. Psa. 2:78 The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated Acts 13:29-33
67. Psa. 2:89 Rule the nations with a rod of iron Rev. 2:2712:519:15
68. Psa. 2:12 Life comes through faith in Him John 20:31
69. Psa. 8:2 The mouths of babes perfect His praise Matthew 21:16
70. Psa. 8:56 His humiliation and exaltation Hebrews 2:5-9
71. Psa. 9:7-10 Judge the world in righteousness Acts 17:31
72. Psa. 16:10 Was not to see corruption Acts 2:3113:35
73. Psa. 16:9-11 Was to arise from the dead John 20:9
74. Psa. 17:15 The resurrection predicted Luke 24:6
75. Psa. 18:2-3 The horn of salvation Luke 1:69-71
76. Psa. 22:1 Forsaken because of sins of others 2 Corinthians 5:21
77. Psa. 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
78. Psa. 22:2 Darkness upon Calvary for three hours Matthew 27:45
79. Psa. 22:7 They shoot out the lip and shake the head Matthew 27:39-44
80. Psa. 22:8 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him” Matthew 27:43
81. Psa. 22:9-10 Born the Saviour Luke 2:7
82. Psa. 22:12-13 They seek His death John 19:6
83. Psa. 22:14 His blood poured out when they pierced His side John 19:34
84. Psa. 22:1415 Suffered agony on Calvary Mark 15:34-37
85. Psa. 22:15 He thirsted John 19:28
86. Psa. 22:16 They pierced His hands and His feet John 19:343720:27
87. Psa. 22:1718 Stripped Him before the stares of men Luke 23:3435
88. Psa. 22:18 They parted His garments John 19:2324
89. Psa. 22:2021 He committed Himself to God Luke 23:46
90. Psa. 22:2021 Satanic power bruising the Redeemer’s heel Hebrews 2:14
91. Psa. 22:22 His Resurrection declared John 20:17
92. Psa. 22:27-28 He shall be the governor of the nations Colossians 1:16
93. Psa. 22:31 “It is finished” John 19:30Heb. 10:10121418
94. Psa. 23:1 “I am the Good Shepherd” John 10:111Peter 2:25
95. Psa. 24:3 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Philippians 2:9
96. Psa. 30:3 His resurrection predicted Acts 2:32
97. Psa. 31:5 “Into thy hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46
98. Psa. 31:11 His acquaintances fled from Him Mark 14:50
99. Psa. 31:13 They took counsel to put Him to death Mt. 27:1John 11:53
100. Psa. 31:1415 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver him” Matthew 27:43
101. Psa. 34:20 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
102. Psa. 35:11 False witnesses rose up against Him Matthew 26:59
103. Psa. 35:19 He was hated without a cause John 15:25
104. Psa. 38:11 His friends stood afar off Luke 23:49
105. Psa. 38:12 Enemies try to entangle Him by craft Mark 14:1Mt. 22:15
106. Psa. 38:12-13 Silent before His accusers Matthew 27:12-14
107. Psa. 38:20 He went about doing good Acts 10:38
108. Psa. 40:2-5 The joy of His resurrection predicted John 20:20
109. Psa. 40:6-8 His delight-the will of the Father John 4:34Heb. 10:5-10
110. Psa. 40:9 He was to preach the Righteousness in Israel Matthew 4:17
111. Psa. 40:14 Confronted by adversaries in the Garden John 18:4-6
112. Psa. 41:9 Betrayed by a familiar friend John 13:18
113. Psa. 45:2 Words of Grace come from His lips John 1:17Luke 4:22
114. Psa. 45:6 To own the title, God or Elohim Hebrews 1:8
115. Psa. 45:7 A special anointing by the Holy Spirit Mt. 3:16Heb. 1:9
116. Psa. 45:78 Called the Christ (Messiah or Anointed) Luke 2:11
117. Psa. 45:17 His name remembered forever Ephesians 1:20-21Heb. 1:8
118. Psa. 55:12-14 Betrayed by a friend, not an enemy John 13:18
119. Psa. 55:15 Unrepentant death of the Betrayer Matthew 27:3-5Acts 1:16-19
120. Psa. 68:18 To give gifts to men Ephesians 4:7-16
121. Psa. 68:18 Ascended into Heaven Luke 24:51
122. Psa. 69:4 Hated without a cause John 15:25
123. Psa. 69:8 A stranger to own brethren John 1:117:5
124. Psa. 69:9 Zealous for the Lord’s House John 2:17
125. Psa. 69:14-20 Messiah’s anguish of soul before crucifixion Matthew 26:36-45
126. Psa. 69:20 “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” Matthew 26:38
127. Psa. 69:21 Given vinegar in thirst Matthew 27:34
128. Psa. 69:26 The Saviour given and smitten by God John 17:418:11
129. Psa. 72:1011 Great persons were to visit Him Matthew 2:1-11
130. Psa. 72:16 The corn of wheat to fall into the Ground John 12:24-25
131. Psa. 72:17 Belief on His name will produce offspring John 1:1213
132. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall be blessed by Him Galatians 3:8
133. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall call Him blessed John 12:13Rev. 5:8-12
134. Psa. 78:1-2 He would teach in parables Matthew 13:34-35
135. Psa. 78:2 To speak the Wisdom of God with authority Matthew 7:29
136. Psa. 80:17 The Man of God’s right hand Mark 14:61-62
137. Psa. 88 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary Matthew 27:26-50
138. Psa. 88:8 They stood afar off and watched Luke 23:49
139. Psa. 89:27 Firstborn Colossians 1:1518
140. Psa. 89:27 Emmanuel to be higher than earthly kings Luke 1:3233
141. Psa. 89:35-37 David’s Seed, throne, kingdom endure forever Luke 1:3233
142. Psa. 89:36-37 His character-Faithfulness Revelation 1:519:11
143. Psa. 90:2 He is from everlasting (Micah 5:2) John 1:1
144. Psa. 91:1112 Identified as Messianic; used to tempt Christ Luke 4:1011
145. Psa. 97:9 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Ephesians 1:20
146. Psa. 100:5 His character-Goodness Matthew 19:1617
147. Psa. 102:1-11 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary John 19:16-30
148. Psa. 102:25-27 Messiah is the Preexistent Son Hebrews 1:10-12
149. Psa. 109:25 Ridiculed Matthew 27:39
150. Psa. 110:1 Son of David Matthew 22:42-43
151. Psa. 110:1 To ascend to the right-hand of the Father Mark 16:19
152. Psa. 110:1 David’s son called Lord Matthew 22:4445
153. Psa. 110:4 A priest after Melchizedek’s order Hebrews 6:20
154. Psa. 112:4 His character-Compassionate, Gracious, et al Matthew 9:36
155. Psa. 118:1718 Messiah’s Resurrection assured Luke 24:5-71Cor. 15:20
156. Psa. 118:2223 The rejected stone is Head of the corner Matthew 21:4243
157. Psa. 118:26 The Blessed One presented to Israel Matthew 21:9
158. Psa. 118:26 To come while Temple standing Matthew 21:12-15
159. Psa. 132:11 The Seed of David (the fruit of His Body) Luke 1:32Act 2:30
160. Psa. 129:3 He was scourged Matthew 27:26
