He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

He Shall Be Called a Nazarene

 

Matthew 2:19-23

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” NKJV

 

I’ve heard many people, including some Christians and even some “scholars,” insist that Matthew 2:23 is a glaring error on the part of the Apostle Matthew because no Old Testament prophecy mentions the Messiah being called a “Nazarene.” But is this really the case?

While it is true that the word Nazarene appears no place per se in the Old Testament, it is still a huge leap into the dark (just before landing in the firey pit) to say that Matthew is in error. The problem has to do with the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek) that do not easily or readily translate into English. Sadly, ignorance of the prophetic Scriptures on the part of the translators only compounds the problem at times, as do the theological biases of the translators. But to be fair to those who work so diligently to give us GOOD translations, they suffer with the same malady of fallibility as the rest of us, being prone to errors, whether intentional or not.

In reality, this problem can be solved through an examination of the original languages and the theology in the passages involved in this matter.

Matthew did not quote a particular prophet, but alluded to the predictions of the prophets in general. However, Matthew certainly did acknowledge that the Old Testament prophets predicted the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. The Hebrew word nay’-tser means “a branch,” and in Isaiah 11:1, 14:19; and Daniel 11:7 it refers directly to the Messiah as “branch.” And it is believed that “Nazareth” comes from this Hebrew word “nay’-tser.”

Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. NKJV

Isaiah 14:19 But you are cast out of your grave Like an abominable branch, Like the garment of those who are slain, Thrust through with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit, Like a corpse trodden underfoot. NKJV

Daniel 11:7 “But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. NKJV

Interestingly, Isaiah 14:19 mentions that this one is cast out of the grave like an abominable branch, and thrust through with a sword. Of course, we know Jesus was pierced with a sword, and that he did rise from the grave because death couldn’t hold Him and had to give him up.

A Nazarene (nay’-tser) is different than a Nazirite (naw-zeer’). They come from different Hebrew words. A Nazarene is a person from Nazareth, while a Nazirite is someone who took a vow to abstain from certain foods and cutting of the hair during a certain period of separation or consecration (Numbers 6:1-21).

Another interesting point to be made in this regard is that Nazareth was a place of low regard among the Jews. Nathaniel asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It was this very kind of scornful attitude the prophets predicted would await the Messiah (Psalm 22:6; 118:22; Isaiah 53:3; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7).

Therefore, Matthew 2:23 is not an error, and the Apostle Matthew knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote of Jesus and His family, “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Our Savior and our Bible are true!

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The Sheep and the Goats

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25: 31-46

31 ” When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NKJV

Many people use this passage to try and prove various theological and doctrinal errors, such as that Jesus is in everyone, or that we can be saved by good works, or that everyone is part of the family of God, and will be saved in the end (universal reconciliation). However, this passage teaches none of these things.

First of all, this is an eschatological (end times) passage that deals with the judgment of nations at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is not the same as the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15, which takes place after the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-10). Matthew 25:31-46 deals with the judgment of Gentile nations (ethnicities) and how individuals within those nations treated believing Jews during the Great Tribulation period (Revelation 11-14). Matthew 25:40 says, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Not all human beings are the brethren of Jesus Christ, but only those who have trusted Him for salvation through faith.

It is true that every human being is in the image and likeness of God, but that image has been marred by sin. Yet, while the image of God is in everyone, the presence of God does not abide in every person, but only in those who are saved. Therefore, this passage cannot be dealing with our general responsibility to minister to others, especially the poor, the widows, and orphans (2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Galatians 2:10; James 1:27). It specifically refers to those who minister to the persecuted Jews during the Great Tribulation period. So, Christians need to stop saying that Jesus is in everyone because that IS NOT true. Minister to the needs the Lord brings to your attention as best you are able, but tell them about Jesus while you do. Otherwise, we send them to hell with their thirst quenched, their bellies full, their minds educated, and their health improved.

