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Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’

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HOW WOULD YOU TITLE THIS?

 John 14:1-6 – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.  Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can we know the way?  Jesus said unto him, I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life:  no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

1 Corinthians 15:49-54 – “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.  Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 – “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now He Who has created us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also has given unto us the guarantee of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight):  we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

1 John 3:1-2 – “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

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GOD’S GIFT: EVIDENCE OF THE LOVE OF THE GIVER

The Greek χάρις (charis), is translated as “grace” over one hundred fifty times in the New Testament. However, it is translated seven times as “favor,” as well, and all of them occur in the writings of Luke (Lk. 1:28, 30; 2:52; Acts 2:47; 7:10, 46; 25:3).  Oddly enough, the writings of Luke also have χάρις translated as “grace” eleven times (Lk. 2:40; 4:22; Acts 1:23; 13:43; 14:3, 26; 15:11, 40; 18:27; 20:24, 32).  Even if the words are interchangeable, one would think the two would show up in other New Testament books.  But, that is not the case.  And after looking at the context where the word “favor” is used, I hate to admit it, but I still have no clue as to why the word “favor” was used.

Nevertheless, the Word of God supplies us with a definition of χάρις, so that there can be no confusion as to the Lord’s meaning.  Ephesians 2:7-9 gives us the meaning of “grace”: 

“That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” 

The first fact in defining “grace,” is that it is an attribute of God!  He is gracious!  Like “mercy,” “grace” is evidence of God’s love for us.  The two explain just how much God “loved the world” and what that means in John 3:16.

The second truth about God’s “grace” toward mankind, is that it cannot be earned.  It has to be a gift, or it is no longer “grace.”  The two are contrasted as opposites in Romans 11:16, which says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then is it no more grace:  otherwise work is no more work.”

Finally, the text itself declares that salvation is a “gift!”  And just like you and I purchase what we give as gifts to others, salvation is a “gift” purchased by God, to give it to us:  the price?  The life of His only begotten Son (Rom. 5:15)!

 
At Christmas time, we honor God’s gift to mankind:  our Lord, His Son!

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Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Eva...

Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2006), 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Milestone in History:

A Halloween Tale

by Chuck Missler

In the year 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony, a baby boy was born to a poorcoal miner. As he grew up and observed the poverty of hi s father, this boy, named Martin, chose to pursue a different vocation.He decided to become a lawyer and, in 1501, entered the University of Erfurt, where he excelled in his studies. As he came to the end of his schooling in 1504, an event took place which changed his life. While he was walking the campus grounds, a storm broke so forcefully that Martin fell on his face in fear. The thunder was deafening and lightning struck all around him.Instinctively, he cried out to the patron saint of coal miners, whose name he had heard invoked during his childhood, “Saint Anne! Save me from the lightning. If you save me I will become a monk.” Shortly thereafter the storm stopped. Being a man of his word, Martinwithdrew from law school and entered an Augustinian monastery where heapplied himself so diligently that he obtained a Doctorate of Theology within a few years. But the more he studied, the more troubled his heart became; for although he was becoming an expert in theology, he lacked peace personally.The question he repeatedly wrote in his diary was: “Howcan a man find favor with God?” In search of such peace, Martin devoted himself to an exceedingly pious life-style. He would fast for ten to fifteen days at a time. When temperatures dropped below freezing, he slept outside without a blanket. Between his studies, he beat his body until it was black and blue and bleeding-hoping that somehow by punishing his flesh, he could rid himself of the thoughts and motives that he knew were not right. (These were typical practices of the medieval church…) He went to confession so many times a day that finally the abbot said, “Martin, either go out and commit a sin worth confessing or stop coming here so often!”Martin was so introspective and continually plagued by what he knew of his own depravity and sinfulness that once, while sitting at his desk writing theology, he felt the presence of Satan so tangibly that he grabbed a bottle of ink and hurled it across the room to where he thought the devil was standing. The bottle crashed against the wall and left a mark that can still be seen today.Finally, in 1509, Martin decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome in hope of finding the elusive peace for which he longed. He set out on foot and crossed the Alps. On his descent, he almost died of a high fever before making his way to a monastery at the foot of the mountains. There the Brothers nursed him back to health. While there, a wise monk approached him and s aid, “You need to read the Book of Habakkuk.” And so Martin did just that. He read Habakkuk. It was a good suggestion. Habakkuk was a struggler just like Martin, and like us today: If God is good, why does He allow suffering? If there really is a devil, why doesn’t God just obliterate him? (When we throw out questions, we then plunge into our personal pursuits-and wonder why we don’t get answers.) One verse captured Martin’s imagination: Habakkuk 2:4.”The just shall live by faith.” He couldn’t get it out of his mind.Having recovered sufficiently to continue his journey to Rome, he went to the Church of St. John’s Lateran, a typical cathedral of that day. There is a staircase there that is said to be from Pilate’s judgment hall. The existing stairs are four parts: the special inner two are said to have been transported there miraculously from Jerusalem. The outer two are ordinary. The inner steps are not walked on. Here pilgrims mount painfully on their knees, a step at a time, saying prayers as they go.The pope had promised an indulgence to all who would undergo this rite.As Martin repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, Habakkuk 2:4 suddenly came into his mind: “the just shall live by faith.” He ceased his prayers, returned to the University of Wittenberg, and went on to explore the revolutionary idea of “justification by faith.” And with great deliberation, on October 31, 1517, Martin drove a stake into the heart of the prevailing pagan concepts by nailing his famous 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg,Germany, and started the movement known today as the Reformation-the single most important event in modern history. Appropriately, he did this on Halloween. His name, of course, was Martin Luther. The church leadership didn’t like the implications of his views and ultimately, at the Diet (council) of Worms (a town) they excommunicated him as a heretic. He went on to write commentaries that are classics today; hymns like, “A Mighty Fortress is our God”; and translated the entire Bible into German, a classic which remains the literary masterpiece in the Germanic tongue 