161. Psa. 138:1-6 The supremacy of David’s Seed amazes kings Matthew 2:2-6
162. Psa. 147:36 The earthly ministry of Christ described Luke 4:18
163. Prov. 1:23 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:7
164. Prov. 8:23 Foreordained from everlasting Rev. 13:81Peter 1:19-20
165. Song. 5:16 The altogether lovely One John 1:17
166. Isa. 2:3 He shall teach all nations John 4:25
167. Isa. 2:4 He shall judge among the nations John 5:22
168. Isa. 6:1 When Isaiah saw His glory John 12:40-41
169. Isa. 6:8 The One Sent by God John 12:38-45
170. Isa. 6:9-10 Parables fall on deaf ears Matthew 13:13-15
171. Isa. 6:9-12 Blinded to Christ and deaf to His words Acts 28:23-29
172. Isa. 7:14 To be born of a virgin Luke 1:35
173. Isa. 7:14 To be Emmanuel-God with us Matthew 1:18-231Tim. 3:16
174. Isa. 8:8 Called Emmanuel Matthew 28:20
175. Isa. 8:14 A stone of stumbling, a Rock of offense 1Peter 2:8
176. Isa. 9:12 His ministry to begin in Galilee Matthew 4:12-17
177. Isa. 9:6 A child born-Humanity Luke 1:31
178. Isa. 9:6 A Son given-Deity Luke 1:32John 1:141Tim. 3:16
179. Isa. 9:6 Declared to be the Son of God with power Romans 1:34
180. Isa. 9:6 The Wonderful One, Peleh Luke 4:22
181. Isa. 9:6 The Counsellor, Yaatz Matthew 13:54
182. Isa. 9:6 The Mighty God, El Gibor 1Cor. 1:24Titus 2:13
183. Isa. 9:6 The Everlasting Father, Avi Adth John 8:5810:30
184. Isa. 9:6 The Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom John 16:33
185. Isa. 9:7 Inherits the throne of David Luke 1:32
186. Isa. 9:7 His Character-Just John 5:30
187. Isa. 9:7 No end to his Government, Throne, and kingdom Luke 1:33
188. Isa. 11:1 Called a Nazarene-the Branch, Netzer Matthew 2:23
189. Isa. 11:1 A rod out of Jesse-Son of Jesse Luke 3:2332
190. Isa. 11:2 Anointed One by the Spirit Matthew 3:1617Acts 10:38
191. Isa. 11:2 His Character-Wisdom, Knowledge, et al Colossians 2:3
192. Isa. 11:3 He would know their thoughts Luke 6:8John 2:25
193. Isa. 11:4 Judge in righteousness Acts 17:31
194. Isa. 11:4 Judges with the sword of His mouth Rev. 2:1619:1115
195. Isa. 11:5 Character: Righteous & Faithful Rev. 19:11
196. Isa. 11:10 The Gentiles seek Him John 12:18-21
197. Isa. 12:2 Called Jesus-Yeshua Matthew 1:21
198. Isa. 22:22 The One given all authority to govern Revelation 3:7
199. Isa. 25:8 The Resurrection predicted 1Corinthians 15:54
200. Isa. 26:19 His power of Resurrection predicted Matthew 27:50-54
201. Isa. 28:16 The Messiah is the precious corner stone Acts 4:1112
202. Isa. 28:16 The Sure Foundation 1Corinthians 3:11Mt. 16:18
203. Isa. 29:13 He indicated hypocritical obedience to His Word Matthew 15:7-9
204. Isa. 29:14 The wise are confounded by the Word 1Corinthians 1:18-31
205. Isa. 32:2 A Refuge-A man shall be a hiding place Matthew 23:37
206. Isa. 35:4 He will come and save you Matthew 1:21
207. Isa. 35:5-6 To have a ministry of miracles Matthew 11:2-6
208. Isa. 40:34 Preceded by forerunner John 1:23
209. Isa. 40:9 “Behold your God.” John 1:3619:14
210. Isa. 40:10. He will come to reward Revelation 22:12
211. Isa. 40:11 A shepherd-compassionate life-giver John 10:10-18
212. Isa. 42:1-4 The Servant-as a faithful, patient redeemer Matthew 12:18-21
213. Isa. 42:2 Meek and lowly Matthew 11:28-30
214. Isa. 42:3 He brings hope for the hopeless Mt. 12:14-21John 4:1-54
215. Isa. 42:4 The nations shall wait on His teachings John 12:20-26
216. Isa. 42:6 The Light (salvation) of the Gentiles Luke 2:32
217. Isa. 42:16 His is a worldwide compassion Matthew 28:1920
218. Isa. 42:7 Blind eyes opened. John 9:25-38
219. Isa. 43:11 He is the only Saviour. Acts 4:12
220. Isa. 44:3 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:713
221. Isa. 45:21-25 He is Lord and Saviour Philippians 3:20Titus 2:13
222. Isa. 45:23 He will be the Judge John 5:22Romans 14:11
223. Isa. 46:910 Declares things not yet done John 13:19
224. Isa. 48:12 The First and the Last John 1:30Revelation 1:817
225. Isa. 48:1617 He came as a Teacher John 3:2
226. Isa. 49:1 Called from the womb-His humanity Matthew 1:18
227. Isa. 49:5 A Servant from the womb. Luke 1:31Philippians 2:7
228. Isa. 49:6 He will restore Israel Acts 3:19-2115:16-17
229. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation for Israel Luke 2:29-32
230. Isa. 49:6 He is the Light of the Gentiles John 8:12Acts 13:47
231. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation unto the ends of the earth Acts 15:7-18
232. Isa. 49:7 He is despised of the Nation John 1:118:48-49, 19:14-15
233. Isa. 50:3 Heaven is clothed in black at His humiliation Luke 23:4445
234. Isa. 50:4 He is a learned counselor for the weary Matthew 7:2911:2829
235. Isa. 50:5 The Servant bound willingly to obedience Matthew 26:39
236. Isa. 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters.” Matthew 27:26
237. Isa. 50:6 He was smitten on the cheeks Matthew 26:67
238. Isa. 50:6 He was spat upon Matthew 27:30
239. Isa. 52:7 Published good tidings upon mountains Matthew 5:1215:2928:16
240. Isa. 52:13 The Servant exalted Acts 1:8-11Eph. 1:19-22Php. 2:5-9
241. Isa. 52:14 The Servant shockingly abused Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
242. Isa. 52:15 Nations startled by message of the Servant Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
243. Isa. 52:15 His blood shed sprinkles nations Hebrews 9:13-14Rev. 1:5
244. Isa. 53:1 His people would not believe Him John 12:37-38
245. Isa. 53:2 Appearance of an ordinary man Philippians 2:6-8
246. Isa. 53:3 Despised Luke 4:28-29
247. Isa. 53:3 Rejected Matthew 27:21-23
248. Isa. 53:3 Great sorrow and grief Matthew 26:37-38Luke 19:41Heb. 4:15
249. Isa. 53:3 Men hide from being associated with Him Mark 14:50-52
250. Isa. 53:4 He would have a healing ministry Matthew 8:16-17
251. Isa. 53:4 Thought to be cursed by God Matthew 26:6627:41-43
252. Isa. 53:5 Bears penalty for mankind’s iniquities 2Cor. 5:21Heb. 2:9
253. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice provides peace between man and God Colossians 1:20
254. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice would heal man of sin 1Peter 2:24
255. Isa. 53:6 He would be the sin-bearer for all mankind 1John 2:24:10
256. Isa. 53:6 God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind Galatians 1:4
