Friday, August 11, 2017

Romans, part 3, the Perfect Symmetry between Sin and Sacrifice

Here are some other really cool things about Romans. In chapter 5, verses 12 – 21 we find the explanation of the perfect contrast between Adam and Christ. Read this slowly and thoughtfully because it is really deep:
 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do you understand the perfect symmetry between Adam’s sin and Christ’s sacrifice?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Romans, part 2, Obvious Connective Links with Genesis


When we looked at the 2nd aleph book (Isaiah) we saw the connective verses about the potter (God) and the clay (man) that were in Isaiah and then reappeared in Romans, now we’ll look at the story that started in Genesis, the first aleph book, and finished in Romans, the third aleph book. Watch.
Genesis 17: 1 – 5:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Romans, part 1, Israel Will Be Saved




There are 66 books in the Bible. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. If you match up each book with a corresponding letter the first letter, aleph, goes with Genesis (the first book of the Law), Isaiah (the first book of the Prophets), and Romans (the first book of the Christian Epistles).
Romans was written by the Apostle Paul. Its major themes are the gospel of God, the redemption truth and reconciling the promises to Israel with the promises concerning the Gentiles. Its greatest teaching is the doctrine of grace. This book shows us that all are guilty before God but can receive justification through the righteousness of God by faith.
Let’s look first at Romans 3:25, 26:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Acts, part 2, Acrostic Clues


Let’s check the acrostic verses for clues as to what we want to focus on in Acts. (If you don't know what acrostic or alphabetic verses in the Bible are, read this.)
Psalm 119: 175:
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
   and may your laws sustain me.
Let me live. Literally the Hebrew says “Let my soul live.” That kind of gives us a longer range plan, doesn’t it? The Hebrew word for “live” is the root for “resurrection.”
Lamentations 4:22:
 22 Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion;
   he will not prolong your exile.
But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom,
   and expose your wickedness.
Punishment will end. The Hebrew word here is “tamam” meaning “completed.”
Psalm 25:21:
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
   because my hope, LORD, is in you.
Integrity is the word used here to translate the Hebrew tav word “tom” which also means perfection, completion and moral purity. Taken together from these alphabetic verses we get the theme of living forever, all things being completed, finished.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Acts, part 1, a Quick Summary


Tav is the last of the 22 Hebrew letters and it links up with Song of Songs in the Old Testament and Acts and Revelation in the New Testament. The symbolic meaning of this letter is mark, sign or cross. We saw in the first tav book, Song of Songs, that there is a strong correlation between these books and this letter having to do with consummation and marriage. The number one major theme of the book of the Acts of the Apostles is the receiving of the Holy Spirit followed by the profession of Christ to the Jews at Pentecost and then to the Gentiles. This was the beginning of the Christian church which is, in all respects, the beginning of the Bride of Christ.
In Acts the first nine chapters recount the rise of the early church with Peter being the prominent character; the rest of the book follows with the conversion and ministry of the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts is written by the physician, Luke, who spent much time alongside Saint Paul, traveling and witnessing. In his previous book Luke wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the ascension. That book was written to a certain Theophilus, a man who was probably wealthy enough to help Luke get his information published, and Acts is also addressed to this same Theophilus. His name, by the way, means “lover of God” or “loved by God.” With that in mind I like to think that these books were written personally to me.
The thesis verse of Acts is found in chapter 1, verse 8, when Jesus says the following:

