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Archive for June 2020 – Page 2

The King Comes, part 2

Our Lord’s coronation day begins with the King’s return at the end of the Tribulation – the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 19:11-16). The King will return to rescue and restore the nation of Israel in order to fulfill God’s covenant promise to Abraham (Zech. 13:8–14:19; Rom. 11:25–36; Rev. 19:11–20:3; Isa. 61:2b–64:12). God will purge and purify the Jews from their rebellion against Him and prepare them to face their King (Zech. 12:9; Mal. 2:3–4). He will make the nation of Israel, now dead, to live again (Rom. 11:25–26; Ezek. 37:4–12). The King will also return to reclaim and renew the earth from the clutches of Satan (Isa. 11:3–9; Rom. 8:19–22; Luke 4:6–7; 2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 16:11, 12:31; Rev. 5:6–10). And the King will return to reign over a kingdom on a renewed earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4–6).

 

The church is referred to as the mystery by Paul – the dispensation of grace, or the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:1-4). This mystery is a gap of time between Messiah being cut off (crucified) and the catching up of the church (Dan. 9:26). This gap has lasted for now over 2,000 years. The seven literal churches in the book of Revelation actually represent seven church ages: Ephesus (30-100 A.D.), Smyrna (100-313), Pergamum (313 – 600), Thyatira (600-1517), Sardis (1517-1648), Philadelphia (1648-1900), and Laodicea (1900 to the present).

 

After the church age, a series of judgments on God’s people (the Jews) will be unleashed. These judgments are broken down in Revelation 5-19 into seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls, each being worse than the one before. They come like waves on a beach. The first wave of judgment (the seal judgments) begins with the opening of the seven-sealed scroll. John was crying because there was no one to open the scroll. He then heard the roar of a lion that startled him, and he turned and saw a Lamb as though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6). The Lamb was worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals. The scroll is the title deed to the earth. With the opening of the scroll, the waves of judgment begin on the earth to reclaim and renew the earth for the kingdom to begin.

 

When the last seal is broken, the first of seven trumpet judgments begin. They are worse than the seal judgments. When the last trumpet is blown, it will usher in a time called the seven bowls – a time of horror like never seen before in history. The last bowl judgment ends with the great campaign of Armageddon (Rev. 16). This judgment begins with three insidious demons being belched out of where: the dragon (Satan), the Antichrist (the Beast), and the false prophet (another beast). These demons are commissioned by Satan to gather the whole world together at the Valley of Megiddo for the battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:12–16). Their mission is to destroy the woman (Israel) who gave birth to the Son (the Lord Jesus), but we already know from Genesis 3:15 that the Son is destined to kill the dragon, Satan.

 

Contrary to popular belief, there will be no fighting in the Jezreel Valley. There is really no such battle as the Battle of Armageddon. In the Jezreel Valley, storm clouds gather in the form of the armies of the Antichrist, preparing to destroy Jerusalem (Rev. 16:12-16). The battle is called “The Great Day of God Almighty.”  God will dry up the mighty Euphrates River to allow the Antichrist and his army to get to the Jezreel Valley. There is little doubt that one of these armies will include much of the revived Roman Empire which surprisingly is made up of a large percentage of the Muslim Arabic bloc that circles the Mediterranean Sea and surrounds the tiny nation of Israel today. What a coincidence! This army will be headed by the Antichrist himself. I made the observation in my book “A Glimpses of the Coming King,” that wouldn’t it be the one of the greatest “gotcha’s” of history for Islam’s coming Mahdi (Twelfth Imam), and the Beast mentioned in the Bible, to be one and the same. I really think – because of the identity of the Mahdi given in the Muslim writings – the Koran and the Sunna (the Hadith), and the characteristics identifying the Antichrist, that they are. Both Russia and China will be involved. These armies will realize the genius of the Antichrist, and they will pledge their allegiance to him. It is from this Jezreel Valley that these soldiers under the leadership of the Antichrist will gather, organize, and ready themselves for battle – to go first against Jerusalem.  One serious motivation for this looming battle could be the vast supply of oil and chemical resources of the Dead Sea. There is now technology available to mine those resources. It will be granted to him (the Antichrist) to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:7–8). Remember the sign, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place” (Matt. 24:15).

