What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 7

For the last two installments of this series, we have been reviewing what God tells us about your Jesus through the mouth of the Son of God Himself – from His first recorded words as a child through about the first half of His ministry. Let’s pick it up from there…

Still in the region of Galilee, Jesus took a moment to teach His apostles about exercising godly compassion for those who fall off of their God path and how to help the same receive righteous correction. (Mt. 18:15 – 18.)

He then shifts His teaching to one of His role in the prayers of His followers:

“Again I say to you that if two or more of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Mt. 18:19, 20. NKJV

Jesus is saying that there is a powerful synergism created in heaven in response to corporate prayer of the saints and He joins in that synergism when the prayers are sealed in His name, to bring those prayers to fruition…

Near the end of September 29 A.D., Jesus’ brothers (those born to Joseph and Mary after His virgin birth) invited Him to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and asked Him to perform miracles there. (They did not believe He was the Messiah at this time.)

Jesus knew that this wasn’t the exact time that God wanted Him to go. He reveals this to them, as well as enlightening them with regards to His overriding purpose:

The world cannot [be expected to] hate you, but it does hate Me because I denounce it for its wicked works and reveal that its doings are evil. Jn. 7:7 AMP

The world hates the Son of God (and His followers) because He brings with Him a righteous light that exposes the darkness in the world – the sin it tries to hide or legitimize.

This is not a malevolent undertaking on the part of Christ. He is trying to get the wayward to see the seeds of their destruction and the need for embracing His salvation.

Jesus and the apostles finally do go to the Festival, whereupon Jesus entered the Temple to teach, astounding the people with His command of the scriptures, yet doing so not to glorify Himself, but His Father – as a sinless example of Him:

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Jn. 7:18 NKJV

I know Him [Myself] because I come from His [very] presence, and it was He [personally] Who sent Me. Jn. 7:29 AMP

On the last day of the Festival, Jesus returned to the Temple and spoke of His salvation promise:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Jn. 7:37, 38. NKJV

The day after the Festival, Jesus went back again to the Temple and spoke of His salvation once more:

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn. 8:12 NKJV

The Pharisees who were present in the Temple had a fit over Jesus’ revelations and demanded that He show them this ‘Father’ He is supposed to be representing. Jesus replies:

“You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also…You are from beneath; I am from above, You are of his world; I am not of this world.” Jn. 8:19 & 23. NKJV

When you have lifted up the Son of Man [on the cross], you will realize (know, understand) that I am He [for Whom you look] and that I do nothing of Myself (of My own accord or on My own authority), but I say [exactly] what My Father has taught Me. And He Who sent Me is ever with Me; My Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him. Jn. 8:28, 29. AMP

At this point, Jesus omnisciently realized that He had won some converts in the crowd and speaks to their hearing:

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know that truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn. 8:31, 32. NKJV

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn. 8:51 NKJV

Most of the crowd (Jews) are becoming unruly, claiming they were already free through their birthright as descendant sons of Abraham. Jesus retorts by saying that Abraham was well aware of His coming. The crowd argued that would be impossible because Abraham lived 1800 years ago. Jesus drops the hammer:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” Jn. 8:58 NKJV

Thus, Jesus is telling them that He is eternal, like God Himself. Well, that sent the crowd over the edge and they tried to stone Him but He supernaturally disappeared from the Temple…

As Jesus and the apostles prepare to leave Jerusalem, they come upon a blind man whom Jesus’ heals. The man is beside himself and tells everyone he knows. The Pharisees try to discredit the man’s claims and excommunicate him from the Temple.

Jesus heard about it and found the man, who worshiped Him on the spot. Christ did not stop him. (Important to see because God only accepts worship that is exclusive to Him; thus, this relationship between God and Christ is one that transcends our understanding, but it certainly suggests that they are unified.)

The Pharisees were in a lather but Jesus met them head on:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go out and find pasture.

The thief does not come except to steal, and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there’ll be one flock and one shepherd.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” Jn. 10:7 – 11 & 16 – 18. NKJV

Now there’s a mouthful! Jesus is saying that 1) the sheep are the children of God, 2) He is the only door to God (as the Good Shepherd who guides them into His Father’s presence), 3) the Pharisees are false shepherds who follow the devil, 4) He brings you an abundant life filled with the light of God, 5) He willingly laid His life down for your salvation out of His love for God and for you, 6) He has the power of life within Him – to resurrect Himself to complete God’s salvation plan and 7) salvation is not only for the Jews but for all peoples of the world (‘not of this fold’) who make the decision to follow Him.

Hallelujah!
Goodnight and God Bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 6

Heretofore in this series, we have examined what God says about His Son through the Holy Spirit-inspired Old Testament prophets, Jesus’ apostles and lastly through the mouths of John the Baptist and Jesus Himself.

We continue listening to God’s ‘Christ revelations’ through Jesus, as He dresses down the Pharisees in the Temple of Jerusalem due to their unbelief:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” Jn. 5:19 ESV

“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all the things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” Jn. 5:20 NKJV

Jesus is saying that He is a direct extension of God’s will – facilitated by His Father’s power which courses through Him; and God will use Christ to work miracles in an attempt to open disbelieving hearts so that people will be led to salvation. He elaborates:

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but has given all judgment to the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Jn. 5:21 – 23. NASB

THIS IS HUGE! Jesus possesses both the power to initiate and perpetuate God’s resurrection plan; and Christ solely decides the final outcome of all those who rise from the dead. Note too that God has charged us with honoring His Son, (with faith, praise, worship and obedience) which also brings honor to the Father.

The outcome of that honor will bring a most wonderful eternity to those who practice it. For those who don’t, it doesn’t bode so well:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NKJV

“…for an hour is coming when all those who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” Jn. 5:28, 29. ESV

Notice that those who believe in Christ have eternal life now. Note too that those who died prior to Jesus’ coming and had ‘done good’ (i.e. believed in God and in the promise of the Messiah and obeyed the word of God to the best of their ability) will be resurrected into all of His promises, as opposed to those who didn’t.

