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Jesus, the Light of the World

clock February 16, 2016 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse: John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Darkness versus Light

In a physical sense, we understand that light is a form of radiation with a dual nature of wave and particle given by a luminous body while darkness is the absence of light. Light is critically important for without light no human life on earth may survive. Given its importance and intimate familiarity to us, light and darkness, are therefore fittingly used metaphorically in the Bible to teach us the truth that we may understand. According to the Bible, darkness is the antithesis of light. Darkness has the connotation of wickedness (Proverbs 4:19), living under the bondage of Satan (Acts 26:18), stumbling leading to disasters in life (Jeremiah 13:16), final judgement and death (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 1:13; Revelation 21:8). In contrast, light has the connotation of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18; 1 John 1:5-6), living a redeemed life in the fellowship of God (1 John 1:7) with guidance (Isaiah 42:16; Psalm 119:105), blessings (Numbers 6:24-25), knowing God, joy, salvation, and eternal life given by God through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:8-9; Revelation 22:5).

How darkness came into the world? Its effects on life?

When God created the first man and woman on His image, the relationship of God and mankind was very close like father and children (Genesis 1:27). As the father, God not only created a good environment for Adam and Eve to live, but guided them to marriage and form a family (Genesis 2:22), and a mission of life (Genesis 1:28). God also gave them instruction in living which is to trust and obey God which could be demonstrated by believing and obeying His command of not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). When Adam and Eve were put in the garden of Eden, they knew no sin. But, when Adam disbelieved and disobeyed God's instruction not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). In fact, the first tragic murder was a brother killing another brother as recorded in the Bible happened in the very first family of mankind when Adam's elder son Cain killed Abel out of jealousy (Genesis 4:8).

As human population multiplied, so was the extent of sin and the earth was full of corruption and violence (Genesis 6:11) such that God needed to exercise justice and put an end of all people (Genesis 6:13). Only Noah, his wife, his three sons and three wives were saved from God's judgement for they believed God such that they built and enter an ark according to God's instructions (Genesis 7:7). By the way, we need to understand that Noah was not saved from the judgement by his own righteousness although he was a relatively good person in his generation (Genesis 6:9). Noah was saved because of his faith in God as shown by his endeavour to build an ark according to God's instructions (Hebrews 11:7). By the same token, Abraham was also justified before God not by his own righteous works but by faith (Romans 4:2-3). After all, all humans are sinners and our righteous acts are like filthy rags according to God's holiness (Isaiah 64:6).

How does God show His mercy and love to rescue mankind from darkness?

After judgement by the flood, the descendants of Noah multiplied. Sin still exists in human race for all of us by nature tend to gratify the cravings of our sinful desires and thoughts (Ephesians 2:3). In other words, people still live in darkness. Out of His love and mercy, God plans to save the whole world with Israel to be the light to the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:4; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 49:6).

Of course, we need to understand that it is not the human efforts of Israel as a nation to accomplish God's plan of salvation. It is purely the effort of God to accomplish His own plan of salvation of Israel and all nations on earth (Isaiah 9:7). It is fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ who came to the world as an infant, born as a descendant of Abraham and king David (Isaiah 9:6). But, Jesus Christ is God by nature that became flesh living among us (Isaiah 9:6;Micah 5:2;John 1:14). Since Jesus the Messiah came as a man who by nature is God and is invisible, it fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that the Lord will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations and see the salvation of our God who brought salvation to Israel first (Isaiah 52:9-10), then other nations (Isaiah 52:15). Jesus, the suffering Servant, redeemed us by offering His body as a sacrifice (Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:5).

