The real “Inconvenient Truth”

Posted December 28, 2015 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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Introduction 

God is Sovereign and in complete charge of all of His Creation (this Universe) and God alone determines the end from the beginning because God’s Sovereignty knows no bounds.

Jesus is the embodiment of that “Inconvenient” Truth

In recent times (2006) there was a documentary film created about a former United States Vice President’s campaign to educate citizens about “global warming”/”climate change” entitled “An Inconvenient Truth.” Valid or not, that film only had to do with some carnally, materialistically, and temporally focused issues of this world. The Bible provides us with insights on a far more important “Inconvenient Truth”…one that directly affects every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live. That inconvenient truth is not only real, but it deals with incarnate, supernatural, and eternal issues. That truth is the fact that God is Sovereign over very single facet of all creation and life, and, moreover, that He orchestrates all of the events of the universe solely for His Glory, His Honor, and His Majesty and that it intimately involves the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is “inconvenient” because it is the “Truth” that most of mankind does not want to hear and/or believe.

Oftentimes, when we see evil or tragedy in the world, many will claim, “How can there be a God who allows such evil and misery to exist? How could a good God allow such evil things?” It is because it all serves God’s purposes. It goes back to the Garden of Eden. Was the devil and his enticement that led to the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden an accident or unexpected event? Was it some kind of an aberration to which God had to quickly develop a plan B? No, it was all ordained of God to provide the means by which God would Glorify Himself through the redemptive action of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became the means by which mankind could be reconciled to God for that original sin (and all sins that they would commit in their own lives that would otherwise send them straight to Hell for eternity) and despite the adversarial actions of the devil throughout temporal history. Remember how we read in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,”  which clearly indicates that His Sacrifice was not an afterthought. God clearly states His plan and His purposes to us in the Bible, just as we read here in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.*”  God reiterates this point in Job 21:30, “That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.”  And it should be very clear that “the day of evil”, “the day or destruction”, “the day of wrath”, is Judgment Day! 

* Remembering  also Ezekiel 33:11, where God says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (הָרָשָׁ֔ע); but that the wicked (רָשָׁ֛ע) turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil (הָרָעִ֛ים, ha-ra-im) ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God is Sovereign and in Total Control of Everything and Everything Belongs to Him

When we consider earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, etc., we know that it is God Who is ultimately in control of nature (despite the fact of, or perhaps through the use of, mankind’s influence on climate change).  Alternatively, when we consider the human caused acts of violence like murder, rape, acts of terrorism, or war; we know that such evil is “allowed” by God to fulfill His purposes. While we cannot readily understand all of those purposes, the sin is due to solely to mankind alone.  Nonetheless, God does “allow” sin to exist, at least for now.  And we also know that God sacrificed (allowed evil to come upon) His Own Son to save sinners, not the righteous (because as we read in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.), and that salvation program undeniably glorifies God in ways that are too marvelous for us to fully comprehend. And God makes clear that this is the case as stated for example in Isaiah 43:7, “[Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

We should also note that despite the numerous tragedies and acts of violence in the world that we hear about every day…there is still far more peace and comfort to the majority of humankind that is too often taken for granted, and that it is only God’s Divine Providence that protects the vastly greater multitudes from having to endure such tragedies on a daily basis, either the natural ones or those human caused.

Let’s take a look at a few important verses that reveal how God creates and uses evil, such that He can and has/will overcome it to His own Glory. But before we do that, let this be very, very, clear…God is NOT the author of sin! (Romans 9:14, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”) Sin is an inherent trait of man since the fall of Adam and Eve.  However, God has allowed sin to continue to exist and He clearly can and does use the outcomes of sin for His purposes.  The Death of Jesus on the cross was the result of man’s sin…being necessary in order to save sinners due to the fall of Adam, and was effectuated by the sin of mankind who crucified Him…God allowed the crucifixion to occur as it served God’s purposes to bring about mankind’s (the believers’) salvation and redemption… which absolutely brings glory to God.

However, nonetheless, we must always bear in mind what Jesus said in John 10:14-17, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”  Jesus voluntarily went to the cross, eventhough outwardly it appeared otherwise.

We are also informed and admonished in James 1:13-15: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Mankind is responsible for the sin (Not GOD!), despite the circumstances that led to it as ordained by God, Who is totally Sovereign.

And just think for a moment about David lusting after Bathsheba.  In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we read that…”And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman.” We subsequently read how David took Bathsheba and then eventually had her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle to cover up David’s sin.  Soon thereafter those sins were exposed openly by the Prophet of God, Nathan, in 2 Samuel chapter 12, where God led Nathan to say, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” This whole series of events was no incidental accident.  God foreknew, and clearly understood, what David would do when God presented David with that sinful opportunity (God was in no way surprised…But rather, God provided that opportunity…and God allowed it to happen… and He used it for our edification, exactly as it was recorded for us in the Bible!)   One reason being that this account ultimately brings Glory to God, because it shows that God not only could, but would, save a sinner as evil as David was for having committed the sins of adultery and murder, to show us that God does not save the righteous, but rather sinners (like all of us), and moreover that despite those grievous sins, God would still have Jesus to be descended from David, via Nathan, through Mary (Luke 3:23-31).

God also provides some insights on how such orchestration serves His purposes, as God tells us in Proverbs 16: 9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” or in the case of such as King David (or really anyone) we read in Proverbs 21:1; “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

In Isaiah 14:24, “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand:

So let’s now move on to gain other insights on this inconvenient truth….In Isaiah 45 (Verses 5-7), God, in addressing Cyrus the King of Persia, says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (The word for “evil” in Hebrew is the root word “רָע , (or phonetically “ra”) which can also be translated as adversity, calamitydistress, misery, trial, hardship, bad, or injury*): I the Lord do all these things.” We also read in Amos, 3:6, “…shall there be evil (רָעָה֙, ra-ah) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” In Proverbs 16:4 we find, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked (רָשָׁע , ra-sa) for the day of evil (רָעָה֙ , ra-ah).” See also: Job 21:30,”That the wicked (רָע , ra) is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.”  We also read in Psalm 78:49 that God sent “evil (רָע) angels” to punish Israel during the  wilderness sojourn, “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.” 

*The KJV translates Strong’s H7451 (רָע) in the following manner: evil (442x), wickedness (59x), wicked (25x), mischief (21x), hurt (20x), bad (13x), trouble (10x), sore (9x), affliction (6x), ill (5x), adversity (4x), ill favoured (3x), harm (3x), naught (3x), noisome (2x), grievous (2x), sad (2x), miscellaneous (34x).

The day of evil or day of wrath(s) would seem to be talking about Judgment Day (see 2 Peter 2:4).  Please remember also that in the book of Esther (please see other commentary on this site), the adversary Haman, who was an allegorical representation of the devil, was also called “the wicked” (הָרָ֛ע, ha-ra).  So, the result is that, in the Bible, God is making clear to us that He not only Is completely Sovereign, but He created all things, and formed everything for Himself, even including the wicked (whether  רָע  ra; רָעהָרָ֛ע, ha-ra; רָשָׁ֛ע, ra-sa; or הָרָשָׁ֔ע, ha-ra-sa) who will all be destroyed on Judgment Day.

It should also be pointed out that in Colossians 1:15-18 we read the following in reference to Jesus Christ, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for himAnd he is before all things, and by him all things consistAnd he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

And is it not true that God created the devil?  Moreover, does not the Bible say that the devil was bound at the cross?  We read about this as a war in heaven where the devil is cast out in Revelation 12:7-12:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  And then we read in Revelation 20:3 that the devil is bound in the bottomless pit until just before Judgment Day, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand yearsAnd cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” So then, it becomes clear that more evil can be expected leading up to just before Judgement Day, and that many woes will accompany that most tribulous time. We know that there will be many woes and that the vials of God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth, because we read in Revelation 15:7 that there are “seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

While some may think that this is just a matter of interpretation, or that these verses are taken out of context, let’s take a look at some other scriptural passages to see what God reveals about this point.

Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers in Egypt

Before we move on to the main points of this study, there is one other amazing event that has come to the mind of this teacher, which unfolds in the Biblical account concerning Joseph within the book of Genesis. About ten years or so after Joseph was thrown into a deep pit by ten of his own (half) brothers, from which he was subsequently sold into slavery in Egypt (and forgotten and presumed to be dead by those same brothers), Joseph was raised to the right hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  During a time of famine (also orchestrated by God and foretold to Joseph by God providing Joseph with  the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams), Joseph’s father, Jacob (Israel), sent his sons to Egypt to seek for bread. The story unfolds from Genesis Chapters 37-50 (sufficient for an enormous commentary far beyond the purposes of this one), which, for the child of God and student of the Bible, the allegory of Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ becomes unmistakable.

For this study, however, in just one recognition of God’s complete mastery over all time, and space, and even the hearts and minds of men, the key verses, Genesis 45:4-9 and Genesis 50: 19-21 are thus:

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:”

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil (ra-ah) against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

The Exodus Account is Another Allegory, Which Provides Us With Insights on How God Works

We can see something very interesting in the Exodus account of the ten Plagues that God brings upon Egypt in response to the Pharaoh’s repeated refusal to let God’s people go out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  Moreover, it is not only interesting, but contrary to most people’s understanding of those events. Hollywood, for example, has, through at least one film effort, created the impression that Pharaoh would not let the people go despite the repeated ten plagues solely as a result of his innate natural stubbornness or stupidity. However, in the Exodus account of the Bible (NOT the Hollywood version) we read where God informed Moses, beforehand, exactly how things would happen and why they would happen that way. God said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not let the people go!

Exodus 4:3, “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

Exodus 7:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 7:13, “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”

Exodus 7:14, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh‘s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.”

Exodus 7:22, “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (If this verse is taken out of context, it might appear that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but the whole context shows that this was not the case.

Exodus 8:19, “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:32, “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (this again would seem to suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but from the other verses we see that God was the initiator)

Exodus 9:7, “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”

Exodus 9:12, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.” (This verse, like the majority of the others before it, makes it clear that it was God who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and not Pharaoh)

Exodus 9:34, “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” (what is interesting in this case is that it says Pharaoh sinned yet more! How could Pharaoh be responsible for this sin, if his heart was hardened by God and as had God had ordained?…this will be addressed below.)

Exodus 9:35, “And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.”

Exodus 10:1-2 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

Exodus 10:20, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

Exodus 10:27, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.”

Exodus 11:10, “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 14:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.”

Exodus 14:8, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

Exodus 14:17, “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

These verses all clearly reveal that the evil that Pharaoh subsequently does in preventing, and trying to prevent, Moses from leading national Israel, the representative chosen people of God, out of the land of Egypt…was all planned, ordained, and orchestrated by God. Therefore, Pharaoh was no more than a pawn in God’s hand, as Pharaoh was created by God, raised up by God, and used for God’s purposes…which purpose was solely to bring glory and honor to God. He was used of God to fulfill God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 6:6, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”  God goes further in Exodus 9:16 to say in regards to Pharaoh: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” This statement is repeated in the New Testament in the writings of Paul to the Romans, as in Romans 9: 17-18, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

God begins the introduction of the Ten Commandments by saying in Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” And then in Deuteronomy 5:15, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” Similarly, we also read in Deuteronomy 4:33-35, “Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.” And in Deuteronomy 26:8, “And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:” It is also notable that we read after Exodus 7:5, 1) “That the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” and after Exodus 14:4, 2) “I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.”

