Beware of the “Anointed Ones”

Beware of the “Anointed Ones”

While this was not intended to be an exhaustive study on the matter of the “Messiah,” “Christ,” or “anointed ones,” it soon became apparent that it would be rather involved. I still don’t intend to do an exhaustive study on this, but I want to focus rather on how the term “anointed one” as it relates to false “anointed ones.”

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “mashiyach” refers to priests (Lev 4:3,5,16), kings (1 Sam. 24:6,10), the Messiah (Ps. 2:2), and even to the whole Hebrew nation (1 Chr. 16:22; Ps. 105:15). This Hebrew word “mashiyach” occurs in the following passages: Leviticus 4:3,5,16; 6:22; 1 Samuel 2:10,35; 12:3,5; 16:6; 24:6 (2x),10; 26:9,11,16,23; 2 Samuel 1:14,16,21; 19:21; 22:51; 23:1; 1 Chronicles 16:22; 2 Chronicles 6:42; Psalm 2:2; 18:50; 20:6; 28:8; 84:9; 89:39,51; 105:15; 132:10,17; Isaiah 45:1; Lamentations 4:20; and Habakkuk 3:13.

In the New Testament the Greek word “christos” is used hundreds of times to refer to Jesus Christ, but it is also used of false “christs” (Matt. 24:5,23,24; Mark 13:21,22; the word is implied in Mark 13:6 and Luke 21:8), in John the Baptist’s denial that he was the Christ (John 1:20,25; 3:28), and with the preposition “anti” to refer to antichrists, (1 John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John verse 7) and to the Antichrist (1 John 2:18).

This brings me to the issue on which I wish to focus—false “Christs,” or false “anointed ones.” Everywhere we turn these days we see preachers, teachers, and other “Christian” leaders claiming to have an “apostolic,” “prophetic,” or “healing” anointing, and an increasing number of them are bringing in other supposed “anointings.”

Christians are being led to believe they must go to this “prophetic” convention, that “healing” service, or that “apostolic” conference to get something from God. Many of these people, especially those who go to the “healing services,” are absolutely desperate for help, and they are convinced that if they can just get to that event they will be healed. It is true that God can and does heal, and He may even heal at an event held by some gospel hukster because God honors His word and the faith of His people in spite of the flawed vessels preaching His word. However, that does not excuse those false “anointed ones” who make merchandise of God’s people for their own unethical and immoral gain.

Matthew 24:5, 23, 24 says, “5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” NKJV

 

Mark 13:6, 21, 22 says, “6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many…. 21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” NKJV

Coupled with this information about false christs or false anointed ones is the warning or admonition not to be deceived. The warning occurs four times in Matthew 24 and several times in Mark 13 as well. Today many professing believers are being deceived by false anointed ones, false prophets, and false teachers. These false ones are slick and undermine the authority of the Bible and sound doctrine in many ways. A lot of conservative Bible believing Christians are aware of the problems with the liberal emerging church and social justice preachers who are trying to bring in “the kingdom of God” through their leftist social justice efforts, and now that movement is spreading throughout Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic churches. However, many are falling for the false teachings of those who have been, at least in the past, more conservative in their theology. People are being deceived by the prosperity gospel, teaching that God wants everyone wealthy and healthy, and if you’re poor and sick there must be sin in your life. That is another form of legalism. Many of these false teachers have become part of a conservative movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). They are attempting to bring in the kingdom of God by taking over the “7 Mountains” or “7 Spheres” of culture. Rather than focusing on liberal social justice programs, they believe they will “Christianize” the world (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/794-new-apostolic-reformation-2, https://bereanresearch.org/dominionism-nar/). This teaching is also called Kingdom Now, Reconstructionism and Dominionism among other names. It is the old teaching of Post Millennialism with a new face and varying degrees of intensity. But basically it teaches that the church will so influence the cultures of the world that Jesus will need to return to govern the kingdom the church has established for Him. As I look at church history and the current state of the church, I’d say we haven’t made much progress in taking over the “7 mountains” of culture (Education, Religion, Family, Business, Government/Military, Arts/Entertainment, Media). In fact, we’ve lost a lot of ground in the last 30 years, and especially in the last 3 years.

Now a lot of teachers in mainstream Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatics circles are calling into question the historicity of the events recorded in the Bible, such as the creation account, the existence of Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, the Exodus, David and Goliath, and other events. Here’s a link to just one example of this: (http://0352182.netsolhost.com/PREACHING%20ROCKETAndy%20Stanley%20creation%20-%20YouTube.mp4). This teacher has gone further off the deep end since that was recorded a few years ago.

Another false teaching gaining popularity is that all religions worship the same “god.” That is especially common when people are talking about Islam. They will say that the Yahweh of the Bible is the Allah of the Koran. That is a lie. The Allah of the Koran is likely Satan in the Bible, but he certainly isn’t Yahweh God. Brian Houston of Hillsong flatly stated that Muslims and Christians serve the same God. To the best of my knowledge he has never corrected or retracted this as a misspoken thought (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0M2T9gYOH4). Rick Warren calls Muslims his “brothers” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3uPGzTN8mI). And the Chrislam movement is spreading throughout the church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnV0Oe-WMdg).

When I hear teachers or preachers on television or radio claiming to be “God’s anointed,” my heresy antenna goes way up because I have learned through life they are usually preparing the hearers to receive some false teaching—some lie that promotes their heretical agenda. But too many people listen to these preachers with an open mind rather than an open Bible. We need to start being Bereans again. Acts 17:10-12 says, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (NKJV). If the Apostle Paul commended these people for searching the scriptures to see if what he said was true, then how much more should we be checking out what teachers tell us now?

We need to get back to the Bible, and stop being deceived by all these false teachers, with their false teachings (study the Bible rather than someone’s book or study guide about the Bible), their books, DVD’s, and CD’s. It’s time we get to know the Jesus Christ of the Bible, rather than chasing supposed “christs” or “anointed ones” all over the country, the internet, the Christian television and radio networks, iTunes, and the Christian bookstores. I’m not saying there aren’t some very good and valid materials for Christians to use and learn more about the Bible, but we do need to be very careful because there are many false teachers and their numbers and influence are increasing. Two of most dangerous places for a Christian, especially an immature one, these days is a Christian bookstore, and watching a Christian television network. In fact, William Paul Young, author of the theological abomination called “The Shack” has his own show on TBN called “Restoring the Shack” (https://www.tbn.org/search?s=the+shack&=Apply). The only reason a program like this can exist on a “Christian” television network is because there are so many biblically illiterate professing “Christians.” To paraphrase an old Sherlock Holmes line, The game is afoot, and the game is deception! Do NOT be deceived!

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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!

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!!!

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Revelation 6:1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. 3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. NKJV

TEXT: Revelation 6:1-8

THEME: Judgment is coming

INTRODUCTION: Our world is crying out for someone to come and fix the problems of the nations—the collapsing economies, the wars, the turmoil between nations, and the turmoil within nations that are collapsing from within. There is an old adage that says, “Be careful what you ask for; you may get it!” This is where we are today in the world, in our nation, and in the church. The world is asking for a leader and a government that they won’t want when they get it. We are—I believe—standing at the precipice of a world catastrophe unlike anything the world has ever seen, and many political and religious leaders are dumb dogs. Isaiah captured this thought when he spoke of the leaders of Israel.

The rest of this lesson is posted in this file.

2017-02-06-four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse-revised-sermon

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

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!