Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD



Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Have You Heard the Gospel?

Have You Heard the Gospel? 

In 1 Corinthians 15:3 Paul “declares that he received en protois, as one of the fundamental tenets of the Apostolic faith, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” [1]

It was not the whole Gospel

Paul highlighted, as does any good teacher, that part of the Gospel, the death and resurrection of the Messiah, which required urgent attention and correction. Amazingly, some at Corinth were beginning to throw away the faith. Nothing is more horrifying than to ditch the faith which leads to immortality. Imagine renouncing God’s promise that we can live forever and ever, “into the ages of the ages”!

Now notice very carefully a popular misunderstanding about the content of the saving Gospel. The Gospel in the Bible is not remotely about “going to heaven when you die”! A leading expert makes our point well for us:
The Kingdom of Heaven is fundamentally the Kingdom of earth. While the majority of Christendom has been in the habit of thinking of ‘heaven’ as the place for which the children of God are destined, Jesus makes the startling statement that the meek are to possess the earth (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 5:10; cp. Ps 37, repeatedly). This is in agreement with the prophetic and apocalyptic traditions.” [2]  The Gospel is firstly about the Kingdom of God for which we pray “May Your Kingdom come”! The Gospel of course is also about the sacrificial death of Jesus for the sins of the world, and about Jesus’ return to life on the third day.

 Have You Heard the Gospel?
Stupid question — or is it? Christianity, we all agree, is based on the Gospel. But what is the Gospel? Well-known evangelistic organizations are ready with the answer. The gist of what they have to say is this:
“Faith is rationally impossible where there is nothing to believe. Faith must have an object. The object of Christian faith is Christ…Faith always implies an object — that is, when we believe, we must believe something. That something I call the ‘fact’…If you are saved from sin, you are saved through a personal faith in the Gospel of Christ as defined in the Scriptures…The Bible says, ‘I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you…For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he was raised from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures’ (1 Cor. 15:1, 3, 4).” [3] 

I invite you to think hard about what you just read in this quotation. It all sounds most plausible — but for one major fact. Jesus preached the Gospel for several years, without saying, at that stage, a single word about his death and resurrection. Not only this, he sent out the disciples to preach the Gospel, before they understood or believed that he was going to die for the sins of the world and be raised.

So, then, it would be dangerously misleading to say that the Christian Gospel is a message about the death and resurrection only. The facts are that the Gospel which Jesus preached for a large part of his short ministry had to do firstly with the Kingdom of God, and not yet with his death and resurrection.

Let us demonstrate our point from the text of Scripture. The Gospel as defined by Jesus was about the Kingdom of God. Mark 1:14-15 summarizes his whole mission: “Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming God’s Gospel and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of God is approaching: Repent and believe in the Gospel [about the Kingdom].’” The preaching of the Gospel about the Kingdom was the basis of his entire mission: That Kingdom Gospel Jesus called “God’s Gospel.”

No message could be more sacred and hallowed than that. “This is my Son,” God said. “Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).

Jesus was in full possession of the vital, saving Message: “I must proclaim the Gospel about the Kingdom of God to the other cities also: that is the reason for which I was commissioned” (Luke 4:43).

The same preaching of the Gospel about the Kingdom of God is the task Jesus gave to the Church: “This Gospel about the Kingdom of God shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a witness; then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Only when this is complete will the end of the age, the future coming of the Kingdom on earth, happen.

Christian discipleship means that we become preachers of the Gospel about the Kingdom: “Jesus said, ‘Follow me and proclaim everywhere the Gospel of Kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:60). The disciples went out to preach the Gospel about the Kingdom: “He called the twelve together…and sent them out to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:1, 2).

