Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament’

1982080_1000775849938612_8222661659288359879_nMessianic Prophecy In The Old Testament10849817_422730201212980_8126859679965616829_n

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Bible Study by Jack Kelley

In the time after their sin and expulsion from the Garden Adam and Eve must have felt incredible despair. They had experienced life both before and after the curse, the only ones to do so, and had first hand knowledge of the difference. And what a difference it was. Even the part of it we can relate to had to have been devastating.

For example suppose that one day you were the resident manager of the world’s richest and most luxurious estate, with all of its comforts and privileges, and the next you were a poor hardscrabble farmer, at the opposite end of the economic and social spectrum. And that was just the beginning. How about no longer being immortal, no longer one with your Creator in spirit.

The Seed Of The Woman
To keep them from becoming incurably despondent, God had promised them a redeemer. In Genesis 3:15 we read,

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

He was speaking to the one indwelling the serpent and in Hebrew the promise contains a biological impossibility. Seed comes from the male. It’s the Bible’s first hint of a virgin birth. An offspring of the woman’s would destroy Satan and reverse the consequences of the act he had manipulated, redeeming mankind from its bondage to sin.

Two chapters later in Genesis 5 the Bible gives us another hint of this. The Hebrew root words of the names of the 10 patriarchs listed there form a sentence. When taken in order  it reads like this in English.

“Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the blessed God will come down teaching that His death will bring the despairing rest.”  (For detail click here)

It’s a prophecy that God Himself would come to Earth as the Seed of the Woman, and man’s redeemer.

Centuries later, this was confirmed by the Prophet Isaiah.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

As New Testament believers, we can see that the five names listed here describe all three members of the Trinity. Wonderful is the name by which The Angel of the Lord identified Himself while visiting Samson’s parents. (Judges 13:18).  When the phrase “The Angel of the Lord” appears in the Old testament, it’s in conjunction with a pre-incarnate visit by the Lord Jesus. That He’s being referenced in Isaiah 9:6 is confirmed by the title, Prince of Peace.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Counselor in John 14:26 , and Mighty God and everlasting Father can only refer to God.

A Descendant Of Abraham
In Genesis 12:1-3 the origin of this redeemer becomes clearer. There God promised Abraham that all the nations of Earth would be blessed through him, and in Genesis 22 He had Abraham act this out with the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham’s “only son” on Mt. Moriah. 2000 years later another Father would offer His only Son as a sacrifice for sin in that same place. Abraham knew this and named the place Jehovah Jireh, saying, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided” (Gen. 22:14).

The Lion Of Judah
Later, as Abraham’s grandson Jacob neared death, he narrowed it down still more by saying that all of Israel’s kings including the ultimate one, “the one to whom it (the ruler’s staff) belongs”, would come from among the descendants of one of his sons, Judah, (Gen. 49:10) giving birth to the title “Lion of Judah” as a Messianic reference.

The Son Of David
In 2 Samuel 7:12-15 we read that David longed to build a Temple for God, but God refused him, saying that it would take a man of peace to build a house for Him. He said that David’s son Solomon would be that man, and during Solomon’s reign Israel experienced peace as never before or since. But to ease David’s disappointment God promised to build him a “house” and the Davidic Dynasty was founded. Hence forth there would always be a direct descendant of David’s on the throne of Israel. It was an everlasting promise made in about 1000 BC, and Solomon would be the first fulfillment. But since neither Solomon nor any other Davidic King was flogged by men for “doing wrong” (2 Sam. 7:14) there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye.  The wording casts shadows of the Messiah.

So through God’s progressive revelation we’ve narrowed things down from learning that the redeemer would be a son of Eve’s, which would exclude no one, to the family of Abraham, then Judah, then David. But we’re not finished yet. Over the next 400 years the Davidic Kings went from bad to worse with few exceptions. Finally, in the time of the Prophet Jeremiah God had had enough and pronounced a blood curse on the Davidic line, saying that no son of then King Jehoiachin would ever rule over Israel. (Jere. 22:30) The Davidic line, begun with Solomon, was seemingly ended and God’s promise to David broken.

The Branch
However, before the nation was taken to Babylon, while a Davidic King still sat on the throne, God had Ezekiel announce that the line was being suspended and wouldn’t be restored until “He comes to whom it rightfully belongs” (Ezekiel 21:27), recalling Jacob’s prophecy to mind. In 519 BC, after the Jews had returned from the Babylonian captivity, God said that a man He called The Branch would be the one, and that He would hold the priesthood as well, combining the two. (Zechariah 6:12).