Jesus finished His discourse with the Pharisees, ultimately calling them ‘sons of the devil’ and journeyed towards Galilee, miraculously healing multitudes along the way. He then gathered His complete apostolic group of twelve and sat with them in front of a crowd and delivered the ‘Sermon on the Mount.’

In that teaching, He refers to a facet of His earthly purpose:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Mt. 5:17, 18. ESV

Jesus is addressing those who entertained the idea that the Mosaic Law (primarily the Ten Commandments) was no longer valid due to His arrival – i.e. those who believed the gospel replaced the Law.

[This clears up the fallacy that some modern-day ‘Christians’ adhere to, whereby they attest that it is only the ‘red letter’ words of the Bible (the gospel) that they need to follow. Jesus has just validated the ‘black letters’ as well. Moreover, He is saying that some parts of that Law will be evolved to their highest meaning through Him.]

After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus and His apostles continued their travels. He heals the sick, brings a dead man back to life and continues to clarify His purpose to the crowds He encounters:

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except through the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Mt. 11:27 NKJV

Thus, in addition to the God-given power that Jesus exercises, we see that all of God’s authority is given over to and expressed through Christ. Jesus is also saying that we can only connect to God through the grace of Christ.

Heavy yes? But Jesus immediately takes that heaviness away by turning it into an invitation:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavenly laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28 – 30. NKJV

Jesus knows we continually carry our troubles and regrets with us like a veritable ball and chain. He says that we don’t have to do that, as He lovingly asks us to unload them at His feet and walk unencumbered in His light.

Jesus extends this invitation in another fashion during another encounter with the Pharisees:

“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Mt. 12:50 NKJV

Obedience opens the invite…

Jesus continued to teach in Galilee, stopped a storm on the sea, cast demons out of people, resurrected a dead child, brought sight to the blind and then sent His apostles out to evangelize with an admonition:

Therefore, everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him. But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven. Mt. 10:32, 33. AMP

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Mt. 10:34 – 36. NKJV

Obviously we are with Jesus or we are not; and it doesn’t look good for those who aren’t. Christ is like a scalpel, excising the tumor that consists of those who lodge themselves in unbelief. For them, there will be no peace.

The bottom line is that regardless of where or from whom one hears the gospel, the importance of receiving it cannot be underestimated:

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Mt. 10:40 NKJV

The evangelizing apostles returned to Jesus and together were surrounded by a crowd of 5000 people. Jesus began healing and teaching. He also saw that the crowd was hungry; so He transformed two fish and five loaves of bread into enough food to feed them all.

Afterwards, Jesus and Company went on their way. He stopped to pray and then walked on water to a boat where His apostles were. They continued in their travels only to be approached by another crowd who heard about the miracle feeding and asked Him for bread as well. Jesus took that opportunity to teach:

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because the Father has set His seal on Him.” Jn. 6:27 NKJV

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jn. 6:31 – 33. NKJV

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jn. 6:35 NKJV

“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Jn. 6:47 NKJV

“If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:51 NKJV

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life…” Jn. 6:53 NKJV

This is the complete picture of our God-connection: when we seek God, He leads us to Christ, Who, if we accept Him, connects us to God through Himself.

The crowd was not very educated and could not grasp that Jesus was speaking in principles and not of a literal ingestion of His flesh. He’s trying to get them to see that His flesh is the ‘spiritual food’ they must ‘eat’ (bind to their hearts) in order to walk a godly path towards salvation. Jesus wants them to understand that the blood (life) He will shed, must be ‘drunk,’ (they must be believe it alone brings atonement for their sins) so they can receive that salvation.

Unfortunately, like today, most of the crowd rejected His message.

Receiving Jesus and His ways in the face of worldly doubts and temptations is not easy and the path can be arduous:

If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget himself, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living, and if need be, in dying also.] Lk. 9:23 AMP

In other words, we must put God’s will first over our own. Ah but the rewards…

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Mt. 16:27 NKJV
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 5

In the fourth part of this series, we followed what God had to say about your Jesus – told through Christ’s apostles (in a series of Holy Spirit prophecies regarding His nature, His relationship with John the Baptist and details surrounding His birth).

Today, we finally get to listen in as God speaks to us about His Son through the mouth of Jesus Himself.

Our first encounter with Jesus takes place when He was approximately twelve years of age. He had traveled in a large entourage with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. During the return journey home, it was discovered that Jesus was missing, so they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.

They found Him in the Temple questioning the teachers of the Old Testament about the Scriptures and astonishing them with His own grasp of the same. Mary scolded Jesus for making her worry. He responds:

How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me to be in My Father’s house and [occupied] about My Father’s business? Lk. 2:49 AMP

So, even then Jesus knew He was the Son of God and was aware that His mission on earth was to serve His Father.

Moving forward in time to approximately 28 A.D, we come across John the Baptist who has now answered his God-calling by commencing his evangeliism:

…the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins… Lk. 3:2, 3. NKJV

Some people questioned John, asking him if it was he that was the Messiah. John cleared that up immediately:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Mt. 3:11 NKJV

In other words, the Messiah is coming with the full power of God, granting Holy Spirit salvation to those who receive Him and the fire of judgment to those who don’t.

One day John is doing his water-baptizing thing and sees Jesus approaching him. John immediately knows in his spirit the true nature of this Man and he declares it:

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me, comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” Jn. 1:29, 30. NASB

John identifies Jesus as the Messiah and refers to His pre-incarnate existence as well – because chronologically on earth, John is older than Jesus the Man.

John protests because he knew that Jesus did not need to be baptized. He was already pure righteousness. Yet Jesus demanded it because He knew that this act would initiate His ministry of salvation:

“Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Mt. 3:15 ESV

When Jesus rose out of the water of His baptism, the heavens opened up, the Holy Spirit alighted upon Him, and His Father’s voice emanated from the sky:

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mt. 3:16 NKJV

That takes all of the guesswork out of who Jesus is. John the Baptist spoke out as well:

“I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” Jn. 1:34 NASB

After this, Jesus was driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast in preparation for His ministry and battle the devil himself, vanquishing him (in this skirmish) by using the word of God for His weapon – setting the example for all of us.

