Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Similarities Between Joshua and Revelation


Similarities between Joshua and Revelation

The bible contains 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years.  Yet it conveys a single message: that Jesus is the Son of God and will reign for eternity.  There are many similitude's throughout the bible (Abraham sacrificing his only son.  Sound familiar??).  There are many similarities between the book of Joshua and the book of Revelation as well that many people may not have realized:

In Greek, Joshua can be pronounced 'Jesus'

Joshua's goal is to take back the land from those who seized it.  In Revelation, Jesus' goal is to take back the earth.

Joshua gives 2 spies the authority to scope out the land, especially Jericho (Joshua 2:1).  Revelation 11:3 speaks of 2 witnesses who have been given authority to prophesy.

Joshua calls for complete silence before the trumpets sound (Joshua 6:10).  Revelation 8:1 says there was silence in heaven before the sound of the trumpets.

At the seventh sound of the trumpets, the walls fall and Joshua takes possession (Joshua 6:20).  Jesus reigns forever at the sound of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15).

Everything and everyone within the city of Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 6:21).  God's wrath came and so did the time of Judgment (Rev 11:18).

There are probably many other as well and I encourage you to post them here!  As always, thank you for your responses.

The Prodigal Son

Both a blessing and a warning!

Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son is a parable Jesus uses to illustrate God's love for His creation.  It is about a son who gets his father's inheritance, and squanders it on pleasures of the flesh, and then returns destitute to his home and is welcomed with great celebration.  The Prodigal Son parable is actually about two sons.  The elder son respects and loves his father, while the younger thinks he knows what is best for him.

I think most people read this parable and feel that if they were to fall away from God and then repent, they will be welcomed back into God's kingdom and everything will be just as it was before.  While I believe it's true that God will welcome the repentant sinner back into His kingdom, the text suggests the prodigal son would have been better off had he stayed with his Father:

The parable begins with both sons dwelling with the Father.  This parable does not address the person who has yet to find God or accept Jesus.  Both sons have already done so, as evident in the fact that they are dwelling with the Father.

According to the text in verse 12, the younger son asks for his inheritance, but it is given to the elder son as well - Both sons are now in possession of their inheritance.

Verses 13-16 describe how the younger son squanders his inheritance - He willingly left God and lived a life totally opposite of what he was taught.

Verses 17-19 shows the younger son coming to his senses - He hit the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, and had no one left to turn to except God.

Verses 20-24 details the love the Father has for his son - God is overjoyed to see his son return and welcomes him back into His kingdom

In verses 25-32, attention turns to the elder son who shows jealousy toward the attention his younger brother is getting - These verses show that we are all equally important in God's sight.  The fact that one son stayed by God's side and the other drifted is irrelevant in God's eyes.

This is where most people forget about the inheritance at the beginning of the parable.  Keep in mind, the elder son is still in possession of his inheritance, while the younger one no longer has his.  At no point in this parable does the father ask the elder to split his inheritance with the younger.  At the end of the parable, both sons are dwelling with their Father, but the elder still has an inheritance he can spend wisely.  All throughout the gospels, Jesus only promises one thing for his followers: Eternal Life.  Both sons have eternal life.  I believe there will be rewards for us in heaven based on how we live our lives.  This parable should be a warning to the followers of Jesus to live their lives according to His will and not fall into destitute times.  Yes, you will be forgiven.  Yes, you will live with Jesus for eternity.  No, you won't have your inheritance.  What exactly is my inheritance going to be?  No one knows, but you can bet it will be out of this world!!

It Is Finished!

It is Finished! - John 19:30

Soon, we will celebrate Good Friday.  Talk about an understatement!  "Good" Friday??  I don't think there is a word in the English language that can describe the importance of this day in history, so I guess "Good" is as good as any (pun intended).

All throughout the Gospels (and even before), Satan was desperately trying to thwart God's plan of the Redeemer.  In Matthew 4:1-11, Satan tried to get Jesus to sin, but it didn't work.  Matthew 8:23-27 tells the story of Jesus calming the storm, which I believe was Satanic in origin (the men on the boat were professional fishermen, and they were terrified!).  Psalm 22:12 tells of the bulls of Bashan encircling Christ when he is on the cross.  I could list many, many more examples, but I'll let you look them up.

We celebrate Good Friday because "It is finished".  It is done....complete....cannot be undone.  Against the odds of Satan and man, Jesus accomplished God's plan of sending a kinsman redeemer for anyone who accepts Jesus as his Savior.  Satan can no longer thwart the plan of God, so his only remaining choice is to make as many people fall as possible in the allotted time.

Good Friday is a time of celebration, not a time of mourning.  Jesus finished the task he set out to do.  The cross is an accomplishment, not a tragedy.  Celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday with all the anticipation and fervor that is put into Christmas.

It is finished!!  Amen!!

Jesus In The Genealogy of Genesis?

Jesus in the genealogy of Genesis?

I'm not one to put a lot of stock in the meaning of names.  If simply naming someone determines their outcome in life, everyone would be naming their children "Rich" or "Halcyon", or "Colossal Cash".  Usually, the only time I pay attention to the name of a person is when God changes their name.  Abram becomes Abraham, Jacob becomes Israel, Saul becomes Paul, and the list goes on.

However, I listened to a lecture by Chuck Missler who points out that there is a Gospel of Jesus foretold in the genealogy from Adam to Noah:

Adam - Man
Seth - Appointed
Enosh - Mortal
Kenan - Sorrow
Mahalalel - The Blessed God
Jared - Shall come down
Enoch - Teaching
Methuselah - His death shall bring
Lamech - The Despairing
Noah - Rest

This fascinated me.  "Man appointed mortal sorrow, the Blessed God shall come down teaching His death shall bring despairing rest".

It's hard for me to ignore this.  Every day, the bible fascinates me and piques my interest to dig further.


Can A Forgiven Sin Be Un-forgiven?

Can a forgiven sin be un-forgiven?

Reference Matthew 18:23-35

Jesus speaks in parables often throughout the Gospels.  He does this to educate people, giving them real world scenarios of what God expects of us.  Matthew 18:23-35 tells the parable of the unforgiving servant.  In summary:

* The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts - v23
*A slave did not have the means to repay the debt, so the king commanded him to be sold - v25
*After begging for mercy, the king had compassion for the slave and forgave him his debt - v27
* Someone else owes a debt to the slave and begs the slave for mercy - v29
*The slave refuses mercy and has the debtor thrown in prison - v30
*The king finds out about the slaves actions - v32
*Angry, the king hands the slave to the torturers until is debt is paid - v34
*Jesus says the heavenly Father will do the same to us - v35

In the parable, this man's sin was forgiven in verse 27, but then he was held accountable again in verse 34.  According to Jesus in verse 35, we are held to the same accountability.  If we have been forgiven a sin, then later in life we do not forgive others for sinning against us, we will be held accountable for our sin.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who Is The Holy Spirit?

The third person of the Holy Trinity. The man behind the scenes. Always the last in terms of billing, but most certainly not the least.  The Holy Spirit is, in some sense, almost forgotten in the average Christian's life.  Jesus says that you must ask God for the Holy Spirit to enter your life (Luke 11:13), but who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is a man.  Linguistically, terms used to describe God and the Holy Spirit are of a masculine nature.  Throughout both the old and new testaments, references to God use masculine pronouns.  Since the Holy Spirit is considered God, we can use the same masculine term of 'man' or 'him' as well.

So, the Holy Spirit should be considered a person.  Like a typical person, the Holy Spirit is intelligent.  He knows the thoughts of man, and he knows the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).  The Holy Spirit has emotions.  He loves us (Romans 15:30), and can be insulted (Hebrews 10:29).  The Holy Spirit also has free will.  He distributes the gifts of God as he sees fit (1 Corinthians 12:11).  The Holy Spirit is able to speak.  The Holy Spirit speaks to Philip (Acts 8:29), and also to those who were ministering in the church in Antioch (Acts 13:2)

What can we make of the Holy Spirit's personality?  What do we know about him?  For one, he will be our guide, not by his own initiative, but by what he hears, and he will disclose to us what is to come (John 16:13).  Like God, he is omnipresent.  He will never leave our side (Psalm 139:7).  The Holy Spirit is inquisitive and leaves nothing to chance.  He searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10).

What role or purpose does the Holy Spirit serve?  God is the creator, Jesus his son is our savior, but what about the Holy Spirit?  We see that the Holy Spirit is our helper (John 14:16), who will be with us forever and even dwell within us (1 Corinthians 3:16).  He is the whisper you hear when you wonder if you're making the right decision, teaching us the ways of God (John 14:26).  He gives us power, courage….the right words…the ability to be proper witnesses to Jesus (Acts 1:8).  The Holy Spirit is the one who, through Jesus, has set us free from the law (Romans 8:1).  Jesus offered himself without blemish, through the Holy Spirit, to cleanse our conscience before God (Hebrews 9:14).

We have seen that the Holy Spirit is a person, who has characteristics, and serves specific purposes, but how does he accomplish his goals?  What does he actually do?  He speaks to us and gives us specific instruction (Acts 13:2) at just the right time (Acts 8:29).  He is the one who helps us pray.  When we cannot collect our thoughts before God, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, comes to our aid and speaks to God for us (Romans 8:26).  When the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we bear fruit (Galatians 5:22).  The fruit we bear includes love, joy, and peace.  The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus (Matthew 3:16), to dwell in him and so to dwell in us. Anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9).

In your prayers, make sure you ask God to bring his Spirit into your life. Allow him to speak to God on your behalf when the words will not come. Allow him to grant you wisdom and peace.  This is his purpose in your life and he will never leave your side.  When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gerasene Demons Cast Out

Reference Luke 8:26-33

Jesus sailed to Gerasenes.  When he left the boat and stepped on land, he was met by a man possessed with demons.  After commanding the demons to leave the man, the demons begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss.  Jesus permitted the demons to enter the swine, who rushed down the steep bank and into the lake.

1)  When reading the text, most people think this encounter only lasted a few moments.  However, looking at the text again, we see that Jesus came out of a boat onto the shore, and yet the swine ran down a steep hill into the same lake.  It's apparent that Jesus and the man (and demons) walked for quite some time to gain the elevation needed to reach the swine.  It fascinates me to wonder what other conversations took place as they walked to the top of the hill.

2)  Most people do not realize the compassion Jesus has.  In verse 32, Jesus grants the wish of the demons and allows them to enter the swine.  Did Jesus have compassion on the demons?  Perhaps it just wasn't the proper time for them to enter the abyss?  I'm not sure.

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