Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ

“That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ” by Nancy W. Jensen

Isaiah 61:1-3; JST Luke 3:4-11; John 1:1-14; 20:31

THE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST

Isaiah 61:1-3 is such a beautiful scripture, it begs to be read aloud over and over! These verses, understood, can change one’s understanding of the Atonement, and are a great passage to read and ponder during the sacrament. Elder Bruce C. Hafen wrote a wonderful treatise on it entitled “Beauty for Ashes” which you can read here.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our god; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty [to replace] ashes, the oil of joy [to replace] mourning, the garment of praise [to replace] the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Christ read this scripture in the synagogue to proclaim himself the Messiah, “but stopped short so that he could say, ‘Today as you heard it read, this passage of [Scripture] (up to but not including the day of vengeance) was fulfilled,’ for at his first coming he healed and brought Good News of the Kingdom and salvation; it was not his time to take vengeance or judge” (Stern). “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:20-21)

Notice each of the things Christ has been anointed to do, each marked by the word “to.” Which of these things do you need in your life?

1. to preach good tidings unto the meek
2. to bind up the broken-hearted
3. to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
4. to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
5. and [to proclaim] the day of vengeance of our God
6. to comfort all they that mourn
7. to give [or exchange] to [those that mourn in Zion] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The next part of the reading assignment is JST Luke 3:4-11, and it also contains a long list of gifts that Christ has brought, each also marked by the word “to:”

1. to take away the sins of the world
2. to bring salvation unto the heathen nations
3. to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel
4. to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles
5. to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth
6. to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead
7. to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father
8. to administer justice unto all
9. to come down in judgment upon all
10. to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds.

The Atonement is for the washing away of sins, clearly, and for the resurrection of the dead, obviously, but these scriptures show that it is so much more than that, and very applicable and helpful to our everyday problems and challenges.

The third scripture in the reading assignment is John 1:1-14. I always had trouble understanding why Christ was called “The Word” here. The JST makes the meaning of that term clear:

“In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God” (v. 1). In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men” (v. 4).

(When reading the JST in the LDS Bible Appendix, it is helpful to notice that the changes from the King James Version have been italicized.)

OVERVIEW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

As we look at the Table of Contents of the New Testament we can see that the book can be easily divided up into four sections:

1. The Gospels (testimonies of Christ)
2. Acts (work of the apostles, especially Peter’s work among the Jews and Paul’s work among the Gentiles)
3. Epistles (letters from Church leaders to the saints)
4. Revelation (revelation received by John on the isle of Patmos)

Why are there four gospels, four different tellings of the life of Christ? Sure, there is the reason that all truth is established by God in the mouth of two or three witnesses, and here we have even more than that, but couldn’t they have collaborated and put together one story that would have been a comprehensive, all-inclusive, chronological biography of Christ, with four witnesses to it? Then there wouldn’t have been any contradictions, and everything would have been covered. Right?

Well, the gospels are not just biographies, but testimonies of Christ (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). Each author came from a different walk of life, and was writing to a specific audience. The study of the authorship, audience, and angle of each of the gospels is fascinating and instructive.

OVERVIEW OF THE FOUR GOSPELS

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are quite similar in phraseology and content, and for that reason they are called “The Synoptic Gospels” (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). The Gospel of John is quite different, and we will discover the reason for that later.

The Gospel of Mark

Scholars agree that Mark was probably written first, and that the other writers had access to it when writing their gospels. Mark was not one of the apostles. He was younger. He likely was alive when Christ was alive, but he would have been a child. After his conversion, he became the younger missionary companion of Paul, and later of Peter, serving mainly among the Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote his gospel from his missionary perspective: a Jew writing to Gentiles. One can see that hee assumed that the reader would be unfamiliar with Jewish customs and terms and with Palestinian geography, because he explained and described those things. One can also see that he assumed that the reader was familiar with Latin terms and customs.

“[Mark’s] object is to describe our Lord as the incarnate Son of God, living and acting among men. The gospel contains a living picture of a living Man. Energy and humility are the characteristics of his portrait. It is full of descriptive touches that help us to realize the impression made upon the bystanders” (BD, p. 728). It is “fast moving, emphasizing the doings more than the sayings of the Lord” (BD, p. 683). Note how many times Mark uses the words “immediately, “straightway,” “anon”–all translations of the same word. (Fronk) This one word is used eight times in chapter one alone, in verses 10, 12, 18, 20, 21, and 28. Reading Mark leaves one breathless. The intensity of the ministry is emphasized: No time to rest, no time to eat. Mark is full of miracles. An interesting experiment: Camille Fronk recommends reading it all in one sitting, to catch the energy in the telling.

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew was a Jew. He was a publican, and so he was not popular by profession. He was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, and he was alive when these things were happening, although he certainly wasn’t eyewitness to all of them. “Matthew was probably a thorough Jew with a wide knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, and able to see in every detail of the Lord’s life the fulfillment of prophecy” (BD, p. 729). His book was written to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. For this reason, he highlighted the number 14 in Christ’s genealogy and he noted 14 prophecies from the Jewish scriptures that were fulfilled by Christ. (See “The Importance of the Number 14” in a previous lesson.) He knew that the number 14 was significant to his readers, who were Hebrew. He knew that they knew that 14 meant “salvation.”