Jesus then began gathering His apostles, turned water into wine (His first miracle) and ran the people out of His Father’s temple that had been running secular business within it. He also began observing those opposed to Him or that were pretending to believe in Him:

But Jesus [for His part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men]; and He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts.] Jn. 2:24, 25. AMP

We next hear Jesus speak of Himself in Jerusalem while He is speaking to Nicodemus, (a member of the Sanhedrin) just after He explained the importance of baptism:

And yet no one has ever gone up to heaven, but there is One Who has come down from heaven – the Son of Man [Himself], Who is (dwells, has his home) in heaven. Jn. 3:13 AMP

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jn. 3:14, 15. NKJV

Jesus is establishing His heavenly authority in speaking of spiritual matters.

He also refers to the time Moses had lifted up an image of a bronze serpent upon a cross for the Hebrews who had chosen to rebel against God, to save them from the severity of their punishment. Likewise, Jesus is telling Nicodemus that He too must be raised up on a cross to become the healing for the sins of man by purchasing their salvation with His own life.

Then Jesus revealed the ‘big picture’ of salvation to him:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:16 NKJV

“He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Jn. 3:18 NKJV

Jesus proclaims without a doubt that He is the Son of God and that His Father willingly sent His Son to save all peoples that put their faith in Christ.

Afterwards, Jesus accompanies His apostles to where John the Baptist was and they baptize people as well. It was there that John also confirmed the words of Christ:

“He who comes from heaven is above all…For whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Jn. 3:31 & 34 – 36. ESV

Jesus and His apostles then travel through Samaria on their way to Galilee. During that trip, Jesus comes upon a woman who shares her yearning for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus answered: “I who speak to you am He.” Jn. 4:26 NKJV

No waffling there.

In Galilee, Jesus healed a dying son of a nobleman and then preaches in a synagogue in the town of Nazareth – professing that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah’s prophecy:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Lk. 4:18, 19. NKJV

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:21 NKJV

Jesus went throughout Galilee preaching and miraculously healing people of their infirmities as well. During that time, He was approached by Pharisees who turn their noses up at Him in disgust for commingling with sinners. He responds:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mt. 9:12, 13. NKJV

There is no prejudice in the Son of God. He fervently pursues the salvation of everyone.

Jesus continued to preach (now in parables as well) and to heal people – even on the Sabbath, which riles the Pharisees once more. Christ does not relent:

My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work. Jn. 5:17 AMP

This is the turning point of Christ’s ministry. He clearly claims His deity, stating that God is His unique Father, and that He, Jesus, is doing His Father’s work.

He is placing Himself on the same level as God. Needless to say, this drives the Pharisees into a frenzy. But Jesus does not back down.

Next time…
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 4

In the first three parts of this series, we examined what God had to say (through the mouths of the Old Testament prophets) about the nature of the Messiah, who He is and of His forthcoming arrival (along with a discussion about the ‘Trinity’).

Now we will look at Jesus’ apostles’ recollection of the events that immediately foreshadowed His coming and of His human birth. We begin by looking just a few years prior to the birth of Christ, when the angel Gabriel informed the parents-to-be of ‘John the Baptist’ of their good fortune:

“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord…He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Lk. 1:15 – 17. NKJV

The apostle John adds further revelation about this evangelist, John the Baptizer:

There came a man from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. Jn. 1:6 – 8. NASB

Thus we see that this crusader precedes Christ; and as an adult, he will herald His coming – preaching with the fervor of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. He will reconcile many Israelites, diverting them towards righteousness to position them to receive Jesus.

The apostle then gives us a general overview about how Jesus was accepted to be the Christ, (the Light) which was in a manner that is similar to how people react to the revelation of Jesus Christ throughout the ages:

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not receive him. Jn. 1:9 – 11. ESV

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. Jn. 1:12, 13. NKJV

God sent the image of Himself to facilitate our reconciliation with Him. The majority of the people reject Jesus, but those who see the truth and place their faith in it, become the true children of God.

Furthermore, we see that there is no other path by which we can become God’s children except through Christ alone – whereupon we are ‘reborn’ through the Holy Spirit. This makes your choice to receive Jesus as your Savior the most important decision you will ever make…

The apostle John then gives us more Holy Spirit revelation regarding the nature of this Jesus Christ, the Son of God:

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Jn. 1:14 NKJV

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. Jn. 1:16, 17. NASB

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Jn. 1:18 NKJV

Out of His immeasurable love, God sent His only Son; and Jesus, being ever faithful and obedient to His Father, consented to allow His Spirit-being to become housed in flesh in order to be able to identify with the sufferings of God’s children. In addition, He provided His Son so that we could commiserate with the image of God to see the eternal value of choosing to allow Jesus to cover us with God’s salvation grace, which the Law of Moses could not provide…

The apostle Matthew also reveals to us the genealogy of the human ancestors of the incarnate Christ from Abraham to Joseph [Jesus’ earthly father figure; (Mt. 1:1 – 17.)] and Luke traces it from Adam to Mary. [Jesus’ mother; (Lk. 3:23 – 28.)]

When John the Baptist’s mother (who is Mary’s cousin) is six month’s along in her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel visits Mary and prophecies about her having a child – to be conceived in a very unique way (in fact, there is no other recorded birth like it):

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over he house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Lk. 1:30 – 33. NKJV

(The name ‘Jesus’ is translated from the Hebrew Yhowshuwa, translated as Jehoshua or Joshua, and from the Greek Iesous, meaning ‘Yahweh is salvation.’)

Mary protests to Gabriel, stating that this pregnancy would be impossible because she was a virgin. He elaborates:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” Lk. 1:35 ESV

So, Mary is not impregnated in the carnal sense, she is transformed by the Holy Spirit, who supernaturally implants her with the Spiritual seed of Christ.