The whole Exodus account was an allegory to show the power of God to save a people for Himself. God created Satan, just like He created Pharaoh, and raised them both up to serve his purposes of saving a people for Himself and Glorifying Himself in the process. Pharaoh was a powerful ruler who held God’s people in bondage, he served as an allegorical type for the devil who holds mankind in bondage to sin, death, and ultimately hell (note that God referred to Egypt allegorically as the “iron furnace” in Deuteronomy 4:20, “But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” (similarly also see 1 Kings 8:51 and Jeremiah 11:4)   Just as God, by a mighty out stretched arm, working through amazing signs and wonders brought national Israel out of that house bondage, so too God, through the amazing sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (as also the Passover Lamb of God) brought out His eternal spiritual Israel from bondage to sin and the devil (and otherwise destined for hell…the eternal “iron furnace”). We can say this confidently, for we read in Revelation 1:18, where Jesus (as the Lamb of God) says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

God’s Sovereign Actions are Explained in Romans Chapter 9:“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

To prove that the above commentary is not simply this teacher’s opinion, and that it is indeed true, we have only to see what is written in Romans, chapter 9, verses 13-26, where Paul, as the scribe who was guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote,

13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee (Hosea in Greek), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (see Hosea 2:23)

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

So there we have it!…God explains that He will have compassion on those who He wills and He will harden whom He wills. This is the REAL “Inconvenient Truth”! in 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.” You see, Jesus is The Truth, and whether anyone likes it or not, Jesus is the very substance of that real “Inconvenient Truth.” Moreover, while the Bible also says in Mathew 22:14, that “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (note that it is not the few who “choose” God, but rather those “few” are the ones who are solely “chosen” by God).  This is also in keeping with what we read in Mathew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” And please do not forget that Jesus clearly stated in John 6:44 that, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Salvation is ENTIRELY God’s Sovereign work!  This is exactly what we read in Jonah 2:9, “…Salvation [is] of the Lord.

Remember also that in 1 Peter 2:9, we read, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Finally, let’s look again at John 6:44, where Jesus very plainly states: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  God is making it that He Is entirely sovereign, and, yes, we are all nothing more than mere pieces of clay molded by the potter.  Although we are “physically alive”, we are all “spiritually dead” by nature because we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” by nature and it must be God who makes us alive and capable of responding.  Theses verses make that clear for all believers:

Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

John 5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them (makes them alive); even so the Son quickeneth (makes alive) whom he will.”

Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth (makes alive) the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

And God also makes clear that this quickening (making alive) is by the Power of God the Holy Spirit for we also read in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Remember when Lazarus was called by Jesus to “Come forth“? Let’s take a close look at that account: In John 11:39-44, we read were Jesus comes to the grave of Lazarus where Lazarus’s sister (Martha) explained that it was too late to do anything, as her brother, Lazarus, was dead for four days laying in the grave and by now his body was so decayed that it would stink when they rolled back the stone over the grave.  Jesus was honored by God, The Father in Heaven, and then Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” and Lazarus arose from the dead and came forth.  Did Lazarus exercise his “free will” to respond to Jesus’s call, or did God first draw him, and then enliven and empower him to respond.  How can a dead thing choose life?  You be the judge.

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forthAnd he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Yes, this means there is “predestination” (another aspect of the real inconvenient truth).  Does that mean we should throw up our hands in despair as though we have no hope?  God Forbid!

Dealing with the Real “Inconvenient Truth”: Predestination Does Not Inhibit Anyone from Crying Out to God for Mercy Through Jesus Christ

Nonetheless, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, according to the Bible, if anyone becomes convicted in his or her heart of his or her sins and hence his or her need of a Saviour…Who is, and can only be, Jesus Christ…then it is still possible for anyone to cry out to God for mercy and God will show mercy. In Mathew 7:7, Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

If anyone is at all concerned about the above and does not want to be one of those who God destroys, and would rather be a vessel of mercy (and honor), then that is already a great evidence that God is working in that person’s heart!  Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” and as additional comfort, Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Dear reader, if you are not already at peace with God through Jesus Christ, please just cry out to God in prayer and He will hear you and show you that mercy. But when He does show mercy, it will only be because of the inconvenient truth that it had always been God’s intention from the beginning, and even before the Universe was even created.  Ephesians 1:5 says regarding the believers… “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” and Ephesians 1:9 , “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Finally, as Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:”

PostScript 1: God ‘s Sovereignty knows no bounds. God even has the power to send evil spirits to serve His purposes

The following verses are hard to be understood if we fail to understand that God is Sovereign and in control of everything, and that we are continually (every moment) at His mercy alone, and that we should honor and worship Him appropriately. Remember, in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Similarly, in Proverbs 21:1, we read how God extends His Sovereignty over the world… even among the kings of the earth, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Judges 9:23, “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Samuel 16:15, “And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit (ra-ah) from God troubleth thee.

1 Samuel 16:16, “Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Samuel 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

1 Kings 22:23, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.
 
Isaiah 54:16 includes this passage where God is speaking and He says, “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”  Pretty scary stuff, but it is entirely in keeping with what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” and in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
 
As a final commentary on how Sovereign Almighty God really Is, please ponder these verses:
 
Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (and that “day of evil” is Judgment Day)
 
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
 
Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.”
 
BUT…. always remember that for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is this hope that we read in Psalm 121:7,8:

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We may be tormented by evil and perplexed (think back to Joseph and his tribulations), but do not despair, because God will preserve us (the believers) in the end if we trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:8-11:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isn’t it interesting that, Matthew 6-13, when Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, He said thus:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask himAfter this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Postscript 2: God Alone Is Sovereign

We should also remember that God explicitly stated the following (via Moses in Deuteronomy 32:39-42 as part of what is referred to as the “Song of Moses”) where God makes clear that He is the only True God, and is completely Sovereign, and that He Alone has the power over life and death, and that goes beyond the physical, it includes eternal life in Heaven and eternal death in Hell:

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword (“Barak”, in the original Hebrew, please see: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/the-battle-of-armageddon-the-earthly-version-already-happened/), and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”  

Additional confirmation can be found in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall givestrength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Conclusion

The real inconvenient truth is that The Triune God, as Self-described in the Bible, is Real, and That God Is Almighty and Is Alone completely Sovereign! God is the One Whom we should fear. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus tells us, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” And God is the One Who will Judge the world at the end of time (in all likelihood, VERY soon), and if Jesus is not a person’s substitutional sacrifice, then that person will have to suffer an eternity in Hell for sin on that Judgment Day. Jesus is the only Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins. As inconvenient as this truth may seem, it is the truth nonetheless, because all other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell.  Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

Ecclesiastes 12:13,  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.”

 
 
 

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;…” (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Posted January 22, 2014 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

two edged sword

Bereansearching is simply intended to serve as a vehicle to lead the reader to safety and security from the just wrath of God for sin (one sin is enough to send any of us to Hell). Only through the substitutionary sacrifice for that sin by Jesus Christ , Who as God and Savior served as the supreme sacrificial Lamb of God, can we be free from that punishment. Hence this bereansearching blog is simply seeking to persuade all to put their trust in Jesus.  The detailed expositions of  a few portions of Old Testament scriptures provide the proofs that the Bible is the Word of God and is the vehicle that God uses to bring us to that Truth and the saving faith in that Truth. (Romans10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“)

For more on this singular motivation, please review: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/hello-world/

 

Psalm 19 as a Devotional…”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Posted January 22, 2014 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: ,

Bread

Each and every day, we all need at least a few moments to step back, and take a deep breath, and remember Who God Is, and to meditate on His Word…and to remember that God is Truth, God’s Word is Truth, and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and also The Word made flesh. That just as Psalm 23 teaches us to ask God for “our daily bread,”  we also remember that The Daily Bread is Jesus as we read in John 6:35, “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“.  The more we read and meditate on God’s Word the Bible, the more and more The Word, Jesus, becomes a Living part of us.

Remember when Jesus broke the bread at the last supper (1 Corinthians 11:24), how Jesus clearly identified the physical bread with Himself.  While that bread was instituted by Jesus as an earthly sacrament of remembrance, we know that Jesus is intimately identified with, and as, the Spiritual Bread, the Word (as found in the Bible).  Therefore when we read the Bible, we are being Spiritually fed by Jesus.

In another post in this bereansearching blog, Psalm 119 is discussed in terms of “Discernment.”  It was mentioned that there are several similarities with Psalm 19.  Please take a moment to read and reflect on this short, but extremely rich and fulfilling morsel of that Bread of Life:

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19 can be viewed as a reflection and encapsulation of the whole Bible…much as we can see in Psalm 119

A useful companion study guide can be found at:http://www.shadowmountain.org/content/htmlimages/public/documents/general/smallgroups/2013sermonnotes/sermonnotes_131201.pdf

A Proper Reading of Ephesians Chapter 1

Posted December 28, 2013 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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Jesus Christ is All in All…

It is sometimes easy to miss an important aspect of how God particularly crafted the first chapter of Ephesians.  If read casually, as even believing Christians sometimes can do, the chapter can seem like an ordinary narrative or simple prose.  However, if read with particular emphasis on the words highlighted below in Bold…an entirely different perspective can become clear.

Try this for yourself…Before proceeding any further, please read Ephesians Chapter 1 on  your own from your own Bible .   Think about what you have read and what was significant about the chapter and the impact it has had.

Next, read the chapter again as highlighted below…emphasizing the words marked in bold (say them to yourself in a louder tone or something akin to that).  May you be blessed by the process, and see clearly that Jesus Christ, Who is both God and yet a distinct part of the God Head, and God’s Will (The Will of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit) are the central theme of the whole chapter.  It is really a condensed version of the whole Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Amazing!

Moreover there is absolutely no mention anywhere of any “free will” or “man’s will” in the process….but rather only God’s Will.   Note also the words that weren’t emphasized…”predestined” (twice), and “chosen” “before the foundation of the world…”

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

A Good Employee: A Christian Credo

Posted December 28, 2013 by bereansearching
Categories: Uncategorized

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Photo Credit: Flickr/Nick Thompson, unprovenanced,6th-7th century AD, ink on pottery. Inscription:Creed of Nicea

God’s Guidance to Christians in the Workplace and Everywhere Else: Honor Authority

Romans 13:1-5, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:    For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.   Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”

Ephesians 6:5-9,Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;  Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:   Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

 1 Peter 2:11-25, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.   Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.    For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.    Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.    Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.    For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Colossians 3:22-25, 4:1, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

Colossians 3:12-17, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1 Thesalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

1 Peter 4:19, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Luke 3:14, “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 15:16, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

Mathew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

John 3:27, “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

I Corinthians 4:7, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am:… “

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Matthew 5:43-46, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!

Posted December 3, 2013 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Qusayr spoil pile growthThe Fiery Furnace in Babylon: What was that all about?

Many people may have heard of the Old Testament story that comprises Daniel, chapter 3.  The story was about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three “certain Jews” who had been given high official positions in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  In that account, we read how they refused to worship the false idol of gold that the king had set up, and as the king commanded.  They understood the full penalty for disobedience to that command.  They understood that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  But they miraculously survived!  Was this just a children’s bedtime story?

The answer is an emphatic NO! As we have already learned from numerous other Old Testament accounts, this not only was a true historical event, but it was crafted by God to convey an extremely important message, the good news of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ!  Moreover, there is another aspect of salvation that God paints with words in this particular account. For anyone to become saved…for believers to remain untouched by the fires of Hell… Jesus had to be there to endure those fires on behalf of all those who are counted among His sheep. If Jesus endured the fires of Hell, then the believers will never have to.  Those who are not faithful, spiritual “Jews” (believers), but instead are like the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar (who God uses in some cases to represent the devil), will be similarly slain by the fiery furnace (and the fires of hell that represent the second death are for eternity).

