Passion Week – Monday – Jesus cleanses the Temple

Photo credit James Tissot painting

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

  1. On Monday, Jesus cleanses the temple.
  2. On the way back to Jerusalem Jesus curses the fig tree.
  3. When he arrives in Jerusalem, he cleanses the temple (though it’s debated, this is likely the area of the Royal Stoa, described by Josephus in Antiquitites 15.411–415, which ran the length of the southern wall of the Temple Mount).
  4. Jesus then did miracles in the temple and received challenges from the Jewish leaders and astonishment from the crowd.
  5. In the evening Jesus and the twelve return to Bethany.

The following synopsis is from Christian Classics Ethereal Library, written by Mark A. Copeland.


The Cleansing Of The Temple (John 2:13-25)


1. It is common to think of Jesus as a gentle, peace-loving man…

a. He certainly presented Himself as such on most occasions – e.g.,
Mt 11:28-30
b. People felt comfortable in bringing their children to Him – e.g.,
Mt 19:13-14

2. Yet on occasion Jesus displayed strong righteous indignation…
a. Such as when He visited Jerusalem during the Passover at the
beginning of His ministry
b. As He drove the moneychangers and merchandisers out of the temple
– Jn 2:13-15

[What prompted this outburst of anger? What gave Jesus the authority to
do this? What lessons might we glean from this event? As we seek to
find the answers let’s first note…]



1. The Lord’s rebuke reveals the reason for His outburst – cf. Jn 2:16
2. The sellers of oxen and sheep, along with the moneychangers,
had turned the temple into a house of merchandise
3. It was to be a house of prayer, they had turned it into a den
of thieves – cf. Mt 21:13
– The Lord was angered by the manner in which some used religion to make money

1. What if we attend church simply as a form of „networking”, to
make business contacts?
2. What if we take advantage of our relationship as brethren to
further a multilevel marketing business, a home-based business,
or any other financial enterprise?
– The Lord’s temple today is the church, we must be careful lest we defile it as well (cf. 1Co 3:16-17)

[The Lord has ordained that those who preach the gospel be supported (1 Col 9:14). But He is angered by those who view the Lord’s temple
(people) as a way to get rich. Next, we note that His anger was
prompted by…]


1. The disciples were reminded of an Old Testament prophecy – Jn 2:17; cf. Ps 69:9
2. Jesus had zeal (fervor) for God’s house, for it’s intended
purpose (a house of prayer)
– His great zeal for His Father’s house moved Him to action

1. Remember, today the Father’s house is the church – cf. 1 Ti 3:15
2. Do we have great zeal for the church?
a. That it fulfill it’s intended purpose (to make known God’s
will)? – cf. Ep 3:10-11
b. That we are troubled when we see people try to turn it into
something else, such as social club, or a purveyor of
– If we have zeal for the Lord’s house, we will not rest silent when others pervert its purpose

[Of course, the action we take may not be the same as what Jesus did.
Indeed, He took up „a whip of cords.” What right did He have to use
such a display of force? That’s what the Jews wanted to know…]


1. They wanted to know what sign (miracle) He could offer to prove
His right to cleanse the temple – Jn 2:18
2. Jesus offered His ability to rise from the dead as the ultimate
proof – Jn 2:19-22
a. Later, He would restate His claim to have this ability – Jn 10:17-18
b. His resurrection proved that He was the Son of God – cf. Ro 1:4
– He has been given the authority to exercise such judgment as cleansing the temple – cf. Jn 5:22,26-27

1. We are to judge with righteous judgment – Jn 7:24
a. At times we must distinguish between „hogs” and „dogs” – Mt 7:6
b. We can distinguish between good and bad fruit – Mt 7:15-20
2. But our authority to judge is limited – Mt 7:1-5
a. There are things we cannot judge in this life – 1Co 4:3-5
b. There are people we are not to judge – 1Co 5:11-13
c. Vengeance in particular belongs to the Lord – cf. Ro 12: 17-19
– While Jesus is our example (cf. 1Pe 2:21), there are some „steps” that He took that we cannot take

[The reason we cannot emulate the Lord in every case becomes evident as we consider…]


1. John mentions how many came to believe in Him because of His
signs – Jn 2:23
2. John also makes note of His unwillingness to commit Himself to
others at this time
a. He had no need to, because he knew all – Jn 2:24
b. He had no need to, because he knew what was in man – Jn 2:25
– Jesus is revealed as one who can discern the hearts of men – cf. Mt 9:4; Re 2:23

1. We cannot discern the hearts of men like the Lord can; note
these comments:
a. „Our Lord knew all men, their nature, dispositions,
affections, designs, so as we do not know any man, not even
b. „He knows his crafty enemies, and all their secret projects;
his false friends, and their true characters.”
c. „He knows who are truly his, knows their uprightness, and
knows their weaknesses.”
d. „We know what is done by men; Christ knows what is in them,
he tries the heart.”
– Matthew Henry Commentary
2. Since we cannot read the hearts of men, we must be careful
a. We are unable to always know the motives of others
b. We must approach those in opposition with humility – cf.
2Ti 2:24-26
c. We must approach brethren overtaken in a fault with
gentleness – cf. Ga 6:1


1. In contending for the faith (which is a solemn duty, Jude 3)…
a. Some often use the example of Jesus cleansing the temple to
justify their behavior
b. As they lash out in anger (righteous indignation?) towards those
teaching error

2. Is it right to appeal to Jesus’ example in this case…?
a. Can we appeal to every example of Jesus?
b. If so, are we justified to use a whip of cords as well?

3. The immediate context offers reasons to answer carefully…
a. Jesus possessed unlimited authority to judge man, proven by His
resurrection from the dead
b. Jesus possessed divine power to read the hearts of men, we
sometimes cannot even discern our own hearts

4. There are times for righteous indignation…
a. But some things must be left to the Lord, the righteous Judge
b. We must avoid what might actually be „self-righteous” indignation!

While we may not always be able to emulate the Lord’s prerogative to judge, we should certainly strive to copy His zeal for His Father’s house. Is our zeal for His church what it ought to be…?

On what day was Jesus really born? A New Testament Manuscript Expert Responds

A 1466 copy of Jewish historianFlavius Josephus‘ first century workAntiquities of the Jews, widely used to establish the chronology of Jesus. Photo from Wikipedia.

This is a study by Daniel B. Wallace , which you can read it in its entirety here-

Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater.

His Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1996) has become a standard textbook in colleges and seminaries. Dr. Wallace is also the Executive Director for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

Wallace – We must keep in mind that the Jesus we worship was truly born in time-space history. And that babe in the manger was truly crucified–and just as surely rose from the dead. The Bible is different from the sacred books of other religions because it invites historical investigation. And when it has met the test–as it surely always, inevitably does–it inculcates a greater devotion in the heart of the believer for the one we call the Son of God.

The Year Jesus Was Born

In the western hemisphere, we split time by the birth of Jesus Christ. But did he really even live? If so,when was he born?

Josephus records an eclipse of the moon just before Herod passed on. This occurred on March 12th or 13th in 4 B.C. Josephus also tells us that Herod expired just before Passover. This feast took place on April 11th, in the same year, 4 B.C. From other details supplied by Josephus, we can pinpoint Herod the Great’s demise as occurring between March 29th and April 4th in 4 B.C.

It might sound strange to suggest that Jesus Christ was born no later than 4 B.C. since B.C. means ‘before Christ.’ But our modern calendar which splits time between B.C. and A.D. was not invented until A.D. 525. At that time, Pope John the First asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years!

Now Matthew tells us that Herod killed Bethlehem’s babies two years old and under. The earliest Jesus could have been born, therefore, is 6 B.C. Through a variety of other time indicators, we can be relatively confident that the one called Messiah was born in either late 5 or early 4 B.C.

My atheist friend scoffs at such flexibility. He says, „If you don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, how do you know that he really lived?” That is hardly a reasonable question! The other day I called my mother to wish her a happy birthday. „Mom, how many candles on this birthday cake?” I inquired. „I don’t know, son–I don’t keep track any more,” she sighed. After a few minutes of pleasant conversation, we hung up.

Now, of course, I can’t be certain, but I do believe that that was my mother on the other end of the phone. She can’t remember how old she is (and she’s neither senile nor very old), but that doesn’t make her a figment of my imagination, does it? Because if she’s just a phantom, then for the last three minutes, you’ve been reading absolutely nothing!

The Day Jesus Was Born

This coming December 25th most parents will be lying to their children about old St. Nick. Some of us will be celebrating the birth of our Savior. But was he really born on this day?

Was Jesus really born on December 25th? Virtually every month on the calendar has been proposed by biblical scholars. So why do we celebrate his birth in December?

The tradition for December 25th is actually quite ancient. Hippolytus, in the second century A.D., argued that this was Christ’s birthday. Meanwhile, in the eastern Church, January 6th was the date followed.

But in the fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that December 25th was the correct date and from that day till now, the Church in the East, as well as the West, has observed the 25th of December as the official date of Christ’s birth.

In modern times, the traditional date has been challenged. Modern scholars point out that when Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep in the hills around Bethlehem. Luke tells us that an angel appeared to „some shepherds staying out in the fields [who were] keeping watch over their flock by night” (2:8).

Some scholars feel that the sheep were usually brought under cover from November to March; as well, they were not normally in the field at night. But there is no hard evidence for this. In fact, early Jewish sources suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round. So you can see, December 25th fits both tradition and the biblical narrative well. There is no sound objection to it.

Now admittedly, the sheep around Bethlehem were the exception, not the rule. But these were no ordinary sheep. They were sacrificial lambs. In the early spring they would be slaughtered at the Passover.

And God first revealed the Messiah’s birth to these shepherds–shepherds who protected harmless lambs which would soon die on behalf of sinful men. Whey they saw the baby, could they have known? Might they have whispered in their hearts what John the Baptist later thundered, „Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Now, of course, we can’t be absolutely certain of the day of Christ’s birth. At least, not this side of heaven. But an early winter date seems as reasonable a guess as any. And December 25th has been the frontrunner for eighteen centuries. Without more evidence, there seems no good reason to change the celebration date now.

We can blame the ancient church for a large part of our uncertainty. You see, they did not celebrate Christ’s birth. At all. To them, it was insignificant. They were far more concerned with his death . . . and resurrection.

But modern man has turned that around. A baby lying in a manger is harmless, non-threatening. But a man dying on a cross–a man who claims to be God–that man is a threat! He demands our allegiance! We cannot ignore him. We must either accept him or reject him. He leaves us no middle ground.

This Christmas season, take a close look at a nativity scene once again. Remove your rose-colored glasses–smell the foul air, see the cold, shivering animals. They represent the Old Testament sacrificial system. They are emblems of death. But they are mere shadows of the Babe in their midst. He was born to die . . . that all who believe in him might live.

The Visit of the Magi

When Jesus Christ was born, men–known as magi–came from the east to worship him. Were they wisemen . . . or astrologers?

Matthew begins his second chapter with these words: „Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, 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.'”

Who were these wise men from the east? Matthew tells us next to nothing about them–he doesn’t mention their names, nor how many there were–not even which country they came from. As mysteriously as they come on the scene, they disappear. . .

Though Matthew doesn’t tell us much, over-zealous Christians throughout church history have dogmatically filled in the blanks. By the 6th century A.D., these dark strangers were given thrones and names: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar were the alleged names of these alleged kings. But this has nothing to do with the biblical story: we really have no idea what their names were–nor even their number. There could have been 3 or 300 as far as we know! But one thing we do know for sure: they were not royalty. The ancient magi were reilgious and political advisors to eastern kings–but there wasn’t a drop of blue blood among them.

But isn’t it true that the magi were astrologers? And didn’t God prescribe death to astrologers in the Old Testament? ‘Not always’ and ‘yes’ are the answers. In Deuteronomy 17, God commands his people to execute all astrologers by stoning. Jean Dixon wouldn’t stand a chance in such a theocracy! The fact that she–and others like her–are so comfortably tolerated–even well respected!–in modern America ought to show us that the U.S.A. is a post-Christian country–at best . . .

But what about these ancient magi? Were they astrologers? After all, they followed a star to Bethlehem.

We might answer this in three ways: First, not all magi were astrologers, for Daniel the prophet was the chief of the magi in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Through his influence, undoubtedly many of the magi carried on their religious and political duties as worshippers of the One true God.

Second, there are some biblical scholars who believe that Isaiah predicted that a star would appear when the Messiah was born. If this interpretation is correct, then the magi who worshipped the newborn king were clearly following in Daniel’s train, for he almost surely taught them from Isaiah.

Third, although a few believe that the ‘star’ they saw was a natural phenomenon–such as a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter–this cannot explain how the star stood right over Bethlehem. Clearly, the ‘star’ was completely of supernatural origin. If so, it probably had nothing to do with astrology.

Therefore, the magi most likely did not subscribe to such superstitious folly. If so, they were truly wisemen . . .

I saw a bumper sticker the other day, which read, „Wise men still seek him.” Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The Bible tells us that „no one seeks God, not even one.” But if he has led us to himself, then we have become wise. For it is true that „wise men still worship him.”

The Boys from Bethlehem

One of the most heinous atrocities in human history was the murder of Bethlehem’s babies by Herod the Great. But did it really happen?

In the second chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we read that when Herod the Great heard of the Messiah’s birth, „he was troubled–and all Jerusalem with him.” Later, when the wise men did not report back to him, he became furious and ordered all the baby boys up to two years old in and around Bethlehem to be slaughtered!

Three questions come to mind as we consider this cruel incident: First, how many babies did Herod actually kill? Second, how old was Jesus when this happened? And finally, why does no other ancient historian record this outrage? In other words, did it really happen?

How many babies did Herod murder? Some scholars have suggested as many as 200! But most reject such a figure. Bethlehem was a small community–almost a suburb of Jerusalem. The village itself–and the surrounding countryside–would hardly have more than 30 male infants under two. Most scholars today place the number between 20 and 30.

But that’s if only the boy babies were killed. Actually, the Greek text of Matthew 2:16 could mean ‘babies’–not just ‘boy babies.’ And psychologically, Herod’s henchmen might not have bothered to check the gender of their victims. The number might be as high as 50 or 60.

Second, how old was Jesus when this occurred? According to the best chronological evidence, he could not have been more than three or four months old. He was more than likely born in the winter of 5 or 4 B.C.–Herod died in the early spring of 4 B.C. So why did Herod slay all children up to two years old? The answer to the third question might help to answer this one. . .

Third, why is this event not recorded outside the Bible? Specifically, why did Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, fail to mention it?

Josephus tells us much about Herod. The best word to describe his reign is ‘overkill.’ He murdered hisfavorite wife’s father, drowned her brother–and even killed her! He executed one of his most trusted friends, his barber, and 300 military leaders–all in a day’s work! Then he slew three of his sons, allegedly suspecting them of treason. Josephus tells us that „Herod inflicted such outrages upon (the Jews) as not even a beast could have done if it possessed the power to rule over men” (Antiquities of the Jews 17:310). Killing babies was not out of character for this cruel king. And killing them up to two years old–to make sure he got the baby Jesus lines up with his insane jealousy for power.

Josephus might have omitted the slaying of the babies for one of two reasons: first, he was no friend of Christianity and he left it out intentionally; or second, just before Herod died he locked up 3000 of the nation’s leading citizens and gave orders that they were to be executed at the hour of his death. He wanted to make sure that there would be mourning when he died. . . Israel was so preoccupied with this that the clandestine murder of a few babies might have gone unnoticed. . .