* * *

The just shall live by faith. By faith; not by intellect, sight, or feelings. Faith is the currency of eternity. God wants us to be rich people. Faith is not believing in spite of evidence;it is obeying in spite of the consequences

The Holy Spirit has given us a trilogy on Habakkuk 2:4:

The Just shall live by Faith Rom 1:15-17

The Just shall live by Faith Gal 1;6-9; 3:1-3, 11

The Just shall live by Faith Heb 10:38 (introduces the “Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11.)

It takes three epistles of the New Testament to expound just one Old Testament text of six words! (This is one of the several reasons I personally ascribe authorship of the Epistles to the Hebrews to Paul.)

One small verse in Habakkuk changed the course of history. Among the most fascinating portions of the Bible are the lesser known “Minor” prophets. (The scholastic term “minor” derives from their small size,not their significance!) Why not undertake a personally tutored study of some of them.

This article was originally published in the September 1998 Personal Update NewsJournal.

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk

Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wittenberg All Saints' Church. The "These...

Wittenberg All Saints’ Church. The “Theses Doors”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as

The 95 Theses
by Dr. Martin Luther

While the world is busy acting out Druidic satanism on Halloween, let us remember the REAL reason to celebrate October 31: Reformation Day, commemorating Martin Luther’s protest against the Catholic Church’s ungodly practices.  This led to printing of the Word of God in languages people could finally read for themselves. At last the true Salvation Gospel was revealed, and along with it the doctrine of Grace, which freed the people from the fear based control of the Catholic power structure.  Without the Protestant Reformation, the Dark Ages would never have ended, and there would be no nation on earth founded on Biblical principles; no freedom, no USA.

This is also a day to remember the enemies of the Reformation: the “Company of Jesus” also called the Jesuit Order, dedicated to the Counter-Reformation–bringing back the Dark Ages of Papal domination over the nations of the earth.  The Babylonian Whore of Revelation still sits on the seven headed beast–the city on seven hills–ROME!  The papacy is drunk with the blood of the saints and today more than ever, “reigns over the kings of the earth”.  No wonder the pope’s title “vicarius filii dei” in Roman numerals adds up to 666! 

The Jesuits are the master destroyers of national sovereignty, ruling behind their loyal front men (Masonic Jews, Republicans, Democrats, etc) and front organizations (CIA, Council on Foreign Relations, Freemasons, Illuminati).  Few see the Jesuit hand behind the laws and policies that destroy our economy and culture, or the false flag attacks like 9-11, used to take our freedom and justify wars that only benefit the Vatican.