Matthew picked and chose who to represent in the genealogy, as there were actually more than 14 generations between each important individual (and this was acceptable to the Jews, because the symbolic number was the most important thing, not the literal number), but in that picking and choosing, he referenced five women. Besides Mary (1:16), he listed Thamar or Tamar (1:3), Rachab or Rahab, Ruth (1:5), and Bathsheba (1:6). Every one of these women had questionable pasts, particularly in relation to their conception and child-bearing, but produced great results for the House of Israel, making themselves ancestral heroines.

1) Tamar conceived while masquerading as a prostitute! The father of her child was her own father-in-law. The reason she committed this grossly immoral deception was that, in opposition to Jewish law, Judah and his sons had cheated her out of progeny, sent her back to her father’s house, and consigned her to life as a childless widow (twice widowed, actually), a state that would undoubtedly lead to devastating poverty in her old age. (See “Opposites” in a previous lesson.)

2) Rahab was an idolatrous prostitute in Jericho. With no gospel training, no missionaries, no “members” living nearby, and in the most wicked environment in the world, she gained a testimony of Jehovah. After her conversion, and after saving the spies of Israel, she raised her son, Boaz, to be a great, kind, wise, and faithful man, the man who married Ruth! (See a previous lesson for more on Rahab.)

3) The next woman mentioned, Ruth, was Rahab’s daughter-in-law, a convert from idolatry as well, a Moabitess. She was married to a Hebrew, and then widowed, which dropped her to the bottom of Jewish society. From this low point, she sought her own marriage, contrary to custom, and was most likely not the first wife. (See OT Lesson #20.)

4) Last mentioned was Bathsheba, who conceived as a result of an extra-marital date-rape, or at least an event beyond her control, since the perpetrator happened to be the all-powerful king David. (See a previous lesson for more on this.)

5) By including these particular women, revered by the Jews but with imperfect and even abhorrent family situations, Matthew presented the perfect defense for Mary’s unusual circumstance of conception. (Bokovoy)

A little parable recorded in Matthew is especially applicable to the Jews. “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt. 13:52). The “scribe” would be a man knowledgeable in the Jewish religion. “Things old” would be the Law of Moses, and “things new” the Gospel of Christ. Matthew included a lot of anti-Pharisee comments to show that the Law was not an end in itself, as the Pharisees seemed to think. Chapters 5-7 give the higher law. “The Kingdom of Heaven” would be important to the Jews, and many of the parables in Matthew liken something to the Kingdom of Heaven. The parables describe trees growing or bread rising, showing that the Kingdom of Heaven is a process, not an event. (Fronk)

Matthew’s is the only gospel that includes the story of the wise men. Jews would have been most impressed by wealthy, learned men who had studied the scriptures in far away lands (they might possibly have been displaced Jews) and recognized the signs of the Messiah’s coming.

Matthew included five major discourses given by Jesus Christ. He highlighted these in a way similar to the way he highlighted the 14 prophecies, using a key phrase at the end of each. The phrase is “When Jesus had finished these sayings…” Is there a reason he chose five sermons? Of course! There is a reason for every number used by a Jew in the Bible! In this case, Matthew was adding a sequel to five writings that were very near and dear to every Jew, and were in fact, a foundation of their religion: The five books of Moses, the Torah. By doing this, he was showing the Jews that Christ was the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, and that His counsel superseded or added to that Law. (Bokovoy)

1. 5:1-7:27 The Sermon on the Mount, given to the multitude. The tag is found in 7:28.
2. 10:5-42 The instruction for the ministry of the 12 apostles. The tag is 11:1.
3. 13:1-52 The Sermon from the Ship, given to great multitudes. The tag is 13:53.
4. 18:1-35 “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God?” spoken to the apostles. The tag is 19:1.
5. 24:3-25:46 The Olivet Discourse, given to the 12 apostles. The tag is 26:1.

The Gospel of Luke

Luke’s gospel is the one with the beautiful Christmas story, told from a woman’s perspective. (Matthew tells it from a man’s.) Luke was a Gentile convert, likely converted through the labors of Paul (see BD, p. 726), writing to Gentiles and to minorities, and to those looked down upon by the Jews: women, lepers, Samaritans, sinners (prostitutes). Luke was a physician, and therefore had close contact with and compassion for all types and both genders of people, a unique position. Most male professions in that day involved dealings with other men only, but a physician dealt with all, even the “unclean.”

As a missionary, Luke ministered to the Gentiles with Paul. Like Matthew, Luke gives a genealogy of Christ, but it differs from Matthew’s. Matthew introduced Christ as “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). This is what was important to the Jews: that Christ was one of the chosen people, and was in the kingly and priestly line. It was the first thing Matthew said in his testimony. Luke, on the other hand, gives a genealogy of Christ that identifies him as “the son of Joseph” (Luke 3:23) (even though Luke testifies of the divinity of Christ) and takes Christ’s ancestry all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:38), making everyone, Jew and Gentile, a relative of Christ. (Fronk)

Luke had a special understanding of women as a result of his medical ministry among them. He wa the only one who wrote of the annunciation of Mary, and of her visit to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. He knew that “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). He knew of Simeon’s personal prophecy to Mary that “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35). How did he know of these things? Very likely he was a close personal acquaintance of Mary’s in the Church, and he heard these stories from her own mouth. Luke gives what little information we have about the childhood of Christ. He was the one who told of Mary’s terror when she realized her 12-year-old was not with the caravan. (See Luke 2:51).