Second, this passage does not mean that all will be saved in the end. In fact, verses 41 and 46 clearly state that those who did not care for the needs of Jesus’ brethren during this time will be sent to everlasting punishment.

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NKJV.

The obvious reason for their refusal to minister to these needs is that they are unbelievers. Sadly, we are seeing a trend in the Western world even now where unbelievers are becoming ever more belligerent toward believers in Jesus Christ. While this attitude has been pervasive in most of the world for most of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, it is a relatively new phenomenon in the West. This attitude is also experiencing a resurgence in areas that had been fairly tolerant of Christians until recently, which is largely the result of the resurgence of fundamental Koranic Islam. Again, we should minister to the needs the Lord brings to our attention as best we are able, but let’s tell them about Jesus while we do. Otherwise, we send them to hell with their thirst quenched, their bellies full, their minds educated, and their health improved. Let’s not fail to give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether a government likes it or not.

For more information than I can put into this short post, see the following sources:

The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries

AN INTERPRETATION OF MATTHEW 24-25: Part 39 – Matthew 25:31-46 Christ’s Glorious Coming and Judgment, by Thomas Ice

September 23, 2017 the Date of the Lord’s Return?

September 23, 2017 the Date of the Lord’s Return?

Extremist people in the kook fringe of the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation theology camp seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot. Even though the Bible clearly states, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36) regarding the Rapture of believers, there are always those who insist they can tell when the Lord will return for His Church.

This same idea of not knowing when the Lord will return is also related in Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:32; and Luke 12:46, Of course, on the other hand, Matthew 24:50 says, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of” (NKJV).

One would think that with the failed prophecy debacles of the late Harold Camping, along with the Shemitah (Jonathan Cahn) and four blood moon nonsense (Mark Biltz, John Hagee) these folks would have learned their lesson, but not so. No, these folks say they have finally figured it all out, and they know when the Lord will return, and it’s September 23, 2017. Why? Because they interpret the woman with the sun, moon, and stars in Revelation 12:1 to be the constellation Virgo aligning with other stars and planets. These people assert this happens only once every 7,000 years, but it actually occurs about every 11 years.

However well-meaning these folks may be, their prophecy will prove to be false, as have the scores of other predictions about the date of the Lord’s Return for His Church. Frankly, I’m sick of these theological midgets who insist on defying the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. With the number of believers I’ve known through the years who have become disillusioned with Christianity and left the Church altogether because of these false predictions, I no longer have any patience or niceties for these supreme blasphemers, who say that God has shown them something, when He has shown them NOTHING. They reject the very Scriptures they profess to believe, and they end up preaching what amounts to another Gospel, which is not THE GOSPEL. Paul proclaims ANATHEMA (damnation) on such people. May they repent or be silenced before they discourage and destroy the faith of more believers.

Revelation 12 is actually a prophecy about God’s protection for national Israel during the second half of the Great Tribulation period. If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we learn that this woman with the sun, moon, and stars is found only one other place in the Bible, and that is in Genesis 37:9-11. It clearly refers to Israel. The child Israel bore is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the devil tried to destroy Him. Although Jesus died, He was caught up to heaven as the firstfruits of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Although the devil tries to destroy the woman during this time of tribulation, God protects her in the wilderness, and the archangel Michael and his angels fight against the dragon (Satan) and his fallen angels. Michael and his angels prevail, and Satan and his angels are thrown out of the heavenly realm altogether. Since the woman is protected in the wilderness, the dragon goes to make war with the rest of her offspring who are not in the wilderness camp.

Revelation 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. NKJV

TO ALL STUDENTS OF PROPHECY, PLEASE STOP SETTING DATES! YOU WILL BE HUMIULIATED AND PROVEN A FALSE PROPHET. YOU ARE HARMING THE VERY MESSAGE YOU CLAIM YOU WANT TO PROMOTE WITH YOUR FALSE PROPHECIES AND DATE SETTING!!!! REPENT!!!