 

Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

The King Comes

I am now several months into my “Pandemic Pondering.” It is my sincere hope that I am filling pages with God’s truth – truth that has never before entered the mind of man – truth that will change hearts (1 Cor. 2:5-13). Until this happens on a regular basis, lives will not change. There are many church goers today that I consider to be religiously secular. “Religiously secular” sounds like a contradiction, but I assure you it is not! There are many who have joined a local church, been baptized, but they are not spiritual people (1 Cor. 2:14-15). Until God’s Word begins to make a life and death impact, even faithful church people will become religiously secular. If we think that most Americans hold to even a small Christian worldview like ours, we would be tragically mistaken! Polls tell us that the vast majority in this nation claiming Christianity are, in fact, Christian in name only. They are secular people who attend church religiously – religiously secular. They are basically good, moral, country-loving, nature-loving, family-loving, church-loving, music-loving, preaching-loving – people. They are people who have learned to speak “church language,” and to live comfortably in a “church culture.” But some have never become a part of the living Body of Christ by the new birth or real baptism. Attending church has become an addition to the culture of entertainment – you just add God! Well, God refuses just to be added. He will be God, and He will rule.

 

We are considering, And the LORD (YHWH) shall be King over all the earth and His name one (Zech. 14:9). Notice the future tense in italics. God shall be King; He is yet to be crowned! He is yet to take His throne! This day is coming and coming soon! Many throughout history have desired to be king over all the earth, from Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to Adolph Hitler. No one has ever been king over all the earth. God’s unchanging Word says that One is coming who is to be that King. We have learned that His name is YHWH (I Am) written in the Bible as LORD.

 

Shortly after we are born here in the ole USA, we are given a Social Security number – “our number.” One can’t borrow money, buy a car, or a house, or do any significant financial transaction without this number. My number identifies me. This may shock the reader, but God also has an identification number. Speaking of YHWH (LORD) the prophet Isaiah said, “Thus says the LORD (YHWH) the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD (YHWH) of hosts, I am the first and the last” (Isa. 44:6). The first and the last is the LORD’s number. Fast forward to the book of the Revelation where we read these remarkable words. “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last” (YHWH’s number). He is identified. Now notice, “Who was dead and has come to life” (Revelation 2:8). The number says that YHWH is Jesus. Wow!

 

Linda and I moved into new house with freshly painted walls, and a house is not a home until the pictures are hung. This is not true anymore, but back then we realized as we put tiny nails in the walls that from then on, these small imprints would be there. Nail prints identify and nail prints do not lie. Zechariah 12 uses this same truth to shed light on the identity of YHWH. “The burden of the word of the LORD [YHWH] against Israel. Thus, says the LORD [YHWH] who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: Behold, I ([YHWH] will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:1–2). Fast forward to verse 10. “And I [YHWH] will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me [YHWH] whom they pierced.” Who was pierced? Jesus Christ was pierced. Nail prints identify YHWH as Jesus. And the nail prints do not lie.

 

Growing up in the South, I developed a love for hunting. I taught my children early that if they could find the tracks, they would find the game, because the tracks do not lie. God took on flesh, died for our sin, and rose again. He was giving final instructions to His disciples, telling them that they would become His witnesses in Judea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. This small band then walked up the Mount of Olives. What happened next was amazing. Jesus went up, up and away, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9). And just like that, He was gone. Two angels standing nearby must have startled the disciples with their presence and these words: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, (the Mount of Olives) which is near Jerusalem (Acts 1:10–12). The last footprints of Jesus Christ on this earth were found on the Mount of Olives. Jesus promised to one day return to that same location.

 

Let’s plug into the record of the greatest rescue mission in history. Zechariah wrote about events surrounding the last days. Israel is about to be annihilated. The Jews are surrounded by enemies on every side. The time is short for them. But just before they are destroyed, YHWH once again will step into history. “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD [YHWH] when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Just before the end, the LORD [YHWH] will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle” (Zech. 14:1-2). Jesus will come again as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:11-16). In that day His feet [YHWH’s feet] will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east (Zech. 14:1-4). This was what the angel’s promised. This same Jesus will return. The King will stand once again on the Mount of Olives and from that location He will march down across the Kidron Valley thru the Eastern Gate and into Jerusalem. He will be seated upon His throne and crowned as King – King over all the earth and His name one (Zech. 14:9). What is His one name? His one name is the Christ – the God/man. Footprints identify and footprints do not lie. Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

Jesus Claimed Equality with the Father

Still pondering! YHWH, the LORD, the great I AM, shall be King over all the earth and His name one (Zech. 14:9). Who is the great “I Am”? They had heard the rumor. “Born of a virgin,” they said! Oh please! The religious crowd said to Jesus, “We know who our father is; it’s Abraham! Who is yours, huh?” Jesus said to them that if Abraham was their father then they would do the works of Abraham (Jn. 8:39). Their response was inevitable, “We were not born of fornication: we have one Father – God.” Jesus responded, “If God were your father, you would love me because I came from Him. In fact, He sent Me” (my paraphrase, Jn. 8:41-42).