Where is the parable of the Good Samaritan found? Only in Luke. What about Christ’s visit to Mary and Martha? Only in Luke. Many of the most treasured parables are found only in Luke: The woman with the lost coin, the shepherd with the lost sheep, the Prodigal Son, the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. The cleansing of the ten lepers is recorded only in Luke. Luke wrote to the underdog, to tell him (and her!) that Christ was come for them as well as for anyone.

The Gospel of John

John is the gospel that is not like the others. Like Matthew and Mark, John was a Jew converted to Christianity. Like Matthew he was one of the apostles. But unlike Matthew, he was not writing to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, and unlike Mark, he was not writing to convince the Gentiles that Jesus was the Christ. He was not writing to convince anyone that Jesus was the Christ: he was writing to those who already knew. He was writing to the Christians. This makes his gospel very different. Near the conclusion of his book, we read, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). The Harper-Collins Study Bible translates the intention of that passage to be slightly different: “But these are written, that ye might continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ…” “The Gospel of John,” wrote Bruce R. McConkie, “is the account for the saints” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 336).

John was in the Church from the very beginning. A follower of John the Baptist, he then became one of the first disciples of Christ. John was one of the “inner circle of three who were with the Lord at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in Gethsemane” (BD, p. 715). So he was like a member of the First Presidency, one of the “three pillars of the Christian Church”. John wrote not only his gospel, but also three of the epistles, and the amazing book of Revelation. He identified himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one who wanted to continue to minister upon the earth until the Second Coming. His testament was the last one written, and contains unique contributions, and many more of Christ’s teachings than do the others. He had a deep understanding of the Savior and his gospel by the time he wrote his book. (Ludlow)

Only John tells how Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. Only John records the cleansing of the temple. In John, Christ explains his death to the apostles. Only in John do we read of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and his commandment to them to be an example of love for each other. In John, the apostles are warned that the world will hate them and try to kill them. In John the gift of the Comforter is explained. The Intercessory prayer for the disciples is found in John. Only in John is Peter told three times, “Feed my sheep.” More of the resurrected Christ’s visit back to his disciples is recorded in John than in the other gospels. (Fronk)

John records seven miraculous signs of the divinity of Christ, five of which are only found in his gospel. (To see this list, see Victor Ludow’s article, “John: The Once and Future Witness”.)

The Gospel of John is a college text, where the other gospels are elementary school primers. The other three gospels are like sacrament meeting, and the Gospel of John is like a temple. In fact, John is better understood in relation to the temple ceremony. It is deep and rich and symbolic, and it builds upon what the other gospels give us and raises our understanding to a higher level. It is for the increased edification of those who are already saints.

Only John records the descriptions Christ gave of himself, many of which hearken back to the term used in the Old Testament to identify Jehovah: “I AM.” (Ludlow) Seven of them are especially noted, possibly symbolic of the meaning of the number seven: godly perfection. These are marked with a tag, similar to Matthew’s tags; they all begin with some form of the phrase “Jesus said unto them.”

1. When the multitude asked Christ to show them a sign, like the manna in the wilderness, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (6:35).
2. After saving the adulterous woman from stoning, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12).
3. Later in that same conversation, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58), identical with the term used in Exodus 3:14, and after which they tried to stone him, but he spirited himself away.
4. After telling the parable of the sheepfold to the Pharisees, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep…by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (10:7, 9).
5. To Martha, before raising Lazarus from the dead, “Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (11:25-26).
6. When Thomas asked how they would know the way, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (14:6).
7. When Judas was betraying him, (I’m removing the King James translators’ additions, which are in italics in the scriptures) “Jesus saith unto them, I am. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward and fell to the ground” (18:5-8) and Jesus repeated the statement.

“John’s witness of the Lord is unique. His Gospel and epistles record some of the Savior’s noblest feelings and doctrines, especially His message of love” (Ludlow).

Sources:
Bible Dictionary entries for Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 114.
Camille Fronk [Olson], “The Four Gospels,” Know Your Religion Lecture, January 1998, Logan, Utah
David Bokovoy, “A Literary Analysis of the Four Gospels,” BYU Education Week Lecture, August 2002
Victor Ludlow, “John: The Once and Future Witness,” Ensign, December 1991, p. 51-52
Thomas Mumford, Horizontal Harmony of the Gospels

Original Article Here

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Proof from the Bible and the Quran that Jesus Christ is God

Jesus Christ is God! Proof from the Bible and the Quran

THE FIRST AND THE LAST

Surah 57:3 of the Qur’an refers to Allah as “the First and the Last, the Most High and the Most Near.” The Old Testament agrees that God is the “First and the Last,” as we read in the Book of the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 44:6—Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”

When “LORD” is written in all capitals in the Old Testament, the term refers to Yahweh, the creator of the universe. Since both the Bible and the Qur’an give the title “the First and the Last” to God, it should be quite shocking for Muslims to open the New Testament and read Revelation 1:17-18, where Jesus says:

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

Would a mere prophet claim to be the “First and the Last”?

WHO FORGIVES SINS?

While one human being may sin against another human being, there is a sense in which all sin is rebellion against God. Similarly, while you and I may forgive one another for the wrongs we commit, only God can offer ultimate forgiveness. Thus, the prophet David could say to God, “Against You, You only, I have sinnedand done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4), and the Prophet Daniel could declare, “To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9).

The Qur’an agrees that ultimate forgiveness belongs to God, for it asks, “Who can forgive sins except Allah?” (3:135).