Had you ever heard that before?

If so, great!…but if not, please read on.

NOTE: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were the assigned names (by the Babylonians) of three men whose original Hebrew names were:

  • Hananiah means “God who is gracious
  • Misha’el means “Who is like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family
  • Azariah appropriately means “God has helped

We read at the beginning of Chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold and decreed that all who heard the ”sound of the cornet, flute, harp …and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

And then in verse 6 we read, “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Then we read where “certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”   There after, we read this complete account…

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Ordinarily, that would have been the end of the story.  But although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for their faith in the true God of all creation, they didn’t die.  In fact, we read the following surprising and truly amazing account…

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the  Son of God.

WOW! You know Who the king actually saw don’t you? Yes, it was Jesus Christ walking in their midst.  Jesus is also the “angel” we see mentioned later (“messenger” in the original Hebrew) who made it possible for them to survive. After all, isn’t it true that only Jesus isthe Son of God”? (but Jesus was also a “man” born of the Virgin Mary).  See for example the first verses of the Book of Hebrews: 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

There are many other unequivocal references to Jesus as the Son of God in the New Testament, but what is amazing is that this reference is in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament!  We have to ask the question, who do the Jews think was being described here?  There is not a single other reference in the Old Testament that specifically mentions “the Son of God”! (Although Proverbs 30:4 alludes to Him)

Here is a link to read all of the passages in the entire Bible: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=%22the%20Son%20of%20God%22&version1=KJV&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no

So this is a VERY unique case!  But, let’s read on to the end of the chapter…

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So having read this story, we note that the fire was so hot that the servants of the king who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves slain.  Moreover, not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive, but their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them afterward!

What does this account remind us of? Remember the account of Joshua (Jesus in Greek, and meaning Savior in Hebrew) leading he people through the Jordan River to the “Promised Land”? As long as the priests held the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, the people could pass through at flood stage and not even have the souls of their shoes get wet!  (they crossed on dry land) Familiar…yes!  Why is that?…It is because God repeats the same theme through many different allegories to paint new portraits of God’s magnificent Plan of Salvation through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price for the believer’s salvation.  If Jesus, the Son of God, is there, we are safe, the fires (or floods) of Hell are no threat to our eternal souls.  The believers (typified by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or the Israelites)  can pass through because Jesus is there for them.

Let’s review Joshua Chapter 3:

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Then in Chapter 4:

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Ark of the Covenant represented the Word of God (it held the Manna from Heaven in a jar (Jesus Is the Manna from Heaven) , and the Ten Commandments in stone (the Word of God, Who is Jesus), and Aaron’s rod that budded (indicating that a dead thing can come back to life). The people were led by Joshua (Jesus) and they all made it safe…EVERY one of them.

This is because Jesus, “the Son of God,” paid the full price to become the Savior of all those who would believe and trust in God to save them.  Jesus alone is the only One Who can save us from the fires or the floods that God uses to typify Hell, but Who, through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, allows us to pass completely untouched by either the fire or flood safely to the other side.

There is so much more to say here, but for now I’ll stop (this is another work in progress)

There is a useful primer on Hell that can be found here: https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

For more background on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach,_Meshach,_and_Abednego

Today’s Application: Are You Ready?

            The Bible makes it clear that if God was willing to put His own Son through Hell to save a people for Himself, how much more would He be willing to send the wicked who reject Him to Hell for their sins (please see Romans 8:32).  Jesus is the only Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins.  All other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell.  Have you made peace with God through Jesus Christ? The fires of Hell can have no effect on you if Jesus paid the supreme price for you.  Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

Messianic prophesies foretelling the timing and nature of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ

Posted October 18, 2011 by bereansearching
Categories: Uncategorized

TorahMessianic prophesies foretelling the timing and nature of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (and no one else other than Jesus Christ meets all of these requirements and conditions).

The Old Testament of the Bible is replete with descriptions and foretelling of the coming Messiah.   Jesus Christ, alone, fulfilled all of those Old Testatment Prophesies.    All of the Old Testament (as well as the New Testament) was penned by Jews.    Nonetheless, for the past 2000 years, the  followers of Judaism have rejected Jesus as the true Messiah.  Judaism rejects Jesus, but it cannot offer any alternative and is “Messiah-less” as a result.  It is therefore at a complete loss to explain the meaning of its own scriptures, all the while ridiculing the Truth (and being “insulted” by the Truth…see Isaiah 8:14…Jesus is indeed that stone of stumbling, a Rock of offense… compare with 1 Pet. 2:8 ).  Judaism and its adherents are insulted by those who seek nothing other than to freely share the Truth (Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…as well as the Jewish Messiah as prophesied in the Tanakh) that they, the Jews, might also be free from the bondage to sin and death and have eternal life in Heaven with God.  Jesus sealed the New Covenant for all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, with His shed blood.

There are many Old Testament prophesies, and while the exact number can be debated…this link lists 365…http://www.bibleprobe.com/365messianicprophecies.htm

What is most important is that no one, other than Jesus Christ himself, meets even these few ones…

1) The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem

Micah 4:1-8 and Micah 5:2a…The Kingdom established – place of BirthBethlehem…compare with Luke 1:33, Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4,10,11

2) The Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham, Judah, and David

Genesis 12:3…As Abraham’s seed, will bless all nations…compare with Acts 3:25,26 and Genesis 12:7…The Promise made to Abraham’s Seed…compare with Galatians 3:16

Genesis 49:10…….The Seed ofJudah…….compare with Luke 3:33

Jeremiah 33:14-15, Ezekiel17:22-24, Ezekiel34:23-24…Descendant of David… compare with Luke 3:23-31and Matthew 1:1

3) The Messiah would be born of a virgin

Isaiah 7:14 and Jeremiah 31:22…Born of a virgin… compare with Matthew 1:18-20 and Luke 1:35   (this is a supernatural event unmatched in History)

4) The Messiah would be the Son of God

2 Samuel 7:14a…The Son of God… compare with Luke 1:32

5) The Messiah would have no broken bones

Psalms 34:20…..Not a bone of Him broken…..compare with John 19:31-36

6) The Messiah would be betrayed by a friend

Psalms 41:9 and 55:12-14….Betrayed by a familiar friend…..compare with John 13:18

7) The Messiah would be sold for 30 pieces of silver and the money used to buy a potter’s field

Zechariah 11:12-13a…Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver… compare with Matthew 26:14-15

8 ) The Messiah would be crucified

Zechariah 12:10a…The Messiah’s body would be pierced… compare with John 19:34-37

9) The Messiah would be resurrected

Isaiah 25:8…The Resurrection predicted…I Corinthians 15:54

10) The Messiah would make and end of sin in 490 years from (70 weeks of years) from the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem

Dan. 9:25… 490 years, to the exact day, after the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem that occurred in Daniel’s day (457BC)… compare with John 12:12-13

(Ezra went toJerusalemto build a city, that is, to reestablish the law, in the year 458 B.C. Christ hung on the cross in A.D. 33. If we add 458 to 33, the sum is 491. Subtract 1 from 491, and we have 490 actual years from the going forth of the command to rebuild the city to the time of the cross when Christ brought in everlasting righteousness, when He made reconciliation for iniquity, when He finished the transgression. God put His seal on the vision and prophecy at the cross. And 490 years equals 70 weeks; that is, 70 x 7 = 490. This is the precise fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-25.)

Then there are the more complete and detailed prophesies in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53:

Psalms 2:1-3…The enmity of kings foreordained…Acts 4:25-28

Psalms 2:2…To own the title, Anointed (Christ)…Acts 2:36

Psalms 2:6…His Character-Holiness…John 8:46; Rev. 3:7

Psalms 2:6…To own the title King…Matthew 2:2

Psalms 2:7…Declared the Beloved Son…Matthew 3:17

Psalms 2:7, 8…The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated…Acts 13:29-33

Psalms 2:12…Life comes through faith in Him…John 20:31

Psalms 8:2…The mouths of babes perfect His praise…Matthew 21:16

Psalms 8:5, 6…His humiliation and exaltation…Luke 24:50-53; 1 Corinthians 15:27

Psalms 16:10…Was not to see corruption…Acts 2:31

Psalms 16:9-11…Was to arise from the dead…John 20:9

Psalms 17;15…The resurrection predicted…Luke 24:6

Psalms 22:1…Forsaken because of sins of others…2 Corinthians 5:21

Psalms 22:1…Words spoken fromCalvary, “My God…” Mark 15:34

Psalms 22:2…Darkness uponCalvary…Matthew 27:45

Psalms 22:7…They shoot out the lip and shake the head…Matthew 27:39

Psalms 22:8..” He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him “…Matthew 27:43

Psalms 22:9……Born the Savior……Luke 2:7

Psalms 22:14…Died of a broken (ruptured) heart…John 19:34

Psalms 22:14,15…Suffered agony onCalvary…Mark 15:34-37

Psalms 22:15……..He thirsted……..John 19:28

Psalms 22:16…They pierced His hands and His feet….John 19:34,37;20:27

Psalms 22:17,18…Stripped Him before the stares of men…Luke 23:34,35

Psalms 22:18…..They parted His garments and cast lots for his clothing…..John 19:23,24

Psalms 22:20,21…He committed Himself to God…Luke23:46

Psalms 22:20,21..Satanic power bruising the Redeemer’s heel.. Hebrews 2:14

Psalms 22:22…..His Resurrection declared…..John 20:17

Psalms 22:27…He shall be the governor of the nations…Col1:16

Psalms 22:31……”It is finished”……John 19:30

Isaiah 53:1…His people would not believe Him… John 12:37-38

Isaiah 53:2a…He would grow up in a poor family…. Luke 2:7

Isaiah 53:2b…Appearance of an ordinary man… Phil. 2:7-8

Isaiah 53:3a…Despised…. Luke 4:28-29

Isaiah 53:3b…Rejected… Matthew 27:21-23

Isaiah 53:3c…Great sorrow and grief… Luke 19:41-42

Isaiah 53:3d…Men hide from being associated with Him… Mark 14:50-52

Isaiah 53:4a…He would have a healing ministry… Luke 6:17-19

Isaiah 53:4b…He would bear the sins of the world… 1 Pet. 2:24

Isaiah 53:4c…Thought to be cursed by God… Matthew 27:41-43

Isaiah 53:5a…Bears penalty for mankind’s transgressions… Luke 23:33

Isaiah 53:5b…His sacrifice would provide peace between man and God… Col. 1:20

Isaiah 53:5c…His back would be whipped… Matthew 27:26

Isaiah 53:6a…He would be the sin-bearer for all mankind…Galatians 1:4

Isaiah 53:6b…God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind… 1 John 4:10

Isaiah 53:7a…Oppressed and afflicted… Matthew 27:27-31

Isaiah 53:7b…Silent before his accusers… Matthew 27:12-14

Isaiah 53:7c…Sacrificial lamb… John 1:29

Isaiah 53:8a…Confined and persecuted… Matthew 26:47-27:31

Isaiah 53:8b…He would be judged… John 18:13-22

Isaiah 53:8c…Killed…. Matthew 27:35

Isaiah 53:8d…Dies for the sins of the world… 1 John 2:2

Isaiah 53:9a…Buried in a rich man’s grave… Matthew 27:57

Isaiah 53:9b…Innocent and had done no violence… Mark 15:3

Isaiah 53:9c…No deceit in his mouth… John 18:38

Isaiah 53:10a…God’s will that He die for mankind… John 18:11

Isaiah 53:10b…An offering for sin… Matthew 20:28

Isaiah 53:10c…Resurrected and live forever…. Mark 16:16

Isaiah 53:10d…He would prosper… John 17:1-5

Isaiah 53:11a…God fully satisfied with His suffering… John 12:27

Isaiah 53:11b…God’s servant… Romans. 5:18-19

Isaiah 53:11c…He would justify man before God… Romans. 5:8-9

Isaiah 53:11d…The sin-bearer for all mankind… Hebrews 9:28

Isaiah 53:12a…Exalted by God because of his sacrifice… Matthew 28:18

Isaiah 53:12b…He would give up his life to save mankind… Luke 23:46

Isaiah 53:12c…Grouped with criminals… Luke 23:32

Isaiah 53:12d…Sin-bearer for all mankind… 2 Corinthians 5:21

Isaiah 53:12e…Intercede to God in behalf of mankind… Luke 23:34

The above are not the writings of men as they are the Word of God given to men by God.  Why do men, who claim to be interested in the things of God, always reference the writings of men as the authority, when we have the Word of God given to us directly as the Divine authority?