His Name Is Salvation

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. NKJV

Introduction:   If this passage teaches us anything, it teaches us that God is sovereign and faithful. He keeps His promises & blesses those who obey Him.

Mary & Joseph lived in a time when God’s people had no hope and no expectation of deliverance, liberty, or prosperity in the natural sense. They lived under the iron fist of Rome, and Rome placed a heavy burden on those peoples and nations it occupied. Rome’s treatment of the Jews was certainly no less oppressive, and was likely more oppressive, than their occupation of other lands. This was the time in which God chose to send His Deliverer—His Christ or Messiah.

This account reveals God’s dealings with a faithful girl of probably 13 or 14 years of age, and young man of probably 19 or 20 years of age. They were poor and lived in Nazareth—a city of which it was said that nothing good came from it. The religious people of that day considered it a useless place with equally useless inhabitants. Even the godly Nathaniel, who became a disciple of Jesus Christ asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (NKJ John 1:46).

Yet Mary & Joseph were thrust into the limelight of human history from this stage—both their lives and history would be changed through these events.

The name Jesus literally means YHWH Is Salvation.

2016-12-10-his-name-is-salvation

The 70 Weeks of Daniel

The 70 Weeks of Daniel

As the 70-year Babylonian captivity was drawing to a close, God sends a messenger to tell Daniel there is yet another 490-year period left in Israel’s history in which He will specifically deal with His Chosen People, the Jews, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:1-2 says, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” NKJV

Jeremiah 25:11-12

11 ‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 ‘ Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. NKJV

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. NKJV

Daniel’s captivity began in 605 B.C., and it was now 538 B.C, about 67 years after the initial fall of Jerusalem. Zechariah says the 70-year period began with the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. (Zechariah 7:5). This means the time of the captivity was going to end in just a few years, probably in 516-515 B.C. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.

Daniel 9:24-26 gives the only date prophesied ahead of time in the Bible—the coming of Messiah.

Daniel 9:24-26

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. NKJV

Prior to the prophecy of verses 24-27, we see Daniel in fervent prayer, and the prayer is worthy of a separate study of its own. However, for the purpose of this article, we are focusing on the prophecy of verses 24-27, introduced first by verses 1 and 2.

While Daniel was praying, the angel Gabriel, appearing in the form of a man, appeared to him to give him this great prophecy that would cover many centuries, even though the total number of years with which the prophecy dealt were only 490. He introduced the prophecy with these words:

Daniel 9: 20-23

20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: NKJV

Then Gabriel went on to say,

Daniel 9:24-27

24 ” Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

There are several things that must be noted about this prophecy, and the first of those is that it is a time specifically determined upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem. The words couldn’t be clearer, and any effort to make this prophecy apply to the Church is to pervert the meaning of the passage. God IS NOT finished in His dealings with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. No matter how hard many Replacement Theology teachers and Christians who follow them try to twist the Scriptures to say that God is finished with Jewish people because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They have suffered much because of that rejection, but God is slowly bringing them back to Himself. I have a number of earlier articles on this subject posted at this blog, which anyone can read to learn all the reasons why God is still dealing with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel as a whole. Today they are in their own land, mostly in unbelief, which the Scriptures predicted. Again, read my prior articles dealing with this subject for references, but one such reference is Ezekiel 36. Others include Isaiah 25-27. With that said, the 70th week of Daniel is a primarily Jewish time period of 7-years.

What had been the transgression and sin of Israel? Idolatry. Any cursory reading of the Old Testament will reveal that. Every time you turn around, the Israelites are worshiping false gods. And the one lesson the Jews have learned in 4,000 years of history is that YHWH God haters idols worse than He hates anything else because idolatry always leads to other sins, especially sexual immorality.

Then the passage at hand says that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. This accurately describes the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. In fact, in the Hebrew Bible Ezra and Nehemiah are one Book.