It might surprise Muslims to learn that, in the New Testament, Jesus claims the ability to forgive sins. In Mark 2, a paralyzed man is brought to Jesus in order to be healed. Jesus’ response leads the religious leaders to accuse him of blasphemy:

Mark 2:5-7—And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”

The scribes correctly recognized that only God can forgive sins. Yet Jesus (who referred to himself as the “Son of Man”), knowing their thoughts, replied that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10). He then healed the paralytic, proving that his claims were true.

THE LIGHT

In Psalm 27:1, the prophet David proclaims: “The LORD is my light and my salvation.” Similarly, the Qur’an declares that “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth” (24:35). Yet Jesus tells his listeners that he is “the Light”:

John 8:12—“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

THE TRUTH

The prophet David refers to Yahweh as the “God of Truth” (Psalm 31:5). According to the Qur’an, “Allah is the Truth” (22:6). Jesus, however, applies this as a title for himself:

John 14:6—Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

How can a mere human being claim to be “The Truth”?

THE FINAL JUDGE

In Chapter 3 of the Book of the prophet Joel, Yahweh declares that the nations will be gathered and that he “will sit to judge all the surrounding nations” (v. 12). According to the prophet David, “the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness” (Psalm 9:7-8).

The Qur’an maintains that Allah will judge the world, rewarding believers and punishing unbelievers:

Qur’an 22:56-57—The kingdom on that day shall be Allah’s; He will judge between them; so those who believe and do good will be in gardens of bliss. And (as for) those who disbelieve in and reject Our communications, these it is who shall have a disgraceful chastisement.

So why, we may wonder, would Jesus tell his followers that he will be the final judge of all people?

Matthew 25:31-32—“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Jesus goes on to say that he will admit certain people to heaven and cast others into hell. Isn’t this something only God can do?

THE RESURRECTION

The Bible and the Qur’an agree that God is the one who will raise the dead.

1 Samuel 2:6—The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

Qur’an 22:7—Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.

Since God will raise the dead at the resurrection, why would a mere prophet tell his followers that he will resurrect the dead?

John 5:25-29—“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

John 11:25—Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”

GOD’S GLORY

The Qur’an tells us that “Whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah” (57:1).

In the Old Testament, we find that Yahweh will not share his glory with anyone.

Isaiah 42:8—“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another.” (Cf. Isaiah 48:11—“My glory I will not give to another.”)

Yet Jesus claimed, not only that he would be glorified with the Father, but that he had glory with the Father before the world was created!

John 17:5—“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

How can anyone see this as anything other than a claim to deity?

FURTHER EVIDENCE

In Mark 2:28, Jesus calls himself the “Lord of the Sabbath.” In Matthew 22:41-45, he proves that he is the Lord of the prophet David. In John 8:39-58, Jesus says that he has seen the prophet Abraham. In Matthew 12:6, Jesus claims to be greater than God’s Temple.

Jesus tells us that he has an absolutely unique relationship with the Father (Matthew 11:27), that he can answer prayers (John 14:13-14), that he is present wherever his followers are gathered (Matthew 18:20), that he has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18), and that he is with his followers forever (Matthew 28:20). He even makes the startling declaration that “All things that the Father has are Mine” (John 16:15).

According to Jesus, all people must honor him just as we honor the Father:

John 5:21-23—“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 He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

Since one of the ways we honor the Father is by worshiping him, it should come as no surprise that Jesus’ followers worshiped him on numerous occasions. Indeed, the Gospel tells us that Jesus was worshiped throughout his life: shortly after his birth (Matthew 2:11), during his ministry (Matthew 14:33, John 9:38), after his resurrection (Matthew 28:17), and after his ascension to heaven (Luke 24:52). Jesus’ disciple Thomas even addressed him as “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

By David Wood, Acts 17 Ministries

August 1, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Divinity of Jesus Explained

Mari Kaimo
Where in the Bible does Jesus say, “I am NOT God. DO NOT worship Me?”

In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter comes to the home of the Gentile Cornelius, and this is what happens:

25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.
26 But Peter helped him up and said, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.”

Peter immediately rejected the man’s worship (προσκυνέω in the Greek, or proskyneō) of him because, as he said, he, too, was just a man

In Rev 22, the Apostle John has just been shown many visions by an angel. He writes:

8 “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship (proskyneō) at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me.”
9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship (proskyneō) God.”

But where in the Bible does JESUS say, “DO NOT worship (proskyneō) Me?”

Where in the Bible does Jesus do the same as Peter, the man, and the angel in John’s vision, and reject worship because He is “just a man,” as Muslims and other unbelievers insist He is?

After Christ’s birth, we read in Matthew 2:10-12 that some wise men came looking for Him:

10 When the magi saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and THEY FELL TO THE GROUND AND WORSHIPED (proskyneō) HIM. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way

So where do Mary and Joseph say, “DO NOT worship (proskyneō) Jesus?”

In Matthew 14:32-34, Jesus walks on water to His disciples in the midst of a furious storm, and we read:

32 When [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind stopped.
33 And those who were in the boat WORSHIPED (proskyneō) HIM, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
34 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

So where in Matt 14 does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?” I will stop adding the word proskyneō from here on because you should have gotten the point by now

After Jesus healed the blind man outside the Temple in John 9:35-39, we read:

35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 He answered, “ Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”
38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” AND HE WORSHIPED HIM.
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

So where does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?”

