Archive for the ‘Shared Thoughts’ Category

Just a re-post reminder that hell is real. This is actually part 2 of 2  of my series on hell 

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s word is more glorious than even the wonder of birth; for in it He has given us some incredible insights into His own heart’s desire. His word is not merely a bunch of rules and laws made to regulate every aspect of men’s behavior and to oppress their freedom in life. No, God’s word is actually the only true wellspring of life, in addition to the only effectual means for guarding what He gives unto His people. Some may immediately feel compelled to challenge that statement, but I am not speaking about the bible you have on your shelf, I am speaking of that which came by unction of God’s Holy Spirit unto His prophets and apostles, that which is spirit and not merely “letter.”

The bibles we have are but books made of paper and ink, filled with letters that cannot do anything of their own, there is no power in them anymore than a flashlight has the ability to illuminate without batteries being in it. It is only a means, a tool whereby the supremacy of God’s spoken word which is ultimately spirit can be revealed unto us . . . that is if and when our heart is in the right condition.

Through God’s holy word comes first the revelation of His supremacy and preeminence, that “God is,” meaning there is in fact a God to whom all men are accountable. Secondly it teaches us how He has created all things in a state of “good.” God created the realms for life to flourish, the sea, the air and the land and then brought forth all manner of life and gave them not just the command to be “fruitful and multiply,” no much more than that, God gave forth the blessing of life.

He created every “herb bearing seed upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree for food which also has yielding seeds.” God also spoke into existence things that were not and gave them life that they might live and move within God’s very being. After God created man He declared that the result was “very good,” or what the Hebrew would convey as extremely good.

Thirdly, we can see, and learn from God’s holy word, that through it comes both the revelation and foundational teachings of righteousness. We also see creation set into motion with harmonious order, established cycles and rhythms whereby all things would thrive and flourish. It reveals boundaries for man’s protection whereby he could grow, learn and experience the joys and liberties given unto him. What God created was good, not evil; life and not death. This does not mean He failed to make provisions for such, which is far from the truth.

Just as certainly as God flawlessly fashioned all creation for life, He knew that giving His creatures the facilities and means to enjoy it, would also mean His perfect creation could be polluted and therefore most certainly would be. God knew from the beginning when He first put into place the harmony of creation that His creatures would eventually fall into disharmony with Him through exercising their ability to choose.

But that does not mean God created sin, for I would ask how could there be sin without first the establishment of righteousness? Disharmony and sin are not God’s creation, nor are they a state or condition that can exist alone; rather they are measured and established only by their contrast with God’s original harmony and righteousness. There can be no disharmony without harmony, nor sin without righteousness. These two things cannot exist by themselves, for they are nothing more than witnesses to the absence of their counterpart, just as darkness is measured by the degree of light present, likewise cold in regards to the presence of heat.

Now when I said God didn’t create “evil” I know many are going to throw the following verse at me,

 Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 One would do well to investigate the intent of this verse; for it is God’s forming of the light that created darkness, just as “the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” meaning without light and void of illumination. Likewise God’s desire and establishment of peace is what creates the possibility for evil. However, the “evil” of this verse is not moral; rather it is the contrast of peace, i.e. war, which cannot exist without willful disharmony to God’s formerly established harmony. Others may want to debate that God Himself does evil and they may seek to prove it by submitting verses similar to the following scriptures –

 Jeremiah 26:3 – If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

 Jeremiah 42:10 – If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent Me of the evil that I have done unto you.

  What is paramount is to understand is that the “evil” in these verses is not synonymous with sin, wickedness or unrighteousness. This evil is best understood as a required action that is contrary to God’s preferred will. God never wanted to punish, but His holiness and righteousness demands it because God will not forever endure with that which refuses to live and exist in accordance with His word. Yes, God is longsuffering, but there is a limit to God’s willingness to wait for repentance, which when exhausted then obligates God to act contrary to the blessings He desires to give. If we will not comply with the conditions of His blessings, we are only left with the repercussions of His curses. But never, never does God commit wickedness or unrighteousness for He is holy.

  Isaiah 30:18  – And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.

 Lamentations 3:31 – For the Lord will not cast off for ever:  32 But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

 Ezekiel 18:23 – Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? . . . 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

 Ezekiel 33:11 – Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

 Romans 2:2 – But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

 1 Timothy 2:4 – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

 2 Peter 3:9 – 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.

 It has always been the desire of God that what He created as “good,” even “very good,” that it should continue as such forever. However, because sin entered, disharmony was created when His creatures made the fatal willful choice to cast away His word. Nevertheless, He has long sought to make available to all the remedy that was prepared from the foundations of the world to reconcile all things back unto Himself. For more on this plan of reconciliation please see my old post “Justified in the Spirit.

In continuing with the topic of hell, let’s now look at a little discussed passage of scripture –

 Deuteronomy 23:9 – When the army goes forth against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. 10 If there is among you any man who is not clean because of an accident at night, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp. 11 And it shall be as evening turns, he shall wash with water. And when the sun is down, he shall come into the the middle of the camp. 12 You shall also have a place outside the camp where you shall go forth. 13 And you shall have a paddle on your weapon. And it shall be, when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you. 14 For the LORD your God walks in the middle of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you. Therefore your camp shall be holy, so that He may see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you.

This is one of those passages that many Christians just read over and rarely gleam anything from. However, there is much here that we should be giving our focus too, for we are talking about going to battle and having the certainty that the Lord will be with us. What is the underlying principle in these verses is the requirement for us to be holy for He is holy. That is why it is absolutely clear that since everyday we are waking up afresh, we therefore need to be daily putting on the whole armor of God, . . . because every minute, of everyday, our adversary is seeking to devour all he can. Therefore we must keep ourselves “from every wicked thing.” These truths should be clear and evident even to the young in faith.

However, the passage also warns against those who are “not clean by reason of uncleanness that chances him by night.” Now what does this passage mean? These verses in Leviticus help to bring clarity–

Leviticus 15:1  – And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,  2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness. 4 Every bed, whereon he lays that hath the issue, is unclean: and everything, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.  5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.

Leviticus 15:16 – And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. 17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. 18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.

The light shed by these verses clearly indicate that the concern of the Lord is the uncleanliness, associated with either genital disease, or a “copulation,” meaning an ejaculation of semen. Now, some might readily see the problem with disease rendering one unclean, but an ejaculation? How would that defile a man? Whether we understand it or not it is still in God’s Holy Scriptures and is given as an admonition to His people and therefore requires our prayerful consideration. But this is also why I selected to entitle this post with the opening verse –

1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 The “corruptible seed” Peter is alluding to is the seed whereby we were originally born, our father’s semen. Yet in this verse Peter is also stating how we are in fact “born again” by incorruptible seed, even the word of God. Furthermore, the beloved Apostle John tells us that true Christians cannot sin because His seed is in us –

1 John 3:9 = Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.

Now when John says one who is “born of God cannot sin,” he is not saying they are incapable of sinning. He is saying that because God’s “seed remains in him” that he cannot accept the pleasures of sin in the light of the cost of sin. It would be similar to me offering any of you $5.00 for your car or perhaps a gold watch. Certainly you could foolishly accept the $5.00, but if you truly understand the worth of what you have then you “cannot” accept my offer without abandoning what is reasonable. That is why Paul pleads with us to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto God.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How do you know “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God?” Only by God’s word. That is why John stated that “His seed remains in him,” which may help to shed light on  some other passages of scripture regarding uncleanliness –

Leviticus 15:19 – And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the evening. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the evening. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

Leviticus 20:18 – And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

Now why would it be inappropriate for a man to lie with a woman while she is menstruating? Apart from the normal responses regarding hygiene, it is because the “seed” placed in her would not remain; her body will naturally cast it forth from her. When a woman’s body is menstruating it is going through the process of expelling her last egg that wasn’t fertilized. Since at this point most eggs are no longer alive, in the normal situation the male sperm will therefore never penetrate a viable egg but it too will only be flushed out as waste.

(Now before I am dismissed because of accuracy regarding the chances of a woman becoming pregnant even though she has had her normal cycle, the chances are very, very rare and could only most likely happen if prior to the menstrual cycle some sperm from an earlier relation managed to enter the fallopian tubes and was not flushed out. This unlikely event would create an opportunity for them if they are still alive to encounter a new egg during the next ovulation if for some reason it was hastened from irregularity in the cycle. But again this is going outside the norm and stretching normal limitations. Please remember that I am not a gynecologist and that I work with wood)

What is important is that we see the correlation the Apostle Peter makes between the “corruptible seed” whereby we were conceived and the “incorruptible” whereby we are born again, even the word of the Lord. This shows us the significance of our design and Why God Created Us Male And Female. Symbolically the male’s semen represents the word of God which is not cast to the ground. To do so is prophetic action showing disrespect for that which has holy symbolism. Think of the anger the Lord had towards Onan who was told by his father Judah to go and “raise up seed” for his dead brother with Tamar –

Genesis 38:6 – And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. 8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore He slew him also.

 This displeased the Lord on at least two counts, first, a lack of love for his brother and second, the intentional spilling of his semen on the ground. Since we are created in the image of God and are to be His glory, then it is conceivable that our seed, i.e. semen, represents His holy word. Thus it was important to God that Onan’s seed should have remained in Tamar, just as it is important that God’s seed remain in us, and that as children of God, we be able to impart His seed unto others. Perhaps part of this can even be our love of Christ and evangelistic willingness to go and “raise up seed” for our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ by being instant in season and ready to give and answer for the hope that is within us.

Again, these are but prophetic imagery given unto us to teach us greater lessons from our Lord, just as circumcision of the flesh does in regards to circumcision of the heart. But look at the verses in Duet.23 before this –

Deuteronomy 23:1 – He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

It is important to the Lord that we know in whom we believe and are able to procreate with our faith by His seed, i.e. word which remains in us. Those not having seed or unable to impart it “shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” Also, since Paul tells us we’re to be living sacrifices, we should be able to appreciate that animal sacrifices were not acceptable unto the Lord either if they were born or rendered impotent.

Leviticus 22:24 – Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Those who have truly been quickened by God’s word have hidden His word in their hearts and are desirous to share it. That is because God’s word is the only solution for uncleanliness in the heart and lives of His children, now please don’t confuse that with the purpose of Christ’s blood for our atonement and forgiveness. We know that all things were sanctified and consecrated unto the Lord with both water and blood. Consider how the Apostle Paul speaks of husbands loving their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and the correlation of the water of the word and the blood of atonement and their applications as to why Jesus laid down His life for us. –

Ephesians 5:26 – That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Consider also the words of Peter –

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

We are to be holy, not just because we have been washed by His blood, but also because we have renewed in our minds. As if the very loins of our minds were girded with the girdle of truth and walking in obedience to our Lord and Savior. That is why we are forgiven by His blood, so we can be freed from sins and indwelt by His Spirit and empowered to walk in His word whereby we are to be changing daily, our old carnal nature decreasing while the nature of Christ is being formed in us.

1 Peter 1:18 – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We are given the responsibility of purifying our souls by obeying His truth, but thank God for the grace and empowering by His own Spirit within us which enables us and labors with us to perfect our love for Him and each other… if we remain willing. It is this Gospel, this incorruptible seed that causes us to be born again and quicken and changed.

1 Peter 1:24 – For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Let look back now at our text in Deut. 23 –

Deuteronomy 23:12 – Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:  13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:  14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

After the instructions regarding, “uncleanness that chances him by night,” as it said in Leviticus concerning if “any man’s seed of copulation go out from him,” the Lord now moves to another topic concerning keeping the camp clean because the Lord walks in the midst of the camp. This shows both the responsibility for personal cleanliness, and the individual and corporate responsibility to keep the camp clean as well. Therefore if any man has to “ease” himself he is to go outside the camp and so do. By the words “thou shalt have a place without the camp” it is indicated that this would be a designated place, not just every man running off to wherever, but a specific place known to all.

Therefore, instruction was given that every man should have a “paddle upon they weapon,” whereby they could dig a hole and ease themselves in it, and “turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.” Again, regardless the apparent subject matter, we are actually being given glorious imagery here. Placed upon the weapon was a paddle, designed specifically for digging of a hole to accommodate that which is expelled from the body. Sadly we cannot see these weapons, but one of the weapons of choice which could be so equipped with a small spade is a sword. Again, symbolically the sword represents two things in scripture, God’s word and His judgment. Not just judgment in the sense of determining right and wrong, but in the sense of judgment coming upon a people for their rejection of His holy word, casting it, as it were on the ground.

 Deuteronomy 32:41 – If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.

Now one thing we must remember, our Lord is a warrior, the ultimate warrior . . . and He is mighty in battle.

Psalm 24:7 – Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Our God has graciously given us His word and by it quickened us, it is His “seed” whereby we are born again. But be not mistaken, it is also the sword He will whet and take hold of, it is His sword of judgment against the wicked who “will not stand in the congregation of the righteous.” Consider also these verses in Isaiah –

Isaiah 1:16 – Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil;  17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

But as Jesus said, broad is the path which leads to destruction and many will choose it by casting God’s word behind them. These are wicked men serving their own lusts and not honoring God who gave to them both the blessing of life and the honor of being created in His own image. Instead they defiantly turn away and lived their lives refusing and rebelling, doing so regardless of the Spirit of His Grace. Therefore they are unclean, defiled, sold under sin and foolishly boasting in their own shame.

Isaiah 1:21 – How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:  23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

God will not always strive with mankind, He will soon avenge Himself of His adversaries.

Isaiah 1:24 – Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge me of Mine enemies.

Yes, as God commanded the host to keep the camp clean, and just as a man who needed to ease himself was to go to the designated place and there with the paddle on his weapon dig a hole. Likewise God has prepared a place in His judgment where He too will ease Himself. Listen to the word of the Lord; listen to His cry, “Ahhhh!” This is the groaning of the pain within His bowels of mercies after continually being frustrated, grace extended in vain to a rebellious, stubborn and stiff-necked people. It is as if God is cramped over in anguish and heartache by the very presence of the wicked within Him; all creation as well is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God and the removal of the wicked. Mind you though, all the evil men and all the demons and devils which hell currently awaits cannot weaken or abate one iota the strength of God. Still nevertheless He has long-suffered while warning the wicked, endeavoring to rescue the lost and to offer repentance to the broken and contrite ones. His omnipotence cannot be weakened by the sins of men, but His heart is nonetheless pained and vexed by their sins.

All who have rejected God’s word, those from the very beginning who have lived and moved and had their very being within Him, will one day be expelled out from His presence for all eternity as waste out the draught and into the pit. The Gospel makes it evident it is the responsibility of every person to take full advantage of the exceedingly great and precious promises of God’s word, whereby we can be made partakers of His divine nature. Therefore, we are commanded to be what He fully enables us to be. Therefore we must be holy, because He is holy, or be expelled.Only by purifying ourselves by obeying the truth through His spirit, can we perfect this holiness in the fear of God. For He will not be mocked. He will repay who reject what He went through great lengths to provide, a remedy for our sin and sinful nature.

Psalm 62:11 – God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto You O Lord belongeth mercy: for You renderest to every man according to his work.

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; And repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hates Him, He will repay him to his face.

Yes, there is a hell, Rob Bell and all the other universalists are wrong. It is the eternal place of torment for all those who would not be assimilated unto God, refusing to be purified, sanctified, consecrated and made holy by yielding to the working of the Spirit of Christ within them with and through the power of His seed/word. All those unclean, rebellious and wicked will not only fail to be able to stand in and with the congregation of the righteous, God will treat them as the filth they are and ease Himself of them in a place He has prepared outside the camp. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Isaiah 66:22 – For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Psalm 119:11 – Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Yoy.

John 3:17 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

Peace to those who love the Lord, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Post is here on my other blog…

Is your faith being tried?

Posted: October 10, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

Last week one morning, in my devotions and prayers, I was thinking about the trials God takes us through and a few verses came to mind which caused me to have to stop my prayers and go search them out; and look at them more in depth. It was even because of tonight in my prayers thinking of Psalm 23 that all this came back into mind afresh, of how the Lord works to “restore” our souls, even though the “path of righteousness” seems to be taking us right through “the valley of the shadow of death.” For all this is done both for “His name’s sake” and our well-being; because He is indeed our Shepherd.

Here are the passages –

Psalm 17:1 – Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goes not out of feigned lips. 2 Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal. 3 You have proved mine heart; You hast visited me in the night; You have TRIED me and shall find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. 4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. 5 Hold up my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Psalm 26:1 – Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity. I have trusted also in the LORD, therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; TRY my reins and my heart. 3 For your lovingkindness is before mine eyes and [therefore] I have walked in your truth.

Psalm 66:8 – O bless our God, you people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: 9 Which holds our soul in life, and suffers our feet not to be moved. 10 For You, O God, have proved us. You have TRIED us, as silver is TRIED. 11 You brought us into the net; You laid affliction upon our loins. 12 You have caused men to ride over our heads and we went through fire and through water. But You brought us out into a wealthy place.

As you can see it is about “proving” and “trying” us, and that often while in the midst of our adversities. The word “prove” in the original Hebrew means as we would naturally conclude, to establish the reality of a thing; that thing being twofold, both our faith and our lives. For it is by His grace working through our faith that we are indeed changed and made to be partakers of His divine nature.

2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the [ack-]knowledge[ment] of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue. 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.

Now, the words “TRY” and “TRIED” in the Psalms above were in caps because that is the thing I was led to look at more closely. In some place in our KJV Bibles, where it says “tried” it means to test, so as to prove. As a matter of fact, the very word translated “proved” in Psalm 66:10 above has been translated as “try” and “tried” more than other ways.

But the words “TRY” and “TRIED” in the Psalms above is translated from a completely different word in Hebrew which has a meaning that is hidden in the English translation; which is more revealed in principle in Peter’s statement that “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold,” and in Psalm 66:10, where we are “…as silver is TRIED.” For the Hebrew word which was translated “TRY” and “TRIED,” is also often translated as “[re-]finer,” “refiner,” “goldsmiths,” and “founder.”

A classic verse is below –

Malachi 3:3 – And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Now remember, we are all called to be were as the “sons of Levi;” for as Christians we are called to be both kings and priests unto the Lord. But the Lord “sits,” or takes a place in our lives, “as a refiner and a purifier of silver”; which silver is often used to represent of our sanctification to the Lord. The “refiner” smelts the silver to purge it of the impurities or dross. The process of smelting requires heating it to its melting point and allowing the lighter weight impurities to come to the surface; the appearance of such is like soot being black. Once the silver is liquefied and the dross surfaces, the refiner carefully scraps it from the top.

Psalm 12:6 – The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver TRIED in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Now, silver when it melts is like aluminum or lead when they melt, in that they all simply liquefy at a lower temperature than other metals, which when heated to their melting point become illuminated with a glow. Silver simply melts with no glow, and pure silver free of dross lays perfectly flat with a glossy sheen causing the surface to be a perfect mirror. Thus, a refiner can look into the smelter and see a perfect reflection of himself therein. Such is the work of Christ as our refiner, it is to make us a partaker of His divine nature; that He might see the perfect completed work of His grace working through our believing-faith, making “the trial of your faith, much more precious than of gold.”

The same is true of the “founder.” For he is the one who takes the purified silver or gold, and then “casts” it in a mold so it can become solid in a fixed form. And for us, that is our coming to “…the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” or as Paul said, “until Christ be formed in you.”

Judges 17:4 – Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the FOUNDER [same word], who made thereof a graven image and a molten image [of the silver] and they were in the house of Micah.

I just want to encourage you to be strong in the Lord and to remember that in everything we are to give thanks; for in truth He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.

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The Only Test of Love

Posted: September 12, 2019 in Shared Thoughts
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From the beginning, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience; and by “love” I mean the biblically righteous love which alone will be acknowledged by God and acceptable to Him.

There is of course, a carnal love, just as there is a divine love. However, the carnal love, though capable of somewhat benefiting others, it is nonetheless self-serving. For the height and benefit of a carnal love’s virtues are limited, and that because its priority is only to profit the hearts, mind (emotions), and the physical well-being of self and others.

Furthermore, the viewpoint of a carnal love is consequently limited, because the birth of such is out of one’s own affections, wishes and cravings. Often, a carnal love barely exceeds that of mere obsession; and that being one’s own gratification. Now, the important thing to acknowledge, is that carnal love is quite capable of being religious and have a profession of faith. For Jesus frequently had to deal with religious men who were lovers of themselves, prideful men who were selective in their obedience to God’s word. These are such who justify themselves, and being deceived think themselves to be superior to others in religious matters. Men who teach one thing, but yet do another.

A heart seeking truth will recognize that a divine love stands in stark contrast with carnal love; for a divine love is birth out of a revelation of God’s holy love and benevolence for humanity. God’s love is undeniable, in that He gave His only begotten Son for our redemption for and from sin. Thus, a divine love will only exist within one who has indeed come to the humbling revelation of God’s great love for them as an individual, and that in spite of the contrariness of their corrupt nature with He who is holy.

The fact that He first loved us is the very foundation and reason why we can love Him with a perfect love, which simply means to love Him with all of our hearts, our minds, and our strength. For in truth, if one truly comes to understand their poverty of spirit, that their sins have left them spiritually bankrupt before a holy God, they will be cast into great agony of heart and mourning before God.

It is then that the promise of entrance into His Kingdom and the gift of repentance is offered to them upon their open acknowledgment that their sins have bankrupt them; for only such who do so are truly contrite and broken before Him. These, at the prospect of His mercy, respond joyfully with obedience and delight at a chance now to do His will, and are in so doing comforted by His unmerited love and consideration.

Truly, such who have been so humbled by the illumination of God’s great love will no longer seek to justify themselves, nor will they blame others for their having fallen into the depravity of sin. For those who seek to justify themselves, especially by blaming others, have no inheritance with God.

But those who are so humbled will find themselves aroused with a holy hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, which righteousness is now available to us solely because of that great love whereby He sent Jesus Christ to be our only Savior and Deliverer from our sins. It is only because of His death that we can be offered new life, and because of His holiness that sinners can now be made into saints.

Truly, anyone who has partaken of God’s redemptive mercies will themselves be both messengers and vessels of that mercy. This should be evident to others by a true Christian’s public proclamation that forgiveness for sins has been made available through Jesus Christ for all; as well as Christians freely forgiving all who have ever treated them wrongfully. These are such who seek through their obedience to God and His word to purify their hearts even as He is pure; and to be holy, even as He is holy. For if their old nature has truly been crucified with Christ, and they have been born-again and made new creatures desiring to be like their Savior, then they too will find themselves laboring to be peacemakers. For being forgiven, all become ambassadors for God’s Kingdom and messengers of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ that alone can save men from their spiritual depravity and bondage of sin.

But there are some who will not receive a love for the truth of the Gospel. There are those, who being carnal, have had their hearts hardened and have had their minds blinded by the god of this world. Such will naturally hate those, who not only “believe in Jesus Christ,” but purposely walk in His truths that they might sin not, and live their lives seeking foremost His glory that it might be brilliantly revealed to others through their obedience of faith.

Hence, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience. For only they who love obey, and they who obey overcome both the old nature of sin and the seductive wickedness of the world. Those who have a divine love delight to do God’s will, for the heart of all His precepts is love for Him and others as ourselves. Those who obey the dictates of a divine love have the promise that they will walk with Him for “they are worthy.”

So, do you love Him?

John 14:21 – He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we [us and God] have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

(To those who might not know, I live in Costa Rica, yet at the present I am visiting in the States. As to why I am living primarily in Costa Rica, you can find an answer here However, when I am in the states, I always endeavor to attend a men’s fellowship, breakfast prayer meeting.The following is an admonition which was impressed upon my heart while in prayer midweek for my brothers.)

The Admonition

Brothers, this men’s breakfast prayer meeting, or for that matter, any corporate prayer meeting, will never be greater than the sum of the secret prayers of the individuals. For prayers, that is, public prayers, have no more merit with God than the ones spoken to Him in secret.

Please know, that I am assuming all the attendees here do in fact have true, personal, secret prayer time with the Lord.

But what I have learned, biblically and experientially, is that secret prayer, or private prayer, is often as James said, fervent prayer; which by definition of the original Greek means fiery prayer.

Thus, if one’s private prayer time is humdrum, passive, or tedious and weak, or little more than a religious duty being performed; from where then should that necessary honest desire and required sincerity come from which is to be the motivation of one’s public prayers?

Or what cause then is there, if our private prayers are not earnest, for any compulsion upon the holy God that He should acknowledge it?

Be not deceived, for the heart which truly desires to know God, and to please Him, will with earnest prayer be in persistent pursuit of God, and will labor to press into the holy of holies, and will then wait upon Him; seeking His face and His glory.

For when Jesus said for us to “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” the word strive means “as if in agony pursue.” For is indeed a variant of the very same word which testifies to how Jesus prayed, when “being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Is this not an example for us of how we too ought to pray; of how we might rightly strive so as to enter in at the strait gate?

But too often public prayer is done in a spirit of religiosity, and that by people praying what they think might sound good or upright, as what they ought to pray.

But in truth their prayers are not honest ventings from a burdened heart, or true yearnings for God and for His kingdom to come, nor are they true cries from a travailing heart for the lost souls of men.

If one’s private prayer is fervent and holy, then their public prayer will be the same. But if one’s private prayer is weak and lacks the fire of the Lord in their hearts, then their public prayers will be weak as well.

Did not John the Baptist say Jesus would baptize His people with both the Holy Spirit and fire? For it matters not how intensely or well-spoken one’s prayer might be, if the fire of His spirit does not rest within he who prays, such prayer will never move the heart of God, even if other men are thereby moved.

In truth, it would be better for one not to pray at all before men, than to pray in such a manner before God and men. For such prayers are but pharisaical, or hypocritical, spoken more for the ears of men than for the ears of God.

Note; I said all this with no intention to discourage one who might have difficulty praying, but nevertheless truly yearns to know how to pray in harmony with the unction of the Spirit. For prayer, like fasting or studying the word of God, are spiritual disciplines that are only learned and perfected by purposefully exercising oneself in them; which purpose must be to know God and glorify His Son Jesus Christ.

May we all never forget what Jesus said in His day, that the time had come, and now is, when they who would worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth; for such who do are whom the Father truly seeks to worship Him.

Thus, perhaps the worst and most insincere form of prayer is that of prayer-preaching; when one misuses this blessed grace given to us that we might make our requests known before a holy God, as a thing for them to misuse.

For too often, many under the guise of prayer, are in truth preaching in their own wisdom to others around them. Such prayer is in truth nothing more than a gross display of false humility and is in reality an evil and dishonest abuse of the grace of prayer.

That does not mean that a fervent holy prayer would fail to preach volumes to other saints within ear shot, but what is spoken is still being directed to God and not towards men.

It is God’s own testimony that He dwells with those who are contrite and of a humble spirit. It is this sort that seek to pray as Jesus did, and thus in like agony will often cry out to Him with a sacrificial heart in secret prayer. Sincere prayers for the souls of men, that His kingdom would come and that His will be done; first in their own lives as well as in the lives of others, here on earth even as it is done in heaven.

And thus, it is in the strength and glory of His Spirit that they boldly and willingly stand up for Him in public, both in word and deed. For you need to know It is only the prayers of the righteous, the godly, His holy saints, whose prayers truly honor God and can move Him into action.

Brothers, we desperately need the glory of God in our lives. For Jesus prayed, “And the glory,” now get that, “the glory which You [Father] gave unto Me, I have given them…”

So I ask, do you truthfully know, and what I mean by “know” is experientially, do you experientially know that you have received this very glory from Jesus Christ, and are you persistently living in such a way so as to be cherishing and nurturing it by doing all you know you ought to do? Are you purposefully striving to perfect personal holiness in your life in the fear of God?

For if you are not, I must warn you then that I fear that perhaps you have received of His grace in vain, for His grace is given to us to enable us in our obedience to the Gospel and the law of faith.

Brothers, if you have truly received this glory, and are still daily receiving an increasing measure thereof, then indeed there is true holy communion and fellowship being had by you with your God and His Son Jesus Christ, as well as with your fellow saints.

Of course, we know there can be no such holy fellowship between the righteous and the unrighteous, between the obedient and the disobedient, or fellowship between light and darkness.

However, too many self-professing believers nowadays seem to be quite at home with both disobedient believers and worldly associates.

But this “glory” is given only to His own. It is given so that they might be an effectual witness of God to the lost who are hell bound in a corrupt and fallen world; as well as a testimony against those who profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and reprobate in all their good works.

So, as the Apostle Paul would say, I beseech you brethren to please do yourselves a favor and honestly ask yourselves, or rather, honestly ask God, what is the truth of your standing before God in all of this?

Do you ever ask, like I often do, “God, where is this oneness, this unity of the saints that Jesus earnestly prayed for?”

For I tell you, that Jesus having so prayed, He fully expects there to be a holy unity among His people. A unity which brings them into the same oneness which He shared with the Father. But now a oneness with all His people together, with the Father and Jesus in us, and we in them, dwelling in a blessed state of holy unity.

As the Psalmist said, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Because, again, it is the very glory which the Father gave Him that He has given to His own.

Too often I look at the churches and too many believers and am compelled to ask, “Where is this “glory” that Jesus Christ has given to His saints; that glory that is supposed to be brilliantly shining within and out from their lives?”

Can you detect it, or recognize its presence? Do you at least perceive its growth within you? For if by Jesus own words we understand that the world is supposed to undeniably see it, certainly then the enlightened children of God should be able to behold it.

For the Apostle Paul said, “But we all, [not some, but all], with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image,” that is Christ’s image, the image of the invisible God, and are being transformed “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What evidence then do you see, or might others see that persuades you it is a reality in your life, or in those you fellowship with, or those where you attend church? For Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them.” Not fruits of good deeds, but the fruit of holiness which has its end in eternal life.

This is enormously important, so please do not fail to grasp the gravity of this exhortation I believe the Lord has laid on my heart for you all. For it is this glory given to His saints that alone creates and serves to empower us as we endeavor to maintain a holy unity among the brethren.

I pray you understand the reality and truth of this matter, how the divine purpose of this glory is to enable each of us to mirror the very unity of Jesus Christ and the Father in unbroken and unhindered love; for that was His prayer to the Father.

This glory alone can be the believer’s shining light, and in truth it ought to be shining brightly in and through each of us who are called by His name in this dark and lost world. For once again, this glory is no less than that same glory which the Father gave to His only begotten Son, and His Son to His followers.

This “glory” of the love and holy unity of the Father and Son laboring sacrificially together for the redemption of the lost, this glory, alone can convince the world that God did indeed send His only begotten Son into the world. This is the Gospel and it must both shine in and through us.

Yet many preach the gospel, or perhaps a beggarly version of it, but only they who truly live in this glory can truly witness to and preach the gospel effectually under the power of the Spirit.

Do not fail to realize, that somebody has been, and they still are, actively proselytizing and making converts, many converts, in Jesus’s name. And these, by compromising the Gospel and removing the offense of the cross which all true saints must pick up daily,  they have filled the churches with such who will one day be saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works?”

But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you that worked iniquity.”

Hence, we both need and must have this glory, for this “Glory” reflects and brings into an undeniable light the holy love of God, which He has for His own Son, and reveals this very love through His saints to this lost world.

Without this love you are nothing, and that is a biblical truth and thus a spiritual reality.

Theology alone, even perfect theology, will not save anyone. Christianity without living in the Spirit is a false hope. You need this Glory in your life. Christ in you is the hope of glory. That is why it was the earnest prayer of Jesus Christ, and why it is therefore also the promise of the Father to those who would by faith lay hold of it.

John 17:22,23 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and has loved them, even as You loved Me.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Brothers, my prayer and desire for you is that you all would individually be earnest and press into God, and seek His grace whereby you might truly become His living sacrifices, burnt offerings who are indeed a sweet-smelling savor unto God. But remember, you cannot have a burnt sacrifice without fire.

Second, I pray you all would come into a holy fervency of prayer and unity of the spirit, that you might as one man together humble yourselves before God and pray as true watchmen and holy priests over this community and your families and friends.

As the Lord said to His servant Joel, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Have pity on Your people, O LORD, and give not Your inheritance to shame, for a proverb among those of the nations. Why should they say among the people, Where is their God?’ For then the LORD will be jealous for His land and pity His people.”

Moreover, I pray this so that Jesus, the Lamb of God, might receive His full reward, and that His name might be glorified in you all. For they who go forth weeping bearing precious seeds have a precious promise that they shall doubtless come again rejoicing bring in the sheaves with them.

Come forth you men of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, come forth.

(Note: This is Chapter 13 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy)

Daniel 9:27 – And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is the only “seven year” scriptural reference I know of that is foundationally used for the complete duration of the seven years tribulation with the perceived division being “in the midst of the week” when, according  to popular understanding of the doctrine, the antichrist does away with the animal sacrifices that were reinstated in a rebuilt temple.  There are however, many scriptural references to “seven years”  –

  1. There were the both the seven years which Jacob labored for Rachael and was given Leah instead, then the next seven years for which he indeed received  Rachael.
  2. The seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine with Joseph in Egypt.
  3. The seven years of famine under David and Samuel
  4. The seven years of famine with Elisha
  5. The seven years of burning weapons after the war with Gog and Magog  (which if there is a seven-year tribulation immediately before the return of Christ this war must needs be before it then)

There are also several three and half year periods in scriptures referred to as “time, times, and half of time” or 1260 days even 1290 days even 1335 days. It is astounding the extreme that men have labored to know and define these times for years when scripture clearly states in regards to some of them that these things are sealed until the end. I am personally persuaded that for anyone to assume that each of these times mentioned are referencing to the same time period would be as imprudent as to believe all the previously mentioned seven-year periods were the same, which a simple reading of them all would easily bring a ready dismissal of such nonsense.  Therefore one must take caution when asserting things from scriptures because they can quickly earn the title of “false” teacher or prophet.

Nonetheless, in regards to Daniels seventieth week, one can certainly prayerfully consider the text in search of understanding by the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Perhaps reaping the greatest reward of avoiding being carried away by the flood of false doctrines brought forth by both demons and ignorant men thinking themselves to be something they are not.

True understanding is given by commandment of God. It is never the product of clever men being able to calculate their way through hidden codes in scripture; Harold Camping’s date setting errors should be a sufficient warning to any aspiring date setter. But that doesn’t mean we cannot know the times in which we are living. For I am persuaded that Peter understood full well the duration of time left for fulfillment before the Lord’s return

Jesus affirmed that for those true disciples who would keep His words that to them it would be given to know the truth, and the truth would set them free. Those true disciples who are truly seeking to know Him and not just gain knowledge, that to them it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed;  32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Mt 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.

Mt 13:11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.  12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.

Mt 16:17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

1Co 2:10 But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit.  12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.  13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.  14 Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Heb 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

I must re-emphasize that it was a consequence of Daniel’s supplications that the angel Gabriel was sent forth at the beginning of when confessing his sins and the sins of Israel. This fact establishes an unbreakable connection between the “matter . . . and the vision” Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand and his prayer for his people in captivity.

To help keep this seventieth week in proper context, let’s look again from the beginning of the chapter –

Dan 9:1 In the first year of Darius . . . of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans 2 . . . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

This is by far one of my favorite passages, for the reason that Daniel clearly states he “understood” that the duration of the Jewish Babylonian captivity was coming to an end “by the books” of Jeremiah the prophet. Some things are not hidden, and therefore they can both bless and establish accountability on all who read or hear it.

Jer 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.  12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

 Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.

Knowing the 70 years was about to conclude, Daniel therefore “set” his “face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” God’s grace and mercy for the sins of Israel that they may find His favor to be restored. Oh, if only every believer in America so sought God’s face like Daniel did using every means of petitioning God’s mercies through “prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Have we truly forgotten Jesus’ words concerning “Blessed are they that mourn?”

But nowadays too many churches have taken the shame out of sin by presenting the amazing grace of God as something so cheap and conveniently affordable like a common commodity on the shelf of a nearby convenient store, leaving professors of Christ’s name to carelessly commit sin the way the government spends never worrying about the consequences because they have “grace.” What else can this be but the “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ?”

What is amazing is Daniel’s faith and how it is evident in his prayer to God . . .

Dan 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He hath confirmed His words, which He spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth. 

There are two parts in Daniel’s prayer for God’s people to embrace. First, how he believed God proved the certainty of His words by judging Israel according to His law as written by Moses. Second, having witnessed the certainty of God’s word . . . Daniel turns to prayer to remind God of the purpose of His judgments,” that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth.”

Dan 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Daniel’s was a faith pleasing unto God and because it was true faith which came by means of a heart open to hearing the word of the Lord as he read Jeremiah’s writings. Humbled by God’s righteous judgments, Daniel sought further understanding of the future events concerning his people and their fate. Therefore God sent Gabriel to reveal unto Daniel the future events which would unfold . . .

Dan 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

It is evident that the angel was there to give Daniel a clear understanding of this vision. Yes, there are other visions which were given to Daniel which when he sought understanding and was told, “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” But that is not the case here. This time the angel is there to explain these specific things to Daniel, things specifically concerning the Jewish nation, Jerusalem, the temple and the Messiah. In verse 24, the angel clarifies what Daniel’s vision is all about . . . and the duration of time to be given to it.

Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Again for convenience, here are the seven specific things the angel Gabriel is there to give Daniel “understanding” of the vision regarding –

  1. It was a period of time1 regarding his people and the holy city2
    1. Seventy weeks
    2. Jerusalem
  2. It was to “finish the transgression”
  3. It was to “make an end of sins”
  4. It was to “make reconciliation for iniquity”
  5. It was to “bring in everlasting righteousness”
  6. It was to “seal up the vision and the prophesy”
  7. It was to “to anoint the most Holy”

The first thing is the time element; “Seventy weeks are determined . . .” These “seventy weeks” represent a total duration of 490 years. The most difficult part of this vision deals with determining the exact time from which the time frame starts . . . and there are multiple views upon that point. I will submit my perspective a little later to you.

Daniel was praying in regards to when the 70 years of Babylonian captivity was to be finished when the angel comes to tell him about when another captivity will be over as well, the captivity of sin. Gabriel shows him “seventy weeks determined” relative to this captivity of sin, its solution and Redeemer, Messiah the Prince. These 70 weeks, representing a total of 490 years is said to begin with the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Apart from the fact that Daniel’s weeks represent a seven-year period is recognized by most commentators, biblical confirmation can be supported by God’s commandment to give the land a Sabbath every seventh year.

Lev 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

The 490 years appears to be divided into three segments of time, two of which are mention there in verse 25. The first is a 7 week period representing a period of 49 years. During these 49 years “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” in Jerusalem. The second is a 62 week period representing a period of 454 years which concludes with the coming of “Messiah the Prince.” The total time here is 483 years.

Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

While it may be difficult for men to agree on when the commencement of these periods begin, “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” the angel Gabriel tells specifically what event concludes at their end, “unto the Messiah the Prince.” This clearly means that the coming of the Messiah would be 483 years after the commandment was issued. Jesus gives us the best indication of the time’s conclusion –

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

If the time fulfilled wasn’t the time mentioned by Gabriel to Daniel, then students of the word are obligated to affix another prophetic time to Jesus words, of which no other do I know of. Consider also these other verses by the Apostle Paul –

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

There were students of God’s word at the time of Christ who, like Daniel, knew the meaning and purpose of these verses and were therefore in anticipation of their fulfillment during the days of Jesus birth.

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, 31 Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people . . . 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Certainly the scriptural justification for these people to be looking for the redemption of Israel in their days was because they, just like Daniel who “understood by the books,” also understood the time in which they were privileged to live because of the book of Daniel and his vision concerning the 70 weeks. They knew the 484 years till the coming of Messiah was not far off and were eagerly looking for Him.

However, perhaps the greatest proof of Jesus’ ministry being the fulfillment of Daniel’s 69 weeks comes from His admonition of the people of Israel.

Lu 19:41 When he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it,  42 saying, “If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes.  43 For the days will come on you, when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side,  44 and will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another, because you didn’t know the time of your visitation.

Now, in Daniel 9:24 there are six specific events mentioned which would be the consequences of the incarnation of our Lord –

  1. To finish (bring restraint to) the transgression. This was placed in effect by the preaching of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, and pouring out of the Holy Ghost among men.
  2. To make an end of sins <chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. The lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

<chatta’ah>– an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Ex 29:14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Ex 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock [for] a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Ex 30:10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering<chatta’ah> of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it [is] most holy unto the LORD.

Le 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Le 4:8 And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that [is] upon the inwards,

Le 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it [is] a sin offering<chatta’ah> for the congregation. 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah> with his finger, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah> in the place of the burnt offering. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore the sacrifices, or sin offerings <chatta’ah> had become totally unnecessary, and to offer them would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

4. To bring in everlasting righteousness, that is, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” That person who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and the subject of the predictions of the prophets through all the ages of the world, beginning with the promise God made to Eve that she ultimately would bring forth “seed” that would avenge her and bruise the head of the serpent.

5. To seal up, or “finish or complete” the vision and prophecy. That is, to put an end to the necessity of any farther revelations, by completing the canon of Scriptures then given by Jesus fulfilling the prophecies which related to His person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

6. And to anoint the Most Holy, which signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.

Again, Daniel’s seventy weeks, or 490 years, are divided into three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are assigned.

Seven weeks, that is, 49 years.
Sixty-two weeks, that is, 434 years
One week, that is, 7 years

The first seven weeks period was for the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah also employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of the Jews. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.  Including the second period of 62 weeks brings us to 434 years, at the end of which the prophecy says “Messiah the Prince” would come. This conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist for Jesus our Lord says, “The law was until John.”

Mt 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many feel this means “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but not including John. However, the Greek word <heos> is the same word used in the genealogies of Mt 1:1,7 “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.” It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore it is not appropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which were to “prophesied until” <heos> the coming of our Lord . . . which begins the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

It is this seventieth week of Daniel which has become known as “the great tribulation” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere has the angel Gabriel mentioned any such thing taking place. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the temple.

Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is where “7 year tribulation” theology takes off with the antichrist interpretation, seeing the “prince” as the antichrist which “shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” They say that he, the antichrist, will make a treaty with the Jews resulting in a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis. Sometime during or before all this the Temple is expected to be rebuilt, which then depending on who you may asked, either the Jews or the antichrist then re-institutes animal sacrifices in the temple. (To address all that now would be too much of a side track.)

But, then according to come seven-year tribulation theology the antichrist will “in the midst of the week,” or after 3 ½ years, break his covenant with the Jews and “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” thus issuing in the later 3 ½ years and worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, as it should be clear to all reading, I am not fully persuaded that this interpretation is the truth. The “vision” of Daniel is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah, Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh.

My conviction is that this last seven-year period, or the “seventieth week of Daniel,” that this is the period of time in which God tabernacles with man as Jesus Christ “confirm[s] the covenant with many.” However, I do believe this seventieth week is divided by a specific event –

“. . . and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . .”

What divides the 70th week is “the sacrifice and the oblation” are caused to cease. But how? By the antichrist breaking an alleged covenant with the Jews? Or by Jesus fulfilling God’s covenant to them?

Remember what was stated above? What the angel said would be accomplished within the 70 weeks? Six distinct things would be accomplished. Listed again below are numbers 2 and 3 previously mentioned above.

2. To make an end of sins. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. Therefore the lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore sacrifices were totally unnecessary, and to offer one would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

Therefore for the Jews to reject the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and continue to offer animal sacrifices instead would be an abomination in the eyes of God. For them to continue to offer animal sacrifices would truly be an “overspreading of abominations.” Yet that is exactly what happened. They rejected Jesus Christ and continued in their now dead and empty rituals “crucifying Christ afresh.”

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:  14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb 10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.  5 Therefore when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You didn’t desire, but You prepared a body for Me; 6 You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.  7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.'”  8 Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law), 9 then He has said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first, that Ye may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all Hebrews 9 & 10).

That which was once commanded by God to be done as holy prophetic action to proclaim that which was planned from the foundation of the world, the death and passion of our blessed Lord and Savior would then become a continual testimony of the Jews’ rejection of God’s provision for their reconciliation and these very sacrifices would then become an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

What does all that mean? Remember the words of Jesus?

Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house [temple] is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

(For saving of time and space and avoid being “prohibitively long” here I would refer you to my “Matthew 24” post for the possible fulfillment of these words.)

However, if these things are possibly true, then there is more to Daniel 9:27 which is profitable to reason and address. Such as (1) what is the covenant Jesus was confirming? And (2) how did He confirm it? And if the seventieth week is for the “confirming the covenant” for the duration of 7 years was divided by His death, causing the ceasing of the sacrifices and oblations to be accepted by God, (3) then what about the remaining 3 ½ years?

Let me submit some possible answers to these questions for further prayerful consideration of you, the readers.

First, what is the covenant He/Jesus was confirming? What is the covenant that Jesus confirms to Israel and to the entire world? It is the promise of certainty to which righteous Job wrote the following –

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

The covenant is the promise of the resurrection. Not just Jesus’ resurrection, but ours as well. Jesus confirmed the truth of the resurrection to His disciples –

Matt 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11: 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 14: 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

Here are also some Old Testament verses which proclaimed the covenant / promise from which Jesus would have preached and confirmed by His resurrection

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Hosea 13: 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes. 

Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.

Psm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 
10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psm 17: 15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

In light of all these scriptures from which Paul would have preached it is easy to see  is why he would have continued with the confirmation of the covenant while declaring the certainty of the Gospel.

Rom 6: 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

 I Cor 6: 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.

I Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

I Cor 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

II Cor 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

II Cor 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 

Phil 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

The Apostle John was not silent, for he too confirmed the certainty of God’s covenant –

I John 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Now, exactly how did Jesus confirm the covenant/promise of a resurrection? He confirmed the covenant with His own bodily resurrection. He proved He had the power to not only raise Himself from the dead, but others as well . . .

Matt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

John 20: 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

Roman 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Now if Jesus confirmed the covenant with the Jews, both by His preaching and ultimately His bodily resurrection, just where are the remaining 3 ½ years of the 70th week???

I have come to believe that the final 3 ½ years will be fulfilled by the ministry of the two witness in Jerusalem ministering to the Jewish people the last days mentioned in Revelation chapter 11. These two witnesses will be again confirming the covenant of God to the descendants of Abraham testifying that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah the Prince. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them,” meaning that as the devil as stirred up wicked men throughout the history of humanity to murder the righteous, these two will killed and left unburied in an attempt to discredit the “myth” of Christianity.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

These two witnesses will know exactly who they are, and like Jesus they too will testify in their last days that they also will be martyred . . . but they too, like Jesus was, will be raised from the dead. This testimony will infuriate the Jewish people, but a remnant will listen and watch, for they will be pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth. These are the ones who will give glory unto God after the resurrection of the two witnesses.

Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way any man can give glory unto God is to honor the Son as the Father . . .

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them [the covenant]; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.

This remnant giving glory unto the Son as their Redeemer will be the in-grafting back in of the Jews resulting in the fulfillment of the Vision of Daniel ushering the resurrection of the dead.

Ro 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Lu 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Lastly, one more reason why I believe that Daniel 9:27 “in the midst of the week” is referring to Jesus causing “the sacrifice and oblations to cease” is because Jesus also died in the midst/middle of the week, on a Wednesday. For clarification of that please see my Trip to the Tomb thread.

(excerpt from post)

. . . in Mark’s account we see that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where and how the body of Jesus was buried (Mark 5:47). Then, “when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome” purchased sweet spices that when they came to the tomb they might anoint the body of Jesus for a proper burial because His body was prepared and buried in haste “before” sunset prior to a High Sabbath. This is a point that most fail to discern, that the week of Jesus’ crucifixion there were actually two Sabbaths. This “Sabbath” mentioned by Mark is not the seventh day weekly Sabbath, or Saturday, mention earlier in Matthew’s account. This “Sabbath” was day one of seven consecutive days of observance of the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, a “high holy day” and was therefore observed as a Sabbath since no servile work was to be done, see John 19:31.

. . . that Passover was on a Wednesday, which would have (regardless of our assumption) been the fourteenth day of the first month, (Lev 23:2). Then the Fifteenth day would have been Thursday, day one the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, declared by God to be a holy convocation and a High Sabbath. Therefore after the fifteenth day “was past” Friday came, they went out and “bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1) and then, “prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the [fourth] commandment,” (Luke 23:56).

Summary

If these things have plausible credibility, then the whole seven-year tribulation message that has been taught and widely promoted by such fables as the “Left Behind” series, then we as believers have need to been diligent in our seeking to rightly discern the times and the seasons in which we are living and to pray that we may be found worthy to escape the wrath to come have posted before all the New Testament verses on tribulation in my post But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you . . .

Therefore we should give earnest heed to the words of our Savior and His apostle –

Lu 21:34 “So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. 35 For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. 36 Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

2Th 1:5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.  6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you,  7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted ~!-++giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus,  9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.  11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continued below)

The Sum of the Prophecy

Posted: June 28, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

(Note: This is Chapter 14 of my book “The Eighth Beast” dealing with America in prophecy)

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 1to finish the transgression, and 2to make an end of sins, and 3to make reconciliation for iniquity, and 4to bring in everlasting righteousness, and 5to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

In Daniel’s vision it is revealed in verse 9:24 that six specific things would transpire after “God was manifested in the flesh” by way of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus.

  1. To finish the transgression. “Finish” signifying bringing in an effective restraint against the power of sin, that it need not have dominion over the people of God anymore. This was brought into effect by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross for the remission of sins and is made available unto all men through the preaching of the power of God unto salvation, i.e. the Gospel. Whereupon believing and repenting by acknowledging Jesus Christ as their Lord, believers are sanctified by the Spirit and forgiven through the blood that they might be empower through the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost upon them to walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God’s law.

I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

<chatta’ah> – an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying(-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in Daniel 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering.” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Exodus 29:14 – But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Exodus 29:36 – And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Exodus 30:10 – And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

Leviticus 4:3 – If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Leviticus 4:8 – And he shall lift up from it all the fat of the young bull for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covers the inward parts, and all the fat on the inward parts

Leviticus 4:20 – And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>, for the congregation… 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.  25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering… 29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah>, in the place of the burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become wholly unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

It is very important to understand that Gabriel was speaking here of that event, the work of the cross, which would bring to an end the necessity of the ceremonial sin-offerings as defined under the law and not an end to the commission of sin itself by humanity. For some having misunderstood and failing to make this distinction have made two grave errors thereby. One, some say this prophecy cannot be fulfilled until men no longer sin, and two, they completely misinterpret the Apostle Paul’s words below which were written to the believers in Corinth.

II Corinthians 5:21 – For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

I know some will draw back at this statement, but the Lord Jesus Christ never became sin; rather He became a sin-offering “for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Consider Young’s Translation of Isaiah below –

Isaiah 53:4 – Surely our sicknesses He hath borne, And our pains–He hath carried them, And we–we have esteemed Him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 And He is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace is on Him, And by His bruise there is healing to us. 6 All of us like sheep have wandered, Each to his own way we have turned, And Jehovah hath caused to meet on Him, The punishment of us all.

Dear reader, Jesus never became sin. He was never anything but holy, “a lamb without spot or blemish.” For even under the Ceremonial Law we see that the sins were imparted to the scapegoat and not to the sacrificial lamb.

Leviticus 16:8 – And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the [first] goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the [second] goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness… 15 Then shall he kill the [first] goat of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the [first] goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. 20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the [second] live goat:  21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the [second] live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the [second] goat, and shall send him [the second goat] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the [second] goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the [second] goat in the wilderness.

  1. To bring in everlasting righteousness, or as Commentator Adam Clarke would say, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” As a reference to that person who had been the expectation of faith and the subject of the prophets’ predictions throughout all the ages of the world; beginning with the promise God made to Eve, that she ultimately would bring forth “seed,” and that He would avenge her and with “His” heel would bruise the head of the serpent.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

  1. To seal up the vision and prophecy. Meaning to “close up” or “complete” the vision and prophecy, to put “an end” to the necessity of any further revelations apart from those given to us by the prophets and apostles, completing the canon of Scriptures. For the same Hebrew word which was translated “end,” as in “make an end of sins,” is the same word which was translated “to seal up.” This too points to Jesus who fulfilled all the prophecies which related to His coming, person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

Ephesians 2:18 – For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Hebrews 1:1 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The “prophets” through which “God… spake,” (Hebrews 1:1, 2), spoke as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” (II Peter 1:21). These “prophets… who prophesied” did so by “the Spirit of Christ which was in them.” Peter says this good news continues “by them [the apostles] that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”

  1. And to anoint the Most Holy, signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of all mankind.

Hebrews 7:18 – For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Hence we see by the scriptures that “there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.” These are the six things which the 490 years of Daniel’s seventy weeks point to as going to be fulfilled. However, remember these 490 years were divided into three distinct periods, of which to each particular events were assigned.

  • Seven weeks, or 49 years
  • Sixty-two weeks, or 434 years
  • One week, or 7 years

The first seven weeks’ period spoke to the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of Israel. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Ezra 7:21 – And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? 24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. 25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. 26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

By including the second time period of 62 weeks it brings the total to 483 years, at which end thereof the prophecy states “Messiah the Prince” would come. Howbeit, it should be understood that the conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist, for Jesus our Lord stated, “The law was until John.”

Matthew 11:13 – For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many believe “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but did not include John. However, the Greek word <heos> translated “until” is the same word used in the genealogies of Matthew 1:17, “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1:2-6 – 1Abraham begat 2Isaac; and Isaac begat 3Jacob; and Jacob begat 4Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat 5Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat 6Esrom; and Esrom begat 7Aram; And Aram begat 8Aminadab; and Aminadab begat 9Naasson; and Naasson begat 10Salmon; And Salmon begat 11Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat 12Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat 13Jesse; And Jesse begat 14David…

It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore, it is inappropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which “prophesied until <heos>” the coming of our Lord which marks the beginning of the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time, that last week or seven year period, that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

However, it is this very last seventieth week which has become known as “the Seven Year Tribulation,” or “the Great Tribulation,” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere in regards to this vision does the Angel Gabriel mentioned anything that remotely resembles what has become widely accepted as a world-wide event taking place for a seven year period or even a three and a half year period, such as the theme is in the popular “Left Behind” series. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25 – Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Verses 26 and 27 are where the popular “Seven Year Tribulation” theology takes off by the insertion of an antichrist world leader. This is done by interpreting the “prince” which “shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” as the antichrist. By doing so it has become widely accepted that the antichrist is the same “he” in verse 27 who “shall confirm the covenant.” However, those holding to this interpretation are obligated to contort the phrase “confirming the covenant” into “making a peace treaty” with Israel.

This “peace treaty” will supposedly introduce a temporary solution which brings an end to Israel’s Middle East crisis. There are two problems with this interpretation. First, “make a treaty” and “confirm the covenant” do not mean the same thing. For to “make a treaty” means one is being introduced; while “confirming the covenant” implies reinforcing what has already been established. Second, there are many more Arabs killing Arabs than there are Arabs and Jews killing each other. Grant it, Israel without a doubt is in the heart of the Middle East Crisis, but Israel’s existence is not the sole cause of the instability in the Middle East; sin is.

However, sometime before all this can happen, according to this popular theology it is asserted that a third Jewish temple MUST be rebuilt, and depending on whom you asked, either the Jews or the antichrist will then reinstitute animal sacrifices in it. Then, continuing with this theology, “in the midst of the week,” or after three and a half years into “The Seven Year Tribulation,” the antichrist breaks this theoretical treaty with the Israel and will then “cause the [reinstated] sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” This supposedly marks the beginning of the last three and a half years which will then usher in the worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, let it be clear to all reading that I do not embrace this interpretation as the truth, for Gabriel clearly states the “vision” is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh. I do however recognize that “the prince that shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” after Messiah the Prince has been “cut off” will be an altogether different prince than Messiah. For historically it cannot be denied that the Roman General Titus, son of the newly appointed Caesar Vespasian and thus truly a prince, came with his army and did exactly as the Angel Gabriel said. Why then Titus is so widely disregarded in the present day interpretation of these verses completely eludes me.

(Continued below)

(Note: this is Chapter 16 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy.)

What divides the 70th week is an event that causes the Temple sacrifice and oblation to cease. But how does this division happen? The popular theology teaches it occurs when the antichrist breaks the alleged treaty he supposedly will make with the Jews; he then forces them to cease their reinstated practice of animal sacrifices.

So once again I am asking you to please place all your theological persuasions safely upon the altar of God that you might be able to examine these things afresh. For what if all this is actually referencing to Jesus being “cut off,” pointing to His death and resurrection as something designed before the foundation of the world to be a confirmation of the surety and power of God’s covenant to His people?

Remember the angel stated six distinct things would be accomplished within the 70 weeks, listed again below for a quick review are numbers 2 and 3.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God.

 I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become totally unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

By rejecting the atoning work of the true Lamb of God sacrifice and clinging to mere animal sacrifices, the Jews were now committing a grievous sin in the eyes of God. Though before Christ’s death these animal sacrifices were indeed lawful mandates, afterwards they became dead works by having already fulfilled their prophetic purpose. Therefore, by these sacrifices continuing to be offered, they literally became an “overspreading of abominations” which now served only to testify against the Jews for their rejection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as stated above, by defiantly offering these sacrifices the Jews were now guilty of prophetically “crucifying the Son of God afresh” and with each animal sacrifice they put “Him to an open shame.”

Hebrews 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all of Hebrews chapters 9 & 10).

Those sin-offerings commanded by God were holy prophetic actions, magnificently designed so as to proclaim that “mystery” which was planned from the foundation of the world, even the sacrificial death and resurrection of our blessed Lord and Savior.

Romans 16:25 – Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

Galatians 3:23 – But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Colossians 1:26 – Even the mystery which hath been Hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.

However, those sin-offerings could only proclaim the “mystery” while the Ceremonial Law was alive, but once it died, these sin-offerings became a witness of their condemnation by proving the Jews’ complete rejection of God’s only provision for their reconciliation.

Romans 7:1 – Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.

So the witness of scripture confirms that because Jesus Christ died and had risen again, He had “caused the sacrifice and oblations to cease,” as they were no longer required.  Yet by the Jews continuing to offer these “dead works,” these sacrifices became an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end] and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Desolations are Determined

Matthew 23:36 – Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 24:2 – And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.

Clearly it was the Lord’s earnest desire to gather His people unto Himself, but they “would not.” Therefore, it was inevitable that His judgment would fall upon them. Below are other accounts in the Gospels pertaining to the fate of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Matthew 24:15 – When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Mark 13:14 – But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Luke 21:20 – And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

It is common knowledge that Rome did indeed destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, as well as eradicated the whole geographical and sovereign nation of Israel with its physical boundaries. However, most Christians nowadays have no comprehensive historical knowledge of those events which occurred within Jerusalem and the Temple just prior this desolation. The fact that God was the author of this destruction can be witnessed to in that the author of Hebrews warned the Jewish believers before Jerusalem and the Temple was laid waste and burned that it was in fact getting “ready to vanish away.” Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul also warned that the Jews would enjoy a deceptive time of “peace and safety” just prior to this destruction.

Hebrews 8:13 – In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

I Thessalonians 3 – For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

In confirmation to the surety of Paul’s prophetic words, the Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus recorded that it was a time of “peace and prosperity” in Jerusalem just “four years” prior to it being encompassed by the Roman army. Mind you that the Jews would often count part of a day, month or year as a numerical whole in their reckoning and thus it may have actually been around three and a half years “before the war began.”  Furthermore, there was a man, a prophet of sorts who also was named Jesus that entered Jerusalem in those days and began to wail and cry out persistently of its imminent destruction.

Josephus WARS Book 6 – Chap 5 – para 3

Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, A VOICE FROM THE FOUR WINDS, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!” This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city.

 However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”

And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, “Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!” And just as he added at the last, “Woe, woe to myself also!” there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.

Jerusalem, having been encompassed by the Romans, fell into the greatest turmoil within her walls. For the Jews were divided as to what should be done to remedy their desperate condition being under Roman siege. For though they had rejected the Lord Jesus as the Christ, they knew it was a truth when He stated that should a house be divided against itself, it would not stand. Yet within Jerusalem’s walls three factions were warring viciously against each other, killing far more of each other than did the Romans.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 1

THE SEDITIONS AT JERUSALEM AND WHAT TERRIBLE MISERIES AFFLICTED THE CITY BY THEIR MEANS;

    1. WHEN therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of Divine justice. Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city’s destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased. But for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
    2. For Eleazar, the son of Simon [leader of one fraction], who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John’s insolent attempts, which he made everyday upon the people; for this man [John, a leader of another fraction, son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it] never left off murdering; but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So he being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron [a leader of the remaining fraction], who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of these were followed by a great many of the zealots; these seized upon the inner court of the temple and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage, for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them; yet were they afraid, on account of their small number; and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let them be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled everywhere with murders.

With these three fractions fighting against each other, and Eleazar and his party using the Temple as a strategic base of operations, these events caused many of the pious citizens and strangers who were still desirous to make sacrifices and offerings unto God to fall victims to Jerusalem’s internal strife. Therefore, when one carefully examines these horrors which occurred during the siege of Jerusalem, the following words of Jesus begin to ring piercingly loud with prophetic clarity.

Luke 13:1 – There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Josephus’ record of the fall of Israel with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is worthy of a thorough read by all professing believers. For in it they might learn to truly fear God and fervently pray His grace be not frustrated in their lives lest He remove His protective presence and forbearing mercies. For these rebellious murderers who were now polluting His house were the very people to whom He had committed His oracles, that they might be faithful stewards and lights unto a world that knew not God. A people He had called by His name to be shining witnesses that their God was the true and Living One, “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”

However, to present the whole of Josephus’ record of these things is not practical. Therefore, I will share only a few more brief parts to convey the severity of men’s plight when God abandons them for their persistent rebellion against Him. For God had forewarned them that if they forsook Him and continued rejecting His pleas that He would turn against them and drive them out of His land.

Deuteronomy 28:63 – And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Matthew 21:42 – Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 3

  1. But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war; for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations. For notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition; for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, “O must wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! ‘For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 5

  1. They agreed in nothing but this, to kill those that were innocent. The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant, both by day and by night; but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other; nor was there ever any occasion for them to leave off their lamentations, because their calamities came perpetually one upon another, although the deep consternation they were in prevented their outward wailing; but being constrained by their fear to conceal their inward passions, they were inwardly tormented, without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive, by their relations; nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead; the occasion of both which was this, that every one despaired of himself; for those that were not among the seditious had no great desires of any thing, as expecting for certain that they should very soon be destroyed; but for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other, while they trod upon the dead bodies as they lay heaped one upon another, and taking up a mad rage from those dead bodies that were under their feet, became the fiercer thereupon. They, moreover, were still inventing somewhat or other that was pernicious against themselves; and when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy, and omitted no method of torment or of barbarity.

It is hard to believe those who God had called by His name had fallen into such horrid conditions and madness; engaging in constant fighting, but not against the Romans, but against their own countrymen. All this while a flood of abominations was being committed within the polluted Temple; this is the historic setting against which all Christians in America should prayerfully consider Josephus’ following words as he desperately pleads with his countrymen.

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.2 – para. 1

HOW TITUS PERSUADED JOSEPHUS TO EXHORT THE JEWS AGAIN [TO A SURRENDER]

“…I dare venture to promise that the Romans shall still forgive thee. And take notice that I, who make this exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation; I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider who I am that give thee this counsel, and whence I am derived; for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers. Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamor at me, and reproachest me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavor to force deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them, – and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.

Here we see the depths of sin into which a nation can fall when its people persistently frustrate God’s grace. Once noble men now reduced to brute beasts, behaving like savages towards their own countrymen. And yet, all that actually pales away in comparison to what else Josephus recorded. But first, be reminded of what Jesus said to these rebellious and stiff-necked Jews.

Matthew 24:19 – And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.3 – para. 3 & 4

ANOTHER DESCRIPTION OF THE

TERRIBLE FAMINE THAT WAS IN THE CITY

    1. Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmae]. But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians . . .
    2. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she east at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, “This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.

Even before the Jews entered the Promise Land, God had warned them of these horrors into which sin would take them, but they would not listen.

Deuteronomy 28:53 – And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: 54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: 55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

All this happened because they refused to listen to God whose only desire was to do wondrous things for His people. Instead, history records how these abominations worked to bring the Temple to its full and utter end. These things were foretold by the Angel Gabriel and bear witness to the sure word of prophecy. Let’s end this chapter with another strong admonition delivered against the Jews of those very days, written in the New Testament before these things came to past.

Hebrews 2:1 – Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.

(Continued below)

Many people interpret the above as referring to a coming world leader many modern eschatology teachers are calling the Antichrist. To be straight forward and upfront in this post I want to let everyone know that I do not subscribe to that interpretation. After years of examining and re-examining these texts I have come to the persuasion that the adversary has attempted to high-jacked these verse to his own glory when they are in truth a testimony to the Lamb of God who alone worthy to receive glory and honor and power.

Revelation 4:11 – Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 5:12 – Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

If this “He” above in Daniel 9:27 is indeed referencing Jesus Christ, then this part of the verse is certainly the most advantageous to understand. Therefore, I will begin with the following three questions.

  1. What “covenant” was the Lord Jesus confirming?
  2. How did He confirm it; by word, deed, or both?
  3. If this seventieth week designated for “confirming the covenant” was divided by Jesus’ death which caused the previously Mosaic obligation of sacrifices and oblations to cease, then what about the remaining three and a half years? For from His baptism to His death, Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted only three and a half years?

Even if it is only a possibility that Jesus is this “He” in Daniel 9:27, then these are legitimate questions that need to be asked if we are honest in our search of the Truth. Plus, if Jesus is indeed this “He” then there will be biblical answers to all these questions that would require your prayerful consideration.

So let’s look at first question again, what is the “covenant” that Jesus was confirming? Answer, it is that promise of certainty of which righteous Job wrote the following.

Job 19:25 – For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

The covenant to which Job clings is the promise of a bodily resurrection; and not just Jesus’ resurrection, but all who love Him as well. Consequently, Jesus was constantly confirming this truth to His disciples.

Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live… 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 6:39 – And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:23 – Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 14:19 – Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

This very covenant was revealed through the prophets of old and written in the scriptures; the very scriptures from which Jesus and the Apostles authoritatively preached the gospel.

Isaiah 25:8 – He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

Isaiah 26:19 – Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Ezekiel 37:12 – Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Job 14:12 – So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.

Psalm 16:9 – Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 17:15 – As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

Hosea 13:14 – I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes.

These are the scriptures from which Paul was trained as a Pharisee. Therefore after his conversion, Paul would have continued with great authority confirming this covenant, boldly preaching the certainty of it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being the apostle to the Gentiles, we can see in Paul’s epistles how he was constantly confirming to all men that this covenant was not only to Jews, but to all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:5 – For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

I Corinthians 6:14 – And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.

I Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I Corinthians 15:12 – Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

II Corinthians 4:13 – We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

II Corinthians 5:1 – For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.

Philippians 3:10 – That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Likewise, the Apostle John also faithfully confirms the certainty of God’s covenant of a resurrection of the saints in his open thesis on the deity of Jesus as the Christ.

1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Now the second question put forth at the beginning of this post was how did Jesus confirm the covenant of a literal resurrection? By word, deed, or both? Not only did He confirm the covenant in word, but with His own bodily resurrection as well. For by His resurrection Jesus Christ proved that not only did He have the power to raise Himself from the dead, but others too.

Matthew 27:52 – And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

John 20:25 – The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God!

Romans 1:4 – And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

The Spirit of Christ Which Was In Them

Daniel 9:24 – Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Now if Jesus “confirmed the covenant” in the Holy City to the Jews, both by His preaching and His bodily resurrection, then the last question that needs to be answered is where are the remaining three and a half years of the seventieth week whereby the week shall be completed with His confirming the covenant with many? Since the “seventy weeks” of the prophecy “are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy,” I believe the final three and a half years will be fulfilled through the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 ministering to the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

Just like the prophets of old, Jesus and the apostles, so will these two witnesses continue to confirm the covenant of God to the descendants of Abraham in the last days by testifying that Jesus was indeed their promised Messiah the Prince. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.” Showing us that just as the devil has stirred up wicked men all throughout history to murder the righteous, so too will these two witnesses eventually be killed. Then in a vain attempt to finally discredit the declared “myth” of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, their bodies are left unburied in the open streets for three and a half days.

Revelation 11:3 – And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth… 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

Surely by now some are hard pressed to ask how these two witnesses could be the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. After all, “He,” meaning Jesus, is the one who confirms the covenant. So wouldn’t Jesus need to be the one preaching if He is the one confirming? The answer would be an absolute yes. But for clarity I must first direct you once more to a few verses I hope you are getting very familiar with.

Hebrew 1:1 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.

Note the words in bold type, “God, spoke, by the prophets, by His Son.” Let’s continue.

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Again we see it was “God” who “spoke, by the prophets” in Hebrews 1:1-2, and is again speaking by “holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Same God, same prophets and the same Spirit.  Again, let’s continue;

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The “prophets” through which “God spoke” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” were only speaking what “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.”

Such is why Paul made his statement to the Galatians, that as a minister of the Gospel he was crucified with Christ and thus Christ lives in and through him. But Paul doesn’t stop with applying this principle only to himself, for later he stresses how this principle applies to all who are Christ’s. For if we are truly “in Christ Jesus,” it is only because His Spirit lives in us; and if we are ever to truly be ministering life through the Gospel, it is because Christ is ministering it through us.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

For this reason, Paul testified to both the Thessalonians and the Corinthians that what he preached unto them was not merely the word of a man, but rather the word of God. For what Paul had spoken was through the leading of the Spirit of Christ within him.

I Thessalonians 2:13 – For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

II Corinthians 13:3 – Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Below is another passage further establishes this truth that it was Jesus Christ, who by His Spirit was ministering through the prophets of old. Unfortunately, it is also a passage that has been greatly misunderstood by many throughout the centuries. Sadly, this confusion has given way for many erroneous teachings to creep into the church about Jesus, His death, and the completeness of the work of the cross.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The “popular” understanding of this verse is that after He died, Jesus went to hell and preached to the souls there; and all those that believed were therefore set free. Added to this are other false assertions such as Jesus had to die spiritually, taste hell itself, and be born again in order to defeat the devil on his ground so that He could take back the keys of death and hell. All of which are false.

Many believers raised in traditional churches assume these beliefs to be credible because they lack an understanding of the scriptures and the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed they may have been compelled to memorize. For when it states that Jesus was “crucified, buried, descended into hell and rose again the third day,” they assume it means Jesus literally went to hell, the place prepared for the angels that had sinned. However, this reference to the death, burial, and resurrection which is a true tenet of the Christian faith actually refers to Jesus’ body being crucified, prepared for burial, and placed in the grave for three days after which He resurrected.

Psalms 16:10 – For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

This psalm is speaking about the body of Jesus not being left in the grave to decay, or “see corruption.” It is not speaking about Jesus going into hell which was prepared for the devil and his angels. The word translated “hell” in English is the Hebrew word “sheol” which was used sixty-five times in the Old Testament; thirty-three times implying the “grave” and thus translated.

Oddly, many people falsely believe that Hell is the headquarters of Lucifer, when actually it is a prison made for the fallen angels and those who imitate their lawlessness. For when Jesus cast out demons out of the possessed Gadarenes man, they were terrified of hell and fearfully inquired if He had come to torment them before their time by sending them there.

Matthew 8:29 – And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Except for those fallen angels which were long ago cast down for their particular sins and are already bound in chains of darkness in Tartarus, the remaining principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world are still loose and share the sentiments of demons having a fear for the torment of hell, for they know this prison was created for them.

II Peter 2:4 – …God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.

(Sadly, many are completely ignorant of the extent of the various rebellions and sins of these fallen angels, a subject far too vast to cover here. I would simply recommend two books on the subject which are available online in PDF format for those interested. The first would be “The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology” by Rev. John Fleming, A.B., published in 1879. The second would be “Earth’s Earliest Ages” by G.H. Pember, published 1889.)

Since Jesus created all things it would be foolish to assume He needed to go to hell in order to get the keys of death and hell, for He has always possessed them.

Psalms 68:20 – He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

Revelation 1:18 – I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

One only needs to listen carefully to what Jesus is saying to correctly discern what He is not saying. For many have become so affixed by popular theology that they can only read the Holy Scriptures in the light of the theology they were taught: rather than proving their theology by the light of the scriptures.  For in Revelation 1:18, Jesus clearly says “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” That is because once again to “confirm the covenant” He tells us that it is He who has “the keys of hell [meaning the grave] and death.”  After His death, Jesus ripped the veil of the Temple in two and “the graves were opened.” However, it was not until after His resurrection that “many bodies of the saints… came out of the graves… and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Matthew 27:50 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Ezekiel 37:12 – Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

While there are conflicting opinions on just who those saints were that “came out of the graves… and went into the holy city and appeared unto many,” I do not believe they were the old patriarchal saints. The scripture plainly states that “many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” making it evident that not all of “the saints which slept arose.” Thus, I am persuaded these were probably saints who had recently died; for the patriarchal saints would not have been known by their appearance as there were no photos of them whereby the townspeople would have readily recognized them. Rather these were saints who like Lazarus were brought back to life in their mortal bodies. Incontestably, Jesus was the “firstfruits from the dead,” which means that all those who have died in faith are still awaiting the fulfillment of the covenant to be resurrected with their own glorified, immortal bodies at His return.

Hebrews 11:39 – And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

So let’s look afresh once more at that greatly misunderstood passage in I Peter and see if we cannot properly discern the apostle’s meaning.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

First it is clear how Jesus suffered and “was put to death in the flesh,” but was then “quicken by the Spirit.” That phrase means His body was not resurrected by the power of that earthen vessel of humanity, rather by the Spirit of Christ that dwelt within. Paul had stated virtually the same thing in his Epistle to the Romans, which again can also be viewed as “confirming the covenant.”

Romans 8:11 – But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Next, notice how in I Peter 3:18 Peter stated “by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”  What Peter is saying is that it was by the Spirit that Jesus once went and preached to the spirits in prison and not in His bodily form. This reveals that it was not Jesus the “Son of man” which went somewhere and preached, but rather the Spirit of Christ.”

Also, unless we pay careful attention to just whose “spirits” these are that are “in prison,” then like so many others have we too will run the risk of jumping to all sorts of erroneous conclusions; which is completely unnecessary since Peter clearly states who they are. These are the spirits of those “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

Therefore, these spirits are not all the lost souls of humanity which died from the time of Adam to Christ; rather these are only the spirits of those who were alive during those the days “while the ark was a preparing.” This is an excellent example of how we must be careful not to apply content beyond what is written to the scriptures. So why then does it say it was Christ who preached to those souls which were alive in those last days of Noah while the ark was being built? Perhaps it will help to review what Peter said earlier in the context of this very epistle.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Not only was Noah a preacher of righteousness, he doubtlessly was one of these prophets Peter was referring to who preached by “the Spirit of Christ which was in” him. Thus it was Noah who preached unto them “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” but the people rejected what the Spirit of Christ had preached to them through the Prophet Noah and therefore they perished; their bodies decayed and returned into the earth but their “spirits” are now “in prison.”

No, Peter wasn’t saying after Jesus died that He went to hell to preach, for anyone entering into hell and offering any hope to those spirits would immediately find everyone grasping at any possibility of escape. Rather, Peter was affirming the omnipotence of Christ, that though He was a man who suffered and died in the flesh, He was much more, He was a quickening Spirit in Noah through which He warned the world that then was to flee the wrath to come, of which only the few righteous were spared while the disobedient perished.

Thus we have a sound scriptural account of Jesus preaching before Israel was a nation or there was a Holy City of Jerusalem and Temple, even before the time of His own incarnation. Why then would we fail to believe that the Spirit of Christ will again be there in like power and authority via the Two Witnesses at the next coming end of the world which is now cresting our own horizon?

II Peter 3:5 – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

These Two Witnesses will know exactly who they are; and by “the Spirit of Christ which is in them” they will testify in the last days how they are going be martyred and just like Jesus they too will be raised from the dead. Though their testimony will absolutely infuriate the world and most of the Jewish people, a remnant of the Jews will nonetheless believe and be watching, having been pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth. This remnant are those who will give glory unto God after the resurrection of these two witnesses once again confirms the covenant of God, perhaps for the very last time before the whole world.

Revelation 11:7 – And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way these Jews can give glory unto God is to honor the Son even as they honor the Father. Thus this remnant gives glory unto the Son as their Redeemer, Christ the Lord. This will be the in-grafting of the Jews back into the vine, resulting in the completion of the Angel Gabriel’s prophecy to Daniel by ushering in the fulfillment of the covenant, the resurrection of the dead.

Romans 11:15 – For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Luke 13:35 – Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

In The Midst Of The Week

Lastly, one more reason why I believe that Daniel’s 9:27 reference to “in the midst of the week” refers to Jesus causing “the sacrifice and oblations to cease,” is because staying true to this verse, Jesus was crucified in the midst, or middle of the week, i.e. a millennial week.

Peter stated that when considering the coming of the Lord to be mindful of this one thing, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. This concept is not new, for many Jews believed that it would be six thousand years before Messiah would come and reign in the seventh millennial day, making as it were a millennial week. However, it was in the fourth and middle millennial day that Christ came and died and caused “the sacrifice and oblations to cease.”

II Peter 3:1 – This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Notice in addressing the subject of the promise of His coming Peter says he is writing to “stir up” their minds by way of remembrance, “that they may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets.” It must be recognized that it is in this context, focusing on the Lord’s return that Peter references that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” This phrase gives us the perfect key to properly understand what one of the prophets had written concerning both comings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hosea 5:9 – Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. 10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. 12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15 I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.

In the above passage we see the obstinacy of the Jews towards the Lord at His first coming. The Holy Spirit testifying through Hosea that “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound,” making reference those who move boundary stones seeking to lay claim to that which isn’t theirs. The fact that the Jews were trying to do this very thing to Jesus is witnessed in His parable against them concerning the keepers of the vineyard, where the wicked servant sought to kill the son of the landowner that they might steal his inheritance for their own.

Matthew 21:33 – Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them.

Therefore, just as Hosea had prophesied, Jesus became “as a lion and as a young lion to the house of Judah” and tore away the kingdom from them, bringing such desolation upon them that “none shall rescue him.” Hosea continued the prophecy saying “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.” Having gone through their affliction, and now like Daniel remembering that God’s judgments are foretold out of His earnest desire to show mercy, Hosea now gives prophetic voice to this remnant of Jews in the last days.

Hosea 6:1 – Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Thus by allowing Peter to stir up our minds “by way of remembrance, we too are made “mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets” and see how his reference to “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” provides the perfect key to what Hosea had written concerning both comings of the Lord. Therefore, we can see that the crucifixion when “Messiah the Prince… was cut off” and the “sacrifices and oblations ceased” all transpired on the fourth millennial day, which is “in the midst of the [millennial] week.”

However, this millennial week isn’t the only week where we find “Messiah the Prince… cut off” and the “sacrifices and oblations [having] ceased… in the midst of the week.” However, for centuries there has been much confusion among God’s people concerning the timeframe of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Certainly the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection recorded in the Gospels don’t appear to offer help to the casual reader of God’s word, as each Gospel has its own list of various events which occurred around that glorious event.

The fact that these accounts each illustrate a different perspective of the resurrection story leaves many confused and thinking they are seeing contradictions in scripture. However, because all these different events are chronicled in God’s word assures us they all must be true. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s used in medical books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair. When this is done we discover the answer to the confusion is that there had to be multiple trips made to the tomb being recorded.

One of the important things to remember is that Jesus did not say He would be in the tomb for “three days,” He said it would be “three days and three nights.” Matthew clearly states the first trip was in the “end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,” which is dusk, not sunrise. Dawn here means the actual beginning of the first day of the week, sunset and not sunrise, which would actually have been the middle of the biblical day. This dawn being like the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, of which there was no sunrise ushering in the Age of Aquarius.

Furthermore, the scriptures tell us it was after the Sabbath that the women purchase the spices, which John 19:31 reveals was actually a “high day.” What that means is that particular Sabbath was the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread that began on the fifteenth day of the first month right after Passover; a work day and the fourteenth day of the month. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread both the first and seventh days are high Sabbath days, which would mean a weekly Sabbath would naturally always fall in between those two high-days. Thus scriptures accurately states that after the “high-day” Sabbath which followed Passover that the women went and bought the spices and spent the remainder of the day preparing them. Afterwards they then “rested according to the [Fourth] Commandment” which would be the following the weekly Sabbath which began at sunset.

According to Matthew it was “in the end” of this weekly Sabbath, as the sunset was ushering in the first day of the week, that the women went to “visit the tomb,” without any mention being made of their taking the spices since night was falling. That is when the angel of the Lord descended like lightning and the stone was rolled away and the angelic proclamation made “He has risen.”

Again, Jesus, having been crucified in the latter half of Passover, the 14th day, was placed into the tomb just before sunset as it “dawn toward” that “high day” Sabbath of the 15th. Remember, according to biblical accounting the beginning of every day is at the setting of the sun.

It was then after the 15th which was a high-day Sabbath that the women on the 16th day went and purchased the spices and prepared them. They then rested the 17th day which was the weekly Sabbath. It was here, “in the end” of the latter half of the 17th day, as the setting sun was getting ready to usher in the 18th day yet still prior to the arrival of the 1st day of the week, that the resurrection of Jesus scripturally occurred; just before the Sabbath sunset, and not Sunday’s sunrise. For after Jesus’ resurrection, the priests and guards franticly met throughout the night to forge the lie that the disciples came during the night and had stolen Jesus’ body… for come sunrise everyone in Jerusalem was going to hear that the body of Jesus was missing.

Thus Jesus was three full nights and three full days in the tomb just like He said He would be. Night and day of the 15th day of the month, night and day of the 16th day of the month, and night and day of the 17th day of the month; making it in the end of the weekly Sabbath when He rose just before sunset. Which means Jesus was crucified “in the midst of the week,” on a Wednesday and not on Friday according to the Catholic invention of Good Friday. All this is cover in more detail an older post titled “Trips to the Tomb.”

Summary

If these things have plausible credibility, then the whole seven-year tribulation message that has been taught and widely promoted by such fables as the “Left Behind” series needs to be reexamined to determine on what foundation of scripture does it stand or fall. Regardless, we as believers must be diligent to rightly discern the times and the seasons in which we are living and pray always that we may be found worthy to escape the wrath to come. Let us therefore give earnest heed to the words of our Savior and His apostle.

Luke 21:34 – And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

II Thessalonians 1:5 – Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continued below)

(Note: This is Chapter 18 of 21 of my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy)

Is America missing in Prophecy?

This chapter was actually written many years ago as a stand-alone article. However, in light of all we have reviewed thus far, it is being included here in hopes it will now serve as a lasso to help pull together much of what we’ve covered to provide a solid answer to the question above and the one below.

We hear it all the time, “Isn’t it amazing that the scriptures are silent about America?” I once thought the same thing myself, but after prayerful re-examination of the history of America and scripture, I don’t believe that is true anymore. Therefore I submit the following for those open enough to examine for themselves whether or not America is mentioned in scripture. Though, I admit nowadays with the rising flood of endtime theologies, it is getting harder to convince most people that it is. As Mark Twain once said, “It is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them they have been fooled.” Likewise, it has been proven over and over again, that the greatest hindrance to people accepting the truth is a prejudice or presupposition to it before they fully hear a matter.

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and a shame to him.” (Proverbs 18:13)

Please do not hastily jump to the wrong conclusion that I am anti-America. I simply believe that a holy and righteous God must deal with the sins of America the same way He would with any nation. The supporting information provided in this article is only a fraction of the information available and even this tends to be overwhelming for most people when first considering this concept.

Revelation 17:9 – And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Revelation chapters 13-19:4 speak of an end-time’s judgment of the LAST in a succession of empires. Though the chapter begins concentrating on a seven-headed beast, the primary focus is that last empire which the angel referred to as “The Eighth.”  In order to gain understanding of whom or what the eighth spiritual Babylon is, one must give heed to the clues given to John by the angel in chapter 17.

A critical clue concerning this succession of empires was given to John when he was told by the angel “the beast that was, and is not, yet is.” This clue reveals there would be an interruption in a succession of what could be called “spiritual Babylons” being represented by this seven headed beast; a time when this beast “was not” going to be represented in history by a literal country. However after an unstated duration of time, the beast would again briefly exist as the seventh head, (or seventh empire). Lastly, it would “rise up out of the sea” as that final and last beast (or empire) which would fulfill all these prophecies. Thus the whole imagery of a “seven headed beast” is designed specifically to expose that last, eighth, and final empire that “goeth into perdition,” or complete annihilation. (more…)

I am pleased to be able to share the following testimony from a follower and friend. For all who will humbly embrace God’s truths therein, it has the promise to be a life-changing blessing. To God be all the glory!

 A Testimony

I was thinking this morning about what it means to be who I am in Christ Jesus; and it occurred to me that first and foremost I am a woman. I cannot get around this very first point, that I am a woman which must mean it was His plan for me to be a woman… and so, now what?

Clearly, we are born into a sinful world, and by the time one begins to evaluate who they are, it becomes apparent to most that they are a lost soul. So naturally, our concept of ourselves is skewed and all haywire; we are a mess and have no “right” direction or plan for our lives. I know mine didn’t and that was painfully obvious. My life was a total mess, because I was both living it and viewing life itself through worldly eyes.  My life as a woman, was just not working according to my “own plan.” In fact, at best it was total chaos and comparable to a headache which nothing ever seemed to offer hope it ever getting better.

But once the Lord Jesus Christ got a hold on me, He began correcting my misconception of who I was, and He began by fashioning me into a godly wife. It was a true blessing that both my husband and I began seeking the Lord and following His Words of Life at the same time, and miraculously everything began to change in our lives; especially the relationship we were sharing in our marriage and the plans we had for our future.  The result was that I was no longer a trapped woman being controlled by worldly notions about how I should live and think. Rather, my eyes were now opened and I began seeing the glorious truth about who I was, and what I was supposed to be, in God’s eyes. Finally, I was recognizing God’s plan for us all through the light of His Word.

The first lesson I was struck by with that of my being a woman was the kind of wife I needed to be in regards to my relationship to my husband:

Ephesians 5:33 – Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

That verse became a new layer of foundation for our marriage, and it changed EVERYTHING in both of us. He truly “loves” me, and I always now endeavor to love him with the “respect” God’s word says a wife needs to both have and show.  We have been married now for 33 years, and I can say with all assurance that my husband, my marriage, and my home, together have all become a sanctuary.   Because of Jesus Christ, and the wisdom of His principles for a godly marriage, our relationship and home have been transformed into the only place in this world where I consistently find safety, comfort, love, trust, truth, and a holy satisfaction; because it is a place in which the Spirit of the Lord always resides.

My testimony is simple, for it is that my husband and I have both been transformed and are now growing together by acknowledging holy principles that began with the Lord’s desire and love for His Church; for the very concept of marriage was HIS creation. Therefore, if women would simply return to those foundational truths that work to change them into godly women and wives, and would faithfully submit to those godly principles, then their lives would have less stress and their marriages would make more sense than those relationships and marriages out in the world. I say this because God has truly honored our faithfulness so that the idea of me having to work outside the home has changed, instead God has allowed me to truly focus on raising my children, loving husband, and making this house a true home for our family.

Titus 2:3 – The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 – That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

By trusting the Lord and obeying His instruction, my husband and  I have truly become content. We now have something that would be hard to fully explain; as our home, marriage, and family have now become something truly sacred.  For me, to be a mom who is able to care for my own children means I don’t have to let the world have them now. Because I want the Lord to have them, and for them to trust, know, love, and serve the Lord, I rejoice that we were able to train them up in the ways of the Lord. What a blessing we did not accept the world’s lies and devil’s trap and leave our children exposed and subject to the deceptive ways of the world.

When we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom, our income went down to only my husband’s normally unpredictable self-employed income; which seemed a risk in itself. But God blessed us beyond measure, and that because together we made this choice in faith. Faith is the only way to come to God and to please Him, and because we exercised our faith, He has blessed us greatly.

In the beginning my husband was persuaded that we needed to have our marriage structured according to God’s word, and now he too feels great about everything God has done. His life has been changed and by God’s Spirit and grace he is becoming the man he is supposed to be in the Lord. For now, by exercising His faith in God’s word, he is now leading and providing for his family in the ways of God; and that now gives him the integrity and self-respect that is necessary for him as a man of God.  He truly loves me now and cares for me in a godly way, and I in return so love him.

With our children gone and married themselves, it is just my husband and I now; and so, we embark on a new phase of our lives together with the Lord. However, we both experientially know that faith works; for it is an amazing gift and godly concept that God has given us!  It made both of us complete in our marriage, as God so intended.  God knew the design would work for us, because it is the same design He made for His Church and Himself.

It often seems I don’t have adequate words to fully express how I feel today after walking this way, following those godly concepts for so many years in our marriage: it is as the Bible says, it is truly a mystery which is so deep that it is nearly incomprehensible.  God’s marriage plan, and the instructions for being a godly woman and wife is truly the only way to for a woman to be perfecting holiness… if only they will believe it and live it.

2 Ephesians 5:28 – So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

 

Hey Christian, how is it you do not know that forgiveness is not enough?

I know that people will be reacting to that statement; but if you are one of them, then perhaps you’ve never truly thought appropriately about it. Or perhaps you simply never bothered to ask God why, that is, for what purpose and end did He forgive you in the first place?

The answers that people will come up with are probably limitless, but just because you might come up with one doesn’t mean it’s correct. Especially in a time where most believers are living their lives by trying to be good people and doing what is right in their own eyes. However, that alone becomes an indictment against many of them, for we are clearly admonished in God’s word not to lean to our own understanding.

In truth, our lives as Christians are be governed by God’s word and Spirit. That’s because God’s Kingdom is actually a real government that has a King; and as King He instructed His followers to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done; here on earth just as it is done in heaven. But, just how is God’s will done in heaven, for honestly, don’t you think that is worth considering if you wish to understand how it is to be done here on earth? Haven’t you too noticed that the things people give no thought to are not exercised in their lives.

Now, I haven’t left the thought of forgiveness, I am just trying to first lay a little ground work to help clarify what is the purpose of forgiveness. What most don’t seem to appreciate is that the fundamental purpose of forgiveness is to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God. By the way, as far as to how God’s will is done in heaven, it is without hesitation, reservation, and is exactly done as expressed with no adding or diminishing.

Deuteronomy 12:32 – What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Proverbs 30:5 – Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 6 Add not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Luke 4:4 – …It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Nonetheless, if you are indeed in a predicament like that of the thief on the cross next to Jesus, and you are able to discern that Jesus is truly Lord of heaven and earth, and you ask Him with one of your final weakening breaths that are becoming more difficult with each one, let alone the difficulty of pleading prayerfully with Jesus to please remember you as He takes His place in His Kingdom; then yes, His forgiveness to you at that point would surely be enough.

However, I don’t know, nor have I met, any professing Christians in that position. Rather, most Christians I encounter seem to be more like the man who for thirty eight years had an ailment whereby he was unable to walk and thus laid by the Pool of Bethesda hoping to get into the water when it was stirred by an angel to be healed, or perhaps like the woman taken in the act of adultery and brought by her accusers before Jesus to have her fate determined: “Do we stone her?”

Now, some of you might be thinking that neither of those people sound like you. If so, then your problem may be bigger than you believe. Many Christians don’t think they were really all that bad; but all sin is incapacitating because it results in the severing of one’s righteous relationship with God. Now before you go off with me with “Grace, grace, grace,” let me put your rebuttal on hold with a passage from Galatians, and as you consider it remember that Galatians is a book where grace is presented in its proper strength and purpose which is to save men from their sins.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Now as you consider that passage about God not being mocked, think about what Jesus said to the lame man and the woman caught in adultery; both of who found themselves truly at the mercy of others and in need of grace. Now, I want you to also recognize that it was the Savior of the World who was there, the very grace and power of God whereby all mankind might be healed, spared wrath, set free, and granted citizenship in His everlasting kingdom, and that they did indeed receive grace and strength in their time of need.

But what did Jesus say to them? Well, to the lame man Jesus is recorded as saying, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” And to the woman taken in the act of adultery, after her accusers were put to shame because they too were sinners, Jesus asked of her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” To which then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Now, I hope that no one reading this far along would be so foolish as to think these words only apply to these people. Or that the admonition to the lame man, “lest a worse thing come upon you” would not apply also to the woman given the exhortation to “sin no more,” or that you would foolishly fail to take the exhortation yourself. For clearly, having both been healed and/or forgiven, they were given a new lease on life and a fresh opportunity to “go and sin no more.” And is that not also your profession as a Christian, that Jesus Christ has given to you a new lease on life, a fresh opportunity?

Nevertheless, I can still sense the protest rising up and the urge to state “But, all sin, and nobody is perfect.” So, what does one do with Jesus’ words to that man and woman? Or what does one do with the biblical commandment to “Be you perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?” Or why was the Apostle John under the unction of the Holy Spirit recording for our admonition, “My little children, I write these things to you so that you do not sin?”

Now I do acknowledge that John did immediately continue with “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But please note, that by writing “And if anyone sins…” that the apostle is not showing an expectancy that they are going to sin, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the “if” word; and such is why some translations chose the word “but” instead of “and,” i.e., “But if you sin…” In fact, John is writing for the expressed and clear purpose he states, that his readers would “not sin;” just as Jesus had said to these two people.

However, back to the original point, that forgiveness is not enough, unless of course your about to die on your cross next to the Savior. Rather there is a purpose for forgiveness, and as I stated above that it is “to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God.” So, if you have been forgiven and, as you ought to have done, also surrendered to the King of kings and Lord of lords, then what are you supposed to be doing?

Well, the list can be well defining; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, and “diligently” adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ; which are virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

Do you not know the warning given by the Apostle Peter, that if we are indeed lacking these attributes, it is simply because we are willfully near-sightedly blind and do not look afar off into eternity? Furthermore, he attests that those who are actively doing these things, and in whom these attributes are being established, that they are not failing to be “barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and it is such that possess the promise that they need never stumble or fall, and “so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

But who can do all those things? Not I. But then again, even Jesus stated that “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise.” Likewise, Jesus told us as well that “Without Me you can do nothing.” Therefore, as a Christian, one must “abide” in Him as He is the vine and you are but a branch, entirely dependent upon Him for your life and fruitfulness. One more thing, never forget that a true Christian’s profession is supposed to be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Now, clearly, we cannot be fruitful Christians without Christ and His spirit dwelling in us. However, in the passage below there are three aspects in it that should help you understand my train of thought. First, we see our duty to God and, secondly, the only means whereby we can fulfill it, and thirdly, the end to which God is to be glorified in us.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

We have the duty as citizens of God’s kingdom to be purifying our souls by obeying His truth. However, this is a work no one can do unless they have been forgiven and are working out their salvation by co-laboring with the Spirit of God in them, which was point two. Lastly, if we have fervent love one for another, having allowed His spirit to help us discern and obey the truth, then we can truly achieve a unity of faith, love and spirit. Is this not what Jesus prayed for?

John 17:19 – “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Fortunately for us, we can read where Jesus reasoned with His disciples, saying that if our earthly fathers know how to give to their children the things they need when they ask for them, then “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? But you need to know that God’s spirit will not come into an unclean vessel, thus one must first be forgiven. Because forgiveness is the starting point with God; a point that required His giving us His “only begotten Son” that we might be adopted into His family and kingdom.

But, like I said in the beginning, forgiveness is not enough. Perhaps, the best scriptural evidences can be found in Matthew 12 and Luke 11; the latter being where Jesus assures His disciples that their “heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” For there, Luke then shares how Jesus cast a demon out of an individual and gave everyone there a warning, as we see below.

Luke 11:13 – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” 14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled… [Jesus said to the people] 24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

Now, there is a lot in this passage, as I jumped from verse 14 to 24. But clearly, when someone has a demon cast out of them, then the legal grounds for the demon being there has to be terminated. The only way for that to happen would be the same way the lame man was healed and the woman caught in adultery had her life spared; they had their sins forgiven. Both were told to go and sin no more, the man with the admonition “Lest a worse thing come upon you.” That means they were being required to now walk as faithful citizens of the Kingdom of God which would require their “obeying the truth through the Spirit.”

Please do not fail to understand what Jesus revealed to us in Matthew 12 and Luke 11. For Jesus shows how a demon, which had its lawful access to possession of a person in which they were abiding revoked (because they were forgiven), that when the demon returns to check (and they always do), that should they find the individual “empty, swept, and garnished,” then the same demon knows the person has fallen in sin by not keeping the truth; by not seeking the indwelling of God’s Spirit within. Thus, the demon goes and gets seven worse and they all return to take up a legal occupation once again. The latter end and fate of the person is worse than the beginning. Professing Christians need to give heed to the Apostle Peter –

2nd Peter 2:20 – For if, after they have clean escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

But who did Jesus say would have the greater damnation; was it the thieves, drunkards, fornicators, and murders? No, it was the religious hypocrites given to their spiritual pride, people who had false confidence in who they were because of their strong delusion; a judgment which God Himself said He would send to those who refuse to receive a love for the truth that they might truly be saved.

Don’t you think that both the lame man and the woman who was caught in adultery would have gladly received such grace from Jesus; the love or ability to commit their lives to Him as The Truth? Yet, many religious people will claim no accountability or responsibility for their salvation, rather boastfully assert that they are simply “saved by grace” and were forgiven for their sins. Such have no clue what grace truly is.

However, they are not heeding all the other commandments which Jesus and His apostles gave to the church; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ.” In short, or perhaps, falling short, they are simply not obeying the Gospel.

Hebrews 4:1 –  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [or obedience] in them that heard it.

All would do well to take heed here, for in both Matthew 12 and Luke 11, Jesus is seen stating to everyone, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” That is something we are told to “make” or do. Because, as Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” And “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters,” for “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keeps it!”

Saving faith works by love and gratitude. Such faith works to please God because it compels one to come to God; whereby, He can then “save” the sinner from their sins, or sin nature. This God begins to do through the initial workings of His grace; by forgiving the sinner of their sins in order that He might then indwell them via His spirit to empower them to become partakers of His divine nature. This He can do, and will do, when one actively pursues those attributes of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit so they can be fully developed in them. For you must understand that when Jesus Christ comes, He is coming for a wife that has purposefully “made herself ready,” which Christians can do because He gave Himself for our sins that He might forgive us, fill us, and so empower us. All this that “He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Faith works by love, just as our faithful Savior out of love for the Father and us gave His life a ransom so He could forgive us, indwell us, and wholly sanctify us by the truth; spirit, soul, mind, and body.

My friends, I was halted from going to bed and obediently stayed; for I too have written this post for the same reason the Apostle John wrote his first Epistles,  to encourage you “that you sin not.” For forgiveness is not enough; you must go on to love and live for the King.

Note: This post is actually a response to a Brother who asked me to consider a perspective he was reasoning about 1st John 5:8 below. The following is my reply.

For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. (ASV)

I must say, I’m not sure you could have picked a more widely interpreted verse to endeavor to expound upon. To borrow a somewhat-paraphrase comment which is often used by commentator Adam Clarke, who regularly shares freely the views of other scholars along with his own, that I too am obliged to acknowledge that “When such learned men are not in agreement, who can boldly attest to their own being correct?” However, I will present my personal convictions, as well as how I personally share and reason these verses in 1st John with others.

First, I must present my perspective on John’s first epistle; in that it seems obvious that it isn’t a letter like his 2nd and 3rd epistles written to specific people. Rather, 1st John appears to written as a thesis presenting “The Doctrine of Christ” to the Church in general, as it such is referred to in Hebrews 6:1, as well as the righteous obligation of all in response to the foundation of their salvation in that God gave His only begotten Son for the atonement of their sins.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore, leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

This “Doctrine of Christ” isn’t a reference to the things which Jesus Christ Himself taught, as that would be in plural, i.e., doctrines/teachings. This reference being made by the Apostle Paul is clearly to a single “doctrine,” and that being the doctrine/teaching about Christ Jesus Himself, specifically defining both who and what He was .

The answer is He was the only begotten Son of God, who was 100% man and also 100% God, an earthen vessel of humanity that had the Spirit without measure, for in Him dwelt the fullness of divinity.

The reason Apostle John wrote this thesis was to warn the Church that even in his day there were “many false prophets [teachers which] are gone out into the world” that had “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

The apostle warns us that these false teachers are “antichrists,” because they were teaching what the Apostle Paul clearly said was “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,” and it was of “another spirit;” which in the context of Paul’s warning may have been in reference to an angel some may refer to as being sent to Christians to gain healing or power. This has been done by many throughout history, and we have the more recent false prophets such as Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism, and Todd Bentley with his angel “Emma.” Such nonsense is assuredly what the Apostle stated was “another gospel” that is false and therefore powerless to save men from their sins.

2nd Corinthians 11:4 – For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.

The latter part of that verse is understood differently by some, as if Paul was berating the Corinthians (who he indeed acknowledge as being carnal believers) in that they would tolerate such false teachers, but I believe what he was asserting is that they would do well to continue with him, meaning Paul himself, who had laid the foundation by teaching them the Doctrine of Christ, for he immediately follow with asserting “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”

1st Corinthians 3:11 – For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Those false teachers in the apostles’ days were teaching all sorts of various heresies, such as, Jesus was not truly born, rather His birth was merely an illusion of sorts. Or, that He was just a regular man who at the time of His baptism had the Spirit of God come on Him and at that point He became the Christ, but not the God-man. There are volumes of heresies concerning Jesus Christ, such as the Jehovah Witnesses asserting that Jesus was the Archangel Michael who came into the world, a “mighty god,” but not the Almighty Jehovah; or even like New Agers who insist Jesus was but just one of many “ascended masters.”

However, the Apostle John is very clear that “Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” It is a very critical part of the Doctrine of Christ, that Jesus Christ was “born of a virgin” and had truly come in the flesh, as you referenced with Hebrews 2:14-17 below –

Hebrews 2:14 – Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

This is also why 1st John starts with “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, (For the life was manifested [in the flesh], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

It is noteworthy how both the Gospel of John and this epistle both start with the assertion of truth that Jesus Christ was from ‘the beginning” and was both “light” and “life” which became “flesh” and was “seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, …the Word of life.”

Concerning the “water and blood,” I personally believe they are simply referencing to His humanity in regards to both His birth and death. For the Apostle in his gospel quotes Jesus speaking to Nicodemus as saying, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To which Nicodemus responds, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (I know you know these verses, but for the sake of clarity I feel I should go through them.) For then Jesus responds with “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

However, I would also at this point like to make the assertion of scripture clear here that the being “born again,” while clearly being referencing to the spirit and not the flesh, that it is not insinuating that men are first born only in the flesh, and need a second birth of the spirit. No, but rather that all men when born, are indeed born both of flesh and spirit. However, at that age when they willfully and knowingly sin, and purposefully do that which they in truth know is not right for whatever self-serving reason, that at that point the Spirit of God departs from their spirit and they die spiritually, just as did Adam. At that point, they must be of the spirit “born AGAIN.”

For a scriptural foundation for this I will first use the Apostle John’s authority and testimony as an apostle, for he clearly states that Jesus was “the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world,” and “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

What exactly does that mean? Well, the word of God is clear that “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD,” and when God’s Spirit is within that man, the man’s spirit is lit; and God’s Spirit then works to make that person a partaker of Christ divine nature by “searching all the inward parts of the [the man’s] belly,” (Proverbs 20:27).

Such is why scripture state that “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” Or as Job stated, “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft comes their destruction upon them!” and, “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle [think flesh/body – as how Peter referenced his own knowing “that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle”] and his [the wicked’s] candle shall be put out with him.” And another verse, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man, the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”

Plus, the Apostle Paul testifies he was spiritually alive before he sin both willfully and knowingly, for he says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [to my understanding and I willfully chose to sin, then] sin revived [gained power], and I died. And the commandment, [just like the one “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die] which was ordained to [preserve] life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is indeed the law. For the law, when transgressed, declares that the transgressor is no longer guiltless before God, or compatible with God: for the transgressor has made a choice that is in disagreement with God and thus God in His righteousness and holiness must depart… and so the candle [spirit of man] is put out.

Amos 3:3 – Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Thus, that individual must be re-lit by the Life/Light of God who alone has immortality. Being “born AGAIN” is simply having one’s spirit/candle re-lit by having their spirit reunited with God’s Holy Spirit.

However, before that can happen, a person must confess their sins and repent; which is coming back into agreement with God that “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting [restoring] the soul, and the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” That all “the statutes of the LORD are right, …the commandment of the LORD is pure,” and “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever,” and “the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”

Accordingly, by confessing one’s sin and their repenting, it is a returning of them back into agreement with all the above; and because Jesus was a partaker of our humanity, being in truth a “flesh and blood” man, His death and blood become the satisfaction of the Law that requires “death” as a reward for sin, and His shed blood becomes a propitiation/payment-in-full where by the sinners tabernacle/body can now be re-inhabited by God’s Spirit which joins Himself to man’s spirit/the candle of the Lord.

This is why the Doctrine of Christ teaches that Jesus came into the world when He was truly born of water (birth-process) and was indeed a 100% flesh and blood man.

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 – Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Galatians 4:4 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And that “Son,” that man child prophesied by God Himself to Eve at the very first sin and spiritual deaths, was in fact “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Those who truly serve Him with a faith that works by love are looking “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

However, as the Apostle John stated in 1st John 5:8, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, these three agree in one.” And to me, this agreement is not only a testimony of His birth, but of His death as well; for some has asserted Jesus did not truly die, and therefore never really resurrected. But when “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His [Jesus’] side, forthwith came there out blood and water,” of which some say was fluid/water that had filled His lungs. However, I believe there is room to accept as true that due to his having been dead for hours at this time, that His blood had begun to coagulate and the plasma and red blood cells had already separated significantly; and therefore this “water and blood” was sovereignly openly revealed as a witness to prophecy and scripture; that God had given His Son’s life as a ransom for humanity’s sin.

This “water and blood” that flowed from Jesus’ side, be it specifically  what the Apostle John is referencing or not, nonetheless agrees with the Spirit and scripture that “Surely He had borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” for it “pleased the LORD to bruise Him,  for He had put Him to grief… [and made] His soul an offering for sin.” For, as a man, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” and surely “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed [reconciled to God].”  All this because when we willfully chose to do what we truly knew was wrong, we died spiritually and became separated for God. Thus, because we “like sheep” willfully went “astray” and “we had turned everyone to his own way, the LORD had laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Because of our sins, He as a flesh and blood man willingly “was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is [was] brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, and yet He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment” and “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” because He willingly gave His “back to the smiters, and” and His “cheeks to them that plucked off the hair,” nor did He hide His “face from shame and spitting.”

All this He did “for the joy that was set before Him” when He “endured the cross, despising the shame” all that He might bring “many sons [and daughters] unto glory” when He as a man, “the captain of their salvation,” was “made perfect through sufferings” and made perfect atonement for us. Thus, we are asked, “and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living, and for the transgression of My people was He stricken.”

Let me say as one of the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I will declare His generation. I will testify of Him and His indwelling Spirit and Life, for this man, the man Jesus Christ, He died for my reconciliation, and I now live with my candle re-lit simply because He rose again and now lives in Me. I agreed and confessed I was a sinner and repented, and He has covenanted with me to make me a saint.

So, brother, is the “by water” a reference to Jesus coming as a cloud, either upon Mount Sinai or upon the Tabernacle, or as water out of the Rock (of which scriptures say He was the Rock, and not the water), perhaps. But I ask you this, is all that any greater, or meatier of truth, than God being manifested in the flesh, becoming lower than the angels, and giving Himself as a Lamb for our sins?

I think not. Glory in the cross my friend. For I live to testify it is all true, that He loved me and gave Himself for me, that as a man He willingly died in order to save me from my sins. So, with that, I leave you with two last verses –

Isaiah 57:15 – For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive [relight] the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Live for the Resurrected King of Glory!!

For it will make it easier to die for Him.

 

.The is a lecture by Charles Finney originally titled with the verse below.

“Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

 

In the holy Scriptures, we often find a negative thrown into the form of an interrogation. The text is an instance of this kind; so that we are to understand the prophet as affirming that two cannot walk together except they be agreed.

For two to be agreed, implies something more than to be agreed in theory, or in understanding; for we often see persons who agree in theory, but who differ vastly in feeling and practice. Their understandings may embrace the same truths, while their hearts and practice will be very differently affected by them. Saints and sinners often embrace in theory the same religious creed, while it is plain that they differ widely in feeling and practice.

We have reason to believe that holy angels and devils apprehend and embrace intellectually the same truths, and yet how very differently are they affected by them.

These different effects, produced in different minds by the same truths, are owing to the different state of the heart or affections of the different individuals. Or, in other words, the difference in the effect consists in the different manner in which the person receives these truths, or feels and acts in view of them. It is to be observed, also, that the same things and truths will affect the same mind very differently at different times. This, too, is owing to the different state of the affections at these times. Or rather, this difference consists in the different manner in which the mind acts at these times. All pleasure and pain–all happiness and misery–all sin and holiness–have their seat in, and belong to, the heart or affections. All the satisfaction or dissatisfaction, pain or pleasure, that we feel in view of any truth or thing presented to our minds, depends entirely upon the state of our affections at the time, and consists in these affections. If it fall in with, and excite, and feed pleasurable affections, we are pleased of course; for in these pleasurable affections our pleasure or happiness consists. The higher, therefore, these affections are elevated by the presentation of any thing or any truth to our minds, the greater our pleasure is. But if the thing or truth do not fall in with our affections, it cannot please us; if it be aside from our present state of feeling, and we refuse to change the course of our feelings, we shall either view it with indifference, our affections being otherwise engaged, or if it press upon us, we shall turn from and resist it. If it be not only aside from the subject that now engages our affections, but opposed to it, we shall and must (our affections remaining the same) resist and oppose it.

We not only feel uninterested or displeased and disgusted when a subject different from that which at present engages our affections is introduced, and crowded upon us, but if any thing even upon the same subject that is far above or below our tone of feeling is presented, and if our affections remain the same, and we refuse to be enlisted and brought to that point, we must feel uninterested, and perhaps grieved and offended. If the subject be exhibited in a light that is below our present tone of feeling, we cannot be interested until it come up to our feelings; and if the subject in this cooling, and to us degraded point of view, is held up before our mind, and we struggle to maintain these high affections, we feel displeased because our affections are not fed but opposed. If the subject be presented in a manner that strikes far above our tone of feeling, and our affections grovel and refuse to arise, it does not fall in with and feed our affections, therefore we cannot be interested; it is enthusiasm to us, we are displeased with the warmth in which we do not choose to participate, and the farther it is above our temperature the more we are disgusted.

These are truths to which the experience of every man will testify, as they hold good upon every subject, and under all circumstances, and are founded upon principles incorporated with the very nature of man. Present to the ardent politician his favourite subject in his favourite light, and when it has engaged his affections, touch it with the fire of eloquence, cause it to burn and blaze before his mind, and you delight him greatly. But change your style and tone–let down your fire and feeling–turn the subject over–present it in a drier light–he at once loses nearly all his interest, and becomes uneasy at the descent. Now change the subject–introduce death and solemn judgment–he is shocked and stunned; press him with them, he is disgusted and offended.

Now, this loss of interest in his favourite subject is the natural consequence of taking away from before the mind that burning view of it that poured fire through his affections; this disgust that he feels at the change of the subject, is the natural consequence of presenting something that was at the time directly opposed to the state of his feelings. Unless he chooses to turn his mind as you change the subject, he cannot but be displeased.

A refined musician is listening almost in rapture to the skilful execution of a fine piece of harmony. Throw in discords upon him; he is in pain in a moment. Increase and prolong the dissonance, and he leaves the room in disgust. You are fond of music; but you are at present melancholy–you are in great affliction–you are inclined to weep–the plaintive tones of an Æolian harp light softly upon your ear, and melt around your heart–your tears flow fast–but now the din of trumpets, drums, and cymbals, and the piercing fife in mirthful quicksteps breaks upon your ear, and drowns the soft breathings of the harp–you feel distressed–you turn away and stop your ears. The plaintive harp touched you in a tender point, it fell in with your feelings; therefore you were gratified. The martial music opposed your state of feeling; you were too melancholy to have your affections elevated and enlivened by it: it therefore necessarily distressed you.

Your heart is glowing with religious feelings–you are not only averse to the introduction of any other subject at that time, but are uninterested with any thing upon the same subject that is far below the tone of your affections. Suppose you hear a cold man preach or pray; while he remains cold, and you are warm with feeling, you are not interested, for your affections are not fed and cherished unless he comes up to your tone; if this does not happen you are distressed, and perhaps disgusted with his coldness. This is a thing of course. Suppose, like Paul, “you have great heaviness and continual sorrow in your heart” for dying sinners; that “the Spirit helpeth your infirmities, making intercessions for you, according to the will of God, with groanings that cannot be uttered:” in this state of mind, you hear a person pray who does not mention sinners–you hear a minister preach who says but little to them, and that in a heartless, unmeaning manner; you are not interested–you cannot be, feeling as you do, but you are grieved and distressed. Suppose you are lukewarm, and carnal and earthly in your affections; you hear one exhort, or pray, or preach, who is highly spiritual and fervent and affectionate; if you cling to your sins, and your affections will not rise; if, through prejudice, or pride, or the earthly and sensual state of your affections, you refuse to kindle and to grasp the subject, although you admit every word he says, yet you are not pleased. He is above your temperature; you are annoyed with the manner and fire and spirit of the man. The higher he rises, if your affections grovel, the farther apart you are, and the more you are displeased. While your heart is wrong the nearer right he is, the more he burns upon you; if your heart will not enkindle, the more you are disgusted.

Now, in both these cases, they whose affections stand at or near the same point with him who speaks or prays, will not feel disturbed, but pleased. Those that are lukewarm will listen to the dull man, and say, “‘T is pretty well.” Their pleasure will be small, because their affections are low; but, upon the whole, they are pleased. Those who have no affections at the time, will, of course, not feel at all. All who have much feeling, will listen with grief and pain. These would listen to the ardent man with great interest. Let him glow and blaze, and they are in a rapture. But the carnal and cold-hearted, while they refuse to rise, are necessarily disturbed and offended with his fire.

From these remarks we may learn,

First, why persons differing in theory upon doctrinal points in religion, and belonging to different denominations, will often, for a time, walk together in great harmony and affection. It is because they feel deeply, and feel alike. Their differences are in a great measure lost or forgotten, while they fall in with each other’s state of feeling; they will walk together while in heart they are agreed.

Again–We see why young converts love to associate with each other, and with those other older saints who have most religious feeling; these walk together because they feel alike.

Again–We see why lukewarm professors and impenitent sinners have the same difficulties with means in revivals of religion. We often hear them complain of the manner of preaching and praying. Their objections are the same, they find fault with the same things, and use the same arguments in support of their objections. The reason is, that at that time, their affections are nearly the same; it is the fire and the spirit that disturbs their frosty hearts. For the time being they walk together, for in feeling they are agreed.

Again–We see why ministers and Christians visiting revivals, often, at first, raise objections to the means used, and cavil, and sometimes takes sides with the wicked. The fact is, coming, as they often do, from regions where there are no religious revivals at the time, they frequently feel reproved and annoyed by the warmth and spirit which they witness. The praying, preaching, and conversation, are above their present temperature. Sometimes, prejudice on account of its being amongst a different denomination from them, or prejudice against the preacher or people, or perhaps pride, or envy, or worldliness, or something of the kind, chains down their affections that they do not enter into the spirit of the work. Now, while their hearts remain wrong, they will, of course, cavil; and the nearer right any thing is, the more spiritual and holy, so much the more it must displease them, while their affections grovel. *([footnote]We do not mean to justify any thing that is wrong and unscriptural in the use of means to promote revivals of religion. Nor do we pretend that every thing is right, that may, and often does give offence. We know that many things may exist, and while human nature remains as it is, will exist in revivals, that are to be lamented, and ought, as carefully as possible, to be corrected. But we do hold it as a certain truth, that while any heart is wrong, any thing that falls in with it, and pleases it, must be wrong also, as certainly as that one false weight can be balanced only by another just as false: and while a heart is in this state, the best things will be the most certain to offend. And if this heart, remaining wrong, could be brought in view of a state of things as perfect as heaven, it would blaspheme, and be filled with the torments of hell. The only remedy is to call upon him to “repent and make to him a new heart;” and when he has done this, right things will please him, and not before.)

Again–We see why ministers and private Christians differ about prudential measures. The man who sees and feels the infinitely solemn things of eternity, will necessarily judge very differently of what is prudent or imprudent, in the use of means, from one whose spiritual eye is almost closed. The man whose heart is breaking for perishing sinners, will, of course, deem it prudent, and right, and necessary, to “use great plainness of speech,” and to deal with them in a very earnest and affectionate manner. He would deem a contrary course highly imprudent and dangerous and criminal. While he who feels but little for them, and sees but little of their danger, will satisfy himself with using very different means, or using them in a very different manner, and will, of course, entertain very different notions of what is prudent. Hence we see the same person having very different notions of prudence, and consequently practising very differently, at different times. Indeed, a man’s notions of what is prudent; as to means and measures in revivals of religion, will depend, and, in a great measure, ought to depend, on the state of his own affections, and the state of feeling with which he is surrounded. For, what would be prudent under some circumstances, would be highly imprudent in others. What would be prudent in one man, might be highly imprudent in another. What would be prudent for a man in a certain state of his affections, and under certain circumstances, would be the height of imprudence, in the same person, in a different state of feeling, and under other circumstances. It is, in most cases, extremely difficult to form, and often very wrong publicly to express, an opinion condemning a measure as imprudent, (which is not condemned by the word of God,) without being in a situation to enter into the feelings and circumstances of the individual and people at the time the measure was adopted. If Christians and ministers would keep these things in mind, a great many uncharitable and censorious speeches would be avoided, and much injury to the cause of truth and righteousness would be prevented.

Again–We see why lukewarm Christians and sinners are not disturbed by dull preaching or praying. It does not take hold on their feelings at all, and therefore does not distress nor offend them. Hence we see that if, in a revival of religion, when cold and wicked hearts are disturbed with plain and pungent dealing, a dull minister is called upon, and preaches to the people, the wicked and cold-hearted will praise his preaching. This shows why, in seasons of revival, we often hear sinners and lukewarm Christians wish that their minister would preach as he used to; that he would be himself again. The reason of this is plain; he did not use to move them, but now his fire and spirit and pungency annoy them, and disturb their carnal slumbers.

Again–We may here learn how to estimate the opinions of ministers and Christians, and our own opinions, when our affections are in a bad state. How does such a man approve of what was said or done? What is his opinion as to means and measures? &c. are questions often asked, and answered, and the answer depended upon as high authority, without any regard to the state of that man’s affections at the time. Now, in most cases, we do utterly wrong to place much confidence in our own opinions, or in the opinions of others, as to prudential measures, unless we have evidence of the right state of our or their affections; for it is almost certain, that should our affections alter, we should view things in a different light, and consequently change our opinion. Christians would do well to remember and adopt the resolution of President Edwards, “that he would always act as he saw to be most proper when he had the clearest views of the things of religion.”

Again–We learn why churches are sometimes convulsed by revivals of religion. In most churches there are probably more or less hypocrites, who, when revivals are in a measure stripped of animal feeling, and become highly spiritual, are disturbed by the fire and spirit of them, and inwardly, and sometimes openly oppose them. But when a part only of the real Christians in a church awake from their slumbers and become very spiritual and heavenly, and the rest remain carnal and earthly in their affections, the church is in danger of being torn in sunder. For as those who are awake become more engaged, more spiritual and active, the others, if they will not awake, will be jealous and offended, and feeling rebuked by the engagedness of others, will cavil, and find themselves the more displeased, as those that are more spiritual rise farther above them. The nearer to a right state of feeling the engaged ones arrive, the farther apart they are; and as they ascend on the scale of holy feeling, if others will not ascend with them, the almost certain consequence will be that these will descend, until they really have no community of feeling, and can no longer walk together, because they are not agreed. This state of feeling in a church, calls for great searchings of heart in all its members, and although greatly to be dreaded and deeply to be lamented, when it exists, is easily accounted for upon these plain principles of our nature, and is what sometimes will happen, in spite of the sagacity of men or angels to prevent it.

Again–We see why ministers are sometimes unsettled by revivals. It will sometimes happen, without any imprudence on the part of the minister, that many of his church and congregation will not enter into the spirit of a revival. If his own affections get enkindled, and he feels very much for his flock and for the honour of his Master, he will most assuredly press them with truth, and annoy them by his spirit, and pungency, and fire, until he offends them. If they feel wrong, the more powerfully and irresistibly he forces truth upon them, so much the more, of course, unless their feelings alter, he will offend them, and in the end, perhaps, find it expedient to leave them. All this may happen, and be as right and necessary in a minister as it was for Paul to leave places and people, when divers were hardened, and contradicted, and blasphemed, and spoke evil of this way before the multitude.

Another case may occur, where the church and people may awake while the shepherd sleeps and will not awake. This will inevitably alienate their affections from him, and destroy their confidence in him. In either of these cases, they may find themselves unable to walk together, because they are not agreed. In the former case, let the minister obey the command of Christ, and “shake off the dust of his feet, for a testimony against them.” In the latter, let the church shake off their sleepy minister; they are better without him than with him. “Wo to the shepherds that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye feed not the flock. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” Ezek. xxxiv. 2,3,9,10. President Edwards says–

“Though ministers preach never so good doctrine, and be never so painful and laborious in their work, yet if they show to their people that they are not well affected to this work, but are doubtful and suspicious of it, they will be very likely to do their people a great deal more hurt than good. For the very frame of such a great and extraordinary work of God, if their people were suffered to believe it to be his work, and the example of other towns, together with what preaching they might hear occasionally, would be likely to have a much greater influence upon the minds of their people to awaken and animate them in religion, than all other labours with them. Besides, their minister’s opinion will not only beget in them a suspicion of the work they hear of abroad, whereby the mighty hand of God that appears in it, loses its influence upon their minds; but it will also tend to create a suspicion of every thing of the like nature that shall appear among themselves, as being something of the same distemper that is become so epidemical in the land. And what is this, in effect, but to create a suspicion of all vital religion, and to put the people upon talking against and discouraging it, wherever it appears, and knocking it on the head as fast as it rises. We, who are ministers, by looking on this work from year to year with a displeased countenance, shall effectually keep the sheep from their pasture, instead of doing the part of the shepherds by feeding them; and our people had a great deal better be without any settled minister at all, at such a day as this.

“We who are in this sacred office had need to take heed what we do, and how we behave ourselves at this time; a less thing in a minister will hinder the work of God, than in others. If we are very silent, or say but little about the work, in our public prayers and preaching, or seem carefully to avoid speaking of it in our conversation, it will be interpreted by our people, that we who are their guides, to whom they are to have their eye for spiritual instruction, are suspicious of it; and this will tend to raise the same suspicions in them; and so the forementioned consequences will follow. And if we really hinder and stand in the way of the work of God, whose business above all others it is to promote it, how can we expect to partake of the glorious benefits of it? And, by keeping others from the benefit, we shall keep them out of heaven; therefore those awful words of Christ to the Jewish teachers, should be considered by us, Matt. xxiii.13. ‘Wo unto you, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.’ If we keep the sheep from their pasture, how shall we answer it to the great Shepherd, who has bought the flock with his precious blood, and has committed the care of them to us? I would humbly desire of every minister that has thus long remained disaffected to this work, and has had contemptible thoughts of it, to consider whether he has not hitherto been like Michael, without any child, or at least in a great measure barren and unsuccessful in his work: I pray God it may not be a perpetual barrenness, as hers was.”

Again–We may see that carnal professors and sinners have no difficulty with animal feeling. It is not uncommon in revivals of religion to hear a great deal of opposition made to what they term animal feeling. That much of this kind of feeling is sometimes excited in revivals of religion is not denied, nor is it strange, nay, it is impossible that real religious affections should be excited to any considerable degree, without exciting the animal sympathies and sensibilities; and to wonder at this, or to object to a revival on this account, is palpably absurd. But, in most cases, it is not the animal feeling that can give offence, for so far as these feelings are concerned, there is a perfect community of feeling between saints and sinners, and carnal and spiritual Christians. Sinners have as much animal feeling as saints: cold professors have as much of the animal as warm and spiritual Christians. So far, then, as animal feeling goes, they can all sympathize, and indeed we often see that they do. Adopt a strain of exhortation or preaching that is calculated to awaken mere sympathy and animal feeling, and you will soon see that there is a perfect community of feeling among cold and warm hearted Christians and sinners; they will all weep and seem to melt, and no one will be offended, and I may add, no one will be convicted or converted. But change your style, and become more spiritual and holy in your matter, and throw yourself out in an ardent and powerful manner, in direct appeal to the conscience and the heart–their tears will soon be dried, the carnal and cold hearted will become uneasy, and soon find themselves offended. So far as animal feeling goes, they walk together, for in this they are agreed; but as soon as feeling becomes spiritual and holy, they can go together no farther; for here they are not, (and while sinners remain impenitent, and cold hearts remain cold,) they cannot be, agreed.

Again–We may see why impenitent sinners cannot like pure revivals of religion. It is because God is in them. They hate God, and this is the reason why God commands them to make to themselves a new heart. This is the reason, and the only reason, why sinners need a new heart. Now, while they are under the influence of “a carnal mind, which is enmity against God,” they do, and must, self-evidently, hate every thing like God, precisely in proportion as they see it to bear his image. Hence we see, that the more a revival is stripped of animal feeling and of every thing wrong, the more it will necessarily offend wrong hearts. The more of God, and the less of human imperfection, there is to be seen in them, the more they will and must excite the enmity of carnal hearts.

Again. We learn how to estimate apparent revivals where there is no opposition from the wicked. If persons under the dominion of a carnal mind do not oppose, it must be owing to one of three causes. 1st. Either they are so convicted that they dare not openly oppose; (and even then they are opposed in heart;) or, 2dly, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in them; or 3dly, which often happens, from an injudicious application of means to the sympathies of the multitude, the operations of the Holy Spirit are kept out of the sinner’s view and covered up in the rubbish of animal feeling. Any thing that keeps out of the sinner’s view the work of the Holy Spirit, tends to prevent opposition. And every thing that exposes to the sinner’s view the hand of God, will certainly excite the opposition of his unregenerate heart. That excitement, therefore, which does not call out the opposition of the wicked and wrong hearted, is either not a revival of religion at all, or it is so conducted that sinners do not see the finger of God in it.

Hence we see, that the more pure and holy the means are that are used to promote a revival of religion, the more they are stripped of human infirmity and sympathy, and the more like God they are, so much the more, of necessity, will they excite the opposition of all wrong hearts. For, while a man’s heart is wrong upon any subject, it is self-evident that he cannot heartily approve of what is right upon that subject, for this would involve a contradiction. It would be the same as to say that he could feel both right and wrong upon the same subject at the same time.

Hence it appears, that other things being equal, those means, and that preaching, both as to matter and manner, which call forth most of the native enmity of the heart, and that are most directly over against wrong hearts, are nearest right. *([footnote]Let it not be thought that we advocate or recommend preaching, or using other means, with design to give offence. Nor that we suppose that the gospel cannot be preached, and that means cannot be used in a wrong spirit, and in a manner that is highly objectionable, and may justly give offence. All such things are to be condemned. But still we do insist that holy things are offensive to unholy hearts, and while hearts remain unholy, they cannot be pleased but with that which is unholy like themselves. The understanding may approve, the conscience may approve, but the heart will not, and, remaining unholy, cannot approve of that which is holy. If, therefore, a sinner who is under the dominion of a “carnal mind,” which is “enmity against God,” is pleased with preaching, it must be either because the character of God is not faithfully exhibited, or the sinner is prevented from apprehending it in its true light, by inattention, or by being so taken up with the style and manner as to overlook the offensiveness of the matter. If, therefore, the matter of preaching is right, and the sinner is pleased, there is something defective in the manner; either a want of earnestness, or holy unction, or something else, prevents the sinner from seeing, what preaching ought to show him, that he hates God and his truth).

Hence, we see the folly of those who are labouring to please persons whose affections are in a wrong state upon religious subjects. They cannot be pleased with any thing right and holy while their hearts are in this wrong state, for this we have just seen would involve a contradiction.

This shows why so much wrong feeling is often stirred up in revivals of religion.

It is the natural effect of pure revivals to stir up wrong feeling in wrong hearts. Revivals of religion on earth, stir up wrong feeling in hell; they will disturb the same spirit, and stir up the same feelings, whenever they come in contact with rebellious hearts, whether in the church or out of it. Wherever the Holy Spirit comes, or is seen to operate, the opposite spirit is disturbed of course. A great degree of right and holy feeling among saints, will naturally stir up a great degree of unholy and wicked feeling in all those hearts that are determinately wrong. The more right and holy feeling there is, the more wrong and unholy feeling there will be, of course, unless sinners and carnal professors bow and submit. They cannot walk together, because they are not agreed; and the more holy and heavenly the saints become in their affections and conduct, the farther apart they will be, until the light of eternity will set them in feeling and affections, as far asunder as heaven and hell.

This shows that the difference between heaven and hell, as it regards moral character, and happiness and misery, consists in the different state of the hearts or affections of their respective inhabitants.

This demonstrates, beyond all contradiction, that sinners cannot be saved unless they are born again. In other words, it is plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that sinners should walk and be happy with saints and holy angels, without an entire change in their affections. Sinners cannot walk with the saints here. As soon as the saints cease to walk “after the course of this world,” sinners think it strange that they run not with them to the same excess of riot, “speaking evil of them.” As soon as Christians awake and become spiritual and active, holy, and heavenly, and break off from their vain and wicked associations with the world, sinners are uniformly distressed and offended. They try to imagine that it is something wrong in the saints, and in revivals, that offends them. But the truth is, it is the little that is right in the saints, and that in which there is the most of God in revivals, that offends them most. And were the saints as holy as angels are, or as holy as they will be in heaven, sinners must of course be so much the farther from having any community of feeling with them; and as saints rise in holiness, and sinners sink in sin, they will go farther and farther apart forever and ever.

I remark, lastly, that this shows why the lives and preaching of the prophets of Christ, and his apostles, and the revivals of the early ages of the church, met with so much more violent opposition from carnal professors of religion, and from ungodly sinners, than is offered to preachers and revival in these days.

It is not to be denied, that the saints in those days “had trials of cruel mocking and scourging, yea, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts, in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

It is not and cannot be denied, that the preaching of the prophets, of Christ and his apostles, and of primitive ministers, was opposed with great bitterness by many professed saints, and by multitudes of ungodly sinners, more than that of any preacher of the present day. Nor is it to be concealed, that professors of religion were often leaders in this opposition–that they stirred up the Romans to crucify Jesus, and afterwards to persecute and destroy his saints, and crucify his apostles. That even the religious teachers, and learned doctors of the law, endeavoured to prejudice the multitude against the Saviour, and to prevent their listening to his discourses; “He hath a devil and is mad,” said they, “why hear ye him?” They led the way in opposing the apostles in the revivals in which they were engaged. We must admit, too, that those revivals made a great deal of noise in the world, insomuch, that the apostles were accused of “turning the world upside down;” and that sinners were often greatly hardened by the preaching of Christ and his apostles; “were filled with great wrath,” and opposed with such bitterness, that Christ told his apostles to “let them alone.” In some places where the apostles preached, “divers were” so “hardened,” that they “contradicted and blasphemed, and spake evil of this way,” insomuch that the apostles were forced to leave, and go to other places, and sometimes to leave under very humiliating circumstances, but just escaping with their lives. Now these are facts that we need not blush to meet, as they are easily accounted for, upon the principle contained in the text, and illustrated in this discourse. All these things afford no evidence that the prophets, and Christ and his apostles, were imprudent and unholy men; that their preaching was too overbearing and severe; or that there was something wrong in the management of revivals in those days. The fact is, that the prophets were so much more holy in their lives, and so much bolder, and more faithful in delivering their messages; that Christ was so much more searching, and plain, and pungent, and personal in his preaching, and so entirely “separate from sinners” in his life; the apostles were so pungent and plain in their dealing with sinners and professed saints, and so self-denying and holy in their lives, that carnal professors and ungodly sinners could not walk with them. The means that were then used to promote revivals were more holy and free from alloy than they now are. There was less of mere sympathy, and of that hypocritical suavity of manner, and of those embellishments of language, that are calculated and designed to court the applause of the ungodly. “Renouncing the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully,” they preached, “not with the enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but “with great plainness of speech,” so that the ungodly, in the church and out of it, were filled with wrath.

Stephen was so holy and searching in his address, that the elders of Israel “gnashed upon him with their teeth.” But this is no evidence that he was imprudent. The fact that the revivals of the present day are much more silent and gradual in their progress, than they were on the day of Pentecost, and at many other times and places, and create much less noise and opposition among cold professors and ungodly sinners, does not prove that the theory of revivals is better understood now than it was then, nor that those ministers and Christians who are engaged in these revivals are more prudent than the apostles and primitive Christians; and to suppose this, would evince great spiritual pride in us. Nor are we to say that the human heart is changed, or that the character of God is become less offensive “to the carnal mind.” No! the fact is, the prophets and Christ and his apostles and the primitive saints, were more holy, more bold and active, more plain and pungent in their preaching, less conformed to this crazy world; in one word, they were more prudent and more like heaven than we are; these are the reasons why they were more hated than we are, why their preaching and praying gave so much more offence than ours. Revivals, in their days, were more free from carnal policy, and that management that tends to keep out of the sinner’s views the naked hand of God: these are the reasons why they made so much more noise than the revivals that we witness in these days, and stirred up so much of earth and hell to oppose them, that they convulsed and turned the world upside down. It was known then, that “men could not serve God and mammon.” It was seen to be true, that “if any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he shall suffer persecution.” It was understood then, that if “ministers pleased men, they were not the servants of Christ.” The church and world could not walk together, for then they were not agreed. Let us not be puffed up, and imagine that we are prudent and wise, and have learned how to manage carnal professors and sinners, whose “carnal mind is enmity against God,” so as not to call forth their opposition to truth and holiness, as Christ and his apostles did. But let us know that if they have less difficulty with us, and with our lives and preaching, than they had with theirs, it is because we are less holy, less heavenly, less like God than they were. If we walk with the lukewarm and ungodly, or they with us, it is because we are agreed. For two cannot walk together except they be agreed.