If anyone can’t accept what is listed above, then please, please, read the New Testament book of Hebrews as written to the Jews in Bethlehem of Jesus’s day.

Thank you, and may God bless with the eyes to see, and the ears to hear, in that reading.

“Widows”, “Fatherless”,”Strangers” (and “Poor”): A Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Ruth and Esther

Posted September 21, 2011 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gleaners

Introduction

It is far more than mere coincidence that the only two books in the entire Bible which are named after women, Ruth and Esther, also happen to provide historical accounts of women who are, respectively,  “widows” (Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth was also a “stranger”, and because they were destitute they were also most certainly “poor”) and “fatherless” (Esther).  Why is that?  We can begin to find the answer by searching God’s word, the Bible, to find that in Psalms 68:5, God declares, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.” Then in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.”  In Zechariah 7:8-10 we read, “And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.” Also in Psalms 10:13&14, “Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require [it]. Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.” and in Psalm 146:9,The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.”  

Moreover back in Deuteronomy 10:17-19 we read, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

We also read in the New Testament in James 1:2, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Moreover, God classifies them together with the “stranger” as we read in Deuteronomy 27:19, “Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.”  Finally we read in Jeremiah 20:13, “Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.”

In each of the two historical accounts provided in the books of Esther and Ruth, we will see God’s mercy and providence bestowed on those who would otherwise be entirely destitute and without any hope apart from God’s mercy alone.  Those two earthly, historically accurate, accounts of God’s mercy upon the destitute fatherless (Esther) and widows (Naomis and Ruth, and Ruth as a “Moabitess“, was also a stranger) were provided by God in the Books of Esther and Ruth to typify His magnificent salvation plan, in which God displays His eternal spiritual mercy, by grace alone, to destitute sinners who would otherwise be entirely without hope apart from the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Each book displays God’s mastery over time and space, involving supernatural ironies and challenges to faith, that glorify God in the process, and give us insights into Who God Is, and about His love for His saints, His Bride (the church), as made possible only through the intercessional sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save sinners, and all of us are sinners who are by nature (due to the original sin)…destitute spiritual “widows”, “orphans”, “strangers” and “poor”.   But by God’s grace alone, through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, is salvation obtained.

A detailed exposition on the Book of Esther has already been produced that can be found here: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/an-exposition-of-the-book-of-esther/. In that exposition it is shown that Esther, as an otherwise destitute orphan, was established by God as a typological representation of the body of believers from throughout the world (both Jews and Gentiles) who would ultimately co-share in God’s Kingdom as the Bride of Jesus Christ. In this historical “parable”, Mordechai, Esther’s nearest living relative, served as a nurturing savior to Esther, and guided her and her people in a time of great affliction to safety from their mortal enemies.  Mordechai, who was eventually elevated to the right hand of the King in glory and honor, is shown in that exposition to have been clearly and unequivocally established by God as a typological representation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what about Ruth?  It has already been pointed out by another writer, Warren W Wiersbe,[1] that there are some amazing twists and counterpoints when the two books are viewed together from the purely historical perspective.  Wiersbe correctly points out in one example that first, “The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Gentile who married a Jew and became ancestress of the Messiah (Jesus Christ),” while, “The book of Esther introduces us to a Jewess who married a Gentile and was used of God to save the Jewish nation from destruction so that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) could be born.”

But what about the spiritual perspective as was already exposited for Esther?  Are there similar parallels that we might find in the Book of Ruth?

Yes!, Indeed there are!

Dear reader, please read on. 

An Exposition of the Book of Ruth

(Another Book of Prophesy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation Through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ: Like Boaz, Jesus Is our Kinsman Redeemer!)

Background:

The Book of Ruth is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot…The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three pilgrim festivals ordained in the Old Testament after Passover and before the end of the year Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Weeks is known by Christians as the Feast of Pentecost.  The Feast is celebrated at the end of the barley harvest (or time of the “first fruits”) and it is the time of year when the most critical period in the Book of Ruth takes place, when Ruth meets Boaz, Ruth’s and Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer.  And just like the Book of Esther, the Book of Ruth has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, and hence it is also an historical “parable.” While the Book of Ruth does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it has been incorporated into God’s Holy Word, the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically) and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually) to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes was to convey, in one short, four chapter, literal historical account, some critical elements of His magnificent salvation plan (albeit in typological and parabolic means).  The message of the Book of Ruth is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible, as it focuses on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is interwoven and revealed as having been otherwise hidden in the Bible, we can learn more about Him and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes opened by God.  Given that this can indeed be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Ruth is that it will edify and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).

So where do we “see” Jesus in the Book of Ruth?   As an introduction, let’s first briefly look at the seven named persons in the order of their appearance, and then the plotline:

1) Elimelech: The Jewish husband of Naomi, who’s name means, “my God is King” who led his family away from Bethlehem-Judah on a sojourn to Moab during the time of the Judges and who suffers an untimely death in Moab.

2) Naomi: The wife of Elimelech, and the mother of his two sons, who becomes a widow in Moab. A Jewish woman whose name means, “my God is Sweet(ness)”.

3) Mahlon: The first named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “sickness” who married Ruth, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself suffers an untimely death.

4) Chilion: The second named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “consumption.” who married, Orpah, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself also suffers an untimely death.

5) Orpah: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Chilion, whose name is unclear meaning either “mane” or “her neck(?)” or “gazelle“.

6) Ruth: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Mahlon, whose name means, “friendship”. (Ruth is also a “stranger” in Israel)

7) Boaz: The rich and “mighty” kinsman redeemer of Elimelech’s Jewish family born in Bethlehem, (the “House of Bread”), whose name, “Boaz”, means “in him is strength” (after one of the two pillars in the porch of Solomon’s temple per 1 Kings 7:21), and who married Ruth (the then Moabitess widow), and who ultimately became the progenitor (great-grandfather) of King David (and is the direct line ancestor/progenitor (from David’s son Nathan through to Mary) of the Lord Jesus Christ). Matthew 1:5, (unlike 1 Chronicles 2:12) also tells us that Boaz (Booz) is descended from Salmon (also “Salma”) and Rachab (“Rahab”, the “harlot”, who received, and was spared from the destruction of Jericho by, the spies in Joshua’s time).

NOTE: God specifically called the above last point to our attention in Matthew to show how both David and Jesus’s lineage are intimately linked to sinful mankind…Both David and hence Jesus are descended through 1) the adulterous fornication of Judah with Tamar, who Judah (who at the time was a widower) thought was a harlot, but was actually was his widowed daughter-in-law who bore Pharaz (who notably is also a progenitor of Boaz); and 2) the Gentile harlot Rahab from Jericho (who was also a progenitor of Boaz); and 3) the incestuous birth of Moab via Lot (Ruth, “the Moabitess” who bore Obed to Boaz).  God actually highlights these sinful and sordid aspects of this lineage to make clear to us the point that Jesus is intimately identified with sinful mankind, even though He Himself “knew no sin”, for our edification and for His Glory as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.“.

And regarding Rahab, we know that she was fully adopted/assimilated into national Israel, the people of God, as we read in Joshua 6:22-25, “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that [was] therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel [even] unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

We also have these two verses in the New Testament, Hebrews 11:31, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”  and James 2:25, “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?” So then, Rahab was accepted into the nation of Israel to such an extent that she was able to marry into the royal family of Judah. She married Salmon, the son of Nahshon (“Naasson” in the Matthew 1:4). Nahshon was the leader of the tribe of Judah and commanded their army and was specifically called the “prince of the children of Judah” in 1 Chronicles 2:10. He was also a close associate of Moses and Joshua, and his sister, Elisheba, was married to Aaron, the first high priest according to Exo 6:23. Rahab’s life is another remarkable spiritual portrait of the bride of Christ, because we know that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” for eternal Israel though the lineage of Judah Isa 9:6.

And for the Jewish nation, Rahab came to serve as a successful Gentile conversion to, and assimilation into, Judaism. Her desire to seek divine mercy to spare her life and those of her family serves as a great example of conversion and salvation. God hates sin, but he saves the sinner.  He knows how to save those that love Him and desire to serve Him. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that Jesus, “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

8) The unnamed servant of Boaz who was set over the reapers: the person who served as headmaster of the maidens and who gave the account of Ruth’s actions to Boaz.

9) Obed: The son of Boaz and Ruth, whose name means “servant”, “worshipper”, or “follower

Obed is representative of all of God’s children who become saved through the marriage of Jesus Christ and his church. All believers who are the children of God are also servants, worshippers, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It could not be any other way. This name was no accident, as I trust that you have now learned that none of the names of persons recorded in the Bible were ever accidental or incidental.  They each carry an intended meaning that is carefully woven into the tapestry of God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan.

Plot Summary:

The story of Ruth begins in the day of the Judges, likely near the earlier part of the roughly 300 year period between ~1400 BC and ~1100 BC given that Boaz was evidently born to Rahab (the “harlot” of Joshua’s day) multiple generations before the birth of David in about 1037 BC.  It was also during a time of famine in the land that included Bethlehem (which literally means “house of bread”) and likely during the time of Gideon, because it was only in his days that we read of a famine caused by the Midianites’ invasion, Judges 6:3, 4.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to leave Bethlehem in Judah and move to Moab in search of sustenance for his family.  We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then, subsequently, his only two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy 23:3, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever:”  The next thing we read is that within a period in which they dwelled of about “ten years” (the number ten symbolizes a time period of “completeness”) both of the two sons soon die, and they each also leave behind no children (no heirs).  As a result, Naomi had become a widow, and her daughters-in-law were also now young widows without children.

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and she decided to return to Bethlehem, because she had heard that, by the grace of God, there was again bread available there.  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, was that they would accompany her to Bethlehem.  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (e.g., as Moabites, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  Orpah, sadly, stayed in Moab, but Ruth stood fast and, despite one last admonition from Naomi, made it clear that she would stay with Naomi until death, and finished with this statement, “….thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

The two widows went together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone except for Ruth “the Moabitess”, a “stranger” in the land of Israel).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi (“sweet”) but rather Mara, meaning “bitter”, because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) where she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in the eyes of the owner of the field.  By what appeared to be happenstance (“hap” meaning “by chance”, in Chapter 2, verse 3) she was gleaning in a part of the field belonging to that very man Boaz.

