Why Believers Can Claim the Bible is True And Reliable

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

19Sept  Skeptics aren’t the only ones who raise questions about the Bible. Even Christians might ask: “How can believers claim that the Bible is true compared with any other book used as a foundation for religion?  What makes the Bible stand out from other pieces of writing that claim they also came from God?”

So, how do we authenticate the Bible?  Let’s look just two reliable sources . . .

(1) Consider The Bible’s historical authenticity.

The Bible has been substantiated both historically and archeologically as more accurate than any other book handed down through time.  Research and analysis by historians, linguists, sociologists, and archeologists have demonstrated the accuracy of the Scriptures through forensic science, the discovery and study of ancient literature, and much more.

(2) The Bible is set apart from all other books in one other way: its prophetic accuracy.

A large portion of its prophecy has already been fulfilled with absolute precision.   A classic example is the foretelling of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.  In Micah 5:2, the prophet Micah told of our Savior’s birth over 700 years before it happened. Matthew has recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy for us in Matthew 2:1-6.  What makes this prophecy stand out is the obscurity of Bethlehem.  Had Micah mentioned a major metropolis in Israel, the argument could have been put forth that Micah had merely guessed well.  Yet, Micah recorded the mind of God by pinpointing this remote region as the site of Christ’s birth.

Prophetic Scripture is accurate in all its detail

Because God Himself moved the writers to record it.

Of course, Micah’s prophecy is just one of several hundred that have already been fulfilled in the Bible.  God is not bound by time, space, or matter.  He knows the beginning from the end, and prophecy involves the recording of His thoughts before an event historically happens.

In 2 Peter 1:20–21, the Bible says, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 

Someone has made this observation: “If you were to mathematically figure the probability that 100 prophecies would occur accurately; that is, without any errors, it would require 200 billion earths populated with 4 billion people each to come up with one person who could give 100 accurate prophecies.”  In other words, it would be impossible. But the Bible contains hundreds of prophecies written by a number of inspired writers over a period of centuries that already have come true.  That’s because these prophecies are not based on chance, but on the eternal knowledge of God.

Isaiah 53 alone contains a number of prophecies, including Jesus’ piercing, His scourging, and even His silence in the face of oppression and accusation.  The passage speaks of His grave and His purity.  The passage also mentions that our own iniquities would be placed on Jesus as our sinless Savior.  The Bible says in Isaiah 53:3-4, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid, as it were, our faces from Hi;; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows …”  These words tell a tale much more painful than scourging itself.  Jesus came not only to bear our sins, but also our burdens.

In your pain, know this one truth: You are not alone. Jesus sees.  He knows.  He cares. He’s been there.  And, because He has suffered, He offers a comfort not merely rooted in intellectual assent but in compassionate understanding.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Seven Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

18Sept  This is the sixth and final blog in our series on how the Bible is all about Jesus.  We have looked at of the events that God instituted in the Old Testament that point to Jesus.  We learned about Who Jesus in the Old Testament through titles.  We have also learned about how the prophecies in the Old Testament teach us about Who Jesus is, what He would do, and even where He would be born.  And, we at how the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament are further proof of Who Jesus is.  Today, we will summarize how the Bible teaches about Jesus.

From Genesis to Revelation to end, the Bible reveals the person, purpose, and glory of Jesus.  While we know Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan not only for the children of Israel but for the entire world (Genesis 22:14-18).  Many today do not understand how the Old Testament and New Testament relate to one another.  They are often unsure how the Bible’s many stories, characters, and events relate to each other – especially to Jesus.  Some are tempted to force the Bible’s many pieces together, making superficial jumps from the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament. But most are left wondering:

The ultimate question we have been looking at the past several days is . . .

“Does Jesus and his story connect to the Old Testament?”

If so . . . “Where is Jesus in the Old Testament?”

How does the Old Testament inform our understanding of Jesus – His life and teachings, death and resurrection.  As we answer these questions, we will get a clear understanding of the Bible’s unity and central message – which includes the ways Jesus is found in the Old Testament. Here are seven ways.

1) Jesus is the Last Adam.

From the beginning, the full story of the Bible reveals the full glory of Christ – even with Adam.  Adam was not just the first man in God’s story.  He is the representative of humanity and the head of creation itself (Romans 5:12-21).  God gave Adam responsibilities and roles later expressed in Israel:

  • God spoke directly to Adam, and Adam (in a prophetic role) was responsible to mediate God’s word by trusting, keeping, and preaching it to his wife and children.
  • Adam (in a priestly role) was responsible to mediate God’s presence to the world by filling Eden with image-bearers, and ruling over creation.
  • Adam (in a kingly role) was given dominion over the world as a servant king, who was to act as God’s image, his representative and son.

While he did not possess any explicit title or office, Adam functioned as a prophet, priest, and king.  As the Bible’s story progresses, these titles identify other people who carry on these original tasks—which all anticipated a greater office holder: Jesus Christ. These roles express the deeper role God originally intended for humans.  That role was first established in Adam, but then only Jesus as the last Adam and God the Son perfectly fulfills it.  Then He restores it in us (Hebrews 2:5–18).

2) Jesus is testified to by ‘the Law and the Prophets.

The New Testament is clear about Christ’s whereabouts in the Old Testament.  Paul is led to write in Romans 3:21, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”

The Law and the Prophets is shorthand for the Old Testament, which Paul says prophecies and testifies of the salvation that later comes in Christ.  In other words, Jesus is present throughout the Old Testament. In these pages we find both hope and help.

God is providing for our instruction, endurance, encouragement, and, ultimately, our hope.  As we see how God unfolds His glorious plan of redemption in Christ and how He keeps all of His promises, we learn to trust, love, and obey Him.  The Bible is given to us for a reason.  It prepares us to see and receive Jesus as the only solution to our problem and the only Savior from our sin.

The Law and the prophets are written in such a way as to perfectly portray the greatness of our problem and the greatness of God’s grace in Christ.  God’s promises in Genesis 3:15 find their fulfillment in Jesus and the Old Testament’s characters, events, and story all point to Jesus.

3) Noah: a Foretaste of judgment and salvation through Christ.

If Jesus is the last Adam, Noah was meant as a new Adam.  In his story, two themes emerge – judgment and salvation – which offer a foretaste of Jesus in the Old Testament.

As we learn about Noah’s flood, we are confronted with the harsh reality of what humanity deserves for its sin and rejection of God.  More accurately, the flood is a foretaste of coming judgment, of what humanity will receive.  Jesus compares His return and the future judgment to Noah’s flood in the Old Testament (Matthew 24:37).  Yet the final judgment will be far worse.  In the final judgment there is no relief, and in this way Noah’s flood becomes a reminder to us of a greater judgment to come, which we ought to take seriously.

But positively, Noah’s salvation is a foretaste of coming salvation in Christ.  The Bible says in Isaiah 54:9-10, “’For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.  For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, Who has mercy on you.”  The Bible also says on 1 Peter 3:20–22, “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that, eight souls, were saved through water.”  As Noah passed through the waters of God’s judgment, now men and women will pass safely through the greater rescue from God’s wrath. How?  Jesus will save us from God’s judgment by taking that judgment on himself.”

4) Isaac: Jesus is the “seed” of Abraham and true substitute.

God promised Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).   God repeated that promise in Genesis 22:18, “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.”  Don’t miss an important point about the fulfillment of this promise through the story of Abraham’s son, Isaac:

It is through Isaac, the promised seed,

That God’s salvation will come to the world.

But God is also revealing that Isaac is not enough.

Isaac, too, is a sinner in need of a savior.

God’s promise will come through Isaac,

But ultimately Isaac cannot save.

The Savior must come outside of Isaac,

By God’s own provision.

This is the meaning of the ram that God provides.  In sparing Isaac, a substitute must still take his place.

Of course, that substitute ultimately comes through Christ.

God did provide a substitute for Isaac, stating that God Himself must ultimately provide the proper substitute to pardon human sin.  Isaac needed a substitute to die in his place, and God provided it.  As Abraham is obeying the instruction that the Lord had given the voice from heaven says, “Stop! There is another to take his place.”  Yet, when the Father and Son walk to Calvary, there is no voice saying, “Stop. Here is another.

As the Bible’s story unfolds, we learn that it is only through the true ‘seed’ of Abraham, Christ Jesus, that believers from all nations become children of Abraham (Galatians 3:9).

5) Jesus is greater than the Law-covenant

The New Testament clearly shows that Christ and His covenant are so much better than the Old Testament’s Law-covenant!  This is exactly what the Law-covenant was given to help us see.  Imbedded into the Law-covenant were carefully designed limitations that pointed toward something greater.  The Bible teaches us in Hebrews 9:8, “The Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.  It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience.”

The Old Testament outlines several divine patterns that reveal past limitations and beautifully point us to Christ in God’s dealings with Israel through Moses and the Law-covenant.  Here are a few of them:

  • A Greater Exodus.  Israel’s exodus from Egypt was more than a one-time event. It became the paradigm for all of God’s redeeming acts to follow culminating in ultimate liberation and redemption from sins.  In Christ, an even greater exodus from slavery has occurred.
  • A Greater Rest.  Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy-ladened and I will give you rest.”  Through the Law-covenant, God structured foretastes of ultimate rest into the life of the nation.  But since it couldn’t deal with sin, the people couldn’t experience true rest; Jesus offers this rest which the Law-Covenant anticipated.
  • A Greater Prophet.  Moses was a great prophet, but Jesus is far greater.  Moses himself pointed toward him when he says in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”  The people were still waiting for this prophet when Jesus came.
  • A Greater Tabernacle.  In the Book of Exodus, the Lord instructed Israel to erect a tabernacle for Him to dwell with His people, which was “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven” (Hebrews 8:5).  Just as the tabernacle symbolized God’s greater presence in heaven, so its priesthood and sacrifices symbolized the greater salvation to come.  Jesus was this greater salvation and tabernacle.

6) Jesus is a greater future King David.

In King David, all of God’s promises from Noah to Abraham to Moses converge.  And yet, as with all parts of the Old Testament the Davidic narratives look ahead to a greater future king.  Psalm 72 explains how Jesus is found in this part of the Old Testament, which “helps us look ahead to a ‘greater’ David, a future king.

Jesus Christ is unveiled in Psalm 72:

  1. Royalty with Righteousness – Psalm 72:1–4.  This is the king our world needs. Our world cries out for justice, but because of sin, even our best leaders are dangerous if we give them too much power.  A truly righteous kingdom awaits God’s righteous king.
  2. As Long as the Sun Rises – Psalm 72:5–7.  Despite the faithlessness of David’s sons, God’s promise of an eternal king through David is going to happen. The Lord will see to it.
  3. A King for Everyone, Everywhere – Psalm 72:8–11. This is a picture of total dominion over the world.  This King’s rule will achieve the universal rule that God first intended for humanity.  And in light of these Davidic promises, the Bible tells us to look ahead to the coming of the Davidic son/king who will fully bring God’s rule to the entire world..
  4. A Heart of Compassion – Psalm 72:12–19.  The rule of David’s future son would not conform to the patterns of this world’s rulers.  He would not take from His people. He would only give!  But at a cost: As David did, he will suffer on his way to exaltation.  He will bring about great reversals for others by means of a great reversal of his own.

7) A vivid portrait of our suffering servant

The prophet Jonah reminds us, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).  And all along the way in God’s story, the story of salvation advances a step further as the Lord takes the initiative to save.  The prophets continued this message, carrying it forward.

How do they reveal this salvation will be accomplished?  The Lord’s salvation is made possible through a sinless sufferer.  The prophet Isaiah particularly speaks of this coming servant, one who is from Israel but who is also distinct from Israel.  A servant who represents Israel because He is Israel’s king and a truly obedient Son..

We have a problem: sinful humans need to be reconciled to a holy God.  Isaiah reveals how this will be made possible: the Lord will accomplish a substitutionary sacrifice for sin.  He will do it through the suffering of His obedient servant… The servant who is our Savior is God’s answer to the tension we have highlighted time and again.

That the Suffering-Servant is Jesus Christ.  He will do two things in His substitutionary death: (1) He will take what is ours – our iniquities; and (2) He will give us what is His – His righteousness.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Jesus in the Old Testament, Part 5: Types

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

17Sept.jpg

This is the fifth blog in our series on how the Bible is all about Jesus.  We have looked at of the events that God instituted in the Old Testament that point to Jesus.  We learned about Who Jesus in the Old Testament through titles.  We have also learned about how the prophecies in the Old Testament teach us about Who Jesus is, what He would do, and even where He would be born.  And, we at how the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament are further proof of Who Jesus is.  Today, we will see through the types and figures of the Old Testament more about Jesus.

In the Old Testament we see people who are created for a purpose but fail or come up short of their intended purpose.  We see Jesus through these types, but the message is clearly that Jesus is the only One who can accomplish the intended purpose and He it in so much of a bigger and better way!  Let’s look at 7 figures . . .

The Last Adam

History starts with the first Adam (Genesis 1:26-27).  Jesus is called the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45; Romans 5:12–21).

  • The first Adam sinned; the last Adam did not sin and atoned for sin.
  • Through the first Adam we fell; through the last Adam we can be saved.
  • Through the first Adam there was condemnation; through the last Adam there is salvation.
  • Through the first Adam we inherit a sin nature; through the last Adam we receive a new nature.
  • Through the first Adam we’re born sinners; through the last Adam we’re born again as saints.
  • The first Adam turned from God in a garden; and the last Adam turned to God in another garden.
  • The first Adam was a sinner; the last Adam is a Savior of sinners.
  • The first Adam yielded to Satan; the last Adam defeated Satan.
  • The first Adam sinned at a tree; the last Adam atoned for sin on a tree.
  • The first Adam brought thorns; the last Adam wore a crown of thorns.
  • The first Adam was naked and unashamed; the last Adam was stripped naked and bore our shame.
  • Everybody is born in Adam, but not everyone is born again in Jesus.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is better and greater than Adam (that is what the entire Book of Hebrews is all about), or any son of Adam!

High Priest

In the Old Testament the priests mediated between people and God.  The Book of Hebrews details how Jesus fulfilled completely the character required of priests but also the duties of the High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15–16; 5:10).  God became a man to mediate between Himself and us.  This is why the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  Our mediator is Jesus, not religion, not the church, not morality – but the person, Jesus Christ.  He is our truer and better priest who brings us to God and brings God to us.

Word of God

In the Old Testament the prophets speak for God.  Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 4:12; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 19:13).  He was the clearest, most complete, and final “word” about God and His purpose (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Kings

In the Old Testament kings ruled and reigned.  The Bible teaches that Jesus is our greater King.

  • Jesus is the ruler of the kings on earth (Revelation 1:5).
  • He is the King of the nations (Revelation 15:3).
  • He’s the King of kings (1 Timothy. 6:15; Revelations 19:16).
  • He’s the King of the ages (1 Timothy 1:17; cf. Psalm 10:16).

He has a kingdom that will never end, a kingdom that has perfect justice and provision for all.

Shepherds

The shepherds we read about in the Old Testament who cared for their sheep give us a glimpse of Jesus as the Good shepherd and Great shepherd.  The Good Shepherd knows His sheep, cares for His sheep Psalm 23:1-6) … and laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11, 14).

Judges

We read of judges who exercise justice in the Old Testament.  The Bible tells us in John 5 that the Father judges no one but has entrusted all judgment to the Son (John 5:22; cf. John 5:27; Acts 10:42).  Jesus is the true and greater judge.

The Temple

In the Old Testament the temple is the meeting place between men and God, designed after God’s dwelling place in heaven (1 Kings 8:29–30; Exodus 25:40).  According to the author of Hebrews, the temple served as “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5).  Jesus spoke of His body as the temple of God (John 2:21).  He is the greater temple.  As the temple dwelled among men in the Old Testament, Jesus dwelled among us (John 1:14).  Today, we don’t go to a place to worship, but we go to a person to worship – His name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to be with us and to make our bodies a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21).  The presence of God dwells within us so that we can live not just a better life but live a new life.  Through Christ in us, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be new people, living new lives by the presence of God, as the temple of God, to the glory of God, because we’re the people of God.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Jesus in the Old Testament, Part 4: Christophanies

Grace For The Journey

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13Sept   This is the fourth blog in our series on how the Bible is all about Jesus.  We have looked at of the events that God instituted in the Old Testament that point to Jesus.  We learned about Jesus in the Old Testament is through titles.  Yesterday we learned about how the prophecies in the Old Testament teach us about Who Jesus is, what He would do, and even where He would be born.

Jesus as the eternally existing Son of God, the second member of the Trinity, is demonstrated through His various appearances throughout the Old Testament.  This is another way we learn about Jesus and see how the Bible is all about Jesus.  Theologians what theologians call . . .

Christophonies

Since no one has seen or can see God the Father (Exodus. 33:20; John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46; 1 Timothy 6:15–16), most theologians believe the times in the Old Testament where God is “seen” refer to Jesus Christ.  Let’s look at a few examples:

The Book of Genesis

In the book of Genesis we observe a couple of Christophanies.  First, in Genesis 18, Abraham has a conversation with a man who is God.  That’s Jesus.  Basically Jesus shows up, talks with Abraham, and reveals details about the fate of Sodom.

Second, in Genesis 32:22–32, Jacob gets into an all-night, UFC-style wrestling match with somebody.  Though this man never reveals His name to Jacob, Jacob’s all-night wrestling match appears to have been with Jesus.

After struggling all night, I imagine Jacob thought to himself at the end of the fight, “I held in there all night. That was a long fight. I’m pretty tough.” Jesus says, “I could’ve taken you at any point,” and then reaches out His finger, touches Jacob’s hip, and cripples him.  Afterwards, Jacob realized he was wrestling with God.  The Bible records that even in Genesis 32:30 where it says, “So Jacob called the name of the Place Peniel (face of God): ‘For I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.’”

The Book of Daniel

In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these three men wouldn’t bow down and worship the golden image made by King Nebuchadnezzar.  As a consequence, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace.  The Bible tells us in Daniel 3:19-25 that after they were thrown into the furnace that was heated seven times hotter than it usually was and the king looked in a saw a four person walking in the midst of the fire whose appearance “is like the Son of God.”

The Book of Isaiah

One of my favorite Christophanies is in Isaiah 6. The Bible says in the first 3 verses of chapter 6, “In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah said that he “saw the Lord high and exalted and seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple.  And the angels surrounded Him.  And day and night they worship Him, crying out: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty; heaven and earth are full of His glory!’”

After seeing such a lofty vision, Isaiah responded, “And I’m a man of unclean lips. I’ve said some things I shouldn’t have said. And I come from a people of unclean lips. I’m a dead man. I’ve seen the LORD” (Isaiah 6:5).  Then an angel takes a hot coal, presses it to his lips and says. “Your sin is atoned for; you’re a new man now. Your mouth now belongs to me. You’re going to be a prophet and say what I tell you to say” (Isaiah 6:6–7).