The meaning that salvation of the world is from Israel simply because Jesus in His human attribute, is a Jew such that it is proper to mention the national name of Israel in the context of nations. By the same token, it is proper to say that South Korea won the International Chopin Competition 2015 but in fact it was Seong-Jin Cho, who is a South Korean, won the Competition. Therefore, it is perfectly understandable that Jesus once told the Samaritan woman that salvation was from the Jews but in fact He alone is the Savior (John 4:22; John 3:16; John 14:6). In fact, Israel herself as a nation needs to be restored by the Servant of God who is the Christ (Isaiah 49:6). After all, all people on earth including the people of Israel are sinners and therefore subject to judgement and let alone to be the redeemer of others (Isaiah 53:6). Only Jesus Christ, the Servant, is qualified to be the redeemer who suffered for the sins of others (Isaiah 53:5). Having said that, God has chosen Israel to server as the light to the Gentiles in a subsidiary but important role. As the chosen people of God, the experience of Israel reveals the glory, power, sovereignty, justice, faithfulness, love and mercy of God (Psalm 147:19; Ezekiel 20:5). Through the faithful prophets and priests of Israel, the revelation of God was written down in the Old Testament. Through the faithful apostles of the early church, God communicates the gospel of salvation to the world. All the apostles were Jewish and the New Testament writers were all Jewish except the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts which were written by a gentile. The revelation of God shows us that there is judgement and penalty of sin. By God's mercy, sinners can be redeemed. In the Old Testament time, sacrifices of sins were performed using animals without defect which teaches that only perfect sacrifices are acceptable (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 22:24). The Old Testament sacrifices were only object lessons teaching the consequence of sin and redemption and these sacrifices according to the Old Testament laws were not real in redemption (Hebrews 10:3-4). True sacrifice was fulfilled by the Servant of God, the Messiah who has no sin and became the sacrifice of all sinners (Hebrews 10:8-10).

Because of the work of salvation of Jesus Christ, we may all leave darkness and come to the light of Him (Ephesians 5:8). When we walk in the light, we have fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). When we walk in the light, dark and shameful deeds are exposed for our deeds are constantly illuminated by the holiness of God (Ephesians 5:9-13). It is possible for us to walk with God only because of the sacrifice of Jesus whose suffering paid for our sins (1 John 1:7). The invitation of God to walk in His light is not for Israel only but to the whole world (Isaiah 2:5; Isaiah 60:1-3). For God is love and He loves the whole world (John 3:16). He wants to save us from the powers of the dark and the spiritual forces of evil in the world (Ephesians 6:12). Let us come to His light! Let us also serve as the light to people who have not known Jesus such that they might also come to the light (Matthew 5:14).

Conclusion

By nature, we all live in darkness and destine to die because we all live in this world and being the descendants of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22). Only Jesus brings light to this world which is filled with darkness. The light that Jesus brings overcomes darkness of the world and bestows life to mankind and we may all leave darkness by responding to Jesus' gracious invitation to come to His light to have life by faith (Psalm 36:9;John 1:4; John 12:46; John 8:12). Unlike our present life which surely tends to deteriorate with a gloomy future, the life that Jesus gives is eternal and has a bright future for God is faithful and has prepared glorious inheritance for those who are in Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:18). Repentant people accept Jesus' invitation to leave darkness and enter the kingdom of light for they are transformed by God such that they are no longer happy with evil but with the truth (John 3:21; 1 Corinthians 13:6). In contrast, non-repentant people prefer to stay in darkness and ignore Jesus' gracious invitation (John 3:19-20). When we follow Jesus walking in the light, His blood purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7). In other word, we are saved from darkness by Jesus who is the light of the world (Colossians 1:13). Without Jesus, the world will remain in darkness for there is no other source of true light. May we all enter the light by accepting Jesus' invitation to follow Him.

Bible References

Proverbs 4:19

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

Acts 26:18

18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Jeremiah 13:16

16 Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.

2 Peter 2:17

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

Jude 1:13

13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Revelation 21:8

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

Proverbs 4:18

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

1 John 1:5-6

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Isaiah 42:16

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Numbers 6:24-25

24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

2 Corinthians 4:6

6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.

1 Peter 1:8-9

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Revelation 22:5

5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Genesis 1:27

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:22

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Genesis 1:28

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Genesis 2:16-17

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

Romans 5:12

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-

Genesis 4:8

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 6:11

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.

