Tag: Jesus Christ

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 28

On Monday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-41; John 12:12-15, the next 5 days were a totally orchestrated symphony and Christ was in complete control as the conductor. There was no event, incidence, or accidental event that took place, He was in complete control. When the Pharisees and Sadducees saw Him riding on the foal, they hated Him with a deeper passion than ever before. The Romans paid Him no mind.
The crowd, this day was made up of Galileans. This is very important for they were disciples of Christ in most cases. Thursday and Friday’s crowd was made up of Judeans, quite a different crowd. Coming into Jerusalem was an “in your face” move by the Lord. What were the enemies of Christ going to do with Him? The Pharisees were forced to take “the Law into their own hands.” “the Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after Him.” John 12:19 Christ was forcing their hand, it was time to go home!!
This was a different Jesus this week, He was on a mission, His face was set toward His death and nothing would be allowed to stop that. The parable of the fig tree, Matthew 21: 18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 symbolized the nation of Israel. They looked like the picture of health, they were in fact the tree of no fruit unto their God!! Christ cursed that tree!! If we bear no fruit, He will declare unto us; ‘depart, I never knew, you.”
He went on to the temple, entered it and found thieves and robbers. Jesus was God with a temper, He began to drive them out of the temple, declaring; “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” The temple was suppose to be the place of worship, a place to give reverence to God, look what they had done to it!! When the Jews had come to worship, they had used the Hebrew shekel in exchange from the Greek drachmas or Roman denari; the rate of exchange was exorbitant, they were robbing the people who were showing their devotion to God! Jesus was not a coward, He was not a push-over, He was a man’s man; He took a whip and began to run them out of the temple. Then came the signal event of the day; the Gentiles ask Philip to introduce them to Jesus!! John 12:21 Suddenly, there was a second audible message from Heaven. “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” John 12:28 The intent was to tell Christ as the Jewish world was listening, “if the Jew rejects Christ, the Gentiles will not.”
Tuesday was the busiest day for Christ. When He had cleansed the temple, the Pharisees ask Him what authority allowed Him to do this. He answered with a question, Matthew 21:23-27 He answers them using three parables (He did not intend them to understand!) The parable of the two sons (the second son was the Gentile), the parable of the householder that planted a vineyard (“How oft would I have gathered thee as a hen doth her brood, and you would not.”, and the wedding banquet (“in Christ” you put on the wedding garment. You cannot come into Christ kingdom declaring yourself a Jew and that is all, ‘cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14). Seems some “church folk” might not enter the kingdom, but harlots and publicans could and would!! Jerusalem was God’s town, the temple was God’s residence and the Jew had refused God!!
Then, humanity tried to debate Deity! If none of us could read, we would know the outcome!! “Render unto Caesar” and “who’s wife shall she be” was asked to mock Christ. Jesus answered: “it is My time, your foolishness is contemptible”, ”Who was the Son of David?” “I Am the resurrection and the life.” When He went to leave the temple, He wept over their insolence and mockery, for they were the leaders of the people who had been chosen to bring the Messiah into the world! Matthew 23:37 In Matthew 24, He berated the preachers of His gospel: “if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants and to eat and drink (as though nothing is going to happen as Christ had prophesied, He concludes with parables to His Church!!”
Wednesday, nothing is mentioned concerning our Lord. What we find is the deliberate intent of Judas to deliver our Lord. “In two days the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” Satan called an impromptu meeting of his followers in a secret session; “kill Him” they decided.