When the women found an angel at Jesus’ empty tomb in Matthew 28:8-10,

8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of his feet and WORSHIPED HIM.
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

So where does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?”

After Jesus’ death and resurrection in Matthew 28:16-18, what happens is:

16 … the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
17 When they saw Him, THEY WORSHIPED HIM; but some were doubtful.
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

So where does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?”

In Luke 24:51-53, Jesus is about to ascend into Heaven, and we read:

51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And THEY, AFTER WORSHIPING HIM, returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple praising God.

So where does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?”

In just these few verses above, we see that Jesus is worshiped:

– upon His birth
– after He walks on water and calms a storm
– after He heals a man blind from birth
– after He comes back from the dead
– just before He ascends up into Heaven on His own power, and
– after He ascends into Heaven

And that is just in the few verses we’ve quoted above!

But wait, there’s more. In Hebrews 1:6, God the Father COMMANDS worship (proskyneō) of the Son:

6 “When He again brings His firstborn into the world, He says, And all God’s angels must worship (proskyneō) Him.”

So to the question,

“Where does Jesus say, “DO NOT worship Me?”

the answer is…

Never!

Jesus never told a single one of those who worshiped Him, “Do not worship Me…” because Jesus, the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sins of the world, IS God. Always Was, always Will Be!

More proof from Rev 22:

3 “No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him.
4 And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads.
5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”

Peter's Denial by Rembrandt, 1660

Peter’s Denial by Rembrandt, 1660. Jesus is shown in the upper right hand corner, his hands bound behind him, turning to look at Peter.

July 4, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Exodus 22 verse 20

Exodus 22:20:

Reads properly as “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”

To explain:

Utterly destroyed – The word חרם cherem denotes a thing utterly and finally separated from God and devoted to destruction, without the possibility of redemption.

So, the One True God says that anyone that worships or sacrifices to any false god, shall be under full condemnation and rewarded for this abomination with a casting away from God into the firery pit.  “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” – Matthew 25:41

May 31, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Impossible

“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20Image

April 29, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

REPENTANCE

English: Manasseh's Sin and Repentance; as in ...

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~WHAT IS REPENTANCE~

Repentance (Greek: metanoia) is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law. It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as ‘repentance’ is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), “after/behind one’s mind”, which is a compound word of the preposition ‘meta’ (after, with), and the verb ‘noeo’ (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by ‘after’ and ‘different’; so that the whole compound means: ‘to think differently after’. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, “change of mind and heart”, or, “change of consciousness”. A description of repentance in the New Testament can be found in the parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke (15 beginning at verse 11).

The doctrine of Repentance in the Scriptures appears to be very prominent. See the description of repentance in the Hebrew Bible above for repentance in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, John the Baptist began his public ministry, as did Jesus, with a call to repentance (Matthew 3:1–2; Matthew 4:17). In the Acts 2 sermon on Pentecost, Peter commands repentance. In the Acts 3 sermon at the Beautiful gate of the Temple, Peter interchanges the phrase “turn again” at a similar place in his presentation. When Jesus sent forth messengers to proclaim his gospel, he commanded them to preach repentance (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12). Teachings on repentance are found in the New Testament in Peter, (Acts 2:38); Paul, (Acts 20:21). God wants everyone to repent (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Indeed, failure on the part of man to heed God’s call to repentance means that he shall utterly perish (Luke 13:3).

The constant references to repentance in Peter’s preaching to his fellow countrymen in the early part of the book of Acts may indicate an exceptional need for repentance amongst those who had recently been party to the crucifixion of Christ, see Responsibility for the death of Jesus. Paul is emphatic that change take place amongst those whom he taught (see the Bible references to “turning to a true and living God”). This aversion to the Greek or idolatrous lifestyle may have come from the intense patriotism to Jewish ideals held by the well educated former Pharisee. Saint Isaac of Syria said, “This life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on vain pursuits.”

There is a three-fold idea involved in true repentance in the Protestant conception. The Protestant reformer John Calvin said that repentance “may be justly defined to be “a true conversion of our life to God, proceeding from a serious fear of God, and consisting in the mortification of the flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.” He further said that “it will be useful to amplify and explain the definition we have given; in which there are three points to be particularly considered.” “In the first place, when we call repentance “a conversion of the life to God, we require a transformation, not only in the external actions, but in the soul itself; which, after having put off the old nature, should produce the fruits of actions corresponding to its renovation. . . .In the second place, we represented repentance as proceeding from a serious fear of God. For before the mind of a sinner can be inclined to repentance, it must be excited by the knowledge of the Divine judgment.

“It remains for us, in the third place, to explain our position, that repentance consists of two parts—the mortification of the flesh and the vivification of the spirit. . . . Both these branches of repentance effects our participation of Christ. For if we truly partake of his death, our old man is crucified by its power, and the body of sin expires, so that the corruption of our former nature loses all its vigor. . . .If we are partakers of his resurrection, we are raised by it to a newness of life, which corresponds with the righteousness of God.” [Quotes from A Compend of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin edited by Hugh T. Kerr, The Westminster Press-Philadelphia 1939.]

