“The Story” Chapter 1, Genesis four, from Adam to Noah. Edit and repost.

When I made the first post in 2014, I did it under protest. Having had experience with Pastor Rick Warren and his 40 days of purpose books, I wanted nothing to do with this, and the small men’s Bible study we had was already going through the gospel of John. Our beloved and fairly new pastor decided it was to be campus-wide and mandatory. I have not been part of that church for a long time.  I found The Story to be pathetically lacking and chose to pursue the details we find in scripture instead. That tended to make my first post rather lengthy, 18 pages worth. I am, all these years later, reposting it in segments and running my grammar checker on it.

Genesis 4

The offering of Cain and Abel

The bottom line, Cain, in a jealous rage, kills his brother Abel.

God has not turned his back on the man in a rage as we all expect, and so once again, God shows up. We do not know what that looked like. I understand as we make assumptions, and one we do not make very often is that even here, it is Jesus talking with Cain. If God’s character remains the same, then his actions should be consistent as well.

As I understand it, the Jewish basis of prophecy lies in repeated patterns. For something to dominate their mind as prophetic, it must have been repeated in scripture.

So do we find Jesus throughout the Old Testament?

At virtually every turn, He (Jesus) is there and is referred to on many occasions as the angel of the Lordbut why is that important? God made it very plain to Moses that man (in his broken state, could not look upon God), so if God could be looked upon in the future, why is it He can be seen by these fallen men?

We are looking for consistency.

Before the fall, humanity was the direct image of God, practically His shadow. A shadow can demonstrate the form but not the precise detail of the person, and I see no reason why Adam and Eve could not have continued to walk in a personal relationship with God.

At this point, some will tell you that they are hopelessly embroiled in sin, but you are ignoring that God himself slaughtered enough animals to make an instructed sacrifice, including the reasons why. The logic behind this is about to be covered, so keep reading. There is no reason to believe that this was not Jesus with them at this point, either. In other words, since Jesus was God, He may well have been here in the garden as well.

There are always repercussions for taking liberties

If I jump several thousand years ahead, to the point where Jesus has given his life for us, we come to the realization that the payment of death, demanded for the sin that we all inherited, is done away with.

My belief in Jesus Christ’s full payment on my behalf and acceptance of his sacrifice makes me free from the bondage of that death.

However, there are always repercussions for taking liberties, and that is what we see with Cain.

How does God handle this murder?

He shows Cain an amazing amount of mercy. Even before Cain murders his brother, God seeing his internal struggle with jealousy, has a talk with him.

Genesis 4:3-7 TLV  “So it happened after some time that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to Adonai,  (4)  while Abel—he also brought of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. Now Adonai looked favorably upon Abel and his offering,  (5)  but upon Cain and his offering He did not look favorably. Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell.  (6)  Then Adonai said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  (7)  If you do well, it will lift. But if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the doorway. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

There is much that happens in the background of these first four chapters, and they are not spelled out in scripture. Contrast this with God’s background activity in the life of Esther and Mordechai, and you will see what I mean. You could not ask these questions of your own sons if you had not made it clear what was expected of them. Since Adam had been deemed to have dominance over the earth, he was still the relaying body of information to his sons. Come on now, use some logic. God showed Adam how to make a sacrifice for sins, and Adam showed his sons.

Cain murders his brother Abel

Genesis 4:8-10 TLV  “Cain spoke to Abel, his brother. While they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.  (9)  Then Adonai said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” “I don’t know,” he said. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (10)  Then He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground.”

Still, we anticipate God striking the man dead, but he does not. Abel is dead, and God approaches Cain once again, and like Adam, God asks, “Where is your brother Abel?” It is not a question of God not knowing. He knows exactly where Abel is. Perhaps he wants us to come clean, and that is more than likely what we are seeing come from the Apostle John when he writes:

If we say openly that we have done wrong, he is upright and true to his word, giving us forgiveness of sins and making us clean from all evil. (1 John 1:9 BBE)

However, Cain would not do that.

As I said before, there are repercussions for your actions.

The curse of Cain

Genesis 4:11-13 TLV  “So now, cursed are you from the ground which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  (12)  As often as you work the ground, it will not yield its crops to you again. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”  (13)  Cain said to Adonai, “My iniquity is too great to bear!”

This is where it gets a little weird, but again, there are no straightforward answers as to why Cain has an understanding that people would kill him unless he is aware that this level of activity is all ready going on out there. A filter that almost all of us apply is that we are looking at a tight chronological timeline that starts after sin in the garden. The problem with that thinking is that time began outside the garden and sin.

Once again, God shows mercy and love for those made in his image, and so He marks Cain in an effort to divert (these unexplainable, according to tradition) people from killing him.

While you might think that Cain’s lineage is over, however, through a couple of them, like Jubal, we have metal work, instruments of music, and Jabal, the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. While that may seem innocent enough, it is also the foundation for an evil, violent world that has no relationship with God.

The closest thing God has to his original creation is Adam and Eve, not that it matters now, for everything is broken, but there is a distinct difference, for it seems they are the only ones left that understand what it means to commune with God.

The birth of Seth

Adam was intimate with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and she named him Seth, “For God has appointed me another seed in place of Abel—since Cain killed him.” To Seth, also was born a son. He named him Enosh. Then people began to call on Adonai’s Name.” (Genesis 4:25-26 TLV)

Two things that jump out here, Adam and Eve have had another son, he becomes the lineage that brings about Jesus, and after Seth has his own son Enosh, men begin to call upon the LORD. You would think that at least three people might have been doing that already. This has huge implications because we have so much activity going on in the background, and apparently, none of these people have been acknowledging God.

If you look the name Enosh up, you might not think it unusual:

ĕnôsh The same as H582Enosh, a son of Seth: – Enos. However, pursue it further and it defines Enosh with a little more detail: properly mortal (and thus differing from the more dignified ‘âdâm ruddy, that is, a human being)

So Enosh marks a transition from God’s original creation, ADAM, to what is now defined as a mere mortal. This is another huge clue as to what is going on in the background.

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Gathering all the chief priests and elders he inquired about this king of the Jews. Matthew 2: 1-12.

If you were hoping for a continued foray into the book of Romans, I must apologize because I am an obsessive multitasker. I had been feeling like I needed to do as I started almost twenty years ago, to read through the New Testament slowly while writing down my thoughts and questions as I went. I really did not want to disrupt your lives if you should be meticulously following me, but since everything in scripture is connected, just as the “New Testament” could NOT exist without the supporting words found in the Old. To my Jewish friends (I wish,) the Torah and Tenach. So it should all be good.

I also know that what I write includes so much of my heart and a strong disgust for religious zealots who add to the law, distort it, and impose their traditional teachings, merely because that is the way we have always taught some portion of scripture. Sadly, this is how I was taught and why I write, so that you and I can hopefully see the truth.

On a humorous note, there is an old story where on a particular family holiday, one of the younger daughters, helping in the kitchen, asked the great-grandmother why they cut the ends off the roast before putting it in the oven? The reply changed everything that day as great-grandmother replied, I did it because my oven was too small. I will leave you to think about that.

 The next thing we encounter in Matthew’s gospel is,

The Visit of the Wise Men

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 NASB)

Magi, what did they want and why were they demanding answers from Herod?

One brother in Christ, who is very skillful in the Word of God, explained that one of the roles of the Magi was to be kingdom changers, (Consider that this knowledgeable man had to look at other information, not contained within the pages of the Bible to make his valid assertion. I only point this out because a “brother in Christ” verbally lashed out at me, saying I do not believe that we should use extra-biblical texts and information to form our thoughts about God and scripture.) The Magi were the group of men that Daniel, as a young man, had been assigned to and eventually became the head of, while remaining a captive in Babylon.

Seeing the size of the entourage and perceiving a threat to his power, Herod went into panic mode and called the chief priests and elders before him to tell him what they knew about this situation.

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.” (Matthew 2:3-4 NASB)

When Herod the king heard this.”

What did he hear?

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.

Since when has the Middle East changed so that you can merely gather up a large, armed crowd and go rolling up to another kingdom’s gates unannounced and immediately expect an audience with a king known to live in fear? It hasn’t, and so I don’t expect that was the case here, but the word was received and taken to the king. 

Now, what does the fearful man, Herod, do? 

He consults the people who most likely know the answer, the Jews, as they should know the prophecy.

All prophecy, like a criminal court case, must have two or three witnesses, one of those witnesses is found in the Book of Daniel. It is not likely that Herod, being a half-Jew, would have studied Daniel chapter seven, as it plays a significant role in testifying to what the angel declared to Mary as he explained the function of the child that she carried.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have” no end.” (Luke 1:32-33 NASB)

So, no, Herod would not know these words that we see in Luke’s gospel, as they were written long after Herod’s death, and that makes his fear and the lack of reaction by the elders even more peculiar.

The Magi, on the other hand, may have read Daniel’s words with intensity.

I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away, And His kingdom is one Which will not be” destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14 NASB)

The reply of the elders is alarming to me.

So they, “told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:5-6 TLV)

They knew the answer to the question, but do we have any record that they went there and bowed before this new king?

Not at all. Herod responds to this by double-checking. Perhaps because even Herod could see that these magi are taking this king being born seriously and he calls them in to speak with them.

Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem “and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child. And when you have found Him, bring word back to me so that I may come and worship Him” as well.” (Matthew 2:7-8 TLV)

With terminology such as “determined from them the exact time,” Herod now has a ballpark idea of how old this new king is; and nothing will happen until they come back to Herod and give him the word of exactly where to find the child. Watch what the magi do.

After listening to the king, they went their way. And behold, the star they had seen in the east went on before them, until it came to rest over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with” great gladness.” (Matthew 2:9-10 TLV)

These magi had not yet found the child but they will. They will not go back for the child’s protection. Notice where the family is now living.