Is Christ, the Creator God? Part 4

From the study of Christ turning water into wine, we have found our way to the “rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:4-7 Knowing that the Jewish custom of “purifying”( John 2:6) was still in place in the minds of the Jewish people, the purpose of the 6th covenant came into view. From the 6th covenant, which prefigured the death of Christ on Calvary, we went OT 6th day of creation, when, again, all had not been completed in the grand scheme of the ages. These re-occurring themes teach us the reason “God rested on the sabbath.” The Creator God, Christ, had done all that He had planned to do “in the beginning” waited the finality of His work, which had been pre-determined to be done, awaiting the purpose of making mankind. The end of our existence “has now been brought to light.” 2 Timothy 1:10 No man or wisdom could have understood this as designed, so Christ came and lived the “days of purification, until the offering should be made.” Acts 21:26 Again in Esther, we have been taught the “sacrifice for the salvation of the people” would undergo purification. Esther 2:3 This was pictured in the purifying processes given Israel after they came out of Egypt in Numbers 19:9. “It shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.” So, Christ “in the end of the Jewish economy,” gave Himself so what had established, the process of purification under type in Moses, could be accomplished by Christ in His death. At the end of the six days of creation, the Creator God was not finished. He had brought “things” into existence so He could then finalize the plan instituted by the Father, to forgive we who are members of His body, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh,” that which He affectionately calls His “it.” Psalms 118:24, Mathew 16:18, Galatians 3:27, Revelation 21:22,23,24,26
Entering the discussion of Hebrews is quite beneficial. Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit had introduced a “rest” to which the unbelieving Jew had been invited!! One fails to understand which “rest” is being discussed when one fails to know of whom and about what the examples of the non-believing, non-continuing Old Covenant Jew had forfeited. So no one would draw the wrong conclusion, Paul, by the inspiration of Holy Spirit, mentions the rest again in David. If the Jew had thought the rest was the promised land, they would be as confused as we when we think the Creator God finished His word of creation on the 6th day, the day of purification. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest (he who had laid down the working tools of life is finally finished. For this Christ had created man!! He did not not make us just to return to dirt!!), He has ceased (something that was never stated about the physical creation of 6 days, which leaves out all the denominations of man) from His own works. For if Joshua had given them rest (the promised land was not that rest, Christ work with man would be completed), then would He not afterward have spoken of another day (when the it would be brought into existence.) Hebrews 4:8-10 This “other day” was the “new day” of the “new creation” which the “new Creator” would bring into being after the “days of purification” had ended!! “The right hand of the Lord ( an appellation for Christ) is exalted: the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me sore: but He has not given me over unto death (physical death is never my end). Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them (the gates of the righteous, the forgiven), and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter (the Church of Christ). I will praise Thee: for Thou hast heard me (the hungry and thirsty has been filled, the pure in heart has seen the God of their salvation, the mourner has been given the answer to life), and are become my salvation. The stone (brother) which the builders (Jewish people) refused is become the head (1 Peter 2:7) stone of the corner.” When was this to be, brother Peter? “This is the day (of the new creation) which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:16-29
“Today, in the new dispensation, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, you can repent and be baptized for the remission of sin and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and be added to the Church of Christ. For we have a High Priest, in this new dispensation, which CAN get us to the Throne and obtain mercy and grace, in the time of need.” Thank God for Christ Jesus our Lord!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 27

When the kingdom of grace and mercy has been brought to an end, when there is no longer probation or forgiveness of sin, when there is no distinction between the kingdom of grace and the “everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”, 2 Peter 1:10-11, Christ, shall cease to exercise the distinction in purpose or dominion He was given to fulfill, THEN, God will be “all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28 They have withheld Their identity so much, that we do not even know their individual names if They who are of that nature even have such!! At this juncture there will no need for the distinction between the persons of the glorious Trinity to exist. The Trinity will not have to act in separate parts or roles, for the purpose of this “role playing,” having ended, has ceased, have been fulfilled and completed as fashioned and designed, the personalities of Deity, which will never cease as separate and individual, will be as They were before the great “plan of the ages, the mystery of God” began!! THEN, for the first time, we who have “remained faithful unto death” will see Him as He is!! 1 John 3:2 Just think!!, for the first time, we will be able to see Christ “as He is.”
When you see people in roles, they are different that thy are when not functioning in those roles. A man is different in different roles-father, husband, provider, teacher. Many times we do not really know the real man. I was never more understanding of this truth until I saw my father after the death of my mother. He was seemingly a completely different man. I knew him in part, not as the whole! As a son, I never saw him in his totality as a man. Sometimes we see our friends as job associates, church associates, family associates and fail to see the whole. We saw Christ as He was in the Old Testament. Here, He was aloof, impersonal, and forced to be separated; for in that covenant(s) no one was of His kind, nature, or person. “For all had sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Truly, then, we never really SAW our Lord, as He is. When on earth, He was a servant, a sacrifice, an obedient Son who was doing the “will of the Father” taking all the abuse, reviling, and punishment of the sacrificed Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world (church),” again, we never REALLY saw Him “as He is.” After His resurrection we saw Him pictured as different, authoritative, and intensive, determined to establish the apostles in heart and mind. Still, we did not know Him “as He is.” We are told more about Him as High Priest and King, after His resurrection, but STILL, we do not know Him “as He is.” But, when all has been completed, distinctions are ended, roles have been put aside as finished; we who have “fought a good fight and finished our course and kept the faith,” for the first time, “will see Him as He is.” This word “is” is the Greek word pas, it means the totality.
It was the prayer of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane; “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24 It may have never occurred to many of us that NO one has ever seen our Lord as He is, was, and will be for eternity. They who serve Him with honesty of heart and purpose await a great delight not even recognized by some. The resurrection of Christ was the first, the first of a kind, it preceded what WE will be and are. Man has NEVER known who or what he is, as with the final reality of Christ being seen, the final reality of the redeemed man shall be known!! The question asked so many times; “Who am I?” will finally be answered!! Christ is the first fruits of our kind and the first fruits of our reality.
The outside world cannot “know” us, for we have been advanced far beyond the physical, social, and spiritual relationships that they might understand. The world has never had the spiritual delight of a single time with our God in prayer, in worship, in His rapturous love. They cannot know that about us. We are different, yet like them in other ways. You cannot expect them to “know”! Our kind have been stoned, cut asunder, tempted, slain with the sword; wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world is not worthy!! and if they did know, they did not know us, for as yet “we have not received the promise!!” The unchristian world cannot know our dignity, our joys, our enjoyments as they can never know we are the favorites of God headed to Heaven, but look upon us as failures. This is the way the world looked upon our Lord when He cried; “it is finished,” even our brethren tell us He was a failure. Oh!! what they don’t know!!