257. Isa. 53:7 Oppressed and afflicted Matthew 27:27-31
258. Isa. 53:7 Silent before his accusers Matthew 27:12-14
259. Isa. 53:7 Sacrificial lamb John 1:291Peter 1:18-19
260. Isa. 53:8 Confined and persecuted Matthew 26:47-7527:1-31
261. Isa. 53:8 He would be judged John 18:13-22
262. Isa. 53:8 Killed Matthew 27:35
263. Isa. 53:8 Dies for the sins of the world 1John 2:2
264. Isa. 53:9 Buried in a rich man’s grave Matthew 27:57
265. Isa. 53:9 Innocent and had done no violence Luke 23:41John 18:38
266. Isa. 53:9 No deceit in his mouth 1Peter 2:22
267. Isa. 53:10 God’s will that He die for mankind John 18:11
268. Isa. 53:10 An offering for sin Matthew 20:28Galatians 3:13
269. Isa. 53:10 Resurrected and live forever Romans 6:9
270. Isa. 53:10 He would prosper John 17:1-5
271. Isa. 53:11 God fully satisfied with His suffering John 12:27
272. Isa. 53:11 God’s servant would justify man Romans 5:8-918-19
273. Isa. 53:11 The sin-bearer for all mankind Hebrews 9:28
274. Isa. 53:12 Exalted by God because of his sacrifice Matthew 28:18
275. Isa. 53:12 He would give up his life to save mankind Luke 23:46
276. Isa. 53:12 Numbered with the transgressors Mark 15:27-28Luke 22:37
277. Isa. 53:12 Sin-bearer for all mankind 1Peter 2:24
278. Isa. 53:12 Intercede to God in behalf of mankind Luke 23:34Rom. 8:34
279. Isa. 55:3 Resurrected by God Acts 13:34
280. Isa. 55:4 A witness John 18:37
281. Isa. 55:4 He is a leader and commander Hebrews 2:10
282. Isa. 55:5 God would glorify Him Acts 3:13
283. Isa. 59:16a Intercessor between man and God Matthew 10:32
284. Isa. 59:16b He would come to provide salvation John 6:40
285. Isa. 59:20 He would come to Zion as their Redeemer Luke 2:38
286. Isa. 60:1-3 He would shew light to the Gentiles Acts 26:23
287. Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of God upon him Matthew 3:16-17
288. Isa. 61:1 The Messiah would preach the good news Luke 4:16-21
289. Isa. 61:1 Provide freedom from the bondage of sin John 8:31-36
290. Isa. 61:1-2 Proclaim a period of grace Galatians 4:4-5
291. Jer. 11:21 Conspiracy to kill Jesus John 7:1, Matthew 21:38
292. Jer. 23:5-6 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
293. Jer. 23:5-6 The Messiah would be both God and Man John 13:131Ti 3:16
294. Jer. 31:22 Born of a virgin Matthew 1:18-20
295. Jer. 31:31 The Messiah would be the new covenant Matthew 26:28
296. Jer. 33:14-15 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
297. Eze.34:23-24 Descendant of David Matthew 1:1
298. Eze.37:24-25 Descendant of David Luke 1:31-33
299. Dan. 2:44-45 The Stone that shall break the kingdoms Matthew 21:44
300. Dan. 7:13-14 He would ascend into heaven Acts 1:9-11
301. Dan. 7:13-14 Highly exalted Ephesians 1:20-22
302. Dan. 7:13-14 His dominion would be everlasting Luke 1:31-33
303. Dan. 9:24 To make an end to sins Galatians 1:3-5
304. Dan. 9:24 To make reconciliation for iniquity Romans 5:102Cor. 5:18-21
305. Dan. 9:24 He would be holy Luke 1:35
306. Dan. 9:25 His announcement John 12:12-13
307. Dan. 9:26 Cut off Matthew 16:2121:38-39
308. Dan. 9:26 Die for the sins of the world Hebrews 2:9
309. Dan. 9:26 Killed before the destruction of the temple Matthew 27:50-51
310. Dan. 10:5-6 Messiah in a glorified state Revelation 1:13-16
311. Hos. 11:1 He would be called out of Egypt Matthew 2:15
312. Hos. 13:14 He would defeat death 1Corinthians 15:55-57
313. Joel 2:32 Offer salvation to all mankind Romans 10:9-13
314. Jonah 1:17 Death and resurrection of Christ Matthew 12:4016:4
315. Mic. 5:2 Born in Bethlehem Matthew 2:1-6
316. Mic. 5:2 Ruler in Israel Luke 1:33
317. Mic. 5:2 From everlasting John 8:58
318. Hag. 2:6-9 He would visit the second Temple Luke 2:27-32
319. Hag. 2:23 Descendant of Zerubbabel Luke 2:27-32
320. Zech. 3:8 God’s servant John 17:4
321. Zech. 6:12-13 Priest and King Hebrews 8:1
322. Zech. 9:9 Greeted with rejoicing in Jerusalem Matthew 21:8-10
323. Zech. 9:9 Beheld as King John 12:12-13
324. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be just John 5:30
325. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would bring salvation Luke 19:10
326. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be humble Matthew 11:29
327. Zech. 9:9 Presented to Jerusalem riding on a donkey Matthew 21:6-9
328. Zech. 10:4 The cornerstone Ephesians 2:20
329. Zech. 11:4-6 At His coming, Israel to have unfit leaders Matthew 23:1-4
330. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejection causes God to remove His protection Luke 19:41-44
331. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejected in favor of another king John 19:13-15
332. Zech. 11:7 Ministry to “poor,” the believing remnant Matthew 9:35-36
333. Zech. 11:8 Unbelief forces Messiah to reject them Matthew 23:33
334. Zech. 11:8 Despised Matthew 27:20
335. Zech. 11:9 Stops ministering to those who rejected Him Matthew 13:10-11
336. Zech. 11:10-11 Rejection causes God to remove protection Luke 19:41-44
337. Zech. 11:10-11 The Messiah would be God John 14:7
338. Zech. 11:12-13 Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:14-15
339. Zech. 11:12-13 Rejected Matthew 26:14-15
340. Zech. 11:12-13 Thirty pieces of silver cast in the house of the Lord Matthew 27:3-5
341. Zech. 11:12-13 The Messiah would be God John 12:45
342. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah’s body would be pierced John 19:34-37
343. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be both God and man John 10:30
344. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be rejected John 1:11
345. Zech. 13:7 God’s will He die for mankind John 18:11
346. Zech. 13: A violent death Mark 14:27
347. Zech. 13:7 Both God and man John 14:9
348. Zech. 13:7 Israel scattered as a result of rejecting Him Matthew 26:31-56
349. Zech. 14:4 He would return to the Mt. of Olives Acts 1:11-12
350. Mal. 3:1 Messenger to prepare the way for Messiah Mark 1:1-8
351. Mal. 3:1 Sudden appearance at the temple Mark 11:15-16
352. Mal. 3:1 Messenger of the new covenant Luke 4:43
353. Mal. 3:6 The God who changes not Hebrews 13:8
354. Mal. 4:5 Forerunner in spirit of Elijah Mt. 3:1-311:10-1417:11-13
355. Mal. 4:6 Forerunner would turn many to righteousness Luke 1:16-17