When John the Baptist is born, his father is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he may prophecy about the divine purpose for his son:

“And you child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness an the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Lk. 1:76 – 79. NASB

Wow.

When Mary is three month’s pregnant, her condition becomes apparent and Joseph (her fiance) is scratching his head over how she might have become that way. He was considering backing out of the marriage but God sent an angel to him in a dream to set him straight:

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Mt. 1:20, 21. ESV

When Mary does give birth to the Son of God, an angel appears in a field nearby to a group of shepherds and proclaims:

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Lk. 2:10, 11. NKJV

Approximately 40 days later, the baby Jesus was dedicated to God in the temple. One of the witnesses to the dedication, a man named Simeon, (who was directed there by the Holy Spirit to fulfill a promise God made to him that he would lay eyes upon the Savior before his death) picked Jesus up and prophesied:

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word: for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, for glory to your people Israel.” Lk. 2:29 – 32. ESV

The last apostolic revelation we see about Jesus before we get to listen to Jesus speak about Himself is this:

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him. Lk. 2:40 AMP

So what have we learned about your Jesus?

He is the Light of God to the world, revealing His Father’s plan of salvation through Him – the agent of that salvation, for all people whose desire it is to enter into the fold of the children of God through the forgiveness of sins that He brings.

Jesus is the Son of God, the exact image and outpouring of His Father’s grace and truth, who, prior to His earthly incarnation, was present with God.

Jesus was born in the flesh through Mary in the only virgin birth in recorded history via a Holy-Spirit transformation of her womb; and He was destined to rule over an everlasting kingdom of peace on earth.

Finally, while Jesus was growing from child to man, God infused Him with the Holy Spirit.

How BIG is your Jesus. Next time, He speaks!
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 3

In part 2 of this series, we followed along with what God was telling us about His Son through the Holy Spirit-inspired prophets of the Old Testament – leaving off with the beginnings of Isaiah’s revelations. In addition, we took a little side trip to delve into man’s explanation of who Jesus is and the nature of His relationship with His Father as described in the concept of the ‘Trinity.’

Let’s return to the prophet Isaiah and the treasure trove of Messianic prophecies related to him by God some 700 years before Christ walked this earth:

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins and faithfulness the belt of His waist. Is. 11:1 – 5. NKJV

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples – of him shall all the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. Is. 11:10 ESV

This next prophecy is told to Isaiah from the Messiah Himself:

“Listen, O coastlands, to Me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The LORD has called Me from the womb; from the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me.” Is. 49:1, 2. NKJV

“And now the LORD says, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (for I shall be glorified in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength), indeed He says, ‘Is it too small a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “ Is. 49:5, 6. NKJV

That’s a big mouthful of Messiah information. We are reminded again that Jesus’ earthly incarnation will descend from the line of ‘Jesse’ (King David’s father). He will be filled with the Holy Spirit and exercise that power to judge righteously over those who do their best to seek God and live by His precepts, as well as over those who remain unrepentantly rebellious (whose outcome is not something you want to share in.)

Christ is God’s light to all people – Jews and Gentiles alike, serving His Father by restoring the children of God to Him by cutting away that which had enslaved them (Satan), by using His ‘sword’, which is the word of God.

So, through Isaiah, we’ve seen who and what the Messiah is. Now Isaiah relates to us what Christ will experience when He first walks this earth. He begins with another first person account from the Son of God:

“I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the LORD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He is near who justifies Me…” Is. 50:6 – 8. NKJV

This is an exact description of how Jesus was treated just prior to His crucifixion; and it shows that regardless of how man treated Him, He was determined to win their salvation – having God at His back to make it so.

Miracles aside, God sent His Son in the form of a humble ordinary man, to reach out to humble ordinary people who were lost and blinded by the god of this world (Lucifer). However, the people needed to have faith in who Jesus said He was. Sadly, during Jesus’ visitation, most did not and they demonstrated that lack through their scorn:

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. Is. 53:1, 2. NASB

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and as one whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not. Is. 53:3 ESV

Yet, Jesus still laid His life down for everyone – both out of obedience to His Father and of the love that He had for God’s children. However, the doubters thought Jesus was stricken by God for making (what they thought were) blasphemous claims:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried out sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken by God and afflicted. Is. 53:4 NASB

On the other hand, for those who believed, Christ’s sacrifice was THE game changer:

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed…and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter… Is. 53:5 – 7. NKJV

The Messiah took on all our self-made godless burdens and willingly yielded up His flesh to pay the price so that all would have the potential for redemption. And if you have been reading this, there is no doubt as to who that Messiah is…

The prophet Micah was a chronological contemporary to Isaiah. He too received a Messianic prophecy – one that even pinpointed the place of His birth:

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings are from long ago, for the days of eternity…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace.” Mic. 5:2, 4 & 5. NASB

The Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem, in the region of Ephrathah, located in Judah. This Shepherd-King reflection of God (who had been around for a long, long time) came to bring peace to the entire world…

Approximately 600 years before the birth of Christ, God sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn His children of His coming judgment through the Babylonian conquest of Judah and at the same time, encourage those who still clung to their God:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is the name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’ “ Jer. 23:5, 6. NASB

[In that same time period, look also to the prophecy we considered in our last post. (Dan. 7:13, 14.)]

Five hundred year before Christ, we hear the last Messianic prophecies God sent through the prophet Zechariah – sent to encourage the exiled Israelites who had returned home after having suffered decades of Babylonian captivity:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey…” Zec. 9:9 NKJV

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one who grieves for a firstborn.” Zec. 12:10 NKJV

IN THAT day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem [to cleanse them from] sin and uncleanness. Zec. 13:1 AMP

Indeed Jesus did ride on a donkey into Jerusalem to publicly proclaim Himself. Those who were sitting on the fence with regards to who Jesus was, realized that He was the real deal after they crucified Him and they grieved.