Genesis 6:13

13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Genesis 7:7

7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

Genesis 6:9

9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Hebrews 11:7

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Romans 4:2-3

2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Isaiah 64:6

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ephesians 2:3

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:4

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

Isaiah 49:3

3 He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 9:7

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6

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 9:6

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.

Micah 5:2

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."

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 52:9-10

9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah 52:15

15 so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 52:14

14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness-

Isaiah 53:5

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

John 4:22

22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

John 3:16

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 14:6

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 53:6

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:5

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Psalm 147:19

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.

Ezekiel 20:5

5 and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, "I am the Lord your God."

Exodus 12:5

5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

Leviticus 22:24

24 You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land,

Hebrews 10:3-4

3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10:8-10

8 First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them"-though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Ephesians 5:8

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Ephesians 5:9-13

9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Isaiah 2:5

5 Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-3

60 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

John 3:16

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.

Ephesians 6:12

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Matthew 5:14

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Isaiah 9:2

2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:6-7

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. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

1 John 1:5-7

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Isaiah 60:19-20

19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

Psalm 49:19

19 they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.

Psalm 49:13

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.

Psalm 49:15

15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.

1 Corinthians 15:22

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

 

Proverbs 4:19

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

Acts 26:18

18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Jeremiah 13:16

16 Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.

2 Peter 2:17

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

Revelation 21:8

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

Proverbs 4:18

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

1 John 1:5-6

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Isaiah 42:16

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Psalm 119:105

? Nun 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

2 Corinthians 4:6

6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.

1 Peter 1:8-9

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Revelation 22:5

5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Genesis 1:27

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:22

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Genesis 1:28

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Genesis 2:16-17

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

Romans 5:12

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-

Genesis 4:8

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 6:11

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.

Genesis 6:13

13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Genesis 7:7

7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

Genesis 6:9

9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Hebrews 11:7

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Romans 4:2-3

2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Isaiah 64:6

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ephesians 2:3

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:4

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

Isaiah 49:3

3 He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 9:7

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6

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 9:6

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.

Micah 5:2

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."

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 52:9-10

9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah 52:15

15 so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 52:14

14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness-

Isaiah 53:5

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

John 4:22

22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

John 3:16

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 14:6

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 53:6

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

Isaiah 53:5

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Psalm 147:19

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.

Ezekiel 20:5

5 and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, "I am the Lord your God."

Exodus 12:5

5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

Leviticus 22:24

24 You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land,

Hebrews 10:3-4

3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10:8-10

8 First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them"-though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Ephesians 5:8

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Ephesians 5:9-13

9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Isaiah 2:5

5 Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-3

60 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

John 3:16

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.

Ephesians 6:12

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Matthew 5:14

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

1 Corinthians 15:22

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

John 8:12

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Ephesians 1:18

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

1 John 1:5-7

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Psalm 36:9

9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Revelation 21:8

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

John 1:4

4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 12:46

46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Colossians 1:13

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

John 3:21

21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

1 Corinthians 13:6

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

John 3:19-20

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.



Understanding the Statement: “the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years”

clock November 6, 2015 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse

Daniel 9:2

2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Based on the concept of approximation, a popular interpretation of the beginning year of the seventy years of the dominance of Babylon was 605 B.C. when the first group of Jews were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonian empire was demolished by the Persians in October 539 B.C. 1. Cyrus the Great took over Babylon in 538 B.C. assuming that 539 B.C. is the accession year and 538 B.C. is the first year of the reign as mentioned in Ezra 1:1 when Cyrus the Great decreed that the Jews were allowed to return and rebuild the Jerusalem temple (Ezra 1:1-3). The timespan of 605 B.C. to 538 B.C. was about 67 years which can be rounded to 70 years.