A Portrait of the Last Days

Eschatology is the study of the last things, often referred to as end times, or last days, and even as “the day of the Lord.”  These terms are often used interchangeably, even though context and perspective should dictate otherwise.  For instance, when we talk about the “last days” what are we actually referring to?  When we ask if we are living in the last days, do we mean are we in the last days for Israel, the Church, or the end of mankind?  We must differentiate what we are talking about when we discuss the last days with scriptural context.  When referring to these terms we need to determine whether the Bible is speaking of the last days as relating to Israel, or of the end times in reference to the church (Hitchcock, Mark. The End).  Understand that everything in the Bible is to teach that Jesus has come to fulfill the Old Testament promises and that Jesus is the promised Messiah sent from God the Father. (Luke 1:30-33) The prophets (John 1:29), scriptures, Apostles, and even the angels (Luke 2:10-11), demons (Mark 1:24), and God Himself (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5;Luke 3:22; Mark 9:7) bore witness that Jesus came to the earth, died for our sin, and was resurrected, ascended to his Father, and that he will come again to judge both the living and the dead.

The timeline of the return of Christ is discussed in several portions of the bible, both in the Old Testament and the New.  By using the book of the Revelation of John we can get the general flow of the timeline to be in this manner.  Revelation 1-3 covers the Church here on earth. The rapture of the Church then happens as covered in 1 Thessalonians 4.  The book of Revelation switches back and forth between events in heaven and events on earth.  Once the church is raptured then the 7 years of tribulation occurs on earth, depicted in Revelation 6-18, and the Judgement seat of Christ and Marriage of the Lamb occur in heaven as shown in Revelation 4-5;19:1-10. Then the Lord, “the Word of God” returns to establish his kingdom on earth (Revelation 19:11-21), at this time Satan is bound for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3).  Once the 1000 years has been completed, Satan will be loosed from the pit and will cause the nations to war against the Lamb, and this will bring the final judgement of God (Revelation 20:7-15). The Revelation of John the Apostle ends with the Lord establishing a new heavens and a new earth, and establishing his kingdom for ever (Revelation 21-22).

John Macarthur explains concerning the reading of Revelation,

“The book of Revelation is the ultimate action thriller. Anyone who loves a great novel will certainly love this book.  It contains drama, suspense, mystery, and horror.  It tells of rebellion, unprecedented economic collapse, and the ultimate war of human history.  Revelation is a book of astounding drama and horror, but also of hope and joy.  It culminates with a happy ending, as sin and death are banished forever (21:4; 22:3).”(John MacArthur Explains the Book of Revelation.2007).

What has become known as “The Olivet Discourse” is considered to be a concise outline of the end times.  This discussion was held by Jesus on Mount Olivet with just four of his disciples: Peter, James, John, and Andrew.  This discussion took place shortly after Jesus had made a remark to the disciples concerning the eventual destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The disciples were concerned with what would be the sign of the destruction of the temple and the return of the Lord.  They could not imagine the destruction of the temple and the return of the Lord as separate events (Zechariah 14:1-11). The sermon is recorded in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21; and addresses specifically the seven years of tribulation prior to the Lords return.  In this revelation, Jesus gave 8 signs that would increase in intensity and frequency, “as birth pains”, as the time of His return grew closer.

The signs are: wars; famines; earthquakes (Mathew 24:7); persecution (Mathew 24:9); false prophets (Mathew 24:5; 11); apostasy (Mathew 24:10); lawlessness (Mathew 24:12); and worldwide preaching of the gospel, and “then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24.14).  All of these signs have been fulfilled and are continuing to be fulfilled.  Jesus said that these signs would be like birth pains growing in frequency and intensity.  So that even as when a woman is in labor you can tell that she is about to give birth because her contractions are getting stronger and closer together and the slowly get in more and more pain, then you know the baby is in the birth canal.  So we can see that as the time of Christ’s return gets closer we will see more intensity and frequency in the signs listed above.  Still Jesus does say that these signs are “just the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). Then Jesus mentions a final indication that the time is right for his return.  This sign is so significant that he warns that when this sign is seen, that those who witness it should flee and hide in the mountains.  They who witness this final sign should be so flee so urgently that they should not even go back into their house to get their coat!  “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand. Then let them which be in Judea flea into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:” (Matthew 24:15-17).

The book of Daniel covers what is commonly referred to as the 70 weeks of Daniel and is considered the “Backbone of Bible Prophecy” and “God’s Prophetic Clock”.  The 70 week time period covers an expanse of 490 years.  The 490 years is a countdown to the fulfillment of the promises of God concerning the nation of Israel.  The church is not directly included in this timeline.  Mark Hitchcock explains in his book, The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days, that the 70 weeks have six divine goals in their purpose, as listed here:

  • To finish the transgression
  • To make an end of sin
  • To make atonement for iniquity
  • To bring in everlasting righteousness
  • To seal up the vision and the prophecy
  • To anoint the Most Holy Place

The clock of Daniel started ticking in 444BC when Artaxerxes, King of Persia, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild (Nehemiah 2:1-8).  Xerxes allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem with written letters of authorization for safe passage and use of the king’s forests for supplies to rebuild Jerusalem.  Then 483 years transpired between the actions of Nehemiah 2:1-8 and the coming of Jesus as the Messiah in AD 33 (Luke 19:28-44).  This means that the first 69 weeks prophesied in Daniel have already occurred (Daniel 9:25).  There is only one week in remaining, the 70th Week of Daniel.  This is the final week, or period of 7 years.