Yet we see that God promised that the blood of Christ spilled on that day would be available to usher all of us into His presence…

Wow! We’ve only covered the ‘coming attractions!’ Now, we can leap foreword in time to Jesus’ actual arrival.

Can’t wait…
Good night and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus? – Part 2

In part one of this series we looked at what God revealed to us about His Son through the mouths of the Holy Spirit-inspired prophets of the Old Testament – in particular: Moses, Samuel and King David.

Before we continue along with these Old Testament prophets, let’s consider one last revelation given to King David:

For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. Ps. 22:16 – 18. NKJV

King David is referring to his enemies (dogs = evil men) but the ultimate fulfillment of this scripture [the piercing, being on display (crucifixion), the division of the garments and the casting of lots] cannot be applied to David but to Christ.

Now, we leap forward in time to 740 – 710 B.C. to the time of the prophet Isaiah. His first Messianic prophecy concerns both the birth and one of the names given for the Messiah:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Is. 7:14 NKJV

The only virgin birth ever recorded in the Bible is that of Jesus. ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God is with us.’ (See Mt. 1:23) Isaiah continues with his prophecies with one that reveals the great changes the Messiah will bring:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Is. 9:2 NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice, from that time foreword, even forever. Is. 9:6, 7. NKJV

So, the Messiah (the Christ) will bring the light of God to people who have suffered at the hands of the god of this world (Satan) and will establish an eternal kingdom of peace and righteousness for all.

What I’d like you to look at are the descriptions of the Messiah’s name. I contend that these are not literal names of the Messiah but instead speak of His qualities – especially with regards to the descriptive(s) ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Everlasting Father.’ I present again the scripture we looked at in part one of this series:

[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is he Firstborn of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

‘Exact likeness’ is written as ‘image’ in other translations. (ESV, NKJV, NASB) ‘Likeness’ and ‘image’ of God are not the same as ‘being’ God to me. Your image in a mirror is not the same as you, even though it looks exactly like you.

I profess that Jesus is the closest we are going to get to God but that He is separate and distinct from Him; and that Christ was created from God before the creation of the universe took place – thus at a point before time itself, which would be indeterminable for man to decipher.

I must point out that my contentions are contrary to the majority of mainstream Christian thinking, which holds to the ‘Trinitarian’ concept, which maintains that Jesus is God. The concept could be right. I don’t know. But it is an elephant in the room that brings division to some parts of the body of Christ. In fact some ‘Christians’ will excoriate you if don’t ascribe to the trinity. The primary purpose in my teachings is to bridge these divisional gaps where judgment creeps in. So let’s thresh it out a little…

The Trinity is a man-derived explanation formulated to try to shed light on a number of scriptures that the Trinitarians claim prove that God is a ‘triune’ God – existing as three persons: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This concept was first ratified in 325 A.D. at the First Council of Nicaea where approximately 300 bishops convened at the behest of the Roman emperor Constantine.

[I want to be perfectly clear that I believe that God can and does bring greater revelation to His children continually; and there is no doubt that there are mysteries in the Bible yet unsolved. (See Dt. 29:29) So again, perhaps the trinity concept is correct; it’s just that the Trinitarians themselves have such difficulty explaining it.]

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – separate and distinct from Him; yet I don’t think that belief diminishes who He is in any way. Just look at what God placed within and upon His Son: (By the way, this type of thinking was labeled Arianism, after Arius, a Christian priest in Alexandria, Egypt, who held these views at the time of the Council, which declared his thoughts to be heretical for going against their construction.)

For it was in Him (Jesus) that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities, all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.

And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him consist (cohere, are held together). He is also the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing that He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].

For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently. And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross. Col. 5:16 – 20. AMP

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Heb. 1:3 ESV

Jesus was God’s creative agent for everything and He keeps it all in existence. He is the head of the church, the first to be resurrected to eternal life, is filled with every power of His Father, and all things can only come to the Father through the Son. You can’t get more preeminent than that.

But how would Jesus sit at the right side of Himself? (If He were God.)

The word ‘trinity’ is located nowhere within the Bible. It was a doctrine created by man to explain a scriptural concept that was not fully comprehendible, i.e. trying to define the infinite God to the finite mind of man. No one can fully understand everything that God says or does:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. Is. 55:9 NKJV

Yes, God, the Holy Spirit, and the pre-carnal Christ were 100% Spirit beings. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, He became a Spirit (God) – Man, the nature of which is beyond our comprehension.

All three have equal divine attributes. They exist within a unique, harmonious working relationship: The Father commands (designs), which are committed (created) through the Son’s obedience. Christ reveals God. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ and He brings the spark of life to Christ’s creations.

In like manner, God planned salvation, Jesus accomplished it by His atoning work on the cross, and the Holy Spirit imparts it to God’s children. (It still looks like ‘separate and distinct but working as one’ to me.) Consider these words of God:

“Here, O Israel: the LORD our God is one!” Dt. 6:4 NKJV

“…for I am God and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like Me.” Is. 46:9 NKJV

A clear case for a singular God to me, but the Trinitarians maintain that the Hebrew word for ‘God’ in this case (Elohim) is a plural word and the the Hebrew word for ‘one’ (echad) is used in a collective sense. Food for thought.

Contemplate the words of the prophet Daniel when he was describing his God-given vision of His throne room in heaven:

“I was watching the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” Dan. 7:1`3, 14. NKJV

No one disputes that the ‘Ancient’ is God and the ‘Son’ is Jesus. I’m just saying.

Trinitarians would have you consider the following scriptures:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jn. 1:1 NKJV

There is no doubt that the ‘Word’ is Christ and that He was with God. Where I take exception is ‘the Word was God.’ I agree in the sense that Jesus had to be part of God at one time before He was created from God. (The Trinitarian view is that there was no creation of Jesus as a separate being, but that He has existed eternally with His Father.)