That’s why they want us to celebrate Halloween and forget Reformation Day; to keep Sunday and forget that Saturday is the Sabbath; to believe their evolution scam and forget the Bible. The Jesuits know how to bring God’s judgment down on a nation: corrupt it beyond all recognition. 

So let us put aside the Devil’s occult celebration and remember all that the Jesuit social engineers want us to forget, starting this Sabbath DANIEL HENDERICK

d_henderick@yahoo.com

 95thses

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.

1.    When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2.    The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3.    Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

4.    As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

5.    The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law.

6.    The pope himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by God; or, at most, he can remit it in cases reserved to his discretion. Except for these cases, the guilt remains untouched.

7.    God never remits guilt to anyone without, at the same time, making him humbly submissive to the priest, His representative.

8.    The penitential canons apply only to men who are still alive, and, according to the canons themselves, none applies to the dead.

9.    Accordingly, the Holy Spirit, acting in the person of the pope, manifests grace to us, by the fact that the papal regulations always cease to apply at death, or in any hard case.

10.                    It is a wrongful act, due to ignorance, when priests retain the canonical penalties on the dead in purgatory.

11.                    When canonical penalties were changed and made to apply to purgatory, surely it would seem that tares were sown while the bishops were asleep.

12.                    In former days, the canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution was pronounced; and were intended to be tests of true contrition.

13.                    Death puts an end to all the claims of the Church; even the dying are already dead to the canon laws, and are no longer bound by them.

14.                    Defective piety or love in a dying person is necessarily accompanied by great fear, which is greatest where the piety or love is least.

15.                    This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, whatever else might be said, to constitute the pain of purgatory, since it approaches very closely to the horror of despair.

16.                    There seems to be the same difference between hell, purgatory, and heaven as between despair, uncertainty, and assurance.

17.                    Of a truth, the pains of souls in purgatory ought to be abated, and charity ought to be proportionately increased.

18.                    Moreover, it does not seem proved, on any grounds of reason or Scripture, that these souls are outside the state of merit, or unable to grow in grace.

19.                    Nor does it seem proved to be always the case that they are certain and assured of salvation, even if we are very certain ourselves.

20.                    Therefore the pope, in speaking of the plenary remission of all penalties, does not mean “all” in the strict sense, but only those imposed by himself.

21.                    Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope’s indulgences.

22.                    Indeed, he cannot remit to souls in purgatory any penalty which canon law declares should be suffered in the present life.

23.                    If plenary remission could be granted to anyone at all, it would be only in the cases of the most perfect, i.e. to very few.

24.                    It must therefore be the case that the major part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of relief from penalty.

25.                    The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish.

26.                    The pope does excellently when he grants remission to the souls in purgatory on account of intercessions made on their behalf, and not by the power of the keys (which he cannot exercise for them).

27.                    There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.

28.                    It is certainly possible that when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest avarice and greed increase; but when the church offers intercession, all depends in the will of God.

29.                    Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed in view of what is said of St. Severinus and St. Pascal? (Note: Paschal I, pope 817-24. The legend is that he and Severinus were willing to endure the pains of purgatory for the benefit of the faithful).

30.                    No one is sure of the reality of his own contrition, much less of receiving plenary forgiveness.

31.                    One who bona fide buys indulgence is a rare as a bona fide penitent man, i.e. very rare indeed.

32.                    All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33.                    We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.

34.                    For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental “satisfactions” decreed merely by man.

35.                    It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.

36.                    Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.

37.                    Any true Christian whatsoever, living or dead, participates in all the benefits of Christ and the Church; and this participation is granted to him by God without letters of indulgence.

38.                    Yet the pope’s remission and dispensation are in no way to be despised, for, as already said, they proclaim the divine remission.

39.                    It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, to extol to the people the great bounty contained in the indulgences, while, at the same time, praising contrition as a virtue.

40.                    A truly contrite sinner seeks out, and loves to pay, the penalties of his sins; whereas the very multitude of indulgences dulls men’s consciences, and tends to make them hate the penalties.

41.                    Papal indulgences should only be preached with caution, lest people gain a wrong understanding, and think that they are preferable to other good works: those of love.