We are now living in what is called “The Church Age”, or the “Age of Grace”.  The prophetic clock for Israel has been halted for almost 2000 years, since the fulfillment of the killing of the Messiah for our sins (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:6-8) and the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24; Daniel 9:26).  The church age was established to give a time for Grace to abound.  The church, the body of Christ, are here to be a light to the lost, by our manner of living and to show the testimony of God’s grace.  In this way God is glorified. (Matthew 5:13-16).  The Lord has paused the timeline, for our benefit.  He is has not abandoned the world, or thrown in the towel.  He is demonstrating patience and love to us because he does not want anyone to die in their sin, but to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

The church looks forward to the rapture of the church.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 we should be ready because in an instant the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed and be made immortal.  We will be brought up and glorified in Christ.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have not hope.  For it we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descent from heaven with shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

If all we had to go by on the rapture were these two references, it would be enough to understand that: (1) we cannot inherit the kingdom of God in these “earth suits”, because they are mortal and corrupted. (2) the rapture is concerned only with the church and is only the 1st phase in the line of events that leads to the return of Jesus as Lord, and (3) this is solely dependent on the grace and will of God Himself.  The rapture of the church is the next great event that will occur in bible prophecy.  Jesus will return and claim his bride.  “The ‘Marriage of the Lamb,’ as described in Rev. 19:1-10, will take place in heaven, during the time of the awful ‘Wrath of God’ being poured out upon the Earth.” (Sharrit. 1978). That is to say that the church will be raptured up by Christ prior to the tribulation, and the marriage of the Lamb will take place in heaven while the 70th week of Daniels prophecy continues on earth.

The 70 Weeks are for Israel’s benefit, so that they can repent and accept Jesus as the Messiah.  The prophet Daniel continues on in his vision.  The final antichrist will come on the scene, and he will make a peace treaty with many for one week.  This is the final week, the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27).  Then halfway through the peace period, the antichrist will break the peace.  He will double-cross Israel and sacrilege the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 13:14-15). The Antichrist will proclaim himself as God (Danial 11:36; 12:11).  This marks the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

During this time, since the church will have already been removed in the rapture, God will send two witnesses. These two witnesses will be responsible to preach and prepare the way of the Lord.  They will be given miraculous powers and have the authority and ability to call down fire from heaven and to cause it to not rain. Their miracles will be similar to those of Moses and Elijah (John the Baptist), who also appeared, to minister to Jesus, in the account of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain recorded in Matthew 17.  Jesus tells us that Elijah had already come to clear the way for his (Jesus’) coming.  Malachi 3.1 declares, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, who ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  Elijah is the Lords profit. Jesus declared that there has been no greater profit in history, which is to say that there has been no prophet with a more important purpose than John the Baptist.  The reference to the messenger of the covenant could only be Moses who brought the law down from Mt Sanai, Moses and Abraham are the most influential prophets in Judaism. Moses however, is the messenger of the covenant. These two Elijah and Moses will be given their unique message and extraordinary powers in order to reach out to the nation of Israel for a last chance to accept Jesus as Lord, prior to his return.  Their time will be brief and they will eventually be martyred and put on display in the streets of Jerusalem.  After 31/2 days there will be a major earthquake, a sign from God, and the two witnesses will be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven.  This earthquake will cause great destruction in Israel and kill many inhabitants, but those who remain will believe and give glory to God (Revelation 11).

This time period is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 7:21).He will then begin to persecute all those who refuse to accept his lordship. The intensity of the persecutions is so intense that nothing like it has ever been seen on the face of the earth since time began, and there will never be anything like it again; it will be un-parallel in human existence (Matthew 24:21).  Jacob is Israel, he had 12 sons and God made him change his name to Israel (Genesis 32:28), the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are the Jews.  The passages referring to this period as Jacob’s trouble refer to this being an Israeli plight.  This period of tribulation is targeted at Israel and his descendants. This is necessary because if we continue to read the passage it tells us “But he shall be saved out of it.”  The great tribulation results in salvation for Israel.

“Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.  But thou, Beth-lehem Eph’ra-tah, though thou be little among the thousands of Juda, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.  Therefore will he give them up, unto the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.  And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:1-5)

At the end of the 70th week God will kill the antichrist and bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1000 years (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20).  Jesus will rule from the throne of David as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Isaiah chapter 11 gives a view of what the millennial kingdom will be like.  There will be a time of peace, which only the Lord Jesus could bring.  The whole earth will be blessed through the Lord dwelling in Israel.  “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion.  For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people.  I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 2:10-11).  Isaiah continues to describe this period with peace towards man and all of creation. Even predatory animals like lions and bears will be at peace with one another and with man, just as it was in the beginning.  Once this time has been fulfilled, then Satan will be set free for a short period of time.

When Satan is released he gets busy with the task of deceiving the nations, and leads them in a rebellion against Jesus.  This culminates in the battle of Armageddon.  When the armies of Satan are arrayed out against the armies of the Lord fire comes down from heaven and destroys the complete army of the deceiver.  Once the armies of the nations who rebelled are destroyed, Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet were cast into.

Then the judgment of all the wicked before the throne of God occurs, and everyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be cast in to the lake of fire just like the devil and his demons.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-12).  There won’t be any place to hide.  It won’t matter how rich and poor you were in life, it won’t matter how influential you were in this life.  Everyone will be judged by the same standards.  First, did you believe and follow Jesus?  If you did not, then you will be judged by the very Word of God you rejected.  What now?  All of this being true, should we not have an urgency about the work to which we have been called?

Jesus warned us that he would return when we did not expect it. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man (the return of Jesus) be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered in to the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39).  Christians can look forward to this return with great anticipation, and can be encouraged knowing that the things that they suffer through and endure for Christ’s sake are being noted and will be rewarded, not just now in this life, but in the kingdom to come.

We also have a grave responsibility as stewards of this knowledge.  As we look around us we know that the world political climate is growing more unstable by the moment.  The spread of persecution against the church and the Hebrew people has grown exponentially since the turn of the Century.  While our capacity to reach civilizations all over the world for Christ through television, radio, social media, and the ease of modern day travel has increased the actual mission in the field and financial support for such missions has declined.  Churches report baptizing and serving fewer members than ever in recent history indicate an apostasy (2 Timothy 3).  The last days are characterized in the bible by “lawlessness” or “iniquity or iniquities”.  We have kicked God out of our Governments, schools, and even most of our churches.  In the United States, as of June 8, 2017 there have been an estimated 405,471 abortions performed since 1973. (“Number of Abortions – Abortion Counters.” Number of Abortions in US & Worldwide – Number of Abortions since 1973. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2017).  Homosexuality and Transgendered tendencies are not only accepted, but expected.