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero Part 3

What a privilege it would be to be invited to such a meeting. Paul, the greatest human apostle of all time, called his high and mighty Jewish brethren, to his “own hired house,” and read the right act for not obeying the teachings of the Law of Moses! Paul alludes to this provision of “LODGING.” This was pre-Judiastic, what was taught in Judaism, and carried on until the first half of this past century among our brethren. Mentioned when writing to Philemon (a good Jewish name) in Philemon 1:22. “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers, I shall be given unto you.” Many do not appreciate what God had in mind for this room, the best room of the house, for traveling Jews. It not only provided them fellowship, it gave the the proper diet (for they ate with one of their own who would eat the food of the Jewish law), it showed the hospitality demanded of the Lord. The statement “foxes have holes and birds have nest; but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head” picks up a special meaning not often seen. When Lot had the “strangers” under his roof he showed that he felt personally responsible for them. Genesis 19:8 When Abraham sent his servant to find Rebekah for Isaac, arriving at her brother Laban’s house the scriptures teach: “And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. And the man came into the house and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat until I have told mine errand. “ Genesis 24:31-33 One of Job’s claims to integrity and honor was the same: “The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveler.” Until the last half of this century, it was considered sinful to “put up the traveling evangelist” in a motel room; he was invited into the home of most well to do in the church and treated like a king, not a stranger!!
Paul had a lot to complain about and these Jews were rightfully put in their place. These men had handed Paul an insult that ignored the “right of the traveler.” Put on the defensive by their abuse of a fellow traveler, these uppity-ups were schooled in “entertaining strangers.” Hebrews 13:2 Maybe this is enough on this subject, but I just wanted you to see this was a common practice of decency from the beginning of time and they had ignored it, they allowed Paul to be turned over to a Roman soldier!! That covers verse 16 and 17.
When Paul called for the important Jews to come to his house, more came than were expected. You can see why, overcome with the love for souls, the apostle determines to win them to Christ. When assembled the gospel preacher had his audience.
Paul again declares innocence. As mentioned before, this put them at a disadvantage because some of those who had been thrown out of Rome had no doubt been guilty of subversion—they were Jews! Oh! the way our ears would have burned to hear this great apostle defend his Lord, not for 15 or 20 minutes but from morning til evening!! The subject—the Church of Christ. What greater to the liking of Paul than a discussion of the Lord’s bride. For all our 7th Day Adventist friends, notice Paul reasoned with them out of the law of Moses AND the prophets. One another occasion something like this happened and the Word said: “their hearts burned within them!!
He began with the Old Testament Scriptures. If you ever get an opportunity to speak to those who think themselves Jews, start and stay with the Old Testament. You will be wasting valuable time citing the New Testament. “Some believed” while “some did not believe.” The gospel was delivered. Paul had their blood off his hands. If you ever think the gospel should be preached and an invitation to obey left silent, look at this example!!
“Well spoke the Holy Spirit.” Again, for the Jehovah”s Witnesses, the Holy Spirit can both speak, deliver, and defend the truth better than anyone. Wonder how many of these knew there was such a being as the Holy Spirit? Wonder if they knew He gave the Old Testament scriptures to their prophets and Moses? Isaiah they knew, but the Holy Spirit was a New testament concept; “they had not so much as heard if there be such a Being as the Holy Spirit!” The problem with these men was not the speaker (for all you who blame yourself when the person is not converted), it is their HEART!!