Herod thought that he had gained a victory over the king of the Jews. Yet this was a mere foreshadowing of the victory Satan thought he had when Jesus lay dead on a Roman cross. But the empty tomb proved that that dark Friday was Satan’s worst defeat!


We’ve been looking at several aspects of the birth of Jesus Christ in this short study. Now, we want to put it all together.

In the winter of 5 or 4 B.C., God invaded history by taking on the form of a man. He was born in a small town just south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem, which means ‘the house of bread,’ indeed became worthy of its name one lonely winter night. For there, in that town, was born the Bread of Life . . .

His mother placed the infant king in a manger–or feeding trough–because the guest room where they were to stay was occupied. The birth of this king was celebrated that night only by his mother, her husband, and a handful of shepherds. The shepherds had been in the fields around Bethlehem, guarding the lambs which would die at the next Passover. An angel appeared to them and gave them the birth announcement: „today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). In their simple faith, they rushed to see their newborn king.

Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem and inquired of king Herod where the real king of the Jews was to be born. The theologians of Herod’s court knew the Scriptures well–in ‘Bethlehem’ they recited. Ironically, though they knew the Scriptures, they did not believe them! They did not even bother to travel the five or six miles to Bethlehem to see their Messiah.

But Herod believed the Scriptures! That is why he sent a corps of butchers to Bethlehem to slaughter innocent children, in hopes of destroying this rival to his throne. But he was too late. The magi had come and gone and Jesus was by now safe in Egypt.

And the magi believed the Scriptures. They had traveled several hundred miles to worship this Babe. They were guided to Bethlehem by a supernatural celestial phenomenon–and by the Scriptures. Apparently, their ancestors had been instructed by Daniel the prophet about the coming Messiah. . . When they saw the child, they fell down and worshiped him. This was God in the flesh. They could do no other.

And they gave him gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This was an unusual present–by any standards. The gold, of course, we all can understand–but the frankincense and myrrh were odd. Perhaps they had read Isaiah’s prophecy that „nations will come to your light, and kings to your rising . . . They will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news. . . ” (Isa. 60:3, 6). This explains the frankincense, but not the myrrh.

Now myrrh, like frankincense, was a perfume. But unlike frankincense, myrrh smelled of death. In the ancient world, it was used to embalm a corpse. Jesus himself would be embalmed with this very perfume (cf.John 19:39).

If the magi were thinking of Jesus’ death when they brought the myrrh, they no doubt knew of it from Daniel’s prophecy (9:24-27). In the ninth chapter of Daniel we read that the ‘Messiah will be cut off’ and this ‘will make atonement for iniquity’ and ultimately ‘bring in everlasting righteousness’ (9:26, 24).

Even at the birth of our Savior, the shadow of the cross is already falling over his face. . .

The theologians of Herod’s court did not believe the Scriptures. They were fools. Herod believed, but disobeyed. He was a madman. The simple shepherds and the majestic magi believed in this infant Savior–and it was reckoned to them as righteousness. May we follow in their train.

The most prominent prophecies foretold in the Old Testament and then fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament.

Jesus is King

The most prominent 13 prophecies about Jesus, which were both foretold in the Old Testament and then fulfilled in the New Testament.

  1. Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matt 1:23
  2. Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matt 2:1
  3. Lived in Nazareth * Isaiah 11:1 Matt 2:21-23
  4. Rejected by his own Isaiah 6:10, 53:1-3John 1:11
  5. Enters Jerusalem triumphantly Zecharia 9:9 John 12:12-19
  6. Betrayed by a friend Zecharia 11:12-13 Matt 26:14
  7. Died with criminals Isa. 53:9 Matthew 27:38
  8. Buried with the rich Isa 53:9-12 Matthew 27:57060
  9. Lots cast for his clothes Psl 22:18 Luke 23:24
  10. Offered vinegar to drink Ps 69:21 Matthew 27:34
  11. Dying words are given Ps 22:1, 31:5  Matthew 27:46, Lk. 23:46
  12. No bone is broken Psalms 34:20 John 19:36
  13. His side to be pierced Psalms  22:16, Zech 12:10 John 19:34

From Jack Wellman’s book, „Blind Chance or Intelligent Design, Empirical Methodologies and the Bible„, (chapter five).

Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled by Christ

via Wilmington/Tyndale Guide to the Bible (P 350)

You can reverently see the mighty hand of God guiding men throughout thousands of years and inspiring them through His Holy Spirit as they lay ink to papyrus and lay down God’s Word in such a way as to see it come to pass in a (mind boggling) mathematically impossible improbability.

  1. Born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled in Matthew 1:22,23
  2. Given the throne of David – 2 Samuel 7:11-12; Psalm 132:11; Isaiah 9:6, 16:5,Jeremiah 23:5 Fulfilled in Luke 1:31-32
  3. This throne to be an eternal throne – Daniel 2:44, 7:14,27; Micah 4:7 Fulfilled in Luke 1:33
  4. To be called Emmanuel – Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled in Matthew 1:23
  5. To have a forerunner – Isaiah 40:3-5; Maleachi 3:1 Fulfilled in Luke 1:76-78, 3:3-6; Matthew 3:1-3
  6. To be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:5-6
  7. To be worshipped by wise men and be presented with Gifts – Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 60:3, 6, 9 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:11
  8. To be in Egypt for a season – Numbers 24:8, Hosea 11:1 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:15
  9. Birthplace to suffer a massacre of infants – Jeremiah 31:15 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:17-18
  10. To be called a Nazarene – Isaiah 11:1 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:23
  11. To be zealous for the Father – Psalm 69:9, 119:139 Fulfilled in John 2:16-17
  12. To be filled with God’s Spirit – Isaiah 11:2, 61:1-2; Psalm 45:7 Fulfilled in Luke 4:18-19
  13. To heal many – Isaiah 53:4 Fulfilled in Matthew 8:16-17
  14. To deal gently with the Gentiles – Isaiah 9:1-2, 42:1-3 Fulfilled in Matthew 12:17-21, 4:13-16
  15. To speak in parables – Isaiah 6:9-10 Fulfilled in Matthew 13:10-15
  16. To be rejected by His own – Isaiah 53:3, Psalm 69:8 Fulfilled in John 1:11, 7:5
  17. To make a triumphal entry into Jerusalem – Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled in Matthew 21:4-5
  18. To be praised by little children – Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled in Matthew 21:16
  19. To be the rejected cornerstone – Psalm 118:22-23 Fulfilled in Matthew 21:42
  20. That His miracles would not be believed – Isaiah 53:1 Fulfilled in John 12:37-38
  21. To be betrayed by His friend for 30 pieces of silver – Psalm 41:9, 55:12-14 Fulfilled in Matthew 26:14-16, 21-25
  22. To be a man of sorrows – Isaiah 53:3 Fulfilled in Matthew 26:37-38
  23. To be forsaken by His disciples – Zechariah 13:7 Fulfilled in Matthew 26:31, 56
  24. To be scourged and spat upon – Isaiah 50:6 Fulfilled in Matthew 26:67, 27:26
  25. His price money to be used to buy a potter’s field – Zechariah 11:12-13; Jeremiah 18:1-4, 19:1-4 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:9-10
  26. To be crucified between two thieves – Isaiah 53:12 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:38
  27. To be given vinegar to drink – Psalm 69:21 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:34, 48; John 19:36-40
  28. To suffer the piercing of hands and feet – Psalm 22:15; Zechariah 12:10 Fulfilled in Matthew 15:25; John 19:34,37, 20:25-27
  29. His garments to be parted and gambled for – Psalm 22:18 Fulfilled in Luke 23:34; John 19:23-24
  30. To be surrounded and ridiculed by His enemies – Psalm 22:7-8 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:39-44; Mark 15:29-32
  31. That He would thirst – Psalm 22:15 Fulfilled in John 19:28
  32. To commend His spirit to the Father – Psalm 31:5 Fulfilled in Luke 23:46
  33. No bones to be broken – Psalm 34:20; Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12 Fulfilled in John 19:33-36
  34. To be stared at in death – Zechariah 12:10 Fulfilled in John 19:37; Matthew 27:36
  35. To be buried with the rich – Isaiah 53:9 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60
  36. To be raised from the dead – Psalm 16:10 Fulfilled in Matthew 28:2-8
  37. To ascend – Psalm 24:7-10; Isaiah 52:13 Fulfilled in Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51

John MacArthur – Isaiah 53 The Riddle of Redemption

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Message from – Moody Founder’s Week 2013
Watch/read D A Carson’s message at Moody Founder’s Week 2013 here – When Jesus confronts the world 

Watch/read Tony Evans’s message at Moody Founder’s Week 2013 here – There is no more important place to know Christ than the struggles of lifeisaiah scroll
This is about Christ, and about knowing Christ. Martin Luther said,”There’s a chapter in the Bible that every Christian should memorize, if that Christian intends to know Christ.” The German theologian, in 1866 said, „There is the chapter of the Bible, that is the most central, the deepest, the loftiest that Scripture has ever achieved. That same chapter, others have called ‘The Gospel of all vocabulary’. There’s a chapter in the Bible that has such stirring predictions, so complex, that only God could have known them centuries before history unfolded them. There’s a chapter in the Bible that is the most comprehensive exposition of the cross in all of Scripture, the most complete description of the substitutionary vicarious sacrificial death of the Savior in all of Holy writ. This same chapter has a scope that extends from eternity past to eternity future, and gathers up a whole history of redemption by focusing on the redeemer. It sweeps from His position in the eternal trinity to His return to full glory with His redeemed in the new heavens and the new earth. There is a chapter that embraces His past glory, His incarnation, His humiliation, His rejection, His unjust treatment, His unfair trial, His mistreatment, His death sentence, His execution, His resurrection, His intercession, His exaltation, and His coronation.

What is this chapter? It is the first Gospel, and it’s not Matthew. Matthew is the second Gospel. This is a chapter that is sufficient to save sinners. In fact, it is a chapter that was used by Philip to explain the Gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch. This is a chapter that you know. It is Isaiah 53- the first Gospel.

The description of the atoning work of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53 surpasses any single Scripture on those subjects in the epistles of the New Testament. Let me tell you about Isaiah. 66 chapters, same as the number of books of the Bible. It’s split into two parts: the first 39 and the second 27. Exactly the way the Bible is split: Old Testament 39 books, New Testament 27.

The first 39 are about judgment, much like the Old Testament. The last 27 chapters (of Isaiah) are about redemption, just like the New Testament – Salvation. The last 27 are divided into 3 – 9 – 9 – and 9. The first 9 is about the physical salvation of Israel, the last 9 are about the physical salvation of creation. And the middle 9 is about the spiritual salvation of sinners. (8) So, let’s go down into the middle 9, and the middle chapter is chapter 53, and the middle verse, essentially, is, „He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inequities.” The Holy Spirit forces us right down into this incredible chapter. Isaiah 53 has been called the torture chamber of the rabbis. It has been called the guilty conscience of the Jews. And it is that. They run from this chapter like the black death.

This chapter, stepping back in history and the place that it occupies in Scripture, this chapter answers the most critical question that will ever be asked or answered, ever, by anyone, anytime. The most essential question, the most important question is answered by this chapter. Religion must answer this question correctly or it is form hell. Any religion that does not give the right answer to this question is right out of hell. What is the question? It’s the riddle of the Old Testament. Did you know there was a riddle in the Old Testament? Turn to Exodus 34. Moses comes before God and wants God to assure him, he wants God to show up and reveal His glory. In Exodus 34:5 we read „the Lord descended from a cloud and stood there as he called upon the name of the Lord.” Now, the Lord is going to introduce Himself. „The Lord passed by in front of Him and proclaimed, „The Lord God, compassionate, and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth, who keeps grace, loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.” And, by the way, „He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” That’s the riddle of the Old Testament.

That’s the riddle of redemption. How can God be gracious and punish the guilty? The answer to that is Isaiah 53. He will punish someone else. How can God, in the words of Paul, be just and the justifier of sinners? That is the question: How can a sinner be reconciled to a holy God? How can God love and bring to heavenly glory, sinners, without violating his righteousness? That is the question. If the right answer to that question is SAVED, then every other wrong answer DAMNS. That’s why I say that whoever doesn’t answer that question accurately is from hell. One more thing to say, about Isaiah 53. Just by way of introduction, if we think about it, this is a paralyzingly sad chapter. I don’t know of a sadder moment in all of redemptive history than the moment depicted in this chapter. It is horrific, beyond comprehension. This starts out as the most plaintive lament, the most extreme expression of sorrow. It is a kind of epic dirge. It is a funeral song with massive, sweeping implications. The crushing sorrow that is depicted in Isaiah 53 has no historic parallel, exceeds all other sorrows. (13:25)

The astonishing revelation

We start back in Isaiah 52 at verse 13. And, everything about this section is astonishing, absolutely astonishing. To start, in verse 13 we come to the very words of God. This section begins and ends with God speaking. God speaks in 52:13-15 and speaks half way through verse 11 and verse 12. So, what happens in the middle is bracketed by the words of God. God introduces and God sums up what’s in this great chapter. In 52:13-15, God Himself introduces the Messiah. He introduces His servant, His slave. First, it is an astonishing revelation. By the way, this is the 4th chapter that focuses on the servant or slave of God- the Messiah- vv. 42, 49, 50, 53. All servant songs, slave songs of the slave of God. He introduces Him: Behold because it is astonishing. „My slave will succeed”. Any reader of the Old Testament knows that that’s a Messianic title. Going all the way back to chapter 42, this is the Messiah. (15:29)

He will prosper. Actually, in Hebrew it is ‘act intelligently, act wisely’, succeed. It’s important that we understand that’s how God introduces this, because when He came, it looked like He didn’t succeed. It looked to the world like He failed. Then He begins to introduce Him. He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. That identifies Him. Well, you say, isn’t that just repetitious? No, in the Hebrew, here’s what it says: He will be high, He will be higher, He will be highest. And those 3 designations in combination, only appear in one other place in all of Scripture. And those three designations refer to God. They only appear together in one other place- Isaiah 6. „I saw the Lord high, and higher, and highest.” So, now we know that the slave is God.

The astonishing humiliation

isaiah 53 5

The deity of Messiah is proclaimed. Verse 14 adds: Just as many were astonished at you My people, so His appearance was far more than any man.”  Now we know that He not only will be God, but He will also be man. The God man. He will be marred, that word in Hebrew means mutilated, it means distorted, it means disfigured. And, so extremely disfigured as to be literally beyond human recognition, looking like a beast, not a man. This servant is God? The eternal God: high, higher, highest. Exalted, loftiest, sitting on His throne. And, in the New testament, we know the writer of the Gospel of John tells us that the vision of Isaiah 6 is none other than Jesus Christ. He is God, lifted up and exalted. And He is man, marred, disfigured. This is the second riddle. Who is this Messiah? The Jews had a Messianic view, they had a concept of Messiah. I don’t know that they thought He would be God, but they assumed that He would be exalted. They had no sense that He would be marred, disfigured, far form it. But, that is only temporary.