Those who speak out against this abomination are ridiculed fined and even suffer loss of jobs and imprisonment, even here in the United States.  Everyone has freedom of speech except those who proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the way it was before the flood of Noah’s Ark.  God was sorry that he even made man (Genesis 6:6). We all know someone who needs to know the truth.  We all know someone who needs to turn and repent before it is too late, before we are taken away in the rapture and they then have to face the wrath of God.  Being stewards of the knowledge of the Word of God gives us an awesome responsibility to reach out to those who walk in ignorance.  Our boldness does not come from arrogance, but from love and understanding of the peril that our loved ones are in imminent danger and are out of time. Jesus could come right now.  As John said. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)

 

References

Hitchcock, Mark. The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days. Ed. Adan Graber`. Illinois: Tyndale House, 2012. Print.

Sharrit, John T. Soon Coming World-shaking Events. Phoenix, AZ: Christian Missionary Society, 1978. Print.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989. Print. Ephesians-Revelation.

MacArthur, John. Because the Time Is Near: John MacArthur Explains the Book of Revelation. Chicago: Moody, 2007. Print.

“Number of Abortions – Abortion Counters.” Number of Abortions in US & Worldwide – Number of Abortions since 1973. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2017.

 

Mark 12:28-31 The First Commandment

Mark 12:28-31 The First Commandment

If I were to ask 100 different Christians what they thought was the most important part of Christianity I would undoubtable get many different answers.  Some would say it is Faith, others study of the Bible, or Prayer.  Even others would say the Holy Spirit, or service in the church.  I am of the persuasion that while all of these are important, they are merely manifestations that come out of the most important aspect of your belief in Christ.

*******************Read the Passage Mark 12:28-31********************

In Mark 12:28-33 Jesus is asked this very question.  Jesus said that the first thing we should have is a directed love towards God.  We should be careful, that we don’t misunderstand this word love.  It is not a general kind of love.  It is not like when we say, “Oh I just love that dress, or I love this new car!”  It is not even like a when we say that we should “love all mankind”.

Jesus didn’t say that the most important commandment is to love God and to second, love animals.  Had he said that then we could take away that he was talking about a general kind of love, where we should express love for everything, love people, love animals, love the planet, love everything.  But “love” in itself is not the main topic Jesus is speaking of.

Even when he goes on to say that the second commandment is like it, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Instead he is still stressing the importance of the first command.  Jesus is saying the main point is to LOVE GOD!  The second is like it because it is still loving God, man was made in the image of God.

1 John 4:20 says that if a man says he loves God and hates his brother, then he is a liar!

James 3:9-10 says, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessings and cursing.  My brethren this ought not so to be.”

This love Jesus is speaking of is not a blanket that we throw over our shoulders and sing warm little campfire songs for.  It is a more specific kind of love.  It is even more specific than a love for a spouse, or a child.  Instead it is a living love directed explicitly at God above all other things, places, or persons.

You see, God is Love (1 John 4.8 ”He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”).  So then whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).

How do we then love God?  Jesus tells us this also.  We love with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  We demonstrate this with our love for one another.  This is all simple words and easy to say, but how do we put this in action?

Our natural state as fallen creatures is not to love God, but rather to regard him with suspicion and resist his authority.  Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to enter heaven you must be born again.  You have to know that you are fallen and in danger of judgement, and in danger of eternal separation from God.  Matthew 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

But also as apostle Paul told us in the Colossians 1:20-22, that even though we were enemies with God, he had mercy on us and provided a sacrifice for our sins, in Jesus’ blood, to that we could be reconciled to God the Father.  So we were once alienated from God because of our evil nature.  But God Himself made a way for us to be with him.

“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (Deuteronomy 30.6)

God himself gave us the way to love him, buy wiping out our record of sin.  By this I mean past, present, and future… This gives us the ability to love God with a pure heart and in good conscience, having a sincere faith.  Jesus has set us free, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Tutus 1.15)

God knows that we cannot love him of ourselves.  He provided the way through Jesus Christ.  Jesus suffered so that we would not have to suffer in our sin and bondage.

Psalms  22: 14-16 records a portion of his suffering, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; you have brought Me to the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation if the wicked has enclosed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet;”

So knowing these things we desire to please him.  The question is not “What would Jesus do”, but “What would please Him?”  We put Him first in all things.  The psalmist said “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73.25)

We love the Lord with our all in all; as a result of salvation through Jesus.  This is the starting point, without this relationship with Jesus, we cannot love God.  The love of Jesus must be the key feature in our lives.

We love the Lord by eliminating competing loves.  Loving God must become the key feature in our lives.  Don’t compartmentalize God into on little piece of your life. 

Each one of us have 168 hours in a week.  In that week the average Christian devotes 7 hours in Church, Sunday School, and a small group devotion or study.  During each week if you sleep 8 hours a day, every day then you spend another 56 hours in sleep.  That leaves 105 hours that are spent in eating, school, work, shopping, social events, or other leisure activities.  The question is how much of that 105 hours is spent demonstrating an active love for God?(Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, 4/25/2017)

This isn’t just a temporary fasting. Not just a time where we skip a meal or that we don’t eat red meat for few weeks.  It is not even a deprivation of sleep from an all-night prayer meeting, or a week of revival.  It is instead a way of living for God. 

In fact the Lord said in Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and hot hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone were to ask your best friend, or your wife, or husband, or your children, “Tell me one thing about so-in-so…” and they could say, “That you really love God.”  Shouldn’t your life SHOW others that you truly love God!

This is a conscious choice.  We purpose ourselves for his service (Romans 12:11 says that we should be passionate in spirit, serving the Lord).  We do everything in life as if we are performing it whole heartedly for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).  In short we live “all out” for Him.  We hold nothing back from Him.  We are fully dedicated to His purposes.  We have to be wholehearted in our devotion to Him.  We are not ashamed of Him. 

Do you know that God knows that we are not perfect?  Do you know that he knows that sometimes, even on the way to church some of us have terrible arguments in the car?  Then we put on a smile and walk in the church like we just love everybody.  Then as soon as we walk out and start the car, our argument picks right back up from where it was.  Do you know that is wrong?  Sure we do.

We need to pray, and seek the Lord.  You know that as we humble ourselves and understand that we are not perfect, and hey no one else is either, and we realize again that Jesus still loves us.  He forgave us.  You know we can forgive others too.  We can love God by loving those around us.

We can even be so radical in our love for Him… that “We Love Our Neighbors, as we Love Ourselves!” (Mark 12:31) Do you know the best thing you can do for someone else is to let them see you LOVE God with all you have to love Him with?

In Matthew 25:34-40  we read “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have don’t it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)

If someone asked that question, if the asked about you… today… if they asked “tell me about so-in-so”; and they were pointing the finger at you… Could who they were asking say, “They really love God”?  Does your life show your love for God?  Does your language show that your love God?  Do your neighbors even know that you know who Jesus is?  If not, maybe you need to make a commitment today. 