This article presents a more accurate view based on the scriptures and history such that approximation is not necessary in interpreting the seventy year period in Jeremiah's prophecy. If we study the scriptures more carefully, there are two characteristics of this period of seventy years. The first characteristic is that Babylon became the dominant empire such that other nations would exist under its shadow. Prophet Jeremiah wrote that these nations would serve Babylon seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11). The second characteristic is that Jerusalem was in desolation. As prophet Daniel wrote that Jerusalem would be in desolation for seventy years (Daniel 9:2).

The Bible is clear in marking the end of the seventy-year period, namely, the punishment and end of the Babylonian empire. As prophet Jeremiah wrote that when the seventy years are completed, God would punish Babylon and his nation (Jeremiah 25:12). Having the privilege to witness the end of the Babylonian empire and its transition to the new era of Persian Empire, Daniel knew that the seventy year period had ended such that he turned to God in prayer asking for mercy to end the desolation of Jerusalem and forgiveness of his fellow people without delay (Daniel 9:18-19). Indeed, God was about to fulfill what Jeremiah had written at the time when Daniel was praying by moving the heart of king Cyrus such that he made proclamation to allow the people of Judah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). At the same time, God sent angel Gabriel to inform Daniel another prophecy which is like a sequel to Jeremiah's prophecy. Jeremiah's seventy year prophecy concerns only a snapshot of Israel and the temple in history. The prophecy given by angel Gabriel concerns the eternal future of Israel and the world when sin is put to an end and atoned for by the Messiah who is put to death such that everlasting righteousness is ushered in when the resurrected Messiah will come for the second time: the prophecy of the seventy "sevens (Daniel 9:24).

Since Babylon was conquered by Persia in 539 B.C., the beginning year of the seventy years could be computed as 609 B.C. (539 B.C. - 70 years = 609 B.C.). Therefore it is logical to examine relevant historical events in 609 B.C. to see if it is a good starting point of Jeremiah's seventy-year period. In 609 B.C., king Josiah was moribundly wounded in a battle with the Egyptians who were on the way to assist the Assyrians against the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 35:22-23). When king Josiah died, great mourning permeated Judah and Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 35:24-25). 609 B.C. was also the year the united army of Assyria and Egypt decidedly defeated by the Chaldeans marking the end of Assyrian Empire.2 With the end of Assyrian empire and the defeat of Egypt, Babylon became the undisputed leading empire in the region. Moreover, God promised that He would not bring disaster to Judah while king Josiah lived (2 Kings 22:15-20). Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the judgement of Judah was ready to begin after the death of king Josiah when an ungodly king succeeded. It was dated that king Josiah died in July, 609 B.C. 3. Jehoahaz, Josiah's son immediately succeeded to become king of Judah but lasted only for 3 months (2 Chronicles 36:1-2). The reason for the short reign was that the king of Egypt came to Jerusalem and dethroned Jehoahaz and carried him to Egypt making him the first captive of Judah in a foreign land. The king of Egypt made Jehoiakim, the elder son of Josiah, the king over Judah and Jerusalem. Moreover, the king of Egypt imposed a heavy levy on Judah (2 Chronicles 36:2, 4). The estimated time for these events was October, 609 B.C.. I think this was a good starting point of Jeremiah's seventy years prophecy for two reasons. First, Jerusalem was now under the control of foreign power and Jehoahaz was the first legitimate king of Judah that became a captive taken to foreign land. Although Jerusalem was not completely destroyed until 586 B.C., people in Jerusalem should start to feel oppressed and miserable. Military force was likely used by Egypt to enter Jerusalem to capture king Jehoahaz. Moreover, people of Judah were levied an extra financial burden to pay tribute to Egypt. No sovereign nation and king would be willing to undergo a regime change without forces. Therefore, it is not hard to conceive that Jerusalem had been subject to Egyptian military duress or siege such that Judah surrendered to the imputed changes. A few years later in 605 B.C., Egypt itself was decisively defeated in the battle of Carchemish by Babylon (Jeremiah 46:2) such that the Egyptian army was almost annihilated 4. Judah was taken over from Egypt by Babylon as a vassal state. Anyway, Judah had already been a vassal state of Egypt since 609 B.C..