42.                    Christians should be taught that the pope does not at all intend that the purchase of indulgences should be understood as at all comparable with the works of mercy.

43.                    Christians should be taught that one who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does a better action than if he purchases indulgences.

44.                    Because, by works of love, love grows and a man becomes a better man; whereas, by indulgences, he does not become a better man, but only escapes certain penalties.

45.                    Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope’s pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.

46.                    Christians should be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they are bound to retain what is only necessary for the upkeep of their home, and should in no way squander it on indulgences.

47.                    Christians should be taught that they purchase indulgences voluntarily, and are not under obligation to do so.

48.                    Christians should be taught that, in granting indulgences, the pope has more need, and more desire, for devout prayer on his own behalf than for ready money.

49.                    Christians should be taught that the pope’s indulgences are useful only if one does not rely on them, but most harmful if one loses the fear of God through them.

50.                    Christians should be taught that, if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence-preachers, he would rather the church of St. Peter were reduced to ashes than be built with the skin, flesh, and bones of the sheep.

51.                    Christians should be taught that the pope would be willing, as he ought if necessity should arise, to sell the church of St. Peter, and give, too, his own money to many of those from whom the pardon-merchants conjure money.

52.                    It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.

53.                    Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

54.                    The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.

55.                    The pope cannot help taking the view that if indulgences (very small matters) are celebrated by one bell, one pageant, or one ceremony, the gospel (a very great matter) should be preached to the accompaniment of a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56.                    The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ.

57.                    That these treasures are not temporal are clear from the fact that many of the merchants do not grant them freely, but only collect them.

58.                    Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, because, even apart from the pope, these merits are always working grace in the inner man, and working the cross, death, and hell in the outer man.

59.                    St. Laurence said that the poor were the treasures of the church, but he used the term in accordance with the custom of his own time.

60.                    We do not speak rashly in saying that the treasures of the church are the keys of the church, and are bestowed by the merits of Christ.

61.                    For it is clear that the power of the pope suffices, by itself, for the remission of penalties and reserved cases.

62.                    The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63.                    It is right to regard this treasure as most odious, for it makes the first to be the last.

64.                    On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is most acceptable, for it makes the last to be the first.

65.                    Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets which, in former times, they used to fish for men of wealth.

66.                    The treasures of the indulgences are the nets which to-day they use to fish for the wealth of men.

67.                    The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favours, are seen to be, in fact, a favourite means for money-getting.

68.                    Nevertheless, they are not to be compared with the grace of God and the compassion shown in the Cross.

69.                    Bishops and curates, in duty bound, must receive the commissaries of the papal indulgences with all reverence.

70.                    But they are under a much greater obligation to watch closely and attend carefully lest these men preach their own fancies instead of what the pope commissioned.

71.                    Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.

72.                    On the other hand, let him be blessed who is on his guard against the wantonness and license of the pardon-merchant’s words.

73.                    In the same way, the pope rightly excommunicates those who make any plans to the detriment of the trade in indulgences.

74.                    It is much more in keeping with his views to excommunicate those who use the pretext of indulgences to plot anything to the detriment of holy love and truth.

75.                    It is foolish to think that papal indulgences have so much power that they can absolve a man even if he has done the impossible and violated the mother of God.

76.                    We assert the contrary, and say that the pope’s pardons are not able to remove the least venial of sins as far as their guilt is concerned.

77.                    When it is said that not even St. Peter, if he were now pope, could grant a greater grace, it is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.

78.                    We assert the contrary, and say that he, and any pope whatever, possesses greater graces, viz., the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as is declared in I Corinthians 12 [:28].

79.                    It is blasphemy to say that the insignia of the cross with the papal arms are of equal value to the cross on which Christ died.

80.                    The bishops, curates, and theologians, who permit assertions of that kind to be made to the people without let or hindrance, will have to answer for it.

81.                    This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult for learned men to guard the respect due to the pope against false accusations, or at least from the keen criticisms of the laity.

82.                    They ask, e.g.: Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter’s church, a very minor purpose.

83.                    Again: Why should funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continue to be said? And why does not the pope repay, or permit to be repaid, the benefactions instituted for these purposes, since it is wrong to pray for those souls who are now redeemed?