Verse 26 goes on to say, “And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” This happened 483 years later to the day. Jesus Christ was cut off, or killed, but not for Himself. In other words, He died not because of anything He had done, but rather He died for us to bring us salvation. Then it says, “And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.” The people who destroyed the Temple were the Romans under General Titus. The prince who is to come in this verse is the still future Antichrist. Verse 27 says this Antichrist, “Shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” NKJV

This means the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel and the Jews for 7-years, giving them the right to rebuild their Temple and make sacrifices, but he will break that covenant in the middle of that 7-year period. There is only one place in the world the Jews can make sacrifices and offerings, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and they must have a Temple rebuilt in order to make it legal in their system. However, when the Antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle, he sets up his image in the Temple and demands to be worshiped as God (Matthew 24:15; Mark: 13:14). And Jesus spoke of it as a future event.

People want to ask why there has been a break between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. This gap is the current Church Age, where the Church is God’s primary agent in the world, with Israel more or less in the background. However, when the Church is taken out of the world in the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), Israel once again becomes God’s primary agent in the world, with Gentiles still being drawn to God too (Revelation 7:9-17). In fact, Jeremiah 30:7 calls this period of time “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Take special note of 1 Thessalonians 4:17—harpadzo means to snatch up, seize up, or catch up with great force, which is exactly what the word Rapture means, hence the class of birds called Raptors. And the Latin word from which we get the word rapture is in the Latin Vulgate.

So to summarize the 70th Week of Daniel in an outline, we see the following.

  1. The 70th Week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation period—7-years in duration, and based on the lunar calendar. That means each year has 360 days, rather than 365 like our solar calendar.
  2. The Great Tribulation is a time specified upon the Jewish people and Jerusalem and has nothing to do with the church.
  3. The 70th week of Daniel is the Great Tribulation (Dan. 9:1-2, 19-27).
  4. When Daniel wrote, the Jews were in Babylon, nearing the end of the 70-year captivity brought on by failure to let the land have its Sabbath every 7th year (Lev. 25:1-6; Dan. 9:1-2; Jer. 25:11; 50:33-34).
  5. The reason for the 70 weeks of years (7 x 70 = 490 years) is to complete the history of Israel. It is a time appointed for Daniel’s people, the Jewish people, and the Holy City, Jerusalem.
  6. Six things happen during the 70 weeks (Dan. 9:24-27):
  7. Finish transgression—the transgression of Israel was idolatry.
  8. Make an end of sins.
  9. Make reconciliation for iniquity (Israel: 70 weeks—For your people and for Your holy city).
  10. Bring in everlasting righteousness.
  11. Seal up the vision and prophecy.
  12. Anoint the Holy of Holies.
  13. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes March 15, 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 1-2), and Jesus Christ was cut off 69 weeks (483 years) later.
  14. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but the ultimate fulfillment of the “prince who is to come” is the Antichrist (Dan. 9:26-27).
  15. The “prince who is to come,” Antichrist, will make a covenant with the Jews for one week (7 years), but he will break it after 3 1/2 years and set up the image (“the abomination that makes desolate”) in the rebuilt temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; Rev. 13).
  16. The Holy of Holies will be anointed when Jesus returns (Ezek. 40-48).

 

Below is a link for a PDF file of this post.

2016-09-01 70 Weeks of Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

With Whom Did God Make the New Covenant?

 

I often hear Christians, even ministers, say that Christians have a Covenant with God. That God made that Covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary. But is that statement totally accurate? The answer is, “No.” I understand what they mean, that we have God’s assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ, and that is true. However, the statement, “God made that covenant with the Church/Christians on the Cross at Calvary” is not technically correct. And that’s a good thing.