One question I have in studying this prophecy is whether the seventy years are prophetic years or calendar years. If it is prophetic years, then the number of days of each year is only 360 days which means that the starting year of the seventy year period is 608 B.C. because (608 - 539) * 365.24219879 / 360 = 70 prophetic years. The number 365.24219879 is the number of days in a solar year. To see that a prophetic year is equal to 360 days, recall that prophet Daniel wrote about the last three and a half years (time, times and a half a time) known as the Jacob's trouble when Israel will be persecuted but will be delivered by God Himself (Daniel 7:25). Similarly, apostle John wrote that the gentiles will trample Jerusalem for 42 months while the two witnesses God appointed will prophesy for 1,260 days (Revelation 11:2-3). Apostle John also wrote that behind the persecution of Israel by the gentiles, the driving force is actually Satan symbolically called the beast (Revelation 13:5). But, God will deliver Israel during this severe persecution (Revelation 12:6, 14). Here, we see that 3 and a half years is equal to 42 months which is also equal to 1,260 days. In other word, a prophetic year is 12 months of 30 days per month.

However, Judah also kept a civil calendar in the Old Testament time and a civil calendar year is quite close to a solar year. The start of a Jewish month is determined by observing the appearance of a new moon. On average, a month is about 29.530585 days long. Therefore, a year is only about 354.36702 days long which is about 10.875176 days shorter than a solar year (365.242196 - 354.36702). Therefore, a Jewish calendar year needs adjustment in order to align with the solar year. Otherwise, a Passover could occur in summer or winter rather than spring. Moreover, a Jewish calendar needs to be compatible with agricultural activities which are critically connected to Jewish life 6. The Jewish calendar follows the Metonic cycle which is almost equal to nineteen solar years. Since a Jewish calendar year is about 10.875176 days shorter than a solar year, in the Metonic cycle of nineteen years, there is a shortage of 10.875176 * 19 = 206.628344 days. The shortage is compensated by adding an additional month to seven of the nineteen years in a Metonic cycle because 7 * 29.530585 = 206.714095 days. Therefore, a Jewish calendar year is about (354.36702 * 19 + 206.714095 ) / 19 = 365.2467 days which is quite close to the length of a solar year 5.

Since the years of punishment of Judah are linked to the sabbath years, this implies that the seventy years in Jeremiah's prophecy are calendar years rather than prophetic years. A sabbath year is measured by civil calendar because a sabbath year is written in the context of agriculture (Leviticus 25:3-4). Sabbath years are also used in the context of judgement of Israel as written by Moses when they live in the country of their enemies such that the land of Israel enjoys its sabbaths (Leviticus 26:34). The judgement of Judah in Jeremiah's prophecy is an example that the land of Judah enjoyed its sabbath rests while the people of Judah were taken captives in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:21). By the way, we need to understand that the judgement on Israel was not caused merely by their violation in observing the Sabbath years. The cause of judgement was their disobedience of God's words in general and their worship of idols in particular while ignoring the warnings of the messengers God sent to them (Leviticus 26:1-2; Leviticus 26:14-15; 2 Chronicles 36:15-16).

Conclusion

Jeremiah's seventy years started in 609 BC when Assyrian Empire came to the end and Babylonian Empire became dominant. It was also the year king Josiah died and succeeding king Jehoahaz became the first captive of Judah in a foreign land. The seventy years ended when Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian in 539 BC.