And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another way.” (Matthew 2:11-12 TLV)

Never once do you see the number three, what you do see are three specific names: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A key word here is treasures, as the quantity may have been great and enough to sustain the family for several years. We, because of the age bracket that Herod ordered killed, would logically assume the age of Yeshua to be about two as they take off to the safety of Egypt.

Now when they had gone (the magi), behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in a dream (so he has had a couple of these over the last few years), saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.” So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in“a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.” So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the“prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My son.” Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became furious. And he sent and killed all boys in Bethlehem and in all its surrounding area, from two years old and under, according to the time he had determined from the magi.” (Matthew 2:13-16 TLV)

Astronomy.com tells us that On the morning of August 12 in 3 B.C ., Jupiter and Venus would’ve sat just 1/10th a degree apart in the dawn sky. That’s one-fifth the diameter of the Full Moon. (The December 2020 conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will have an identical separation, albeit in the evening sky.) That wasn’t the end of the show, either. Venus and Jupiter continued their dance over most of the next year before finally appearing to merge into a single star in June.”

So approximately August of C.5 Christ was born.? (I am still not clear. If time is based on this dramatic change called Jesus birth, all I wanted or needed was a solid time frame that I could start with. If this is based upon Christ, it would seem that this timeline information puts the starting point at five months. An obvious fact is that He was NOT born at six months old, we also know that the shepherds were with their flocks, and that tends to put His birth far enough into the season for shepherds to be working the flocks comfortably in the hillsides.) At the age of two, his family takes him to Egypt to protect him. History, (and I must admit this is rather sketchy), records that Herod died around April 4 B.C., therefore it would seem that the family was only in Egypt for slightly over a year. The presumption then is that Jesus was brought back to Nazareth when He was four or five.

Why is this information important?

First, this has never been clear in my head, and that may be because no one ever talked about it. Secondly, questions occasionally arise about Jesus from toddler to maturity, which in the Jewish culture seems to be about age 13, a time when the sons are required to step up and learn their father’s trade. Three, I made the mistake of reading Kahlil Gibran’s book Jesus the son of Man. The title alone should tell you something about the lack of understanding and possible disrespect the man had for Jesus. A point that Mr. Gibran tried to make was that Jesus may have been a malicious brat, as he allegedly injured animals and then healed them. Sorry, but that did not sound right then nor does it sound right now. 

After the incident where the family, while in Jerusalem, had to go looking for Jesus, a 12-year-old child, they found Him in the temple where He had been for two days discussing the scriptures with the Jewish leaders. Remember, all they had were the law and the prophets, and they were precious and expensive scrolls, that only the richest of synagogues had copies. So learning the scriptures was almost exclusively through repetitious hearing.

A problem with this entire process. If your child had a disability would you focus on that, merely enabling that they lean upon that disability, or would you focus on their ability? In Jesus’ case, He, by those who knew about His birth, would have been called a mumzer – an illegitimate child; and those same people had a long history, based on the law, that allowed them to treat a child like this poorly. As far as I can see, Jesus, had He been known, would have been violently expelled from the temple. An answer to this lies in the outer courts of the temple, as these were accessible to even the gentiles.

The final thought on this tells us that after His parents found Him, and I am sure expressed their displeasure at Him being lost, is that Jesus submitted Himself wholly to their wishes until He was old enough, able to take care of Himself and act on His own accord. I am thinking now of Mary. As the eldest son Jesus would have probably been the one to care for her after Joseph died. Keep in mind that Mary continued to have other children and several of them, including sisters, may have taken that role.

We, don’t see support from the other family members, nor do we hear anything about siblings until the day that they came to restrain Him – so to speak.

When His family heard about this, they went out to take hold of Him; for they were saying, “He’s out of His mind!” (Mark 3:21 TLV)

He conflicted with the 600+, additional Jewish laws, but He was amazingly kind to the down and out while excoriating the scribes and the“Pharisees.

Then His mother and brothers come. Standing outside, they sent word to Him, summoning Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they tell Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking at those sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  (Mark 3:31-35 TLV)

If Mary (Miriam) had not been the surrogate mother of Jesus we would probably never hear of her either.

I decided to post this, even though it is not, in my mind, done. 

I do not elaborate on this merely to convince you to think negatively about Jesus, just the opposite is true. If you happen to be one that thinks that every God aspect was little more than some high-speed download, I think that is illogical and works in opposition to His mission here on earth. Remember, He came as man and defeated Satan, as a human.

We have learned that Joseph, “his father,” was a righteous man, some translations refer to Joseph as a good man. To be deemed a righteous man indicates that he was known among the synagogue crowd, as one that took notes (just kidding) and paid attention. Because of this he fastidiously practiced the scriptures with Jesus. 

So, how did Jesus become so knowledgeable? 

Joseph, his foster father. Let that sink in. 

If you do not know my Jesus He is as close as your breath. Merely submit yourself to the greater power and ask Him into your life, then watch the changes begin to happen because the Holy Spirit has now entered, permanently, and will begin teaching you all things and showing you things to come. 

If the rapture has come, there is no denying when that happened. (Yes, I know that the government has put it off on aliens taking the “bad” Christians off the earth.) 

If the church is gone all hell will begin to break loose. 

Constant rioting in the streets and death will come from multiple directions. Those you thought would be on your side and protect you, will be trying to kill you. Injections will be mandated that are intended to kill you. Efforts to monitor your every move will be demanded. The earth and the water supplies will be poisoned. The oceans will be filled with death. Commerce will come to a halt. The economies will become digital and tightly controlled, but will all, in a matter of time, will collapse. This time on earth, as seen in Revelation six and beyond, will include God’s anger against unbelieving humanity and the Jews who rejected God. 

Within days of the Church being removed the antichrist persona will come to the forefront. If you have access to a Bible (it will be a forbidden book,) you can read about the emergence of the antichrist.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a departing first, and (then) that that man of sin be disclosed, even the son of perdition,”                     (2 Thessalonians 2:3 Geneva)

Yes, I Americanized the old 15th-century wording, and yes, most translations use the phrase falling away. Just this morning, 3/11/23, I saw that the Church of England is now teaching four-year-old children, in their Sunday school class, about transitioning and perverted sex education. Try to convince me that we, the church, have not fallen over the cliff already. 

There is only one hope; it is Jesus, and if nothing else, make your life with Him personal. 

Trust me, once He touches your heart you will want to tell someone about Him.

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Its power touches only the living. Romans 7:4.

I am looking at Romans 8, but Pastor Jack Hibbs pointed out that the context begins in chapter seven, and, therefore, I am starting here in Romans 7.

But first, a notation. 

Paul, immediately, in Romans 7:1, tells us,  

You shouldn’t have any trouble understanding this, friends, for you know all the ins and outs of the law – and how its power touches only the living.” [The Message]

Why would he be comfortable saying such a thing? After all, we religious think the entirety of the NT was written to Gentiles. 

That is the problem, as these letters that became books were not written exclusively to Gentiles but to Jews. We Gentiles only gain an inroad through adoption. And in case you are new to adoption, you probably, and correctly picked up on the fact that as someone new to the family, you do NOT have the freedom or all the insights necessary to play the sarcasm game, as so many around you may be playing, merely because it’s fun to them. 

With a stepson, which I loved dearly, there was a time I picked him up from church. The problem, many of those young boys had seen me as a single guy and did not, by habit, respect my authority or position with my stepson. One of the boys declared, I am riding shotgun, which means up front in the passenger seat. My stepson climbed into the back middle where the uncomfortable hump was. Once they were dropped off and he climbed back into the shotgun position, I let him know that as far as anyone was concerned, he was my son, and the shotgun position was always his, but he could temporarily give it up if he wanted to. He smiled and said he was good. 

Did you catch what happened there? 

God has done the same thing for us. As a follower of Christ, the rights of sonship are always and entirely ours. Of course, if we choose, we can relinquish some of our rights, but once our relationship became established, it was NEVER meant to change. 

Regrettably, we give up our rights for various reasons and never take them back. These are the times when we because we are ashamed, think that God no longer loves us when the reality is that we are the ones who have created the rift between the Father and us.

Paul relates how locked in we were to our marriage contract, where the bond was only supposed to be breakable by death.

For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives; but if the husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law—so she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man.”
(Romans 7:2-3 TLV)

Because we are in Christ, who died and took the bondage of that law with Him to the cross, we, too, have died to the laws of Moses and are no longer subject to the demands of death.

“In the same way, brothers and sisters, you have died to the laws in Moses’ Teachings through Christ’s body. You belong to someone else, the one who was brought back to life. As a result, we can do what God wants.”
Romans 7:4 GW)

Having been involved with what a brother-in-Christ called his man cave. I learned there that “Christian” freedom from the law allows us to offend any and all with our swearing.

Sorry, but that is NOT the case because the Holy Spirit restrains us through the law written upon our hearts.

The Amplified Bible translates verse four in this manner.

Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (AMP) 

Read like this; it is a monumental, life-changing statement. So let’s break it down.

  • You have undergone death.

    But death to what?

  • The Law.

    The law, where all ten commandments, boiled down to loving God and ceasing to be selfish.

  • Because you are in Christ and died with Him, you have been released from the demands of death associated with the law.

    This is possible because we are the body of Christ.

  • Consider this, dead men can’t sin.

    By human understanding, since we have died, there is absolutely no way to make us pay for past sins.

  • But we have two problems that we, on our own, cannot solve.

First, only our flesh dies. So, though humanity can no longer extract payment for wrongs done by dead peoplethe spirit lives on forever, and Satan’s demons, like relentless bounty hunters, stay in pursuit thanks to Adam’s treasonous act in the garden, an action that gave Satan dominion over us and the right to punish/torture the human spirit eternally. 

Wow, that sounds hopeless, and it would be if Jesus had not gone to the cross on our behalf.