Moreover, after Ruth had been working hard in the fields after humbly asking the headmaster of the reapers for permission to glean, Boaz came from Bethlehem and took notice of her.  He asks the details from the headmaster and then goes to Ruth, and though she be a “stranger” in Israel, Boaz calls her “Daughter”, and tells her to stay close to his maiden reapers and not go to any other fields. He also tells Ruth that the men won’t harm her, and that she may have of the water that the men will bring for the reapers to drink.

Ruth responded by throwing herself to the ground and bowing before Boaz, and humbly asking him why he had shown her such grace, given that she was a “stranger”? Boaz responded with the statement that he was fully aware of the kindness she had shown to Naomi, as well as the fact that she had left behind all her family to come to live with people she had never known before. Boaz blesses her in the name of the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to trust.

Ruth was overwhelmed and thanked Boaz and spoke of his amazing kindness in treating her as though she was one of his maiden reapers. Boaz added that at lunchtime she could sit and eat with the reapers as well. Later she did eat with the reapers and was full.  After she left to go back to gleaning, Boaz took the additional step of telling his male reapers not to hinder or prevent Ruth from gleaning in any way, and moreover to deliberately drop handfuls of harvested grain to the ground that Ruth could pick them up.  That evening, Ruth was able to have her apron filled with a large amount (an “ephah”) of barley.

Ruth took the barley home to Naomi, who after being filled, asked Ruth in whose fields she had gleaned and who it was that had shown her such kindness.  When Ruth told Naomi it was Boaz, Naomi immediately replied, Blessed be he of the LORD, and that Boaz had not forgotten the living and the dead, and that Boaz was a relative and hence a near kinsman (the same word as “redeemer”).  Naomi said that it was good that Ruth obey Boaz in all as he had told her to do.  Ruth did so.

In the third chapter, we learn that Naomi has a plan by which if Ruth properly prepares herself, and then goes into the threshing floor at night when Boaz is sleeping after a harvest dinner, she might make clear to Boaz that she is available to have as a wife by the rule of kinsmanship by laying at his feet.  Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions and, about midnight, Boaz was startled and woke up and asked who she was. She replied that she was Ruth and, in essence, asked him to do the service of a kinsman in marrying her.  Boaz immediately blessed her for her showing kindness to him (as he was evidently an old man) and that it was clear she was also interested in the duties of raising children in the name of Elimelech. He also said that everyone in Bethlehem knew that she was a virtuous woman (a requirement for a Godly wife according to Proverbs 12:4, “A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones.” and Proverbs 31:10, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.“). While stating his willingness to fulfill her request, he cautioned her that there was a nearer kinsman who was entitled to a first right of refusal.  If that kinsman accepted Ruth, then so be it, otherwise Boaz would be happy to marry Ruth. The chapter ends with Boaz providing her with six measures of barley as a gift for Naomi.  When Ruth brings the barley in the early morning to Naomi, Naomi instructs Ruth to be patient and sit still.  It is clear to Naomi what Boaz intends to do…and that Boaz will not rest until he finishes the business before the day ends.

In the fourth and last chapter, Boaz went to the gate of the city and calls to the man who is the nearest kinsman, and also calls ten elders of the city to be witnesses to the ensuing discussion, upon which the twelve men sat down together.  When the nearest kinsman is asked by Boaz if he would be willing to serve as a kinsman redeemer for the dead relative, Elimelech, and to purchase from the hand of Naomi some land in Judah previously belonging to Elimelech, the man said yes. But then Boaz said whenever the kinsman purchases the land, he must also fulfill the duties of the near kinsman redeemer and marry the widow of the line to raise up children in the name of the deceased.  That meant the kinsman must marry Ruth, “the Moabitess.”  That was the deal breaker, and the man ceremonially refused to accept his nearest kinsman opportunity in accordance with Deu 25:5-10 “loose his shoe from off his foot”, and thereby passed the role of kinsman redeemer to Boaz.  Boaz immediately announced to all who were in hearing that this day he would serve as the kinsman redeemer for Elimelech and his two sons.  Moreover he made clear that they would all be witnesses to his intent to purchase as part of that inheritance, “Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon” to be his wife, in order to raise up children as an inheritance in the name of the dead men (Mahlon and therefore also Elimelech). The people in the city rejoiced at this, and offered many blessings pertaining to the tribe of Judah.  Subsequently, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son, named Obed.  Naomi was able to hold the baby boy, as her redemptive grandson, in her arms.  The women proclaimed that Ruth was to Naomi better than seven sons. Obed grew up to become the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David…hence Ruth and Boaz were genealogical ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ (through David’s son Nathan down to Mary, Luk 3:31).

The Spiritual Identities:

If we compare this literal, historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal spiritual parallels and correlations between the following:

1) Boaz with the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Kinsman Redeemer of all believers, who otherwise, apart from God’s intervening grace, would have remained “widows indeed”)

2) Ruth “the Moabitess” with the body of believers (the remnant from the Gentile nations; as an in-grafted Jew of the eternal Israel) and hence representative of the church, the eternal bride of Jesus Christ. (Who would have otherwise remained destitute (estranged from a husband) and under the curse of God as a stranger in Israel, as God frequently reminds us through His repetitive use of the term “Moabitess”)

3) Naomi, a Jewish widow, with the “remnant” of the Nation of Israel, who repent and come to God on His terms and who are saved by the grace of God to also have an equal inheritance in the eternal Israel, and hence who, by redemption, are also a full partaker in the eternal spiritual marriage with Jesus Christ.

4) The unnamed servant of Boaz (who was set as headmaster over the reapers) with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides a watch, and guidance, and intercession for the believers while they are here on Earth while they work in the fields of humankind.  The Holy Spirit Communes with Jesus and intercedes for the believers with God.  In Romans 8:26, we read, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

5) Obed, as the first born son of Boaz by Ruth, with all believers who are the result of the marriage between Jesus and His church, hence his name means “servant” and “worshipper.”

6) Elimelech, as a type, or figure, possibly of Adam, but more likely Old Testament National Israel, which rejected the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and who fell into spiritual adultery and sin as typified by his leaving Bethlehem and moving to Moab, his untimely death, and his two sons, his only progeny, then going on to marry Moabitish women and similarly suffering untimely deaths without heirs.

It is Jesus Christ who is the believers’ Kinsman Redeemer.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”), and Jesus specifically announced that He was the “Bread of Life” in John 6:48.  Jesus established the New Covenant symbols of bread and wine to represent His Body and Blood.   It is Jesus of Whom we must be partakers to have eternal life.  Jesus is also the Mighty Man of Wealth.  Jesus was  a Jew, born in Bethlehem in Judah (just as Boaz was) and Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah…He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him…He is the Creator of the Universe!  Jesus shows grace to destitute sinners as typified as widows throughout the Bible, who humbly come as supplicants for that grace.  Moreover the believers are chosen from a remnant of the world, both Jew and Gentile, and are viewed by God as true “Jews” (the true believers in Christ, the Messiah, please see Rom 2:28-29) and will find rest in Him.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with the attributes ascribed to Ruth (e.g., virtuous).  Jesus Christ imputes His righteousness to sinful mankind and in God’s sight all the believers become virtuous as described in Proverbs 31:10.

Biblical Validation of the Ruth Exposition: Taking a Closer Look 

The preceding review was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Ruth.  No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s word, the Bible.  However, this writer is confident that if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as through a glass darkly) the truths that God has hidden within His word.  As we have already learned, there is much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it’s not just an intellectual exercise. The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.”  The following is this writer’s best effort to explain that hidden truth.

Chapter 1

Note that the very first verse starts out with, “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”  It makes it sound like we are reading about some kind of random event in time or something akin to “Once upon a time”.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Everything in time and space is orchestrated by the hand of God according to His Will. The events that follow occurred in this material world in the course of both space and time, but not by happenstance.  There are 24 verses in the Bible that begin with “Now it came to pass“, and the phrase “it came to pass” is found 453 times in the Bible.  In each instance when we see these phrases we are being notified by God that He is signifying that an important event that is about to take place. Some examples include in Genesis 4:8, right after the phrase “it came to pass” that “Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” or in Genesis 24:15, where right after Abraham’s servant prayed for a sign from God to show him who would be Isaac’s wife, “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.” There are many, many, others such key events, and would be profitable for any curious Bible student to search them out with an online Bible search tool such as https://www.blueletterbible.org

These historical accounts happened as God ordained, and they were recorded precisely as God ordained. They were written aforetime for us, as we read in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” In 1 Corinthians 10:11 we read, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” and in 2 Timothy 3:16&17, “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (Note: the word “ensamples” is from the Greek word “τύπος” týpos, too’-pos; from G5180 which means a type or figure or model or example of something of greater substance.  The Bible is full of “Types” (or allegories) that are written for our edification, exhortation, and warning.)

s was stated earlier, the story of Ruth took place in the day of the Judges, possibly about the time of Gideon, during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  It would seem then that Elimelech had made a particularly bad decision in response to the famine that God had sent.  Elimelech had turned his back on the essence of all true sustenance, the House of Bread, and instead turned to the world as is typified by Moab.  And God uses famines as punishment for His people when they turn from Him and put His words behind them. Moreover, and more importantly, famine is used by God to represent something else “spiritually.”  We read in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”. When we fail to seek the Lord first, and fail to trust in Him alone, and instead look to the world for our help in times of trouble; God will send a famine of the hearing of His Word (as is found in the Bible) and we will suffer spiritually as a result.

Moreover Moab was a foreign territory that was inhabited by a people whom God had cursed, as we read in: “Deuteronomy 23:3-6, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:  Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”  (Remember also that both Moab and Ammon were the sons of Lot, after his wife became a pillar of salt during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot’s daughters assumed that they were the only people left on the earth, and so they decided to get their father drunk so they could lie with him and conceive children by him…Moab and Ammon were the result of those incestuous acts.  See Genesis 19:30-38). [SIDE NOTE: It is also interesting that if one does a careful review of the geneology from Jacob (who was the son of Isaac, and who was also the same generation as Moab, the son of Lot, and Isaac’s Cousin) down to Boaz, the number of generations can be shown to be nine (see Mathew Chapter 1: 2-5 and Luke 3:32-34).  However, Ruth was young enough to be the daughter of Boaz, so she would have been of the next generation…the tenth generation.  It would therefore seem that God was showing us that God’s curse on Moab stopped with Ruth’s generation.]

We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs).

Faithful Ruth Accompanies Naomi (Both “Widows”) back to Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”)

After the death of the Naomi’s husband and two sons, in  Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem because she had heard of God’s showing mercy to His people and His provision of bread to them there.  Initially, the daughters-in-law both sought to accompany Naomi back to her people in Bethlehem.  Naomi is recorded in verse 9 as having nonetheless instructed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.   This is particularly significant because Naomi did not use any other word other than “rest”.  She was uttering a biblical, spiritual, truism. Isn’t it to the house of Jesus that we go if we truly seek rest from both our sins and our enemies?  Absolutely!  Remember how Jesus said, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Naomi could have used other language… but she didn’t.  God the Holy Spirit moved Naomi to say “rest” so that it would harmonize with the entirety of this historical parable (and the entirety of the Bible) to convey important spiritual truths.