Matthew 21:29: “He answered and said: I will not; but afterward he repented, and went”. The word here used for “repent” means to change one’s mind, thought, purpose, views regarding a matter; it is to have another mind about a thing. This change is well illustrated in the action of the Prodigal Son, and of the Publican in the well-known story of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 15 and 18). 2 Cor. 7:9–“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.” See also Luke 10:13; cf. Gen. 6:6. The Greek word for repentance in this connection means “to be a care to one afterwards,” to cause one great concern. This meaning is exemplified by the repentant person who not only has profound regret for his past but also the fulfilled hope in the potential of God’s grace to continually bear the fruit of healing and true reconciliation in himself, with others, and most especially with God. The Hebrew equivalent is strong as well, and it means to pant, to sigh, or to moan. So the publican “beat upon his breast,” indicating sorrow of heart. See also Psalms 38:18.

The issue of repentance is also discussed in connection with the will and disposition. One of the Hebrew words for repent means “to turn.” The Prodigal Son said, “I will arise… and he arose” (Luke 15:18, 20). The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown in the Confession of sin to God: Psa. 38:18 — “For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin.” The publican beat upon his breast, and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The prodigal said, “I have sinned against heaven” (Luke 15:21). There must be confession to man also in so far as man has been wronged in and by our sin (Matthew 5:23–24); James 5:16). Isa. 55:7 Prov. 28:13 (“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”); Matthew 3:8–10 (“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:… And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”). It is not enough to turn away from sin; we must turn unto God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 26:18.

According to Christians, acts of repentance do not earn God’s forgiveness from one’s sin; rather, forgiveness is given as a gift from God to those whom he saves. Acts 11:18–“Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” 2 Tim. 2:25 — “If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Acts 5:30, 31. In this view, people are called upon to repent in order that we may feel our own inability to do so, and consequently be thrown upon God and petition Him to perform this work of grace in our hearts. Many church fathers have made reference to it as the “gift of repentance” or as the “gift of tears”. God calls all to repent through the hearing of the Gospel. God grants total repentance as each individual responds to repentance through faith in the expiating sacrifice of Jesus for all sin. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Repentance is given before anything else by definition. One cannot show true change in his life before he himself has changed [repented] to bring about manifestations of that change/repentance.

Acts 2:37, 38, 41. The very Gospel which calls for repentance produces it. When the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10) heard the preaching of the word of God by Jonah they believed the message and turned unto God. Not any message, but the Gospel is the instrument that God uses to bring about this desired end. Furthermore, this message must be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5-10). Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6, 10-11. The chastisements of God are sometimes for the purpose of bringing His wandering children back to repentance. 2 Tim. 2:24-25. God often uses the loving, Christian reproof of a brother to be the means of bringing Christians back to God.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Color of Robe of Jesus Explained

Jesus with a royal purple robe mocked and beaten - Michelangelo Caravaggio

One of the supposed contradictions in the Holy Bible that uneducated muslims recite ad nauseam explained: 

What was the color of the robe placed on Jesus during his trial?
MAT 27:28 scarlet

JOH 19:2 purple

The robe was dyed purple and colored scarlet:
Although we think of both purple and scarlet as colors, the Greek word translated “purple” actually refers to a type of dye.
Mark and John’s descriptions of the robe as purple are thus descriptions of the way that the robe was given its color, not of what color it was.
Matthew’s description of the robe as scarlet, on the other hand, is a description of the robe’s color.
Purple dye was used to dye garments scarlet (among other colors), so Matthew’s account is perfectly consistent with those of Mark and John.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul taught exactly that which the Son of God Jesus did

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THE APOSTLE PAUL TAUGHT WHAT JESUS TAUGHT!!!

Jesus taught and argued with Jews (Matt. 23).
Paul taught and argued with Jews (Acts 17:11-12)

Jesus taught to obey Governing authorities (Matthew 22:21)
Paul taught to obey governing authorities (Romans 13:1)

Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22)
The Jews are God’s people (Romans 11:1)

Jesus taught you must be born again (John 3:3)
Paul taught you must be a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

Jesus said to let your good works (Matthew 5:16)
Paul says that rich in good works (1 Tim 6:17-19)

Jesus taught that he would lay down His life (John 10:17)
Paul taught we are saved by the life of Jesus (Roman 5:10)

Jesus taught that all have sinned (John 3:19)
Paul taught that all have sinned (Romans 3:23)

Jesus taught against false prophets (Matthew 7:15)
Paul taught against false prophets (2 Cor 11:13)

Jesus taught that He is God (John 14:9, John 10:31, John 8:58
Paul taught that Jesus is God, (Romans 9:5)

Jesus taught to love your enemies, (Luke 6:27-28)
Paul taught to love all people including enemies, (2 Cor 10:4)

Jesus taught prayer in secret places (Matthew 6:6)
Paul taught prayer away from public places, (Acts 16:13)

Jesus taught prayer and fasting is powerful (Matthew 17:21)

Paul taught prayer and fasting is powerful, (1 Cor 7:5)

Jesus taught to pray always (Luke 21:36)

Paul taught to pray always (2 Thess 1:11)

Jesus taught to put out the immoral sinner from the church.(Matthew 15)
Paul taught to put out the immoral sinner from the church (2Cor 5:5).

