16 AGENTS OF THE APOCALYPSE Dr. David Jeremiah

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Agents of the Apocalypse Episode 1 – John The Exile

Agents of the Apocalypse Episode 2 – The Martyrs

Agents of the Apocalypse Episode 3 – The 144,000

Agents of the Apocalypse Episode 4 – The Two Witnesses

Agents of the Apocalypse Episode 5 – The Dragon

Prophetic Significance of Seven Jewish Feasts

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The Feasts of Israel

Do they have prophetic significance?

http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_jews3.php

by Dr. David R. Reagan

Feasts

“Let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17 (NASB)

This statement by the Apostle Paul refers to the Jewish Feasts as a “mere shadow” of things to come, the substance of them being found in Yeshua, the Messiah. What Paul is saying here is that the feasts were prophetic types, or symbols, that pointed to the Messiah and which would be fulfilled in Him.

Before we pursue that point to see how the feasts were fulfilled in Jesus, let’s first of all familiarize ourselves with the feasts.

Origin and Timing of the Feasts

The feasts were a part of the Mosaic Law that was given to the Children of Israel by God through Moses (Exodus 12; 23:14-17; Leviticus 23; Numbers 28 & 29; and Deuteronomy 16). The Jewish nation was commanded by God to celebrate seven feasts over a seven month period of time, beginning in the spring of the year and continuing through the fall. You will find the timing and sequence of these feasts illustrated on the chart below.

Christian Meaning of the Jewish Feasts

As you study the chart, notice that the feasts fall into three clusters. The first three feasts Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits occur in rapid succession in the spring of the year over a period of eight days. They came to be referred to collectively as “Passover.”

The fourth feast, Harvest, occurs fifty days later at the beginning of the summer. By New Testament times this feast had come to be known by its Greek name, Pentecost, a word meaning fifty.

The last three feasts Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles extend over a period of twenty-one days in the fall of the year. They came to be known collectively as “Tabernacles.”

The Nature of the Feasts

Some of the feasts were related primarily to the agricultural cycle. The feast of First Fruits was a time for the presentation to God of the first fruits of the barley harvest. The feast of Harvest was a celebration of the wheat harvest. And the feast of Tabernacles was in part a time of thanksgiving for the harvest of olives, dates, and figs.

Most of the feasts were related to past historical events. Passover, of course, celebrated the salvation the Jews experienced when the angel of death passed over the Jewish houses that were marked with the blood of a lamb. Unleavened Bread was a reminder of the swift departure from Egypt so swift that they had no time to put leaven into their bread.

Although the feasts of Harvest and Tabernacles were related to the agricultural cycle, they both had historical significance as well. The Jews believed that it was on the feast day of Harvest that God gave the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And Tabernacles was a yearly reminder of God’s protective care as the Children of Israel tabernacled in the wilderness for forty years.

The Spiritual Significance of the Feasts

All the feasts were related to the spiritual life of the people. Passover served as a reminder that there is no atonement for sin apart from the shedding of blood. Unleavened Bread was a reminder of God’s call on their lives to be a people set apart to holiness. Leaven was a symbol of sin. They were to be unleavened that is, holy before the nations as a witness of God.

The feast of First Fruits was a call to consider their priorities, to make certain they were putting God first in their lives. Harvest was a reminder that God is the source of all blessings.

The solemn assembly day of Trumpets was a reminder of the need for constant, ongoing repentance. The Day of Atonement was also a solemn assembly day a day of rest and introspection. It was a reminder of God’s promise to send a Messiah whose blood would cover the demands of the Law with the mercy of God.

In sharp contrast to Trumpets and Atonement, Tabernacles was a joyous celebration of God’s faithfulness, even when the Children of Israel were unfaithful.

The Prophetic Significance of the Feasts

What the Jewish people did not seem to realize is that all of the feasts were also symbolic types. In other words, they were prophetic in nature, each one pointing in a unique way to some aspect of the life and work of the promised Messiah.

1) Passover — Pointed to the Messiah as our passover lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.