A moment of truth. I have been playing a game called “Red Dead Redemption.” You are periodically called on to rescue the passengers and/or the driver of a stagecoach from robbers. The problem is that you cannot tell who will kill you from a safe distance as you ride in danger close. For me, the most uncomplicated resolve is to shoot everything and hope for the best. 

More often than not, that technique does not work out well, and I become a wanted man with a monetary bounty posted for capturing or killing me. Next is a series of attacks from three or more cowboys, riding wildly and shooting at me. If they kill me, it’s just a game, and I am restored to life in a couple of minutes, but I restart from the last point of sanity, free from debts and penalties.

The second problem is not that Jesus went to the cross and diedbringing about a blanket of forgiveness for not just you but all of humanity. The problem is that this act merely made forgiveness available; you must take the next step by accepting that He died for you and then receive Him as part of your life.

Why should that be a problem?

That forgiveness covered the debt that is part of the law that God set forth, including death for those who did not obey the law. However, God knew we couldn’t pay the price demanded; that is why God’s wrath was placed upon the Son.

God, because of the actions of His Son, will NOT judge anyone for their sins.

Okay, but we get blasted constantly about judgment as we will stand before the Bema seat of Christ.

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you too, why do you look down on your brother? For we all will stand before the judgment seat of God.”
(Romans 14:10 TLV)

The phrase judgment seat is the Greek word bēma said twice. It means a raised step, much like we see in the Olympics when they pass out the trophies for achievement. It also carries the connotation of a place where the judges sit.

Revelation 20:12 conveys the idea that we will be rewarded for the deeds which we have done. I am not a good gambler and generally do not see the odds as being in my favor; therefore, it is best for me to accept Jesus Christ as my savior; this is my assurance of a place with the Father in heaven.

Matthew 25 shows the dead (although it tells us that the nations are called to the throne) before the great throne, where Christ sits as the great shepherd.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. “
Matthew 25:31-32 GW)

He comes in His glory, and all the angels are with Him.

We like to say there are only two comings of the Lord. One would be when he comes back for His church in the clouds.

For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB)

He does not, at this point, come down to touch the earth, and there is no immediate reference to a white or glorious throne. It is highly probable that this is where the bema judgment comes into play. Almost as if it is a private matter, where you are called into the manager’s office for whatever reason.

Ignoring the fact that He already came to earth once, as a human having been born. The next time He physically comes here will be with vengeance. Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; and Revelation 1:7 all speak of Him coming on the clouds with all the saints and angels.

But keeping silent, Yeshua did not answer. Again the kohen gadol questioned Him, “Are you Mashiach, Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Yeshua, “and you shall see ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Powerful One’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’!”
(Mark 14:61-62 TLV)

There is solid, circumstantial evidence that Jesus will physically return to earth.

Then Adonai will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south.”
(Zechariah 14:3-4 TLV)

Alright, when does this happen?

Seven years after, the church, which we saw in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, is removed from the earth.

A disturbing but dramatic piece of evidence tells us that Israel, through the seven years, will suffer tremendous attacks. Only a third will survive.

Then it will happen—it is a declaration of Adonai—that in the entire land, two-thirds will be cut off and die, but a third will be left in it. This third I will bring through the fire. I will refine them as silver is refined and will test them as gold is tested. They will call on My Name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will answer, ‘Adonai is my God.’
(Zechariah 13:8-9 TLV)

Remember that Matthew 25 tells us that He brings all the nations before Him to this glorious, great white throne.

Who do the Jews consider the nations to be?

Everyone outside Judaism, or more simply, anyone who is NOT a Jew. Your logic sort of breaks down when a passage, such as we see in Zechariah 13:8-9, tells us that in that day, the day when there is only a third left alive that call themselves Jews. The question then arises.

What does God call the two-thirds that have died? And why ask a question like this?

Ah, because the related narrative comes from Revelation 20, verses 11 through 15.

Then I saw a great white throne, and the One seated on it. The earth and heaven fled from His presence, but no place was found for them. And I saw the dead—the great and the small—standing before the throne. The books were opened, and another book was opened—the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what was written in the books, according to their deeds.”
(Revelation 20:11-12 TLV)

Matthew told us He sits on a glorious throne, while the Revelation, which is, by the way, all about Jesus, has Him sitting on a great white throne.

Is there any difference?

Not at all, because our focus is on the one seated and what He does.

Matthew tells that He calls all nations before Him; however, in  Revelation, we are told that only the dead are brought to the throne.

Stop here for a moment.

Genesis tells us that humankind is created in God’s image. Just try to imagine what that looks like. If you were to answer honestly, you would have to say, I have no idea. Scripture tells us that God is spirit and associates that understand by telling us how to worship Him in our spirits.

Since the spirit is eternal, as God is, then does it ever really die?

The answer is NO. So death, then, to the spirit, is eternal separation from the life of God, and that, my friends, is the definition of death as far as God is concerned.

So while the body, or as Paul put it, this tent, is taken down, the spirit goes on forever.

Ah, but will it live with the Father in heaven, or will you foolishly pursue Satan and his lies, as he will be thrown into the lake of fire permanently.

If, as we have come to understand, the nations are NOT the remaining Jews, but are, by God’s standard, those outside of a willful and loving relationship with Jesus, then are all of the nations effectively dead unless something changes. Fortunately, for those that live through the thousand-year reign of Jesus (as He sits on this glorious, white throne,) there will be Jewish evangelists preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, and many from the nations will continue to come into relationship with the Father.

By the way, all from the nations will be forced to come to the new Jerusalem and participate in Succoth and bow before Jesus.

So, when this final judgment takes place, what has transpired?

  • Seven years of God’s judgment upon the nations and Israel have transpired.
  • Vast numbers of people have died.
  • Israel has sustained two major attacks along with the daily upheaval that we see.
  • The thousand years have been completed.
  • Satan has been released for a “short period of time” and has gone about deceiving the nations – after a thousand years, this number is great, and they have gathered together to attack the Holy City, God, and God’s people.
  • God brings fire down on all these involved, and they are now dead.

I pointed out how Matthew only refers to them as the nations; he does not explain how they are all dead. How far back in time this collection goes is NOT spelled out for us. The Revelation considers them all dead. With the Revelation, our immediate context for death, which I spelled out above, puts an immediacy upon them, but we cannot assume that, therefore, these, too, can go back to at least the death and resurrection. It may not be logical to pursue the dead beyond the cross as Jesus preached to the captives and released an unknown quantity.

Jesus, in Matthew 25, splits the crowd into two groups. Some are deemed sheep, while others are designated as goats. The sheep are given entrance into the kingdom of heaven. There seems to be a moment when everything comes to a stop, as the sheep, almost as it in unison, sawhat did we do to deserve this kindness and mercy?You see, they don’t even recognize what they did. Jesus, the merciful shepherd, tells them,

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’”
(Matthew 25:35-36 TLV)

The “Tree of Life Version” labels what we see in Matthew 25 as “the final judgment.” The simplest of minds should understand that the great white throne is the final judgment. So don’t be deluded merely because the terminology is different.

In Matthew, Jesus/God is merciful to some, while in Revelation 20, beginning with verse 11, we are only shown dead people and an angry God/Jesus. Context is the key to understanding that these two are the same, and the account in Revelation 20 is focused more on those who only moments before had tried, once again, to overthrow God.

If a person stands before the white throne judgment seat, for what will he be judged?

Those who make it to that point will be judged based on what they did with the Son, Jesus. That is all there is.

How is that possible, you might ask?

To properly answer your question, you need to set your fallen human nature aside; I know that is impossible, but try.

All sin went to the cross with Jesus, past, present, and future. That covers all of it.

So what is left?

Simply Jesus.

So I must ask.

  • Did you ignore Him there on the cross?
  • Did you ignore all that He did there?
  • Did you know that Jesus went into hell, preached to the captives there, and set them free?
  • Do you realize that Jesus, like the brass serpent that Moses was commanded to put on the pole, caused you to live by taking away the death when you looked at Him?
  • Did you know that He is your only salvation?
  • Do you know that you can be His simply by sincerely asking Him to come into your life?
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Well then, come and see, and therefore the two disciples heard and followed. John 1:36-42.

Previously we learned that a primary function of John the baptizer’s mission served was to announce that Jesus was manifested to Israel.

Did that happen?

Yes, but from a human standpoint, many looked at the baptizer as a crazy man; after all, look at what he wore and ate.

When the Jewish leaders showed up, he challenged them, calling them vipers – a term that gave them an association with the serpent that Moses raised up on the pole; it represented evil, poison, and death. It is challenging to perceive John as a live-screen billboard declaring that the Messiah is here. With a rant like this, you might be inclined to say that God was unfair toward the Jewish leadership, seeing as the voice doing the announcing, though a son of a priest himself, was, at best, peculiar. But never forget that at Jesus’ birth, in Bethlehem, there was, what we assume, an astrological alignment of stars that effectively pointed right to the spot where the Messiah was born.

Did the Jewish leadership accept that fact even though it was declared through the Torah and the Tenach, books that are the foundations of our faith and lead us to Yahshua, the Messiah?

No, those same leaders were quickly brought before Herod because he became alarmed that a relatively large entourage was coming their way and may have been a threat to Herod’s rule. So he asked the Jews if they knew what was going on; they did, and they quoted the words. Ah, but the Jews refused to accept this baby as the Messiah.

Approximately thirty years later, they are no less inclined to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

“Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
John 1:35-36 NASB)

I began looking for a translation that would solidify this statement with a Jewish feel and perhaps give us a blast of clarity. Look at what I found; I prefer something else to this translation, but with three words, it dominates the reality of why Jesus was here. 

“He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”
John 1:36 MSG)

“He” is referring to John, the baptizer.

Serving as the Passover lamb is one of the functions of Jesus as the Messiah.

What do we have that bears witness to this statement? 

