You Think but Do You Know for Sure?

 

 by

GH Herrin

 

Unlike all other religions, the Christian faith leaves no doubt as to whether you are going to Heaven or not. The religions of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Roman Catholicism hinge on doing good works to enter into Heaven.  Muslims believe that their good works are weighed against their bad works on the scales of Allah.  Roman Catholics believe that yes, Jesus had to die for their sins but they must be baptized, belong to a Roman Catholic church, hold to the working of the sacraments, and demonstrate good works as proof that they are saved to go to Heaven.

Any religion that is based on works or some combination of works and faith is in essence a dead end path. Biblical Christianity holds to a one-time event as the key activity that gets the believer to Heaven.  That event began with Justification – Jesus of Nazareth dying on the cross for mankind as a substitutionary atonement for sins. The second component of that event is repenting of sins and putting your faith in what Jesus did for you by taking the punishment that you deserve for your sins.

We talk to a lot of people who when asked if they think they are going to Heaven say, “I hope so, but don’t know for sure”. Let’s face it, life is way too short to not know for sure where you are going.  If your faith does not provide you certain knowledge of salvation, then, what good is it?

Merely believing that there is a God, is not enough, though. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). Head knowledge is not sufficient. The natural order of God’s creation affirms that there is a creator, God.

The Bible provides a certain hope that salvation is found in no other being but the Messiah, Jesus.

Look at Acts 4:12 for example,

Paul writes, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Once cannot merely believe in God. One must believe on Him, and on His Son, Jesus who died as the only means to provide your forgiveness for the sins that you have committed.

“And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30-31).

This is a sure faith, not one that is in doubt. But it is not dependent on your good works or anything that you have done.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephes. 2:8-9).

All you must do is repent and believe.

 

 

 

 

 

Convicted or Offended?

 

 by GF Herrin

    The more that I experience life and the more people that I talk to people about faith, the more I realize that there are two basic types of people in this world:  Those who become convicted and feel guilt for the sins that they have committed during their life journey, and those who are offended if you dare to suggest that they are sinners in need of redemption from God.  Whether it be a pedestrian who shouts, “I don’t want that “sh–”, when you try to hand him a Gospel tract or a young man in a Bus station who listens carefully when you kindly tell him the Gospel, the difference is clear.

The Bible illustrates this difference in types of people early on in the Scripture.  In Genesis chapter 4 we see the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3 – 13). Cain, because he could not accept God’s discontent with his offering of vegetables or fruit as a tribute to God, got angry at his brother, Abel, whose animal sacrifice was accepted as worthy. So, Cain, instead of swallowing his pride and changing his offering to please God, chose to murder Abel.  He was envious of Abel and got angry instead of changing his behavior to conform to God’s expectations.

Another illustration showing the difference in people comes to us in the parable that the Lord shares in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:9 – 14).  Here we see a Pharisee who considers himself righteous and justified by his works (he proudly fasts and pays offerings to the Temple).  He even considers himself better than a simple man who is a tax collector and is at the Temple at the same time as the Pharisee.  However, the tax collector is a man who humbles himself to God and (without even looking up to pray) confesses that he is a “sinner” and asks for mercy.  Jesus makes the point that this contrite man will obtain mercy and forgiveness from God.

The apostle Paul’s dramatic conversion story paints the ultimate illustration of a man who responded to God and saw his need to change and turn his life over to Him.  Paul, before he got saved on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-8), was a Jewish Pharisee who thought he was following God’s will by persecuting, arresting and executing Christians.  When the risen Christ appeared to him, Paul knew he was wrong and had been persecuting Jesus, the God of the Universe by hunting down His church.  He turned away from his sins, got baptized, and became the pre-eminent leader of the Evangelistic movement of the new church and took the Gospel message to the Gentiles.