There are four references to The Branch in the Old Testament and all point to the Messiah. In Zechariah 3:8 He’s called God’s servant, in Zechariah 6:12 He’s a man, both king and priest. In Jeremiah 23:5 He’s called a righteous king, and inIsaiah 4:2 He’s the Branch 0f God.

Born Of a Virgin, Born In Bethlehem
But how was God going to get around the blood curse? For the answer to that, we have to back up to about 750 BC. In that time two of the most specific Messianic prophecies ever given narrowed the field down to just one possibility. In Isaiah 7:14 the Lord proclaimed that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and in Micah 5:2 that he would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David.

In order to legally qualify for a seat on David’s throne, the Messiah King would have to be of the house and lineage of David. To be from the house of David means being a biological descendant of David’s. Being of David’s lineage means belonging to the Royal Line. How can this be?

When we read the Lord’s genealogies in Matt. 1 and Luke 3, we can see differences beginning at the time of David. Matthew’s genealogy runs through Solomon, the cursed royal line. But Luke’s goes through Solomon’s brother Nathan. Nathan’s line wasn’t cursed, but neither were they kings. Further study reveals that Matthew is actually giving us Joseph’s genealogy while Luke shows us Mary’s. Both were descended from David, and in addition Joseph was one of many who were heir to David’s throne but unable to claim it because of the curse on his line.

So through His mother Mary, Jesus was a biological descendant of David’s. When Mary and Joseph became husband and wife, Jesus also became Joseph’s legal son and heir to David’s Throne.  But not being biologically related to Joseph, He didn’t have the blood curse. He was of both the house and lineage of David.   To this day He’s the only man born in Israel since 600BC with a legitimate claim to David’s throne. The angel Gabriel confirmed this to Mary when he told her that although a virgin, she would soon give birth to the Son of God, who would occupy it forever (Luke 1:32-33).   Isaiah 9:7 had revealed the same fact centuries earlier. God’s promise to David stands.

Daniel And The Magi
200 years after Micah identified Bethlehem as the Messiah’s birthplace, The Lord told Daniel the time of His death. It would be 483 years after the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity, but before an enemy army came to destroy it again. (Daniel 9:24-27) This places the Messiah’s death somewhere between 32 and 70 AD according to our reckoning of time.

Daniel formed a group of Persian priests to pass this information down from father to son, and according to tradition set aside the bulk of his personal wealth as a gift for them to present to the Messiah when the time came for His birth. He apparently also gave them a confirming sign to look for from Numbers 24:17, later known as the Star of Bethlehem.

The descendants of these priests, now a very influential political force in Parthia (as Persia came to be known), remained true to Daniel’s commission, and upon seeing the star set out for Jerusalem. Arriving there they sought an audience with King Herod, asking for the whereabouts of the one born to be King of Israel. Summoning the chief priests, Herod repeated the question and was referred to Micah 5:2 where Bethlehem is identified. The Parthian priests, or Magi as we call them, went there and found the baby Jesus.

The field of candidates for Redeemer of Mankind, the Seed of the Woman, the Descendant of Abraham, the Lion of Judah, the Son of David, the Messiah of Israel, had been narrowed down to one. His name is Jesus.

Faith In Action
By faith, with nothing more than Daniel’s word to their ancestors, the Magi had mounted up and undertaken a dangerous 800 mile trip into enemy territory to meet the Messiah. (The Parthians and Romans were technically at war.) With 4000 years of fulfilled prophetic scripture in their hands, the chief priests, who no longer took it literally, refused to join them for the last 5 miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see if God’s Word really was true. In so doing, the leaders of the people He came to save missed out on the central event in human history, consigning themselves to eternal separation from the very God they had been seeking.

If history repeats itself like they say it does, then when He comes back many of today’s religious experts, who also don’t take the prophecies literally, will make the same mistake. As you recall the Reason for the Season, take time to thank Him for making you like the Magi instead of like these experts, because if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 12-22-12


Wednesday, December 3rd, 201410845956_824650840939940_4556965966861198088_n10847797_799876160069809_1876838360271298360_n (1)


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Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  09.13.13 Friday

[ PART 5 ]

There is a direct correlation between the feasts of the Old Testament and their expression of the Gospel in the New Testament. Listen to find out how two of these feasts point us to the Messiah.




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  09.12.13 Thursday

[ PART 4 ]

Yom Kippur is known as the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. It is a time for them to seek atonement for their sins. But do you know why this day is also significant for believers in Christ?




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  09.11.13 Wednesday

[ PART 3 ]

Have you ever wondered about the Jewish festivals held every year? These feasts go well beyond the national boundaries of Judaism. They carry a prophetic and redemptive message for all people.