Now note carefully: At this stage, Jesus had said nothing about his death and resurrection, and later they did not believe it when he told them! (See Luke 18:31-34: “They understood nothing of these things [Jesus’ death and resurrection].”)
Yet Jesus and the disciples had been preaching the Gospel for two or three years. The Gospel, then, cannot be a message confined to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

After the resurrection, in obedience to Jesus, the Church persisted with exactly the same message, amplifying it of course with the new facts about the death and resurrection of Jesus:


  • (Philip in Samaria): “When they believed Philip preaching the Gospel about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus, they were being baptized [in water, of course, and to receive the spirit], both men and women” (Acts 8:12) Jesus had continued lecturing on the Kingdom of God for some 6 weeks after his resurrection (Acts 1:3). The Kingdom of God was Jesus’ favorite topic, and if you are following Jesus it will be yours! 
  • (Paul in Ephesus): “Paul continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the Kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). 
  • (Paul summarizing his whole mission): “[I solemnly testified] to the Gospel of the grace of God…to you among whom I went about proclaiming the Kingdom” (Acts 20:24-25). 
  • Note that “the Gospel of the grace of God” is exactly a synonym for the proclaiming of the Kingdom. There is no difference! 
  • (Paul in Rome to Jews): “Paul was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the Kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus from the Law and the Prophets from dawn till dusk” (Acts 28:31). 
  • (Paul in Rome to Gentiles): “This [same] salvation of God [cp. Gospel of God, Mark 1:14-15] has been sent to the Gentiles…And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and teaching them about the Lord Jesus Christ.” 
  • Compare: “Jesus welcomed them and began speaking to them about the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:11). 

With this data before us, we are in a position to evaluate the definition of the current “evangelical” Gospel. From a tract entitled “What is the Gospel?” we read:

“Our message is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ…the Gospel of the Son of God…the Gospel of the grace of God…Paul said, ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God leading to salvation to everyone who believes.’
“In this little booklet, I want us to find out what the Gospel really is. There is a widespread ignorance even among Christians as to what ingredients are necessary to compose the Gospel… 
“The word Gospel occurs over one hundred times in the New Testament…What then is the Gospel of the grace of God? Let us ask Paul. He would point us to 1 Cor. 15:1-4: ‘I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day’…Paul never discussed the earthly life of our Lord…The fact that the Lord Jesus died to save is one half of the Gospel! The fact that he rose from the dead…is the other half of the Gospel.” 


But is that true? Why is there not a single sentence about the Gospel which Jesus preached, i.e., the Gospel about the Kingdom of God? Why are we not pointed to Paul’s own definition of the Gospel of God given in the very next verse after he speaks of the “Gospel of the grace of God”? “The ministry which I received from the lord Jesus [was to] testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God…to you among whom I went about proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Acts 20:24- 25). Then see Acts 28:23, 31 where Paul preached precisely the same message to Jews and Gentiles!

No fact could be more demonstrable than this. The Gospel of the grace of God is the Gospel of the Kingdom. There is no difference. God’s grace is proclaimed in the proclamation about the Kingdom of God — that great world government which Jesus has promised to establish, with his followers ruling the nations with him, on earth when he returns (see Dan. 7:13, 14, 18, 22, 27; 1 Cor. 6:2: “manage the world”; Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:1-6; 2 Tim. 2:12).

Summary 
The Christian Gospel of salvation was proclaimed by Jesus (Heb. 2:3-4) and the Apostles. It was (and is) the Gospel about the Kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ (Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:43; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31).

This saving Gospel — “the Message about the Kingdom” which Jesus stated is necessary for salvation (see Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:12; Acts 8:12) — was the central core of all biblical preaching. It is the Message which Satan hates (Luke 8:12; Matt. 13:19).

It appears that we have abandoned Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom, or at the very least watered it down! To abandon Jesus’ Gospel is to abandon him (Mark 8:35, 38; 10:39, 1 Tim. 6:3; 2 John 7-9, John 12:44-50). There can be no “believing” in Jesus without believing his teachings. “Why do you call me ‘lord,’ and will not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46; Matt. 7:21-27).

Many have claimed, by proof-texting from one passage in Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, that the Gospel is a message only about the death of Jesus for our sins and his resurrection. That this is untrue is proved by the fact that Jesus and the disciples preached the Gospel, calling it “the Gospel about the Kingdom” and “the Gospel” long before a word was said about his death for sin and his resurrection!