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jn. 20:28 NKJV

This refers to when the apostle Thomas puts his hands on the body of the resurrected Christ. To me Thomas is not acknowledging that Jesus is God but is recognizing that Christ is His Savior and he can see the power of God emanating through the ascended King of kings.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us… (as we are) waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us… Titus 2:11 – 14. ESV

Jesus and the Holy Spirit are personifications of God’s grace. The Trinitarians hold that the ‘great God and Savior Jesus Christ’ is a description of one Person. Could it not be God and Savior?

Most Christians will say that the trinity is a clear revelation that defies man’s logic. It’s just that it is not so clear to me. Doesn’t make it wrong; you have to judge for yourself.

Here are some things that give me pause:

1. When Jesus was baptized, both God and the Holy Spirit were present together but separate and distinct. (Mt. 3:16, 17.)

2. Jesus says He cannot do anything without His Father’s power. (Jn. 5:19, 20.)

3. Jesus said, “…I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I.” Jn. 14:28 NKJV

4. Jesus last words upon His death: “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.”

So, I have not embraced the trinity concept, although the majority of Christendom has. However, my gate opens slightly ajar after recently reading an article by Philip N. Odhner: The Teachings of Swedenborg Concerning The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity. Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish theologian in the 1700s.

He stated that there cannot be two infinite beings because one would limit and finite the other. Further, he said that God is love, which was perfectly manifested in Christ’s salvation for all mankind because the essence of God is to love others outside of Himself.

He continued by relating that for there to be another God from God, that other would have to absolutely one with the Original. Swedenborg taught that God said many times in the Old Testament that He would come into the world (true) and in the New Testament he declared that this appearance referred to His coming through Jesus.

According to Swedenborg, Luke 1:35 teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, and because God is infinite and cannot divide Himself without being finite, He must exist in Christ. Moreover, Christ ‘reordered’ His human mind and body, (i.e. was ‘glorified’) putting on the Divine Human (God-man). Swedenborg continues by saying that before the glorification was complete the human elements that were not yet divine had Him speaking as if He and His Father were separate – all changed (unified) by the resurrection. And it is that Divine Human that God embodied at that moment that allows for man to approach Him in their fallen state.

He refutes the concept of three separate beings existing as one, but instead claims that the Father is the ‘Divine Soul’ within the ‘Divine Body’ (which is Christ) and that the Holy Spirit is ‘Divine Love and Wisdom’ proceeding out of the Divine Body to work the salvation of man – concluding that there is no trinity of ‘persons’ but of ‘essentials’ in Christ (the Divine Human) whose body has the Divine Soul and the Divine Operation (Holy Spirit).

Maybe Swedenborg’s treatment of the trinity is not altogether correct, (He does profess other theological beliefs I have difficulty swallowing and the church based upon his teachings call themselves the ‘true Christian religion – a claim also made by most other denominations) but it is a treatise that I can sink my teeth in. Who knows? I may become a ‘Trinitarian’ after all…

THIS IS THE MAIN POINT!

I don’t know who is right or wrong, (that includes myself). I’m just offering food for thought. If you continue to read God’s word with faith and with prayer for revelation, and still exercise critical thinking when it comes to man’s take on it, I feel I’ve done my job.

What I do know is that God would not give anything to us that was incomprehensible that blocks our way to salvation. So, is Jesus God? The majority of His followers think so. They could be right.

However, I don’t think anyone will be turned away from the gates of eternity if they believe that Jesus is exactly the same as God in all respects, with a name that is exalted over all (except His Father’s), who created the universe and holds it all together, that came so we could see God up close and personal, who sees that our prayers are answered and is God’s Agent of salvation, whom we worship along with the Father. (See Heb. 1:6)

Do you?
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Jesus?

That’s right. Your Jesus:

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. The thief comes only in order to kill and steal and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep. Jn. 10:9 – 11. AMP

What does that first line say? ‘Anyone who enters in through Me will be saved.’ Jesus was sent by His Father to save everyone. That includes you.

The Bible is the word of God. It is the account of God’s creation of the universe, how He placed man at the most prominent position of His creations, how they turned away from Him, and how, out of His great love and mercy, He extended His salvation to man to bring them back to Him.

God’s door to salvation is Jesus Christ. He is the centerpiece of the Bible. It all revolves around Jesus’ earthly visitation where He obediently completed His Father’s works in order to bring salvation to the children of God and how He will return to gather those same children from all ages and usher them into an eternity of love.

Jesus is found throughout the Bible: God tells us of His Son through the Old Testament prophets, through the mouth of Jesus Himself (speaking for God), through Christ’s apostles and through an additional disciple (Jude – a brother of Jesus).

Let’s begin with the Old Testament prophets:

Moses was the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the first five books of the Bible. He was entrusted with relaying God’s word about His creation of everything (as well as a vast store of additional knowledge). It is at the juncture of when God created man that we first meet His Son:

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our image, according to Our likeness;” Gn. 1:26 NKJV

This is God speaking. You could say that He is speaking in the royal ‘Us’ and ‘Our’ perspective, but a little detective work will prove otherwise. We have to leap across to the New Testament to collate and corroborate our evidence:

He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. Jn. 1:2, 3. ESV

The apostle John is speaking of Jesus. We see that God created the entire universe and everything in it through His Son. That places Jesus by the side of His Father eons before man shows up or prior to when He appears in human form upon the earth. (How long was Jesus with God before creation took place? We don’t know, but we will discuss that topic in the next post.)

Also, Jesus Himself affirms His presence with God during creation:

These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation: Rv. 3:14 AMP

Thus, in Gn. 1:26 above, God is speaking with His Son and He is equating His image with that of Jesus’ image. Indeed, God Himself tells us that their images are exactly the same:

[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

So we see that not only is Christ the exact image of His Father, but also that Jesus later lived out that image in the flesh as well, so that we could experience the true nature of God.

Jesus told us that God is a Spirit being. (Jn. 4:24) Thus, prior to Jesus’ manifestation on earth in a human body, He too must have been a Spirit in nature as well. We know this to be true because heaven does not accommodate our human form in its present state:

But I tell you this, brethren, flesh and blood cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (that which is decaying) inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal). 1 Cor. 15:50 AMP

Continuing along with Moses’ narrative, it’s not long before he speaks of Jesus again – this time where he informs us of God’s conversation with Satan, immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve:

“…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Gn. 3:15 NKJV

This scripture is referred to as the ‘Protoevangelium': the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible, wherein it describes the entire battle between the forces of good [Eve and her descendants – including Jesus (her Seed) and His followers] and evil (Satan and his co-conspirators) throughout the ages.

The prophecy suggests that the devil will ‘bruise’ Jesus’ heel (at His crucifixion) but that Jesus would overcome him by inflicting a mortal bruise, suggested by the more severe wound to the devil’s head. Jesus was resurrected from His wound; Satan will not be so lucky. (See Rm. 16:20)

We also have a parallel scripture in the book of Job that prophesies the coming of the ‘Messiah.’ I say ‘parallel’ because many biblical scholars attest that Moses was the author of that book, or at the very least, regardless of the author, it is as old as Moses’ writings:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 NASB

Near the end of Moses’ time on earth, God speaks to him again and begins to describe who this ‘Messiah’ is (1400 years before Jesus showed up):

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Dt. 18:18 NKJV

God is telling Moses that the Messiah will be of Jewish descent (in His earthly manifestation) and that He will speak for God to His children.

Leaving Moses behind and leaping ahead 400 years, God brings a similar Messianic revelation to His prophet Samuel, to share with King David, which spoke of the continuation of David’s dynasty – first through Solomon and ending with the reign of Christ:

“… I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.” 2 Sam. 7:13, 14. NKJV

King David himself also received a Holy Spirit-inspired revelation about the same:

“Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.’ Ps. 2:6 – 8. NKJV (Confirmed again in Acts 13:33 & Heb. 1:5.)

May he [Solomon as a type of King David’s greater Son] be like rain that comes down upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In His [Christ’s] days shall the [uncompromisingly] righteous flourish and peace abound until there is a moon no longer. He [Christ] shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth. Ps. 72:6-8. AMP

So, as we’ve begun to scratch the surface of just who your Jesus is, what have we learned so far?

1. Jesus is the exact image of God – first in Spirit, along side His Father since the beginning of time (Time started with God’s creation, all of which was all performed through His Son) and second as He was manifested in the flesh so that man might experience God through his five senses.

2. Jesus speaks for His Father, using God’s own words.

3. He will lead the battle between good and evil throughout the ages – ultimately becoming the victor.

4. His carnal manifestation will descend from the line of King David.

5. Christ will rule the entire earth forever.

To continue our quest in learning more about our Lord Jesus Christ, we have to jump forward in time again, (300 years to approximately 740 B.C.) – to the time of the prophet Isaiah, whom God sent to Judah just before the Assyrian invasion, to try to bring His wayward children back to Him.

Isaiah’s God-given prophecies yield many chillingly accurate accounts regarding Jesus and the events that unfold around Him. Next time…
Good night and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Faith? – Part 2

In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at what faith was, why we need to have it, how it bonds the followers of Christ together and how we go about getting it.

Now, let’s examine the benefits of exercising that faith. Looking at Abraham’s faith, (the ‘father of faith’) we can see that it facilitated a very important benefit:

And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God). Gn. 15:6 AMP

So faith alone ushers us into the presence of God, whereupon we can receive His justification that bestows righteousness:

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.] Rm. 3:28 AMP

Faith also empowers us with Divine strength:

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. Ps. 125:1 NKJV

Faith brings us God’s eternal impregnable protection:

Oh, love the LORD, all you saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful… Ps. 31:23 NKJV

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Ps. 56:4 NASB

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. By you I have been upheld from birth; Ps. 71:5, 6. NKJV

Faith wards off the devil himself:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith… 1 Pt. 5:8, 9. NASB

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Eph. 6:16 ESV

Even our happiness is based upon faith:

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God… Ps. 146:5 NKJV

Our enlightenment as well:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. Jm. 1:5, 6. NKJV

We can call upon the healing power of God when we have faith:

And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Jm. 5:15 AMP

In fact, our faith brings all of the promises of God:

A faithful man will abound with blessings… Pr. 28:20 NKJV

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Lk. 1:45

How can we have this faith in God and sustain it? It’s because God Himself is faithful and does not lie:

…by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. Heb. 6:18 AMP

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; Ps. 119:89, 90. NASB

How can we know that we are keeping this faith in the forefront of our lives? It happens when we are keeping our relationship with God in the right place and placing our faith in His faithful Son:

The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mk. 1:15 AMP

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Heb. 10:19 – 23. NASB

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Pt. 1:20, 21. NASB

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Jn. 6:29 NKJV

Those who do not have faith in Christ come to a very unfortunate end:

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

Conversely, when we place our faith in the Father and Son, we are transformed:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NASB

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: Jn. 1:12 NKJV

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 Jn. 5:4, 5. ESV

…through this Man forgiveness and removal of sins is now proclaimed to you; and that through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as his Savior and devotes himself to Him] is absolved (cleared and freed) from every charge…and given right standing with God. Acts 13:38, 39. AMP

So let’s see: we are victorious over the world (and the devil in it) by becoming purified children of God who walk in eternal life; and that gives you power:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do…” Jn. 14:12 NKJV

God will also take your faith in His Son and bless your entire house with His salvation – even if the other members of your household are not yet believers:

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well. Acts 16:31 AMP

It’s clear to see then that having faith is imperative if we want to walk that eternal love-filled road that God provides for each and every one of us. So when we get it, we need to do God’s work by sharing it – doing our part in bringing His salvation message to as many people as we can:

“…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18 NKJV

And we need to share it with love

…if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). 1 Cor. 13:2 Acts AMP

Faith is the hope in the promise from the Creator of the universe, through His Son. The hope is a privilege, but given for free. From that hope, we draw on the limitless power of God, manifesting it through Christ. It moves mountains, heals the sick, removes iniquities, strengthens and protects, walls off the devil, showers us with abundance and happiness, and reserves our place in eternity.