Get things right with God today.  Come to the alter of his mercy and tell him.  Lord I have not been living like I love you.  I have not been doing the things that I should, or speaking up for you.  Lord people have no idea that you’re my God or my savior by the way I act, speak, or how I treat other people, not even other believers.  I want to make that right with you today.

Or maybe you’re here and you have never even considered the sacrifice that Jesus made for you; how he poured out his blood to make restitution for your wrong doings.  Maybe you need to come and tell him you believe in Him.  You believe that he sacrificed himself for you, so that you could learn how to truly live in love.

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – You Cannot Believe in Just Half the Gospel and Be Saved.

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – You Cannot Believe in Just Half the Gospel and Be Saved.

This letter of Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul.  It is believed that the letter was written around 55 AD.  The letter deals with spiritual and moral issues that had arose in the church since Paul’s preaching there in 50 AD.  The main emphasis on this of Chapter 15 verses 12-20 deals with the Athenian philosophers of the Epicurean and Stoic beliefs concerning death and the resurrection, and their influence on the church.

The Epicurean believed that when one dies, they simply no longer exist.  The Stoic believe that when we die, our soul is absorbed into the soul of the universe, there in no individual conscience.  These two philosophies originated between 341-313 BC. These two philosophies are still very prevalent in today’s one world philosophy.

They are portrayed in popular writings and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars.  Among the other thoughts in these philosophies are man’s oneness with the energy of the universe, the end justifies the means, and that everything that happens to a man is a cause and effect relationship, man has no real will of his own, or Kharma. For this selection in Corinthians we are concerned with the beliefs of what happens after one dies and the resurrection beliefs in modern churches.

There are many Christians today that don’t believe that a body can be resurrected out of the grave.  They make silly arguments about the condition of the body, the decay, or it the person was mutilated or burned to death.  This becomes their basis to say that the physical body cannot be raised.  The dead will not come out of the grave.

In 2006 a poll released by the Scripps Howard News Service and posed on the Ohio University Survey Research Center website stated that only 65% of professing “Born Again” Christians believe in the physical resurrection of Christ.

A more recent poll released in 2014, by Thomas D. Williams, PH.D., showed that 3 out of 4 Americans believe in some sort of life after death, but only 37% believe in a bodily resurrection from the dead.  This is from Americans who have some sort of “religious affiliation”. What seems to be an odd trend is that those with higher educations are more likely to believe in life after death of some sort.

The frightening aspect is that those who call themselves “Followers of Christ”, and “Born Again” in increasing numbers do not believe in the resurrection of the body, and do not believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead.  Christians are rejecting one of the fundamental beliefs of their own religion because of improper discipleship and ignorance of the full gospel. For an answer to this heresy we turn to Paul’s writings to the Corinthians.

Paul tells us that it is necessary to believe in the resurrection of the body.  You have to believe in the whole gospel or none of it.  The resurrection is not just a fable made up to give us a false since of security.

Let us begin at verse 12 in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

V12. Now it Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is not resurrection of the dead?

Paul is saying here that this is essential to the gospel.  Remember he is speaking to believers.  Paul says if you have believed on Jesus, that you have then been baptized as an outward showing of your faith, then how can you deny the resurrection?  This is inconceivable to Paul.

Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

I can hear Paul saying, don’t you remember what we preached to you?  Don’t you remember how we told you that even the Apostle Thomas had his doubts because he did not see what the others saw?  Don’t you remember how we testified to you that Jesus appeared again to the disciples and told Thomas, and I quote;

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27)

So this is what we preach, that Christ died and is risen again, because you cannot be saved unless you believe that He is risen.  This being so, if you confess that Christ is risen, then how can you not believe there is a resurrection of the dead?  The Greeks looked at themselves as very logical and philosophical people, Paul appeals to this reasoning they were so proud of.  It is illogical to say you believe that Jesus rose from the dead so you could have eternal life, but don’t believe you will be resurrected.

V13. But if there is not resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.

Here Paul starts his logical argument.  He says, “OK. Let’s say that there is not resurrection of the dead.”  Let us say that a dead body cannot rise from the grave.  Let’s forget about the story of Lazarus, and how Jesus raised him from the dead.  If when a man dies he simply ceases to exist, or he is absorbed into the cosmos, then it is impossible for Jesus to have risen from the grave.  If this is what you believe concerning death, then you cannot believe that Jesus arose, it is not logical.  Even though there were other examples that we have been told about.  The scriptures tell us about a resurrection and a judgment to come.

Let’s forget about how Psalm 19:9-10 prophesies about Jesus and says, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Let’s even forget how the scriptures of Daniel tell us in 12:2 about a general resurrection of the body where it is written, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

If there is no resurrection of the dead…. Then Christ did not rise either…. That is the first argument.  If you don’t believe in the dead rising from the grave, then you cannot believe that Jesus rose from the grave.  Why….?  Because Christ, while being the Son of God, was also human.  He died and was as dead as any other human.  Yes he was sinless, a sacrifice.  Stay with me now, in order for a sacrifice of death to be complete, something has to die in it’s place.  You see, Jesus was, “dead as a doornail.” As we say in south-east Texas.

How do we know that Jesus was a man?  The scriptures testify to it:

  • Acts 2:22 “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God…”
  • Galatians 4:4 says Jesus was born of a woman
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is only mediator between God and Man and that HE is the Man Christ Jesus

There are at least 12 other references in the New Testament that describe how Jesus, wept, felt tired, slept, spit, breathed and so on, testifying that he was not some ethereal presence, but a real flesh and blood human being.

V14. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

So in following that thought process, the deeper reality would begin to sink in.  If there is no resurrection of the dead, and Jesus therefor did not rise from the grave, because it is impossible for a man to be raised from the dead.  Then there is no basis for what we preach.

The whole of the apostolic preaching was the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. That was the whole point of the message! Therefore, if you believed our preaching, and it was not based on fact, then you have believed in nothing.  Christianity itself is empty.

There was never a claim that Mohammed rose from the grave.  There was never a claim that Buddha rose from the grave.  In fact neither of them said they were the Son of God.  But Jesus said he was the Son of God.  In fact in Matthew 12:38-40 Jesus says that a sign of Him being the Son of God would be His resurrection.

V15. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up_ if in fact the dead do not rise.

Paul goes farther, he says that if you do not believe in the resurrection of the Dead, and by extension do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and we have testified that we have seen his resurrection… then we are liars, and false witnesses.  You cannot believe anything we say.  If you cannot believe in the simple doctrine we put forward to you, then you cannot believe anything else.

V16. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.

Truth be told, if it is not possible for the dead to rise, then Christ did not rise.  If a man cannot come back from the dead, then Christ could not have come back from the dead either.