The Bible is clear.  Many will be offended when told that they need to change their lives and turn themselves away from sin and ask God for forgiveness.  However, there are two types of people: those who are offended by the message to turn away from sin and turn their lives over to Jesus Christ and those who are convicted and feel guilty of their sins and accept Jesus’ offer for a new life that is glorious and adventurous.

Which kind of person are you?

The Importance of Biblical Inerrancy and its Relationship to the Resurrection

 

 By GF Herrin

Shortly after moving to Charlotte, my wife, daughters and I joined a small Lutheran church (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). We had enjoyed the worship style, knew some folks who belonged there, and liked its close proximity to where we lived. In the new members class, though, after reading several passages from a King James Version of the Old Testament, the pastor lost me. He said, “remember that this is the Hebrew Bible and we can’t necessarily assume accounts like Jonah and the whale and other passages are literally true.” I struggle to recall what I said to the pastor in response, but the gist of the experience is that I instantly responded in a negative way, bringing up the points that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and central to our faith.

The Inerrancy of God’s word is a central point of the Christian faith. The reason it has been questioned in recent years is because there are teachers or so called scholars such as Bart Ehrman, John Shelby Spong, or Rudolf Bultmann whose teachings have been clouded by either anti-supernaturalist beliefs or   (in Spong’s case) a pro homosexual agenda . These teachers have long possessed a view that not the Bible is not literally true yet they have claimed to be Christians. But this begs the question that if you throw out part of the Bible as not true which part do you keep? If you doubt the authenticity of the Scriptures and discount the fact that the vast majority of the 12 apostles died for their faith in the Resurrection of Christ, how can you be assured that Christ from the dead? And if you can’t believe that Christ rose from the dead how can you believe that your sins were paid for on the Cross by Him?

One of the Books I am reading early in my 2016 Bible reading plan is the Book of Romans. In Romans, Paul writes of the importance of understanding the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ :

“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. “ (Romans 1:3-4)

Notice that Paul emphasizes that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the fact that He was resurrected from the dead. This is an important point to understand. Jesus’ life, ministry, and sacrifice on the cross were declared as worthy by the occurrence of His physical resurrection. Think of this incredible event. Even after the soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear to confirm His death (John 19:34), Even after His lifeless body was laid in a clean linen cloth (Matt. 27:59). Even after Christ’s body was laid in the tomb (Matt. 27:60). Even after a large stone was rolled in front of his tomb which was also sealed (Matt. 27:60 & 66), Christ was resurrected! God the Father accepted God the son’s payment for sins with His life and the Resurrection of Christ is evidence of that.

 

So how should we born again believers in Jesus live in response to the Death and Resurrection of Christ?

Paul writes,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:16-18).

 

We should not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ but should be encouraged by it. The death and resurrection of Christ reveals God’s righteousness. Jesus’ death on the cross demonstrates that only a sinless sacrifice could buy each of us sinners grace and forgiveness. Nothing else would do! No animal sacrifices, no good works, no tithes or monetary offerings will pay the huge sin debt each of us would has to atone for. Jesus’ horrible death on the cross demonstrates that it was necessary to buy us our freedom. If it wasn’t necessary, why else would He have died for us?

 

Also, we need to make a concerted effort every day to live in righteousness. Paul mentions that our unrighteousness behavior actually suppresses the truth. So, if we are careless in living and sinning then those acts suppress God’s truth of a changes life. Not only is unrighteousness a demonstration of the unsaved condition of people, it is a bad witness for the forgiven sinner. So, if you are struggling with a besetting sin, remember that another reason to stay away from that addiction or habit is to make sure you demonstrate God’s truth by keeping away from that sin. Glorify the Lord in living righteously!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Testament Prophecies with Personal References to the Messiah

The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), which was completed at least 400 years before the Messiah, Jesus, was born, contains many prophecies that predicted His coming. References to His physical birth to a virgin, His life, suffering, and death for mankind’s sins, along with references to His personality, mission, and future earthly Kingdom are all contained in these prophecies.

Several  are shown below.

Much of this information is taken from J. Barton Payne’s book, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, 1973, pages 665-670.

*Denotes prophecies that will be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming

Scripture Prediction Text
Genesis
3:15 Jesus will reconcile men to God, at painful cost. He will be a man, springing from the seed of a woman crushing Satan, casting him down, and eventually destroying him “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
9:26 He will come from the Semitic branch of humanity And he said: “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant. “
22:18 Within this branch, His descent will be through the family of Abraham “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
49:10 He will come from the royal tribe of Judah and receive the obedience of the peoples The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Numbers
24:17* As a star of Jacob, He will strike down all defiance (at Armageddon) I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.
Deuteronomy
18:15 He will be a prophet, like Moses, speaking the words of God The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,
32:43 The angesl of God will worship at His birth Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.
1 Samuel
2:10* God will strengthen His anointed (the first use of the term Messiah for Jesus) for His rule The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
2 Samuel
7:13 He will descend from the line of David as an eternal king He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
7:14 God will be His father, and He will be His Son “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. “
23:3* His rule will be righteous and good, in reverence toward God The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.
Job
17:3 As the divine Angel of Yahweh, he will ransom men and restore their righteousness Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself. Who is he who will shake hands with me?
19:25* He will come again and stand over the dust of the righteous, to resurrect them For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
Psalms
2:1 Gentile rulers will unite with Jewish people against Him at His trial Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
2:2 He will be anoointed, in gladness above al others The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
2:4 He will break the nations with a rod of iron at Armageddon He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
2:6* God will install Him on Mount Zion as king over the nations “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
8:3 He will ascend to the Father’s right hand, gloriously crowned When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
16:10 God will not allow His holy One to see corruption For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
22:1 He will be forsaken of the Father while bearing men’s sins To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘The Deer of the Dawn.’ A Psalm of David. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?
22:6 Men will wag their heads in mockery at His crucifixion But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
22:10 He will trust in God the Father, from His birth onward I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.
22:11 He will suffer from thirst and pierced limbs, as men gamble for His clothes beneath the cross Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help.
22:19 But God will answer Him after His sufferings and receive Him But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
22:22 Shortly thereafter He will honor God in the midst of the church I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
22:27* Men will pray for Him continually and give worship to God All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.
40:6 He will delight to do the Father’s will Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
72:7* He will come down like showers upon the earth and cause abundance In His days the righteous shall flourish, And abundance of peace, Until the moon is no more.
72:8* He will rule from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
72:12* He will have a particular concern for the poor For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper.
72:17* His years will have no end His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.
89:4 He will be the everlasting seed of David Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’ ” Selah
89:26 He will be God’s Son, His firstborn He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
110:1 He will be deity, “Lord” even to King David A Psalm of David. The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
110:3* In the day of His battle (Armageddon), young people will offer themselves to Him Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.
110:4* He will be a priest, after the manner of Melchizedek The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
110:6 He will strike down the Antichrist over a wide land He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.
Isaiah
2:4* Kings will arise before His exalted presence, and princes worship He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
7:13 He will be born of a virgin Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
7:14 He will be Immanuel, God with us, the “Mighty God” Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
7:15 He will experince moral growth, although in an oppressed land Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
8:17* He will wait for Yahweh to convert Israel again to Himself And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.
9:1 He will bring the light of His ministry to those in Galilee Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.
9:4* He will proclaim the day of vengenance of our God For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.
9:6* He will govern the world For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
9:7* He will sit on the throne of David and be swift to execute righteousness Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
11:1 He will be a neser: a “branch” from David, living in Nazareth There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
11:2 He will be anointed by God’s Spirit, for preaching the Gospel The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
11:4* He will decide with equity for the poor and the meek of the earth and will slay the wicked, the Antichrist But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
12:1* He will furnish His people with joy and praise And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
24:16 He will be a Light to the Gentiles, with worldwide salvation From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!” But I said, “I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.”
26:21* The victorious Redeemer will come to Zion For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon– That He may do His work, His awesome work, And bring to pass His act, His unusual act.
40:3 John will be His forerunner: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.
42:1 He will come as the prophetic Servant of Yahweh “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
42:2 His ministry will be unpretentious He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
42:3 He will be gentle toward the weak A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.
42:6 He will embody God’s redemptive testament “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,
49:1 He will be called before His birth to be God’s Servant “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
49:7 He will be worshipped by Gentiles Thus says the Lord, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, To Him whom man despises, To Him whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the Lord who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.”
52:15 His death will serve as an atoning sacrifice to justify many So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.
53:1 He will be rejected by Israel Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
53:4-6 He will take on Himself the sins of the world Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
53:7-8 He will voluntarily submit to suffering He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
53:9 He will receive honorable burial in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph or Arimathea And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
53:10 He will triumph over death Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
53:12 He will be exalted Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors
Jeremiah
23:5 God will raise up out of Israel an eternal Branch of David and He will execute justice and righteousness in the land “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
23:6* He will be called “Yahweh (is) our righteousness,” as men live in safety In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
30:21 He will pledge His life in priestly mediation for God’s people Their nobles shall be from among them, And their governor shall come from their midst; Then I will cause him to draw near, And he shall approach Me; For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?’ says the Lord.
Ezekiel
17:23 He will be an offshoot of David, through Jehoiachin and Zerubbabel On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell.
21:27* Yahweh will grant the Davidic throne to the One whose right it is “I also will beat My fists together, And I will cause My fury to rest; I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Daniel
7:13* The son of man will come with the clouds of heaven I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
9:25 His Coming as Prince will be in 32 A.D., 483 years after King Artaxerxes gave the decree to Nehemiah to re-build Jerusalem Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
9:26 He will be cut off (crucified) after the 69th week is completed And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Hosea
1:11* The Jews will seedk the Davidic King, whom they accept as their head Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!
6:2 After two days, i.e. on the third day, He will be raised from the dead After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
Joel
3:16* Through Him, Yahweh will “roar” from Zion and judge the attacking nations The Lord also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.
3:17* Representing Yahweh, He will dwell on Zion the holy mountain “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”
Amos
9:11 In Christ, God will raise up the booth (humbled house) of David On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old;
Micah
2:13* As the “Breaker” of restraints, He will move befre His people The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the Lord at their head.”
4:3* He will be great unto the ends of the earth He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
5:2 The future ruler will be born in the little town of Bethlehem. Yet, He will have been with the Father from all eternity and brought forth by a woman, through childbirth “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
5:5* He will deliver His people from the Antichrist’s attack from Assyria And this One shall be peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land, And when he treads in our palaces, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight princely men.
Zephaniah
3:15* The King of Israel, of the essence of Yahweh, will be in Jerusalem The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.
Haggai
2:9 In the temple rebuilt by Zerubbabel, God will give peace, in Christ The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Zechariah
2:5 God will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem as its glory For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ “
3:8 The Lord will bring forth His “Servant”, who is the One called the “Branch,” out of David ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
3:9 He will remove the iniquity of the land in one day by His counsel of peace For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. ‘
6:12 The Branch will grow up, where He is, through childhood Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; “
6:13* But He will bear glory and sit and rule upon His throne Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ‘
8:3* The Jews will look upon Him as He return to Zion as He resides in Jerusalem, as deity present “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’
9:9 His kingship will be one of justice. He will be granted saving help from God and will enter Jerusalem humbly, riding on a donkey “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
9:10* His dominion will be from sea to sea ” I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’
11:12-13 He will be betryaed for 30 pieces of silver Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”–that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.
12:1* He will go forth and fight against the nations gathered at Jerusalem The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:
12:10* At His return, the Jews will mourn for Him and accept Him. God will identify the Savior with Himself as deity, “My fellow”. The Good Shepherd will be smitten and “pierced”. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. “
13:7 He will bring back His hand over “the little ones” of His flock (the disciples) and regather them to Galilee “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. “
14:4* His feet will stand in that future day upon the Mount of Olives And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south
14:5* He will be accompanied by a host of holy ones, angels (or saints or both) Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.
Malachi
3:1 His way will be prepared by a messenger, John the Baptist. As deity and as redeemer, “the Angel of the Testament”, He will come to His temple “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts.
3:2* At His second coming, none will be able to stand before His refining power “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap. “
3:3* He will purify His people who serve as Levites He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.
The Ossuary of James

The Ossuary of James

 

Archaeological Evidence for Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection

By GF Herrin

     In the Spring of 2002, Andre Lemaire, an expert on ancient Semitic scripts, was shown photographs of several ossuaries acquired by a collector who was an acquaintance. The collector had acquired one particular ossuary from a dealer in East Jerusalem. The collector had been told that the ossuary came from Silwan, an Arab village just east of the City of David (the old city of Jerusalem). There was an inscription on the side of the ossuary that says: “Ya’akov bar Yosef achui d’Yeshua”. In English: “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” (Hershel Shanks and BenWitherington III, The Brother of Jesus, 2003,11 – 12).

Many believe that this ossuary is the actual bone box of James, the brother of the Lord Jesus. Subsequent tests have proven it to be consistent with a box which has an ancient origin. Laboratory tests have analyzed the patina (the film formed from chemicals seeping onto it while being stored for hundreds of years in a cave) covering the ossuary and concluded that the inscription did not display any inconsistencies with material found on the rest of the ossuary. Paleographers who have analyzed the inscription first hand have found no sign of forgery, either. “The inscription is written in the Jewish script, it was done with a sharp instrument and I think it was done by the same hand. It is an authentic inscription,” Prof Gabriel Barkay of Bar-Ilan University explained.. Owner Oded Golan cites expert evidence from the trial showing the patina – a biological crust formed on ancient objects – inside the grooves of the inscription.”There is no doubt that it’s ancient, and the probability is that it belonged to the brother of Jesus Christ,” said Golan (from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/25/burial-box-earliest-reference-jesus, December 2013).

It seems reasonable to date the ossuary as having originated in the first century. Biblical archaeologist and commentator Merrill Unger writes: “Not a single one of the numerous Jewish tombs in the region of Jerusalem can be dated to the period after AD 70. All inscribed ossuaries hitherto found in the vicinity of Jerusalem belong to the period 30 BC to AD 70” (Merrill F. Unger, Archaeology and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), 25). It is widely believed that James died in AD 62 (Shanks, 166 – 68). The first century historian, Josephus’ account in Antiquities provides historical evidence of the circumstance of his stoning which was overseen by Ananus (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities 20.9. The Works of Flavius Josephus. trans. William Whiston, 1901).

In addition, the fact that the discovered ossuary is inscribed with the name of deceased’s brother is in itself unusual. Most Jewish ossuaries in the area near Jerusalem from the first century mention only the deceased person’s name and his father’s name. However, in some cases there were exceptions if the deceased was associated with some good work for which he was well known. For example, one ossuary inscription referred to “Simon (Shimon) as the builder of the sanctuary temple” (Shanks, 77). It seems to be the case that James’ family wanted to honor him by associating him with his well-known brother, Jesus.

Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks provides a thoughtful analysis of the likelihood of all three names (James, Joseph, and Jesus) appearing on any ossuary from the first century period near Jerusalem. His analysis concludes that the odds of this occurring is amazingly only ¼ of 1%.[1] Given the fact that the odds are so low for all three names appearing together, and given that the ossuary has been verified as being an ancient inscripted first century antiquity found in the area where James had lived and died, it seems likely that this ossuary belonged to James, brother of our Lord. This discovery provides further verification of the historical reliability of the facts of the New Testament and ultimately of the resurrection of Christ.

 

 

 

The Importance of Sharing the Love of Jesus when Sharing the Gospel

 By GF Herrin

It is of utmost importance that when we share the Gospel with people that we not only present the clear message of man’s depravity and hopelessness without saving faith in Christ, but that we also show and live out the love of Jesus so that people can see the difference that His presence has made in our lives.

I was talking to a neighbor who had been laid off from his job whose previous boss was a professed Christian. This boss espoused Christian values and even eventually left the business world to devote himself to full time mission work in a third world country. However, to his employees, he didn’t demonstrate the meekness and kindness expected of a Christian and was even called “mean” by salesmen who called on him.

Similarly, at an Octoberfest in Hickory, NC, over the weekend, a street preacher spoke fervently in a condemning fashion, reasoning that given the state of America’s wickedness (i.e. rampant abortions being the norm and same sex marriage now being legal), “the lovey dovey message of the Gospel hasn’t worked in America.” It may be true that the God is Love message may have supplanted the God is Righteous, Holy, Majestic, Perfect, Omniscient message. However, His grace should always be preached and offered to any person who repents with a contrite heart.

In a world that can be so cold, uncaring, and cruel, it is of paramount importance that we Christians stand out as a different type of people – in a good way. There is a lyric from a Christian song (“We are One in the Spirit, by Peter Scholte), that I learned when I was a boy, that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love”. The apostle Paul wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). A colloquialism I learned when I was a salesman long ago says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care”.

We must demonstrate caring to others and live love out our faith wherever we are in the mission field, even if it is in a business environment or in a worldly occupation. If you are working a job that you may not particularly care for, it doesn’t give you license to complain and be sarcastic no matter what the tasks you have to do. Paul writes, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15).

To control our actions and demonstrate love for others no matter what the circumstances, we must ultimately tame our tongues. This requires wisdom and the careful thought that a mature believer needs to develop. James writes, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

J. Ronald Blue writes, “To achieve ‘righteousness’, spiritual maturity, practical holiness, – the theme of the book of James – a believer must learn to speak with care. Winsome speech comes from a wise spirit. A controlled tongue is possible only with cultured thought. A mouth filled with praise results from a mind filled with purity.

A believer should stand confidently, serve compassionately, and speak carefully. He should be what God wants him to be, do what God wants him to do, and speak as God wants him to speak.”(p. 829, J. Ronald Blue in John Walvoord and Roy Zuck’s New Testament Bible Knowledge Commentary).

 

The New Testament Manuscripts Compared to Other Ancient Texts

The New Testament Manuscripts Compared to Other Ancient Texts

Author Book Date Written Earliest Copies Time Gap No. of Copies
Homer Iliad 800 B.C c. 400 B.C c. 400 yrs. 643
Herodotus History 480-425 B.C c. A.D.900 c. 1,350 yrs. 8
Thucydides History 460-400 B.C c. A.D.900 c. 1,300 yrs. 8
Plato   400 B.C c. A.D.900 c. 1,300 yrs. 7
Demosthenes   300 B.C c. A.D.1100 c. 1,400 yrs. 200
Caesar Gallic Wars 100-44 B.C c. A.D.900 c. 1,000 yrs. 10
Livy History of Rome 59 B.C-A.D. 17 c. 4th cent. (partial)
mostly 10th cent.
c. 400 yrs.
c. 1,000 yrs.
1 partial
19 copies
Tacitus Annals A.D. 100 c. A.D.1100 c. 1,000 yrs. 20
Pliny Secundus Natural History A.D.61-113 c. A.D.850 c. 750 yrs. 7
Various New Testament A.D.50-100 c. 114 (fragment)
c. 200 (books)
c. 250 (most N.T.)
c. 325 (complete N.T.)
+50 yrs.
100 yrs.
150 yrs.
225 yrs.
24,970