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering. So they both went together.”
Genesis 22:8 MKJV)

Statements such as John’s and what we see in Genesis 22:8 could be interpreted in at least two ways. One would be that God would arrange to have a sacrifice provided, which is precisely what God did in the case of Abraham and Isaac. The other way of reading this passage conveys that God would provide Himself as the lambwhich is precisely what God did for those who believe and follow.

John the baptizer said of Jesus, Behold the Lamb of God. Every Jew hearing this bold assertion made a prompt association with: 

  • The forgiveness of sin
  • The faithful actions of Abraham as he made the substitutionary sacrifice and, therefore, did not kill Issac, his firstborn – according to the promise
  • The lamb that was slain on the night of the Passover. The blood of that lamb was painted on the doorposts and the lentil as a symbol of God’s possession, and it became protection from the wrath that was to come upon the firstborn of everyone not covered by the blood that night.

If they had been willing to see, (This simple phrase carries a broad meaning as the “they” would have been inclusive of any in Egypt, whether they followed the lead of God’s people that night. It is not likely that they would have painted the blood because there was more to it than that, but there was nothing that prevented a scared Egyptian from seeking shelter from the wrath, which, if you follow that logic through, speaks volumes about a God of mercy that is beyond my comprehension.) they would have seen that the Messiah would be the substitutionary sacrifice, removing the penalty for all sin and all humanity. Like the Jews that day, we all have to apply some faith and trust in Him, receiving Him as the King over our lives.

“The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”
John 1:37 NASB)

Context! The Apostle John refers to John – the baptizer, as the speaker. 

The Apostle John (and yes, I am aware that John was not given this title until much later, but it helps, especially here, to identify who is talking), when talking about events that included himself, never inserted his own name. This could be what is happening here in John 1:37. And that is the story I am going to hold to unless there is a historical account that details who this other disciple was.

Does the Apostle John’s intentionally vague acknowledgment of himself affect the message and our perception? 

Not as long as we pay attention to the context.

An example of context that gave me trouble occurred as I looked at Matthew’s account of the briefing initiated in Matthew 24:1 that Jesus gave to the disciples on the Mount of Olives. 

“Now when Yeshua went out and was going away from the Temple, His disciples came up to point out to Him the Temple buildings.”
Matthew 24:1 TLV)

Assuming you realize that none of the disciples understood that Jesus was to be the substitutionary sacrifice because they were looking for Him to be the military rescuer of Israel that would relieve them from Roman rule and oppression. As I read Matthew 24:1, the disciples come across as traumatized war veterans, and the fact that they had to defer to alluding to the megalithic stones that were part of the temple’s construction, which was well-known to all, was nothing less than bizarre and obviously, embedded in some previous action or conversation. I returned to Matthew 22 to find the context surrounding the question and Jesus’ response. The point here is that you must be willing to do your appropriate homework.

We are told these two disciples followed the Messiah, whether or not they fully understood or believed. 

Follow is the Greek word akolouthéō, and means to attend, accompany, go with, or follow a teacher.

Isn’t this what He desires from us today – To attend, accompany, and stay close by His side as we follow Him?

Yeshua turned around and saw them following. He said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is translated as Teacher), “where are you staying?”
John 1:38 TLV)

The Modern King James Version indicates that He said, “what do you seek?” Whether Jesus rudely asked, “What are you looking for?” is irrelevant and improper because He would not have been blatantly rude. I find it easier to believe that He said, “what do you seek?” Both versions of the question are rather open-ended and could imply a variety of responses. What the Jews sought was Jesus, a rabbi that could and would teach them and lead them; regrettably, they did not fully realize that.

Just the day before, Jesus had been baptized by John and had not only the Holy Spirit come upon Him, but the Father acknowledged Him as the Son in whom He was well pleased. In a sense, we did not see Him leave.

Strangely, Matthew records this as though there is a precise chronological timeline.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.”
(Matthew 4:1-2 NASB)

Where did John the baptizer do most of his baptizing?

Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,”
(Matthew 3:1 NASB)

It was south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. That is approximately 87 long miles by foot between Capernaum and Judea. So Jesus did not make any overnight round trips between these two points.

It is Matthew that tells us that Jesus had just come from Galilee.

Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan, coming to John to be baptized by him.
(Matthew 3:13 NASB)

For them to ask Him where He was staying, especially when He doesn’t live around the area, tends to indicate that they were looking for permanence in their relationship with Him.

Come and see,” Yeshua tells them. So they came and saw where He was staying, and they spent that day with Him. It was about the tenth hour.”
(John 1:39 TLV)

The series, “The Chosen,” initiated their series with these very words, Come and See. Those words still ring true in contrast to I don’t believe, well then, come and see.

The Lamb of God willingly proved who He was and still is today, consistent.

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John speak and followed Yeshua.”
(John 1:40 TLV)

All this proves is that Andrew, the brother of Simon, the fisherman, became one of Jesus’ first disciples based upon what he heard from Jesus and a drive to follow Him.

First he finds his own brother Simon and tells him, “We’ve found the Messiah!” (which is translated Anointed One).”
(John 1:41 TLV)

So Andrew goes and finds his brother Simon. He tells him, “we have found the Messiah!” The Complete Jewish Bible states, (CJB)  “We’ve found the Mashiach!” (The word means “one who has been anointed.”)

The word Mashiach is the Greek worMessias. It is a proper noun transliterated from the Hebrew term Māshı̄ach. It corresponds with the Greek word Christós. The words are meant to indicate a consecrated or anointed personIn ancient times not only the king, but also the priest and the prophet were consecrated to their calling by being anointed. In the OT, the word is used in its literal sense, meaning one who has been anointed. This understanding of the OT is the manner in which those hearing Andrew’s exclamation would have been directed. [Word Study Dictionary]

Andrew brought him to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated as Peter).”
(John 1:42 BSB)

In just a matter of hours, Peter is standing before Jesus/Yahshua.

Did he realize that this was the Mashiach that they longed for?

I doubt it, but then there was the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus and that voice that called Him the beloved Son.

Nonetheless, Jesus, in the process of introducing Himself, immediately designates Peter as Cephas, or, as the Tree of Life version, which was written for Messianic church groups, indicates that Peter was to be called Kefa (which is translated as Peter).” We have been told over the years that this name applied to Peter, meaning the rock – an indication that he was to be solid, steadfast, and dependable.

If you watch The Chosen, they show Peter’s frailties. While scripture does show us those things, it does show us Peter’s reactionary actions in the garden when cutting off Malchus’ ear, and we are shown his denial and how it affected Peter. After Jesus’ death, Peter seems to have reverted back to being a fisherman, and a few others joined him. The fascinating end to this story was Jesus’ way of handling Peter by calling him back into the game, eating lunch with the men, and directly reaffirming Peter, just as He does with us.

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He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John 1:32-35.

Previously I told you about an unusual statement from John the baptizer.

“I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” (John 1:31 NASB)

If I focus on the first part of the sentence, it is nothing less than muddy water as I try to find the scriptural references that validate who the “He” is that should be manifested to Israel. Because there are always those who will say you are not very bright if you can’t figure out that this is Jesus.
In response to that domineering attitude, you need to understand my calling. I write for Christians that will not or have not picked up a Bible with enough frequency to say whether something is right or wrong.

A quick look at Revelation 12 could quickly answer any question that this is Jesus.

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”
(Revelation 12:1-5 NASB)

The problem that most would have is that Jesus is NOT yet governing with a rod of iron. He is ruling, but currently, within the age of grace that we now live in, He rules with mercy and grace. This era will soon come to an end as all things are falling rapidly into place, and then He will break out the rod of iron, but since the church will be with Him, then you need to know that this rod is NOT for the church.

What things in Revelation 12:1-5 tell us of Jesus?

  • The woman clothed with the sun is Israel.

  • “ A great sign appeared in heaven,” along with the sun, moon, and stars (or planetary alignments), are astronomical alignments and mean something. The problem is that we seem to make a religion out of these events. This particular star alignment has come and gone just a couple of years ago (It is currently 02/13/2023.)

  • This labor and pain to give birth have much to do with Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948.

    As a side note, we are told that “this generation” shall not pass away. This verse below bursts with prophetic fullness like a tree full of ripe figs.

    “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
    Matthew 24:32-34 NASB)

  • The male child is Jesus, but some will say, He is NOT ruling the nations with a rod of iron and, therefore, unbelievable.

    Would you prefer a rod of iron?

    That would be crazy if you did. So, there is yet a time to come when this happens. If you are a “follower” of Christ and don’t know Jesus ruling in this manner only occurs during the millennial reign. The world has to go through seven years of God’s wrath before this rule over the nations will come.

  • And, there are few who do not realize that the dragon is Satan; he, of course, has several names and titles, such as serpent, beast, and Lucifer.

While I could use the information above to answer my questions, I am trying to keep my attention on witnesses from the Torah, as much of what Jesus and the Apostle Paul said came from the Torah. If reaching the heart of the Jewish community was essential to me, then adhering to the Torah is beneficial; this is especially true since most of the Jewish community refuses to see the Jewishness that explodes from Matthew’s account merely because it is in the New Testament and, therefore, a Gentile book and of no importance.

The book of Acts gives us a massive clue as to what John the baptizer was talking about.

“Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,”
(Acts 13:21-23 NASB)

There was NO resurrection of King David, so this is talking about God’s Son, Jesus, and scripture takes Jesus’ heritage back to David.

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”
(Matthew 1:1 NASB)

The baptizer “gave further evidence.

“John gave further evidence, saying, I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it dwelt on Him [never to depart]. And I did not know Him nor recognize Him, but He Who sent me to baptize N1in (with) water said to me, Upon Him Whom you shall see the Spirit descend and remain, that One is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen [that happen–I actually did see it] and my testimony is that this is the Son of God!”
(John 1:32-34 AMPC+)

  • He (John the baptizer) saw the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it dwelt on Him (never to depart.)

    The Apostle John, thirty-plus years after the event, is writing about the circumstances that initiated Jesus’ three and one half year ministry.