References:
1. Cyrus takes Babylon http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/babylon01.html
2. Timeline of Assyrian History http://www.aina.org/articles/toah.htm
3. Moses and the Exodus Chronological, Historical and Archaeological Evidence https://books.google.com/books?id=UgxjCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA47&lpg=PA47
3. Proving it - Eschatology That Makes Sense in Four Research Reports, pp. 104 https://books.google.com/books?id=_vdBylFzirMC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106
4. Chronicles of Chaldean Kings (626-556 B.C.) in the British Museum http://www.etana.org/sites/default/files/coretexts/20337.pdf
5. Proving it - Eschatology That Makes Sense in Four Research Reports, pp. 104 https://books.google.com/books?id=_vdBylFzirMC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106
6. Farming the Jewish Way http://forward.com/opinion/171856/farming-the-jewish-way/

Bible REFERENCES

Ezra 1:1-3

Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.

Jeremiah 25:11

11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Daniel 9:2

2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Jeremiah 25:12

12 "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the Lord, "and will make it desolate forever.

Daniel 9:18-19

18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

2 Chronicles 36:22-23

22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 23 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.'"

Daniel 9:24

24 "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 Place.

Jeremiah 25:12

12 "But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the Lord, "and will make it desolate forever.

Daniel 9:18-19

18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

2 Chronicles 36:22-23

22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 23 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.'"

Daniel 9:24

24 "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 Place.

2 Chronicles 35:22-23

22 Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God's command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. 23 Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, "Take me away; I am badly wounded."

2 Chronicles 35:24-25

24 So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his ancestors, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. 25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.

2 Kings 22:15-20

15 She said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 'This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.' 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people-that they would become a curse and be laid waste-and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.'" So they took her answer back to the king.

2 Chronicles 36:1-2

36  And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father. Jehoahaz King of Judah 2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.

2 Chronicles 36:2, 4

2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.

4 The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. But Necho took Eliakim's brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.

Jeremiah 46:2

2 Concerning Egypt: This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

Daniel 7:25

25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

Revelation 11:2-3

2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."

Revelation 13:5

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.

Revelation 12:6, 14

6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.

Leviticus 25:3-4

3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.

Leviticus 26:34

34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

2 Chronicles 36:21

21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.

Leviticus 26:1-2

26 "'Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the Lord your God. 2 "'Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 26:14-15

14 "'But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,

2 Chronicles 36:15-16

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.



Exploring the Prophecy of the Lord’s Dealing with Tyre after Seventy Forgotten Years

clock July 15, 2015 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse:

Isaiah 23:17

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth

The purpose of this article is to examine the prophecy that Tyre would be forgotten for seventy years according to prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 23:15) and how the Lord dealt with Tyre afterwards. This period of seventy years should not be the same seventy years mentioned by prophet Jeremiah. The reason is crystal clear when we have the benefit in looking at history. In accordance to the prophecy against Tyre in the book of Isaiah, the destruction covers mainland Tyre (Isaiah 23:1), island Tyre (Isaiah 23:6; Isaiah 23:9), Sidon (Isaiah 23:12) and Carthage or Tarshish (Isaiah 23:14) so as to fulfill the order given by God that the Phoenicia fortresses are to be destroyed (Isaiah 23:11). However, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Sidon and the mainland Tyre in the sixth century B.C. while leaving the island Tyre untouched for he did not have the knowhow and a navy to do so. It was not until Alexander the great that island Tyre was conquered in 332 B.C. 1. Then it was not until 146 B.C. that Carthage was destroyed by the Romans. In addition, if we look closer, the phrase "seventy years" is qualified by another phrase "the span of a king's life". Without specifying who the king is, it is difficult to know what this period refers to though it suggests the length of the period is an approximation of seventy years like the length of a lifespan (Psalm 90:10). However, more hints are given in the context of the prophecy which says that Tyre will return to her lucrative position and trade with all kingdoms (Isaiah 23:17). Moreover, her profits will go to those who live before the Lord (Isaiah 23:18). A very good article on the history of destruction of Tyre in light of Biblical prophecies and history proposes that the "seventy years" refers to the period after Tyre's conquest by Alexander in 332 B.C. to 274 B.C. when Ptolemy II granted independent status to Tyre 2 . But, there are two problems in this interpretation. First, Tyre was not forgotten after the conquest by Alexander who conquered but did not completely destroy the island Tyre. In fact, Tyre recovered rapidly in a matter of seventeen years after the conquest 3. Second, 58 years (332 B.C. to 274 B.C. is about 58 years) is too rough an approximation of 70 years. But, the article makes an excellent observation that after its conquest and recovery, the coinage issued in Tyre was the only acceptable coinage used in payment of temple tax in New Testament times 2. Since money is the medium of exchange, the temple tax money could definitely be used to provide the needs such as food and clothing of the people serving in the temple. Therefore, the prophecy about the earnings and profits would go to those who lived before the Lord for abundant food and fine clothes was fulfilled (Isaiah 23:18).