We have faith in the Faithful, drawn from the word of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit – focused on the resurrection of Jesus. Through our faith, we transcend the world and enlarge His kingdom by our faith-based works.

It’s a simple decision, a lifetime of loving work, providing an ultimate reward.

Keep the faith…
Good night and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Faith?

We touched upon our need for ‘faith’ in the October 10, 2014 post: What Does God Say About Your Trust In Him? However, faith is the bedrock of Christianity, so we’re going to dig a little deeper…

Let’s start by asking, ‘What is faith?’

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who can one hope for what he already sees? Rm. 8:24 AMP

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jn. 20:29 NKJV

Faith is the hope in things that are not tangible to us yet, i.e. not available for the validation of our five senses. We don’t need faith for the tangible. The primary faith that we need is the belief in the salvation available through Christ Jesus.

Most everything God reveals to us we must take on faith – even the creation of all things tangible that He made manifest around us:

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible. Heb. 11:3 AMP

Likewise, God takes the focus of your faith and manifests is from the spiritual realm into the material one.

Our part in petitioning God’s manifestations is to provide our faith. Our entire walk with Him is based on faith:

For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance. 2 Cor. 5:7 AMP

Indeed, many times Jesus would ascribe the faith of His recipients as the primary requirement to facilitate His ability to perform miracles for them:

Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Lk. 18:42 NKJV (See also Lk. 7:50, Mt. 9:22, Mk. 2:5.)

He taught that with faith, you could accomplish anything because that is when God shows up:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mt. 21:22 ESV

“All things are possible to him who believes.” Mk. 9:23 NASB (See also Mk. 5:36 & 11:22 – 24; Mt. 17:20.)

“Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?” Jn. 11:40 NKJV

Faith is also the bond that brings all God’s children together as one:

[There is] one body and one Spirit – just as there is one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received – [there is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, pervading all and [living] in [us] all. Eph. 4:4 – 6. AMP

Well, all this faith stuff sounds pretty good but what do we have to do to get our hands on it?

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 ESV

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips of Christ] (the Messiah Himself). Rm. 10:17 AMP

Therefore, God gives us a free gift of faith that He created through His Son, which is delivered to us by the Holy Spirit and it is nurtured and strengthened in us as we continually immerse ourselves in the hearing of the gospel.

Indeed, we must have faith even to understand it:

…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Cor. 4:3, 4. ESV

Thus it is vital to align ourselves with the God rather than with a false god.

Yes, faith is a heavenly gift, but we must willingly receive it and cleave to it in order to perpetuate our relationship with God:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 AMP

…your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Cor. 2:5 NKJV

There are many benefits that God sends our way when we exercise our faith.

Next time…
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Friends?

Our Creator lives within all of His children in an intimate oneness. Yet while we live on this earthly plane, He tells us that we need human companionship as well: And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone…” Gn. 2:18 NKJV

In fact, God uses our friends as another avenue to bring us His love. No one is totally self-sufficient and self-nurturing. Adding friends to our lives is the key to having our lifetimes be loving spaces that transcend the exercise of mere survival.

Friendship enriches our happiness. If you look around, you will find that the unhappiest people are those who have no one to pick them up when they fall down. Indeed, the ultimate request for friendship could be stated as, ‘Won’t you stand by me?’

Companionship strengthens one’s potential for success and it brings nourishment to the soul that becomes a continual source for encouragement and exhortation:

Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to life him up! Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecc. 4:9 – 12. AMP

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Pr. 27:17 NKJV

We see then that friendship is a ‘good thing.’ If we want friends in our lives, we must become an attractive space where those potential friends can be nourished as well:

A man who has friends must himself be friendly… Pr. 18:24 NKJV

True friends will speak the truth to you, pleasant or not, to bring you to a place of greater good and higher growth:

…the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Pr. 27:9 ESV

Faithful are the wounds of a friend… Pr. 27:6 NKJV

Once we gather our friends to us, God tells us how to keep them:

A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Pr. 17:17 AMP

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn. 13:34, 35. NKJV

We need to love our friends regardless of their circumstances; after all, don’t we expect the same from them? We can also see that when we love our friends, that love is a reflection of the love of Christ. Moreover, we must love our friends or we cannot have a love relationship with God:

…whomever loves God must also love his brother. 1 Jn. 4:21 NKJV

In fact, God values the giving of our love to each other so much, that He even implores us to love them when their flesh shows up, i.e. in those times where it is hard to love them:

Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother. Rm. 14:13 AMP

[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law…you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].

Only one is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor? James 4:11, 12. AMP

So, when we malign our friends, we are maligning God.

“Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother…’ Zec. 7:9 NASB

Who doesn’t have slips and falls – bad moments? No one. That’s the time where we especially apply love and continuing forgiveness:

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, I repent, you must forgive him.” Lk. 17:3, 4. ESV

Reconciling with your friends is so important to God that Jesus told us we could not even have an audience with His Father until the discord was cleaned up:

So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. Mt. 5:23, 24. AMP

It behooves us then to overlook a little humanness in our friends:

He who covers and forgives and offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. Pr. 17:9 AMP

As we’ve seen, a friend is to love at all times – especially in times of need:

“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; so that he does not forsake the fear (reverence for) of the Almighty.” Job 6:14 NASB

The highest level of friendship love is when we come together in like-mindedness to become unified in God’s word and in His service:

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:1 – 4. NASB

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rm. 12:10, 11. ESV

Many of us have a tendency to think small, including what we think is a sufficient width for our friendship circle. God asks us to widen our horizons and embrace all people – becoming one in Him:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. 1 Pt. 2:17 NKJV

I believe that God has gifted us with the opportunity for friendship in order to learn how to give and receive love. We begin by loving ourselves, by becoming our own best friend, so that we can of ourselves send love to as many as we can touch in this lifetime – coming together in and through our Creator:

…you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… Eph. 2:19 NKJV
Goodnight and God bless.