Jesus claimed to be from heaven, (John 6:51)
Paul claimed that Jesus was from heaven (1Cor 15:47)

Jesus the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20)
Paul taught the New Covenant (1Cor 11:25, 2 Cor 3:6)

Jesus taught that the sheep (followers) will not perish (John 10:27-28)

Paul taught that there is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ, (Rom. 8:1-2)

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Islam can not deny Jesus Is God

 

Jesus was worshiped regularly from the moment of His birth. And because He knew He was GOD and worthy of worship, He NEVER rebuked His followers for worshiping Him:
Matthew 2:11 “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and WORSHIPED Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Matthew 8:2 “And behold, a leper came and WORSHIPED Him, saying,“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Matthew 9:18 “While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and WORSHIPED Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.”

Matthew 14:33 “Then those who were in the boat came and WORSHIPED Him, saying,“Truly You are the Son of God.”

Matthew 15:25 “Then she came and WORSHIPED Him, saying,“Lord, help me!”

Matthew 28:9 “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and WORSHIPED Him.

Matthew 28:17 “When they saw Him, they WORSHIPED Him; but some doubted.”

John 9:38 “Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he WORSHIPED Him.”

John 20:28-29 “And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

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

Yet Jesus tells Satan that only GOD is to be worshiped: “Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall WORSHIP the LORD your God, and Him ONLY you shall serve” (Luke 4:8). So my question for Muslims is this: Why would Jesus allow Himself to be worshiped over and over again if He believed He was unworthy of worship?

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Emergency Bible Numbers

Emergency Bible Numbers

  – When you are sad, call on John 14

– When you don’t feel loved, call on Romans 8:38-39

– When you have sinned, call on 1 John 1:8-9

– When you are facing danger, call on Psalm 91

– When people have failed you, call on Psalm 27

– When God feel far from you, call on Psalm 139

– When your faith needs encouraging, call on Hebrews 11

– When you are scared, call on Psalm 23

– When you are worried, call on Matthew 6:25-34

– When you are hurt, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you feel no one is on your side, call on Romans 8:31-39

– When you are seeking rest, call on Matthew 11:25-30

– When you are suffering, call on Romans 8:18-30

– When you feel you’re failing, call on Psalm 121

– When you pray, call on Matthew 6:9-13

– When you need courage, call on Joshua 1

– When you are in need, call on Philippians 4:19

– When you are hated because of your faith, call on John 15

– When you are losing hope, call on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

– When you are seeking peace, call on John 14:27

– When you want to do good works, call on John 15

– When you want to live a happy life, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you don’t understand what God is doing, call on Isaiah 55:8-9

– When you want to get along with others, call on Romans 12:9-21

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Response to confused Muslim regarding Son of God Jesus

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Show us where God said anything besides what mohammed said he said? If God’s words only come through a prophet and not directly to everyone, then rejecting the four prophets Mark, John, Paul, Matthewwould require rejecting every prophet’s words from God. Thus even if mohammed was a prophet, his words would be just as invalid as any other prophet of God’s. This is exactly the failed circular logic of islam. You can not simply choose and pick which prophet to believe or disbelieve. Either they are ALL valid or none are. Let us

also address the fact the mohammed affirmed that the Holy Bible IS God’s word. To reject Mark, John, Paul, and Matthew would mean the mohammed was wrong that they provided God’s words. If mohammed was wrong, such as when he admitted that he was deceived by satan by those now removed verses from the qu’ran commonly refered to as the “satanic verses”, then his prophethood is invalid. Now that that is crystal clear, rejecting Mark, John, Paul, and Matthew or any prophet of the Holy Bible means rejecting mohammed and that means rejecting islam. Again, we lead straight back to the truth that the KJV Holy Bible is the literal and correct and unerrent word of the One True God and of His Son Jesus. But, to repeat one of many proofs already previously explained and yet the same question keeps being repeatedly asked and answered; John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 20:28-29 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. – The Son of God, Jesus, clearly accepts being called “My Lord and my God!” by Thomas. Next question.

September 29, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Four Key Relationships

If you were to ask God, “What relationships matter most?”, His answer would be over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our Himself(God), with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves. As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most we evaluate our own lives with a willing mind and God centered heart, we will see where we have drifted from these four relationships. Our eyes of our understanding will be opened, and we will recognize what is truly important and what needs to be done to purify our heart and refocus our life on those things that truly matter.

Mark 12

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A way of living from God

Amos 5:21-24

(21) ” I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
(22) Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
(23) Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
(24) But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Israel’s religion was going nowhere. The people were not righteous, moral, or just in their dealings with one another, so their playing at religion, though sincere, was despicable to God.

In the list of sacrifices in verse 22, the sin offering is not mentioned, suggesting that the Israelites felt they had done no sin that required forgiveness. This shows that they were not in contact with God; they had no relationship with Him. If they had, they would have been aware where they had fallen short, and they could have repented.

Amos includes three other offerings that the Israelites gave but God would not accept. Knowing what they represent gives us insight into how the people were falling short in their spiritual lives.

The burnt offering teaches total devotion to the Creator. It was completely burned up on the altar, typifying the offerer being completely devoted in service to God. This offering corresponds to the first four commandments, which show love and devotion toward God.

Similarly, the grain offering, also called the cereal offering, meal offering, or meat offering, teaches total dedication and service to man. It was offered in conjunction with the burnt offering. The grain offering typifies the last six commandments, which regulate our relationships and love toward our fellow man.

The peace offering represents one’s fellowship upward to God and outward to man. It was primarily given in thanks for God’s blessing. When this offering was made, God, the priest, the offerer, and his family and friends shared in a common meal and fellowship, as all these parties ate part of the sacrificed animal.