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she “had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.”  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, “Surely, we will return with thee unto thy people.”  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband and that she could no longer raise up sons for them to marry, etc. (and, as “Moabitesses”, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  In verse 14 we read the Orpah went back, sadly, but Ruth stood fast and “clave H1692” to Naomi, “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.” The word “clave” is the same word we find in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Such closeness can also be translated as “abide” or “keep fast” as we will see is used later in Ruth.

Then, despite one last admonition from Naomi, Ruth said in Ruth 1:16 & 17,  “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, [if ought] but death part thee and me.” Ruth unreservedly declares her allegiance to Naomi, as well as to her people, and, most importantly, to her God. This last declaration by Ruth brings to mind Jeremiah 30:22 where God makes a similar declaration to Israel, representing His eternal church, “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

But there is another important spiritual aspect of this admonition by Naomi.  In Luke 14:25-27, we read that great multitudes began to follow Jesus Christ and then Jesus turned and gave them a similar admonition, “and there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Many people hear the gospel call and are intrigued, at least initially.  However, once it becomes clear that the true nature of the gospel is such that we are called upon to make a choice, to follow Jesus and abandon all else: friends, family, and self…then the number of followers dwindles quickly and most go back to the enticements of their old world. We are instructed to put God first in our lives as stated in Matthew, 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” We must be willing to put all cherished worldly things and sins into the trash bin. We must truly repent (turn back to God, rather than stay fixated on the enticements of the world) and not go backward.  We must be fully committed to serving God, and even after all that we can do, it is only the Grace of God that we will eternal life. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”(Matthew 22:14)

In  verse 18 we read when Ruth could no longer be persuaded by Naomi to go back to Moab, “When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”  We should be aware that the Hebrew words translated as “stedfastly minded” can also be translated as “good courage or “courageous”, as we read in Jos 1:6,7,9,&18.  Ruth was fully aware of he risks that she was taking in leaving the land of her nativity and the difficulties that were likely ahead but she went boldly forth faithfully with Naomi to Bethlehem. And as we know from 2 Corinthians 5:7, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)“. Ruth typifies all those who recognize their destitution and desperate need of, and hope in, finding the bread of life (Jesus) by “grace”, which is the underserved favor of God.

In verse 19 we read that the two widows, Naomi and Ruth, returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who barely recognized Naomis and who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone, except for “Ruth the Moabitess”).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, as we read in verse 20 that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi, meaning “sweet(ness)”, but rather Mara, meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”  It is no accident that Mara is the same as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament. The nation of Israel was under Roman rule, and God had not spoken to the Nation of Israel in over four hundred years since the Prophet Malachi. Naomi said in verse 21, “I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why [then] call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Are there equivalent passages in the Bible that relate to what Naomi has just lamented?  Absolutely! When we look at the beginning of the very book entitled “Lamentations” we find where God is describing the very situation that Naomi is a type and figure of Judah (and remember that Naomi is from Judah). Lamentations 1:1-4, “How doth the city sit solitary, [that was] full of people! [how] is she become as a widow! she [that was] great among the nations, [and] princess among the provinces, [how] is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears [are] on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort [her]: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she [is] in bitterness.”  

However, we know that Naomi turned back to Bethlehem in Judah, and she returned which is consistent with what we find at the end of the Lamentations, chapter 5:19-21, Where we see that there is still hope of redemption, “Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [and] forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.” Naomi represents the remnant of national Israel who God causes to return to Him.

And let us not forget, that just as Naomi is a “Type” of the remnant of National Israel whom God saves, Isaiah Chapter 54 makes clear that despite all the trials and tribulations that “she” would endure, God Is her loving Husband Who Will save her.  Look in particular at verses 3-8, “For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any moreFor thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be calledFor the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather theeIn a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”  Doesn’t that sound like God is describing earthly historical “Type” who is Ruth? And similarly, who is the earthly, historical “redeemer” “Type”?…We will soon see that it is Boaz.

The final key piece of information, provided in verse 22, is that this was the time of the beginning of the barley harvest (which not coincidentally happens to also be the same time as The Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of First Fruits, which Christians remember when the New Testament church was instituted with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in 33AD, 50 days after the Jesus Passover sacrifice).

In Deuteronomy 16:9-11 we read of the significance of the Feast of Weeks to the early ingathering (which Christians remember and regard as Pentecost, when the Christian Era began with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit see Act 2:1-4), “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from [such time] as thou beginnest to [put] the sickle to the cornAnd thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give [unto the LORD thy God], according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD [thy] God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that [is] within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that [are] among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.

Chapter 2 

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.” We read this in verse 1, “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name [was] Boaz.” The word for mighty in Hebrew is gibôr (גִּבּוֹר) H1368 and it is used by God to describe Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty H1368 God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  In Isaiah 42:14, we also read that, “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.

Then in verse 2 Ruth suggests to Naomi receives permission that she (Ruth) go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) in the hope of finding “grace” in the eyes of the whoever is the owner of the field.  “glean ears of corn after [him] in whose sight I shall find grace.” Note the word “grace”, because that is what we as sinners must seek from God through Jesus Christ.

In verse 3 we read, “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field [belonging] unto Boaz, who [was] of the kindred of Elimelech.” We know that there are no happenstances with God, so what initially appeared to be just happenstance to Ruth having been gleaning in the field belonging to Boaz (“hap” meaning “by chance”, in Chapter 2, verse 3) was in reality, all clearly ordained by God as part of God’s predetermined plan.  It is important to note that since Boaz “[was] of the kindred of Elimelech” he was also the kindred of Ruth’s dead husband, Mahlon (the son of Elimelech).

Next we see in verse 4 that Boaz “came from Bethlehem,” whereupon Boaz “said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you”, and the reapers respond with, “The LORD bless thee.” Then, when Boaz notices Ruth, and then asks the reapers this question, “Whose damsel is this?” The unnamed person in charge of the reapers responded, “…It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.” The key points here are that the servant reminds us quickly, twice, that Ruth is a “Moabitess”…a person who is an outcast, and from a God cursed people.  We are all, by nature, people cursed by God due to Adam’s sin and because We are all descended from Adam. Nonetheless, we can similarly, by God’s grace alone, like Ruth, find salvation through the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ as typified here by Boaz as our Everlasting Kinsman Redeemer. (Note what we read in Isaiah 60:16, “Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD [am] thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.“)

Gleaning by “the Poor and Stranger”

Also it was made clear that she was a diligent worker and worked in the fields all day as a gleaner. With respect to “gleaning”, God set down specific laws as found in the following Bible verses:

Leviticus 19:9&10, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 23:22 “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

Moreover, in Deuteronomy 24:17-21 we read,  “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”

This is a picture of the fact that we (who have the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (and the fruit of the blessings of God) because He has saved us) are to have a concern for those who are still aliens, as orphans and widows, and to provide the necessary spiritual food for those who are without, but come seeking for spiritual nourishment.

An interesting parallel can be found in Matthew Chapter 15 where we read in verses 22-28: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  There we see an unsaved person, from a Gentile nation, outside of the people of God (corporately speaking), call upon Jesus as “Lord” and admit that she is no better than a dog, but yet asks if it might be that she (like a dog) might glean some crumbs from her Master’s table. And Jesus showed her grace. Like Ruth, we see another picture of someone who humbly gleans of the spiritual bread to become born again by the “grace” of God who would have otherwise remained a stranger, orphan, or widow.

Remember also that Jesus said in John 4:35-38, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour:other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”  We, as servants of the LORD Jesus Christ, are gleaners in the fields of humanity seeking to harvest souls for our Master by sharing the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus. The harvest in Ruth’s day was barley corn, the first fruits, but the final harvest at the end of the world is described by God as a harvest of wheat, where the wheat and the tares are separated on the Threshing Floor of God. The wheat (the saved souls) will be placed into the harvest garner (going to Heaven), while the tares (the unsaved souls) will be taken out and burned (going to Hell).

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), When Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem

Boaz came from Bethlehem just as Jesus came from Bethlehem.  Boaz was of the Tribe of Judah, just like Jesus.  Boaz said, “The LORD be with you,” to the reapers, and the reapers responded with “The LORD bless thee.”  Isn’t this exactly what God says to the believers the reapers in the world?  See for example, in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” …However we also know that in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:39, Jesus said, “the reapers are the angels.” The fact is that “angels” in the original Greek text can also be interpreted as “messengers,” and both the angels of God (from Heaven) and the believers on earth are both considered as being God’s “messengers”.   And don’t we say with all our heart like the Psalmist of the Old Testament, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.”?  Of course we do if we are believers and therefore among God’s reapers and messengers.

In Romans 8:29 we read, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ruth was a “stranger”, but Boaz called her, “My Daughter”!

In verse 8, we read, “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Imagine that! Boaz knew he was speaking to a “Moabitess”, a widow and a stranger from a God cursed nation, and yet he showed loving kindness to her, to the point of calling her his daughter!  Does this sound at all familiar?  It should, because that is exactly how God views His elect.  While yet “strangers” to God, through Jesus’s intercession, the elect become the children of God.  This is what we read in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” and we are encouraged to all know what is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”

(NOTE to the reader: This post is still a work in progress, but the final sections will focus on Chapters 3 and 4; the threshing floor, and the ceremonial requirements and implications of a kinsman redeemer,  etc.)

Conclusions

The Book of Ruth is an amazing example of God’s providence and mercy, and how God intervenes in time and space to perfectly achieve His purposes. Some have called it a love story, and indeed that it true, but it is more than just the earthly story about the love between Boaz and Ruth, it is more importantly a glorious picture of the eternal spiritual love that God has for His eternal church (The Bride of Jesus Christ) made up of believers throughout time from both the Jew and Gentile nations.

The account of Ruth is about a destitute widow finding grace and blessing from God, while the account of Esther is about an orphan blessed by God who becomes queen of a glorious kingdom.  In both cases, the intercession of God was necessary to bring about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem at the appointed time.  At the same time we are also provided the unequivocal proofs that God perfectly crafted the events and the recording of them to reveal His Magnificent Salvation Plan through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a result we are comforted in the knowledge that, as we read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called:and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who [can be] against us?”

We also see that God has provided some interesting factual insights regarding Himself in the Book of Ruth.  We can see that Jesus was descended (through Mary’s line through David, See Mathew 6:5) via an incestuous relationship (through Ruth, hence Moab, hence Lot with Lot’s daughter).  We are also reminded of another unseemly point when we are provided this verse, Ruth chapter 4, verse 12, “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and she played the harlot (prostitute) to entice Judah in order to conceive Pharez by him, and Jesus’s earthly lineage is via Pharez (“Phares” in Matt 1:3). Moreover, the mother of Boaz (Booz in the New Testament) was named Rahab (also as “Rachab” in Matthew 1:5), and Rahab is the name of a harlot whom Joshua (meaning “Saviour”, the same as the Greek “Jesus”) saved, when the city of Jericho was destroyed, see: Joshua 6:17. Even David, with whom Jesus is linked by birth through Mary (Luke 3:31), was both an adulterer and pre-meditated murderer (David orchestrated the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite). As was mentioned in the body of this study, these sordid historical aspects of the lineage of Jesus were all included in the Bible by God, very deliberately, to show us how God was willing to clearly and unequivocally associate Himself with sinful mankind from every possible perspective (and yet he Himself knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21) in order to take the believers’ places on the cross and for what would have otherwise been an eternity in Hell.  Jesus came to save sinners.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Committed: An Old Testament Study- Ruth And Esther, SP Publications, Inc, 1993 (ISBN 1-56476-067-7)

Psalm 119 and Discernment

Posted September 21, 2011 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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oil lamp

Psalm 119:105…”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Discernment and Psalm 119:

In the past year or so a number of  “Psalm 119 Discernment ” conferences have been held and continue to be held according to this website:  http://www.wretchedradio.com/wretched-events.cfm

On the home page we find this verse: Psalms 119:15-16, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

With that as our starting point, let’s take a brief look at a just a few verses of Psalm “119” (the longest chapter in the bible) to see what we might discern from them.  One thing we  should all notice immediately is that nearly every single verse has some direct reference to God’s law, statutes, precepts, commandments, judgments, testimonies, way(s), and word(s).  This is what makes this chapter unique! (although interestingly, and not by coincidence, Chapter “19” comes the closest to it…please take a look)

It is clear that from beginning to end, from A to Z, chapter 119 is all about God’ s Word, and that can only mean that ultimately, spiritually, it is all about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

In Revelation we read four times (1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13) that Jesus says,

I am ALPHA AND OMEGA, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”   Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and equivalent to the Hebrew first and last letters of the alphabet,  Aleph and Tav (tau) in the Old Testament that demarcate the beginning and end of Psalm 119.  We also know that Jesus is the Word made flesh…

John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  Therefore if we really use “discernment” with respect to Psalm 119, we can see Jesus is in every verse of Psalm 119.  The Word (hence Jesus) is described in almost each and every verse of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, as the following: Word, Testimonies, Precepts, Law, Commandments, Judgment(s), Statutes, Ways (or The Way), Ordinances. 

Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

As True Christians, We all want to have Jesus hidden in our hearts by reading and pondering God’s Word, the Bible, in our hearts.

Psalm 119:18  “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law

We should all pray that God gives us the discernment to see Jesus wondrously interwoven throughout the whole Bible.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Jesus in the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16), and we should all hope that Jesus shines His Light into our life through the reading and hearing of His Word, the Bible. 

What have you discerned from Psalm 119?


The Mount of Transfiguration: What Was It Really All About?

Posted May 26, 2010 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: , , , , , , ,

clouds-above-the-mountains-in-icelandThere is some additional corroborative evidence that Jesus Christ should be the primary focus of every Christian’s Bible study.  It has already been shown in the previous paper, “Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible“, that it is the purpose of God, working through the ministration of His Holy Spirit, that He, alone, is the One Who must remove the veil from a person’s heart to allow him to see Jesus in the Old Testament scriptures.  God explains that it is by this means (and for His glory) that God revealed the New Testament of Jesus Christ (whereby salvation is possible, to both Jew and Gentile, only through Jesus Christ’s work of perfectly keeping the law and applying His work to us by His Spirit and not through our keeping the law apart from Him).  We see this in II Corinthians chapter 3, verse 4: “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

God also underscores that the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ was not some last-minute addition to God’s original plan, but all along was central to it.  This is found in Romans 1.  There we read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”  To underscore that the term “gospel” does not just relate to the New Testament, God speaks of the Jews in Moses’ day as having heard the same gospel as we read beginning with Hebrews 3:12: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they (the unbelieving Jews in Moses’ day) should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].”

Again, in Colossians chapter 1, we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word (they heard it before only out of the Old Testament in those days) of the truth (Jesus is the “Truth” [John 14:6]) of the gospel (God’s covenant of grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ);”.

The Mount of Transfiguration Accounts:

The transfiguration of Jesus is a rather surprising account that we read about in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The following verses review that account in its entirety:

Matthew 17:1-8, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Mark 9:2-10, “And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.  And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.  And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

Luke 9:28-36, “ And it came to pass about an eight days* after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:  Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.  While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept [it] close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

*NOTE: There is one “apparent” contradiction between the Luke account and that found in Matthew and Mark (i.e. eight days versus six days).  Please note that the Luke account says “about an eight days after” while the Matthew and Mark accounts state unequivocally “after six days.”  Although God’s purpose in providing this variation in the timing description is not immediately clear, it is not inconsistent with a parallel account in Exodus 24:16, where we read, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  We are also reminded of the fact that on that same mount Moses was told in Exodus 34:21  Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

When we review and combine (or synthesize) these three accounts of the transfiguration into one, cohesive, whole, we find that the disciples (Peter, James, and John) first saw Jesus transfigured to a glorified state, and, furthermore, Moses and Elijah (who were also in a glorified state) were speaking with Jesus (concerning Jesus’s death that would occur at Jerusalem).  Setting aside for a moment the issue of Peter’s offer to build “three tabernacles,” we next learn that a cloud overshadowed them, and God the Father speaks to the disciples concerning Jesus, “this is my beloved son:” and commands, “hear him.”  They “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  “Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise and be not afraid.”  Immediately afterwards, the only other person they see is Jesus (Moses and Elijah are gone).  Finally we read of Jesus’s reference to His death and resurrection, and His command to the disciples to keep secret what they had seen until after that time.

A number of questions come to mind.  What was the purpose for Jesus having been “transfigured”, and why did it happen before His death and resurrection?  Why did only Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus?  Why did they talk of Jesus’s coming death?  Why did they vanish after God the Father spoke from the cloud?  What was the significance of Jesus’s coming, His touching the disciples, and saying arise, be not afraid?  What about the three tabernacles that Peter offered to build?  Why did the disciples not understand the coming death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The Transfiguration: A Witness and Testimony of Jesus’s Majesty, Honor, and Glory That is Linked to His Resurrection* 

The most obviously significant aspect of the Transfiguration account is the Transfiguration of Jesus Himself.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 17:2 that Jesus “was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.“; and in Mark 9:2&3 “was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.“; and in Luke 9:29, “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.”  The big question we are immediately faced with is, “What is the purpose of this phenomenon?”   In seeking to answer this question, rather than just speculate, let’s look to God’s own commentary as spoken through an eyewitness to the original event.  Peter, as one of those witnesses states emphatically in II Peter 1:16-18, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majestyFor he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we (Peter, James, and John) heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We are told that Jesus received honor and glory from God the Father in His excellent glory in Heaven.  This reaffirmation of the transfiguration account emphasizes that Jesus was indeed “glorified.”  The word translated as “majesty” that was used first by Peter is from a seldom used word, “megaleiotes” (Strong’s #3168).  It is a reference to more than Christ’s beauty of holiness and royal splendor.  In Luke 9:43, the same word is used to refer to Jesus’ “mighty power” over physical things.  Therefore, Peter is saying in effect that the prophets (both of the Old Testament as represented by Moses and Elijah, and the New Testament represented by Peter, James, and John (because, like Moses and Elijah, they too heard God speak directly to them)) were witnesses to the glory and mighty power of Jesus in the universe.

*  Thanks to the late Thomas Schaff, for his significant contributions to this section.

Certainly Jesus performed many amazing works to which Peter was a witness, but Peter had particular work in mind, that was Jesus’s resurrection and therefore His power over death and hell.  We can conclude this because Jesus tied His transfiguration to His resurrection in Mark 9:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.”  Jesus knew that His apostles would not fully understand the meaning of what they had seen on the mountain until He arose from the dead.  Therefore He told them to say nothing until then.  The resurrection would make the meaning of all that happened on the mountain clear to them so that they could tell it to others.

The Transfiguration was a revelation, or “preview,” of Who Jesus Is, and, in a way, the resurrection was proof that the revelation was true.  If they understood the resurrection, then they would understand the meaning of what happened on the mountain.  Also, if they understood the events on the mountain, then they would understand the meaning of the resurrection.  However, until Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles wondered about the meaning of the resurrection, as we see in Mark 9:10, “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

At the time that Peter wrote the letter of II Peter, Peter understood the meaning for the events on the mountain and the meaning of the resurrection.  One other thing that stood out according to Peter, was the statement by the Father repeated in II Peter 1:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Therefore, there is a close correlation between the resurrection and the Words of the Father.  The resurrection was proof that Jesus was indeed the “beloved Son,” the Person of whose glory Peter caught a glimpse when he was on the mountain.  (Incidentally, there is another corollary that can be found at the time of Jesus’s baptism.  We read in Matthew 3:16&17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  In that account Jesus’s coming out of the water was a another preview of the Jesus’ resurrection after having come under the judgment of God [the river Jordan is a type of Hell] at the hands of John the Baptist [a type for the law of God that demands “…the wages of sin [is] death;” [Romans 6:23].  Please refer to the paper, The Role of Baptism in the Life of the Believer)

Jesus was declared “beloved”.   He perfectly obeyed the Will of the Father in that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life.  Jesus showed that He completely paid for the sins of His sheep when He raised Himself from the dead and prove that His sacrifice was acceptable as a holy and complete payment for sin as we read in Romans 1:4, “And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” and Hebrews 5:8&9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;“.

Moses: An Allegory for the Law of God that Spoke of Jesus Christ (In a Veiled Fashion)

But what of Moses and Elijah?  Where do they fit in?  We know that Moses is so intimately identified in the Bible with the Law of God that we often read of the “law of Moses” as we read in I Kings 2:2&3 where David’s last words to his son Solomon were, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:.”  We also read in John 5:45 where Jesus said to the Jews, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”  Furthermore, in II Corinthians, Chapter 3 beginning at verse 11, we find that the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was concealed by God as if by a “veil” in the Old Testament (represented allegorically by Moses with “a veil over his face”), but revealed with “great plainness of speech” in the New testament as follows, “For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, [which] put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [veil] is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

Elijah: An Allegory for the Old Testament Prophets that Spoke of Jesus Christ and His Sufferings and the Glory that Should Follow

The Bible also makes it clear that the prophets of God in the Old Testament spoke of the Person and Atoning Work of Jesus Christ (i.e. His suffering and death) as we read in IPeter 1:7-11, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”  Again, in Acts 3:18, “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Mark 14:21, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The Law and the Prophets

When we look at how God uses the law (represented here by Moses) and the prophets (represented here by Elijah) we find some additional corroboration to underscore that indeed we are on the right track.  To begin, we find that God describes “the law and the prophets” as being essentially equivalent to the Old Testament as we read in Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (referring to John the Baptist who we read about in the New Testament).”  We also know that God distills the essence of the whole Old Testament into just two commandments (one of which is commonly referred to as the “golden rule”, as we find both in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“) and in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  In John 1:45, we also find the account where, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Furthermore, in Acts 28:23 we read about the preaching of Paul from “the law and the prophets”, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.”  Finally, in Luke 24:44, we read of Jesus speaking to the disciples after His resurrection, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”  The law and the prophets (as well as “the psalms”) spoke concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ! (And only Jesus was able to perfectly keep “the law and the prophets” and therefore also “the two great commandments.”)

Please note that the last quoted verse, Luke 24:44, is in perfect harmony with what can be found earlier in Luke (in verses 18:31-33) regarding what Jesus told the disciples just before his death and resurrection, “Then he (Jesus) took [unto him] the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”  Please also note that when Jesus originally told the disciples these facts, they did not understand them because it was “hid” from them, as we read in the next verse, Luke 18:34, “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  However, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, we then read in Luke 24:45-47 that Jesus gave them the understanding, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  This is just one more example of everyone’s need for God to open his spiritual eyes to spiritual truth even when something is plainly stated in the scriptures.

Before we leave this section, we should also consider one more aspect about the Mount of transfiguration and its relationship to “the law and the prophets.”  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”  Jesus fulfilled all that the law commanded and demanded, and prophets spoke concerning.  