Is Christ, the Creator God? Part 3

“He took away the first, that He might establish the second.” Everything about the work of Christ was to show Him the Creator God. He would leave “no stone unturned,” no priesthood intact, nor no command unchanged. In His day, the end of the Mosaic Age had come, the changing over from the powers that had reigned for previous worlds (ages) and new powers (authority), the new order under was the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Christ had come to finish what had been left undone in the Garden of Eden, the seventh day of creation was at hand!!
In Hebrews 4:1-10, the apostle declares the greater benefit we have under the covenant of Christ than the Jew had under the law of Moses or the Gentile had under the Patriarchal dispensation. We have a promise left us of entering into the rest of Christ, the Creator, to which they were never invited. This is the rest of the soul, the eternal part of our being which many do not ever think has been in conflict or battle. It would be a covenant-related dispensation with the Father and no man of any previous age could have so entered. This promise of spiritual rest which the covenant of Christ brings has no equal in any other covenant. Not only has Christ promised us “rest,” He proposed to allow each of us in this new covenant order to live the rest of our allotted existence with Him in the presence of His fellow deities and their companies of angels. This promise and proposal IS proclaimed in the last will and testament of Jesus Christ. It was NEVER conceived to become a reality with man under other covenants. God was not finished in the first week of time with what and why He had created man. There was truly a promise and proposal for something greater to come!! This was truly “something that had not entered into the heart of man.” When the fellowship with God was cut off in the Garden of Eden, no hint was ever given that one day fellowship with God could be restored. There was a HINT that sin might be forgiven, this was seen in the gospel preached in the Old Covenant by the sacrifice of the perfect lambs, but NEVER that man could re-enter that precious abode of fellowship with They of this superior nature. With heightened wonder and fellowship Adam and Eve could have never conceived this to be true. It NOW is possible. It is now Our business and this we must understand and realize, so we will NEVER LOOSE THIS GOAL. We must intend to lay claim on the promise and proposal offered us in this new covenant, not allowing anyone or anything to stop it from being our reality. Satan and our fleshly desires, by which man is kept under the domain and slavery of sin, deprive us of the soul rest we were intended to have. We stay in a battle some do not even know they are in. We all understand that when man rest, physically speaking, he does so because of extensive labor, but the soul is never considered as being “tired” of the war with which it has been engaged from its inception. In the New Testament Covenant, we can enter that rest! To think that one day we might have perfect agreement with the Creator and They of His nature, having been set free from the yoke of bondage, the promise that is introduced to us of spending eternity in heaven is not such a far fetched dream!!
There are three rest mentioned in this passage; the rest of the sabbath, the rest given when the Jew came out of Egypt, and the rest when Joshua brought them into the land of promise. He did not speak of the first rest, it having happened so long ago, or of the rest of Joshua when they had received the promised land, He is speaking of the rest “awaiting the children of God” in the new and heavenly kingdom of Christ. This was the end of man God had in mind for man when He created man. This is the image shown in the sabbath when He had created man. The argument from the future of rest is not so clear as that history from the past when God had rescued man from the throng of Egyptian soldiers who was in their very midst; but the Jew of the past was not allowed entry into the rest of God because of unbelief. They sent 12 spies, disbelieved the report of the two faithful spies, and failed to recognize what God had done among the Egyptians He was able even to so do, now. Christ was angered and so swore in His wrath that “they shall not enter into My rest.” See what lack of faith will do!! God could not bless the faithless, because they showed contempt for His word and did not believe. We, who are their children if we do not continue, are along that same trail of unbelief when we give up on Christ along the trail of life and fail to continue.