V17. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Now Paul shows why it is so important to believe in the resurrection of life.  The physical resurrection of Jesus.  IF Jesus is not risen, then Jesus is not alive and with the Father, then you have believed a lie.  So your faith is unfounded, and there is no forgiveness of sins.  You have not mediator for men.  Death is still inescapable.  Now you have a real problem to fear.  You have to enter into eternity within your fallen, unforgiven state.  You will be condemned.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6.32)

V18. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

This means that those who have been martyred for the cause of Christ have died in vain.  Those who believed and have passed on, are lost forever.  This also means all of the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs have also died in vain, because they prophesied about Jesus and His resurrection. The prophets of old looked forward to the resurrection. If a man cannot be resurrected, then Jesus could not have been resurrected.  If Jesus was not resurrected and the whole thing was made up.  If it was all made up then you cannot believe in a lie. If it is a lie, then there is no hope for mankind in Jesus. If the resurrection was a lie then so is the rest of the gospel, and all who have died, have died in sin.  That means that the war in Heaven is over and that God lost.  Everyone is doomed.  If Jesus did not accomplish our salvation, then no one can.

V19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

If all this has been a lie, and we have believed in vain, then we are the stupidest people on Earth.  If we live a life to show love toward one another, and selfless sacrifice in gratitude for the hope of life we have in Jesus, and there is no basis for this belief, then we have been fools.  If we have put others first, and been beaten, and tortured, lost our homes, jobs, and even family ties for Christ sake, and it is a lie, then we are the most miserable people on the face of the earth.  It is right for others to call us stupid and mistreat us, because we deserve it.  We have purposely made ourselves a victim.  If the only benefit to believing in Jesus, in this life, is to be a good person, then we have wasted our lives.  Because we don’t believe in Jesus just to live a good life.

  • The scriptures tell us that none is good! (Matthew 19.17)
  • There is none righteous (Romans 3.10)
  • Everyone, altogether has become filthy and can do no good, NO NOT ONE! (Psalm 53.3)

V20. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

How do we know Jesus was resurrected?  We have witnesses; that is how know he was resurrected.

”For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once,…” 1 Cor 15:3-6a. 

Paul tells us, Hey, I myself have seen Him, Peter has seen him, the scriptures testify to God’s plan, and even 500 believers have seen him… All at the same time!  This is not made up, there are too many witnesses.

Jesus himself told us that the sign of His being the Son of God would be “the sign of Jonah”.  How Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 day, so would the Son of Man be in the ground for 3 days, then he would rise.  This is God’s testimony of Jesus.  This is His Word fulfilled! – Amen

Jesus rose from the dead, he physically came out of the grave!  This is a sign that we are forgiven.  This is God’s signature at the end of the letter! He is saying, “Here is the guarantee!

If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then sin killed him.  If sin killed him then death was not subdued. But… scripture tell us that the resurrection of the dead out of the grave is not only possible, but that it will occur for everyone.  You do not need to believe it is possible for you to be resurrected.  But you do need to believe that Jesus was resurrected in order to avoid being condemned by your own lack of belief, not God’s. Listen to John 5:28-29.

John 5: 28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

Therefore, we know that the resurrection of the dead is possible.  Therefore we know that the resurrection of Jesus is not only possible, but that it did occur.  It occurred as a testimony of the forgiveness of sins, and of the resurrection of life.

We also know that there is a day coming when everyone will be called up out of the grave and brought to judgment.  Those who have believed in Jesus will be rewarded.  Those who have not believed, those who were filled with how intellectually important they were, will be brought to face their condemnation.   But there is hope!  There is hope in Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was slain for the remission of sin.

By God raising Jesus from the dead it means that God was satisfied with the sin offering made by Jesus.  In Romans 4 the scriptures tell us about how Abraham’s faith in God being able to do what He said he would do was enough for God to impute righteousness to Abraham.  Having faith in God to do what he said He would do concerning Jesus, also imputes righteousness to us.

“It shall be imputed to use who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4: 24-25)

 

The resurrection of Jesus is a testimony from God that the sacrifice Jesus made for our sin, is acceptable to God, and that believing in this is how righteousness is imparted to us

Romans 5:8-10 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

The grace of God is that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ, the proof of that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus was resurrected, we will also be resurrected to eternal life.

How do we know that Jesus physically arose?

  • John 20.17 – Jesus tells Mary not to touch him yet because He still has to ascend to the Father.
  • Acts 20.11 – Tells us that Jesus ate with the disciples
  • Luke 24.38-39 – “Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians explaining, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15.20-22)

So I ask you today.  Do you believe that there is life after death? Do you believe that a man can be brought back from the dead?  Do you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead as a sign, that as the scripture records, and even Jesus himself told, that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign given concerning his atonement?

If you do then you need to confess it.

Acknowledge to God and to man, that Jesus was resurrected and that He is the only mediator between the Father and man.

He is because he lives. – Amen

Hebrews 2:1-3 Take Heed!

Hebrews 2:1-3 Take Heed!

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the work spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” (Hebrews 2:1-3NKJV)

This is an earnest plea to reason.  God has spoken to us by His Son.  Jesus is the Son of God and as such has a direct line to the Father, like no other person in heaven or on earth.  He sits beside the Father and all the kingdoms of the earth and all authority has been given Him, by the Father.  The message he has given us is such an important message that we should take extra care to listen to what He said.  Here in Hebrews Paul is saying PAY ATTENTION!  God is doing something in our lives, in the lives of men.  God Himself directly intervened in the lives of everyone here!

Paul warns us, “Hey, if what the angels, and the Son of God Himself told us about EVERY thing we do or say will be held accountable then we need this salvation that is offered.  If even the very motivation of our actions, whether they be good or bad, is recorded for examination in court, then we need an attorney.  You know why, because the same ones who said these things also said that there is none good!  The cost for your salvation was so enormous, how can you not pay attention to the suffering endured.

Paul also gives credence to the fact that we should pray and study earnestly, “lest we drift away”.  There are false teachers that are in the “Church” today that try to tell us that “times have changed” and that the statutes that the Lord established in his Word are no longer relevant.  There are even some pastors who will water down the scriptures and tell you their own private interpretations so that they can justify sin in their own lives.  I know that some of you will not hear the things I am going to say.  But living in sin disrupts your fellowship with God.  Paul said being forgiven is not a license to sin.

If we become superficial in out prayer life, or in out scriptural studies we put ourselves in jeopardy of drifting away from our first love.  Even as Jesus said in the Book of Revelation, “Never the less I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2.4)  Jude also wrote that he found it necessary to encourage us to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1.3).

Folks the saints are us, we are the saints, saved by grace and set apart for the kingdom of God.  We are to fight for our faith!  Keep it and hold it close!  Strive with all our hearts!  Now I’m not saying be rude and stiff-necked.  I am saying study and be prepared to have an answer in love, for when you are confronted concerning your faith.  Stay away from TV and radio shows that encourage immoral behavior.  Society itself is drifting away from the One true God, because too many saints are keeping salvation a secret.  We have become, in large, ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  We have conformed to the world. Do the work you are called to do.  Be salt!  Now may peace and mercy and love be multiplied to you.  Amen