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  09.10.13 Tuesday

[ PART 2 ]


the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur is the day set aside to seek the

forgiveness of sins. When we look closer at this holy day, we develop a

greater appreciation for the Lamb who was slain for us.




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  09.09.13 Monday

[ PART 1 ]

You’ve heard of Passover and Yom Kippur, but have you ever considered how all of the Jewish holy days point to Jesus? Listen to learn more about the Messiah and His cultural context.




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The Missing Jewel of Christ’s Return


Christ the Missing Jewel

A CAREFUL AND prayerful study of the New Testament will lead us to see that Christ is central throughout its entirety. He is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and particularly through the main and minor prophets, the message is clear in pertaining to the Messiah to come; this was Israel’s hope. How the Anointed One was to be manifest was where many in Israel lost their way; many were looking for the physical restoration of the twelve tribes. Even the twelve disciples were anticipating Christ overthrowing tyranny by establishing a physical reign. For Him to die at the hands of a brutal regime was absolute madness and ran contrary to what they understood of the Scriptures. Only after when Christ opened their eyes (after His resurrection) and expounded the Scriptures, from Moses and all the Prophets, did they rightly perceive the kingdom of God.

Are we falling into the same error as Israel in foretelling and reading the signs of how and where Christ will appear? The Biblical Christ is seldom proclaimed in our westernised cultures and yet so many believers get so hung-up over eschatology (Doctrine of the Last Things). How are we to be balanced in regards to prophecy, pertaining to the future and of Christ’s Second Coming, when we fail to perceive Who He really is? If we are not enlightened (by the Holy Spirit) to Who the Son of God is, how will we ever rightly prepare for His Second Coming?

Studying eschatology is important and we are misguided to shelve (disregard) any portion of Scripture through fear of confusion and controversy. It is, however, understandable to some extent as to why some avoid this subject (in so far as discussing it) for this very reason, but that doesn’t justify ignorance in these matters; we are to grow up into Christ in all things.

The other aspect is to be obsessed with prophecy on end-time interpretations to the point where we are only concerned with the phenomena of things coming to fruition. Satan will drive us to fanaticism and have us expend all our energies on end time doctrine – or any other doctrine – so long as Christ is not central. It is the subtlety that is the deception where one is driven to excess. We know that there are numerous passages in the gospels and epistles that pertain to Christ’s Second Advent, but their main and emphatic principle is that we may know the Son of God and have life in and through Him.

Was it not Paul’s calling and desire to make Christ known, crucified and resurrected? Was it not the greatest Apostle’s office to proclaim Him: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28)? Was it not Paul who said to the church at Galatia, “…my little children, for whom I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19)?

When end time doctrine presides over and above our looking to Christ, we are actually straying into grievous error. Observing animosity on current public forums over how Christ will come and establish His kingdom (whether or not you adhere to Dispensationalism or Covenant Theology; A, Pre or Post Millennialism; A, pre, mid or post rapture) is disgracefully divisive and grieving to the Spirit of God. If the Apostle Paul (or any other Apostle for that matter) were to be among us today, he would address such people in the same manner as the ‘Christians’ at Corinth who were by nature carnal. What other fruit, besides arrogance and pride, does anyone get by insisting that their view is right and everyone else’s is unintelligible or stupid?

Whatever hermeneutics (science of interpretation) we may adopt in understanding the Last Times, do we give people a sense of panic, fear and frustration or do we encourage and build-up others in the most holy Faith by having them look to Christ, to trust and rely on Him with all their hearts? In all our discussions of the end times, do we magnify Christ and strengthen the hope of other believers? Do we exhort others to be ready for Christ’s appearing? Are we living in the light of His coming?

The Apostles, in light of this subject, exhorted the Church to walk in holiness and as John wrote, “…everyone who thus hopes in Him [expecting Christ’s appearing] purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). I don’t see Christ being formed or people walking in holiness when believers are bitterly falling out with one another over the manner in which or what season and year Christ will come back. We will all find out exactly when He does actually appear in all His glory and majesty. Just as with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who were blind and ignorant to the Truth, so it shall be with many of us when we see Him for Who He is; our eyes will be opened and all our views will be infinitely eclipsed with His unimaginable blazing-grandeur.

How or what is going to materialise – whether the millennial kingdom is through the entire Church age or a literal one-thousand year reign on earth, with all its benefits, etc, etc – it is going to be nothing compared to the beauty and majesty of God made visible to the eyes of everyone. How so many harp on all the wonderful things in the millennial reign, while, unbeknown, Christ takes second place in their conversation (this is where Satan’s misleading comes in). When John, on the Island of Patmos, saw Christ, he fell down as though dead; that was the greatest of all revelation and so it should be to anyone of us. Christ is central and He is to be central in all our worship and living. In all the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel, the vision of God was too overwhelmingly superior to put into perfect description; human comprehension was utterly exhausted and dumbfounded.