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 26

Three Beings of superior intelligence, communication, understanding, and abilities have invited you and I to spend an endless period of time with Them without want, doubt, or necessities and some have the temerity to turn that down?? Of special interest is the price They decided to pay to procure for us such an invitation and reality. Further probing this special offering, They determined to have One of Them show man what love would do, showing the dignity and respect with which They considered our estate. In this great act of love, occurring over 6,000+ years, They determined the final week of Their representative on this planet would be filled with agonies unusual in the human experience, higher in difficulties and consequences far above any other week in the life of humanity. Yet mankind determined Them a failure and the One Representative They sent us defeated by the same mankind He created!! Imagine, some Being so high and above our nature, who created out of nothing our substance, and we have the unimaginable ridiculousness to think He could be defeated by we whom He made!! Is this not just like the stupidity of an inferior being concerning a Superior Being??
Mankind thinks to make himself be soverign lord of this special created world, so he has to make the Creator equal to himself by defining Him by standards man defines man!! Reasonable and clear-thinking humanity would immediately rebel at the thought!! If Christ was smart enough to make us would it not seem reasonable and rational that He would be smart enough to not be defeated in His purposes by what He had created?! Forget that Christ was the only Being of His kind that was ever housed in human flesh, forget that this same Christ was the creator of all things, and forget that, true to His nature, He could not fail at anything while you remember that mankind establishes Him as inferior to mankind in His death (for many of the representatives of mankind went through the same type death and agony, temptation and trial, debauchery and dishonor and yet NEVER gave way to what the elite among us think our Christ gave in to thereby denying the fulfillment of His Father’s plan and 6000+ years of planning and preparation)!! Truly, when man’s eye is dark and Satan-directed oh! how deep is that darkness!!
Aren’t you glad that this same God had the infinite intelligence to recognize that not ALL of us are this blind-sighted and recalcitrant?? Knowing His wisdom and might, we see Him offering Heaven to the man who chooses Him! These are NOT the ones who claim they love Him, these are the true, tried, and tested that PROVE they chose Him and that by the way they obey the precepts of His new testament! These are not the ones who claim His lordship, then violently disobey His commands because they prefer the doctrines and emotions of man to the non-human and beyond human commands. The ones invited are we who have prepared our hearts to do whatsoever His written Word has demanded!! The rationality behind some of His commands escape us. What is rational about dipping our human bodies in water and telling us that would save? What is rational about instructing the baptized sons and daughters to gather once a week and partake of tasteless unleavened bread and non-fermented fruit of the vine to show our love for Him? Explain the human rationality behind His command to sing, preach, pray, give, and partake of His supper when we meet to worship instead of doing things man would like!! Tell us why mankind has not picked up on the fact that the commands of our Lord have to be higher than man’s thoughts and not give way to the emotions, feelings, and experiences that humanity would dictate? Yet, mankind will say; “I see not blood in the waters of baptism” or “why every first day of the week do you partake of the Lord’s Supper,” or “the services of the Church of Christ are boring compared to the emotional, sensational, assemblies of our denominational church? Why tell mankind “sprinkling water on someone is just as good as immersing them in a tank!!” Isn’t it interesting that the same denominational bodies that reject His commands for baptism that demand an understanding that salvation cannot precede or follow anything else are the same denominations that reject His demands for worship as He has commanded?? Is it not rational, then to think that the “feel good, gonna have my experience of joy salvation testimony, sprinkled, and entertained when I assemble” sinner will not make the cut when Christ comes back?? “The blind lead the blind, and they all will fall in the ditch” seems to fit best describing this mis-lead sojourner!!