One more thing…When we look at the last few verses of Luke, Chapter 16 we see the parable of the rich man in Hell crying out to Abraham (while holding Lazarus) in Heaven to send messengers to his brothers who haven’t died yet so that they could be warned to repent and avoid Hell, we read the following:  “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear themAnd he (the rich man in Hell) said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he (Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The one rose from the dead was not just Lazarus, it was Jesus Christ.  And then we are reminded of Mathew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”!!!

The Overshadowing Cloud Points to the Glory of God in the Presence of His Saints 

There are numerous references to a “cloud” in the Bible, but the ones that appear to best express the its biblical meaning are found as follows: Exodus 19:16, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.”  Exodus 24:15, “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.   Exodus 24:16, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  Exodus 33:21&22, “And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:,” and a little later referring to the same account in Exodus 34:5, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.”  Exodus 40:34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”  Numbers 14:14, “And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”  Deuteronomy 31:15, “And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.”  There are also these verses, in the Book of Hebrews that follow immediately after the recountng of the great heros of faith (The Believers/the Saints) that glorified God, we read in Hebrews 12:1&2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Then compare with these verses: Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I (Jesus Christ) am glorified in them (the saints).  2Th 1:10  When he (Jesus Christ) shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

The Three Tabernacles?

Notice also the numerous references to “the tabernacle”.  Remember that in John 1:14 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  The word translated “dwelt” is from the Greek word “skenno” which means “to tabernacle” which is the same as we find in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”  Can you see why it was erroneous for Peter to want to build “three” separate tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah?  In the historical setting it was unnecessary because Moses’ and Elijah’s habitation was a heavenly one, and more importantly, there is only one tabernacle, or abode, for the people of God.  As Jesus states in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house (singular) are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  Furthermore, in the spiritual context, the Door of the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle Itself, is Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, it was Jesus alone, Who prepared that tabernacle, not the disciples.

The Disciples’ Fearful Falling to the Ground, and Jesus’s Raising Them Up

We read in Matthew 17:6 that the disciples, when they heard the voice of God, “fell on their face.”  That action is representative of what anyone will do when he hears the voice of Almighty God.  It is a sign of worship, reverence, and obeisance.  We see examples of such action in Genesis 17:3, “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,…”; in II Samuel 9:6, “Now when Mephibosheth (an allegorical type of every believer), the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David (an allegorical type of Jesus Christ), he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!“; in II Chronicles 20:18, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with [his] face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.“; and in Luke 5:12, “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”   Please also note the similarity of the obedient nature exhibited by Joshua in Joshua 5:14, “And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” and the obedient nature of Jesus in Matthew 26:39, “And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

In the Matthew account of the Transfiguration, we read in Matthew 17:7, “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.”  Immediately, we see a number of features in this verse that pertain to the gospel message (regarding the Person and work of Jesus Christ) that are found everywhere else in the Bible.  The essence of salvation is predicated on the coming of Jesus Christ.  He, alone, is the means of that salvation.  Salvation is dependent on His Work.  That is also why we next read that He touched them, and He said to arise, and He said to be not afraid.

Touch:

There are quite a number of verses in the Bible that pertain to Jesus’s “touching” or being “touched” by someone.  In every case the result is symbolic of what happens to someone who becomes saved.  We see this in the case of Jesus’s healing the leper in Matthew 8:3 (and Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:13), “And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”  In the cure of the Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever in Matthew 8:15, “And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”  In the cleansing of the woman from her issue of blood as we read in Matthew 9:20 (and Mark 5:27-34), “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” and Matthew 14:35 (and Mark 6:56), “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”  In Matthew 9:27-30, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us.  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.  And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it].”  In Mark 7:32, we read of the deaf and dumb man being healed by Jesus, “And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;  And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”  Finally, in Luke 7:12-16, “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Not only did these miracles serve as physical proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah (according to Luke 7:22 which, in answer to John the Baptist’s query on that subject, which states, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.“), but in each of these miracles are found clear references to the miracle of salvation so equally and graciously given by God to whomever He wills.

Arise:

The word “Arise” spoken by Jesus to the Dead man in the funeral bier in Luke 7:14 is the same word spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration!  The word used in both accounts is from the Greek word, “egiero” (Strong’s # G1453)  It is also the same word used in Luke 8:49-56, “While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.  But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.  And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”  Again we see the beautiful portrait of God performing the miracle of salvation.  Note that just as was the case on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Jesus “touching” (in this case the dead girl), Jesus”s saying both to “Arise” and “Fear not.”

Fear Not:

According to the Matthew account, after the disciples heard the voice of God the Father speaking to them from the cloud, they “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  This fear is reminiscent of what we find was the case back in Exodus 19:16 when the ten Commandments were given.  That Exodus account closely parallels the Mount of Transfiguration account in that it involved another “Mount” (Mount Sinai), another cloud (a thick cloud), when the people heard another “voice” (of a trumpet and thunderings) and trembled.  Furthermore, in Exodus chapter 20:18&19, immediately after Moses had finished reading the Ten Commandments (“the Law”), we read, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  Then Moses told the people to “fear not” (just as Jesus told to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to “be not afraid”) as we read in the next verse, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

The Bible makes it clear that the “fear” of God is the beginning of Wisdom as we read in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”  We also know, according to Hebrews 10:31, “[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  God tells us Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  God is the One Who has that power, for we read in Isaiah 8:13, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.”  However, once someone has become saved, because, in reality, Jesus “touched” that person (to cleanse him of his sinfulness (typified by the various states of leprosy, uncleanness, disease, deafness, dumbness, blindness, and death) and commanded that He “Arise” (from the dead), while that person would have rightly “feared” God with a terrifying “Fear” at the initial “hearing” of the word of God, there is no longer any reason to continue to have that kind of “fear,” but rather an ongoing reverential “Awe” of the God of his salvation.

 

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The disciples questioned among themselves concerning the meaning of the Jesus’s being risen from the dead.”  This was because the revelation of the meaning of it was withheld from them until the appropriate time by God as we read later in the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following (and on the very day of) Jesus’s resurrection in Luke 24:13-32.  Interestingly, there again we read of “Moses and all the prophets,” “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”  Please also note how just a few verses later, in verse 44, Jesus reiterates to His disciples the point that all the Old Testament scriptures ultimately have their fulfillment in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, “And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch

A similar account is found in Acts 8:26-39 concerning the encounter between the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

Conclusion

In all these accounts, we find the Old Testament scriptures (typified by Moses and Elijah, and in the last account, by Isaiah) are always pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Once the scriptures are expounded upon by a guide, or preacher, of the Word (in the first instance God the Father; secondly Jesus Himself; then, in the third account, the Holy Spirit led disciple, Philip) the elected hearers see and hear only Jesus.  They know Him.  But, perhaps most significantly, it is with their spiritual eyes and ears, not their physical ones.  In the transfiguration account the disciples first saw Moses and Elijah (who typified the Old Testament scriptures) but after they were told by God to “hear” Jesus, they “saw” only Jesus (Moses and Elijah had disappeared).  In the road to Emmaus account, the two disciples didn’t see the person and work of Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures, they only saw Moses (“the law”) and “the prophets” (including Elijah).  They didn’t recognize Jesus because it was witholden from them until Jesus “broke the bread” for them.  Lastly, the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t know if Isaiah spoke of himself or some other man.  However, once Jesus was expounded to him from the text (by a disciple commissioned and under the power of the Holy Spirit), then the Ethiopian believed Jesus to be the Son of God.*

Other Verses to Ponder:

II Corinthians 4:5-10, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Hebrews 1:1&2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

II Peter 3:17&18, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Colossians 2:6-9, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.   For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

I Corinthians 8:6, “But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

* It is interesting to see yet another parallel with the account of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the account of Joseph (who typified Jesus Christ) and his brothers (typifying the disciples/believers) in Genesis 45:1-5.  In both cases, the identities of Joseph and Jesus were hidden from the others until a later time when they were alone with them.

 

Postscript: Elias (Elijah) Must First Come?

There is yet another lesson to be learned from the Mount of Transfiguration account.  Immediately after the recording of that account in both Matthew and Luke we find the following statements:

Matthew 17:9&10,  “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mark 9:11, “ And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Notice that it is evident that the scribes of Jesus’ day had concluded that Elijah would have to return in a physical, bodily, form before a resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day could occur.  In all likelihood, they were drawing that conclusion from what they read in Malachi 4:5&6 where we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

In Luke 1:13-17, we see that this should correctly be understood to mean that the children of Israel (the children of God) would be led back to God (the fathers) by John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  It reads, “But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  Thou shalt have great joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (Jesus Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (Greek for Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We see then, that the prophesy of Malachi 4:6 was already fulfilled during the life of John the Baptist!  Jesus Himself confirmed this, because when speaking of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14+15, Jesus said, “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias (Elijah in Greek), which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.“!  To further underscore that this is the only way to interpret Malachi 4:5+6, we read in Matthew 17:10-13, “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

The disciples of Jesus “understood” that Malachi 4:5+6 had been fulfilled by John the Baptist.  They “received it.”  They “had ears to hear.”  If anyone can’t accept this, then that person is exactly like those who had John the Baptist thrown into prison and beheaded, and worse, also had Jesus Christ crucified, because “they knew him not.”  Such a person would be doing what he pleased (listed) with the word of God and would be rejecting the true Jesus of the Bible.

Let’s Look back again for a moment at Malachi 4:6, to consider the meaning of “the hearts of the fathers are being turned to the children, and the hearts of the children are being turned to the fathers.”  Again, we must compare scripture with scripture (1 Cor 2:13) to see what God really has in mind.  We know that while, historically, “fathers” in the Bible refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. see Deut 29:13, and 30:20) we also know that they are allegorical representatives of God Himself.  Remember that in Malachi 1:6, we see that, “a son honoreth his father and a servant his master: if then I (God) be a father, where is mine honor?”  Even the plural form, fathers, is consistent with this idea (i.e., God in three persons, as in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” from Genesis 1:26).  The “children” on the other hand (the disobedient in the land of Israel, the children of God), would be turned to the wisdom of the just (their hearts turned to God) and that this would be done so that God would prepare a people for Himself (through salvation through Jesus Christ, as John the Baptist preached).  Also note that in Titus 3:3 we read, “for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,… But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

When God warns of “smiting the earth with a curse,” from Malachi 4:6, He was teaching that if He did not prepare a people for Himself through the redemptive action of Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God) which was required for the salvation of His people, then His justice would demand that the whole earth would remain under the curse of God, doomed to destruction on that great and dreadful day (Judgment Day), and none would be saved.

Remember that John the Baptist’s primary message was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” as he declared when he saw Jesus Christ coming (see John 1:29 and 1:36).

 

                       The Holy Temple of God Must Be Built Before Jesus Can Come?

This reminds me of a similar misunderstanding of Scripture that faces most Christians in our day.  Many people believe that before Jesus Christ can return there must first be the rebuilding of a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God in the earthly, physical, city of Jerusalem.  They fail to realize that the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) that will be made manifest coincident with the appearance of the new Jerusalem in Heaven.  This is what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.”  “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, (Found in Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22) behold I lay in Si-on a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See also Isaiah 8:14, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:53)

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar, we read in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26&27), I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so)

Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly actions would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967).

Today’s Application

When people today argue that Jesus cannot return until the Temple is first rebuilt in Jerusalem, they are in effect speaking just like the scribes in Jesus’s day who did not have the understanding that the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah would be spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist.  They do not see that in the same way the Temple of God is a “spiritual house” (made up of the universal body of believers joined together through the witnessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) that must be first be completed, and not a physical building.