This major confrontation led to Jesus exposing this religious group as children of the devil (Jn. 8:44). The conversation ended with Jesus’ words, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it was glad.” The Jews were furious! “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham?” (Jn. 8:57). Jesus’ words were powerful and stinging to the Jews. “Most assuredly I say to you that before Abraham was born, I AM” (Ego Eimi, Jn. 8:58). Wow! He is saying that before Abraham was even born – He existed. He was claiming to be the great I Am. The Jews did not miss it! They picked up stones to throw at him. They knew what He was saying. 

In the famous upper room meeting with His disciples, Jesus was comforting troubled hearts. He was going away. He told them not to let their hearts be troubled. They believed in God – they were to believe in Him also. He was going to prepare a place for them and would come again to take them to be with Him. Thomas’ words are very familiar. “We do not know where you are going and how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn. 14:1-6). 

Philip heard Christ mention the Father and asked Christ to show them the Father, saying that would be sufficient to confirm their belief in Him (Jn. 14:8). Jesus made an amazing shift from speaking of the Father to Himself by asking Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?” (John 14:9a). Wow! The words of Christ rocked Philip. Catch the glimpse! “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’”? Amazing! “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves” (Jn. 14:9b-11). “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!” What powerful words! What a glimpse! Jesus Christ makes God the Father known.

The Father’s words were being spoken through Christ, and His work was being done through Christ (Jn. 6:38). Jesus confirmed this truth in John 10. Recall Jesus’ words from yesterday’s post. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand” (Jn. 10:27-29). Catch this glimpse! “I and My Father are one.” (Jn. 10:30) What? He meant that He and the Father are one in essence. The characteristics that belong uniquely to the Father also belong to Christ.

The Father has authority over all creation: “He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan. 4:35). Jesus Christ shares this sovereignty: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth’” (Matt. 28:18).

The Father is eternal life: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psa. 90:1–2). Jesus Christ is also eternal life: “And this is the record that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son” (1 Jn. 5:11).

The Father is absolutely righteous: “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright” (Psa. 11:7). Jesus Christ is also referred to as being righteous: If you know that He (Christ) is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 Jn. 2:28–29).

The Father knows the thoughts of men: “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off” (Psa. 139:1–2). The Son also knows the thoughts of men: “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’” (Matt. 9:4).  

The Father is present everywhere: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psa. 139:7–10). Jesus Christ is also everywhere present: “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you’” (John 1:47–50). Our Lord saw Nathaniel under the fig tree because He was there.

Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

The Seven “I Am’s” of Jesus

YHWH shall be King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). We are searching out the identity of this King. In a recent blog, I said that the Jews grew to understand the mysterious YHWH by adding His name to the ways that He interacted with them. For instance, YHWH (I AM) Jireh, provision; YHWH (I AM) Shalom, peace, etc. Let’s do the very same thing with the Lord Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is YHWH manifest in human flesh, one would expect Him to reveal His ministry to us exactly as YHWH did in the Old Testament. The Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word YHWH (I AM) in the Old Testament are the words Ego Eimi (I AM) in the New Testament. Jesus Christ unveils His ministry to us with seven manifestations as the great “Ego Eimi.”

Ego eimi, I am the door of the sheep (Jn. 10:7-9). He is the only door that opens into the sheepfold – which must be symbolic of God’s Kingdom. To get in, one must come through the door, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ego eimi, I am the light of the world (Jn. 8:12). A strange characteristic of light is that it is invisible. Light rays cannot be seen, yet when no invisible light rays are present, nothing can be seen. What we see is a reflection of the light. Jesus Christ as the light of the world makes the invisible God visible. Jesus is the reflection of the light of God. Light is the starting place of all life. Without light, nothing lives. Jesus Christ as the light of the world is the source of life, real life, eternal life. He is the only means of removing the spiritual blindness of the soul. To know Him is to have the light of life (1 Jn.1:4).

Ego eimi, I am the bread of life (Jn. 6:35). Recall the manna that God fed the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Ex. 16:4). This mysterious bread met their need and sustained them physically. The psalmist called it “the bread of heaven” (Psalm 78:4). The Lord Jesus Christ unveiled the fact that the manna actually spoke of Him. He is the bread that came down from heaven. The one who comes to Him will never hunger nor thirst.

Ego eimi, I am the vine, you are the branches (Jn. 15:5). The vine gives its life through the branches. And the branches must be connected to the vine. Life and fruit will not come unless the branches are connected. Jesus said, “He who abides in me (the vine) will bear much fruit. For without Me, you can do nothing.”

Ego eimi, I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11:25-26). “The one who believes in Me though he may die, he shall live – and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” These are the words spoken by Jesus Christ to Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus.

Ego eimi, I am the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6). We live in a world that teaches that there are many ways to God. Many mistakenly believe that it does not make a difference what one believes, as long as they are sincere. This is not what Jesus Christ taught. Jesus told His followers He was going back to His Father’s house from which He had come. He was going to prepare a place for them and would return and take them there (Jn. 14:1-3). Thomas asked the question that we probably would have asked. “Where are you going and how can we know the way?” Jesus responded, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That’s definite!