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero Part 2

Can you imagine meeting with the apostle Paul for 8 hours WITHOUT the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, just the knowledge he had gained from his being taught by that same Spirit!! The leader of the “sect everywhere spoken against” had called the “important” Jews in Rome on the carpet and would “read them the right act” for their treatment of a fellow member of their ancestry with credible credentials!! He, again, “withstood them to the face, for they were to be blamed” for the treatment of Paul when they had recently just received the same type treatment from Nero when he had run them out of Rome!! Whether they were falsely accused or no, Paul wanted them to emphatically know he was NOT and therefore did not deserve such treatment!! “men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs or our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of.” Acts28:17-19
How ridiculous it was for them to treat a fellow member of their nation, boycotting him to receive treatment so poorly. Worse, they did not even know of or about Paul, “we neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee.” Acts 28:21 “When we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.” Paul was insulted that men of such standing among the Jews would treat a member of their own nation in such fashion!! These men had not heard of Paul, but, they had heard of Christ and Christianity and were eager, like Herod was to see Jesus, to discuss this matter. They were not inviting them to their houses (they could not invite him to their synagogue, for Nero would not allow one to be built, there), but they did come in to his “hired house.” Whether they believed his message, one thing they had to believe, he was intensely sincere in defending himself against all the false causes of which he had been accused. If that said nothing, it did tell them he was doubly sincere in his belief. No, Paul was not in shackles but he was assigned to a certain soldier to await the meeting with Nero. What also made Paul a little indignant was that 3 days had passed and they had not inquired of him!!
That is the background, what is most important to you and I is the meeting from “morning til evening” There are not many occasion we might want to be the insect in the corner of the room, but this would have been one of them. Their attitude was typically Jewish. They indicted him by saying; “tell us of this sect, for we know it is everywhere spoken, against.” They had asked to hear of Christianity, he delivered. How many teachings in the law of Moses have we ever wondered about? How many statements of the prophets? Paul was not vindicating himself, excusing his situation and complaining about his poor treatment, Paul was busy “being about the Father’s business.” He was trying to convert these men to Christ, and no doubt did , some of them!!
The best and the brightest was imploring these of station and rank to give up that for which they had just suffered extradition. Notice: Paul “expounded and testified.” To expound is to set forth, expose, support with fact and conviction. Paul, got emotionally involved in his preaching. He never “put his listeners to sleep” boring them with nauseating facts about which they were not interested. “Testified,” this is not the word used most in denominational circles. This word means to affirm with conviction and emotion. Paul was after their souls, he knew who and what he was up against therefore he delivered his message to and with all the power of persuasion and factual information that was available. You and I have read some of his speeches, imagine the power and enthusiasm with which this was undertaken. The beauty of truth is never more seen than in controversy. Controversy and debate makes truth shine like no other vehicles. False teachers shy away from this type confrontation because they know the weaknesses of their positions will not stand up to investigation. Desperation, sometimes demands that a preacher use every bit of power and force available. Here, the apostle used it all. His concluding speech is recorded. It shows the desperation felt in his heart. He goes beyond the argument to emotion. He had souls to save and shows us how!! Some of us aught to read this and learn!!

Is Christ, the Creator God? Part 2

We read of the miracle of turning water into wine and of the custom of the Jews to purify their water pots for drinking and never tie the two together. Purifying was the work He came to do and marriage was the way He was to accomplish this work. No miracles had He yet worked and only a few believed on Him at this time. What was our Lord, by this miracle, trying to teach us!! We don’t see that the custom of the Jews for purifying was no longer to be practiced, and what the Jewish religion practiced as “purification” was to be changed to something “brand new” by Him who creates ALL THINGS!! When the old “heavens and earths” were shaken, the Jewish custom would be taken out of the way. This would occur when they were “nailed to the cross” Their Law had “reigned in heaven” by controlling the thoughts of man. Their Laws would fall before the Lord when He would “roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem.” Christ would spoil “principalities and powers” and come triumphantly from the grave, establishing forever the credibility of His claim as “King of Kings.” It would be after the “sun was turned into darkness and the moon into blood, and the stars had fallen.” These things happened at the cross. They, according to to Joel and Acts, were to precede the declaration of God, giving His invitation to all the world, and there were to be signs in heaven above and earth beneath. These came about, at the cross!! When this occurred, the scriptures tell us He would “shake the heavens and the earth.” A NEW covenant was coming from the throne of God, for He was to take away the first that He may establish, the second, had come!!
There may be some who get confused with using the term “falling” as a means of description. We talk about Iraq falling when Saddam Hussein was overthrown. Iraq did not literally “fall,” but the powers and the magistrates that governed her did lose their power to govern. Jerusalem “fell” for the last time, when Christ had put an end to her by His death at Calvary. There remains one more government that is to be shaken and taken out of the way, there. When this “shaking” occurred, time would cease, Revelation 10:6 Mutuality would vanish away; denominationalism, paganism, and Satanism would no more deceive, influence we who have been predetermined, the “saved,“ for which He came, would be bought by His blood!! The Creator God would then “make all things new.”
When this “shaking” took place, a NEW government with NEW powers and NEW borders would take the place of the old. The old Jewish theocracy would be ended and a new dispensation would be set up. In Revelation 6:12, we see people who were crying out for salvation unto God, salvation had come. We see them as they stood in the presence of the Lamb of God, for the Lamb is living among them; we see them as their robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb, we see these people who should never hunger and thirst after righteousness, for now the “bread of life” had come from the Father. He came in glory, majesty, and power when on the 50th day after the Passover, He sent the Holy Spirit with the message of salvation by His apostles to all the world. Not until the 6th seal was opened did the blood of Christ become effective. The blood of the cross became effective and delivered the fatal blow to all kingdoms, dominions and powers on that day!! Let us be glad and rejoice that Christ shook the Old Law; that He had “power” to shake it, and could loose the seals upon the book and present to us a book of salvation dedicated by His own blood, declaring that we might also have our robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb, and dwell in His presence. For while He possesses “all power, in heaven and on earth, not WHEN He possesses this power, our Lord has brought an end to the covenant of the 6th seal. The 6th seal was a covenant. If you will re-read Haggai 2:5-6, you will read “According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My spirit remains among you.”
The first miracle is no accident. It points to ALL the teaching which shines so bright in the pages of inspiration. What a beginning!! Was His hour yet to come? How often have you read and not understood? In the analysis of this miracle, did Mary know about the work of her bi-natured Son? Had Mary information or insight ? Why was Jesus AND His disciples, there? Did she “jump the gun” or was she USED OF GOD? What did THIS “hour” represent? His time when men should believe (OBEY) Him? His work was to be accomplished His death, would remove man’s sin!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 25