    A quote from (https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/blog/jesus-and-the-disciples-of-john-the-baptist), tells us what I was starting to see in scripture.

    In this case the two disciples aren’t named yet, we’re going to find out in a minute that one of them is Andrew, one of them is Simon Peter’s brother; the other disciple who is unnamed, scholars have speculated as to his identity; many scholars actually think that this is the first reference to the author of the Gospel of John himself, to the beloved disciple St. John, who will frequently refer to himself in the third person, and will not always identify himself explicitly.  Is there any way to prove that? No, we don’t know for certain.”

I am trying to remember, with no success, if it was taught to us as children or if we were just made to assume that the Apostle John had been a disciple of the baptizer. As this article explains, the problem is that there is nothing in scripture to prove that argument. So I can’t assume that the Apostle John witnessed any of the events of that day.

It borders on criminal that we were not guided to understand that “ it (the Holy Spirit) dwelt on Him [never to depart].” [AMP]

The Tree of Life version is the product of the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, therefore their usage of the Hebrew word rûach, which has a similar meaning to the Greek word pneuma. Pneuma is understood as a current of air or someone’s breath.

Then John testified, “I have seen the Ruach coming down like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on Him.”
(John 1:32 TLV)

A translation like the NASB conveys what John said: “ I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.” [NASB]

The prophet Isaiah was amazing. I can’t understand how he could write if the words filled his eyes with joyous tears, as mine are now.

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”
(Isaiah 42:1 NASB)

Still looking at John 1:32-34 AMP, where it tells us that the Spirit, the breath of the Father, remained upon Him.

Remained – meno¯; a prim. Vb.; to stay, abide, remainThe KJV uses the word abode; surely you can see the correlationThe UCRT gives us these passages that speak about the lasting actions of the Holy Spirit, the ruach. Isa_11:2; Isa_61:1, Mat_12:18, Luk_4:1, Act_2:3; *Act_10:38.

A witness to the baptizer’s words comes again from Isaiah.

“The Rûach of Adonai will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and insight, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Adonai.”
Isaiah 11:2 TLV)

The NASB puts it this way – The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him

The word rest, what does that mean?

Brown, Driver, and Briggs’s commentary tell us that it means to settle down and remain. The Word Study Dictionary also points out that it means to pause. It goes on to say, “It has many uses. Its main uses are summarized here: (1) to rest, to settle, to settle down,”

Are you beginning to realize that the pneuma or the rûach, if you wish, has alighted itself upon you with the Spirit of the almighty God.

Pause is such an inappropriate word to describe the Holy Spirit. Mind you, the Spirit will instruct you to pause at times, although you may only perceive this pause as something restraining you. I have experienced this in my own life, especially when the things I hear or see in my spirit could cause more damage; not that God goes around causing damage, but what if you said something, like an obvious sin, that could cause the recipient emotional harm because most of them around you in “church” are not safe. They will, in time, go on the attack against vulnerable persons. I am speaking from experience (It has happened to me.)

I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
(John 1:33 BSB)

It is the Holy Spirit of God that brings liberty to the captives.

The Spirit of Adonai Elohim is on me, because Adonai has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound,”
Isaiah 61:1 TLV)

The vital aspect of this brief discussion is the word Rûach / or Spirit. This is the Holy Spirit. Note the translation of the next verse.

“The Spirit of the Almighty LORD is with me because the LORD has anointed me to deliver good news to humble people. He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to announce that captives will be set free and prisoners will be released.” (Isaiah 61:1 GW)

Consider that these are the words that Jesus declared in the synagogue – an aspect and part of His initiation into His time of ministry on the earth. So don’t think for a minute that His ministry has ceased, for He still intercedes for you and me.

Why do that?

1. Because He understands and cares.

(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER'”); so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanentlyTherefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them.
(Hebrews 7:21-25 NASB)

  1. We have an enemy that is persistent in accusing us before God.

    Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
    (Revelation 12:10 NASB)

That same Spirit is constantly working on our behalf.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
(Romans 8:26-27 NASB)

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Don’t you wonder if others heard God’s voice that day. John 1:30, 31.

I can hear the sarcasm in John’s voice as he says

This is the One about whom I told you, ‘He who comes after me is above me, because He was before me.’”
John 1:30 TLV)

John is not only Jesus’ cousin, but we might rightly assume they spent time hanging out with each other. If that is true, then John may have had a loose understanding of what was coming. But, then again, separated by the miles of dirt paths that have to be walked, they may not have had insight into each other’s ministerial plans.

As we watched the second episode of season two of The Chosen, we were given scenes and conversations that may have happened; this creates an illusion that could lead you astray if you do not know the Biblical narrative. For example, as the episode begins, we are introduced to Nathaniel, an architect. The problem is that the scriptures do not tell us that Nathaniel was an architect nor that he had a hand in a construction project that collapsed and no one died. The only passage that refers to some structure falling comes from Luke’s gospel, but it has no association with any names. So to assign this to one character is pure assumption.

Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and were killed, do you suppose that they are worse sinners than all the people living in Jerusalem?”
Luke 13:4 TLV)

We assume that John recognized Jesus, and perhaps rightfully so, but you cannot exclude the insight of the Holy Spirit. My experience with the Holy Spirit has been one of taking some embarrassing risks if it does not go well. Fortunately, most of my exhibitions of faith worked out well.

John’s next sentence was earth-shaking and, to many Pharisees, blasphemous.

  • “ He who comes after me is above me, because He was before me.”

I am always, as the British say, gobsmacked when I hear someone say Jesus never claimed to be God. With a statement like John’s, he did not have to. In the previous post, I talked about the Pharisees saying to John, who are you? This thickheaded question becomes more obvious when you realize that John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was ElizabethThey were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.”
(Luke 1:5-7 NASB)

Zacharias, on a particular sabbath, was doing his customary service.

Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly officehe was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.”
(Luke 1:8-12 NASB)

If you were an older man, who longed for a son, what would you do when you found out that your wife, who, too, is old, is pregnant? You would probably dance.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
(Luke 1:13-16 NASB)

Now, in light of John’s declaration, we have this.

“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
(Luke 1:17 NASB)

John, the baptizer, said, “ He who comes after me is above me, because He was before me.” This becomes odd, knowing full well that John is at least a couple of months older and started his “ministry” before Jesus officially stepped out onto the world’s stage. Nevertheless, in saying He was before me, John acknowledges that Jesus is God and, as the Apostle John’s gospel declares, Jesus. The baptizer did not write these words, but he seemed to understand that Jesus was everything that the Apostle John expressed.

“In the beginning the Word already existed.” 

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was GodHe was already with God in the beginningEverything came into existence through himNot one thing that exists was made without him. He was the source of life, and that life was the light for humanity.”
(John 1:1-4 GW)

The God’s Word translation says it this way.

He is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘A man who comes after me was before me because he existed before I did.’” (John 1:30 GW)

In the light of the lunacy that a man can have a baby, John announced that Yeshua, the man, was coming.

Do you not realize that it was His choice to become a man (we are told “for the joy set before Him,) and that He remains a man, next to God the Father, to this day, and He will forever be a man, with us, through eternity? 

Many translations convey John 1:31 like this I didn’t know Him.” Again, the series The Chosen created an image that I long to be true in my mind and spirit. John the baptist is brash, outspoken in the show, and has a standard Jewish, sarcastic wit. Jesus, on the other hand, is calm and refined, considering we encounter Him living in a tent on the edge of a forested area with water nearby, and He, too, is adept at Jewish sarcasm. So for the baptizer to say, “I didn’t know Him,” is absurd.

The NLT makes more sense to me.

I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
(John 1:31 NLT)

To validate the idea that John did not recognize the calling upon Jesus or who He was, you have to consider that John sent some of his own disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one they had been waiting for.

At a point in the narrative, John has been imprisoned for speaking out against Herod having his brother’s wife. An essential piece of information about Herod, which we sort of glaze over, was that Herod part Jewish. This may have made Herod somewhat open to Jewish ideas and ways. John the baptist sent some of his remaining disciples; several, like James, John, and Philip, had broken off from John and joined Jesus’ ranks.

Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
(Matthew 11:2-5 NLT)

  • but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”

I covered the baptism of John in a previous post on John chapter one, but let’s say that baptism was performed in the Torah primarily for cleansing rituals. It was also associated with laying the priest’s hands upon the scapegoat, releasing the person from their sins, as they watched the goat be released into the wilderness, never to be seen again (Jesus fulfilled that role for us.) The oddity is Jesus’ response to John, for John had said, I need to be baptized by you. Jesus told him that He needed to fulfill all righteousness. 

Let it be so on this occasion,” Jesus replied, “for so we ought to fulfill every religious duty.” Then he consented;.”
(Matthew 3:15 Weymouth)

If the priesthood had made baptism a law, then Jesus participated merely to quiet their ability to say that Jesus circumvented the law.

The question was rather specific toward the Jewish community, but doesn’t it apply to us as well?

Of course, it does because all scripture…

All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16 TLV)

The “Tree of Life Version” quotes the baptizer as saying, “so that He might be revealed to Israel.” 

Did John’s actions cause Jesus to be revealed to Israel?

Not necessarily, although God surely sent His own endorsement by announcing that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. I will use Matthew’s account even though Jesus had not yet begun gathering disciples to Himself, which makes Matthew’s account feel odd because we read the gospels as though these men were standing there. Luke’s gospel is said to have been from Peter’s recollections.

Does this diminish what we read?

No, it should cause you to rejoice as these accounts validate and add detail others left out. Mark’s gospel is another second-hand account.; and yet, Mark’s gospel, as Dr. Chuck Missler related, is a fast-action, cinematic style, as Mark details events like the lepers who came to Jesus for healing, but only one would come back to give Him thanks.

In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him, and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Mark 1:9-11 NASB)

The Tree of Life version conveys this scene in this manner.