Ego eimi, I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my sheep and I am known by My own (Jn. 10:14; 25-27). The Good Shepherd said that He knew His sheep, and that they would follow Him. He said that He would give to them eternal life and they would never perish, and no one could ever take them out of His hand (Jn. 10:14, 27–28). There were some Jews in the crowd still asking the Good Shepherd for proof that He was the Christ. Many were just not convinced. The good Shepherd tells them why! John 10:25 gives us His exact words with no spin. We are still asking the question concerning the identity of the one named King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

“The LORD Jesus Christ”

“And YHWH shall be King over all the earth and His name one” (Zech. 14:9). We are searching for the identity of YHWH who is to be King over all the earth. The only way we will ever grow to truly love God is to learn truth about Him revealed from His word that we know man did not write – truth that has never entered into the mind of man, and truth prepared for those who truly love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). In yesterday’s post we searched out the many ways that the Jews grew to understand the mysterious YHWH by adding His name to the ways that He interacted with them. Let’s begin to apply this same formula to Jesus Christ and see what we come up with. If Jesus Christ is YHWH in human flesh, we would expect – like YHWH – His titles to reflect this.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each emphasize different titles of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Matthew reveals Him as the King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1–2). Kings must have genealogies, so Matthew includes Christ’s royal genealogy beginning with Abraham, from whom the King was to come. Mark makes Him known as the Suffering Servant “who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). There is no genealogy in Mark, because servants did not have genealogies. Luke presents Him as the Son of Man, showing that He is connected to true humanity. For this reason, Luke takes Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam – the first man (Luke 3:38). The Gospel of John reveals Christ as the very Son of God (John 1:34). It is interesting that no family tree is given in John. God, who is from everlasting has no genealogy! John takes Christ back to the beginning with God (John 1:1–2). The Word of God holds tightly to truth.

What is Christ’s name? Like His titles, His name should reflect His person. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The name “Lord” is interesting. Paul told the Jews that if they confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus (Literally “Jesus as Lord”) and believed in their heart that God had raised Him from the dead, they would be saved (Rom. 10:9). “Lord” is the Greek word kurios. This name was used by both Greeks and Romans to refer to royalty.

The New Testament is written in Greek, so the Hebrew name YHWH does not appear. When the Greeks published their version of the Hebrew Old Testament (the Septuagint) they had a problem. The name YHWH was just as mysterious to them as it was to the Jews. They did not have a Greek word to match it. The closest they could come was the name Kurios. All through the Septuagint, Kurios was substituted for the name YHWH. Kurios in the New Testament became the equivalent to the Old Testament name YHWH. The New Testament apostles and prophets used the Septuagint. Zechariah says (in Hebrew), “YHWH shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). But in the Septuagint, we read, “Kurios shall be king over all the earth.” Interesting! The name Kurios, Lord, in the Septuagint connected Jesus Christ to deity.

Now we understand what Paul meant in Romans 10:9: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [Jesus as Kurios, YHWH] and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Paul was asking the Jews to confess that Jesus Christ is God. The Jews understood perfectly what Paul was asking, and they were not willing to do that (Deut. 6:4).

What about the name “Jesus”? Mary would bring forth a Son and call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21). The name Jesus is found in the four Gospels 612 times, and in the rest of the New Testament 71 times. Jesus is the name under which our Lord was born, lived, and died. It is the name of His humiliation, His humanity. It tells us that God became a man. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua and means “YHWH our Savior.” When Lord and Jesus are placed together, the names mean that GOD was humiliated, taking upon Himself the form of a man in order to die for sin (Phil. 2:5–11). Amazing!

Now, what is the meaning of “Christ”? Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ (Matt. 1:16). The name Christ means “Anointed One.” This is the official title of the Son of God. It is the equivalent of the Old Testament name Messiah. The Lord Jesus as the God-man was equal with God in every way and also equal with man. “Christ” combines YHWH and Jesus together. The name reveals the one who could represent God to man and man to God—the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). When all three of His names are placed together, the gospel clearly comes into focus. The eternal God became a man to die for sin and by His resurrection and session (being seated next to the Father), He is now exalted to the position as Mediator between God and man – the perfect Mediator between us and the Father (Heb. 4:14-16). To understand Christ’s name is to know the way of salvation. When one calls upon His name, that one will be saved (Rom. 10:13). Those who know your name will put their trust in You (Psa. 9:10). Amazing!
Tomorrow we will apply the same formula that the Jews did to YHWH to Kurios and see what we come up with. Stay safe and stay tuned.