Friday, July 7, 2017

John, part 4, The Irrefutable Logic of a Blind Man


Jesus brings Light and Life. The blind man in John chapter 9 is in for the surprise of his life. Watch how he gets physical sight and how he gains another sense, too: spiritual sight. If you don’t know the story here it is in a nutshell:
Jesus and his disciples come across the blind man, Jesus heals him, the Pharisees are in an uproar because He healed on the Sabbath, there’s an investigation and the Pharisees kick the formerly blind man out of synagogue, and the story ends with Jesus revealing His divinity to the man who then gains spiritual sight.
Now, you be the blind guy:
You’ve heard the scriptures read, you know the prophecies, you hang around the temple all the time begging and listening. You hear some men talking about you. They’re asking their leader if you or your parents are responsible for your blindness. The leader says neither you nor your parents are responsible; he says that you’re blind so the work of God can be displayed in your life. You’re more alert. You hear them get closer and the leader puts something on your face over those rounds things that are called eyes, but have no function for you. He tells you to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. You have some faith so you do.
What is this?! Is this sight?! This is unbelievable! You cannot contain your excitement. You find your way home and your neighbors think you’re an imposter. You tell them what happened. They ask how this could be. You say it was “the man.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

John, part 3, Jesus is God


As I studied this book I found several outlines by various commentators. They tended to divide the book up into 5 or 6 parts: 1st the opening or foreword in chapter 1 with the theme of the pre-existence of Christ, 2nd the beginning of his ministry, the “big reveal,” so to speak, up through chapter 6. Then the 3rd section is the next year of his ministry and how his claims were rejected (through chapter 12). I noticed that the verses with the word light stopped abruptly then (see last week’s post). The next section contains Holy Week, the passion, the crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The last section (chapters 20 – 22) is of the 40 days following His resurrection.
Back in verse 1 of chapter 1 we found that Jesus was eternal, was with God and was God. Let’s look at his claims found in John that He is God:
John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 6:32-35 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Friday, June 23, 2017

John, part 2, The Light of the Son vs. the Light of the Sun


Remember how in Ecclesiastes we found more instances of the word sun than in any other Bible book? There is not one instance of the word sun in John even though both books are linked by the Hebrew letter shin. And look at how John compares with the other three Gospel books:

There is no reason for such an absence other than to show God’s precision in His design of the Bible. Despite the absence of the sun look how the light shines in John:


The following are from the KJV:
John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
John 1:8: He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:9: That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Friday, June 16, 2017

John, part 1, the Pre-Existence of Jesus


The fourth book of the New Testament, JOHN, was written by the beloved apostle John around A.D. 90. This book is sharply different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. First of all it was written much later and most of the church already possessed copies of the other Gospels. These Christians wanted deeper truths and there wasn’t anyone better to write them than someone from the Master’s inner circle. John was the one who leaned on Jesus at the last supper, the one who didn’t flee from Christ’s judgment, the one who stood at the cross and received Jesus’ request to care for Mary.
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they include many of the same stories in the same order, thus they are synoptic (one view, of the same eye), but John doesn’t follow that pattern. In fact, we don’t even find the parables that are so prevalent in the other gospels. In John the themes are deeper, such as the pre-existence of Christ, His incarnation, the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ relation to the Father.
The book of John can be divided into several major parts. It begins with the pre-existence of Jesus.

Friday, June 9, 2017

EXOTIQA by M. Black


BOOK: EXOTIQA
GENRE: YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia

BLURB: 
When the nation is controlled by a popular online program, those that deviate risk their lives. But that never stopped Fione. 

Read the second release by author M. Black, which fans of Divergent, Freelancer, iRobot,and The Glitch will enjoy. Filled with haunting questions of consciousness and artificial intelligence, identity and self-awareness, politics and love, life and death, the reader will be engaged in an entertaining story filled with futuristic technology. 

Set in the cyberpunk year 2055 in British Columbia, Canada, where humans are part robotic and robots are becoming more humanlike, the line dividing the two is becoming less clear. 

When sixteen-year-old Fione meets Maci, a twenty-one-year-old Flexbot who escapes from ImaTech located along the crust of the Coast Mountains, Fione’s life is taken on a roller-coaster ride of events that begins with trying to save Maci from ImaTech Corporation and ends with trying to save the country.

Friday, June 2, 2017

SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone


SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone
Displaying Scorpion-front-jacket.jpg



SCORPION 

An ancient power. A modern mystic. The enemy unleashed. 