84.                    Again: Surely this is a new sort of compassion, on the part of God and the pope, when an impious man, an enemy of God, is allowed to pay money to redeem a devout soul, a friend of God; while yet that devout and beloved soul is not allowed to be redeemed without payment, for love’s sake, and just because of its need of redemption.

85.                    Again: Why are the penitential canon laws, which in fact, if not in practice, have long been obsolete and dead in themselves,—why are they, to-day, still used in imposing fines in money, through the granting of indulgences, as if all the penitential canons were fully operative?

86.                    Again: since the pope’s income to-day is larger than that of the wealthiest of wealthy men, why does he not build this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of indigent believers?

87.                    Again: What does the pope remit or dispense to people who, by their perfect repentance, have a right to plenary remission or dispensation?

88.                    Again: Surely a greater good could be done to the church if the pope were to bestow these remissions and dispensations, not once, as now, but a hundred times a day, for the benefit of any believer whatever.

89.                    What the pope seeks by indulgences is not money, but rather the salvation of souls; why then does he suspend the letters and indulgences formerly conceded, and still as efficacious as ever?

90.                    These questions are serious matters of conscience to the laity. To suppress them by force alone, and not to refute them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian people unhappy.

91.                    If therefore, indulgences were preached in accordance with the spirit and mind of the pope, all these difficulties would be easily overcome, and indeed, cease to exist.

92.                    Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ’s people, “Peace, peace,” where in there is no peace.

93.                    Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ’s people, “The cross, the cross,” where there is no cross.

94.                    Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.

95.                    And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.

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

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

 

  09.13.13 Friday

FINDING THE GOSPEL IN THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS
[ PART 5 ]

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


 

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  09.12.13 Thursday

FINDING THE GOSPEL IN THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS
[ PART 4 ]

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


 

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  09.11.13 Wednesday

FINDING THE GOSPEL IN THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS
[ PART 3 ]

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


 

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  09.10.13 Tuesday

FINDING THE GOSPEL IN THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS
[ PART 2 ]

In

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

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

greater appreciation for the Lamb who was slain for us.


 

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  09.09.13 Monday

FINDING THE GOSPEL IN THE JEWISH HOLY DAYS
[ PART 1 ]

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


 

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The Missing Jewel of Christ’s Return

 

Christ the Missing Jewel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God restore this missing jewel in the Church!

Reposted from  Aug 30

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FOUR PORTRAITS ONE JESUS

with Dr. Mark Strauss

PART 1

07.22.13

Each of the four gospels offers a unique portrait of the life and ministry of Jesus. But how do we use these different perspectives to experience our Savior in a tangible way? Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 2

07.23.13

Though it is the second book of the New Testament, Mark’s gospel was probably written first. Unlike the other gospel writers, he mostly focused on Christ’s power and authority. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 3

07.24.13

Jesus said He was the Messiah, but there were many who doubted the validity of His ministry. This is why the Gospel of Matthew is important in understanding how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 4

07.25.13

The apostle Paul may have written more ‘books’ of the New Testament, but his companion, Luke,wrote more words. Find out how the first Christian historian showed us that the gospel is for all people. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 5

07.26.13

He was the disciple whom Jesus loved and the final author of the four gospels. John may have written in simple Greek, but he had profound things to say about the deity of Christ.Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 6

07.27.13

Each of the four gospels offers a unique portrait of the life and ministry of Jesus. But how do we use these different perspectives to experience our Savior in a tangible way?

Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

http://www.haventoday.org/program-archives-by-date.php

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The Bride of Christ and the Jewish Wedding Models

 

Bride-on-fire1-300x183WILL THE BRIDE OF CHRIST BE TORMENTED IN THE TRIBULATION PERIOD?

The Bridegroom (Christ) and bride (Christian church) analogy given several times in the New Testament, infers believers escape the wrath of the seven-year tribulation period.

It is doubtful that Christ would come for a bride that has been battered, bruised, and tarnished from seven years of tribulation. Contrarily, it makes more sense that Jesus would return to rapture His believers before they are ravished by those judgments, that are specifically intended for unbelievers.

The bride’s worthiness is based solely upon her genuine faith in the Bridegroom, and not courageous works performed amidst the backdrop of tribulation judgments. Believers have nothing further to prove. They are not obligated to undergo the fiery trials taking place in the trib-period.

For by grace you [believers] have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9; emphasis added).

Many Christian expositors compare the Bridegroom example to the traditional Jewish wedding model. What could be more appropriate, considering Christ was a Jew? The following brief outline of the process was partially taken from notes provided within a related Chuck Missler article called The Wedding Model.(i) This article is taken from the commentary in Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon.

BETROTHAL

The groom negotiated a fair price (mohair) for his bride. In the case of believers, the price was paid by the Lord’s precious sacrificial blood upon the cross for the sins of believers.

SEPARATION

The engagement period was actually a time of separation usually lasting about twelve months. While the bride-to-be stayed home, the groom returned to his father’s house to make preparations for their future lives together. This gave the bride time to prepare her trousseau, and the groom to construct a place for the two of them to live happily ever after. Presently, Christ and the bride are separated. He is in heaven while she is on Earth preparing her wedding garments, which according to Revelation 19:8 are her righteous acts.

PREPARATION

The groom utilized the separation period to return to his father’s house to construct the couple’s new home on the premises. John 14:1-4 points out that this is a function Christ is presently performing in heaven. John 14 says Christ is building mansions at His Father’s house for His followers. Believers can expect to inhabit spectacular heavenly abodes because several Scriptures point out that Christ is no novice when it comes to carpentry.

Is this [Jesus] not the carpenter, the Son of Mary? (Mark 6:3a).

This question was asked by Jesus’ local countrymen who were astounded by His teaching in the neighborhood synagogue. They had identified Him as a carpenter in the past, rather than the prophet He had become.

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17).

The major premise that can be drawn from these Colossians verses is that Jesus can create anything, including thousands of stars, species, varieties of vegetation, and much more. Thus, the minor premise is, He can construct spectacular mansions for his faithful followers.

FETCHING

JEW-BRIDE1-300x195At the appropriate time, after the construction was completed, the groom came to fetch his bride. Although the bride knew the time would come, she didn’t necessarily know precisely when. This is the case with believers today; they know Christ is coming, but don’t know the day or hour. Also, the groom’s arrival was usually accompanied by the best man and several friends. When the party arrived to fetch the bride, there was often a shout from the friends to announce the groom had arrived. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 declares there will be a shout from His friend the archangel announcing Christ’s return.

CONSUMATION

Once fetched, the two returned to the groom’s father’s house where they were secluded in a bridal chamber (huppah). While inside the chamber they consummated their marriage by entering into physical union for the first time. They remained secluded in the chamber for seven days while the wedding guests enjoyed the wedding feast at the groom’s father’s house. This will be the similar case with Christ and his believers. Together they will be secluded somewhere in heaven consummating their union, while the seven years of tribulation take place on Earth. The seven-days seem to represent these seven years of tribulation.

CELEBRATION

After the seven days had elapsed, the groom brought his bride out of the chamber to greet the wedding guests and partake of the celebration. This will be the case after the trib-period; Christ will reign in His messianic kingdom and His bride will co-reign faithfully by His side.

This Jewish wedding model suggests that believers escape the seven years of tribulation, by being safely secluded somewhere in heaven.

Believers are promised by Christ to escape the wrath of God that is poured out during the seven year trib-period on unsaved humanity, but they receive important instructions from the Bridegroom in the Book of Luke.

But take heed to yourselves, [bride / believers] lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36; emphasis added).

Christ warns His bride to be sober, watchful, and prayerful while she prepares her trousseau (righteous acts). The promise is that she will be worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass,” alluding to the wrath that is to come. She is not being invited to endure all these things, nor is she being informed that she will escape only some of these treacherous things. No, none of the above; Christ’s bride gets a honeymoon suite specially prepared in heaven according to John 14, where she goes to escape the wrath of God. If you listen carefully you can hear through the sirens sounding out the signs of the end times and hear the Divine Carpenter, Jesus Christ, pounding in the finishing nails on our mansions in heaven.

…………..
(i) Chuck Missler article accessed from the Internet on 8/12/11 at: http://www.khouse.org/articles/2003/449/.

 on Saturday, April 28, 2012 by Bill Salus

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