2) Unleavened Bread — Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

3) First Fruits — Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in I Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”

4) Harvest or Pentecost — (Called Shavuot today.) Pointed to the great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile, that would come into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. The Church was actually established on this day when the Messiah poured out the Holy Spirit and 3,000 souls responded to Peter’s first proclamation of the Gospel.

The long interval of three months between Harvest and Trumpets pointed to the current Church Age, a period of time that was kept as a mystery to the Hebrew prophets in Old Testament times.

That leaves us with the three fall feasts which are yet to be fulfilled in the life and work of the Messiah. Because Jesus literally fulfilled the first four feasts and did so on the actual feast days, I think it is safe to assume that the last three will also be fulfilled and that their fulfillment will occur on the actual feast days. We cannot be certain how they will be fulfilled, but my guess is that they most likely have the following prophetic implications:

5) Trumpets — (Called Rosh Hashana today.) Points to the Rapture when the Messiah will appear in the heavens as a Bridegroom coming for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:52) Most Christian scholars consider the Feast of Trumpets symbolic of the Rapture of the Church – NOT.

This is not true because all seven of the sacred feasts are prophetic of an event in the history of National Israel. The Rapture of the Church is not an event in the history of National Israel. The Feast of Trumpets is a prophetic event in the history of Israel – The national Regathering of the Jewish people to their homeland. This prophetic event occurred when Israel regained their homeland in 1948. (TLC)

6) Atonement — (Called Yom Kippur today.) Points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the day of atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).

7) Tabernacles — (Called Sukkot today.) Points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again tabernacle with His people when He returns to reign over all the world from Jerusalem (Micah 4:1-7).

The Week of Millenniums

One final note about the feasts. Six of them the first six are related to man’s sin and struggle to exist. The last feast, Tabernacles, is related to rest. It is the most joyous feast of the year. It looks to the past in celebration of God’s faithfulness in the wilderness. It looks to the present in celebration of the completion of the hard labor of the agricultural cycle. And it looks to the future in celebration of God’s promise to return to this earth and provide the world with rest in the form of peace, righteousness and justice.

The seven feasts thus parallel what I call the “rhythm of God” that was established during the week of creation namely, six days of work followed by one day of rest.

This rhythm is repeated over and over in the Scriptures, as illustrated in the chart below.

A Summary of the Weeks of Scripture

The Week Length Description Scripture

1) Week of Days 7 days God’s basic pattern. Six days of toil followed by a Sabbath day of rest. Gen. 1:31-2:3; Ex. 31:12-17

2) Week of Weeks 49 days– The period of time between the feast of First Fruits and the feast of Pentecost. Deut. 16:9-12; Lev. 23:15-16

3) Week of Months 7 months The seven months of the Jewis religious calender which contain all seven of the Jewish feasts. Deut. 16; Lev. 23

4) Week Years 7 years The Israelites were commanded to work the land for six years and then give the land a sabbath rest every seventh year. Lev. 25:1-7

5) Week of Weeks of Years 49 years– The period of time between each celebration of the Year of Jubilee. Lev. 25:8-17

6) Week of Decades 70 years– The life span alotted to Man. Ps. 90:10

7) Week of Weeks of Decades 490 years – The period of time revealed to Daniel during which God will work through the Jews to fulfill His purposes in history. Dan. 9:24-27

Because God’s division of time into sevens, or weeks, so thoroughly permeates the Scriptures, the Jewish Rabbis concluded before the time of Jesus that human history would extend over a “Week of Millenniums,” or for a period of 7,000 years.

According to the view most frequently expressed in the Talmud, there would be 6,000 years of human toil and strife followed by 1,000 years of peace. This Millennial Sabbath would be the period of the Messianic kingdom during which time the Messiah would reign in person over all the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:21-23).

In other words, the Jews had concluded long before the book of Revelation was written that the Lord’s reign on earth would last a thousand years. Revelation 20 confirmed this deduction by stating six times that the reign would last a thousand years.

The concept of the Millennium in the book of Revelation is therefore nothing new. The concept is rooted in the creation week of Genesis. It is reaffirmed in the week of feasts of Israel six feasts related to sin and toil leading up to a sabbath feast of rest.

As you can see from the chart below, we are near the end of the 6,000 years which the Jewish Rabbis believed would usher in the Millennial kingdom. We are standing on the threshold of the Sabbath Millennium. Yeshua is coming soon!

The Week of Millenniums

For Deeper Study About the Feasts

Richard Booker observes in a book concerning spiritual meanings of the feasts for the Christian life that for 1,500 years, the Jewish people learned about God through “visual aids” like the feasts. As he puts it, “Their religious laws and rituals taught them how to know God and walk with Him on a daily basis.

But Booker stresses that these were only aids. The time came when the Jews were to put away these physical symbols and enter into the spiritual reality which they portrayed. The transition from the physical to the spiritual was provided for them through the person and work of Jesus, their Messiah and Savior of the world.

As Booker puts it, “Jesus was God’s ultimate visual aid.” Jesus Himself emphasized this when He said, “Anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The Jewish rituals were only temporary visual aids. God used them as object lessons to teach the Jewish people about their coming Messiah. We no longer need these rituals to show us the way to God.

But Booker observes: “This does not mean, however, that these Hebrew visual aids are no longer valuable to us. They still are very useful in helping us to better understand how to know God and walk with Him through a personal relationship with Jesus.”

Which is why Booker wrote the book “I wrote this book to help people learn how to encounter God in such a way that they will walk in His divine peace, power, and rest.”

Why the Jewish Feasts Move Around on the Calendar

One of the first things you will probably notice when studying any chart of the Jewish Feasts is that they do not fall on specified dates according to the Gregorian calendar that is used in the Western world. The reason is that the Gregorian calendar (adopted in 1582 during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII) is a solar one that is related to the earth’s revolution around the sun. The Jews, in contrast, use a modified lunar calendar, or what might be called a lunar/solar calendar.

A year on the Gregorian calendar runs 365 days. But since it takes approximately 365 days for the earth to make a complete circle around the sun, an extra day is added in February every four years, making a Leap Year of 366 days.

The Jewish calendar is based upon the movement of the moon around the earth. A full circle takes about 29 days. Thus, twelve of these lunar months add up to 354 days in a year. So, a solar year is 11 days longer than a lunar year.

If the Jews followed a strict lunar calendar, as the Muslims do, the feasts would migrate completely around the calendar (as the Muslim feast of Ramadan does.) But the Jews could not tolerate this since three of their feasts are related directly to the agricultural cycle. Therefore, they devised a method of modifying their lunar calendar to bring it in line with the solar year. They did this by adding an extra month of 29 days about every three years (7 times in 19 years). This month is called the intercalary month.

That’s the reason that the feast of Passover, for example, can occur in either March or April. The feast migrates backward on the Gregorian calendar for three years and then is propelled forward 29 days when the intercalary month is added. Passover always falls on Nisan 14 on the Jewish calendar, but that date moves around on the Gregorian calendar as illustrated below.

Dates of Passover

1992-1995

Year Jewish Date Gregorian Date

1992

1993

1994

(Intercalary month added)

1995 Nisan 14

Nisan 14

Nisan 14

(Intercalary month added)

Nisan 14 Sunday, April 17

Monday, April 6

Saturday, March 26

(Intercalary month added)

Sunday, April 14

In 1997, for example, an intercalary month was added. Without it, Passover would fall on the evening of March 23rd. But with the month added (March 10-April 7), Passover fell on the evening of April 21st.

Another difference between the calendars that should be noted is that the Gregorian day begins at midnight and runs until the next midnight. The Jewish day begins at sundown (approximately 6:00 p.m.) and runs until the next day’s sundown. The Passover meal is celebrated at the beginning of Nisan 14, which would be in the evening.

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Middle Knowledge & other Philosophical Concepts

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Dr. William Lane Craig Explains God’s Middle Knowledge (Molinism)

Calvinism vs. Molinism – William Lane Craig vs. Paul Helm


Do Suffering and Evil Disprove God? William Lane Craig vs. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong


What Must I Do To Be Saved? William Lane Craig vs. Shabir Ally


The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity – William Lane Craig vs. Shabir Ally


Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? William Lane Craig vs. Raymond Bradley


The Problem of Hell: Raymond Bradley vs. William Lane Craig (Debate)


Science and Religion in the 21st Century – W.L. Craig, A. Plantinga, J. Kennedy, & D. Thrower


An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – Alvin Plantinga at USC


What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, Alvin Plantinga


Theism, Naturalism, and Rationality – Discussion Part 1


Christianity vs. Scientific Naturalism – William Lane Craig vs. Garrett Hardin


Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – Alvin Plantinga vs. Stephen Law


God and Religion – Alister McGrath vs. Daniel Dennett


Lecture (lecture only) – Dr Alister McGrath – C.S. Lewis and the Post Modern Generation

Books That Have Influenced Me Most – John Piper

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Books That Have Influenced Me Most
By John Piper (November 1993)
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These, except for the Bible, are not in any order of priority but only in the order that they came to mind. I may well have forgotten some significant ones.

1. The Bible

There has been no period in my life as early as I can remember when I have not loved and longed to understand the Bible. And there is no way to estimate the enormity of its impact on the shape of my life and thought.

2. a. Hermeneutics by Daniel Fuller (unpublished), b. The Unity of the Bible by Daniel Fuller (Zondervan, 1991)

The influence of these two books is indistinguishable from the influence of Dr.. Fuller as a living teacher. Through these two books and his teaching I found my way into a method of biblical theology which has been immeasurably fruitful both in the scholarly and spiritual dimensions of my life. He taught me the importance of seeing what is there, the importance of asking hard questions, the importance of seeking unity in theology and the importance of a Spirit-given, docile, humility before the text of Scripture.

3. Validity in Interpretation by E.D. Hirsch (Yale U. Press, 1967).

From this book I cam to believe very strongly in the real possibility of rethinking another person’s thoughts after him. This meant that “meaning”, defined as what an author willed to communicate, was a discoverable reality outside my own consciousness. This confidence provided for me a thrilling incentive to read what great thinkers have written, because it meant that I might be able to actually understand and appropriate what they thought. The possibilities for growth still seem unlimited on the basis of what I learned from Hirsch.

4. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren (Simon and Schuster, 1972).

While Hirsch gave me the philosophical foundation for the task and hope of reading for understanding, Adler provided for me the methodological superstructure for carrying out the task. It is a beautifully written book and is eminently reasonable and full of common sense wisdom. Perhaps the most stimulating thing about it was the challenge it gave to stretch my mind by reading books which are harder than I can presently handle. Doesn’t it make sense that, if we are to grow in our understanding and in our ability to reason clearly and deeply, then we must try to read those “great books” which go beyond our present ability to fully comprehend? So Adler gave me great encouragement to get on with the business of enlarging my understanding and my appreciation of things that great men have thought and written.

5. Books by C.S. Lewis

I discovered C.S. Lewis through Mere Christianity my freshman year in college. Since then I have read over 20 books by Lewis. He has had a tremendous influence on me in several ways.

1) He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he has shown me that “newness” is no virtue and “oldness” is no fault. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages. He said one: every third book you read should be from outside your own (provincial) century.

2) He demonstrated for me and convinced me that rigorous, precise, penetrating logic is not inimical to deep, soul-stirring feeling and vivid, lively, even playful imagination. He was a “romantic rationalist.” He combined what almost everybody today assumes are mutually exclusive: rationalism and poetry, cool logic and warm feeling, disciplined prose and free imagination. In shattering these old stereotypes for me, he freed me to think hard and to write poetry, to argue for the resurrection and compose hymns to Christ, to smash an argument and hug a friend, to demand a definition and use a metaphor.

3) Finally, Lewis has given (and continues to give) me an intense sense of the “realness” of things. This is hard to communicate. To wake up in the morning and to be aware of the firmness of the mattress, the warmth of the sun rays, the sound of the clock ticking, the sheer being of things (quidity as he calls it). He helped me become alive to life. He helped me to see what is there in the world–things which if we didn’t have them, we would pay a million dollars to have, but having them, ignore. He convicts me of my insensitivity to beauty. He convicts me of my callous inability to enjoy God’s daily gifts. He helps me to awaken my dazing soul so that the realities of life and of God and heaven and hell are seen and felt.

Among the books I have read and enjoyed with much profit are: Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, The Abolition of Man, Miracles, Pilgrim’s Regress, Poems, Letters to an American Lady, Letters of C.S. Lewis, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (cf. The other 6 Narnia books),Perelandra, Out of the Silent Planet, That Hideous Strength, Christian Reflections, Experiment in Criticism, God in the Dock, The Four Loves, The Weight of Glory, A Mind Awake(anthology ed. by C.. Kilby).

6. Books by Jonathan Edwards

Along with Daniel Fuller and C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards ranks as a dominant influence upon my thought and upon my devotion. I think I was attracted to him for the same reason I was attracted to C.S. Lewis. One day while I was in seminary, Dr. Fuller got upset in class because some student said we were being too rational and that this was damaging to faith and devotion to God. Fuller retorted that he saw no reason why the two should be inimical to each other, that is, rationality and warm devotion. In the process of defending this, and as my heart was beating fast with pleasure and expectation, Fuller said: “Jonathan Edwards could move easily from lucid, complex logical argument into a devotional style that would warm your grandmother’s heart.” That was all I needed; I was off to the library to find the hidden treasure.

Edwards is a giant intellectually and worked as hard as anyone has, probably, to solve some of the hardest theological problems. To make it your aim to understand Jonathan Edwards is to set one of the highest and most fruitful theological goals possible. I have plodded along in pursuit of this goal for years and the effort has been rewarded one hundred-fold in profundity of theological, ethical, psychological insight. But more than that, Edwards has ushered me closer into the presence of God than any other writer has. He has done this by depicting God in a way so authentic and so powerful that to read and understand is to experience the Reality beyond the description. Edwards has been there where few of us ever get to go in this life and he has sought and found words that, for me at leas, not only inform but transport. Penetrating logic and spiritual responses of the affections mingle in Edwards like branch and fruit, fire and heat, pain and weeping. They are inextricably wed. It is impossible to have understood Edwards and ever to be satisfied again with “rationalism” or with “enthusiasm.” Logic and affection are happily married in the healthy heart of Jonathan Edwards.

The most influential book was Freedom of the Will which, so far as I know, has not been shown wrong. It’s thesis is that “God’s moral government over mankind, his treating them as moral agents, making them the object of his commands, counsels, calls, warnings, expostulations, promises, threatenings, rewards and punishment is not inconsistent with a determining disposal of all events, of every kind, throughout the universe, in his providence; either by positive efficiency, or permission.”

Next to this in shaping my thought would be his Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World. Here both reason and an amazing plethora of Scriptures are amassed to demonstrate that God makes Himself the end of all his acts in creation and redemption. “All that is ever spoken of in the Scripture as an ultimate end of God’s works, is included in that one phrase, THE GLORY OF GOD.” Along with Dr. Fuller’s Unity of the Bible this book has caused many things to fall into place for me.
The other works I have read in the order of their impact are Religious Affections, The Nature of True Virtue, Unpublished Essay on the Trinity, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended, Charity and its Fruits, and other sermons.

7. Books by George Ladd

In understanding the theology unique to the New Testament no one has influenced me more than George Ladd. This is true especially concerning the message of Jesus and the message of Paul and how they have a unified view of redemptive history. From Ladd’s books, A Theology of the New Testament and The Presence of the Future, I came to appreciate the centrality of the coming of God’s Kingdom into history in advance of its apocalyptic manifestation at the end of history. “Fulfillment without consummation”, as Ladd puts it is the “mystery of the Kingdom” which we as believers are given to know. The essence of Christianity is “the already”. The center of history is in the past. The decisive battle has been won against Satan. It was fought in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We now live in a tension as Christians for we are delivered from this present evil age and have our citizenship in heave, but we are not yet perfected and the flesh, the world and Satan are not yet wholly abolished. Therefore we are more than conquerors but we still must fight.

Many others might have taught me this (Oscar Cullmann, Geerdhardus Vos, etc.) but in the providence of God I learned it best from George Ladd and I am deeply grateful to him for his labor in study and writing.

8. Other authors

There have no doubt been many other books that have influenced me, some of which I can’t even remember. Authors like G.K. Chesterton, William Wordsworth, Paul Tournier, John Calvin, Leonhard Goppelt, Bill Piper (my father), Stuart Hackett and Clyde Kilby still come to my mind. But such a list begins to be too inclusive to be useful.
Nor, in conclusion, do I want to leave the impression that reading many books is important. Reading great books and reading them well is what is important. Meditative reading, reading which stops and ponders, reading which sees deep into reality – that is the kind of reading which profits. That kind of reading should never end for you. Growth and stimulation and transformation will never end for you. You will be in the company of the greatest minds and hearts for the rest of your life, and you will become their peers if you read for understanding and for life.
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* By John Piper. ©Desiring God. Website: http://www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 888.346.4700.
Publishers Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do NOT alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 1,000 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by Desiring God.

God’s Love Vs. His Wrath

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God’s Love Vs. His wrath

Some people see a conflict between the love of God and the wrath of God. My conclusion is that many people including Christians misunderstand the Love of God. The most common Bible verse that most people know is John 3:16. This verse clearly indicates that God Loved the entire World when He sent His son to die for Sin.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)

Our modern western world has only one word for love. This word love is used very freely of all kinds of love. I love my dog. I love apple pie. I love my mother. I love my girlfriend. The word love is used very indiscriminately for almost any type love. This is somewhat unfortunate because there is more than one kind of love. C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves.

In biblical times there were actually two Greek words for love that were in use. But actually the Greeks had four words to describe different aspects of love, but only the two are used in the Bible.

The one word for love was “philos” which was a warm brotherly type love. Our city Philadelphia is based on this word. Philadelphia means “the city of brotherly love”.

The other word is the Greek word “agape” and literally means to do the best thing for the another person.

The word “agape” does not have the emotional content that “philos” has. Agape is a willed and rationally based type of love. The word “agape” is used by Jesus when he says,Love your enemies”. This didn’t mean that we have to feel warm and affectionate toward our enemies, but that we must want the best for our enemies. Many Christians probably stumble over this verse because it is almost impossible to have affection for those who are our enemies. We may not even like them little lone “philos” them.

44 But I say unto you, Love (agape) your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt 5:44-45 (KJV)

Some Christians think that the Greek word “agape” always refers to the “love of God”. That is, it is a God type of love. However, it is not always used in a good sense even in the Scriptures.

10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved (agape) this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica 2 Tim 4:10 (KJV)

Demas had given his full allegiance to the present world according to the above verse. The word for love in this verse is “agape”.

We as Christians can love our enemies in the “agape” sense. We are not commanded to feel “warm and fuzzy” toward them, but we are to do the best thing for them.

When God loved the World he loved all the people of the World and wanted the best thing for them.  He may or may not have had a warm affection for them but that is not the meaning of the Greek word used in John 3:16.

The best thing God could do for all people was to provide eternal life and salvation for them. Jesus spoke of the comparative value of the body verses the soul of man. While the body is important and a gift from God, our soul and spiritual being is even more important.

Jesus said on more than one occasion “fear not him that is able to destroy the body, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell-fire.” He said it was better to be crippled and lose the use of one part of the body than to enter into hell with a whole body.

The Apostle John writes in 1st John:

15 Love (agape) not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love (agape) the world, the love (agape)  of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV)

The word “World” in the New Testament is used in three different ways: 1) the physical world, 2) the people of the world, and 3) the world as an evil system which is opposed to God.

The Apostle John uses the word “world” as the temporal world and the system of people that are in opposition to God.

19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.          1 John 5:19 (KJV)

In all these contexts the word “world” is the Greek word “kosmos” from which we get the word “cosmos”. The word “kosmos” means orderly and organized.
People of this world may have all type of troubles, disasters, and illnesses, but that does not mean that God does not love them. God who knows that end from the beginning wants the best thing for every created person. He wants to give them eternal life so that they can live with Him forever. This is truly the best thing for every human being. The love of God whereby He provided for the salvation of every human being is the greatest true love of all. All troubles, pains, and sufferings are only temporary but eternal life is forever with God.
Why do people go to hell? Because they refused the remedy for sin! Mankind is defective, corrupt, and contaminated with sin. God is holy and righteous and cannot allow anyone in His presence that is contaminated with sin.

Steve Jobs died of cancer because he delayed the treatment. He had decided that he could figure out a cure himself so he delayed until it was too late for doctors and medical specialist to help him. Steve Jobs was truly a great man but his self-confidence may have been his undoing.

God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the World of people but in order that He might save them from the consequences of their sin.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17 (KJV)

God’s desire and wish for every human being is that they might be saved. The Apostle Peter writes this very clearly.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)

Receiving salvation and eternal life is so simple and clearly explained in the Bible that I find it hard to believe that all people would not want to receive it. All a person has to do is to Believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins upon the cross and then rose again and now lives in the presence of God.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 (KJV)

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36 (KJV)

The moment a person truly believes on Jesus Christ he receives eternal life. This is not in the next life, but in this life. A believer receives eternal life in this life.
May you trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive Him for eternal life.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

Biblical Context

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Biblical context

There are many important concepts to proper interpretation of the Bible but John Wyciff gave one of the most important: understanding the context of what is written. Below is what he said about context.  The interpretation of the Bible is the most important aspect of our lives.  God has promised that the Holy Spirit will guide us and illuminate the Scriptures for us.

John Wyclif

It shall greatly helpe ye
to understande Scripture,
If thou mark
Not only what is spoken or wrytten,
But of whom,
And to whom,
With what words,
At what time,
Where,
To what intent,
With what circumstances,
Considering what goeth before
And what followeth.

There are three things we need to know about Scripture:

  • 1) Supernatural Revelation – This is the act of God whereby He reveals to special select persons what He wants to reveal. They are Holy prophets.  The word “holy” means select and special.  He did not and does not reveal His Special Revelation to just anyone.  All prophets after the institution of the Mosaic covenant were Jewish with the possible exception of Luke who wrote the book of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.  Luke was the close companion of the Apostle Paul.
  •  2) Inspiration of Scripture – This is the act of God whereby He communicates His will and words to Special select persons and causes them to accurately record in writing His will and words. The word inspiration is not the best word for this act because it implies that something is (in= spired) breathed into the person. But the Greek word is actually “theopneustos” which means divinely breathed.   The word means that all Scripture is God breathed and that it’s source is God. Inspiration is the act of God whereby He caused special select persons to receive His word and record His word without omission or error.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration (theopneustos) of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  2 Tim 3:16-17 (KJV)

  • 3) Illumination – is the work of the Holy Spirit whereby He assists believers in understanding what has been written and record by inspiration. No person at the present time is receiving Divinely Inspired Special Revelation from God. Below is an excellent article on Illumination.

What is the biblical doctrine of illumination?

http://www.gotquestions.org/biblical-illumination.html

“What is the biblical doctrine of illumination?”

Answer: Simply put, illumination in the spiritual sense is “turning on the light” of understanding in some area. Throughout the ages, people in every culture and religion have claimed some kind of revelation or enlightenment from God (whether true or not). When that enlightenment deals with new knowledge or future things, we call it prophecy. When that enlightenment deals with understanding and applying knowledge already given, we call it illumination. Regarding illumination of the latter type, the question arises, “How does God do it?”

The most basic level of enlightenment is the knowledge of sin, and without that knowledge, everything else is pointless. Psalm 18:28 says, “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is a song about God’s Word. In verse 130, it says “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” This verse establishes the basic method of God’s illumination. When God’s Word enters the heart of a person, it gives light and understanding to them. For this reason, we are repeatedly told to study the Word of God. Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Verses 98 and 99 say “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”

Regular study of the Word of God will give direction and understanding in the issues of life. This is the first method of God’s illumination and the starting point for us all. In Psalm 119 we also find another type of God’s illumination. Verse 18 says, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” These are not new revelations, but things which have been written and revealed long before, and just now understood by the reader (one of those “aha!” moments). Similarly, verse 73 says, “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” The plea is for personal understanding and application of God’s laws as they are studied by the individual. Fifteen times in this psalm, God is asked to teach or give understanding regarding His laws.

One passage that sometimes stirs controversy regarding illumination is John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus was speaking to His disciples in the upper room, giving them last instructions before His death. This special group of men was to be responsible for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. They had spent three and a half years with Him, watching His miracles and hearing His teachings. They would relay those things to the rest of the world, and would need God’s special help remembering those things accurately. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach them and remind them of what had been said, so they could give it to others (including the writing of the Gospels). This verse does not teach that the Spirit will do so with all believers (though there are other verses that speak of the Spirit’s illuminating work).

What is the Holy Spirit’s illuminating work in believers? Ephesians 1:17-18 tells us that the Spirit gives wisdom and revelation concerning Jesus Christ, and opens the eyes of understanding so we can know God’s purposes in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, God has revealed His plans for us by His Spirit, who teaches us spiritual things. The context here points to the Word of God as that which has been revealed. The Spirit of God will always point us to the Word of God for our instruction. As Jesus told His disciples in John 16:12-15, the Spirit simply repeats what the Father and the Son have already said. This repetition helps us remember and fully hear what God has already told us. Sometimes we have to hear things several times before we actually hear them. That’s where the Spirit comes in.

One thing that is sometimes overlooked in the discussion of illumination is the purpose of it. To hear some arguments, it would seem that the whole purpose of illumination is an accurate and academic understanding of God’s Word. There is no question that God desires us to accurately understand what He has given us. Words have meaning, and we must pay attention to the details in those words. If, however, we stop there, we simply have an academic understanding of facts or philosophies, which do no one any good.

Going back to Psalm 119, we find purpose statements connected with the illumination verses. “I will meditate on your wonders” (v. 27), “I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart” (v. 34), “that I may understand your statutes” (v. 125), “that I may live” (v. 144). The illumination always points to action. Why does God help us understand His Word? So we are able to live in its light. First John 1:6 challenges us, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” We could paraphrase it to say, “If we say we’ve been enlightened, but still walk in the dark, we lie about understanding God’s Word.” The Spirit of God, who enlightens us to hear and understand God’s Word, then takes that knowledge and guides us in living it. Romans 8:14 says “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The illuminating and leading work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a confirmation that we are indeed children of God.

Check out the excellent work of J. Vernon McGee

 Guidelines for the Understanding of the Scriptures by J.   Vernon McGee    guide

02 Guide for Understanding the Scriptures Under the category 01 Christian Resources on this website.

May God bless your today and forever!

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

Only One Life

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The Carrot and the Stick

Dear friends below is a list of concepts I have added to each of my emails.   Hopefully, this might stirrup some person to seek the Lord.  Use your email to promote the things of the Lord.

You might want to attach some concepts to your email to encourage others to seek the Lord while He may be found.

Life is short, Eternity is forever!

“He that takes thought for time and takes not thought for eternity,

is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

“Behold, now is the accepted time; Now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor 6:2

“Only one life will soon be past,  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

This last concept is very appropriate for believers.   Our lives will be evaluated by Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ to assess what rewards we will receive for faithful service or the lack thereof.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (worthless).  2 Cor 5:10 (KJV)

The reward Christ will give to his faithful servants will be very substantial and will last for eternity. The losses that Christians will suffer for an unfaithful life will be enormous and will be for eternity.

This concept of Rewards for faithful service is taught throughout the Holy Scriptures.  I have heard some foolish Christians say, “All I want is to go to heaven, I am not interested in rewards.”

These Christians will suffer great regret at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  In Greek it is called the “Bema seat”.

The Apostle Paul prior to his death made this triumphful statement:

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.   2 Tim 4:6-8 (KJV)

Remember this eternal life is totally free by grace and through faith alone without any works, but rewards are based on our faithful properly motivated service and good works for the Lord.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10 (KJV)

You must closely study the Holy Scriptures to know what God considers good works.   We may be deceived about what we believe to be good works in the sight of God.

In an article that I plan to write I mention two ways that God motivates us:  1) the stick, and 2) the carrot.   The stick is God’s chastening which is mentioned in Hebrews 12 and the carrot is God’s reward which is mentioned in a number of places in Scripture.

5 My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  Heb 12:5-11 (KJV)

Just like a good father, God would rather use the carrot than the stick.

Positive re-enforcements are generally more productive than negative re-enforcements.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark