Power Foretold and Prophecy Fulfilled

January 9, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Posted in John | 3 Comments
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Before the Word revealed Himself in the flesh, God sent a forerunner – a witness – to illustrate, explain, and testify as to the significance and importance of the Light.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John 1:6-7

The goal of John the Baptist’s mission was to bring about belief, but without supernatural intervention darkness lacks the ability to believe in light.

There is a certain poignant tragedy that the Creator would enter His creation, and that the creation would fail to recognize Him.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:10-11

Those who did not receive Him were His “own” in both senses: (1) the Jewish people; and (2) the people who would eventually believe, but did not at first believe. These people COULD NOT receive Him until He Himself gave them the POWER (the “right,” the “authority,” and the “privilege”) to do so.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:12

This power that was needed was the power to become His “sons” (“sons of the Son”) or His children. How do “sons” happen? They are born. Plenty of children existed who were born of the flesh and of the will of their parents, but the Word, the Light, and the Life was believed on, and received, only by those who were born of the will of God Himself.

Up until this point, the reasoning used in John 1 had been oriented toward a gentile (or “Western”) way of thinking. Now John began to appeal to the Jewish people, who were supposed to have an understanding that Old Testament history contained not only specific prophecies, but also TYPES, of a coming Messiah.

The following is a list of “types” from the Old Testament which Christ fulfilled in a greater way:

1. The Tabernacle:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

2. The preference of the second-born:

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

John 1:15

3. The Old Testament Law:

And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 1:16-17

4. Moses’s wish to see God (Exodus 33):

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 1:18

5. The prophecy of Malachi 4:5:

And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

John 1:21

6. The prophecy of Isaiah 40:1-3:

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

John 1:23

7. The “Prophet” of whom Moses was the type (Deuteronomy 18:15):

And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

John 1:25

8. The lambs from the account of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22), the Passover:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 1:29-36

The Disciples understood – at least partially – these connections and revelations.

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

John 1:40-41

Beware the Frustrated Fixation

September 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Posted in The Fives | 2 Comments
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John, in a revelation like no other, had seen wondrous, dramatic, emotional, and frightening things. But he had also seen the partial unfolding of God’s miraculous plan of redemption. Completely fixated upon the idea of seeing the culmination of God’s will in Heaven and on Earth, he saw with great hope a book which would reveal even more of God’s glory to him. But, alas, his hope was turned to despair upon realizing that the book was bound with a seal, and that no one was worthy to open this seal!

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:2-3

John’s reaction was to break down weeping.

And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:4

Only a truly unique and a truly supreme being would be capable of breaking this seal and opening this book. He would have to be both Almighty and all-worthy God, while at the same time being perfect, sinless, and guiltless man. It seems to some a paradox beyond resolution. How easy it is for us to fall into sorrowing and hopelessness – to think that this world is spinning out of control and has us overmatched! How easily we weep in our fixation and false belief that the purposes of our God have somehow been frustrated.

One of the elders gave John the hint, but it wasn’t until he looked for himself that saw the divine solution: the One Who was both Lion of Judah and Lamb of God!

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:5-6

The purpose and will of God would not be frustrated, for this holy Lamb had been slain, yet He lived. He was truly worthy beyond measure – not only to take the book… not only to open the book… not only to unleash the judgments and fulfilled prophecies contained in the book… not only to induce the rightful worship which God alone deserves… but to sit upon the throne of the Most High! To rule and reign and to fulfill all the promises made from the beginning, to the glory of the Father and to the everlasting joy of all His people! Praise His name forever!

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Revelation 5:11-13

The Passover: Killing, Purging, and Eating

March 19, 2014 at 11:07 am | Posted in Exodus | 9 Comments
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Exodus Chapter 12 features the institution of the Passover.

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exodus 12:1-3

The reference to “the congregation of Israel” is significant because it is the official proclamation by God of the uniting together of the Jewish people into a nation.

Let’s look at some the central features of the “Passover.” This was not going to be something they were going to do once; it was given to them as something to be done every year from that point forward.

1. The killing of the Lamb

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:5-6

The deliverance of the children of Israel was going to come by death – for both believers and unbelievers. For the Egyptians it would be a judgment-death. For the Israelites it would be a substitutionary sacrificial death.

2. The purging of leaven

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

Exodus 12:19

Leaven is a picture of sin. It starts small, but it permeates a whole loaf. It works in secret (although the results are ultimately exposed). It “puffs up,” which is a picture of pride. Christians today are not commanded to observe the Passover as a religious ritual, but certainly the principle of purging spiritual “leaven” – both sin and false teaching – from our homes must be an ongoing activity.

3. Eating a feast (my favorite!)

Could you imagine if Christianity required taking a vow of hunger? How would we get people to come to Sunday School without donuts!

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

Exodus 12:8-10

They were to eat the lamb, along with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, so, while we are to take joy in feasting, we must remember the call not to burden ourselves down with physical pleasures – because we have work to do.

The Amazing Accomplishment of Fulfilled Righteousness

March 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Matthew, Uncategorized | 23 Comments
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John the Baptist got his moniker because he was in the business of baptizing, but he was extremely leery of baptizing Jesus, the Lamb of God.

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 1:36

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Matthew 3:13-14

The reason Jesus gave to John for insisting that he baptize Him is very interesting.

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:15

Jesus wanted to be baptized because it was God’s will, but also because it served as a part of one of His greatest incarnate accomplishments: the fulfillment of all righteousness. You and I can hardly grasp this. As unredeemed sinners we were utterly incapable of any righteousness at all – and certainly unable to “fulfill” any righteous demands of God. Even as regenerate and redeemed children of God, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we find it very difficult to truly initiate any righteous behavior because of the ongoing battle waged against us by our sinful flesh and the constant temptations of our enemy, Satan.

Christ the Lord, on the other hand, never knew the taint of sin, and yet consider to what extent He went to fulfill the righteousness spoken of in Matthew 3:15. Not only did He keep the Old Testament Law perfectly, in every jot and tittle, not only did He endure – and overcome – every temptation known to man and devil, not only did He bear the weight of our sins on cruel Golgotha’s hill, but He also fulfilled all righteousness by: going into the wilderness, in a state of physical starvation, to be tempted by the master tempter himself; healing multitudes of sick, blind, deaf, crippled, and otherwise afflicted folks; teaching the greatest truths ever taught; and other examples too numerous to be contained in all the books in all the world. Christ fulfilled all righteousness by ever-increasing acts of righteousness and obedience, even though He could never turn from His Own sin (because He didn’t have any) as an act of righteousness.

If you will believe the truth about Christ, and what He has accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection, you may receive not only the forgiveness of sins, but

[e]ven the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:22

This imputed righteousness comes from a built-up account of righteousness earned and bought by the only One Who could have earned it. Such righteousness is as glorious to a fallen sinner as any treasure to be found in His riches in glory (Ephesians 1:18).

Leavenless Lump

October 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Bible Studies, I Corinthians | 10 Comments
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Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

I Corinthians 5:7

The Passover feast was Christ’s appointed time – the time when the spotless Lamb of God would shed His blood for the sins of the world. A little over 2000 years later, under the New Covenant, we remember this occasion by observing the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.

At the Jewish Passover there was to be no leaven in the lump of dough used to make the bread. Leaven is a picture of sin in a congregation. Leaven may be small, but it is powerful. It works secretly. It “puffs up.” It spreads.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

I Corinthians 5:11

Sometimes the Lord’s Supper is called “Communion,” a word which speaks of common unity. When a group of New Testament Christians assembles to observe the ordinance of Communion, one the worst instances of “leaven” would be feelings of hatred among different members of the body.

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I Corinthians 5:8

Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth

June 30, 2009 at 10:57 am | Posted in Acts | 20 Comments
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Acts Chapter 8 introduces us to Saul of Tarsus, who would become the Apostle Paul.

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 8:1

Saul saw Stephen stoned, and he approved of it. But you have to wonder if it affected him – if God used it to begin to prick his conscience.

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:5

Something was bothering Saul, stabbing at his conscience as he charged down the road to Damascus like an angry bull.

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Acts 8:2

He “wreaked havoc” on the early Church – tore it to pieces like a wild beast – the way Samson once did to a lion (which normally tears the lamb.) But the early Church was empowered by the Lamb of God; persecution only caused it to grow.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Acts 8:4-5

Philip went to Samaria. The Samaritans were half-Jewish and half-Gentile. When the Assyrians had conquered the northern tribes of Israel, they brought in people to intermarry. The Samaritans were the second ethnic group in Acts upon which God poured His Spirit.

Philip’s revelations were confirmed by special miracles for a special ethnic group.

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

Acts 8:9

Simon was doing satanic miracles; Philip was doing God-empowered miracles.

To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

Acts 8:10-11

Simon’s miracles bewitched the people; Philip’s preaching set them free.

Satan got Simon to infiltrate Philip’s ministry.

And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Acts 8:18-20

The laying-on of hands is there in Chapter 8, but not in Chapter 10 when the Gentiles receive the Holy Ghost. Laying-on of hands is not necessary for Spirit baptism – and notice that only the Apostles could do it. There is only one prerequisite for Spirit-baptism: Salvation.

Simon the sorcerer has a word named for him: simony. Simony is the buying and selling of church offices. Simon was willing to pay for the ability to lay hands on people and impart the Holy Spirit to them. There is much division and confusion and strife about this among the professing Christian church today, and, obviously, if you read this, you can do what you want, but I would be very careful about paying money – whether you call it a “love offering” or “sowing a seed” or whatever – for some “anointed” object.

Peter was very good at ferreting out Satan, and he spoke harshly to Satan’s secret agents when they were exposed. When he exposed Ananias, Peter asked him, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” (Acts 5:3) He told Simon:

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Acts 8:22-23

It is possible that Ananias and Sapphira would have destroyed the church in Jerusalem, and likewise Simon could have destroyed the church in Samaria. It may be that Peter was so good at spotting Satan’s infiltration tactics because of his past experience with Satan trying to infiltrate the disciples through Peter himself.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Matthew 16:23

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Luke 22:31-32

Acts Chapter 8 also contains the important account of the Ethiopian eunuch. This Ethiopian servant would have been wealthy – he was riding in a fancy chariot. And it may be that he was not a real “eunuch” in the modern sense of the term, but rather a high-ranking servant who had retained the name. In any event, he had a scroll of Isaiah – which would have been very rare to have in those days. He apparently had an interest in being a Jewish proselyte. However, if he was in fact a real “eunuch,” he would have been barred from temple worship due to his physical mutilation. He could have still been what was known as a “God-fearer” (this is what Cornelius was). God-fearers were Gentiles who tried to observe the Jewish laws and rites, even though they could not be true Jews. Joseph pretended to be an Old Testament example of this. He gave his brothers a hint when he sent them home, saying, “This do and live; for I fear God.” (Genesis 42:18)

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

Acts 8:30

The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah 53:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Isaiah 53:7-8

This passage of Scripture deals with the Messiah as a substitutionary sacrifice.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:35-39

Please note that the Ethiopian had to be saved before he could be baptized.

Philip was “caught away” – this implies a supernatural phenomenon. He ended up at Azotus, and then preached his way back to Caesarea – about 60 miles. There are few spiritual events that will energize your Christian life like leading someone to the Lord and seeing him saved.


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