In those days, Yeshua came from Natzeret in the Galilee and was immersed by John in the Jordan. Just as He was coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens ripping open and the Ruach as a dove coming down upon Him. And there came a voice from the heavens: “You are My Son, whom I love; with You, I am well pleased!”
(Mark 1:9-11 TLV)

The differences may not be critical, but one that catches my attention could be. Note how the NASB ends with “You are my beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” The proud and acknowledging statement about how Jesus is beloved is common in most translations, and it is how I would expect the Father to react. But the TLV merely says, “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased!” Suddenly I realized that, in a way, both translations made the same affirmations. If I place it on paper in a different format and mentally apply some actor’s voice, as he wears a regal outfit, then it makes more sense.

You are My Son,

whom I love;

with You, I am well pleased!
This exclamation, in my mind, comes across as a loud stamp of approval.)

Now, this, no matter what order the words fell into the sentence, would have announced Jesus to the world.

Immediately, I heard the Holy Spirit say, okay, what about the angels singing and shining a light upon the manger the night He was born.

Do you think that the priests, Pharisees, and high council saw and knew about what was happening that night?

They did and admitted as much upon questioning by Herod.

Don’t you wonder if others heard God’s voice that day?

The problem was that the crowd standing around may not have heard those words, but I cannot confirm or deny such a statement and must therefore ignore it; the reason is that there are examples of God speaking, like through a burning bush that was NOT consumed, but Moses heard the voice. When Moses went up to the mountain and God spoke to him, all the people could hear was thunder. On the Mount of Olives, when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, God spoke, and the three disciples heard what He said. So it goes both ways.

God is speaking to all of us in many ways. Some of the more recent manners would be the massive earthquakes impacting Turkey and Syria; as of 2/11/23, the combined death toll has surpassed 25,000. And, all the while, Russia is systematically blowing Ukraine to pieces.

We, the church, are seeing the last throws before the church is removed from the earth. This sort of sounds like a science fiction account, but it is not. Jesus, in response to the disciples questioning, gave them a detailed report of events that would come about just before His wrath is to be poured out upon the earth. All the methods and players are in place for an attempt at global domination, and the things we are experiencing and witnessing are mere children’s toys compared to what is coming. The tribulation years will be hell on earth, and it will be non-stop.

My suggestion to you is to put your faith and trust in Jesus.

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They asked if you are not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet, why are you baptizing? John 1: 28, 29.

If you are a follower of Christ, a similar question will be asked about you.

Since you are not Christ, why are you trying to change anybody’s life?

The world and many religious people do not know that we gave our lives to Christ on our path to salvation, and He came into us – in the form of the Holy Spirit, another aspect of God.

Consider these passages that speak of our being joined with Christ.

John 14:16 The Holy Spirit, “the Comforter, will abide with you forever.”

John 15:1-6 NASB “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (2) “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (3) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. (4) “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (5) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (6) “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

1 John 5:20 NASB “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

So the world, which can’t see that this happens, will not acknowledge that you are in Christ.

Alright, what about Elijah?

First, we are not to pray in Elijah’s name, but few would consider doing this. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, they got a response something like this.

So do not be like them; for your, Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread.”
(Matthew 6:8-11 NASB)

Direct instructions from Jesus about asking can be seen in John’s gospel.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
(John 14:12-14 NASB)

The faith camp will have you using a passage like this to order God around as you demand a Tesla or a Rolls Royce automobile. Have you checked the maintenance costs on either of those? If you can afford it, then go for it; otherwise, you are simply feeding into your selfish desires.

John 1:26-27 NASB “John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. (27) “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

From the LASB commentary:

John was baptizing Jews. The Essenes (a strict, monastic sect of Judaism) practiced baptism for purification, but normally only non-Jews (Gentiles) were baptized when they converted to Judaism. When the Pharisees questioned John’s authority to baptize, they were asking who gave John the right to treat God’s chosen people like Gentiles. John said, “I baptize with water”—he was merely helping the people perform a symbolic act of repentance. But soon one would come who would truly forgive sins, something only the Son of God—the Messiah—could do.”

We are not told in scripture that these were the Essenes; we are left to pick through extra-Biblical information, such as historical accounts and commentaries, to find out that a particular group was challenging the Baptist.

For John to throw this statement about baptism back at these Jewish leaders was either a hefty dose of sarcasm or evidence that by “Essene” standards, he was doing a good thing. The answer is unclear to us.

Try to imagine the Pharisees’ reactions: “John answered them saying, I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.” I can see them beginning to look around. Did someone come up behind us, and we not be aware of it. Moments later, they realized what he meant in their everyday lives.

The prophet Isaiah, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said,

“…There was nothing special or impressive about the way he looked, nothing we could see that would cause us to like him.” (Isaiah 53:2 ERV)

Why would he say something like that?

He hadn’t seen Jesus; therefore, Isaiah could only say something so bold by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Odd how so many of us have fallen in love with this man. I can’t see Him as the disciples did, yet what draws me to Him is His love for me, which was demonstrated throughout the scriptures.

John 1:27 ERV  “He is the one who is coming later. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties the strings on his sandals.”

Note the location of Bethany just to the right of Jerusalem. No wonder John the baptist drew theBethany of Judea attention of the Pharisees.

John 1:28 ERV  These things all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. This is where John was baptizing people.

In response to John’s assertion, He is the one who is coming later. It would not be that much later, for the Messiah showed up the next day.

John 1:29 TLV  “The next day, John sees Yeshua coming to him and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Think about this bold statement made by John, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Where did this come from?

If you have been following our study in the book of John, then you will remember how I pointed out that Elizabeth, his mother, was filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, though John leaped in his mother’s womb when she heard the greeting by Mary, this does NOT imply anything about John.

I am bringing these things up because I was bombarded with misinformation as I grew up in church. As I have sat under the teaching of evangelists, pastors, and various teachers, the implications of how the Holy Spirit moves in you and “controls” you.

  • First, the Holy Spirit DOES NOT possess anybody unless that person asks Him to control them.

The example that stands out is Nicky Cruz, the former ‎Mau Maus gang leader, who tormented Pastor David Wilkerson and became the subject of Pastor Wilkerson’s book “The Cross and the Switchblade.” One day, I came home from work, and my wife (at the time) had Trinity Broad Casting on the Television, and they were interviewing now pastor Nicky Cruz. Nicky spoke about his father in Puerto Rico, who had been a Santeria priest. His dad would encourage the “evil spirits” to possess him and make him the best and possibly the most feared Santeria priest in PR. 

Nicky pointed out that the Holy Spirit is a spirit and suggested that we “Christians” invite the Holy Spirit to possess us. I have done that at times, repeatedly.

(If I learned anything from church, I falsely came to believe that I needed to keep putting Jesus back on His throne and that I needed to re-invite the Holy Spirit into my life. These two things are the predominant falsehoods that I fight. Now, I will admit that I do allow distractions to take my mind away from the life and power of the Holy Spirits impact; however, I have also come to understand that it is me and not the power of Jesus Christ or the comforter, that has gone on vacation. )

  • Note how the Baptist declared, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

How would John know this?

Here are a couple of examples to answer this question.

Then Isaac said to Abraham his father, “My father?” Then he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Look. Here’s the fire and the wood. But where’s the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” The two of them walked on together.” (Genesis 22:7-8 TLV)

I suggested that Isaiah 53 may have been on John’s mind as he made these statements, which may have startled even John, who, like me, often wondered where those thoughts came from.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us turned to his own way. So Adonai has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.”
(Isaiah 53:6-7 TLV)

Clearly, there is a grasp that Jesus, the spotless lamb, had the iniquity of all of us laid upon Him.

Your lamb is to be without blemish, a year old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.”
(Exodus 12:5 TLV)

The example from Exodus 12 continues.

They (God’s people) are to take the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the crossbeam of the houses where they will eat it.”
(Exodus 12:7 TLV)

Putting the blood on the doorpost is symbolic of our being covered by Jesus’ blood and our protection from the wrath (that for the Egyptians and those among “God’s people” that refused to believe) that was to come.

Also, you are to eat it this way: with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in haste. It is Adonai’s Passover. “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and strike down every firstborn, both men and animals, and I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. I am Adonai. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. So there will be no plague among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
(Exodus 12:11-13 TLV)

Leviticus also helps to define the removal of and our permanent separation from all sin.

/Aaron should lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of Bnei-Yisrael and all their transgressions, all their sins. He should place them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat will carry all their iniquities by itself into a solitary land and he is to leave the goat in the wilderness.”
(Leviticus 16:21-22 TLV)

Jesus took all our sins to the cross with Him. Although I have tried to share this information with the various church bodies I have been involved with, I can tell you that some will come back you with vile hatred. I suppose this makes sense to some as they also condemn many to hell.

As a young man, who was shy and withdrawn, we were sent out to the local neighborhood to win the lost to Christ. At this point in time, if you had long hair, you were a hippie, so when we knocked, a hippie came to the door. I had taken a position to the side near the door and leaned against the railing. I do not remember most of what was said, but the man responded with no thanks; I am not interested. To his response, one loud but pretty girl yelled back, then you are going to hell. They all turned and walked away. I just stood there. The man turned to me and said, what do you have to say? All I could say was, I am so sorry, and I merely walked away. That moment changed me, and I told God I would never do this door-to-door garbage or speak to anybody in that manner again.

I am passionate about what I know and refuse to whisper as I sit in a public place talking about Jesus.

Posted in baptize, blood of the Lamb, existed, Forgiveness, Gospel of John, Holy spirit, Jesus, Messiah, testified, the blood, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are you Elijah? I am not. Then who are you? John 1:25.

John the Baptist told those who came to question him that he was NOT Elijah, nor was he the Messiah.

They asked him, “If you’re not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet, why then are you immersing?” (John 1:25 TLV)

 It is interesting, primarily because, despite John’s comment that he was NOT Elijah, people will tell you that Elijah came back as John the Baptizer.