What aspects of the coming glory do we look forward to most? My friends, I may be narrow-minded, but I don’t care if I see nothing else but God in all His glory for all ages of eternity. God forgive us for thinking that we shall not eternally gaze on Him and to not want for something else. Clothed in our right minds, we ought to say with Charles Wesley that we shall be, Lost in wonder, love and praise.” I think it was Fanny Crosby (the famous blind hymn author) who said, in her longing for heaven, that the first thing she looked forward to was not the wonder of gaining her sight, but rather to gaze upon the beauty of Jesus. When I consider that, earth and everything of it just melts away.

I have known of great friendships dissolving due to dividing on non-fundamental doctrines. I personally know what it’s like to have broken communication (not on my part) with others due to such differences, which is saddening because I dearly miss their fellowship. If we are in unity on the fundamental and primary doctrines (and one of them is that Christ is soon returning), we have no justifiable reason to exclude anyone from fellowship or to break friendship over secondary issues. There are many godly leaders who, while I may disagree with their eschatological views, will continue to respect and hold in high esteem due to their Christ-centred preaching.

God is reiterating to the Church the same words He spoke to Peter, James and John (on the Mount of Transfiguration) “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). God speaks through His Son; we have the Scriptures – the final word that is abundantly sufficient for the entire Church age. Everything is embodied in Christ; it is in Him that ALL the promises of God are contained. He is the express Image of God and in Him all the godhead dwells. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed the heir of all things through Whom He also created the world. He is the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

All the phenomena, signs and wonders that we may witness are nothing compared to the majesty of Jesus Christ; He is greater than any foretelling or any inauguration of a kingdom. It was David who longed to behold the beauty of God in the sanctuary – not the kingdom nor apparels or any other instrument in the tabernacle; they were purely to aid one’s worship to focus on the God who rescued Israel out of bondage – the God Who made heaven and earth. To behold God is the essence of all things. Moses’ hearts desire was to see the glory of God; everything else was nothing to be compared. Even Christ, when addressing the Father on behalf of His disciples and others who were to believe, said, “to know You is eternal life.” To know God Himself – is that our one aim and ambition in life? Do we count everything rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ?  Do we??

Are we longing to see the King of kings and Lord of lords robed in majesty – His omnipotence unveiled before the eyes of all humanity – incomparably above all other phenomenal aspects? Do we long to know a sin-free glorified resurrection to where we can look upon Him and live and so worship Him perfectly?

It is Christ – the Alpha and the Omega – it is God our souls should yearn to behold. It shall not be the back of God (as with Moses) we shall see while He mercifully veils our eyes with His hand lest we should die; we shall see Him as He is in all His awesome glory and live. Everything else will be but shadows when we see His face.

Do we long for it, do we confidently anticipate it and are we prayerfully preparing for it?

May God restore this missing jewel in the Church!

Reposted from  Aug 30


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May 24, 2013
Memory and the Holy Spirit

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

 John wrote his detailed discourses of Jesus (almost half of the verses in John’s gospel consist of His words) approximately fifty years after Christ spoke them, yet John was able to report them verbatim because of the supernatural memory of them brought back by the Holy Spirit. The same must have been true for the other biblical writers as they recalled words and events of years before.


In a real, though different, sense, the Holy Spirit also can “bring to our remembrance” the words of Scriptures just when they are especially needed in witnessing or for personal guidance or some other need. This will only be operational, of course, if they have first been stored in our memory, either by direct memorization or by such frequent reading and studying of the Bible as to make it a part of our subconscious memory.


Recall how the unlearned fisherman Peter was able to quote long passages of Scripture when he needed them (see, for example, Acts 2:16-21, 25-28, 34-35). He had apparently spent much time in studying and even memorizing key portions of the Old Testament. Jesus, of course, frequently quoted Scripture in His conversations, and Paul quoted Scripture abundantly in his epistles. Should we not do the same?


Scripture memorization has been a great blessing to many Christians over the years but seems to have become almost a lost art in this day and age. Nevertheless, Christ has promised answered prayer: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you” (John 15:7). So, as Paul urged, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). HMM

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An Answer in Suffering

by John D. Morris, Ph.D. | Dec. 18, 2012

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)

The words of this verse have much to say concerning a ministry such as ICR’s and have been oft-discussed in these pages. In short, they consist of a mandate to be always prepared to give a systematic, logical (scientific, if necessary) defense of one’s faith, with the proper motives and attitudes, of course. Let us today place the verse in its immediate context, verses 13 through 17.