There are no celebrations that could match the homecoming of Christ to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Daniel 7:13-14 Only They, who are of the same nature, could plan for the joy and fulfillment His arrival brought. Human thought on this would miss what only to Deity can fulfill this expectation. Nothing within our realm can anticipate, guess, or know what reward from over 6,000 years of effort feels like when the end of that journey has been reached, but God.
Christ went home!! He will never return to the planet Earth, again!! What would He do or accomplish IF He came back here?? He has fulfilled all the Father had for Him to do, He has fulfilled every prophecy made, saved every soul that could be saved, interceded/advocated for every half brother or sister, fought every foe in every arena, and for every cause that would have stopped His tri-umphant return home, shed every ounce of blood that needed shed, and loved His Church enough to return to this planet and take Her home with Him. Why or what need would He have of ever coming back to this place? Especially when it will not even exist!! There are those who claim He is coming back to reign a 1,000 years in Jerusalem. Why? He went home and “sat down to reign”!! Hebrews 1:3 The only thing left on this planet that was worth coming back for are the bodies of His redeemed. Those bodies will be raised to meet Him at His coming!! 1 Corinthians 15:44-50 He will want nothing else!!
In the times of the Roman emperors when a victorious general returned to Rome there was always a great parade planned and executed. The whole city would turn out to welcome the great hero. As the parade began, the shouts of joy could be heard miles away. The vanquished who had fallen began the march with the citizens of Rome throwing stones, sharp pieces of metal at them jeering them as they paraded in their view. Following these were the soldiers of distinction who had fought the battle successfully, being given honor and shouts of glee from the crowd. Then, the captains and officers, with all the honor Rome could bestow, came into sight. Then, the children of the commanders could be seen. Finally, the commander himself would come into view and at his side was his wife and children. The noise level was thunderous at this point when the reigning Caesar would step out and place on this general’s head a wreath of victory. The procession length was determined by the greatness of the battle fought. This is how some think the Judgment Day will begin when Christ returns with His Bride, the Church of Christ “when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed in that day).” 2 Thessalonians 1:10
This is what the last week made possible. This is why the great commanding “captain of our salvation,” Hebrews 2:10, spent His last grueling hours on that old rugged cross and never retreated!! This is “the hope that is within us and why each purified himself,” 1 John 3:3. “Then, shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:43 He, who “spoke all things in parables,” Psalms 78:2, having kept things secret from the foundations of the world, will reward the Sons of the Most High “because we are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. He will render to them dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:7 This in and will be Heaven!!
Heaven? A place, a sphere of influence, a condition, then, a reality. Where it is and where it will be is kept secret. It be where God is, it is not where He is not-that describes, Hell. As a place, it is said to be the abode of God. The first heaven has passed away. In this “heaven” sin reigned over man and separated him from God. This earth is no more, 2 Peter 3:8-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. This “new heaven and new earth,” a new circumstance and condition where salvation is no longer anticipated but enjoyed – Isaiah 65:17;66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Hebrews 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:14 was prophesied as that which “eye had not seen, ear had not heard; neither had it entered into the heart of man what God had in store for them that love Him. But God has now revealed unto us by His Spirit: (for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 In this “heaven” we are physically here on this earth but at home with God. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 when we are “in Christ” having been added to His bride, the Church of Christ. Then, there is the “eternal” kingdom, 2 Peter 1:11!! This heaven is what Christ came from to make available to us. Friend, are you headed, home?

Paul’s Great Meeting at Rome with Nero

We have a reference from the scribe Luke, concerning one meeting we all would have like to have attended, the great meeting at Rome. When the apostle Paul was shipped to prison from his run in with Felix, he came for his trial before Nero. Imagine, the greatest living human being coming in judgment before one of the most depraved!! Luke writes: “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together and when they were come together, he said unto them, ‘Men and brethren (no, this was not an interdenominational meeting of the denominational preachers in Rome called the Ministerial Association like some of our brethren), though I have committed nothing against the people (Israel), or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” Acts 28:17 Here, he set the terms of his defense and of the debate that would follow!!
We have a short account of a long conference which Paul had with the Jews at Rome about the Christian religion. The Jews appointed the time, a day was set for this dispute, and all parties concerned might have sufficient notice. Those Jews seemed well disposed to receive conviction and yet it did not prove that they were so inclined. It is probable that these Jews at Rome, being men of larger acquaintance with the world and more generally of rank and power even in Rome, were more free to inquire than the bigoted Jews at Jerusalem and would not have had to answer to anyone else for this gathering. Though they were so far prejudiced against “the sect that everywhere was spoken against,” they seemed willing to give it a hearing. Moses had said of this people: “the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear…” Deuteronomy 29:4
Paul, with a great deal of expense and hazard, is brought prisoner to Rome, and when he has come nobody appears to prosecute him or lay anything to his charge; so he advances the situation by calling, at his own danger, those who were his qualified enemies. It was not long since, by an edict of Claudius Caesar, that all the Jews were banished from Rome, and kept out till his death; but in the five years since that time, many Jews had come again, regained the ground of influence they had lost (because of their abilities and financial connections in trade and commerce), and formed a little association of believers under the banner of the Mosaical Law. Although, they were never allowed (as far as we know) to build a synagogue in Rome or a public place of worship; these “chief of the Jews” were those of highest prominence among them. In interest of fairness, the victim most of the time does not call the victors to a summit! Their side had won the day, they had nothing to lose, only Paul was the prisoner. Paul wanted to “set things right” as we use to say at home, so no vicious rumors could get around town before Paul had unpacked his belongings!!
His opening remarks distinguish the fact that he was NOT guilty of the charges and had already been released of all charges which would bring death. He speaks to them respectively with respect, calls them men and brethren, and intimates that he expects to be treated by them both as a man and as a brother, and engages to treat them as such and to tell them nothing but the truth; for, says he “we are members one of another-or all of us are brethren.” Advancing his own innocency, and that he had not given any just occasion to mar the Jewish name or alter its standing; his own people would have no reason to afflict him or the ministry he was advancing-for they, too, had recently been run out of Rome! He also wanted them to to know that he was not intending to take advantage of their present distress by “piling on“!! After all, if anyone could join the blame game crew, it could have been Paul-nobody had thrown the Church of Christ out of Rome!! It was important for them to know that he had not advanced any position that would them to cause them to fear him as a Haman nor that he had imposed customs of the Jews upon the Gentiles, yet he seemed a little irritated that he had been delivered as a prisoner by the Jews at Jerusalem (although they would have murdered him had the Roman chief captain not stopped them)! Having already passed through four tribunals (the chief captain, Felix, Festus, and Agrippa), the only people that NOW condemned him were those who had never heard his defense; having often been tried, never denied, he was willing to be tried, again!! Conclusion: the only people that condemned him were the prejudiced-and there was no way to reason with prejudice, their minds were already made up. He had charged the Jews at Jerusalem and found them guilty!!