But from God’s reaction to their offerings, it is clear that the people of ancient Israel were not devoted to God or to their fellow man. Nor were they in true fellowship with either God or man, and therefore they could not see their sins. They did not see the holiness of God and compare themselves to it. If they had, they would have seen that they needed to make changes in their lives, but in judging themselves solely against other men—an unwise thing to do (II Corinthians 10:12)—they felt no need for repentance.

They did not understand what God really wanted of them. They may have appeased their own consciences with their church attendance, hymn singing, and sacrifices, but they went home and continued to oppress and cheat and lie. True religion is

1) A relationship with God (Matthew 22:37). Without a relationship with Him, we cannot know Him or understand His purpose for us.

2) Submission and obedience to God as our part of the relationship (James 4:7-8). In offering to make the covenant with the children of Israel (Exodus 20-24), He proposed to them. They accepted their obligation—to obey Him—but they were unfaithful in fulfilling it. As the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) and the future Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9), the church must not fail as ancient Israel did.

3) Real love for God’s truth (II Thessalonians 2:10). Israel neither loved nor sought God’s truth.

4) Moral integrity (I Peter 3:8-12). Living in righteousness and holiness shows love toward God and man.

5) Social responsibility (James 1:27). Israel, as a nation of this world, had a responsibility to ensure that their care of their fellow Israelites was acceptable in God’s eyes. The church, a spiritual organism, is not of this world, and as a body, has no responsibility at this time to change society—only ourselves. We must take care of our brethren within the church now, and we will have our chance to help this world in God’s Kingdom.

These five points will not “buy” us into the presence of God, but rather they are five proofs that we follow true religion. Remember Jacob’s dream. God chooses us and meets us at the foot of the ladder, making a difference in our lives. He gives us a way of life to follow, and we pledge to follow it. Thus, true religion is not a way to God but a way of living from God.

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contentment

To be content, just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now and then got it back again.-Unknown

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). And that was a mouthful for a guy who was beaten, put in prison, stoned, shipwrecked and chased out of town after town. Yet, do you find it difficult to be content even in the lap of luxury? Attitude, that’s the difference. What’s needed is an inner attitude, an unshakable conviction that, regardless of the circumstances which life may send your way, with God’s help you can triumph in your troubles, if not over them. To triumph in your troubles is really the only victory you need, “for great is your reward in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12).

In the first century, the Apostle Paul demonstrated this principle. Here’s what he wrote to his brethren in the city of Philippi: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). And Paul had been in some miserable circumstances. On one occasion he was falsely accused, beaten and thrown into prison, where he was shackled hand and foot. He was put in the inner prison (which we’d call the maximum security cell). But at midnight, of all things, Paul was singing. And he wasn’t wailing the words to “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” either. He was singing praises to God (see Acts 16:25)! What a fantastic attitude in such dire circumstances. But if your heart is right with God, circumstances just don’t count. Now, that may not sound very revolutionary the first time you hear it, but the idea grows on you. It suggests a truth that everyone has to wrestle with sooner or later: Until you’re able to be happy in every situation, you can’t really be happy in any situation.

How did Paul learn to be content in any set of circumstances? Did he learn it through his own human self-sufficiency? No way! Rather, he said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…. I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.” (“Making Things Right,” Paul Faulkner.)

There have been many of My children who have lived before you who faced great hardships, handicaps, and difficulties, and yet they allowed Me to use them. They were cheerful and happy despite the things that life had brought their way. They were overcomers!-But they would have never lifted a finger, never changed anything, never gone anywhere, never been anyone, if they had allowed their usefulness to be swallowed up by negativity and discontent.

Be an overcomer! Be a world changer! Be something for Me, because I need you! I need you to be free of negativity so that I can use you for My glory, so that I can work through you to love and reach others! Be content! Be free! Be positive! Be praiseful! That’s the secret to happiness! (Jesus speaking in prophecy. Originally published April 2006.)

Trust! Stop fretting and fussing and fighting and kicking and refusing to be happy and content with what you are and what you have! Once you are truly content-and this contentment only comes through total yieldedness to Me and acceptance of My plan-then I can give you more. I can then give you more blessings, more love, more friendships, relationships, even greater attractiveness and charm. When you are relaxed, restful, trusting, content and at peace with Me and with yourself the way I have made you, then your natural beauty, charm and love can [show]. You will not be so concerned and preoccupied and wrapped up in yourself and your own worries and wants and fears and phobias, but you will be looking out and around, looking to give others joy and peace. (From Jesus with Love, Book 2)

Back it up…
(All Bible verses are taken from the New King James Version, unless noted otherwise.)

Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

1Timothy 6:6-8 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Hebrews.13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

January 30, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Marriage

Marriage is a Covenant Between a Man And Woman That is Biblically Based, Holy and God Ordained! Do you have questions about divorce, gender roles and sexual immorality?

These doctrines of Jesus, which are written in the Holy Bible, have the true answer!

1 Corinthians 7:2 …because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

Proverbs 31:10-30 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “ Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

Genesis 2:18 …the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Genesis 2:23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…

Mark 10:7-8 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Malachi 2:15 … And why one? He seeks godly offspring…

Mark 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 …A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”

Matthew 5:32 …whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

1Corinthians 11:3 …I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1-5 … that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands…

Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

Ephesians 5:28-29 …husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Proverbs 5:18-19 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.

Titus 2:2-5 …older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Have you violated God’s word by marrying a non-believer?

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 …I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Societal / Cultural Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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