Normally one would not expect opposition for doing good, but such a situation must be expected, particularly if a person is a zealous follower of good (as in v. 13). Such a person is enthusiastic about his cause, not in an irrational way, but a wholehearted way. This intimidates and infuriates those who “loved darkness . . . because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14). Our natural response of fear need not overtake us, for Peter warns us to be prepared, and he gives several commands. First, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (v. 15). He must occupy the supreme position in our hearts. Next, we must “be ready always” with our defense. This implies forethought, study, and preparation. Lastly, he insists we must maintain “a good conscience” (v. 16), a lifestyle so pure and blameless that any accusations will be to the shame of the accusers.

It may be, however, that in spite of our walk with the Lord, our preparation and lifestyle, unjust persecution may come. It may be in “the will of God” (v. 17) for us. If so, so be it, “for it is better . . . that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.” JDM

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114. Hebrew OT: BHS (Consonants Only)
115. Hebrew OT: BHS (Consonants & Vowels)
116. Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex
117. Hebrew OT: WLC (Consonants Only)
118. Hebrew OT: WLC (Consonants & Vowels)
119. Hebrew OT: BHS Transliterated
120. Hebrew OT: WLC Transliterated

121. Paleo-Hebrew OT (BHS)
122. Paleo-Hebrew OT (WLC)

123. Hebrew Bible: OT and NT

124. Hungarian: Karoli

125. Icelandic

126. Italian: Giovanni Diodati Bible (1649)
127. Italian: Riveduta Bible (1927)

128. Indonesian – Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari (BIS)
129. Indonesian – Terjemahan Baru (TB)
130. Indonesian – Terjemahan Lama (TL)

131. Japanese: NT Portions

132. Kabyle NT

133. Korean

134. Latin: Biblia Sacra Vulgata

135. Latvian New Testament

136. Lithuanian

137. Maori

138. Norwegian: Parallel
139. Norwegian: Det Norsk Bibelselskap (1930)

140. Polish: Biblia Gdanska

141. Portugese Bible

142. Romanian: Cornilescu

143. Russian: Synodal Translation (1876)
144. Russian: Victor Zhuromsky NT
145. Russian koi8r

146. Shuar New Testament

147. Spanish: Biblia Paralela
148. Spanish: La Biblia de las Americas (1997)
149. Spanish: La Nueva Biblia de los Hisp. (2005)
150. Spanish: Reina Valera Gomez (2010)
151. Spanish: Reina Valera (1909)
152. Spanish: Sagradas Escrituras (1569)

153. Swedish: Parallel
154. Swedish (1917)

155. Swahili NT

156. Tagalog: Ang Dating Biblia (1905)

157. Thai: from KJV

158. Turkish

159. Ukrainian NT

160. Uma New Testament

161. Vietnamese (1934)

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June 11, 2012

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Genesis Through The Jesus Lens

Do you remember the stories of Noah, Abraham, and Joseph? These are all stories from Genesis. But what does the first book of the Old Testament have to do with Jesus? You might be surprised.

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  06.11.12 Monday


Do you remember the stories of Noah, Abraham, and Joseph? These are all stories from Genesis. But what does the first book of the Old Testament have to do with Jesus? You might be surprised.

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The Signs That Jesus is Coming Soon!

Posted on May 25, 2012

Jesus is Coming Soon!

Many people believe there is nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord’s return because Jesus said He would return like a ”thief in the night” (Matthew 24:42-44).

But Paul makes it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 that Jesus’ statement does not apply to believers:”But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief…” He then proceeds to explain why: ”for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” Paul is referring, of course, to the light of the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers and who can enlighten us through our study of Scripture to know the season of the Lord’s return (1 John 2:27).

God‘s Attitude

As a matter of fact, God is obligated by His character to warn the world of the imminent return of His Son. The reason is that Jesus is returning in great wrath to ”judge and wage war” (Revelation 19:11), and God never pours out His wrath without warning.

God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God always warns before He executes His wrath. He warned the world through Noah for 120 years. He warned Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Nineveh, and He sent Nahum to the same city 150 years later.

Likewise, God is warning the world today that His Son is about to return. He is calling the world to repentance. The message of the hour to unbelievers can be summed up in these words: “Flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now.” Jesus came the first time as an expression of God’s love; He came to die for the sins of Mankind. But when He returns, He will come in vengeance to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected God’s love and grace.