I want you to pay attention to what Jesus said to the disciples.

“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. (2) As they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white. (3) Then, the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. (4) So Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how good it is that we are here! If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (5) While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!” (6) When the disciples heard the voice, they were so terrified that they threw themselves face downward on the ground. (7) Jesus came to them and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid!” (8) So they looked up and saw no one there but Jesus. (9) As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone about this vision you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from death.” (10) Then the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?” (11) “Elijah is indeed coming first,” answered Jesus, “and he will get everything ready. (12) But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and people did not recognize him but treated him just as they pleased. In the same way, they will also mistreat the Son of Man.”
Matthew 17:1-12 GNB)

  1. No photographs of Moses and Elijah existed, so how did the disciples know who was standing there talking to Jesus?

    The answer lies in the fact that the three were given an instant download of information. That download is the Holy Spirit. If you are that person who loves to argue and is willing to say, “that’s impossible.” I ask you, had the Holy Spirit been restricted from operating on the earth? The answer is NO and if you are prone to argue against that, then prove your thesis. You cannot.

  2. The three disciples started raving about building tabernacles for each “prophet,” talking with Jesus. If they had done this, those structures would have quickly become idolatrous structures, snares, and patterns for other idol worship, which Israel was very adept at.

    So what happens next?

    While they were talking, “a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!” God is trying to snap them out of this human response mode. This voice was much like when God spoke over Jesus at His baptism by John, where those that heard it said it sounded like thunder.

  3. Note the next question.

    Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?

    That would be confusing, especially if you had just seen Elijah talking with Jesus. As I tried to put my thoughts together about Elijah, I was reminded that he left this earth without dying. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we must die. (Hebrews 9:27.)

    Other witnesses to this assertion that we must die.

    Psalms 103:13-14 NASB Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (14) For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

    Made in the image of God, a spirit (Genesis 1:26,27.) It was not until Genesis 2:7 that the man was given a body, and this was after the seventh day. We are all built from the earth.

    The author of Ecclesiastes can be attributed to one who identifies as a “son of David,” but this does not necessarily mean it was Solomon. The author, talking about pottery, a created thing that must return to dust, says this.

    Then the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 TLV )

    Since the psalmist had already told us that we are dust, we will return to dust. But there is a small problem – we have a hope of eternal life filled with peace. So these bodies that will be changed must die, an event that happens in that twinkling of an eye. Why? Because it is the body that became corrupted and is the reason that God could NOT use humans to procreate the Son of God. Having a young girl that had never intimately known a man to be a surrogate mother bypassed the genetic brokenness called sin.

When, then, does Elijah return again?

Ah, when God sends the two witnesses to preach in the streets of Jerusalem. By the way, the world is about to see this happen.

Okay, that may cover one of the witnesses; who is the other? 

First, the question is unimportant, as the church will have gone up in the rapture, and we will NOT see any of that. Many think it will be Moses. But, unfortunately, it will not be Moses, and our evidence for that comes from the writings of Jude.

But when Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, was arguing about the body of Moses, he did not dare to render a judgment against him for slander, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” “
(Jude 1:9 TLV)

The devil would not be wasting his time arguing about the body of Moses unless there was a dead body. This would tell us that Moses died and was, therefore, excluded from returning to earth and being subjected to death once again. Even our “so-called” legal system prevents double jeopardy, for crying out loud. 

Having eliminated a “major” player, who is left?

There is only one more player left, and that is Enoch.

Yes, I am aware that most have no clue about Enoch and would never call him a prophet, as though being a prophet is a requirement for God to send you back to earth as a witness to the greatness of God.

A significant piece of evidence about Enoch is these words.

And Enoch continually walked with God…” Genesis 5:24 TLV

Walked is the Hebrew word hālaḵ. The Word Study Dictionary tells us that: “this common word carries with it the basic idea of movementthe flowing of a riverSince the word is also used to describe natural movement, it applies to the descending of floods (Gen_8:3); the crawling of beasts (Lev_11:27); the slithering of snakes (Lev_11:42); the blowing of the wind (Ecc_1:6); the tossing of the sea (Jon_1:13). Since it is usually a person who is moving, it is frequently translated “walk.”” “This word is also used metaphorically to speak of the pathways (i.e., behavior) of one’s life.” And I add one more word from the NASEC dictionary – accompany.

Every description above speaks to me of intimacy, whether it was in an uptime or a down time. The relationship was mutual as Enoch, who was NO MORE spiritual than you or I, accompanied God/elohim in his everyday affairs. Think about the fact that Enoch, a husband, had to eat, till a field, hunt game, feed a family (he was, by the way, the father of Methuselah,) and he had to pass along the verbal understanding of who elohim is. Things I know about the man.

  • Enoch lived 65 years, then fathered Methuselah.

  • Enoch walked with God continually for 300 years after he fathered Methuselah.

  • Enoch fathered other sons and daughters, which we know nothing about.

  • All of Enoch’s days were 365 years.

  • Enoch continually walked with God.

  • Enoch walked with God, and then he was no more because God had taken him away.
    (Gen 5:24 BSB)

I can remember when I read about Enoch, asking myself, where and how did Enoch understand what it was like to have such an intimate relationship?

It would seem that “sin” had stripped that intimacy away, but that was only on our side. I say that because God still came to the couple, respecting their newly found discomfort, and spoke to them in the garden, as He killed some animals for sacrifice and coverings, which He gave them instructions on how to do all that.

I started to do the math and discovered that Adam, a great-grandfather (many times over), was over 600 years old when Enoch was born. All the people on earth were related in some way to the man that walked with God, and none chose to pursue what this God – elohim, was like. The only man that ever walked with Him in the cool of the day was still alive, and Adam described those days with such longing and passion that even now, as I write, I can hardly see through the tears.

I am painfully aware of many people who had the opportunity to God. Consider that Enoch had a son, Methuselah, and other children, but only one stands out, primarily because of his age when he died.

Did you know that Methuselah’s name had meaning and was, therefore, a prophecy? 

His name meant when he dies, it will come.

What was coming?

A flood that would purge the earth of NOT just sin; the flood could not eliminate sin because that “sin” was embedded within the bodies of Noah and his extended family that God saved on that ark. The primary purpose of the flood was to eliminate the effects of fallen angels, sons of god, that were taking any woman they chose and having sexual relations with them. The only purpose behind this was to eliminate the heritage of God on earth. Those children Enoch had that did not get on the ark, descendants of Adam, and Methuselah’s children, aside from Noah, were all killed in the flood because all of them had been genetically altered by the fallen angels. Only Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah’s family, a descendant of Methuselah, escaped this perversion.

One last shot.  Enoch was a prophet.

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,
(Jude 1:14 NASB)

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John didn’t refuse to answer. He told them clearly. John 1:19-23.

I am writing to people who have been taught poorly or were taught falsehoods, and some errors are intentional. I will include myself in this next weakness within the Christian community, and that is that WE do not nor will not pick up the Bible and read it. I can speak bluntly about this because I had to make a hard decision to fix this weakness in myself. In 2007 I started a job with early work hours, so I would give myself an extra hour before work to go to McDonald’s, eat breakfast and read my Bible. So many people whimper about where they should start reading; I have suggestions, but there is a better time or place. I needed to know who God was and what His character was like, so I started with Matthew’s gospel, where I saw His Son, Jesus, and slowly worked my way through the New Testament. Every day brought questions and challenges, and I wrote them down as I asked God my hard questions, all of which got answered.

I never spent a tremendous amount of time focused on John the Baptist.

The NASB entitles this next section, The Testimony of John the Baptist.

We covered a couple of details about John the Baptist in my previous post. In terms of teIn my previous post, we covered some details about John the Baptist. In terms of temperament, and I am imagining here, I perceive a touch of sanguine because he is outgoing and, to a degree, social. The other trait that I see is choleric. I say this because John comes across as short-tempered and irritable, much like the Apostle Paul (who may well be one of those being sent to verbally accost him.) He had, by the way, called them a den of vipers. 

Now apply the personality traits that we can only assume to the following few verses where we see John in action.

This was John’s answer when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?””
John 1:19 GW)

  • The Jews sent priests.”

We are not told who did the sending as even within the priests and council members, there was a hierarchy. I can see leaders sending lower-ranking members to go and challenge the man they obviously perceive as acting as though he is replacing them. However, John may not have felt that way.

If what I said seemed odd to you, think about this incident.

Very early, while it was still night, Yeshua got up, left, and went away to a place in the wilderness; and there He was praying. Then Simon and those with him hunted for Yeshua. And when they found Him, they said to Him, “Everybody’s looking for You.” He said to them, “Let’s go somewhere else, to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also—this is what I came for.” And He went throughout all the Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and driving out demons. A man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to Jesus, knelt down, and begged him for help. “If you want to,” he said, “you can make me clean.”(GNB) .” Moved with compassion, Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him. He said, “I am willing. Be cleansed.”
Mark 1:35-41 TLV & GNB)

There was no doubt that Jesus could heal, but to be cleansed was what the priests did, and apparently, religion was corrupt enough to demand payment for the procedure where you were reintroduced back into the community. So this man asked Jesus to heal him and pronounce him cleansed. But, if you follow the narrative, Jesus sternly warned the man to keep his mouth shut about Jesus pronouncing him clean. He knew this was a boundary that would feed into a deadly fight with the Pharisees. Considering that John’s daddy was a priest, they knew who John was.

When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the division of priests named after Abijah. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron.”
Luke 1:5 GW)

Their question had no politeness connected to it. It is more of a challenge, similar to who do you think you are. The other side of this coin is that Jesus’ own disciples, and several of them left John to join Jesus, did not understand that He was the Messiah, as they were looking for a warring messiah that would free them from Roman oppression, etc. This misconception stayed with them until they were filled with the Holy Spirit in the upper room after Jesus left the earth.

John didn’t refuse to answer. He told them clearly, “I’m not the Messiah.”
John 1:20 GW)

Adam Clarke wrote: “John renounces himself, that Jesus may be all in all.” Really, at this point, John is enjoying some freedom, but the day is coming after denouncing the actions of Herod.”

For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,”
(Matthew 14:3 TLV)

John is close to death, so he sends some of his disciples to Jesus to do what?

Now when John heard in prison about the works of the Messiah, he sent word through his disciples and said to Yeshua, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
(Matthew 11:2-3 TLV)

““What then? Are you Elijah?” they asked him. “I am not,” said John. “Are you the Prophet?” “No,” he answered.”
(John 1:21 TLV)

  • Are you Elijah?

    The answer is NO.

  • Are you the prophet?

    Just a touch on the repetitious side. Wasn’t Elijah a prophet? Yes, he was, and NO he never died because God took him, and this piece of evidence sort of mandates that Elijah must physically die. 

John told them straight out, I am not Elijah. Then who is this other prophet? Adam Clarke says this is the prophet spoken of by Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15,18.

Instead, he will send you a prophet like me (Moses) from among your own people, and you are to obey him.”
(Deuteronomy 18:15 GNB)

I had no idea that Moses was a prophet.

I will send them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will tell him what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command.”
(Deuteronomy 18:18 GNB)

This line, I will tell him what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command,” says much about the character of Jesus.

He will speak in my name, and I will punish anyone who refuses to obey him.” (Deuteronomy 18:19 GNB)

Every word that Jesus spoke was focused on the instructions of the Father, no matter how random those words may have seemed.

So they said to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
(John 1:22 TLV)

I am not sure it mattered what the answer was; no matter how ridiculous, it just needed to quell the angst of the Jewish leadership. 

He said, “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of Adonai,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
(John 1:23 TLV)

The words that stand out in my mind are the same that I chose for my blog.” Why did I choose that? Because I felt, and still feel, like I am sharing God’s voice and no one is listening. Someday soon, they will hear. 

It is never too late to make straight the way of Adonai, as long as you have breath in your lungs.

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Grace and truth were realized through Jesus. John 1:15-18.

 “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5 NASB)

Some need to know information.

As I pointed out in a previous post, when you begin reading the gospel of John, you need to keep it straight in your mind who the passage is referring to. In verse four above, John is speaking about Jesus, but we only know that because of the definitions John gives us. In verse 15 below, John, the baptizer, tells people about Him. The Him, in this instance, is Jesus.

If you were to watch the series “The Chosen,” you would notice that it takes liberties with what we understand about Jesus; they have to as they merge several months of Jesus’ three-year ministry into a show that lasts a little over an hour each week.

When Mary came to Elizabeth, John the Baptizer was a four-month-old fetus, and he leaped in her womb. We were told that John received the Holy Spirit at this point, but there is nothing to substantiate that assertion.

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! “And how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.”
(Luke 1:41-44 NASB)

So John is only a few months older than his step-cousin Jesus, and yet John eventually makes this extraordinary declaration about Jesus.

“John told people about him. He said loudly, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one who is coming after me is greater than I am because he was living before I was even born.’”
John 1:15 ERV)

The NASB used the word “testified” to indicate how John spoke to those who came to hear him. Testify is the Greek word marturéō, meaning to bear witness to the truth of what one has seen, heard, or knows. The series “The Chosen” portrayed John as being rather direct and outspoken. For someone of this character to be loud would not surprise me.

“But when he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
Matthew 3:7 NASB)

If these religious rulers were coming to John, submitting to the baptism that he was performing, then they apparently did not see him as a joke or some animated but entertaining radical.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what this baptism represented to them?

It should be because Jesus submitted to John’s baptism, and the oddity of Jesus indicating that he was fulfilling the law. In all my years of warming a seat in church, I never heard of or saw baptisms in the Old Testament.

Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him.”
Matthew 3:13-15 NASB)

So, what was Jesus talking about?

It might be best to back up to an explanation of why John was baptizing.

John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized–for John had not yet been thrown into prison. Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.” (John 3:23-25 NASB)

The passage tells us that John was baptizing. This is the Greek word baptizo and means to immerse, submerge, or saturate. The first two options tend to indicate that there was a complete submersion. The general idea was that submersion was a rite of purification, a cleansing of the heart from sin. A huge clue comes from John 3:25, where John’s disciples were having a “discussion with a Jew about purification. Why would Luke bring this up, adding this conversation into the context, unless it carries some weight in the discussion?

Purification is the Greek word katharismós, and “it actually refers to the process of purificationthe sacrifice of purification.” (WSD)

Interesting how our life in Christ is based upon faith in Jesus Christ alone. Everything beyond that could potentially fall into the category of works. If I were to try to understand the statement “the process of purification,” I might do well to perceive this as part of the sanctification process. I am always reminded of the thief on the cross. He was afforded no water immersion, nor did he go through some over-embellished sanctification class, and yet what did Jesus reply to the man? This day you will be with me in paradise. Jesus, in those moments, sanctified the man because of the depth of his conversation, which most of us miss.

With the knowledge that Jesus was sinless (He was NOT born of tainted human blood, this is why God had to make a fertilized egg and have a virgin girl carry that egg as a surrogate.) There should have been no reason for Jesus to cleanse himself; He had no sin. (Scripture tells us this;) But, we can see that few understood or believed that He was God, God’s son, so He had to in order to quell the voices of tradition.

Baptism would have to have been pulled from the Torah and, therefore, might be a reference to Ezekiel 36:25. I include verses 24 and 26 as they create a time frame and a context, which I think applies to the Spirit of God.

For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
(Ezekiel 36:24-26 NASB)

Leviticus gives us several references, but they all pertain to blood, and it is a broad-spectrum cleansing. One in particular, Leviticus 14:5-7, conveys that they were to sprinkle the blood on the “one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean.” I would not say that this represents why Jesus came to John.

The book of Numbers might provide the reasons Jesus got baptized.

Take the Levites from among the sons of Israel and cleanse them. “Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.”
(Numbers 8:6-7 NASB)

In church, we rarely hear that Jesus was of the lineage of Levi, but Luke’s gospel traces Jesus backward and, therefore, shows Him to be a descendant of Levi, one of Aaron’s relatives.

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,”
(Luke 3:23-24 NASB)

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our high priest. A few examples of this priesthood.

Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;.”

Hebrews 4:14,15 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15)For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

Hebrews 5:10 “…being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Numbers 19:13 tells us that anyone who touches a corpse.

“… and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him.

So far, I do not see a direct relationship between water baptism and a release from sin, but let’s try one more.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
(Psalms 51:2-7 NASB)

Psalms 51:2-7, written by David, helps to make that connection, so it may have been an Old Testament understanding that immersion with water is part of the cleansing of sins. Again, Jesus had NO sin, but the humans He had to deal with did not know that.

A few more verses that pertain to cleansing by water. Leviticus 11:32; Leviticus 12:7-8; Leviticus 13:6.

Moving on with our study of John’s gospel.

John 1:16 GNB)  “Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.”

The NASB reads: “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” This makes no sense to me.

Pastor John MacArthur says that John 1:16 “…emphasizes the superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God toward mankind…”

“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NASB 

  • Consider the phrase, “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

History tells us that John wrote this gospel between 80 and 90 A.D. That would mean that John’s memories were only 50 to 60 years old. Compare this with “the writings of Plato” (born 428, died 347 BCE) that were written over a thousand years after his death. 

  • “The ‘Clarke Plato’, the oldest manuscript (discounting papyrus fragments) for about half the dialogues of Plato, was written by John the Calligrapher in 895 CE for Arethas the deacon, originally a native of Patras, who later became archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.” https://www.worldhistory.org/image/10818/dialouges-of-plato/

Realized is the Greek word ginomai. The King James concordance indicates 456 occurrences of ginomai; 88 were translated as came, and 63 were translated as done.

Would applying the word came to John 1:17, where it says realized, make sense?

Let’s see. “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” It works, especially if you consider all that Jesus did for you. The cross stands out as monumental when you think about Jesus. The word done is not as effective.

If I look up the word ginomai in the Word Study Dictionary, there is an extensive listing. 

  • To come into existence;

  • to be created, to be born,

  • producedgrow, to arise, come on,

  • occur, as the phenomena of nature,

  • to be appointedconstitutedestablished,

  • to come to oneself, to recover from a trance or surprise.

The first entry in this list stands out to me, not because there was no grace in the Old Testament, but because it certainly wasn’t as notable. Paul’s writings on grace were the game changer, but you have to remember that Paul only had the Old Testament – and that was by what he retained in the synagogue and a direct revelation from Jesus that came to him on the road to Damascus or the years that he spent at the base of Mount Sinai.

grace and truth came into existence through Jesus Christ.”

I could take this literally and say there was NO grace until the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let’s finish this dive into John’s gospel with verse 18.

No one has ever seen God; but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known.” (John 1:18 TLV)

The God’s Word translation says it this way.

No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.”

Known or explained, as the NASB conveys, is the Greek word exēgéomaiMounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary tells us that it means to be a leader; to detail, to set forth in language; to tell, narrate, recountLuk_24:35Act_10:8to make known, revealJoh_1:18Act_15:12Act_15:14Act_21:19.

The substitutionary word or phrase that best fits in John 1:18 as it tells us that Jesus has revealed the Father to us is to make known.

but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known.”

Jesus said, when you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Having been raised to believe that God was an angry God, just waiting to punish me severely for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for taking all our sins to the cross with Him, and I want to thank the producers of the Chosen as they have shown us a Jesus that can laugh, dance, and cry; because of this, I have been able to see the Father as one that can, at least, laugh and cry.

Posted in baptize, bible study, existed, explained, fullness, God's character, Gospel of John, grace, grace, higher rank, Jesus, realized, testified, The Word was God, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment