Wednesday, 30 December 2015
REPENTANCE IS A GOOD IDEA
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CHANGING DIRECTIONS AND TURNING TO GOD-A GOOD IDEA

Matthew 21:28-32

 28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, Son, go, work today in my vineyard.'
29 He answered and said, "I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went.
30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, "I go, sir,' but he did not go.
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to Him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.

Hypocrisy: that would seem to be what many would think when they hear about someone turning from a destructive Godless lifestyle to JESUS.  Why would anyone want to keep playing in the middle of the road, dodging cars or getting run over?  Wouldn't we applaud that individual for making a wise decision? Smart move?   Yeah. 

In this passage Jesus is also telling us that GOD is patient and He actually welcomes our SMART decisions to turn to Him; some will have to hit rock bottom and land in the gutter before they realize where they are and where they are heading.  It's not about talking the talk; it's about walking the walk; and the only way to do that is to turn to JESUS and follow.

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Posted on 12/30/2015 10:11 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 25 December 2015
What will be the Messiah's lineage?
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(following taken from provetheBible.net, "Does Jesus fulfill the Messianic prophecies? Why, Where, When")

PROPHECY:

The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you... and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:1-3 NIV

Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."Genesis 17:19 NIV

The scepter will not depart from Judah, ...until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.Genesis 49:10 NIV

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. Numbers 24:17a NIV

FULFILLMENT:

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,... the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse,... the son of Judah, the son ofJacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,... Luke 3:23, 31-34 NIV

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Posted on 12/25/2015 7:05 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 24 December 2015
When will the Messiah arrive?
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(following taken from provetheBible.net, "Does Jesus Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies? Why, Where and When")

PROPHECY:

Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens'. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens', the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Daniel 9:24-26a NIV

FULFILLMENT:

The first question one might ask about this prophecy is, "What is a seven?" This can be traced back as early as the book of Leviticus. In Leviticus (25:2-5), the Lord decrees that land is to be farmed for six years and then "the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord". Every seventh year closed a sabbatical cycle in which the land was to be left unfarmed. This is illustrative of the seven being used here by Daniel (years are also the contextual units of time he opens the chapter with).

The first paragraph of this prophecy states that within the seventy sevens (70 x 7 = 490 years) God would accomplish six different tasks. But the second paragraph explicitly states that in seven plus sixty-two sevens ((7 + 62) x 7 = 483 years) after a decree is issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the Anointed One would come and afterwards be cut off, or killed. At the time Daniel recorded this, the Israelites were still in captivity to Babylon.

So when was the decree finally given and what happened 483 years later?

 INTERPRETATION #1

The decree was most likely issued by Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes issued two decrees which could place the death of the Anointed One in either AD 30 or 33. Dr. D. James Kennedy explains the older of several different schools of thought on this:

...We find that the 69 weeks [sevens] end in AD 26 with the Messiah being 'cut off' in AD 30. The traditional view which places the appearing of the Messiah at AD 26 would seem to be the most rational and clear understanding of this Old Testament passage.

It is very noteworthy, therefore, that it places the appearing of the promised Savior and King of the Jews at the same time as the baptism of Jesus. How do I know this? Luke makes it very clear that Jesus was baptized by John and publicly proclaimed to be the promised Messiah on the 'fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar' (Luke 3:1). Tiberius Caesar began his rule in AD 11 and therefore the fifteenth year of his reign would be AD 26.

This, therefore, clearly dates the baptism of Christ and His anointing by the Holy Spirit at the same time as the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. It also places Christ's death on the cross in AD 30, the very time when Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would be 'cut off, but not for himself'. 1 [emphasis mine]

Thus the six tasks that Daniel prophesied God would accomplish find their fulfillment in Jesus:

  • finish transgression: the redemption and forgiveness which we needed because of our sin was finally accomplished by Jesus' death on the cross,
  • put an end to sin: thanks to Jesus and his redemption of us, sin no longer has to have dominion over us (though sin will continue to exist for us to contend with until Christ's return),
  • atone for wickedness: Jesus' sacrifice on the cross paid for our sins and reconciled us to God,
  • bring in everlasting righteousness: Jesus' perfect and everlasting righteousness is now made available to us - without which no one can see the kingdom of God,
  • seal up the vision and the prophecy: because Christ fulfilled all of the above prophecies, they are now sealed, and...
  • anoint the most holy: God poured out his Holy Spirit upon his son Jesus the Christ.

 INTERPRETATION #2

The other schools of thought concerning these seventy seven's or weeks of Daniel are probably indistinguishable to non-Christians or those unfamiliar with this issue. One includes the belief that the last seven of the 490 years is not contiguous to the first 483 years and is specially set aside for the time immediately preceding Christ's return (the prophetic fulfillments of God's six tasks then being more fully realized).

The other idea is that it was the pagan king Cyrus who issued the decree from which Daniel's timetable is to be calculated. Though Cyrus' decree slightly precedes Artaxerxes' (but proponents would argue for the same date as Artaxerxes), a rather compelling argument might be made from Isaiah chapters 44:26 through 45:4.

Regardless of your preferred interpretation of Daniel, any of these leave us with the fact that Jesus' appearance coincided with the prophesied time of the Messiah's arrival. Anyone hoping to claim messiahship had to arrive at that time. No one showing up years before or years after can claim to be the Messiah; certainly no one today can, nor can anyone in the future.

Daniel lastly prophecied that after the Messiah's death, the city and the sanctuary (temple) would be destroyed. This is exactly what the Roman army carried out on Jerusalem in AD 70 - a total annihilation of the city's people, temple, and structures.

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Posted on 12/24/2015 6:56 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Who or what is the Messiah?
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(following taken from provetheBible.net, "How to recognize the Messiah")

As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. 1

- Albert Einstein

The Hebrew word mashach, that we translate messiah, means anointed one. The Greek translation of the same word, christos, is our word Christ. Therefore, when you hear the English-speaking Christian talking of Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Christ, they are referring to their belief that Jesus is the Anointed One, or the Messiah as promised in the Old Testament.

The prophets of ancient Israel spoke quite often of the Anointed One. The significance of anointing is that it was a ceremonial sign of being set apart for a special purpose, and as a symbol of having God's power or approval. Ancient Israel's prophets, priests, and kings were all anointed for their respective duties within the nation. In a minor sense, each of these were anointed ones.

The future Anointed One, however, was specified by prophecy to come at a certain time, in a specific place, having a certain lineage, be called "Mighty God", accomplish specific tasks, suffer rejection and seeming defeat, yet establish a kingdom that would destroy all of its enemies. The Anointed One would rule this kingdom forever.

 
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Posted on 12/23/2015 6:41 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015
THEY KNEW WHERE MESSIAH WOULD BE BORN AND WHEN
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Matthew 2:1-6

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' "

Micah 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. " 

GOD doesn't ask us to follow Him blindly; He wants us to trust Him.  That is why He provided clues or guidance to the people of Israel, regarding the credentials of the coming Messiah; GOD told them how to recognize the coming Anointed One.  They were told about His family; GOD gave the prophet Daniel a mathematical description of the time of the coming of Messiah; and He told them through the prophet Micah, where He would be born.  The people knew; the religious leaders of the nation knew.  He wasn't what they wanted; but HE, JESUS, was exactly what they, what we needed. 

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us A SON IS GIVEN, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, AND BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED. 

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.

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Posted on 12/22/2015 6:36 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 20 December 2015
The People Realize Something is Wrong--Time to Turn to GOD
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Matthew 3:1-6

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 

2 and saying, "REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR." 

3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " 

4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 

5 PEOPLE WENT OUT TO HIM FROM JERUSALEM AND ALL JUDEA AND THE WHOLE REGION OF THE JORDAN. 

6 CONFESSING THEIR SINS, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

John the Baptist is considered to be the last of the old testament prophets.  In this passage he is identified as the one who the prophet Isaiah said would come as a precursor to the Messiah.  It's interesting that his message was two-fold: repent or turn to GOD and the Kingdom of Heaven is near.  It is also significant that many people in Israel at this time hear his message; they come to listen to his message from throughout much of Israel. 

Now what is striking is that the people of the time are ready to hear the message.  Why?  Well, maybe they realized that there was something wrong with life; things were not as they should be.  Life was hard, greed, dishonesty, corruption was rampant; politicians of their day were just as corrupt and self-serving as those of today.  Exploitation was the order of the day.  But these people are not indifferent to religion.  There was much evidence that they were constantly being influenced by the pagan religions of the Greeks, Babylonians, Persians and others.  For instance in Caesarea Phillipi there was an active temple to the pagan god Pan.  The Jewish religious leaders of the day were from the rich and upper class and they actually disdained the common people, the "people of the land".  Arrogance, indifference, brutality, dog-eat-dog.  Yes, many realized that something was wrong with the world in general and with their individual lives.  But what do they do now that they realize that there is a problem?  Take hope-THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR!

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Posted on 12/20/2015 7:40 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 17 December 2015
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
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Matthew 16:19 --     I will give you THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 

Now when we first read this verse, it would appear that Jesus is giving Peter special authority.  Does Peter, and Peter alone, have the authority to bring people into the kingdom of heaven; does he really stand at the pearly gate and determines who goes in and who is kept out?  What is this key and does Peter have sole possession of it?  Answer: it is the gospel message-the good news that the Messiah has come, Jesus is the Messiah and GOD the Father has given us His Son as a sacrifice.  Does Peter hang onto the key?  No, he declares the message to the Jews on Pentecost; he declares the message to the gentiles of Cornelius' home, he declares the message to the Samaritans-he gives out the key to these people who in turn pass it on-THE DOOR GETS THROWN OPEN.  The keys that Jesus gave to Peter are being passed around right now; people in Iran, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in China are hearing the message that Jesus is the Messiah and they are receiving the key. 

Let's also consider whether or not Peter is given the authority to arbitrarily bind or loose anything on earth or in heaven.  Think about this for a moment, Peter has just been given the responsibility to give out the keys-pass on the message that Jesus is the Messiah.  Did he or any of the other Jews have the authority to declare that Jesus was the Messiah?  No, emphatically NO!  Before the creation of the world it was ordained, decided, declared that Jesus was Messiah.  Who saves?  GOD saves--and Him alone.  As far as who or what gets bound and released on earth or in heaven-that also has been determined in heaven by GOD.   It's all related to the message that Jesus is the Messiah and what each individual does with this fact.  It has been ordained in heaven that all who come to the Father through Jesus the Messiah are loosed from the bondage of sin and have eternal life; those who reject Jesus will remain bound or in slavery to sin and destined for utter destruction. 

So here's the deal:  WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH JESUS?

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Posted on 12/17/2015 11:03 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015
AND ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
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Matthew 16:18 -- And I tell you that you are Peter, AND ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

This is a controversial passage.  Is Jesus telling Peter that he is the rock that the church will be built on?  Think about this.  Commentaries on the language of this passage point out that the gender of the two words for stone or rock, being used here have different genders.  When Jesus says that Peter is a "rock" the word that He uses is masculine, the word that Jesus uses for the "rock" upon which He will build His church is in the feminine gender.  Let's take a serious look at this.  He's talking about two different things.  Maybe He is describing something about Peter's personality in the first part of the verse; as things turn out, Peter goes to his death for Jesus; he's solid; he goes the course.  So what about the second rock?  We need to back up to verses sixteen and seventeen.  Here Jesus asks the disciples, who do they think Jesus is; and Peter speaking for the twelve replies that He, Jesus IS THE CHRIST or THE MESSIAH.  This statement of fact is the thing that makes the church possible; JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE for the building of the church.  Consider these following passages written by the prophet Zechariah, the apostle Paul and finally Peter himself.

Zechariah 10:4 -- From Judah will come the CORNERSTONE, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.

Ephesians 2:20 -- built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, WITH CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF AS THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.:

1 Peter 2:6 -- For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, A CHOSEN AND PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

It all begins with Jesus the Messiah; and it is He who will build the church using the apostles who will lay the foundation of the church with their testimonies and witness and their writings-ALL OF WHICH ARE BASED ON THE FACT THAT JESUS IS THE MESSISAH!!

Let's also consider the last part of what Jesus says about His church, those who have been called and who are His.  The gates of hell, which means all the evil and wicked forces that exist, will not prevent the growth of the church.  Now this may seem fantastic in light of the incredible world-wide persecution of the church.  How could anybody choose to follow Jesus when it means their life?  Or does it?

Matthew 10:28 -- Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

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Posted on 12/16/2015 10:57 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015
BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU?
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Matthew 16:15 -- "BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU?" he asked. "WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?"

Here we see the arrival of a decision point for the disciples.  Jesus has just asked them who the "people" think He is; and they replied that there were a number of ideas being offered in the market place of public opinion as to who He, Jesus was.  Some people thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets brought back to life; some thought He was "another" prophet; the religious authorities thought He was a fraud or someone who was demon possessed.  There were those who thought He was a great teacher.  But no group was openly confessing Jesus as the Messiah.

So now it's time to clarify this situation.  The language of the text shows that the "you" that Jesus is asking is plural; He is asking all of the 12 disciples the question: Who do YOU say I am?  When Peter replies, he is answering for the group-YOU ARE THE CHRIST (MESSIAH), THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.  How do Peter and the other disciples know this?  Well, at this point they know that Jesus is the Messiah; He's special; He's different.  But as we see later, they really don't understand the total dimension of who the Messiah is and what He is going to do.  But Jesus tells them that GOD the Father, has revealed this to them, specifically to Peter; and they will be blessed; they will experience GOD's goodness through this revelation.

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Posted on 12/15/2015 11:08 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 14 December 2015
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT JESUS IS?
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Matthew 16:13 -- When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT THE SON OF MAN IS?"

Just think about the times and places where we live.  We are bombarded by the media; we are constantly being influenced by those who want us to accept their worldview.  The following article brings to mind the realization that what we are going through today is the same as those early believers.

(following taken from Bible.Org, AN EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, 24. Peter's Confession and Christ's Church, Allen Ross)

The Context and the Setting

We last studied the account of Jesus and the Canaanite woman in the region of Tyre and Sidon. When He came back towards Galilee, He still was in predominantly Gentile territory towards the northeast of the sea. There He fed the four thousand (15:32-39), showing that He was fully able to meet the needs of the Gentiles, just as He had demonstrated that He could meet Israel's needs when He fed the five thousand.

But when He returned to Jewish territory He was met with a challenging demand for a sign from heaven (16:1-4). Jesus refused to give the Pharisees and Sadducees the kind of sign they wanted, calling them a wicked and adulterous generation, a description of a covenant nation that was unfaithful to its covenant Lord (drawing on the imagery of Hosea). The only sign He would give was already there in Scripture, the sign of Jonah. But it was a different kind of sign, not one to convince people that He was the Messiah, but one that would come afterward to confirm that He was. It was the sign of the resurrection. But by then these enemies would have already opposed Jesus and condemned Him to death.

This challenge prompted Jesus to warn His disciples about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (16:5-12). He called it "yeast," because of its effects on the people. The disciples had trouble understanding this at first, thinking that Jesus was referring to actual bread. But soon they came to see He was warning them about their teaching. The false teaching of these religious leaders seemed to be taking a toll on would-be disciples, for the time of popularity in the Galilean region was now turning to opposition. Jesus and His disciples then left the synagogue and the town for the region of Caesarea Philippi; and many of the people were left confused between the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the Jewish leaders. And so Jesus would want to know what His own disciples thought of Him.

For those who have had the good pleasure to visit the land of Israel, and for those who want to and are hopeful they will someday be able to do it, the region of Caesarea Philippi is one of the most moving spots to visit in the light of this chapter. The city has not been worked very much by the archaeologists, but we know where it is and where the basic structures were. But across from it at the base of mountains there is this enormous mountain side of rock, like a solid wall stretching straight up to the heavens. At its base there is a cave, which used to be a source for water for the Jordan River. An earthquake stopped it, and the water now seeps up from underground and flows into rivulets and streams to become the headwaters of the Jordan. At the entrance to this cave Philip the tetrarch over the region had built a temple to Caesar (hence, the name was Caesarea Philippi to distinguish it from Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea by the Sea) and to the god Pan (so it is called Banias in Arabic). There were niches carved in the wall of the rock for statues of gods, and the temple was firmly built on the rocky plateau by the entrance of the cave.

What a setting for Matthew 16! Jesus and His disciples had left the city where there was a lot of false teaching about Jesus, and as they came to this region, near Mount Hermon, they saw this temple with all the statues of gods. And Jesus asked His disciples who people said He was, and who they, His disciples, think He was. Then Jesus said that He would build His church upon a rock, but it would survive the gates of Hell. There is evidence of some association with this cave and its temple and the underworld. And then Jesus and His disciples continued up Mount Hermon where He was transfigured before three of them (Matthew 17).

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Posted on 12/14/2015 11:04 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 10 December 2015
Isaiah prophesies the crucifixion of Christ
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 (Isaiah 53)

1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. 
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. 
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth. 
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 
9 And they made His grave with the wicked-
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities. 
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

You need to get a running start into this passage by reading again 52:13-15. Here's the suffering servant, the Messiah, in great detail enduring what we now know to be the crucifixion of the Messiah. It is remarkable that Isaiah saw this over 700 years before it was to happen. You will notice that verses 2-3 identify the horrible disfiguring beating that Jesus received prior to being placed on the cross. Then, on the cross, he suffered as a criminal...despised and rejected.

Verse 4 needs a little bit of special attention here regarding two phrases - "borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." In actuality, the Hebrew word for "griefs" is "choli" which is almost always translated "sickness" in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for "sorrows" is "mak-obe," a word expressing the result of that sickness being "pain" or "sorrow." So, this verse tells us that Jesus suffered the physical ailment and resulting pain of the cross on our behalf. However, he was counted as rejected by God as he was enduring that pain. Matthew captures the essence of this verse when he quotes it inMatthew 8:17 (see notes), "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took ourinfirmities And bore our sicknesses.'" One might get the impression from the English translation of Isaiah 53:4 that this verse refers to spiritual grief and sorrow, but Matthew makes it plain that it is "infirmities" and "sicknesses" i.e. physical suffering. I might add that, while the Hebrew in this verse clearly depicts physical suffering and not spiritual, the Septuagint (Old Testament in Greek) actually gets it wrong by translating the Hebrew "choli" as "hamartia," the word for "sin." Perhaps this faulty Greek translation has led to the common misunderstanding of this verse to be regarded as spiritual grief and sorrow rather than physical. Nonetheless, Matthew renders it correctly in Matthew 8:17 (see notes).

The passage indeed turns spiritual beginning in verse 5 where we see that Jesus' death on the cross made a spiritual impact on mankind. In other words, spiritual healing (reconciliation to God) was made possible as Jesus paid the penalty of our sin on the cross. Thus, "with his stripes we are healed." We further see this point driven home in verse 6 where we see the phrase "the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." There's your spiritual healing.

John quotes Isaiah 53 in John 12:37-41 (see notes) with regard to the ministry of Christ:

John 12:37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 
John 12:38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"
John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 
John 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."
John 12:41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

Notice verse 9, "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." We seem to see the fulfillment of verse 9 in Matthew 27:57-60 (see notes):

Matthew 27:57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 
Matthew 27:58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 
Matthew 27:59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 
Matthew 27:60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

It should be pointed out here that this chapter is the cornerstone prophecy for the atonement which makes our salvation possible. All the theological terms used to describe the proposition of our salvation are found here - propitiation, atonement, sacrifice, substitution, sinless sacrifice, spiritual healing, our Savior's suffering, man's sinful nature, man's rejection, Christ's obedience - it's all here. There is simply no serious contention that this is not a reference to the Messiah, the redeemer of all Israel...and the world. The chapters leading up to chapter 53 have set the stage, and here it is.

It's interesting that the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day highly regarded the prophecy of Isaiah, but had a hand in fulfilling the cruel stipulations of chapter 53 while they were looking for the Messiah. This demonstrates to us that people see what they are conditioned to see. Paul said in I Corinthians 2:14 (see notes), "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." With their natural minds, they rejected the Messiah and fulfilled the very prophecy regarding the Messiah for whom they said they were waiting. Hey! This is fascinating stuff!

Notice the other New Testament references back to Isaiah 53:

  • The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading verse 7 when he met Philip in Acts 8:26-40 (see notes).
  • Peter draws from verse 5 in I Peter 2:24 (see notes) when he says, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed."

(above taken from BibleTrack.org)

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Posted on 12/10/2015 6:44 PM by Larry G
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