The “evangelical Gospel” in contemporary America leaves out Jesus’ own Gospel preaching and distorts the Gospel of Paul, dividing the Apostle from Jesus and omitting vital information. Without the right facts, how can we truly believe for salvation?

The tract we quoted at the beginning is right: Faith must have an object. We must believe some fact. But it must be the right facts! The question is, what facts are we going to believe? It is a question of obedience and the lordship of Jesus. Are we willing to obey his first commandment: “Repent and believe in the Gospel about the Kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14-15; cp. Acts 19:8; 28:23, 31)?

Should we pit the evidence of one passage in 1 Corinthians 15:3 against the witness of hundreds of verses which state or imply that the central ingredient and content of the Gospel was the Kingdom of God?

The Christian faith is defined by its Gospel. That Gospel is the actual Message about the Kingdom of God on Jesus’ lips as well as the facts about his death and resurrection which later fully supported the Message about the coming Kingdom. To alter the Message by adding extra material or leaving out essential elements is to pervert the Gospel, which then loses its saving power (Gal. 1:9; 2 Cor. 11:4).

Paul, on the other hand, faithfully preached “the Gospel of God” as Jesus had (2 Cor. 11:7), and this “Gospel of God” is defined for us by Mark 1:14-15: It was the Gospel about the Kingdom, including of course the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Our point was tellingly made by Archbishop William Temple when he observed that the Gospel as Jesus preached it is absent from Church History:
“Every generation finds something in the Gospel which is of special importance to itself and seems to have been overlooked in the previous age or (sometimes) in all previous ages of the Church. The great discovery of the age in which we live is the immense prominence given in the Gospel to the Kingdom of God. To us it is quite extraordinary that it figures so little in the theology and religious writings of almost the entire period of Christian history. Certainly in the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark and Luke] it has a prominence that could hardly be increased.” [4] 

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the significance of this observation of the Archbishop. A glance at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry will reveal to every reader the simple fact that Jesus, the original herald of the Christian Gospel (Heb. 2:3), was a preacher of the Kingdom of God.
There can be absolutely no doubt about this. Can anyone question F.C. Grant’s assessment of Jesus’ purpose?
“It may be said that the teaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God represents His whole teaching. It is the main determinative subject of all His discourse. His ethics were ethics of the Kingdom; His theology was theology of the Kingdom; His teaching regarding Himself cannot be understood apart from His interpretation of the Kingdom of God.” [5] 
Have you understood the Gospel of the Kingdom which conveys the life-giving and energetic power of God and Jesus to us all (Rom. 1:16), if we believe it and pass it on? No question could be more relevant to us all as believers. Please use these articles as a basis for Bible study with your friends.

[1] Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, Vol. 1, p. 377. Henry Alford, Commentary on Greek NT: “not merely the death and resurrection which were primary parts of the whole Gospel.”

[2] G.R. Beasley Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom of God, Eerdmans, 1986, p. 163.

[3] 3 Billy Graham, “Facts, Faith and Feeling.”

[4]  William Temple, Personal Religion and the Life of Fellowship, 1926, p. 69.

[5]  “The Gospel of the Kingdom, Biblical World 50 (1917), pp. 121-191


The above was taken from
Focus On The Kingdom Vol. 19. No. 2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Biblical Blueprint

The Biblical Blueprint 


“That the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:14).

“May God give you and your descendants the blessing of Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham” (Gen. 28:4).

Those who make confident assertions about “what the Bible says” frequently overlook the presuppositions which they bring to the biblical text. James Dunn makes the excellent point that to read the Bible intelligently we must reckon seriously with “the taken-for-granteds” of both author and addressees. Where a modern reader is unaware of (or unsympathetic to) these shared assumptions and concerns, it will be impossible to hear the text as the author intended it to be heard (and assumed it would be heard). In this case (Romans, though the principle applies to any part of the New Testament), “a major part of that context is the self-understanding of Jews and Judaism in the first century...Since most of Christian history and scholarship, regrettably, has been unsympathetic, if not downright hostile to it, a proper appreciation of Paul [or Jesus] in his interaction with that self-understanding has been virtually impossible.” [1]
We should not miss the amazing point that “most of Christian history and scholarship has been downright hostile” to the Jewishness of the Bible! A new approach would seem to be in order. This magazine attempts to offer you just that.

This failure to attune ourselves to the background themes of the New Testament will account for the consummate confusion that prevails about what Christianity is. Unfortunately many who approach the Bible bring to it an inbred antipathy to the Jewishness which saturates the Christian documents. Light will come when we first recognize that Gentiles have “made a hash” of trying to understand Jesus and the Apostles because of the un-Hebraic set of assumptions we start with. The Bible condemns these as “traditions learned by heart,” yet unbiblical!

Let us instead begin with a major presupposition drawn from the Old Testament: God has been working with His people to bring about a world in which justice and peace will abound (Isa. 2:1-4). To Abraham the land (and the world, Rom. 4:13) is promised forever (Gen. 13:14-15; 15:7-8; 17:8) — though he has not yet inherited it (Acts 7:5; Heb. 11:8, 9, 13, 39).
To David (2 Sam. 7:13-16) the promise of a permanent dynasty, with the Messiah ruling over Israel and the world, was assured (though this has never yet been realized). The angel declares that Mary’s son is destined to assume “the throne of his father David and rule over the house of Jacob forever” (Luke 1:32). No promise could be more to the point than this simple summary of the national hopes of Israel, based squarely on the heritage they had received from the Hebrew Scriptures, uniting the promises to Abraham and David (Luke 1:55, 69, 73). The great promises of land and kingship (Gen. 12:1-5; 13:14-17; 15:18; 17:8; 2 Sam. 7:12-16) converge in Jesus as Messiah, King of Israel (John 1:41, 49; Luke 2:11: “Messiah lord”). The fulfillment of both strands of the promise will occur when Jesus returns to establish his Kingdom on the earth and take the meek to rule with him (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 5:10; 3:21; 2:26; 20:1-6, etc).

Daniel 7 
In addition to these bedrock foundations of Christianity, Daniel, as a whole, and particularly his seventh chapter, supplies us with an invaluable blueprint for the New Testament story. The picture is not difficult to grasp. Hostile powers culminating in a final Antichrist will continue to persecute and wear out the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:8, 19-21). Yet those saints will be vindicated. The time will come when the saints receive the worldwide Kingdom of God and all nations and peoples will serve and obey the saints (Dan. 7:18, 22, 27). It is against this backdrop of the divine plan in history that the New Testament drama is worked out. If we do not take account of the Messianic presuppositions of the New Testament writers, based on the covenant made with Abraham and David, we run the risk of inventing a false story, to which we add the name of Christ, but which Jesus would not have recognized as the faith.

Jesus fits into the picture quite obviously when he appears as the Son of Man, the predicted Messianic figure of Daniel 7:13, who is an individual human being representing a corporate body of saints, those destined to possess rulership of the world (Dan. 7:18, 22, 27).
Rooted in the promise of Daniel 7, the entire New Testament is geared to the future triumph of the saints in a renovated earth (“the Kingdom under the whole heaven,” Dan. 7:27). Jesus sums up the promise of a glorious future when he announces the Gospel about the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43; Matt. 4:17; 9:35; see also Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31).

The New Testament describes the career of the “chief saint” (“holy one”), the Messiah, who gathers around himself a circle of disciple-friends. Together they announce the coming Kingdom in the face of acute opposition mostly from established religion. But other rulers are no more friendly. Existing systems of government do not wish to yield to the government of the Messiah and his followers. The theme of suffering in view of future glory pervades and permeates the New Testament: “Through much tribulation we are destined to enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). “If we suffer with him we will also become kings with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). The saints, according to the plan laid out in Daniel 7, must expect persecution, even to death (“some are martyred,” Luke 21:16). “The horn [antichrist] wages war with the saints and overpowers them” (Dan. 7:21).
The book of Revelation is the fitting summary of the Messianic story, culminating in the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom on the earth (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21; 5:10, 20:4, etc.).

Suffering prior to triumph at Christ’s return is reflected in the experience of Jesus and the leaders of the early Church. They are prepared to bear ignominy and shame at the hands of hostile authorities in view of the glorious prospect of being vindicated when the Messiah returns to rule: “Don’t you know that the saints are going to manage the world?” is the encouraging cry of Paul as he urges the troops forward. “And if the world is to come under your jurisdiction...” (1 Cor. 6:2, Moffat).
“But the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9). This is the awful penalty which awaits the disciple who fails the test. “The inhabited earth of the future has been subjected to the saints” is the clear message of Heb. 2:5. That is what the Gospel is about (Heb. 2:2-4). On no account should the saints miss out on their destiny (Heb. 2:1). They are now to conduct themselves in a manner fitting their invitation to kingship, or as Paul puts it, “walk worthy of the God who is calling you into His own Kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).

Throughout the gospels there are glimpses of the sparkling, brilliant future assured to the disciples. “When the world is reborn,” says Jesus, “when the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you who have followed me in my trials will also sit on thrones to rule over the [restored] tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). “Just as my Father has covenanted a Kingdom for me, so I covenant a Kingdom to you so that you may eat and drink at my table and sit on thrones to rule the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30). James and John, sons of Zebedee ... recognize the nature of the Kingdom as a real government, when they hope for chief places in the Kingdom (Mark 10:35-40; Matt. 20:20-23). Jesus does not discourage their faith in the Kingdom nor rebuke them for misunderstanding the future reign and the reality of responsibility in it! He only warns them (again with Dan. 7 in mind) that these offices will be won at the cost of service and a bitter cup of suffering.

In Revelation the drama reaches its climax. The power of Antichrist-Beast is at full strength. Yet the lamb has purchased the saints from all the nations (not just the Jews) and has formed them into a band of royal priests (following the covenant promise made originally in Ex. 19:6).
“They will reign as kings on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). 
The same exhilarating theme reappears in Revelation 20:1-6. Even death at the hands of Antichrist cannot hinder the blessed rule of the saints. They come alive again in resurrection after being beheaded and “begin to rule with Christ for a thousand years,” while the rest of the dead, all those who were not Christians, remain in their graves (Rev. 20:5) to await the second resurrection (Rev. 20:12).

The theme of royalty and of meteoric rise to fame and immortality at the first resurrection drives the New Testament and accounts for its irrepressible excitement. Such fervor has been dampened by the most unfortunate substitution of disembodiment in heaven at death as the Christian prospect (playing harps on clouds!). If that is what Christians may expect, there is no hope for the earth, no prospect of the nations ever beating their swords into farm implements (Isa. 2:1-4) and no hope of reigning with Christ in the new society of the coming Kingdom.

It is not surprising that Jesus concentrates his entire Gospel Message in the theme of the Kingdom of God. It was his mission to announce the Kingdom (Luke 4:43). Paul likewise sums up his whole ministry as a “proclamation of the Kingdom” (Acts 20:25). The Message has not changed. But Gentile philosophies and ideologies have continued to obscure the Davidic-Messianic faith of Jesus and the early Church. Nevertheless the call of the Gospel of the Kingdom still goes out, summoning whoever wills to prepare for the privilege of ruling with Jesus in the Kingdom. “The sufferings of the present time [foreseen in the program laid out in Dan. 7] are not worthy to be compared” with the glory of the Kingdom to be “revealed in us.”
A saint in the Bible is one appointed to rule with Messiah — an awesome destiny laid out in Daniel 7 as the culmination of all the Old Testament promises.

Try re-reading the New Testament with this royal motif and narrative in mind and see how it comes to life.

  • God is one single individual (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29-34; John 17:3). 
  • Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (Matt. 16:16; Luke 1:35). 
  • The Gospel is about the Kingdom of God and Jesus (Acts 8:12; Luke 4:43; Acts 19:8; 28:23, 31). 
  • Christians are invited to reign with Messiah in the coming Kingdom. They are destined to inherit the land and the world (Matt. 5:5; 1 Thess. 2:12; Rom. 4:13). 
  • Converts were baptized in water when they received this knowledge of these basic building blocks of the Faith (Acts 8:12). 
This information will help to prevent us bringing our own imagined but false preconceptions to the study of Scripture.

[1] Commentary on Romans 9-16, Word Books, 1988, p. xv, emphasis added.

The above was taken from
Focus On The Kingdom Vol. 19. No. 1


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Why Does Jesus Assume the Duties and Actions of YHVH?

Why Does Jesus Assume the Duties and Actions of YHVH?
[Name Withheld]

It has been observed by many over the centuries that attributes, actions and duties which are attributed directly to YHVH in the Old Testament are said to be assumed by Jesus in the New.
The primary texts in question are Mt. 15:8 and Isa. 29:15; Jn. 6:45 and Isa. 54:13; Ac. 13:41 and Hab. 1:5; Ro. 10:13 and Jo. 2:32; Ro. 14:10, 11 and Isa. 45:23; I Cor. 2:16 and Isa. 64:4; Phil. 2:10 and Isa. 45:23; Heb. 1:10-12 and Ps. 102:25-27; Rev. 1:17 and Isa 44:6.

Of course each pairing deserves its own analysis, for each is saying something different and each is employed in different contexts with different intents. But it has long been recognized by scholars, if not by the general churchgoing public, that the NT writers used interpretive methods in common with first century Judaism, which differed greatly from accepted methods today. This meant that they felt no compunction about recasting OT texts without regard to original context or meaning, because that was the standard, accepted procedure of the time.

Some widely cited and fairly obvious NT examples of this rabbinic method at work are Mt. 2:15 by Hos. 11:1, Mk. 1:2-4 by Isa. 40:3; Heb. 2:8f by Ps. 8:4f and Ro. 10:6-8 by Deut. 30:11-14. Some have argued that since NT writers took OT scriptures out of context to suit their purposes, their writings cannot be Scripture.

The error in this conclusion is in requiring ancient writers to adhere to editorial standards and customs that weren’t developed for centuries after their death! The Bible is indisputably a collection of ancient writings and can only be fairly viewed within the context of the times in which the writers lived and worked. But, when we do this, we can see it is very doubtful that any of the writers of the above OT passages intended to say that YHVH would become Messiah Jesus.

Everything we know about ancient Hebrew thought and religious teaching would militate against suggesting God would (or even could) become a man. Therefore we can see the real work was being done on the other end—by the NT writers. They naturally pored over the scrolls of their scriptures to find foreshadowings of the work of Messiah Jesus, and they excised certain phrases out of the OT—regardless of context—to help make their case for Jesus.

So what were the NT writers trying to express about Jesus through use of these OT texts? In general we see in them the conviction that in Jesus much of God’s work has been, is being, and will be done. The application of OT writings about God to Jesus reveals the NT writers’ understanding that in Jesus, God was represented and expressed to such a great degree that when God does or says something, Jesus may as well be doing or saying it; and when Jesus is doing or saying something, God may as well be doing or saying it.

Underlying all of this is the Jewish concept of agency. For the Jew, when the principal’s agent appeared, it was as if the principal himself was standing before you. As a practical matter, it made little difference whether the principal or the agent was addressing you, for the authority of that office was confronting you in either case. This concept was not unique to the ancient Jews (even today, ambassadors and envoys represent their nations’ leaders), but ancient cultures generally and the Jewish culture specifically had a high awareness of agents acting on behalf of authorities—representing and sometimes wielding the full power of those authorities.