 

Remember the Old Covenant; the one God made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai? Did the Israelites keep their end of the deal? No! In fact, they broke that Covenant, also called the Law of Moses, almost immediately (Exodus 32). Why did this happen? Because sinful humanity is unable to keep the Law, unable to remain totally and completely faithful and obedient to God. Fallen humanity is imperfect and will fail sooner or later along the way. This is why the New Covenant was not made between God and the Church/Christians. We fail, fall short, sin, and that would be the end of the Covenant, if it were dependent upon us keeping our end of the bargain. Unlike the Covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15), both the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) and the New Covenant have conditions (John 14:23-24; 15:10). Therefore, the New Covenant had to be made between two parties who could neither one fail—two perfect parties (Galatians 3:15-18; Hebrews 7:1-28). Those two parties were God the Father and God the Son—Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7, 8, 9, 10).

 

In fact, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was made, first and foremost, as the representative of Israel (Hebrews 8:1).

 

Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV

 

Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and Jesus came first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 10:5-15; 15:21-28). The Greek text of John 1:11 says, “He came to His own things, and His own people did not receive Him.” In fact, even Paul makes it clear in Romans 9-11, especially Romans 9:1-5, that the Covenants (plural, meaning all the covenant promises of God) belong to national Israel—Israel according to the flesh.

 

Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. NKJV

 

Romans 11 states that through unbelief the natural branches were broken off—not all the natural branches, but the unbelieving natural branches. However, wild olive branches, that is believing Gentiles, have been grafted into the olive tree (Romans 11:11-24), but if the natural branches return to Him in faith, they will be grafted back in (Romans 11:23). Furthermore, the blindness of national Israel is only in part, or temporary, until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:25). Then God will restore national Israel to finish His dealings with them as a nation. That is what is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6-19), or the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, read all of chapter 30).

 

In conclusion, we as Christians get to be part of an Everlasting Covenant made between God the Father and God the Son—Christ, neither of Whom can fail. We are now part of the Commonwealth of God through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13-18). However, that Covenant is not between us and God, but rather between God the Father and Jesus Christ. This should be counted as Good News because God cannot fail like sinful humanity. Even when we fail, He remains steadfast and true, and we have a refuge to return to for salvation and safety in the midst of the storm. I wrote this today because with all the terrible things taking place in the world, we need to hear some Good News!

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

Did Joshua 21:43-45 Fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant?

As a precursor to reading this article, I suggest you read my earlier posts on the subject of the significance of the modern state of Israel and the Jews being back in the land of Israel—Eretz Israel. Those articles are Israel, Back from the Dead, and Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?

In the last article, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, posted earlier this month, which was some fifteen pages long, I thought I covered enough of the questions on Replacement Theology to convince anyone of the validity of the current state of Israel and the Jewish people in the overall prophetic scheme of God, except for old die-hard Replacement Theology Ammillennialists, like R.C. Sproul, Sr. However, as is always the case, the one Scripture you don’t address is always the one somebody will bring up, usually out of context, to prove how invalid all of your other argumentation is. Then on top of that, I get criticized for how much Scripture I use to back up my arguments. Imagine that. So those of you from the school of nice please excuse me while I have a mini sarcastic rant. I suppose some would prefer I default to the Rob Bell or Tony Campolo method of using no Scripture, or at least no Scripture left in its context to determine its literal meaning. Sorry, but I won’t do it. So deal with it! There I feel better now.

So, did Joshua 21:43-45 fulfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant? (Genesis 12:7; 15:18; 26:3-4) Again, the answer is no. Now let me show you why it did not fulfill the land covenant.

Again, the first reason I would give for rejecting this idea is that Joshua only partially fulfilled the land covenant. Remember, in the context of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, and the life of Joshua as the servant of Moses, he was fulfilling what Moses had been shown on Mount Nebo, immediately prior to his death, which land was only part of the total land God promised to Abraham (Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:1-4).

Another factor is that the Book of Joshua seems to repeatedly indicate they had already conquered all the land God promised to Abraham, even though we know this is not the case (Joshua 10:40; 11:16,23). Yet, if you leave those verses in context, it simply shows they conquered all the land in a given area. Even after the campaigns of Joshua 10 and 11, God said to Joshua, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” They were taking it piece by piece.

We see in the Book of Judges that Israel did not take all the land and put out all the pagans, and it was because of their disobedience to God (Judges 1-2). The Israelites had been commanded to destroy all the nations, and to completely possess the land (Joshua 6:17-24; 7:11-15; 8:8; 10:28-43; 11:8-23). However, we are also told they did not obey God to do so (Joshua 15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13), and it would become a major snare to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. So Joshua sternly rebuked them for their failure to obey the God of Israel. Joshua 18: 3 says, “Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?” Clearly they had failed to take the whole land promised to them by the Lord.

Although Joshua 21:43-45 seems to suggest the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant, Joshua 23:4-8 indicates something quite different.

Joshua 23:4-8

4 “See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.

5 “And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you.

6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,

7 “and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,

8 “but you shall hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.

Clearly, in this passage, Joshua speaks of the complete fulfillment of the land covenant as something still future. While God is faithful to His people, their disobedience delayed the complete fulfillment of all God had promised to them, and they are still waiting for the complete fulfillment of those promises, which will come only in the Millennial Kingdom (see Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?). Therefore, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Land Covenant remains in the future after Israel has been called out of every nation back to the land God promised to them (Ezekiel 20:33-44).

Ezekiel 20:33-44

33 ” As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.

34 “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.

35 “And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.

36 “Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD.

37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

38 “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

39 ” As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord GOD: “Go, serve every one of you his idols — and hereafter — if you will not obey me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.

40 “For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.

41 “I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles.

42 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers.

43 “And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.

44 “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord GOD.’ “

In fact, virtually no commentaries take the stance of the Replacement Theology camp that all the land promises to Abraham have been fulfilled in Joshua 21:43-45. For example, one would expect Reformed commentator M. H. Woudstra to raise such an issue, but he does not do so in The Book of Joshua (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), pp. 314- 15.

Even Colin Chapman, who is an outspoken anti-Zionist, says that there are many indications the land was never fully conquered (Joshua 13:1-32; Judges 1:1-36), and that many of the people the Israelites were supposed to drive out of the land continued to live alongside them (Joshua 9:1-27) (Colin Chapman, Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), p. 119).

Numerous pro-Israel theologians mention that Joshua is recording the historical facts that God was faithful, even when the Israelites were not. Keil and Delitzsch explain this matter in this manner:

Notwithstanding the fact that many a tract of country still remained in the hands of the Canaanites, the promise that the land of Canaan should be given to the house of Israel for a possession had been fulfilled; for God had not promised the immediate and total destruction of the Canaanites, but only their gradual extermination (Ex. xxiii. 29, 30; Deut. vii. 22). And even though the Israelites never came into undisputed possession of the whole of the promised land, to the full extent of the boundaries laid down in Num. xxxiv. 1- 12, never conquering Tyre and Sidon for example, the promises of God were no more broken on that account than they were through the circumstance, that after the death of Joshua and the elder his contemporaries, Israel was sometimes hard pressed by the Canaanites; since the complete fulfilment of this promise was inseparably connected with the fidelity of Israel to the Lord (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, 10 vols., (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), Vol. II, p. 216).

Therefore, Joshua 21:43-45 must be viewed in the overall context of the Book of Joshua. Otherwise, it can be used erroneously as an argument for the fulfillment of the land covenant, or as an argument of disinheritance of the land from Israel.

Although at the end of the two major campaigns (Joshua 10-11) a summary is given that Joshua took all that land, and the hill-country (Joshua 11:16-20), indicating his work was done, and the Conquest was completed, it is an idealistic summary. It is further confirmed to be idealistic, as seen in chapter 13:1-6, which says, “There remains yet very much land to be possessed,” and then describes a list of unconquered cities (cf. Judges 1:27ff.). This is similar to Joshua 21:43-35, which indicates that Israel possessed all the land, all their enemies were defeated, and all that the Lord promised came to pass. Yet the Book of Judges makes it plain that this was not the case. So, the command to dispossess all the enemies in the land and to occupy their territory (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:23-31, Numbers 34:2, Deuteronomy 1:7, 8, etc.) has a similar implication. Ideally, Israel was to dispossess all their enemies, but in actuality many were left behind, and these became a snare to them. In fact it is indicated that this was part of the will of God in order to, discipline them (Joshua 23:12, 13, Judges 3:1,2) (Adrian Jeffers, “Ideal Versus Real History in the Book of Joshua,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Summer 1969), p. 183).

As much as the Israelites sinned, rebelled against God, and repeatedly failed Him, His faithfulness to them and to the covenant He made with Abraham remained intact. This should give us great consolation, as New Testament believers. Not to give us the idea we can do anything we want and get away with it, but to remind us that God is faithful, and we are secure in Christ (Romans 8:38-39), even though He will discipline us when we need it. While ours is not without conditions (John 15:1-17) like the covenant God made with Abraham, we still have great security (1 John 1:5-10).

Although some theologians insist that the statement in Joshua 21:43 means that the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant was fulfilled then, this cannot be true because later the Bible gives additional prophecies about Israel possessing the land after the time of Joshua (Amos 9:14-15). Again, Joshua 21:43, refers to the extent of the land as outlined in Numbers 34, and not to the ultimate extent it will be in the messianic kingdom (Gen. 15:18- 21). Also, though Israel possessed the land at this time it was later dispossessed, whereas the Abrahamic Covenant promised Israel that she would possess the land forever (Gen. 17:8) (Donald K. Campbell, ” Joshua,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), pp. 364-65).

In fact, many passages written after the time of Joshua promise a future for Israel (Isaiah 60:18, 21; Jeremiah 23:6-6; 24:5-6; 30:18; 31:31-34; 32:37-40; 33:6-9; Ezekiel 28:25-26; 34:11-12; 36:24-26; 37:1-14, 21-25; 39:28; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 2:18-29; Micah 2:12; 4:6-7; Zephaniah 3:19-20; and Zechariah 8:7-8; 12:10-13:1; 13:8-9). In addition, Deuteronomy 30:3-6 speaks of a still future restoration in belief. According to Zechariah 12:10. it appears that Israel, as a nation, turn to Christ at His Second Coming.

Amos 9:14-15, it is one of the clearest, future restoration passages promising the future restoration of Israel.

Amos 9:14-15

I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.”

In conclusion, as I demonstrated in my previous blog, Did the Church Replace Israel in the Plan of God?, Israel has a national future in which the Jews will be dwelling in the land under the blessing and favor of God. That occurs, or at least begins, during the Millennial Kingdom. By that time, Israel will have been converted to believe in Jesus as Messiah. At the present time, the current regathering of Israel in unbelief is for the purpose of putting God’s covenant people through the fire of tribulation (Jeremiah 30, especially verse 7; Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), which will result in the salvation of the remnant. Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:7-9 makes it clear that only a remnant of national Israel will be saved, that two-thirds of them will die. It is difficult to miss the clear message of this remnant teaching, unless one has a preconceived bias against the future fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and the Jews. Such is the case with those who hold to Replacement Theology, and I would call some of them blatantly anti-Zionist Evangelicals who have abandoned any pretense of the normal, literal approach to interpreting prophetic Scripture, and instead eisegete their Replacement Theology back into these passages. And some like Steven Sizer are flat-out anti-Semites. Some have even adopted what is called the “Palestinian Narrative,” which totally perverts the Scripture, and some in this camp even go so far as to make Jesus a Palestinian. If their Jesus is a Palestinian, they have a different Jesus who cannot save. The Jesus of the Bible is a Jew, of the House and lineage of David, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Any other Jesus is an imposter and an abomination who also stands in need of salvation.

By Jess Leeper

Below is a link to the formatted pdf file version of this article.

 2016-03-18 Did Joshua 21.43-45 Fullfill the Abrahamic Land Covenant