It began as a day like any other, when Avery Adams, daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest and most influential men, is pushed from a crowded subway platform into an oncoming train. Is it chance, or the wheels of destiny set in motion, when Aiden Kane, expert martial artist saves her, and they are thrust into the apex of a ten thousand year old battle for power. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool Words in the Gospel of Luke

Last week we looked at how Luke lines up and links with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We saw how the word wisdom occurs noticeably in Luke and not the other gospels. I wondered if there were other words that would show up in greater numbers in the three resh books (Bible books that line up with the same Hebrew letter, in this case Proverbs, Luke, and 3rd John) if I did a search. Of course they would have to be words that started with this Hebrew letter. In The Bible Wheel by Richard Amiel McGough words such as physician (ropheh), to heal (rapha), friend (reyah), and racham (mercy, compassion and with different vowel points womb) are given as key words that link to these three books. I chose “friend” and did a search. Here’s my chart of what I found:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Linking the Gospel of Luke to Proverbs


Luke is our third gospel account of the life of Christ. Luke writes from a perspective different from the others because he was not an apostle, however, as a Greco-Syrian physician who traveled with St. Paul and spoke with many eyewitnesses, his accounts are accepted and authenticated. Luke was a well-educated man as evidenced by his command of the Greek language. His Latin name hints that he was probably not Jewish. Scholars believe his Gospel was written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Right away I’m going to link Luke to Proverbs, because Proverbs (a book of Wisdom) is the 20th book in the Bible, matching up to the 20th Hebrew letter, resh, and Luke appears 22 books later, also matching up to resh. In my research I found instances where writers referred to Luke as the “Proverbial Gospel” so I did my own chart to see if I could corroborate this claim. I found 41 parables in all in Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn’t have a single parable though it does contain allegories. There are 41 different parables, 23 in Matthew, only 9 in Mark, and the most, 29, in Luke with 17 of those being unique to this Gospel.
First I want to show you how the word parable relates to the word proverb. In Luke 4:23 we find this:

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Different Look at the Gospel of Mark



The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Mark, the author, belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem where he became a Christian. He worked with both Paul and Peter. His gospel is unique because it emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings, moving quickly from one episode to another. Mark does not begin with a genealogy as Matthew did, because he is writing for the Gentiles who would not care about His lineage. He starts with John the Baptist preparing the way, then Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples. Then Mark gives us healings and parables and miracles.  We follow Our Lord’s journeys through Galilee, the surrounding areas, and then to Judea at a rapid pace. In fact, the swiftness is revealed in the actually telling of the events. An example of this unique swiftness presents itself early on in chapter 1, verses 10 – 14. This is from Young’s Literal Translation so you can see the fast pace exactly as it was written. I eliminated the verse numbers and put the "swift" words in red:
  And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Jordan; and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in whom I did delight.' And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness, and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.
Whew! Notice the punctuation? Just two sentences. Now let’s compare other nearly identical scenes recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke and see how Mark uses a particularly “swift” word:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Matthew, part 2, Jesus' Last Public Speech

Let’s look at Matthew chapter 23 and really examine it. This is the last public speech that Jesus gives. It is Wednesday, two days before the crucifixion. In my Bible this chapter is headed the “Seven Woes” and it starts with a big slam of the current teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Read 23: 1 – 12:
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Wow, what a speech. Jesus denounces the false leaders. He says in verse 2 that the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat which gives them great authority. The Greek word here is kathedra which means bench and is the basis of our word cathedral. In verse 3 he says to obey them and to do what they preach, which is the Law, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they preach. There’s trouble coming otherwise; just look at verses 13 – 36:

Friday, April 28, 2017

The First Book of the New Testament, An Overview of Matthew

Mathew, part 1
Matthew’s name means “gift of Jehovah” which is interesting since we know that he was a tax collector. There is some evidence that he wrote this book originally in Hebrew and maybe in both Hebrew and Greek. There are 23 parables in Matthew, 11 of which do not appear in the other gospels. Of the twenty miracles recorded, three are unique to this account.
There’s a lot to cover in Matthew like the genealogy of Jesus, His birth, the story of the wise men being guided by the star, and the escape into Egypt. Then Matthew jumps thirty years ahead to John the Baptist preparing the way, Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the disciples. There’s the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ ministry, including many healings and miracles, many parables and a lot of teaching. Matthew records Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
What’s particularly interesting is the explicit use of the word “righteousness.”
First compare the beatitudes as presented in Matthew with the equivalent verses in Luke. Matthew 5:6 says:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled
Whereas Luke 6:21 says:
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
One after another the parallel passages in Matthew include the word “righteous” or "righteousness," but those words are absent from Luke.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Malachi, part 2, Its Chiastic Structure

Malachi has a chiastic structure or pattern. That is, an artistic effect is achieved by balancing reversed clauses against one another. Here’s the chiastic structure in Malachi:
Message (1:1)
B Proof of God's Love (1:2-5)
C Condemnation (1:6—2:9)
D Marital Infidelity (2:10-16)
D' Marital Infidelity (2:17—3:6)
C' Condemnation  (3:7-12)
B' Proof of God's Love (3:13—4:3)

A' Message (4:4-6) 
(Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary, 3:1245-1396. 3 vols. Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, 1993, and 1998.(p. 1250))

Isn't that cool? Here's what each section is about:
A Superscription (1:1): Yahweh has a message for Israel.
B First Disputation (1:2-5): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
C Second Disputation (1:6—2:9): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
D Third Disputation (2:10-16): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.
D' Fourth Disputation (2:17—3:6): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.    
C' Fifth Disputation (3:7-12): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
B' Sixth Disputation (3:13—4:3): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
A' Summary challenge (4:4-6): Yahweh has a message for Israel.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Malachi, part 1, The Last Book of the Old Testament

Malachi, part 1
Malachi (“my messenger”) was written by Malachi. This book is the last of the Minor Prophets and fits in our timeline just after Esther and the institution of the feast of Purim. Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is thought that we can date Malachi during Nehemiah's governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah deal with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and inter-marriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28). When will they learn?
In a quick reading of chapter one you’ll find the Lord a bit angry to put it mildly. He says, “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” He calls out the priests for showing contempt for his name by offering defiled food on the altar. Read the following and you’ll begin to feel the mounting anger:
 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.
 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty.
   “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
 What else is the Lord saying? Should we give Him our very best? How can I give the Lord anything less than my best?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Zechariah, part 3, Rebukes, Reminders, and Restoration



Now the book jumps ahead two years and there are rebukes and reminders before Israel can be restored. In chapter 7 the Lord rebukes the people for fasting and mourning for themselves instead of for the Lord. He reminds them to administer justice, show mercy and compassion, not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor and not to think evil of each other. He reminds them that they did not do these things and as a result they suffered condemnation.
Chapter 8 outlines the restoration and that God will save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. God will take them from poverty to productivity, from cursing to blessing, from fear to strength and power, and from fasting to feasting.
Next we have oracles and your Bible may have the print set up to look like poetry. The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the anti-Christ. Look at 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Who is he talking about? Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Zechariah, part 2, the Visions



Before summarizing the visions let me tell you that these are rich in interpretation and deserve a more thorough examination than space allows me here.
Vision number 1 (Zechariah 1:8 – 11) is of a horse patrol; four horses of varying colors go throughout the earth and report back that the whole earth is at rest and in peace. Sounds calm, but that phrase has bad connotations. In verse 15 the Lord says “I am very angry with the nations that feel secure.” The Lord adds that He will return to Jerusalem with mercy and rebuild His house. The people are encouraged by this.
Vision number 2 (1: 18 – 21) is of four horns and four craftsmen. Horns usually signify military might. The four horns are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, the four Gentile nations which plundered Judah and scattered its people. The four craftsmen are the succeeding Gentile nations which in turn clashed with each of the above “horns.”
Vision number 3 (2:1 – 13) is

Friday, March 24, 2017

Zechariah, part 1




As outlined in my book CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet make perfect match ups to each of the 66 books of the Bible. The sixteenth Hebrew letter, ayin, matches the sixteenth book, Nehemiah, and 22 books later we have Zechariah. It also matches up to ayin (which means “eye”). 👀
If you’re looking for it, and if you know Hebrew, you can find Nehemiah’s name in the first chapter of Zechariah. (Hint: it’s in verse 17.) First of all, Zechariah means “God has remembered”. The first ayin book ended with Nehemiah stating “remember me” and now our second ayin book is named “God has remembered”. Very cool.
This book has more Messianic prophecy than all of the other Minor Prophets combined and is second only to Isaiah in the number of references to Christ. Additionally the New Testament refers to Zechariah more than 40 times. Zechariah is sometimes called the “Book of Revelation” of the Old Testament. The theme of the book is apparent in the opening verse which names Zechariah, his father, Berekiah, and Berekiah’s father, Iddo. The Hebrew meanings of these names are “whom the Lord remembers” “the Lord blesses” “at the appointed time”. God raised up Zechariah to proclaim that God remembers His chosen people and that He will bless them in His appointed time.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Haggai, part 2, third and fourth prophecies



Continuing on with the prophecies in the Old Testament book of Haggai:
Verse 10 of chapter 2 gives the date of the 3rd prophecy as December 18, 520 BC. Read 10 – 19:
 10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated
meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”
   The priests answered, “No.”
 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
   “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
 14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
 15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
   “‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
This may seem like a confusing prophecy, but Haggai now asks the people a question which the priests are supposed to answer: If a priest is carrying something holy and he touches something unholy, like a corpse, does that make the corpse holy? The priests answer no. If the person who is unclean touches the priest, does that make the priest unclean? The priests answer yes. What is the point of this?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Haggai, part 1, first 2 prophecies



Haggai’s name means “festive” or “festival” and it is awesome to learn that his second message (2:1–9) was delivered on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, an important Jewish festival. He was a prophet who most likely was born before the first Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. Perhaps he remembers the glory of the amazing Temple. He is an old man when he prophesies and we know precisely when he made each of his prophecies, right down to the exact date.
To begin, there are 4 prophecies and according to chapter 1, verse 1, the first one is made on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of King Darius, which was August 29, 520 BC. The Lord is angry with the people for stopping their work on the Temple and focusing on their own homes instead of His.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Zephaniah, part 2


Zephaniah prophesies about the Great Day of the Lord in Zephaniah 1:14-18. I’ve put in bold red print the words that show the complete devastation of what will happen:
14 "The great day of the LORD is near—
       near and coming quickly.
       Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
       the shouting of the warrior there.
 15 That day will be a day of wrath,
       a day of distress and anguish,
       a day of trouble and ruin,
       a day of darkness and gloom,
       a day of clouds and blackness,
 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry
       against the fortified cities
       and against the corner towers.
 17 I will bring distress on the people
       and they will walk like blind men,
       because they have sinned against the LORD.
       Their blood will be poured out like dust
       and their entrails like filth.
 18 Neither their silver nor their gold
       will be able to save them
       on the day of the LORD's wrath.
       In the fire of his jealousy
       the whole world will be consumed,
       for he will make a sudden end
       of all who live in the earth."
Yikes! Hurry.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Structure of Zephaniah, part 1



This Old Testament book was written by Zephaniah, whose name means “God has secreted” or “Jehovah hides.” He was of royal lineage as is revealed in the first verse.
Though he prophesied in a time of revival, the coming captivity was imminent and Zephaniah points out that the revival is superficial. He foretells the coming invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, judgment on certain peoples, the moral state of Israel and the judgment of the nations followed by kingdom blessing under Messiah.
If you read the first chapter you’ll notice how angry God is in verses 2 and 3. In Genesis we read the creation account and learned that God created the fish then the birds then the animals and then man. Now here we have God sweeping everything from the face of the earth and in the reverse order: men, then animals then birds then fish. Despite the awfulness of these verses I can’t help but be amazed at God’s order. For those who like to say that the God of the Old Testament seems vengeful, angry and bloodthirsty and that their God is kind and loving, I’d like to point out that God is both loving and just. Of course He is going to get angry. When will man honor, worship, love and obey only Him?
There were 7 types of people that God will “cut off” according to chapter 1. They are pagans (vs.4), astrologers (vs.5), worshipers of other gods (vs.5), those who reject God (vs.6), those who side with the heathen (vs. 8), idol worshipers (vs. 9) and those who presume that God is indifferent to them (vs.12). What do these 7 groups of people have in common?

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Structure of the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk


Habakkuk is a small, but important book in the Old Testament. This little book was written by the prophet Habakkuk, whose name means either “the embracer” or “the wrestler.” Interestingly, Habakkuk wrestled with the question of why God would let evil go unpunished and why God would bring tragedy and misfortune on His own people. But at the same time he embraced salvation by faith.
Let’s read Habakkuk’s 1st complaint in chapter 1, verses 2 through 4 (New International version):
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
       but you do not listen?
       Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
       but you do not save?

 3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
       Why do you tolerate wrong?
       Destruction and violence are before me;
       there is strife, and conflict abounds.
 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
       and justice never prevails.
       The wicked hem in the righteous,
       so that justice is perverted.
Well, people just don’t seem to follow God’s rules and Habakkuk doesn’t seem to understand why God allows this to go on. The law is paralyzed and justice doesn’t prevail. The evildoers are surrounding the righteous and justice is perverted. This sounds pretty current to me. Think about it. Here are the same verses in a really modern translation (The Message):
1-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it: God, how long do I have to cry out for help
   before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder! Police!"
   before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
   stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
   quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
   Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
   and stand justice on its head.

   
We find God’s answer in verses 5 – 11 and essentially God says He is going to use the Babylonians to punish Israel.
What’s Habakkuk’s next complaint?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ever Hear of the Bible Book Called "NAHUM" ?


The book of Nahum was written by Nahum, a prophet who was a contemporary of Jeremiah. It had been about 150 years since Jonah was sent to Ninevah. Ninevah had repented, but now the people were turning away from God. (What else is new?)
Nahum’s name means consolation or comfort.
Nahum 3:7:

“And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her?  Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?” 
We Christians think of God as loving, kind and gentle and often forget that He is righteous and fierce and will avenge our faithlessness with great wrath. To get a real feel for this read the opening of the book of Nahum: chapter 1, verses 1 – 6:

 1 A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
 2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
   the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
   and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power;
   the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
   and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
   he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
   and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him
   and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
   the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation?
   Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
   the rocks are shattered before him.

As I’ve explained in my book CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES there are phenomenal links between the 22 Hebrew letters and the 66 books of the Bible. Nahum corresponds to the 12th Hebrew letter, lamed, as does 2nd Kings. We are 22 books past the book of 2nd Kings where Elijah was carried up in a whirlwind, where the Jordon was dried up, where the chariot and horses of fire separated Elijah and Elisha. Did you see these three things again in these verses? Isn’t it amazing how there are links between the books that match up with the same Hebrew letter?

In fact, back in 2nd Kings chapters 15, 18 and 19 you can find the story, the fulfillment of the prophesy found here in Nahum, chapter 1, verses 7 -14. Pull out your Bible and work it out for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Micah, part 3



Let’s look at the fulfilled prophecy in the little Old Testament book of Micah.
Here’s one verse from chapter 5:
 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
   though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
   one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
   from ancient times.”
Has this prophecy been fulfilled? Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
In chapter 6 the writer asks about coming before the Lord with burnt offerings. He even asks if he should offer his firstborn for his transgressions. What does God answer? Read 6:8:

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.

So, God DOES NOT require sacrifices. He’s going to take care of that for us. What he requires from us is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Final thoughts on Micah – read 7: 18-20 and feel the great relief in these words:

18 Who is a God like you,
   who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
   of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
   but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
   you will tread our sins underfoot
   and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
   and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
   in days long ago.

If I were a Jew I would be clinging to these verses for sure. In them we find so much hope and mercy and love.