His marring will be so severe, end of verse 14, that His form would be disfigured and distorted more than the sons of man. The implication of the language is- in face and form He will become subhuman. And we know that happened. All the brutality imposed upon Him. The physical distortion of His body, in all that He suffered and the distortion of His face, from sin bearing… We’re glad to get to verse 15. because the astonishing revelation, followed by the astonishing humiliation, brings us to the astonishing exaltation. (19:50)

The astonishing exaltation

„He will startle many nations.” Startle means to burst, to jump up. „He will startle many nations and Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him. What has not been told them, they will see, what they had not heard they will understand.” This is His final exaltation. So, God Himself, introduces His servant, His slave, the slave of Yahweh. the slave of Messiah, who is to come. He will be God, He will be man, He will be marred, He will be exalted. There is the career of the Lord Jesus in broad terms, from the mouth of God. This information is given to the Jews from Isaiah, 700 years before Jesus came. (21)

Isaiah 53

Now, let’s come to chapter 53. And, all of a suede something changes. Verses 13-15 ‘1st person- future’. „He will be”… „He will…” Kings will..”  „they will…”, „they will see..”. All future- speaking of the coming of the Messiah. Everything changes. This is one speaker: God, speaking of the future career of His servant. When you come to verse 1, everything changes. Everything now is in the past tense. And plural pronouns: „we”, „our”, „us”. The big question for us is, „Who is talking?” Not God. Who is speaking?

The Suffering Servant

53 Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

Who is saying this? Who is making this massive confession? What group of people is this? What group of people is this? This is plural ‘til you get down to verse 11, where God begins to speak again. Who is this? It is Israel.

What did we learn about Isaiah? Israel’s physical deliverance in the first 9 chapters of the second half, and Israel’s salvation in the second nine. You bore down to those 9 in the middle chapter and the middle verses- this is the prophecy, not the death of Christ. This is not a prophecy of the death of Christ, this is a prophecy of the future conversion of Israel, when they look back at the death of Christ and see who He really was. This is stunning. This leaps across the death and resurrection of Christ to the future conversion of Israel. That’s why Isaiah gave this. To give hope for the national salvation of his people.

Remember Ezekiel 36, when God promises salvation to Israel, a new heart, His spirit… you remember Jeremiah 31, the covenant passage promised to Israel, where God saves Israel. But, you might wanna think about this in terms of another prophecy. As you come to the end of the Old Testament, in Zechariah 12:10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 
And Zechariah sees the future day, when Israel has, by the sovereign purposes of God, the spirit of grace and supplication comes down from heaven and gives them life. And when God does that, they will look on the one they pierced and they will mourn. vv 11-14 11 In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves. What are they all mourning about? That is the future work of God, when He saves the nation of Israel. Romans 11 „So, all Israel will be saved”. That’s the future promise of God.

When that day comes, what will they say? They will recite Isaiah 53. This is their confession. That’s why it’s in the past tense. Think of it this way, as we look at this incredible chapter. Why the mourning? Why the horror? Why does everybody mourn, from the lowest to the highest? From the King, the leader, always down to the humblest family? What is all this mourning and weeping, and sorrowing? It’s obvious. In that future day, when Israel is saved, they will look back over their history and realize that everyone that came before them and rejected Jesus Christ was damned forever. The horror. All the history of holocaust, all those people are lost. The mourning will be beyond comprehension. (transcript from first 30 min provided by our blog)

366 prophecies foretold in the Old Testament and then fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament

Isaiah prophecies Christ Photo credit

There are at least 1,800 prophecies in the Old Testament.

The astounding list below is of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus already fulfilled in the New Testament:

1. Genesis 3:15…..Seed of a woman (virgin birth)…..Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18-20
2. Genesis 3:15…..He will bruise Satan’s head…..Hebrews 2:14, 1 John 3:18
3. Genesis 5:24….The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated….Mark 6:19
4. Genesis 9:26-27…The God of Shem will be the Son of Shem…Luke 3:36
5. Genesis 12:3…As Abraham’s seed, will bless all nations…Acts 3:25,26
6. Genesis 12:7…The The Promise made made to Abraham’s Seed…Galatians 3:16
7. Genesis 14:18…A priest after Melchizedek…Hebrews 6:20
8. Genesis 14:18……..A King also……..Hebrews 7:2
9. Genesis 14:18…The Last Supper foreshadowed…Matthew 26:26-29
10. Genesis 17:19…….The Seed of Isaac…….Romans. 9:7
11. Genesis 21:12 …Seed of Isaac…Romans 9:7, Hebrews 11:18
12. Genesis 22:8…The Lamb of God promised…John 1:29
13. Genesis 22:18…As Isaac’s seed, will bless all nations…Galatians 3:16
14. Genesis26:2-5..The Seed of Isaac promised as the Redeemer..Hebrews11:18
15. Genesis 49:10…The time of His coming…Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4
16. Genesis 49:10…….The Seed of Judah…….Luke 3:33
17. Genesis 49:10……Called Shiloh or One Sent……John 17:3
18. Genesis 49:10…To come before Judah lost identity…John 11:47-52
19. Genesis 49:10…To Him shall the obedience of the people be…John 10:16
20. Exodus 3:13,14……..The Great „I Am”…….John 4:26
21. Exodus 12:5…A Lamb without blemish…1 Pet. 1:19
22. Exodus 12:13…The blood of the Lamb saves Romans wrath…Romans. 5:8
23. Exodus 12:21-27…Christ is our Passover…1 Corinthians 5;7
24. Exodus 12:46…Not a bone of the Lamb to be broken…John 19:31-36
25. Exodus 13:2…Blessing to first born son…Luke 2:23
26. Exodus 15:2…His exaltation predicted as Yeshua…Acts 7:55,56
27. Exodus 15:11…His Character-Holiness…Luke 1:35; Acts 4:27
28. Exodus 17:6…The Spiritual Rock of Israel…1 Corinthians 10;4
29. Exodus 33:19…His Character-Merciful…Luke 1:72
30. Leviticus14:11…The leper cleansed-Sign to priesthood..Luke5:12-14; Acts 6:7
31. Leviticus16:15-17…Prefigures Christ’s once-for-all death…Hebrews 9:7-14
32. Leviticus16:27…Suffering outside the Camp…Matthew 27:33; Hebrews 13:11, 12
33. Leviticus17:11…The Blood-the life of the flesh…Matthew 26;28; Mark 10:45
34. Leviticus17:11…It is the blood that makes atonement…1 John 3:14-18
35. Leviticus23:36-37…The Drink-offering: „If any man thirst.” ..John 19:31-36
36. Numbers 9:12…Not a bone of Him broken…John 19:31-36
37. Numbers 21:9…The serpent on a pole-Christ lifted up…John 3:14-18
38. Numbers 24:8… Flight to Egypt…Matthew 2:14
39. Numbers 24:17…Time: „I shall see him, but not now.”…Galatians 4:4
40. Numbers 24:17-19…A star out of Jacob…Matthew 2:2, Luke 1:33,78, Revelation 22:16
41. Deuteronomy 18:15…”This is of a truth that prophet.”…John 6:14
42. Deuteronomy 18:15-16…”Had ye believed Moses, ye would believe me.”…John 5:45-47
43. Deuteronomy 18:18…Sent by the Father to speak His word…John 8:28, 29
44. Deuteronomy 18:19…Whoever will not hear must bear his sin…John 12:15
45. Deuteronomy 21:13-23…As a prophet…John 6:14; 7:40, Acts 3:22,23
46. Deuteronomy 21:23…Cursed is he that hangs on a tree…Galatians 3:10-13
47. Ruth 4:4-9…Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us…Ephesians 1:3-7
48. 1 Samuel 2:10…Shall be an anointed King to the Lord…Matthew 28:18; John 12:15
49. 2 Samuel 7:12…David’s Seed…Matthew 1:1
50. 2 Samuel 7:14a…The Son of God… Luke 1:32
51. 2 Samuel 7:16…David’s house established forever…Luke 3:31; Rev. 22:16
52. 2 Samuel 23:2-4…would be the „Rock”…1 Corinthians 10:4
53. 2 Samuel 23:2-4…would be as the „light of the morning”…Revelation 22:16
54. 2 Kings 2:11…The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated…Luke 24:51
55. 1 Chronicles 17:11…David’s Seed…Matthew 1:1; 9:27
56. 1 Chronicles 17:12, 13a…To reign on David’s throne forever…Luke 1:32, 33
57. 1 Chronicles 17:13a…”I will be His Father, He…my Son.”…Hebrews 1:5
58. Job 19:23-27…The Resurrection predicted…John 5:24-29
59. Psalms 2:1-3…The enmity of kings foreordained…Acts 4:25-28
60. Psalms 2:2…To own the title, Anointed (Christ)…Acts 2:36
61. Psalms 2:6…His Character-Holiness…John 8:46; Rev. 3:7
62. Psalms 2:6…To own the title King…Matthew 2:2
63. Psalms 2:7…Declared the Beloved Son…Matthew 3:17
64. Psalms 2:7, 8…The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated…Acts 13:29-33
65. Psalms 2:12…Life comes through faith in Him…John 20:31
66. Psalms 8:2…The mouths of babes perfect His praise…Matthew 21:16
67. Psalms 8:5, 6…His humiliation and exaltation…Luke 24:50-53; 1 Corinthians 15:27
68. Psalms 16:10…Was not to see corruption…Acts 2:31
69. Psalms 16:9-11…Was to arise from the dead…John 20:9
70. Psalms 17;15…The resurrection predicted…Luke 24:6
71. Psalms 22:1…Forsaken because of sins of others…2 Corinthians 5:21
72. Psalms 22:1…Words spoken from Calvary, „My God…” Mark 15:34
73. Psalms 22:2…Darkness upon Calvary…Matthew 27:45
74. Psalms 22:7…They shoot out the lip and shake the head…Matthew 27:39
75. Psalms 22:8..” He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him „…Matthew 27:43
76. Psalms 22:9……Born the Savior……Luke 2:7
77. Psalms 22:14…Died of a broken (ruptured) heart…John 19:34
78. Psalms 22:14,15…Suffered agony on Calvary…Mark 15:34-37
79. Psalms 22:15……..He thirsted……..John 19:28
80. Psalms 22:16…They pierced His hands and His feet….John 19:34,37;20:27
81. Psalms 22:17,18…Stripped Him before the stares of men…Luke 23:34,35
82. Psalms 22:18…..They parted His garments…..John 19:23,24
83. Psalms 22:20,21…He committed Himself to God…Luke23:46
84. Psalms 22:20,21..Satanic power bruising the Redeemer’s heel.. Hebrews 2:14
85. Psalms 22:22…..His Resurrection declared…..John 20:17
86. Psalms 22:27…He shall be the governor of the nations…Col 1:16
87. Psalms 22:31……”It is finished”……John 19:30
88. Psalms 23:1….”I am the Good Shepherd”….John 10:11
89. Psalms 24:3……His exaltation predicted……Acts 1:11; Phil. 2:9
90. Psalms 27:12…Accused by false witnesses…Matthew 26:60,61, Mark 14:57,58
91. Psalms 30:3……His resurrection predicted……Acts 2:32
92. Psalms 31:5…”Into thy hands I commit my spirit”…Luke 23:46
93. Psalms 31:11…His acquaintances fled from Him…Mark 14:50
94. Psalms 31:13…They took counsel to put Him to death…John 11:53
95. Psalms 31:14,15…” He trusted in God, let Him deliver him”…Matthew 27:43
96. Psalms 34:20…..Not a bone of Him broken…..John 19:31-36
97. Psalms 35:11….False witnesses rose up against Him….Matthew 26:59
98. Psalms 35:19…He was hated without a cause…John 15:25
99. Psalms 38:11…..His friends stood afar off…..Luke 23:49
100. Psalms 40:2-5…The joy of His resurrection predicted…John 20:20
101. Psalms 40:6-8….His delight-the will of the Father….John 4:34
102. Psalms 40:9….He was to preach the Righteousness in Israel….Matthew 4:17
103. Psalms 40:14…Confronted by adversaries in the Garden…John
104. Psalms 41:9…..Betrayed by a familiar friend…..John 13:18
105. Psalms 45:2…Words of Grace come from His lips.. Luke 4:22
106. Psalms 45:6…To own the title, God or Elohim…Hebrews 1:8
107. Psalms 45:7…A special anointing by the Holy Spirit…Matthew3:16; Hebrews1:9
108. Psalms 45:7,8…Called the Christ (Messiah or Anointed)…Luke 2:11
109. Psalms 49-15…His Resurrection…Acts 2:27; 13:35, Mark 16:6
110. Psalms 55:12-14…Betrayed by a friend, not an enemy…John 13:18
111. Psalms 55:15…Unrepentant death of the Betrayer…Matthew 27:3-5; Acts 1:16-19
112. Psalms 68:18…To give gifts to men…Ephesians 4:7-16
113. Psalms 68:18…Ascended into Heaven…Luke 24:51
114. Psalms 69:4…Hated without a cause…John 15:25
115. Psalms 69:8…A stranger to own brethren…Luke 8;20,21
116. Psalms 69:9…Zealous for the Lord’s House…John 2:17
117. Psalms 69:14-20…Messiah’s anguish of soul before crucifixion…Matthew 26:36-45
118. Psalms 69:20…”My soul is exceeding sorrowful.”…Matthew 26:38
119. Psalms 69:21…Given vinegar in thirst…Matthew 27:34
120. Psalms 69:26…The Savior given and smitten by God…John 17:4; 18:11
121. Psalms 72:10,11…Great persons were to visit Him…Matthew 2:1-11
122. Psalms 72:16…The corn of wheat to fall into the Ground…John 12:24
123. Psalms 72:17…His name, Yinon, will produce offspring…John 1:12,13
124. Psalms 72:17…All nations shall be blessed by Him…Acts 2:11,12,41
125. Psalms 78:1.2…He would teach in parables…Matthew 13:34-35
126. Psalms 78:2b…To speak the Wisdom of God with authority…Matthew 7:29
127. Psalms 88:8…They stood afar off and watched…Luke 23:49
128. Psalms 89:26…Messiah will call God His Father…Matthew 11:27
129. Psalms 89:27…Emmanuel to be higher than earthly kings…Luke 1:32,33
130. Psalms 89:35-37…David’s Seed, throne, kingdom endure forever…Luke 1:32,33
131. Psalms 89:36-37…His character-Faithfulness…Rev. 1:5
132. Psalms 90:2…He is from everlasting (Micah 5:2)…John 1:1
133. Psalms 91:11,12…Identified as Messianic; used to tempt Christ…Luke 4;10,11
134. Psalms 97:9…His exaltation predicted…Acts 1:11;Ephesians 1:20
135. Psalms 100:5…His character-Goodness…Matthew 19:16,17
136. Psalms 102:1-11…The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary…John 21:16-30
137. Psalms 102:16…Son of Man comes in Glory…Luke 21:24
Revelation 12:5-10
138. Psalms 102:25-27…Messiah is the Preexistent Son…Hebrews 1:10-12
139. Psalms 109:4…Prays for His enemies…Luke 23:34
140. Psalms 109:7,8…Another to succeed Judas…Acts 1:16-20
141. Psalms 109:25…Ridiculed…Matthew 27:39
142. Psalms 110:1…Son of David…Matthew 22:43
143. Psalms 110:1…To ascend to the right-hand of the Father…Mark16:19
144. Psalms 110:1…David’s son called Lord…Matthew 22:44,45
145. Psalms 110:4…A priest after Melchizedek’s order…Hebrews 6:20
146. Psalms 112:4…His character-Compassionate, Gracious, et al… Matthew 9;36
147. Psalms 118:17,18…Messiah’s Resurrection assured…Luke 24:5-7;1 Corinthians 15:20
148. Psalms 118:22,23…The rejected stone is Head of the corner…Matthew 21:42,43
149. Psalms 118:26a…The Blessed One presented to Israel…Matthew 21:9
150. Psalms 118:26b…To come while Temple standing…Matthew 21;12-15
151. Psalms 132:11…The Seed of David (the fruit of His Body)…Luke 1:32
152. Psalms 138:1-6…The supremacy of David’s Seed amazes kings… Matthew 2:2-6
153. Psalms 147:3,6…The earthly ministry of Christ described…Luke 4:18
154. Psalms 1:23…He will send the Spirit of God… John 16;7
155. Proverbs 8:22-23…The Messiah would be from everlasting…John 17:5
156. Proverbs 30:4…Declared to be the Son of God…John 3:13, Romans 1:2-4, 10:6-9, 2 Peter 1:17
157. Song of Solomon 5:16…The altogether lovely One…John 1:17
158. Isaiah 2:2-4…Repentance for the nations…Luke 24:47
159. Isaiah 4:2…Messiah reigning
160. Isaiah 5:1-6…Son of God’s vineyard: a parable of judgment
161. Isaiah 6:1…When Isaiah saw His glory… John 12:40-41
162. Isaiah 6:9-10…Parables fall on deaf ears…Matthew 13:13-15
163. Isaiah 6:9-12…Blinded to Christ and deaf to His words…Acts 28:23-29
164. Isaiah 7:14…To be born of a virgin…Luke 1:35
165. Isaiah 7:14…To be Emmanuel-God with us… Matthew 1:18-23
166. Isaiah 8:8…Called Emmanuel…Matthew 28:20
167. Isaiah 8:14…A stone of stumbling, a Rock of offense… 1 Pet. 2:8
168. Isaiah 9:1,2…His ministry to begin in Galilee…Matthew 4:12-17
169. Isaiah 9:6…A child born-Humanity…Luke 1:31
170. Isaiah 9:6…A Son given-Deity…Luke 1:32; John 1;14; 1 Tim. 3:16
171. Isaiah 9:6…Declared to be the Son of God with power… Romans. 1:3,4
172. Isaiah 9:6…The Wonderful One, Peleh…Luke 4:22
173. Isaiah 9:6…The Counselor, Yaatz…Matthew 13:54
174. Isaiah 9:6…The Mighty God, El Gibor…Matthew 11:20
175. Isaiah 9:6…The Everlasting Father, Avi Adth…John 8:58
176. Isaiah 9:6…The Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom…John . 16:33
177. Isaiah 9:7…To establish an everlasting kingdom…Luke 1:32-33
178. Isaiah 9:7…His Character-Just…John 5:30
179. Isaiah 9:7…No end to his Government, Throne, and Peace…Luke 1:32-33
180. Isaiah 11:1…Called a Nazarene-the Branch, Netzer…Matthew 2:23
181. Isaiah 11:1…A rod out of Jesse-Son of Jesse…Luke 3:23,32
182. Isaiah 11:2…The anointed One by the Spirit…Matthew 3;16,17
183. Isaiah 11:2…His Character-Wisdom, Understanding, et al….John 4:4-26
184. Isaiah 11:4…His Character-Truth…John 14:6
185. Isaiah 11:10…The Gentiles seek Him…John 12:18-21
186. Isaiah 12:2…Called Jesus-Yeshua (salvation)…Matthew 1:21
187. Isaiah 16:4,5…Reigning in mercy…Luke 1:31-33
188. Isaiah 22:21-25…Peg in a sure place…Revelation 3:7
189. Isaiah 25:8…The Resurrection predicted…I Corinthians 15:54
190. Isaiah 26:19…His power of Resurrection predicted…John 11:43,44
191. Isaiah 28:16…The Messiah is the precious corner stone…Acts 4:11,12
192. Isaiah 29:13…He indicated hypocritical obedience to His Word…Matthew 15:7-9
193. Isaiah 29:14…The wise are confounded by the Word…I Corinthians 1:18-31
194. Isaiah 32:2…A Refuge-A man shall be a hiding place…Matthew 23:37
195. Isaiah 33:22…Son of the Highest…Luke 1:32; 1 Timothy 1:17 6:15
196. Isaiah 35:4…He will come and save you…Matthew 1:21
197. Isaiah 35:5…To have a ministry of miracles…Matthew 11:4-6
198. Isaiah 40:3,4…Preceded by forerunner…John 1:23
199. Isaiah 40:9…”Behold your God.”…John 1:36;19:14
200. Isaiah 40:11…A shepherd-compassionate life-giver…John 10:10-18
201. Isaiah 42:1-4…The Servant-as a faithful, patient redeemer… Matthew12:18-21
202. Isaiah 42:2…Meek and lowly… Matthew 11:28-30
203. Isaiah 42:3…He brings hope for the hopeless… John 4
204. Isaiah 42:4…The nations shall wait on His teachings… John 12:20-26
205. Isaiah 42:6…The Light (salvation) of the Gentiles…Luke 2:32
206. Isaiah 42:1,6…His is a Worldwide compassion… Matthew 28:19,20
207. Isaiah 42:7…Blind eyes opened… John 9:25-38
208. Isaiah 42:13-25…Messiah’s actions at His second coming…Revelation
209. Isaiah 43:11…He is the only Savior… Acts 4:12
210. Isaiah 44:3…He will send the Spirit of God… John 16:7,13
211. Isaiah 45:23…He will be the Judge… John 5:22;Romans. 14:11
212. Isaiah 48:12…The First and the Last…John 1:30;Rev. 1:8,17
213. Isaiah 48:17…He came as a Teacher…John 3:2
214. Isaiah 49:1…Called from the womb-His humanity…Matthew 1:18
215. Isaiah 49:5…A Servant from the womb…Luke 1:31;Phil. 2:7
216. Isaiah 49:6…He is Salvation for Israel…Luke 2:29-32
217. Isaiah 49:6…He is the Light of the Gentiles…Acts 13:47
218. Isaiah 49:6…He is Salvation unto the ends of the earth… Acts 15:7-18
219. Isaiah 49:7…He is despised of the Nation… John 8:48-49
220. Isaiah 50:3…Heaven is clothed in black at His humiliation… Luke 23:44,45
221. Isaiah 50:4…He is a learned counselor for the weary… Matthew 11:28,29
222. Isaiah 50:5…The Servant bound willingly to obedience… Matthew 26:39
223. Isaiah 50:6a…”I gave my back to the smiters.”… Matthew 27:26
224. Isaiah 50:6b…He was smitten on the cheeks… Matthew 26:67
225. Isaiah 50:6c…He was spat upon… Matthew 27:30
226. Isaiah 52:4-5…Suffered vicariously…Mark 15:3,4,27,28; Luke 23:1-25,32-34
227. Isaiah 52:7…To publish good tidings of peace… Luke 4:14,15
228. Isaiah 52:13…The Servant exalted…Acts 1:8-11; Ephesians 1:19-22
229. Isaiah 52:13…Behold, My Servant… Matthew 17:5; Phil. 2:5-8
230. Isaiah 52:14…The Servant shockingly abused… Luke 18:31-34; Matthew 26:67,68
231. Isaiah 52:15…Nations startled by message of the Servant… Romans. 15:18-21
232. Isaiah 52:15…His blood shed to make atonement for all… Rev. 1:5
233. Isaiah 53:1…His people would not believe Him… John 12:37-38
234. Isaiah 53:2a…He would grow up in a poor family…. Luke 2:7
235. Isaiah 53:2b…Appearance of an ordinary man… Phil. 2:7-8
236. Isaiah 53:3a…Despised…. Luke 4:28-29
237. Isaiah 53:3b…Rejected… Matthew 27:21-23
238. Isaiah 53:3c…Great sorrow and grief… Luke 19:41-42
239. Isaiah 53:3d…Men hide from being associated with Him… Mark 14:50-52
240. Isaiah 53:4a…He would have a healing ministry… Luke 6:17-19
241. Isaiah 53:4b…He would bear the sins of the world… 1 Pet. 2:24
242. Isaiah 53:4c…Thought to be cursed by God… Matthew 27:41-43
243. Isaiah 53:5a…Bears penalty for mankind’s transgressions… Luke 23:33
244. Isaiah 53:5b…His sacrifice would provide peace between man and God… Col. 1:20
245. Isaiah 53:5c…His back would be whipped… Matthew 27:26
246. Isaiah 53:6a…He would be the sin-bearer for all mankind…Galatians 1:4
247. Isaiah 53:6b…God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind… 1 John 4:10
248. Isaiah 53:7a…Oppressed and afflicted… Matthew 27:27-31
249. Isaiah 53:7b…Silent before his accusers… Matthew 27:12-14
250. Isaiah 53:7c…Sacrificial lamb… John 1:29
251. Isaiah 53:8a…Confined and persecuted… Matthew 26:47-27:31
252. Isaiah 53:8b…He would be judged… John 18:13-22
253. Isaiah 53:8c…Killed…. Matthew 27:35
254. Isaiah 53:8d…Dies for the sins of the world… 1 John 2:2
255. Isaiah 53:9a…Buried in a rich man’s grave… Matthew 27:57
256. Isaiah 53:9b…Innocent and had done no violence… Mark 15:3
257. Isaiah 53:9c…No deceit in his mouth… John 18:38
258. Isaiah 53:10a…God’s will that He die for mankind… John 18:11
259. Isaiah 53:10b…An offering for sin… Matthew 20:28
260. Isaiah 53:10c…Resurrected and live forever…. Mark 16:16
261. Isaiah 53:10d…He would prosper… John 17:1-5
262. Isaiah 53:11a…God fully satisfied with His suffering… John 12:27
263. Isaiah 53:11b…God’s servant… Romans. 5:18-19
264. Isaiah 53:11c…He would justify man before God… Romans. 5:8-9
265. Isaiah 53:11d…The sin-bearer for all mankind… Hebrews 9:28
266. Isaiah 53:12a…Exalted by God because of his sacrifice… Matthew 28:18
267. Isaiah 53:12b…He would give up his life to save mankind… Luke 23:46
268. Isaiah 53:12c…Grouped with criminals… Luke 23:32
269. Isaiah 53:12d…Sin-bearer for all mankind… 2 Corinthians 5:21
270. Isaiah 53:12e…Intercede to God in behalf of mankind… Luke 23:34
271. Isaiah 55:1…Every one come who is thirsty…New Testament
272. Isaiah 55:3…Resurrected by God… Acts 13:34
273. Isaiah 55:4…A witness… John 18:37
274. Isaiah 55:5…Foreign nations come to God…Acts
275. Isaiah 59:15-16a…He would come to provide salvation… John 6:40
276. Isaiah 59:15-16b…Intercessor between man and God… Matthew 10:32
277. Isaiah 59:20…He would come to Zion as their Redeemer… Luke 2:38
278. Isaiah 60:1-3…Nations walk in the light…Luke 2:32
279. Isaiah 61:1-2a…The Spirit of God upon him… Matthew 3:16-17
280. Isaiah 61:1-2b…The Messiah would preach the good news… Luke 4:17-21
281. Isaiah 61:1-2c…Provide freedom from the bondage of sin and death… John 8:31-32
282. Isaiah 61:1-2…Proclaim a period of grace… John 5:24
283. Isaiah 62:1-2…Called by an new name…Luke 2:32, Revelation 3:12
284. Isaiah 62:11…Thy King Cometh, Entered Jerusalem on Colt…Matthew 21:7
285. Isaiah 63:1-3…A vesture dipped in blood…Revelation 19:13
286. Isaiah 63:8,9…Afflicted with the afflicted…Matthew 25:34-40
287. Isaiah 65:9…The elect shall inherit…Romans 11 5-7, Hebrews 7:14, Revelation 5:5
288. Isaiah 65:17-25…New heaven/New Earth…2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1
289. Isaiah 66:18-19…All nations come to God…New Testament
290. Jeremiah23:5-6a…Descendant of David…Luke 3:23-31
291. Jeremiah 23:5-6b…The Messiah would be God… John 13:13
292. Jeremiah 23:5-6c…The Messiah would be both God and Man… 1 Tim. 3:16
293. Jeremiah 30:9…Born a King…John 18:37, Revelation 1:5
294. Jeremiah 31:15…Massacre of infants…Matthew 2:16-18
295. Jeremiah 31:22…Born of a virgin… Matthew 1:18-20
296. Jeremiah 31:31…The Messiah would be the new covenant… Matthew 26:28
297. Jeremiah 33:14-15…Descendant of David… Luke 3:23-31
298. Ezekiel17:22-24…Descendant of David… Luke 3:23-31
299. Ezekiel 21:26,27…The humble exalted…Luke 1:52
300. Ezekiel34:23-24…Descendant of David… Matthew 1:1
301. Daniel 2:34-35…Stone cut without hands…Acts 4:10-12
302. Daniel 2:44,45…His Kingdom Triumphant…Luke 1:33, 1 Corinthians 15:24, Revelation 11:15
303. Dan. 7:13-14a…He would ascend into heaven… Acts 1:9-11
304. Dan. 7:13-14b…Highly exalted… Ephesians 1:20-22
305. Dan. 7:13-14c…His dominion would be everlasting… Luke 1:31-33
306. Daniel 7:27…Kingdom for the Saints…Luke 1:33, 1 Corinthians 15:24, Revelation 11:15
307. Dan. 9:24a…To make an end to sins… Galatians 1:3-5
308. Dan. 9:24b…He would be holy… Luke 1:35
309. Dan. 9:25…Announced to his people 483 years, to the exact day, after the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem… John 12:12-13
310. Dan. 9:26a…Killed… Matthew 27:35
311. Dan. 9:26b…Die for the sins of the world… Hebrews 2:9
312. Dan. 9:26c…Killed before the destruction of the temple… Matthew 27:50-51
313. Dan. 10:5-6…Messiah in a glorified state… Rev. 1:13-16
314. Hosea 3:5…Israel restored…John 18:37, Romans 11:25-27
315. Hosea 11:1, Numbers 24:8…Flight to Egypt…Matthew 2:14
316. Hosea 13:14…He would defeat death… 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
317. Joel 2:28-32…Promise of the Spirit…Acts 2:17-21, Romans 10:13
318. Joel 2:32…Offer salvation to all mankind… Romans. 10:12-13
319. Micah 2:12-13…Israel Regathered…John 10:14,26
320. Micah 4:1-8…The Kingdom established – place of Birth Bethlehem…Luke 1:33, Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4,10,11
321. Micah 5:2a…Born in Bethlehem… Matthew 2:1-2
322. Micah 5:2b…God’s servant… John 15:10
323. Micah 5:2c…from everlasting… John 8:58
324. Haggai 2:6-9…He would visit the second Temple… Luke 2:27-32
325. Haggai 2:23…Descendant of Zerubbabel… Luke 3:23-27
326. Joel 2:28-32…Promise of the Spirit…Acts 2:17-21, Romans 10:13
327. Amos 8:9…The Sun Darkened…Matthew 24:29, Acts 2:20, Revelation 6:12
328. Amos 9:11-12…Restoration of tabernacle…Acts 14:16-18
329. Habakkuk 2:14…Earth filled with knowledge of the glory of the Lord…Romans 11:26, Revelation 21:23-26
330. Zechariah 2:10-13…The Lamb on the Throne…Revelation 5:13, 6:9, 21:24
331. Zechariah 3:8…God’s servant… John 17:4
332. Zechariah 6:12-13…Priest and King… Hebrews 8:1
333. Zechariah 9:9a…Greeted with rejoicing in Jerusalem… Matthew 21:8-10
334. Zechariah 9:9b…Beheld as King… John 12:12-13
335. Zechariah 9:9c…The Messiah would be just… John 5:30
336. Zechariah 9:9d…The Messiah would bring salvation… Luke 19:10
337. Zechariah 9:9e…The Messiah would be humble… Matthew 11:29
338. Zechariah 9:9f…Presented to Jerusalem riding on a donkey… Matthew 21:6-9
339. Zechariah 10:4…The cornerstone… Ephesians 2:20
340. Zechariah 11:4-6a…At His coming, Israel to have unfit leaders… Matthew 23:1-4
341. Zechariah 11:4-6b…Rejection causes God to remove His protection.. Luke 19:41-44
342. Zechariah 11:4-6c…Rejected in favor of another king… John 19:13-15
343. Zechariah 11:7…Ministry to „poor,” the believing remnant… Matthew 9:35-36
344. Zechariah 11:8a…Unbelief forces Messiah to reject them… Matthew 23:33
345. Zechariah 11:8b…Despised… Matthew 27:20
346. Zechariah 11:9…Stops ministering to the those who rejected Him… Matthew 13:10-11
347. Zechariah 11:10-11a…Rejection causes God to remove protection… Luke 19:41-44
348. Zechariah 11:10-11b…The Messiah would be God… John 14:7
349. Zechariah 11:12-13a…Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver… Matthew 26:14-15
350. Zechariah 11:12-13b…Rejected… Matthew 26:14-15
351. Zechariah 11:12-13c…Thirty pieces of silver thrown into the house of the Lord… Matthew 27:3-5
352. Zechariah 11:12-13d…The Messiah would be God… John 12:45
353. Zechariah 12:10a…The Messiah’s body would be pierced… John 19:34-37
354. Zechariah 12:10b…The Messiah would be both God and man… John 10:30
355. Zechariah 12:10c…The Messiah would be rejected… John 1:11
356. Zechariah 13:7a…God’s will He die for mankind… John 18:11
357. Zechariah 13:7b…A violent death… Matthew 27:35
358. Zechariah 13:7c…Both God and man.. John 14:9
359. Zechariah 13:7d…Israel scattered as a result of rejecting Him… Matthew 26:31-56
360. Malachi 3:1a…Messenger to prepare the way for Messiah… Matthew 11:10
361. Malachi 3:1b…Sudden appearance at the temple… Mark 11:15-16
362. Malachi 3:1c…Messenger of the new covenant… Luke 4:43
363. Malachi 3:3…Our Sins Are Purged…Luke 1:78, John 1:9; 12:46, 2 Peter 1:19, Revelation 2:28; 19:11-16; 22:16
364. Malachi 4:5…Forerunner in the spirit of Elijah… Matthew 3:1-2
365. Malachi 4:6…Forerunner would turn many to righteousness… Luke 1:16-17

And for leap year, you can have Psalm 21 as a Messianic Hymn and David’s praise.

From Jack Wellman’s book, „Blind Chance or Intelligent Design, Empirical Methodologies and the Bible„, (chapter five).

Photo credit

Richard Dawkins – Debating The Morality of the Old Testament


Richard Dawkins has described the God of the Old Testament as (among other things) a „capriciously malevolent bully”. The world’s best known atheist joins Justin Brierley to discuss the morality of the Old Testament in light of the Bible TV series airing in the UK on Channel 5. Rabbi Josh Levy and Christian lecturer Chris Sinkinson discuss with Dawkins whether the events of the Old Testament are historical and how to interpret the so-called „terror” passages. What about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac?

For an MP3 of this show: click here. –  VIDEO by officialpremiertv· See more at:

What Were the Original Languages of the Bible?

I found this excellent article at and I thought I’d share it:

Photo credit (ancient Aramaic scroll, though, not from the OT)

What language was the Bible originally written in? Pastors and seminarians can probably answer that easily enough, but the rest of us might have only a vague idea that the Bible was written in one of those “dead” languages. Ancient Greek? Latin, perhaps?

The Bible was actually written in three different ancient languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. While (a modern version of) each of these languages is spoken today, most modern readers of those languages would have some difficulty with the ancient versions used in the Biblical texts. It’s strange to think that we might hardly recognize the most influential book in the world in its original form!

Hebrew, Language of (Most of) the Old Testament

Ancient Hebrew was the tongue of the ancient Israelites and the language in which most of the Old Testament was penned. Isaiah 19:18 calls it “the language of Canaan,” while other verses label it “Judean” and “language of the Jews” (2 Kings 18:26; Isaiah 36:11, 13; 2 Chronicles 32:18; Nehemiah 13:24).

Ancient Hebrew is a Semitic language that dates back past 1500 B.C. Its alphabet consists of 22 characters, all consonants (don’t worry; vowels were eventually added), and is written from right to left.

While Hebrew remained the sacred tongue of the Jews, its use as a common spoken language declined after the Jews’ return from exile (538 B.C.). Despite a revival of the language during the Maccabean era, it was eventually all but replaced in everyday usage by Aramaic. Modern Hebrew can trace its ancestry to Biblical Hebrew, but has incorporated many other influences as well.

What’s Aramaic?

Ancient Aramaic originated among the Arameans in northern Syria and became widely used under the Assyrians. A few passages in the Old Testament were written in Aramaic (Genesis 31:47; Ezra 4:8-6:18, 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11).

Some have compared the relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic to that between modern Spanish and Portuguese: they’re distinct languages, but sufficiently closely related that a reader of one can understand much of the other. Aramaic was very popular in the ancient world and was commonly spoken in Jesus’ time.

bible scribe

Photo credit

The New Testament wasn’t written in Hebrew?

Many people assume that the New Testament was written in Hebrew as well, but by the time the gospels were being written, many Jews didn’t even speak Hebrew anymore. Rome had conquered Greece, and the influence of Greek culture had saturated the empire. What’s interesting about Biblical Greek is that it didn’t use a high-class or complicated style; it was written in koine (common Greek), a language that could be understood by almost anyone, educated or not.

It’s amazing to see how the Word of God has traveled through languages and cultures. It began in the language of his chosen people, adopted the language of the Roman world, and now exists in over 2,000 different languages. Far from being a static, one-language text, the Bible actually embraces translation and cross-language accessibility by its very nature. Whether you read the Bible in its original languages or in one of thousands of modern tongues, it’s a blessing to be able to read God’s word today just as it was read thousands of years ago.

Alistair Begg – Esther (1) God is providentially at work in the ordinary things – October 2, 4, 2013

Alistair Begg:

We read this book (Esther), and we’re forced to consider the possibility that nothing happens, except by God, and according to God’s will. Allow that to settle in your mind, as you consider the things of this morning, the newspaper, and the internet. Nothing happens except through Him, and by His will… Think about it in relationship to your personal life. Think about it in relationship to sadnesses and disappointments. To joys and to encouragements.

So… you come to certain places in the book, where you would expect God’s name to be present, you would expect God’s name to be represented, but, He’s not there. The reason He’s not there is that by that narrative style. that genre, that the author in this particular book is teaching us lessons about the way which God is at work when His name is not forefront, and when He is apparently unseen. Because the dramas of other parts of the Old Testament, vis a vis, the crossing of the Red Sea, and all of these other things are dramatic. And yet, for most of us, we haven’t had a crossing of the Red Sea. And most of us have not seen a burning bush. Most of us are just going to class. Most of us are just phoning home. Most of us are just sending emails. Most of us are just trying to stay alive.

Photo credit, Haman and Esther

Esther 4:4

When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him,and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law,and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

If there’s only one phrase in the Book of Esther that people know, it is that final sentence in verse 14 – who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? And that phrase has been in mind for friday, in particular, with homecoming and people celebrating here (Westmont College). If anyone were to walk in, off the street, they would regard it as incredibly strange to think that a group such as this, on the very forefront of things in America today, with largely all of your lives before you, would take any time at all, to pay any attention at all to events that had taken place  in Persia, 5 centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. And if we were to suggest to such individuals that these events, that took place in Persia all this time ago, and the lessons in them actually help us to love life in 21st century America.

Underlying that conviction would be what Paul says, when he writes to the church at Rome, and makes reference to Old Testament events, and he refers to them as follows. He says, „Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance, and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope”. It is through the Scriptures that we discover endurance and encouragement. And that is why we look as we do, even today, at this. King Xerxes is not a nice person. If you want to do your research, read Herodotus, or read Josephus and you will discover just how bad a character he was. The book begins with him, having a feast, enjoying his friends, and when they had been drinking together for a while, he decides that it would be a nice thing for him to bring in his wife Vashti, in order that he might parade her before his friends. He was obviously proud of his wife, the way she looked, and so on. So, he doesn’t say, „Why don’t you come in and join us, so we can have a conversation?” He essentially says, „Why don’t you come in, so that all my friends can check you out?”

So she, as any sensible wife would, said, „Not on your life”. I am not coming at all. And, as a result of deciding not to show up when she’s asked, she gets completely banished. She’s out, she’s off her throne, and she’s gone. In a fit he banishes Vashti forever.  And then, he suddenly realizes, „That wasn’t a smart thing to do”. And so, he looks to some of his friends and they say, „You just need to get another one? And, why don’t we get together and have a beauty pageant, and you can just pick the cream of the crop. That’s essentially what they do. They have a Miss Persia contest. And this girl, Esther, who is actually Jewish, but, she doesn’t tell anybody about it, she comes out tops. She is welcomed, not only into the palace, but, into the bed of the king. She has a cousin, Mordecai, who is Jewish, and older than her. She was an orphan and Mordecai adopts her, to look after her, and he had been the one who had positioned her, in order that she might present herself for this pageant. And she eventually finds herself on the inside track.

The King, meanwhile, appoints another character who is a bad act, called Haman, and Haman becomes the prime minister.He likes to walk around making sure everybody is paying attention to him, giving him the due that he deserves, or thinks he does. That’s enough for me to get your started…

What you will discover, when you read Esther is that God does not show up. At least, not ostensibly. His name is never mentioned in the entire book. The entire narrative is filled with what we might refer to as God shaped holes. So that you come to certain places in the book, where you would expect God’s name to be present, you would expect God’s name to be represented, but, He’s not there. The reason He’s not there is that by that narrative style. that genre, that the author in this particular book is teaching us lessons about the way which God is at work when His name is not forefront, and when He is apparently unseen. Because the dramas of other parts of the Old Testament, vis a vis, the crossing of the Red Sea, and all of these other things are dramatic. And yet, for most of us, we haven’t had a crossing of the Red Sea. And most of us have not seen a burning bush. Most of us are just going to class. Most of us are just phoning home. Most of us are just sending emails. Most of us are just trying to stay alive.

And in that hum drum activity of our lives, in those God shaped vacuums, if you like, we are forced to do what the Book of Esther asks us to do. And that is, to consider what’s going on in what’s going on. So when you read it, you ask: What’s going on? We read this book, and we’re forced to consider the possibility that nothing happens, except by God, and according to God’s will. Allow that to settle in your mind, as you consider the things of this morning, the newspaper, and the internet. Nothing happens except through Him, and by His will. Think about it in relationship to your personal life. Think about it in relationship to sadnesses and disappointments. To joys and to encouragements.  And, say to your self: Now, how does that fit in a contemporary perspective, in our society today?

Let me suggest to you, that when you read contemporary philosophy, contemporary observations, you realize that this kind of core conviction is challenged, not only in the things that are written, but in a way that life is lived. (16:00 there are 13 min remaining)

VIDEO by WestmontTV

God is providentially at work in the ordinary things

Part 2

Darrell Bock on the (New) Queen James (Bible) Part 1 – Passages in the Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary

darrell bockIn this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Robert Chisholm, Dr. Joe Fantin, and Dr. Jay Smith examine biblical passages often bought up in discussions about homosexuality, focusing on material in the Old Testament.


Within the last year, there is a Bible that is called the Queen James Bible. You heard that right. That was not King James, that was Queen James. I remember telling my wife this in preparation for this podcast, and she said, „You’ve got to be joking”. There is a group who sat down with the King James Scripture and worked their way through 8 passages (we’ll be discussing more than that today), but, 8 passages that they altered in light of what they claim is the proper way to render these texts. And so, we thought, this is great way into discussing this material:
00:12 Guest introductions and the goals of revisions in the Queen James Bible

04:13 Does Noah’s situation in Genesis 9 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

09:03 Does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?…

15:08 Does the prohibition in Leviticus 20:22 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

23:11 What does the term „abomination” mean in Leviticus 20:22?

29:22 Israel’s call to holiness and the code for serious offenses in Leviticus 20…

34:03 Does David’s description of Jonathan in 2 Samuel

1:26 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

38:33 Responding to the challenge that Jesus did not object to homosexuality……  Youtube VIDEO by dallasseminary

What Role Do Works Play At Final Judgment for the Believer? Four views in a new book from Zondervan

Alan P Stanley sets up the discussion in this book from 4 points of view from

  1. Robert Wilkin, Executive Director of the Grace Evangelical Society;
  2. Tom Schreiner, New Testament and Pauline Scholar at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;
  3. James Dunn, a leading British New Testament scholar known for his Jesus and Paul studies, not to mention coining the term „New Perspective;”
  4. Michael Barber, professor of theology, Scripture, and Catholic thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University.

On Pages 9-10, there is a  list/chart Stanley puts together of Scripture relating to what the Scripture has to say on this:

Scripture has consistently testified to this final day of judgement in a number of ways.

  1. God is the rightful „Judge of all the earth” (Gen 18)
  2. No one will be exempt (1 Sam 2; Gen 18; 1 Chron 16)
  3. Judgment is according to people’s works (Job 34; Ps 62; Prov 24)
  4. Judgment will bring „every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl 12)
  5. God will judge with justice and equity (Gen 18)
  6. The wicked „will not stand in judgement” (Ps 1) while the righteous „will sing before the Lord” (Ps 98)

Of course, the New Testament builds on what the Old Testament established: (pg. 10)

  1. God has „set a day” for judgment (Acts 17; Rom 2; 1 Cor 4)—i.e. „the last day” (Jn 12); „the day of judgment” (Matt 10)
  2. It is a day that has come closer, for „the hour has already come” (Rom 13); „the end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4)
  3. God has selected a man to carry out his judgments; that man is named Jesus, whom the Father has „entrusted all judgments” and given all „authority to judge” (Jn 5)
  4. Therefore, judgment will not be left to „any human court” (1 Cor 4)
  5. God’s judgments through Christ will be „based on truth” (Rom 2)
  6. The „Sovereign Lord” is able and will judge „people’s secrets through Jesus Christ” (Rom 2)

The book can be purchased here –

– See more at:

Christianity & Islam: Did the early church believe Jesus was God?

William Lane Craig and Shabir Ally answer a question from the audience concerning the claims of Jesus to be God. In March 2002 Dr William Lane Craig began participating in a series of debates with Shabir Ally on the topic, „Christianity and Islam.” One of these debates was held at the University of Western Ontario on the subject, „Who is the real Jesus? The Jesus of the Qur’an or the Jesus of the Bible?” (Photo of book –

Did the early church believe Jesus was God?

Dr. William Lane Craig: You can show that in the earliest portions of the New Testament documents are materials that refer to Jesus as God and pray to Him as God. And they use Old Testament proof texts about Yahweh and apply them to Jesus. For example in 1 Corinthians 16, you find the oldest recorded prayer of the early church: „Our Lord come,” and this is directed to Jesus, who is called Lord. Moreover, they apply Old Testament proof texts to Jesus. In the Old Testament it says that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And Paul, in Romans 10 picks up this Old Testament citation and applies it to Jesus. And this word ‘Lord’ applies to Yahweh, for Jehovah in the Old Testament. He says, „If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead, then you shall be saved”- and then comes the Old Testament proof texts for ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved’.

Other examples would be in Colossians 1, in Hebrew 1, in John 1. All of these refer to Jesus as God, or as Lord. They also offer worship to Jesus, regard Him as forgiving sins, you can go on and on… An excellent book on this is by Murray Harris. It’s called ‘Jesus as God in the New Testament’. It is a very fine treatment on this subject, so that your worship of Jesus as God is in line with that of the early church.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

If Jesus Didn’t Claim to Be God Why Was He On Trial For?

Dr. William Lane Craig: If you look at Robert Gundry’s commentary on the Gospel of Mark, he has a lengthy discussion of the trial scene of Jesus. What it points out is that God of the Old Testament is portrayed as the destroyer of the temple, and also portrayed as the builder of the temple- the accusations brought against Jesus. So, Gundry says on page 900: „Saying Jesus predicted both his destruction of the temple and His rebuilding of another, brings to virtual certainty the entailment of a charge that he arrogated to himself of divine roles. He also shows why it is an authentic saying that Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven, seated at the right hand of power, thereby making Himself equal to God. So, Jesus is making claims that were blasphemous . Merely healing on the Sabbath wouldn’t have led to His crucifixion. As King of the Jews, that can only be explained by His making Messianic pretentions, which is what got Him into trouble with Jewish authorities.

Archaeologists claim to have found King David’s palace in Israel

Via the Christian Post Photo credit – photo #1 and photo #2

Archaeologists in Israel have claimed they have found the ruins of a palace that belonged to the biblical King David at a site west of Jerusalem, but some experts say there is lack of evidence to prove the claim. A team of archaeologists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel’s Antiquities Authority got together for a seven-year dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site west of Jerusalem. And at the completion of the dig, they say they have discovered a large fortified complex that was the first palace of King David in what was once a Judean city of Sha’arayim, according to The Associated Press.

The Old Testament book 1 Samuel 17:52 records that after David killed Goliath, the Philistines ran away and were slain on the „road to Sha’arayim. „Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David,” say the two leaders of the team, Yossi Garfinkel from Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Antiquities Authority.

They say there is „unequivocal evidence” in the form of cultic objects that were typically used by King David’s subjects, the Judeans. Besides, they found no trace of pig remains – as pork is forbidden under Jewish laws.

They say they have discovered another structure at the site which was a storeroom. „The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of about 1,000 square meters was revealed at the top of the city,” they say. „The wall enclosing the palace is about 30 meters long and an impressive entrance is fixed it through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah. Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.”

NOVA’s filmmakers envisioned what King David’s palace complex might have looked like- from

„This is the only site in which organic material was found – including olive seeds – that can be carbon-14 dated,” The Times of Israel quotes Yoli Schwartz, a spokeswoman of the Antiquities Authority, as saying. „The palace is located in the center of the site and controls all of the houses lower than it in the city. From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals.”

While other experts agree the finding is significant, they say it’s possible it belonged to other kingdoms of the area. Prof. Aren Meir of Bar Ilan University told Haaretz that the archaeologists should not over-rely on the Bible, as question-marks hang over the existence of King David’s monarchy along with Solomon.

However, Garfinkel and Ganor maintain, „The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah.”

Dialogue on holiness with John Oswalt – author of Isaiah NIV Commentary

John Oswalt talks about holiness through it’s proper understanding of the Christian life and what it is all about, an example from the trinity vs. an overemphasis on externals (i.e. a holy outward life where we judge it by counting buttons or length of hair). His most recent book ‘Called to be Holy’, 

„traces the doctrine of personal holiness through both the Old and New Testaments, showing that holy living is an overarching theme of the entire Bible. Dr. Oswalt explains the intimate connection between forgiveness and a life of holiness, and underscores the practical consequences of walking in the Spirit. The result is a well-rounded portrait of the Bible’s teaching on godly living.” (source – book description – Amazon)
Oswalt in the 2nd video:
A New Testament without an Old Testament borders on heresy. It seems to me that a lot of the demise of a Christian understanding of the necessity of ethical holiness, of living out the life of God is the result of our ignorance of the Old Testament, because the New Testament assumes the Old Testament. Often times people will say to me, „There’s the Christian Bible, that’s the New Testament, and the Jewish Bible, that’s the Old Testament. Well, we’re Christians. Yeah, you sort of need the Old Testament, just for sort of background, so you can know where the New Testament came from, but, you don’t really need it.” That is, to put it bluntly- non Christian. The Christian church, for 2,000 years has said, „No, the whole Bible is Christian. A proper understanding of the Old Testament is that it is preparatory to Christ. And, in the same way, the New Testament assumes that we know the Old Testament. What is the question of life:
***How can a sinful human being ever share the character of a holy God? If you don’t know the Old Testament, you don’t know that. Well, the Old Testament is laying these foundations: God is transcendent. He is absolutely holy. He’s beyond anything we can imagine in His essence and His character. He is just. This is a cause and effect world. He is majestic, He is glorious. Salvation is to be found in community. Righteousness is to be lived out in a society. Revelation comes through historical narrative. The other points are there: His immanence, His love, His grace, the reality of an individual relationship with God, the reality of personal righteousness, revelation through teaching- they’re there. But, they’re minor points. The New Testament just reverses that order. The New Testament says, „OK, you got the point now: God is transcendent. Let us talk about His immanence. Let us talk about God having come here. You understand about God’s absolute holiness, now let us talk about His love. And so forth… down that list, just reversing them. If you know your Old Testament, the it fits together. Then, it is awesome Good News, that the awesome Holy God, who could fry you alive by looking at you, loves you. But, if you don’t know the Old Testament, then what you’ve got is a friendly little god, who says, „Oh honey, that’s all right. It doesn’t really matter, it’s okay. A little god, who exists under my bed, to answer my prayers.
A religion that is purely individualistic, about me and my righteousness, and interestingly, a religion that’s primarily through teaching, that actually, whether this stuff happened or not, it’s not that important. In other words, all too much of modern evangelicalism. 
***God’s jealousy in the OT. (2nd video, 10 min. mark)  We need to constantly help people to understand that God’s rage, especially in the prophets is the flipside of His love.  We’ve lost a good word in English: Zeal. As you know, it’s one word in hebrew: Zealous and jealous are the same word. Unfortunately, in English, jealousy is now a petty emotion. My wife smiles at another man, and I get bent out of shape, because I’m jealous. But jealous and zealous go together. And I think of Jesus cleaning out the temple. And what did the disciples remember? „The zeal of Thy house has eaten me up.” God is so furious because He loves His people so much and is so broken over what they are doing to themselves, and so I love to say to students and to others: „You know, the most frequently quoted 2 verse passage of the Old Testament in the Old Testament is Exodus 34:6-7 – TheLord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.  This gets quoted explicitly 6 times, and it’s alluded to another 11 (times). So you say to the Hebrew, „What’s your God like?” „Oh, He’s gracious and compassionate, slow to anger…” Ha? Looks to me like He got angry a lot!” And they say, „Yeah, He should have! That’s not surprising. What’s surprising is He hasn’t.”  We need to have people understand: You can’t have His love without His rage. He is a fully impassioned person.

Dr. John N. Oswalt (PhD, Brandeis University) is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including the two-volume commentary on Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series and Called to be Holy: A Biblical Perspective. Three other important books from John Oswalt are:

  1. The Bible among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? by John N. Oswalt (Jul 28, 2009)
  2. Called to Be Holy by John N. Oswalt (Jun 15, 2011)

  3. Leisure Crisis (Critical Issues Series (Wheaton, Ill.).) by John Oswalt (Jun 1987)

(Source – Amazon, Photo credit Amazon).

VIDEOS by TheHenryCenter located at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School  of Wheaton College, Deerfield, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). For more videos (many debates) click here –

Dialogue with John Oswalt – Part 1 (36 min)

Dialogue with John Oswalt – Part 2 (21 min)

Interesting facts about the Bible

Bible worn pic

A great feature on the Gospel Coalition blogs is their regular column titles „9 things you should know”. In their latest post, Joe Carter writes about „9 Things You Should Know about the Bible. Here’s just 3, numbers 1, 6, and 9:

1. The English word Bible is derived from the Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία (ta biblia – „the books”). While Christian use of the term can be traced to around A.D. 223, the late biblical scholar F.F. Bruce noted that Chrysostom in his Homilies on Matthew (between A.D. 386 and 388) appears to be the first writer to use the Greek phrase ta biblia to describe both the Old and New Testaments together.

6. The Bible is not only the best-selling book of all-time, it is consistently the best-selling book of the the year, every year. (Even in 1907, the New York Times noted that the „daily sales of the Bible, 40,000 copies, exceed the annual sales of most popular novels.”) Currently, an estimated 25 million copies are sold or distributed in the U.S. every year, approximately one new Bible for every 12 Americans.

9. All the books of the Old Testament except Esther, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon are quoted or referenced in the New Testament. Jesus quoted or made references from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs, 1 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Read the entire article here –

Matt Chandler – Marveling at the Majesty of God

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 7.01.48 PMBeing in 2013 is such a gift from God is we have all this history to look back on and to marvel that God has just consistently has done exactly what He said He would do. In Genesis 12, we know our Bibles, the world is fallen, it is broken. I mean, the very fabric of what God created now torn asunder. Death, disease, the world has grown dark, and in the middle of it God calls a man named Abram. And in Genesis chapter 12:1 we read: „Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So now, we’ve got this faint whisper of a promise, that all that has gone wrong will be made right. That God is calling Abram from Kush. The first Jew is an Iraqi, let that mingle around in your head a bit. God calls Abram and says: Through you, I am going to create a people and through that people I’m going to bless all people on earth. So that, from the very beginning, the promise is that what God is up to is global. It is making right what has gone wrong and then at the testing of Abraham, in Genesis 22, he puts his son Isaac on the altar, and then we read in Genesis 22:15-18:

 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possessthe gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So there we have it, once again God’s plan, through Abraham, in the founding of the covenant community of faith is that the nations would be glad, the nations would be blessed, and that all that went wrong would be set right in this plan of God’s.

And throughout the Old Testament we see this repeatedly, God’s heart for the nations, on Mt. Sinai when the Lord told Moses, this is in Exodus 19:5-6  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me akingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 

So what’s gonna be the role of Israel when it comes to the rest of the world? We will serve as priests, we will be the ones that herald the good news of what God is going to do, of what God is going to accomplish at the crossing of the Jordan river- Joshua 4:24 God crosses Israel into the promised land. And He did this that all the peoples of the world might know. At the founding of the Temple, in 1 Kings 8:43 we read „so that all the peoples of the earth might know your name”. Just a cursory reading of the Psalms would have the Psalmist repeatedly saying „the nations, and the great glorious day of the Lord, perpetually painting this picture of the nations gathering around God to make much of God.”

And again, even in the prophets, we see this confirmed yet again, one of my favorites, in Isaiah 45:44 „Turn to me and besaved, you ends of the earth„. And then, we have the incarnation: God in the flesh dwells among us, and He does not deviate off of His plan to redeem and rescue from the nations. In John chapter 10:15-16 „Just as the Father knows Me, and  I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep, I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice„.  So there will be one flock and one shepherd. So, Jesus does not deviate off this Old Testament  declaration that the nations will be glad, that the nations will worship our God, that there is, when it’s all said and done, one group of people that God is drawing unto Himself- sons of God, adopted sons of God. So, you have sons of Adam and sons of Christ, and so Christ is not deviating off of this declaration.

In fact, even in Matthew 28:18-20, if you go up to verse 16, you find some hope for you, if you tend to struggle and wrestle with doubts, because the Bible says upon that mountain they worshipped Him, but some doubted. I’ve always marveled at that. You have the resurrection with Christ ascending into glory , and there are those even on the hill, at that time saying, „I don’t know, just not quite sure”. But what we read, starting in verse 18 is „And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Now „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  You can just stop right there, because whatever comes next is happening. So now, at this point, it doesn’t matter what is coming next. It doesn’t matter what He says, what the command is, what He’s gonna order for us to do, it’s happening. Why? Because „All authority”. Where? Everywhere. Has been given to whom? „Me,” Christ says and then the command, „19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Remember what the disciples do, they gather in the upper room, they’re praying and waiting for the helper to come? And in Acts chapter 2, the Helper comes and now we’ve got ourselves a completely different ballgame than what we watched with the disciples when they were following Christ. In fact, if you’re really paying attention, the only one who really kind of nails who Jesus is in the Gospels is the demons. Everyone else kind of gets it wrong.

What’s the word on the street? Who do people say that I am? Well, some say that you’re John the Baptist, others say that you’re Elijah. But who do you say that I am. Only Peter gets it right. And the demons cry out „I know who you are, the Holy One of God. You have come to destroy us before the appointed time.” I mean, no dualism in the New Testament when it comes to kingdoms and conflict. No arguments with Christ. No demons say „Make me”. Just ferocious, God besot powerful declaration. When the Holy Spirit falls at Pentecost, Peter stands up and gives the most unseeker friendly sermon in the history of Christianity. And thousands are added to our numbers that day. And we see the Gospel begin to grow, but at this point it’s predominantly, if not entirely a Jewish faith, and then we get Acts chapter 10 & 11, Cornelius of the Italian cohort, a man who has rejected Roman paganism, believes there is one God, not quite sure who that one God is. He’s praying, giving alms, taking care of the poor and he is visited by an angel with very detailed instructions. Simon the tanner in Jaffa, another Simon Peter staying at his house saying, „Go get ‘em and bring him to you”. Simultaneously, around that same time Peter is up on the roof: „Kill, eat,” Peter’s not gonna be fooled again, „Not gonna get me this time. I would never touch that stuff”. „Wrong answer again, Peter”. Can it be unclean if I made it? Kill and eat.

And so, about that time there’s a knock at the door and the soldiers from the Italian cohort grab Peter and bring him to Cornelius where they have, what I believe to be, one of the most awkward exchanges that you find in the Scriptures, where Peter then shows up at Cornelius’s house  and then reminds Cornelius that a Jew shouldn’t even be in this house because he is a Gentile. Cornelius  unpacks why he sent for Peter, „Look, I was praying, angels showed up…” Then Peter says, „This can only be about one thing”. In that moment, Peter shares the Gospel with Cornelius’s household and they believe, they’re filled with the Holy Spirit, they speak in tongues, they’re baptized. In fact, Peter’s got a little inner turmoil here. „What should we do?” They baptize Cornelius  and his household and Peter runs back to report . And the church does what it usually does. It gathers together to vote whether God’s allowed to save the Gentiles. So they get together and they talk about, „Can God do what He just did?” Peter testifies, „All I did was share the Gospel, this one’s not on me”. And then, really, from that moment on, starting in Acts 15 you begin to watch the promise. And here’s what I’m saying, 2013 is such a sweet year to be  in because starting in Acts 15, you have Paul and Barnabas separate and go in different directions and it just takes off.

Acts 15 is the Council at Jerusalem, 42 A.D. Mark goes to Egypt and  49 A.D. Paul heads to Turkey. In 51 A.D. Paul heads to Greece, in 52 A.D. the apostle Thomas heads to India. In 54 A.D. Paul heads on his third missionary journey. In 174 A.D., the first Christians are reported in Austria. In 280, the first rural churches emerge in Northern Italy. Now this is significant because Christianity in the first century was predominantly an urban religion. It wasn’t out in the rural areas, and so it wasn’t really until 280 A.D. that we began to see rural churches emerging. Stark says that by 350 A.D., 31.7 million people, roughly 53% of the Roman empire confessed Christ as Lord. So there’s a lot of debate as to who made Christianity? Did Constantine make Christianity or did Christianity make Constantine? In 432 A.D. Patrick heads to Ireland. In 596 A.D. Gregory the Great sends Augustine and a team of missionaries to what is now England to reintroduce the Gospel. The missionaries resettle in Canterbury, and within a year baptize 10,000. In 635 A.D., the first Christian missionaries arrive in China. 740 A.D., Irish monks reach Iceland. In 900 A.D. missionaries reach Norway. By 1200 A.D. the Bible is now available in 22 different languages and in 1498 the first Christians are reported in Kenya. In 1554  there are 1500 converts to Christianity  in what is now known as Thailand. In 1630 an attempt is made  in the El Paso, Texas area  to establish a mission among the Mason Indians. In 1743 David Brainerd starts missions to the North American Indians. In 1845 the Southern Baptist Convention Missionary Organization is founded. In 1853 a group of at least 17 people immigrated to America, accompanied by a group of Danish Baptists, arriving in New York, and later settling in Chicago. On March 5th, 1853 F.O.Nielsen planted the first American Baptist Church in Minneapolis, which was the first church to be planted in the territory of Minnesota, before it became a state in 1858 on this side of the Mississippi River. In 1871, 22 Swedish Christians, who branched off from the First American Baptist Church in Minneapolis  planted the first Swedish Baptist Church known today as Bethlehem Baptist Church. The reason for this new church plant was to take the Gospel to a rapidly growing number of Swedish immigrants in Minneapolis. (Chandler goes through the succession of churches that leads up to Bethlehem)(17:00)

You and me, friend, God had us in mind when He pulled Abram aside and said, „I’m gonna fix this”.  And really, at every place along the way, according to Ephesians 1, according to Romans 8, God was coming to rescue me and you. And we are caught up in something so much bigger than most of us can get our heads around and all over the world today, what I just did was such a cursory sad attempt at a linear attacking of our history, but I find it to be marvelous, even in its smallness. In fact, if present trends continue, by 2025 there will be 633 million Christians in Africa, 640 million in South America, and 460 million in Asia. This is what you and I are caught up in, this is our history. This is what’s happening right now, on this day, all over the world. Men and women have gathered, they have preached the Scriptures, they have taken holy communion and they have rejoiced in the God of their salvation. And our family is much bigger than this, and God is at work and He is moving and He is saving. There’s no such thing as a closed country, anybody picking up on this- there’s a lot of Iranian pastors being arrested this year? Seems like God’s doing some pretty good work in a country that doesn’t have any work.

And yet, still, so much to do. You see, you and I, we find our lives playing out in what the reformers call the narrow space, what we call the already, but not yet. See, the prophet Isaiah speaks of this day that’s coming for you and me, friend, where the desert blooms with roses. Where the mountaintops produce sweet wine. Where the wolf will lay down with the lamb and they will dine together. And then, the clarity on that, the next verse is ‘and the lion will chew hay like the oxen.’ And the apostle Paul says these weak frail bodies of ours will be replaced. That what is perishable will be imperishable, we’ll be raised in honor and you get this picture from the word of God of a renewed world with renewed bodies, reigning and ruling alongside the king of glory, having no ceiling on our worship. See, there have been times when I have heard the Word of God proclaimed, we begun to sing to God and I have felt all my emotions hindered, I felt like I hit a ceiling, that either my legs got tired or my voice couldn’t get loud enough. I felt like I was gonna explode, and in my heart I couldn’t be contained, in this gangly body God gave me. And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 God’s gonna fix that for me. And God’s gonna fix that for you. And there’ll be a day, unfettered with the constraints of this mortal body. We will make much of Jesus together.

But today, we’re in the space between, today we’re in the space ‘already, but not yet’. So you exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples, through Jesus Christ.

The Record of the Ascension of Jesus Part 2

A study by  J. Hampton Keathley, III at See part 1 here – An introduction to the Ascension of Jesus looking at Isaiah 6


The Record of the Ascension:
Its Confirmation and Significance

Prophet – Photo via

Prophets Anticipated the Ascension

It is important to realize the ascension of Christ has always been a part of the overall plan of God. The idea of the ascension was not some last minute idea thought up by hapless and hopeless disciples.

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.

Belief in the ascension and its accomplishments has it source in the expectations and promises of Old Testament prophecy.

Psalm 16:8-11 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10 For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. 11 Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fulness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever. (emphasis mine)

This prophecy traces Christ from the cross through resurrection back into His glory at God’s right hand through the ascension (cf. Acts 2:24-36).

Psalm 110:1-5 A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.” . . .. The Lord is at Thy right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

Also compare:

Matthew 22:41-44 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42saying, “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet”’?

Christ used this Old Testament passage which anticipated the ascension of David’s son to God’s right hand to demonstrate just who Messiah was and what this should mean to mankind. Messiah would be David’s son but also David’s Lord–one who shared God’s throne as God Himself. The ascension is alluded to in the words “at my right hand.” This shows us an understanding of what the ascension means and teaches us about Jesus Christ is vital for right thinking and response to the person of Christ. (Cf. Psalm 68:18Eph. 4:8ff; Isa 52:13).

The Lord’s ascension was anticipated in the Old Testament and viewed as essential to a proper understanding of just who Messiah is and of His ministry to men. (Photo Jesus ascension.jpg)


Christ Anticipated the Ascension

The ascension was no surprise to the Lord. From the very beginning of His ministry, the Lord was not only aware that He had come to die for our sin, but anticipated both the resurrection and the ascension. Both were foretold in the Old Testament and Christ knew that like His death, the resurrection and ascension were essential for fulfilling God’s purposes and solving man’s dilemma. There must be both the DESCENT from heaven and theASCENT back into heaven.

There are some fifteen or more passages where the Lord speaks of the ascension or alludes to it in one way or another. That is not without significance. In each of the passages the Lord used the ascension much like the fact of the resurrection. He used it to authenticate His person and to give reasons for what He could and would do for man, and why the person and work of Christ demands a verdict–the verdict of faith and commitment.

The ascension is a vital link in the entire chain of events, all of which are essential. It is the link between His past finished work and His present and future work. It demonstrates Jesus Christ to be the final solution for man’s need of prophet, priest, and king (Cf. John 3:13John 6:62John 13:1John 14:1-2Luke 20:41-44).

New Testament Believers Witnessed the Ascension

The Time of the Ascension

There are some who contend that Christ ascended into heaven prior to the event recorded in Acts 1. A number of expositors teach that Christ ascended to heaven on the day of His resurrection based on the implications of John 20:17 and Hebrews 9:6-20. Let me suggest several reasons why this is unlikely:

(1) In Hebrews 9:11-12 the statement, “through His own blood” (or in the KJV, “with His blood”) has been taken to mean Christ took His actual blood into heaven. They say in John 20:17, Christ was telling Mary not to touch Him because this had not yet been done. But the Greek text here uses a construction which means “through the agency of” or “by means of.” It simply means that Christ was able to enter heaven once and for all by means of (or through) His death on the cross.

(2) The Lord did not actually say in John 20:17 He would ascend immediately, or at a time prior to the record in Luke 24 and Acts 1. “I ascend” is a prediction and illustrates what grammarians call a “futuristic use of the present tense.” This is a well established use in the New Testament (cf. A.T. Robertson, A Grammar Of The Greek New Testament In The Light of Historical Research, Broadman Press, p. 880).

(3) The only biblical record we have of His ascension is the one recorded 40 days after the resurrection (Acts 1:9-11Luke 24:50-53). Many able scholars have concluded that it is improbable that Christ ascended in a formal way to heaven until the event of Acts 1.

But that He did ascend and that we have the record is enormously instructive.

This record is a confirmation of the fact of the ascension by those who had access to this information and who very carefully examined the facts (Luke 1:3) And the record of the ascension is such that it gives us important information about its nature and meaning.

The Nature of the Ascension

For the purposes of our study, we are going to focus our attention on the account in Acts 1:6-11.

Acts 1:6-11 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. “ And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; 11 and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

First, we want to note the context in which the ascension occurs. This passage shows us there was concern and longing for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, and so there was the question about when. This would mean the reign of righteousness with Jesus Christ on the throne, and an end to the times of the Gentiles and the turmoil we now know in the world.

The Lord tells the disciples this was all in the Father’s sovereign plan and timing (vs. 7). In the meantime, they had the responsibility of representing the Lord to the world, a responsibility for which they would be adequately supplied by the power of the Holy Spirit once He had come to indwell the church, the body of Christ (vs. 8).

Christ’s ascension is immediately followed by the promise of the Holy Spirit and instructions regarding the purpose and mission of the church. The ascension is designed to provide an incentive to faith, courage, and a motivation to ministry.

Immediately after this commission in verse 8, the ascension occurred. The Lord was lifted up by a cloud of glory out of their sight and taken into heaven. He was ascending to the right hand of the Father from whence He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them for ministry. There also He would sit to represent them providing access into God’s presence.

Let’s note the words used for Christ’s departure and what they teach us.

Verse 9a tells us “He was lifted up.” This is the passive form of the Greek epairo and means “to lift up” as in the hoisting of a sail (Acts 27:40). This stresses that the ascension is upward and shows the Father was taking His Son up into heaven. The ascension was an act of exaltation and an affirmation of Christ’s person.

Verse 9b tells us “a cloud received Him out of their sight.” The Greek word “received” is hupolambano, “to take or bear up by supporting from beneath.” Literally the cloud “took under him.” He appeared to be supported by the cloud.

It appears that once Christ was in the atmospheric heaven, He was received by a cloud. Though we are not told so, this may have been like the cloud connected with the transfiguration, and which descended on the tabernacle in the wilderness and filled Solomon’s temple. Many believe it was the shekinah cloud, a symbol of the glory of God. In other words, it was a supernatural cloud, a symbol of the glorification of the Son. He was resuming His preincarnate glory–the glory He had before the incarnation.

Verse 10 describes the ascent by the words, “while He was departing.” “Departing” is the Greek poreuomai. This was a common word that meant to “go on a journey.” This suggests to us the ascension was a journey, not merely a disappearance. The Son of Man who was the Son of God was passing through the heavens into the heaven of heavens, into the very presence of God to appear there for us (cf. Heb. 4:14; 7:20; 9:24).

Verse 11 describes the ascent by the words, “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven.” “Taken up” is the Greek analambano, “to receive up.” This is probably best understood as culminative or climatic and describes His reception into heaven. It describes the final results of the ascension and declares the fact of Christ’s arrival in heaven. By the testimony of two angels from heaven we are told He had reached His destination.

Everywhere we turn in the New Testament we find the Lord Jesus declared to be in heaven at the right hand of the Father in the PLACE OF GLORY, POWER, AUTHORITY, AND PROVISION FOR US.

The Response of the Disciples

What happened next is also important. We find the disciples almost trance-like and bewildered, staring after the Lord into the sky. The Greek text indicates they continued to stare or gaze up into heaven. Partly, I am sure because they were amazed and perplexed, but partly because they didn’t want to see Him go. Perhaps also they were waiting to see if He would soon return.

Suddenly, two men in white clothing, angels, messengers from God, appear beside them and address the disciples first with a question and then with a statement of promise.

The Question: “Why do you stand looking into the sky?”

I believe this question shows us how the ascension should and should not affect us. It may have been a gentle rebuke, but I think it is clear that the angels were calling the disciples’ attention to several important principles:

  • We should not be bewildered by the ascension nor stand transfixed or immobile just looking into the heavens. They (and we) should have expected it based on the Old Testament and Christ’s own predictions.SEEING THE LORD AS ASCENDED SHOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT EFFECT ON US.
  • We must know and believe that the ascension and session of the Lord is an important and necessary part in the plan of God for the church and for the world. We must trust in God’s plan. The Lord must be absent from us for a time.
  • The Lord’s departure means Christ’s exalted position in heaven and the promise of His return. But it also means that we have important matters to attend to as His people whom He has left here to represent Him.

The question posed by the angels implies “do you not understand what all this means to you?” It means Christ is exalted, but it also means the promise of His abiding presence with each believer in a very new and special way. It also means His sure return as King of Kings. The promise of His return means the establishment of His kingdom and His sure reward for faithful service with all the glories of the future.

The Reasons for Witnessing the Ascension

No one saw the Lord rise from the dead, but He was seen ascending into heaven by the disciples.

Men saw the results of resurrection–the living, glorified and resurrected Christ. But the act was not seen, only the results. To confirm the resurrection it was not necessary that men see him rise out of the grave. Knowing He was surely dead, men only needed to see clear evidences for the resurrection such as the empty tomb, the grave clothes as they were lying in the tomb, and the risen Christ who appeared over and over again.

By contrast, the disciples saw Christ ascend into heaven–they saw the act of ascension, but not the result–Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God. This they could not see except by prophetic vision (e.g., Stephen in Acts 7:55-56, John in the book of Revelation, or Paul on the Damascus road).

The act of ascension was necessary to confirm the result–Christ seated. One of the great doctrines of the epistles is Christ seated in heaven, exalted at God’s right hand and the historic act confirms that for us.

The Lord Jesus physically disappeared from off the face of the earth. Where did He go? Where was He? The ascension with the eye witness account of the disciples provides us with the answer and verifies this great doctrine of Scripture.

Christ’s ascension (the act seen) is the proof of the result (Christ seated as the victorious and exalted Savior).

What difference does all this make to us, to the church in the world? What are the consequences of the ascension? The consequences are so tremendous that the ascended and seated Lord becomes one of the great themes of the New Testament. Everywhere we turn we find references of the ascended and seated Christ, and this has all kinds of implications on the individual and corporate life of the church of Jesus

The Results of the Ascension:
Its Consequences

Culminations of the Ascension–what it ended

(1) It ended Christ’s humiliation and self-limitation (John 6:62Phil. 2:5-11).

Even during Christ’s appearances in His post-resurrection ministry, to some extent, He limited the manifestation of His glory. But through the ascension, though still possessing a glorified human body, the Lord assumed all of His former glory and authority.

(2) It ended His public ministry of words and works (John 17:4-11).

The ascension concluded His prophetic ministry and miracles accomplished by His bodily presence on earth (Walvoord, p. 224). His prophetic ministry and miracles would continue for a while, but only through the lives and ministry of the Apostles.

(3) It ended His redemptive work (Heb. 1:3; 10:12).

The ascension declared His work on the cross was finished. It demonstrated that there was nothing more that could be done for our sin and that He and He alone had accomplished our redemption (Note Heb. 9:11-12).

(4) It ended the Old Testament Covenant and declares the New Covenant to be better and in force (Heb. 8:7-13; 9:11-15, 23-10:1).

The ascension declared that the old Mosaic Covenant was no longer valid, that it was only a temporary covenant until Messiah-Savior could come.

Affirmations of the Ascension–what it says and teaches us about the Lord.

It Affirmed Christ’s Identification

It Affirmed Christ as the God-Man (John 6:62). In John 6 we have the great discourse on Christ as the Bread of Life. Because of His unique person, He is able to give eternal life. This is true because He is not mere man, but the God-Man, the one who came down from heaven. This was difficult to grasp and some grumbled over it. So what did the Lord do? He spoke of His ascension as proof of His origin. The ascension, like the resurrection, would prove His divine origin and that He had been sent of God to solve man’s sin problem.

It Affirmed Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King

(1) As Prophet

In John 3:2, the words “a teacher come from God” set the stage for this encounter. First, it shows his inadequate understanding of the person of Jesus. Christ sought to eliminate an incomplete grasp of His person because this is essential to faith and salvation. A teacher is a communicator of truth and Christ will show Nicodemus why He is able, above all teachers, to reveal God’s truth.

In John 3:13 our Lord shows Nicodemus He has the right and ability to explain and reveal heavenly truth because He is the true prophet, the one who came from heaven and who, following His finished work on the cross, would return–the proof that He had truly come from God. Note Peter’s grasp of this in Acts 3:19-26. (Cf. also John 3:13; 16:7, compare with 12f; 6:14)

As the great prophet and revealer of truth, He would continue this ministry through the apostles via the Holy Spirit (John 16:7, 12f).

(2) As Priest

Jesus’ ascension and return to the Father would demonstrate that He had successfully, as our great and righteous High Priest, offered the one sacrifice that effectively deals with man’s sin and provides justification–righteousness with God. (Cf. Heb. 8:1-2; 9:11-12; John 16:10)

In John 13:1-3 the ascension is mentioned twice because it is on the basis of His work as Priest (Christ in the presence of the Father) that He would be able to continue His ministry as our High Priest and provide continual cleansing. On the basis of His confidence in the ascension, He performed an act which symbolized His continuing ministry of cleansing us as our advocate in heaven at God’s right hand (John 13:4f, cf. 1 John 2:1-2).

(3) As King

In answer to who He was, Christ again made reference to His ascended and exalted position at God’s right hand, only now in connection with His second coming from that ascended and exalted position as King of kings. (Cf. Matt. 26:64.)

It Affirmed Christ’s Exaltation

As with the vision of Isaiah, it declared the Lord Jesus, the God-Man Savior, as high and lifted up. This included the following:

  • His Glorification (John 17:5Acts 7:55Rev. 1:12-16) It meant a return to His pre-incarnate glory, but it also constituted a glorification of His humanity where He is the Forerunner of all believers who will follow.
  • His Session (Eph. 1:20-23Phil. 2:9Heb. 1:31 Pet. 3:22) It declared that He was in heaven, at God’s right hand, the place of the highest honor and authority. It means the possession of the throne of God without dispossession of the father. It means all glory, authority and power is shared by the father with the Son.
  • His Intercession and Protection over His own (John 17:11f; Rom. 8:32f; Heb. 4:14-16) It affirms His continuing ministry for us at God’s right hand: kept by His presence with the Father and His work as High Priest. In this regard, it declares we have an advocate with the Father and a compassionate High Priest, one who cares for us with the greatest compassion and who both intercedes for us when we sin and prays for us in our need.
  • His Provision for spiritual power (John 14:25-26; 16:7-10: Luke 24:49f; Acts. 1:8-11) It provided the means of His gift of the Comforter. Without the ascension, there would be none of the ministries of the Holy Spirit as we know it today: no indwelling, no baptism into Christ, and no filling. This would mean the absence of power over sin and power for witnessing. We would be a helpless people.
  • His Distribution (Eph. 4:7-11) It affirmed His right to give gifts to His church.
  • His Preparation (John 14:3,4) It affirms His promise to prepare a home for His bride. When we lose a loved one who knows the Lord, one of the great comforts is the fact that our loved one has actually gone home and that we will someday be joining them.
  • Commission (Matt. 28:19f; Luke 24:44f; John 12:32; 14:12; 17:11-23; Mark 16:19-20). By His commission I am referring to His earthly ministry and that He intends to continue this through the church. Continue it through you and me as we make ourselves available to Him as the risen and ascended Lord through the Holy Spirit His gift for ministry. As with Isaiah, this vision of Christ and its consequences to us, should mean “here am I Lord, send me; do with me according to your purpose.”
It Affirms the Need of Celebration

It affirms our need to celebrate and respond in the worship of the Savior. Remember, worship is not just something we do in some special place. Worship may, as with Israel, be merely external and religious formalism. (Cf. Luke 24:51-53Col. 3:1)

True worship involves something we are, a people who count on the worth of God for the totality of our lives. Worship includes hearing God’s Word, confessing our sin, prayer, praise, singing and making melody in our hearts, but all of this can be mere religiosity.

What we must see is that true worship means we think, respond and act on the fact of our ascended Lord with obedience, with commitment, and availability to the plan of God for our lives.

It Affords Us With Motivation and Courage

The ascension provides every reason why we should endure and be bold in service for the Lord knowing that our labor is never in vain in the Lord. (Cf. Mat. 28:19Heb. 12:1,2).

It Affirms His Inauguration as King

The ascension anticipates the establishment of His kingdom and the fact that we will have the privilege of reigning with Him in the millennium and the eternal kingdom of the new heavens and earth. (Cf. John 14:28; 16:16;Acts. 1:11Ps. 110:1Heb. 1:13Rev. 5:1-11.)

It Demands a Response

Because of what the ascension means, it demands a response from us to the person and work of Christ. (John 6:62) Failing to assimilate the truth of Christ as the Bread of Life, as the source of our spiritual nourishment and life through feeding on Him by faith and study, the Lord challenged His audience (and challenges us) with these words: “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?”

David Platt – from Secret Church – Overview of the Synoptic Gospels


For more in depth study, also watch – Who wrote the Gospels? Are there good reasons to attribute their authorship to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Essential Apologetics

Note: This clip is not from the recent Good Friday Secret Church event 2013, but of an older one.

David Platt itickets.comFrom a Secret Church event, David Platt, Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, introduces Matthew, Mark, & Luke as the synoptic gospels & describes the characteristics that define each gospel message about the life of Jesus Christ.


Three primary divisions:

  1. First of all as the story of the New Testament. About 60% of the New Testament is a story. It’s the first  5 books- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts, tell us the story of the New Testament.
  2. Second is the letters of the New Testament. Those are epistles, letters that are written, that help us understand the story that’s going on in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Most of these letters are in context of what we see happening in Acts chapter 1 through Acts chapter 28. So you’ve got the stories of what’s happening, you’ve got the letters, and then
  3. The conclusion of the New Testament – Revelation, which is technically a letter, but is also a lot different.

There’s 2 categories in the New Testament:

1. The life and the ministry of Christ (from Matthew to John) 

All of these books- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John unites them as if they were all written for the same primary purpose. They were written to show us a picture of Christ and the Gospel. I want you to hear this. These books were not written to be biographies of Jesus, that go chronologically through his life. Some of these Gospels are not arranged chronologically at all. They were written for the primary purpose to show Christ to the people that were listening to them. Why we see some differences, why we see some different stories told by some different authors is because, yeah, they were written for the same primary purpose, but, they’re written from different viewpoints and for different  audiences. These are four different guys, with four different personalities, different perspectives, talking to different people.

Now, I want you to think about how the audience is going to affect the way you write. We’ve got to realize that in order to understand Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, we’ve got to put ourselves in the shoes of the people Matthew was writing to. Cause, whenever you communicate with someone, you take into account what they already know, you take into account what they already understand, and this is the challenge for us 2,000 years later, to put ourselves in the shoes of Matthew’s readers and to realize what was already in their frame of reference in order to understand why Matthew was doing this or that. That’s why New Testament Biblical study is more than just reading through the Bible. Not to minimize reading through the Bible, but in order to understand it, we’ve got to dive into what this meant to the people who heard it at that time.

2. The life and the ministry of the Church

..which is basically part 2 of Luke’s Gospel. So, Luke wrote both the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts (4:00)


1. Gospel of Matthew 

Matthew was a jewish tax collector. Isn’t this great? The way that the New Testament starts- that God would decide the first author should be a guy who is known and suspected for taking advantage of His people. The least likely candidate for writing the first book of the New Testament is Matthew. Aren’t you glad we have a God who doesn’t choose the most likely candidates, but He chooses the least likely candidates. Praise God that He has poured out His grace on those who can never begin to deserve it. We see that from the very beginning, in even the author here. He wrote it in the 70’s to 80’s A.D.  which meant that he wrote soon after the destruction of the  temple.

Now, this is important. What we’re gonna see is that Matthew, in his writing, is in a battle for the hearts and souls of Judaism. You’ve got Judaism, that’s gonna go one way or the other. It’s either gonna go the way of the Pharisees, or it’s gonna go the way of Christ. And he is urging Jewish christians , or those Jews who were thinking about coming to faith in Christ, he is urging them to follow Christ. That’s why he gives us this picture in this book, he wants the heart of Judaism to realize  that Judaism has been fulfilled in the picture of Jesus Christ. So, that’s why he writes this whole book. The primary theme is that Jesus is the king of the jews. From the very beginning he is pointing out over and over again the kingship of Jesus.

Practical advice for study: I wanna encourage you to  look for the focus on the kingdom of God, all throughout Matthew. When you read through this book, you’ll see either the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven mentioned over, and over again. You see this outline, this structure that’s here. It’s emphasizing the kit. What it does, Matthew does this; He puts a lot of emphasis on the teachings of Christ, and there are 5 major blocks of teaching in each one of these parts of this outline- and then his actions, which show the meanings of those teachings. So that’s what Matthew’s doing, he’s not arranging things chronologically, he’s helping highlight what Christ is teaching. Probably Christ’s most famous teaching, at the very beginning of Matthew, in the ministry of Christ – the sermon on the mount. It’s an emphasis on the teaching of Christ, throughout this book.

I want to encourage you, if you read Matthew, look up cross references. That’s when the Bible is making references to different points, allusions, quotations. There’s 129 references or allusions to 25 of the 39 Old Testament books. You see why surveying the Old Testament was important? Cause in order to read Matthew, we’ve got to know the Old Testament. 12 different times in this book he talks about how this was fulfilled, or that was fulfilled.All throughout the beginning of the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, „It was fulfilled this, it was fulfilled that”- a strong link to the Old Testament.When reading about the teachings of Jesus remember to put yourselves in the hearers shows. We’ve got to get in the jewish mindset, in order to understand the book of Matthew.


2. Gospel of Mark

This was written by John Mark, who was close to Peter. He wrote it between 65 and 70 A.D. So this was written before the fall of the temple. But, it was written during a time when there was a lot of insurrection between the Jewish people and the Roman empire over them. Obviously, if something is leading up to the battle in the temple, where the city of Jerusalem were going to be ravaged, that there’s some tension that leads up to that time. And so, Mark is writing to gentile christians that are in Rome suffering persecution. Mark’s writing to gentile christians in Rome who are suffering persecution. Obviously, there’s some conflict  between Rome and Judaism, christianity is this sect of Judaism, so to speak in some people’s eyes, and so, they are experiencing some major persecution in Rome, and he’s writing to them to encourage them.

Look at Mark 16, these believers are facing some very intense persecution, and many of them are wavering in their faith. When they start to get persecuted, they start to wonder: Is Christ real, should we really go on with this? Should we really move forward in our faith with Him? In Mark 16, you have the resurrection, and then look at verse 6. It says, „Don’t be alarmed”, this is a young man speaking to those who had come to the tomb, „Don’t be alarmed, you’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they had laid Him. But, go, tell His disciples and Peter. He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you”.

If you are reading Mark for the first time, you are in a situation (where) you are tempted to read and be quiet, and not share your faith with anybody. Listen to where verse 8 leaves us, and this is that point where some people actually think the book of Mark stops. So let’s imagine if it does stop here. Verse 8- „Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled form the tomb, they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.” Now, what if the book stopped right there? You realize what kind of message that puts – what if the resurrection of Christ, nobody said anything because they were afraid? Mark is reminding us that this is something we must tell people. If it stops with us, then the resurrection of Christ is just a historical fact that doesn’t expand to the 2nd and 3rd century. But, praise God that the believers who read Mark did not walk away and say nothing to anyone. He wrote to these Jewish christians in Rome who were facing persecution.

The primary theme in the Book of Mark: Jesus is the suffering servant of God. We see suffering, over and over mentioned. We see the key verses there: Mark 8:31-38 is talking about the unexpected suffering, when Jesus told His disciples that He was going to experience suffering and Peter pulled Jesus aside and said, „Maybe you don’t know what you’re doing”. And Jesus said, „You don’t tell Me, I don’t know what I’m doing”. He says it pretty sternly.  And He says, „This is exactly what I’m doing”. All throughout Mark, you see what is called the Messianic secret. And this is a different point. Do you ever wonder why Jesus wanted to keep Himself a secret? As the demons start telling how He’s Jesus the Christ? And the demons recognize Him when nobody else does, and He’s like, „Shh, don’t tell anybody”. Or sometimes He heals people and He tells them, „Don’t tell anybody. Walk away, don’t say a thing”. Why is He doing that? Because He’s got a mission. He’s headed to the cross. It’s a much different mission than what everybody else had in mind for him. Everybody else’s agenda was to bring in Messiah, exalt Him, put Him up as king, and He’s gonna take Rome out. So, they were not expecting in any way this Messiah who was born to a girl named Mary. Raised in avery humble setting and then, least of all put on a cross. That’s not where the Messiah goes. So it made sense that people were not seeing Him as the Messiah. And so, when people did expose to that truth He said, „You wait, I’ve  got a mission that I’m on”.  So we see that over and over again.

Practical study advice: Keep up. Mark show Jesus constantly on the move – 41 times. If you ever think your life is busy, just pull out and read Mark chapter 1 and you’ll see a day in the life of Jesus. He starts preaching in the morning, finishes up the sermon there, and He goes home to some friends’ house,  the friend’s mom is sick so He heals her so she can get up and be a part of this afternoon, and then, all the town starts coming. And it says, the whole town lined up outside His door, to have demons cast out of them, to be healed of all their diseases, and so, all night He spent time healing everybody in the town. So, that’s one full day. The beauty of it is Mark 1:35 – Jesus got up very early in the morning and went to a solitary place, where He spent time with the Lord. That is the key. God help us to see Mark 1:35, that in the midst of a busy world, that we find ourselves in, that we go to a solitary place and that we spend time with the Father. Notice that almost 1/2 of his gospel is devoted to events of the last week of Jesus’s life. Overall structure, you see that based around the servant ministry.

Synoptic Gospels

basically, what synoptic means is to see together. And what we need to realize, when we come to the Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are very similar to each other. They see the life and ministry of Christ in a very similar way. John is sort of an oddball. The confusion, basically centers around a couple of different questions.

  1. Is Mark the primary source for Matthew and Luke? In other words, is Mark the anchor from which Matthew and Luke wrote? There’s some evidence that would seem to point to that. 97% of Mark’s words are in Matthew. Out of about 660 verses, 600 are there. If you’ve read Matthew, you’ve got Mark covered. Different perspectives, different things emphasized, but it’s pretty much Mark +  = Matthew. Then you’ve got Luke. 88% of Mark’s words are in Luke. Now, there’s another theory that there’s an unknown source. That there was a foundation for these books and they call that foundation Q. Well, we’re not sure. And obviously the life and ministry of Christ wasn’t confined to what Matthew, Mark, Luke was saying about it. But, the overall theme we need to realize is they do come together pretty clearly, those 3. Matthew Mark and Luke did not write their Gospels in isolation from one another. They were connected together. 


The Gospel of Luke

Luke was written by Luke, a gentile physician, he’s the only gentile author of the Bible. But this idea that he’s a physician, let me show you something. Go with me to Mark 5. Now, if Mark was somewhat of a foundation, these books were written from different perspectives. Mark 5:25-28 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Jesus goes on to heal her. That’s the story that Mark gives. Now, go over to Luke 8 and hear Luke’s version of the story, and what I want you to see if there are any differences in what Mark said and Luke said. Luke 8:42 As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, Do you notice what Luke wrote that Mark did not? Mark said, „She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors”. So Luke takes this and tells the story- you don’t have to slam the doctors, and so you see that left out in Luke. Mark decides the detail is important, Luke decides, for his own reputation, maybe this is not gonna be included. So, you see the different personalities coming out in these different stories.

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