The question we need to answer is this: Who did Isaiah see?  The Bible says in John 12:39-41, Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’  These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.”

Isaiah’s encounter with Jesus is the same picture that John has of Jesus in the book of Revelation.  It’s the same picture of Jesus that you and I will have when we see Him face to face (Revelation 1:9-17).  No longer a humble, marginalized, beaten, poor Galilean peasant, but the risen, ruling, reigning, resurrected, glorious King of kings, Lord of lords, high and exalted, worshiped by angels, adored by nations: the Lord Jesus Christ, “Who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8).

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Jesus in the Old Testament, Part 3: Prophecies

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

13Sept  This is the fourth blog in our series on how the Bible is all about Jesus.  We have looked at of the events that God instituted in the Old Testament that point to Jesus.  We learned about Jesus in the Old Testament is through titles.  Yesterday we learned about how the prophecies in the Old Testament teach us about Who Jesus is, what He would do, and even where He would be born.

Jesus as the eternally existing Son of God, the second member of the Trinity, is demonstrated through His various appearances throughout the Old Testament.  This is another way we learn about Jesus and see how the Bible is all about Jesus.  Theologians what theologians call . . .

Christophonies

Since no one has seen or can see God the Father (Exodus. 33:20; John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46; 1 Timothy 6:15–16), most theologians believe the times in the Old Testament where God is “seen” refer to Jesus Christ.  Let’s look at a few examples:

The Book of Genesis

In the book of Genesis we observe a couple of Christophanies.  First, in Genesis 18, Abraham has a conversation with a man who is God.  That’s Jesus.  Basically Jesus shows up, talks with Abraham, and reveals details about the fate of Sodom.

Second, in Genesis 32:22–32, Jacob gets into an all-night, UFC-style wrestling match with somebody.  Though this man never reveals His name to Jacob, Jacob’s all-night wrestling match appears to have been with Jesus.

After struggling all night, I imagine Jacob thought to himself at the end of the fight, “I held in there all night. That was a long fight. I’m pretty tough.” Jesus says, “I could’ve taken you at any point,” and then reaches out His finger, touches Jacob’s hip, and cripples him.  Afterwards, Jacob realized he was wrestling with God.  The Bible records that even in Genesis 32:30 where it says, “So Jacob called the name of the Place Peniel (face of God): ‘For I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.’”

The Book of Daniel

In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these three men wouldn’t bow down and worship the golden image made by King Nebuchadnezzar.  As a consequence, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace.  The Bible tells us in Daniel 3:19-25 that after they were thrown into the furnace that was heated seven times hotter than it usually was and the king looked in a saw a four person walking in the midst of the fire whose appearance “is like the Son of God.”

The Book of Isaiah

One of my favorite Christophanies is in Isaiah 6. The Bible says in the first 3 verses of chapter 6, “In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah said that he “saw the Lord high and exalted and seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple.  And the angels surrounded Him.  And day and night they worship Him, crying out: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty; heaven and earth are full of His glory!’”

After seeing such a lofty vision, Isaiah responded, “And I’m a man of unclean lips. I’ve said some things I shouldn’t have said. And I come from a people of unclean lips. I’m a dead man. I’ve seen the LORD” (Isaiah 6:5).  Then an angel takes a hot coal, presses it to his lips and says. “Your sin is atoned for; you’re a new man now. Your mouth now belongs to me. You’re going to be a prophet and say what I tell you to say” (Isaiah 6:6–7).

The question we need to answer is this: Who did Isaiah see?  The Bible says in John 12:39-41, Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’  These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.”

Isaiah’s encounter with Jesus is the same picture that John has of Jesus in the book of Revelation.  It’s the same picture of Jesus that you and I will have when we see Him face to face (Revelation 1:9-17).  No longer a humble, marginalized, beaten, poor Galilean peasant, but the risen, ruling, reigning, resurrected, glorious King of kings, Lord of lords, high and exalted, worshiped by angels, adored by nations: the Lord Jesus Christ, “Who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8).

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

GraceForTheJourneyBottomOfPagePicture

Jesus in the Old Testament, Part 2: Titles

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

12Se[t This is the second part in a series on how the Bible is all about Jesus.  Yesterday we looked at two of the events that God instituted in the Old Testament.  Another way we learn about Jesus in the Old Testament is through titles.  There is a variety of titles in the Old Testament that were ultimately attributed to Jesus.

Suffering Servant

In Isaiah – written seven hundred years before Jesus was born – beginning in chapter 40 all the way through to chapter 66, the dominating theme is about the Suffering Servant.  Though Isaiah depicts the suffering servant as the people of Israel (Isaiah 41:8) or himself (Isaiah 49:5), we observe in chapter 53 that the Suffering Servant is actually someone different.

The Suffering Servant is described as someone who bears our grief and sorrows, is pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:4–5).  Since the Suffering Servant was to do this work on behalf of the people of Israel and Isaiah himself, we discover in these verses that God would send someone to be a suffering Savior, namely, Jesus.

We see this in Jesus’ own words, when he says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of May did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  The Suffering Servant is also quoted in connection to Jesus’ healing ministry in Matthew 8:17, where the Bible says, “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed.  And He cast the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”  Again, in Acts 8:26-35 the Bible tells us that as an Ethiopian eunuch read from Isaiah 53, Philip joined him and informed him that Isaiah wasn’t speaking about himself, but Jesus (Acts 8:26–35).  And speaking of Jesus, Peter, in 1 Peter 2:24, quotes Isaiah 53:5 and connects it with Jesus when the Holy Spirit leads him to write, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sing, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.”

The Suffering Servant wasn’t the people of Israel.  He wasn’t Isaiah.  He was Jesus. Through this title we see that the Old Testament was all about Jesus just as the New Testament is.  Jesus came as the Suffering Servant to bear our sins, our grief, and sorrows, to be pierced for our transgressions, and be crushed for our iniquities.

Alpha and Omega

In the Old Testament, God is referred to as “the first and the last.”  The Bible tells us in Isaiah 41:4; 44:6 and 48:12 an important truth about God.  We hear in in these verses God say, “I am the first and I am the last; beside Mme there is no god.”

These are references to the eternal nature of God.  God is without beginning . . . God is without end.  God is eternal.  Or as someone has said, “God is the uncaused cause.”

The New Testament takes the first and last name for God and attributes it to Jesus.  The Bible tells us in Revelation 21:6 the words of Jesus to John, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (cf. Rev. 1:8; 22:3).  The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God.  He has no beginning and no end.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.

Son of Man

Jesus’ favorite title for himself is from the Old Testament: “the Son of Man.”  He uses this title roughly 80 times.  For example, in response to the high priest’s request for Jesus to say if he is the Christ, Jesus said, “You have said so.  But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 6:64; 16:27, 24:30; Mark 14:62).  Jesus isn’t merely saying that He is simply a son of a man.  We all are.  Jesus was claiming to be the Son of man as spoken of by Daniel.

For Jesus to connect himself with the title of son of man from Daniel is to connect Himself with the vision of Himself in eternal glory in heaven, ruling and reigning, coming into human history humbly as a man to set up a kingdom that’ll never end.

Jesus was crucified.  He was put to death for the charge of blasphemy by declaring Himself to be God.  He rose from death three days later.  Jesus is alive today, and He is the Son of Man spoken of by the prophet Daniel.

I AM

Another title in the Old Testament used for God revolves around the burning bush and Moses (Exodus 3).  As the Bible relates in the Book of Exodus, one day Moses walked along in the wilderness and came upon a bush that was on fire but not consumed.

I think God has a good sense of humor. Of all ways that God could have spoken with Moses, he chose to talk with him through a burning bush.

The Bible records this experience in Exodus 3.  As Moses had a conversation with God out of the burning bush, he’s told, “Go to the Pharaoh and set My people free.  Moses asked a good question. “Who should I tell them sent me?”  And  says to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

The Bible tells us in John 8:59, that Jesus responded to the Jews’ question of Jesus on how exactly He saw Abraham who lived a couple of thousand years before him, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  The Jews understood that Jesus was identifying Himself as God, who spoke to Moses through the burning bush, and picked up stones to throw at Him.

Jesus in essence said, “I’m the eternal God, older than Abraham, and I was the one who met with Moses in the burning bush and told Him to go liberate my people.”

We can clearly conclude from these sample titles of our Lord Jesus in the Old Testament that it is really all about Jesus.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Jesus in the Old Testament, Part 1: Events

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

11Sept  Earlier this week I presented an overview of Jesus in the Old Testament.  My purpose was to show how the Bible is all about Jesus.  For the next several blogs I want to expand that topic as we look at specific events and teachings that demonstrate how the Bible is all about Jesus.

One way the Old Testament teaches us about Jesus is through events.  Looking back upon the various events and festivals in the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament, we read in Colossians 2:16–17, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Jesus.

From these verses, we learn that the festivals established by God in the Old Testament were not an end in and of themselves, but rather served as a means of pointing to Jesus.  Because Jesus came and fulfilled the meaning of these various festivals, we are no longer bound to celebrate them.  Nonetheless, we learn a great deal about Jesus by simply studying these events.

There are several events that we could look at, but for brevity, let’s consider two major events in the Old Testament: the Passover; and the Day of Atonement.

The Passover

At the end of the book of Genesis, we read about Joseph’s family people suffering from a a massive famine sought refuge in Egypt.  Over the course of more than four hundred years, from Genesis to Exodus, this family grew to become the great nation of Israel (Exodus 1:1–7).  The Bible tells us that during this time, a new pharaoh arose in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph and felt threatened by Israel since they were growing in number and becoming more powerful (Exodus 1:8–10).

This new pharaoh enslaved, mistreated, abused, and hurt God’s people.  Due to the harsh treatment by pharaoh upon Israel, God heard their cries of His people and sent Moses to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from their bondage so that they would be free to worship Him.

The Book of Exodus tells us that God confronted Pharaoh, and He demanded that he “Let my people go.”  Pharaoh’s heart was hardened toward God, and he wanted to be God, kept fighting against God, and sought to go his own way.

Due to Pharaoh’s stubbornness, God sent an escalating succession of plagues and a demand to obey Him through His messenger, Moses.  Pharaoh didn’t listen, and the plagues came just as God promised, culminating in a final, devastating plague – the killing of the firstborn in Egypt by the death angel.

As a result of Pharaoh’s willful inflexibility, death came to the firstborn in every home with one exception: those homes in the nation of Israel that, in faith, scarified an animal and spread the blood of that animal over their doorpost.  This act served as a substitute, indicating that while all people were sinners deserving of death, God would in His mercy pass over the houses covered by the blood.  This event became the first Passover, which is celebrated by the Jews to this day.

Thousands of years later, John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  And, as the Apostle Paul tells us, Jesus Christ is “our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).  From this we learn that the Passover is all about Jesus.

Today, as Christians, we don’t have to celebrate the Passover.  Do you know why?  We don’t need to because Jesus fulfilled the Passover.  Jesus is our Passover sacrifice.  He shed His blood for our sin so that the wrath of God would pass over us through faith in Jesus.  We don’t need to annually celebrate the Passover because we have Jesus and we celebrate Him and what He did on the cross and through the empty tomb every day.

The Day of Atonement

The second major event that teaches us about the person and work of Jesus is called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16; 23:26–32).  For the Jews, the Day of Atonement is the biggest day in the Jewish calendar year.  So big, in fact, that they simply call it “the Day.”

In the Bible, the Day of Atonement was observed God’s people to make atonement for their sins.  The high priest, serving as Israel’s mediator between them and God, would fulfill the Day of Atonement through two goats, one used as the sacrificial goat and one used as the scapegoat.  Over the sacrificial goat, the high priest would confess the sins of the people and slaughter the animal as a substitute sacrifice.  The blood of that animal would be shed, and the wrath of God would be poured out on that animal in their place as a substitute.  Over the scapegoat, the high priest would confess the sins of the people but rather than being slaughtered, it would be sent away.

For Christians, Jesus is our Atonement.  His work on the cross achieved what is alluded to in this event.  He is our High Priest who mediates between God and us.  He is our sacrifice who forgives our sins.  He is our scapegoat who takes our sins away and makes us clean (Hebrews 9:7–14).  This is why we don’t celebrate Yom Kippur.   We celebrate Jesus.  The Bible teaches that Jesus is the whole point of Yom Kippur, for the event served as the preparation, anticipation, and expectation of the crucifixion of Jesus.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Is Jesus in Every Book of the Old Testament?

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

5Sept  Allow me to encourage you today with a marvelous reality of the Old Testament.  Even though God used many different authors over many centuries, the unified theme and message is all about Jesus and what He would do to fulfill God’s promise of salvation to those who turn from their sin and accept Christ as Savior.

As you read through God’s Word, see how it points you to Jesus . . .

  • Christ is the Seed of woman and in Genesis 3:15 we are told He will one day crush Satan (Galatians 3:10) .
  • In Exodus we find the story of the Passover Lamb, and Christ is the sacrificial Lamb given for us (John 1:29).
  • In Leviticus we read of the High Priest making sacrifices for the people, and Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins (Hebrews 5:1-10).
  • In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of a prophet who would come that would be greater than Himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet (Hebrews 3:1).
  • In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the Captain of the Lord’s host. That man is Jesus Christ.
  • In Judges, the leaders were a judge who delivered God’s people, each of them typifying the Lord Jesus.
  • In Ruth, Boaz, the kinsman who redeemed Ruth’s inheritance, is a picture of Christ, the kinsman redeemer.
  • In 1 Samuel, David, the anointed one, pictures Jesus and Jesus is described as being the Son of David.
  • In 2 Samuel when the king is being enthroned, the entire scene is descriptive of the Lord Jesus.
  • The books of Kings speak of the glory of God filling the temple.
  • The Chronicles describe the glorious coming king, referring to Jesus, the King of Kings.
  • Ezra depicts Jesus as the Lord of our fathers.
  • Job says clearly that the Redeemer lives and is coming!
  • Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people.
  • Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as “the Shepherd.”
  • Isaiah details His glorious birth.
  • Jeremiah reveals that He will be acquainted with sorrows.
  • Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people.
  • Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations.
  • Obadiah warns of the coming eternal One who has an eternal kingdom.
  • Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance.
  • Zephaniah says that He will be the King over Israel.
  • Zachariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt.
  • Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

Can you see it? The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus Christ as Savior, and if you miss that, you’ve missed the entire point of the Bible.  That is why we must be more than New Testament believers.  The New Testament is not understaood without the Old Testament and the Old Testament is not understood without the New Testament.  Someone has said, “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.”

Jesus is the Messiah of the Old and New Testament

The Only One Who brings salvation

And is what the Bible is all about.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Ripping Through The Roof

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

  I spend a great deal of my time as a pastor in ministry to a great many hurting people.  It is a wonderful privilege to be used by God in the lives of others and to help them fix their eyes on Jesus in the midst of their storms.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Friend who sticks closer to us than a brother.  We have no need to rip through a roof to get to Him who has promised never to leave us or forsake us, but some situations seem so desperate; I know I would do it if I thought I had to, and I’m sure you would too.

The Bible presents us such a case in Luke 5:17-19, “Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had ocme out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.  And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.  Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before him.  And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.  When He saw their faith, He said to him, “’Man, your sins are forgiven you.’”

Take a moment to think about the great faith in this passage – not only the faith of the paralyzed man, but also that of his friends, who were willing to rip through the roof to get their friend to Jesus.  This is a powerful challenge in this passage directed at you and me!

In the days when Jesus walked the earth, the homes were generally made of stone with flat roofs constructed of a mixture of straw and mud.  On an outside wall you could find a stairway that led to the roof.  The friends of the paralyzed man were filled with so much faith in Jesus that when they could not find a way to get to Jesus because of the crowd, they climbed the stairs and ripped through the roof to get the man to their Redeemer.

The Bible teaches about the power of faith as small as a mustard seed (Luke 17:6).  Well, this is the faith as big as a roof-ripping machine!  Jesus responded to their faith with forgiveness and healing.  Do you see how the faith of the friends of the paralyzed man impacted his life?  They refused to let anything stand in their way of bringing their friend to Jesus.

So the question we all must ask ourselves is this . . .

“What kind of faith do I demonstrate when it comes to the friends and

family members who have never trusted in Jesus as Savior & Lord?”

To be sure, we are not the ones responsible for another’s salvation.  Only Jesus saves!  But God is pleased to use means, and that is what we are in the hands of the Almighty: a foreordained means for His foreordained ends.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that we “are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Are we willing to be used by God in the lives of others to bring them to Jesus?  Are we willing to get past any of the obstacles that stand in our way?  Those obstacles might be . . .

  • ·Fear
  • ·Doubt
  • ·Indifference
  • ·Circumstances
  • ·Self-protection
  • ·Unforgiveness

Think about this . . .

God had ordained that paralyzed man to be saved through the faith of his friends.

God has also ordained some to be saved through you.

The key is that we simply are to be faithful

To do what God has called us to do

And leave the results up to Him.

We are called by God to be used of God as instruments for the salvation of others.  The only thing left for us to do is to overcome every obstacle that stands in the way of answering that call.

Are you ready for some roof-ripping?

Be faithful and see what God will do!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Practical Steps to Walk by Faith

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

31Aug  What does it mean to walk with God?  I want to see five practical steps from the Word of God to help you walk with God no matter what trial you may be going through, what challenge you may be facing, or what heartache you may be experiencing.  The Bible verses that we look at below give practical principles to build into our lives that will lead us to walk with God in the various situation of life.

  1. Admit you can do nothing without God. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”.  Admit that you need God’s help to focus and be engaged.  The first thing you might need to do it to cast all present anxieties on Him before you begin your study.  The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:6–7, “Casting all  your care upon Him, for he cares for you.”
  2. Pray for help. The Bible says in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Pray for help to not only understand God’s word, but to be obedient to it.  The Bible says in James 1:22, “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving  yourselves.”
  3. Trust in God’s Word. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 20:20 “… Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” Paul’s words to Timothy may be helpful.  The Holy Spirit led him to write,  “Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7).
  4. Act. The Bible says in Philippians 2:12–13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out (let it be carried out to its completion; let it be brought to its ultimate conclusion) your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Act by prayerfully reading, thinking, meditating, and living by God’s eternal truth.

Thank God for His Word and for meeting you whether you feel like it was especially rich or not and for His provision and goodness.  The Bible says in Psalm 106:1, “Praise the LORD!  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.”

These steps can also provide practical help for Bible study.  How can you walk with God when your Bible is open before you but your mind wanders and your heart is distracted?  These five principles will help you keep focused.

The Word of God is vital to our walking with Him.

And the closer we walk with Him

The less room other things

Will have in our lives.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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