We have ... Ps. 82, where men who represent God are said to be "gods." But Judges 13 provides a real-life example of the Hebrew concept of agency at work. In verses 1-7 an angel appeared to Manoah’s wife to inform her that she will conceive a child (Samson). Manoah and her wife took this to be a direct word from God. So Manoah prayed to God for more information (v. 8). Immediately the angel reappeared (v. 10). More conversation ensued, and upon the angel’s disappearance, "Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord" (v. 21).

Then Manoah says something which might seem strange to us given the facts as he understood them: "We shall surely die, because we have seen God!" (v. 22).

Manoah knew it was only an angel; yet, because the angel represented God before him, he attributed to the angel all the attributes of God—including the knowledge that anyone who looks upon God’s face must die (Ex. 33:20)! A similar event can be seen in Gen. 16:10.

In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, the writer evokes this ancient agency concept which he knew his readers would understand. There he calls Christ Jesus "the Apostle" (meaning one who is sent with the authority of one greater than him) "who was faithful to Him who appointed him, as Moses was faithful in all his house" (3:1, 2).

God made Moses, remember, "God to Pharaoh" (Ex. 7:1). He made Jesus "the head of every man" (I Cor. 11:3), before whom "every knee shall bow" (Phil. 2:10). This God did when "The LORD (YHVH) said to my lord (adoni, master) ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies Your footstool’ " (Heb. 1:13; Ps. 110:1).

The apostles recognized that this unique conferring of divine authority to a chosen representative was prophesied from ancient times: "For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever he says to you’ " (Ac. 3:22 from Deut. 18:15).

Because Jesus was God’s Apostle, how one responded to him measured how one was responding to God. If you listened to him it was as if you were listening to God. If you received him it was as if you were receiving God. If you knelt before him you knelt, as it were, before God. If you obeyed his word it was because you understood that when he spoke, he spoke with the undiluted authority of God
(Mt. 10:40; Mk. 9:37; Lk. 10:16; 17:11-18; Jn. 5:19-23; 12:44, 45; 13:20; I Jn. 2:23).

Indeed, to the man Jesus was given authority on earth to perform nothing less than pronounce forgiveness of sins, offer salvation, judge the dead, even raise the dead—all things traditionally thought of within God’s exclusive purview.

Given these extraordinary duties, it isn’t difficult to see how in the New Testament Jesus could be directly associated with some OT passages referring to God. He was, and is, God’s Apostle—the one God sent to the world to be His unique agent and representative who speaks and acts as God and with the authority of God
(Jn. 4:34; 5:23-30, 36; 6:29, 38; 7:16, 28; 8:42; 12:44, 45, 49; 13:16, 20; 17:3).

Thursday, December 01, 2016

READ AND THINK! - 2

What follows are a couple of succinct articles that I came across whilst surfing the Net. I am confident you will find them most edifying!
(Some editing has been performed upon each of the articles) :-

1) Church leaders ought to re-examine God’s true identity


Dear Reader: The scriptures are pretty simple on this matter. They teach that there is ONE true God. For example, at John 17:3 Jesus said:
“…that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

ONLY means ONE.

Therefore, Jesus was saying that God is ONE. Then by using the word AND, Jesus was clearly showing that he was a separate person from his Father, hence: he (Jesus) was NOT the only true God.

Note at John 17:1 that Jesus “lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come…” So Jesus, on earth, was praying to the Father in heaven. To whom was Jesus praying to – himself? Could Jesus have been the Father then? [1] Also, John 20:17 makes it clear that Jesus has a God. There Jesus said to Mary: “I ascend unto my Father … and to my God …” Why would Jesus have a God if he himself was God? Jesus himself NEVER claimed to be God, but said that he was “SON of God.” – John 10:36.

The scriptures consistently teach that Jesus is God’s SON, NOT God; Luke 1:32; John 3:16; Romans 1:3 etc. Consistently too, the Scriptures use the expression, “God the Father” or “God our Father” such as at Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2, 3; Galatians 1:1, 3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2 etc.
However, never once is the expression, “God the Son” used in the Scriptures. Rather, we read the expression, “Son of God.” Eg: at John 20:31; Acts 9:20; Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 John 4:15 and 5:5, 10; Revelation 2:18 etc.
The expression, “Son of God” is completely different in meaning from “God the Son.”

Yes, God and His Son are one in unity, but not one in being the same person; John 10:30.
A number of church leaders (pastors, reverends, etc) are fully aware that Jesus is not God but God’s Son, but they appear to be too fearful to come forward and make the truth of God’s identity known, perhaps fearing that they will lose their positions. I’ve personally spoken with a religious leader who confessed that the Trinity is a man-made doctrine, as well as with others, who said that they know that Jesus is not God.

Christ said that the truth shall set a person free; John 8:32. I am therefore humbly appealing to church leaders to come together and reexamine the matter of God’s identity with an open mind.
Tell the people the truth; that God alone is God, the Father, the Almighty, Most High (Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18) and that Jesus is the Son of God. Make yourselves free by making the truth known.

A matter of serious concern.

[1] That rules out the Oneness doctrine which teaches that Jesus is God the Father!


2) Did Jesus ever claim to be God?


Dear Reader: Did Jesus ever claim to be the Almighty God? At John 3:16, Jesus referred to himself as God’s “only begotten son.” Other scriptures where Jesus referred to himself as God’s son include John 5:19, 20, 25, and John 10:36. Jesus’ apostles and disciples knew Jesus as God’s Son, not as God. Jesus even blessed Peter for accurately recognizing who he really is – God’s Son. – Matthew 16:16, 17; John 1:49; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 2:20; 4:4 etc.

Consistently, the Bible refers to Jesus as “Son of God” or God’s son – never as “God the son.” Why? Because Jesus is not God, but God’s son. No wonder that Jesus said at John 20:17 that the Almighty is his Father and his God. Why would Jesus have a God if he himself is God?

At Mark 13:32, why did Jesus say that he did not know the day nor hour when his coming shall be but only his Father knows? If Jesus is God, would he not have known? If Jesus is God, why did he say at John 14:28 that his Father is greater than him? The fact is: Jesus is the son of God. This is a very important fact to know according to John 17:3.

Let us not be fooled by any twisting of the scriptures to believe in a mysterious three-in-one God, an idea that came from pagan nations such as Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon, whose people worshiped three-in-one false gods.


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

DID GOD GIVE HIMSELF OR HIS ONLY SON? by GERALD IHLE

DID GOD GIVE HIMSELF OR HIS ONLY SON?

If Jesus is NOT God and Christians go on saying that he is, then something very profound is lost in theology.  To say that God died on the cross is to miss the suffering love the Father had for his tortured Son agonizing on the cross.  ...

I believe the Abraham and Isaac story is in the Bible for a reason.  God wanted to test Abraham to see if his faith was strong enough to obey him even if it meant giving up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.  The story reveals the anguish of a dedicated father having to choose between his son or God. 
It was a hard choice.  Abraham was not asked to sacrifice himself!  His choice would be harder than self-sacrifice!  God never intended to let Abraham go through with it.  It was a test of love as well as of faith.  At the last moment God provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son.  Abraham was to call that place on Mount Moriah “YAHWEH WILL PROVIDE.”
[YAHWEH-YIREH]
So Abraham called the name of the place “YAHWEH will provide” as it is said to this day,
“On the Mount of YAHWEH it shall be provided” (Gen 22:14)
What God did not require of Abraham, he would fulfill in the same place at a later time in history, to show his love for the world by giving up his beloved Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the salvation of a sinful world: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world” (1 Jn 4:9).  Rather than God giving up himself to death[1], the heavenly Father gave up his Son to die on the cross.
God required more of himself than he required of Abraham.
[1] Which GOD cannot do seeing that GOD CANNOT DIE!
The above was taken from
DID GOD GIVE HIMSELF OR HIS ONLY SON?
Some editing has been done.