The soon return of Jesus also carries with it a message for believers. Lukewarm Christians and carnal Christians are being called to commit their lives to holiness: ”The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:12-14).

God’s Method of Warning

God is alerting believers of the soon return of His Son through what are called “signs of the times.” These are prophecies concerning world events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the season of the Lord’s return.

The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return of Jesus.

In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of them. The best way I have found to do this is to put them in categories:

1) The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11).

This is the least respected category of signs for several reasons. For one thing, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, “There have always been natural calamities, so what else is new?” Note that Jesus says these signs will be like ”birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8) — that is, they will increase in frequency and intensity as the time draws near for His return. In other words, there will be more intense earthquakes and more frequent ones. That is exactly what is happening today.

Another reason these signs are given little respect is because most Christians are so rationalistic that they do not really believe in the supernatural, and they therefore find it difficult to believe that God speaks to the world through signs of nature. Yet, the Bible teaches this principle from start to finish.

God dealt with the world’s sin through a great flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 6). He called the nation of Judah to repentance through a terrible locust invasion (Joel 1). In like manner, He called for the nation of Israel to repent by sending drought, wind storms, mildew, locusts, famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6-10). The prophet Haggai pointed to a drought as evidence that God was calling the people to get their priorities in order (Haggai 1:10-11).

The New Testament begins with a special light in the heavens marking the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). On the day that Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of darkness and an earthquake (Matthew 27:45-51). And when Jesus returns, the earth will experience the greatest earthquake in its history as every mountain is lowered, every valley is raised, and every island is moved (Revelation 16:17-21).

God has always spoken through signs of nature, and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them.

2) The Signs of Society — Jesus said that society will become increasingly lawless and immoral as the time approaches for His return. In fact, He said it would become as evil as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:12,37-39).

Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism — that is, a society wallowing in despair. Men’s minds will become depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are exporting our nihilism around the world through our immoral and violent movies and television programs.

3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual signs that we are to watch for. The negative ones include the appearance of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3), an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9).

These negative spiritual signs began to appear in the mid-19th Century when Christian cults started forming. First came the Mormons, then the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then a great variety of spiritualist groups like the Church of Christ Scientists and the Unity Church.

The apostasy of the mainline Christian denominations began in the 1920′s when the German school of higher criticism invaded American seminaries and undermined the authority of the Scriptures, teaching that the Bible is Man’s search for God rather than God’s revelation to Man.

During the 1960′s Satanism exploded on the American scene and has since been exported worldwide through American movies, books, and television programs. Dabbling in the occult has become commonplace in the form of astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental meditation, and channeling. The whole trend has consummated in the appearance of the New Age Movement with its teaching that Man is God.

As society has secularized, true Christianity has come under increasing attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them are castigated as “intolerant fundamentalists” by the media.

The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been ”sealed up” until the end times (Daniel 12:4,9).

As with the negative signs, we are seeing these positive signs fulfilled in our day and time. Through the use of modern technology, the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world in this Century, and the Bible has been translated into all major languages.

The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it ”the latter rain” (Joel 2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their land. The state of Israel was re-established in 1948. In 1949 God anointed two ministries that would have a worldwide impact — the ministries of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. Then, in the 60′s, came the Charismatic Movement which prompted renewal in worship and gave emphasis to the continuing validity of the gifts of the Spirit.

The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had been ”sealed up” until the end times (Daniel 12:49). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!

4) The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot be understood apart from modern technology. For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation 13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not be possible apart from computers and lasers.

Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew 24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power is likely contained in Luke’s statement that men in the end times will ”faint from fear” because ”the powers of the heavens will be shaken”(Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of the atom.

5) The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time geopolitical map.

The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the ”remote parts of the north,” the nation of ”Rosh” — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6). There will also be a threatening nation to the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million — namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately surround it. They will covet the land and will try to take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2).

Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44Daniel 7:7,23-24, and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8).

Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).

6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important.

The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the ”four corners of the earth” in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible states that a consequence of this regathering will be the re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom and people will exclaim,”This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35).

Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.

Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3).

All these signs have been fulfilled in this century. The nation has been re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal point of world politics.

Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we should ”straighten up and lift up our heads” because ”our redemption is drawing near.”

The Key Signs

The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important event that will take place in the future, He will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing happens to them, the important event will also occur.

A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous “Seventy Weeks of Years” prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish people.

There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season of the Lord’s return.

The State of Israel

The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel which occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would signal His soon return.

His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35) which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to wither (Matthew 21:18-19). This was a symbolic prophecy that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.

The next day Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return (Matthew 24:33).

Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: ”Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the fig tree blossom.

We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.

The City of Jerusalem

The second key event was prophesied by Jesus in the same speech, as recorded by Luke: ”[The Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

The first half of this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., forty years after Jesus spoke the words. In that year the Romans under Titus conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews among the nations. Jerusalem remained under Gentile occupation for 1,897 years — until June 7, 1967, when Israel won the city back during the Six Day War.

The Jewish re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem is proof positive that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return. Jesus said it would mark the end of the Gentile Age.

A Call to Action

There is no way to escape the conclusion that we are living on borrowed time. The signs of the times are upon us, and they are shouting for our attention.

Are you ready? If Jesus were to return today, would He be your ”Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:11-14) or would He be your ”Holy Terror” (Revelation 6:12-17)? If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to act. Repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord that you might be saved (Acts 2:14-39).

And if you are a Christian, are you living as if Jesus might return any minute? Have you committed your life to holiness? Are you praying for the lost and witnessing for the Lord when you have an opportunity?

Are you yearning for the Lord’s return? Can you say with Paul that you are a candidate for a ”crown of righteousness” because you have lived your life ”in the love of His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?

Lamb & Lion Ministries

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Christian Books New and Old




The Believers Bible Commentary



A complete Bible commentary in one volume.
William MacDonald wrote this commentary over the course of his life and he complied it and added to it in the early 1990’s. Art Farstad edited it quite meticulously and the result is an easy to read and extremely helpful Bible commentary that always keeps Christ preeminent. The Newt Testament section is much better than the Old Testament section, which is usually the case with one volume commentaries since only so much space can be given to the big Old Testament books like Jeremiah or Ezekiel. What he does is give summaries of what is going on in the prophetic and historical books, but his section on the Psalms and Proverbs is a little more thorough. The New Testament is treated much more as a verse by verse exposition, and MacDonald does a superb job at this. The introduction to each book is also useful. An outline of the book is given, as well as answering questions about date, authorship and audience and all is done from the perspective of a firmly committed Bible believer.

Theological Background of William MacDonald

As is readily evident from this commentary, MacDonald is writing from a Dispensational viewpoint. He is a mild Calvinist. He is also a firm believer in applying a New Testament church pattern today. He was associated with the group of churches that are sometimes referred to as “Plymouth Brethren,” although he said he hated that title because it divides the church.

Who Was William MacDonald?
William MacDonald taught at Emmaus Bible College from 1947-1965 and was the president of that school from 1959-1965. He published 84 books, notably True Discipleship and My Heart My Life My All , each were concise, practical and had a devotional aspect to them. He lived what he preached, which is more than most ministers can say. He called Christians to live simply and practically, using their extra resources for the Lord’s work. I remember visiting his apartment – a small one bedroom flat. It had a few book shelves, a desk and an electric keyboard. Nothing was fancy, but he would often invite young people over to encourage them in their Christian walk. I think that afternoon was one of the most influential afternoons in my entire life.


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Christian Books New and Old: The Believers Bible Commentary: A complete Bible commentary in one volume . William MacDonald wrote this commentary over the course of his life and he complied it and adde.

The sign directly in front of Emmaus Bible College

The sign directly in front of Emmaus Bible College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The front of Emmaus Bible College

The front of Emmaus Bible College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Logo of Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa.

Logo of Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




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Blood Sacrifice: Why Is Sacrifice Important to God?.

Blood Sacrifice | TE Hanna | Of Dust and Kings

One of the most common criticisms leveled against Christianity is the argument that this “God of love” is, in reality, a violent, bloodthirsty deity with an unhealthy appetite for blood sacrifice. After all, what sort of God connects forgiveness with the slaughter of innocent animals? Were blood sacrifice in vogue today, we certainly would be guilty of any number of animal rights violations, not to mention that modern psychology identifies the killing of animals to be an early marker for sociopathy. When seen from our modern vantage point, the blood sacrifice of the Old Testament is an understandable issue.

Definition of Sacrifice

In fact, the first seven chapters of Leviticus are replete with the laws concerning various forms of animal sacrifice. These are:

  • Burnt offerings, whereby the animal is sacrificed, drained of blood, and then completely consumed by fire.

  • Grain offerings (sometimes referred to as meat offerings in the KJV, as the Old English definition of ‘meat’ often referred simply to food), whereby grain or other foods from the field are presented and consumed by fire.

  • Peace offerings, whereby an animal is sacrificed, cleaned, cooked on the altar, and eaten as a shared meal. This is most typically a lamb.

  • Sin and guilt offerings, whereby a priest offers a blood sacrifice on behalf of the sin of another, the offering is then cleaned, cooked, and eaten by the priesthood.

The very fact that the opening seven chapters of Leviticus detail specifically how these are to be done belies the significance which blood sacrifice had to ancient Israelite worship. It still leaves the question unanswered, however… why does God demand blood sacrifice?

Animal Sacrifice

To get to the heart of this, we have to backtrack. The birth of monotheism was with Abraham*, as God revealed Himself and made covenant. It was this covenant which eventually brought forth Israel. In the ancient world, however, covenant was signified through sacrifice. An animal would be killed, its lifeblood drained, and the carcass cut in half. The two individuals making the pact would then walk, together, between the two halves of the slain animal, which signified the gravity of the vow they had made. The implication was that, should either of them violate the covenant, may the one in violation fall victim to the same fate which befell the slain beast before them. Covenant was a big deal.

So it was that, when God made covenant with Abraham, He did it in the only manner which Abraham understood – through sacrifice. This is important, because it reveals an aspect of God that is central to Christian theology: God meets us where we are, and leads us forward. Sacrifice, from this point forward, was centered around the covenant which God made with Abraham. Burnt offerings and grain offerings were offerings of livelihood, offering up to God that which we rely on, reminding us that our hope is found in God alone. Sin and guilt offerings were offerings of covenant restoration, offered on behalf of the priesthood, restoring those who had violated the covenant back into relationship with God. Peace offerings were similar, but directed at the community. The sacrificed animal would be cooked and the meal shared, that relationship with one another may be restored.

Of course, God was very clear to set limits on sacrifice, and would eventually deal with the practice itself. When Abraham was sent to offer up Isaac, his son, this was a matter of establishing proper boundaries for sacrifice. There, in Canaan, it was common practice to sacrifice the first-born child to one of the pagan gods, in the hope of slaking the deity’s wrath and preserving the lives of future children in a time where infant mortality was abysmally high. God, through Abraham’s obedience, changed this practice for His followers. Sacrifice was limited to animals that were sources of food, not children. By the Exodus, in fact, sacrifice was explicitly linked to food offerings, as the lamb slain at Passover was to be eaten as part of the ritual. In time, however, even the covenant meaning which was the basis for blood sacrifice became lost, and animal sacrifice was reduced to a ritual. Thus, by Hosea, we hear the lament of the Lord, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” (Hosea 6:6-7)

The End of Blood Sacrifice

So it was that Jesus ended sacrifice for all time. The covenant with Abraham was that God would make him the father of many nations, and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The fulfillment of that covenant was met in His son, Jesus. The quintessential blood sacrifice under the Old Covenant was represented in the Passover lamb. This lamb would be brought forth three days prior to Passover, and observed for three days to make sure it was without blemish or defect. On the third day, Passover Eve, the lamb would be sacrificed, drained of blood, cooked, and eaten with bitter herbs. Through this, it was remembered how the blood of the lamb protected the children from death in Egypt, and set them free from their slavery.

Jesus entered Jerusalem three days prior to Passover. For three days He was tested by Caiaphas, Annas, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the teachers of the law, and finally Pontius Pilate… who declared that he found nothing wrong with Jesus. On Passover Eve, the Lamb of God was sacrificed on a cross, so that by His blood the angel of death may not claim us and we are set free from our slavery to sin. Jesus became the perfect sin offering.

The night He was betrayed, He broke bread, announcing it to be His body, broken for us. He took wine, and, giving thanks, offered it to us as His blood of the New Covenant. Through Eucharist, we partake of Jesus as the perfect peace offering.

The only offering remaining was the burnt offering and the grain offering – the offering of livelihood, freely given to remind us that our provision is found in God alone. This we still practice, but it is instead found in the offering of our livelihood delivered into a little wooden plate passed around on Sunday morning. Our livelihood has changed; so the offering has changed to match.

Blood sacrifice was necessary because it reflects a God who meets us where we are at and leads us from there. Blood sacrifice is complete, perfectly fulfilled, as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, offered Himself once for all. God still meets us where we are at. Hopefully, we still follow as He leads us home.

*Some scholars argue that monotheism began with Zoroastrianism in the Persian Empire, not with Judaism. These arguments are dependent on a late-date hypothesis pertaining to the penning of the Torah. There is significant grounding for an early-date authorship, however, which dates the penning of the opening books of Scripture to the Exodus or shortly thereafter. If we accept the early date, then Judaism preceded Zoroastrianism by nearly 600 years, and the birth of Zoroastrianism can be traced to the period of Israel’s captivity in Persia. During their captivity, Israel would certaily have exerted significant influence on the cultural philosophy out of which Zoroastrianism was born.

17 April 2012


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