The question remains: what is the seventy year period in history that Tyre was forgotten according to the Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 23:15). A little research on my own shows that from 287 B.C. the Phoenicia was under the control of the Ptolemies and it remains dependent on the Ptolemies for nearly seventy years 3. While under the control of king Ptolemy II, Tyre's prosperity was hurt significantly. Moreover, the Phoenician culture and even language were changed towards Greek and the Phoenician monarchies were replaced 4. Therefore, the seventy year period that Tyre was forgotten could be the almost 70 years starting from 287 B.C. when the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Tyre. Here are the relevant details in history concerning Phoenicia under the control of the Ptolemies:

"... when Ptolemy Philadelphus constructed the harbor of Berenice on the Red Sea, and made a road with stations and watering places to Coptos, and reopened the canal which joined the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Gulf of Suez, Tyre suffered a great and permanent loss, for the traffic of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, which had hitherto passed from Eloth and Eziongeber across to Rinocolura, and thence to all parts of the Mediterranean by vessels of Tyre, now passed by way of the canal to Alexandria. Thus the wealth that had formerly flowed to Tyre began to flow to Alexandria." 4

"The persistent lug of war between Ptolemies and Seleucids over Phoenicia, Syria and Palestine also results in great cultural changes in the region. Phoenician is discarded as a literary language and is replaced by Greek. " 4

"The years 287-225 B.C.saw the Ptolemies gain and maintain control of the cities (except for Aradus), and the disappearance of the Phoenician monarchies. G. suggests (p.58) that in some cases the depositions were carried out by Graeco-Macedonian rulers because the kings had failed to change sides swiftly enough in the period of rapidly changing hegemony early in the century. They were replaced by nominally republican constitutions of "the Tyrians" and "the Sidonians," with epigraphic formulae (in Greek) suggesting similarities to the boule and demos combination of contemporary Greek cities in the area." 4

Prophet Isaiah also wrote that after the seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. But, Tyre will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth (Isaiah 23:17). As we know from history, the Phoenicians were skilled merchants and sailors. With their well-built boats, they could travel far around the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic (Isaiah 23:7). Archeological findings show that Phoenicians reached remote locations such as England and Ireland. When prophet Isaiah wrote that the Phoenicians prostituted with all the kingdoms of the earth, it literally meant that the Phoenicians practiced prostitution with people of all kingdoms of the earth. For the Phoenicians and most of their colonies, their religion required their maidens to have sex with strangers. There is little doubt that Phoenicians mixed sex along with their trades to their advantage 5. The Lord's dealings with Tyre were seen clearly in history as it gradually approached the New Testament era. Carthage (Tarshish in Isaiah 23) was the last stronghold of the Phoenicia with a large population practicing Phoenician religion and culture.. In fact, Carthage was so strong that it was a threat to the Romans. A series of three wars which historians call the Punic Wars were fought between Rome and Carthage spanning almost 120 years from 265 B.C. to 146 B.C.. Finally, the Romans destroyed Carthage in 146 B.C. fulfilling the prophecy of prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 23:11; Isaiah 23:14). With the destruction of Carthage, the prophecy against Phoenicia (Canaan) was fulfilled for all the Phoenicia fortresses across the Mediterranean sea were destroyed (Isaiah 23:11). Although the major Phoenicia cities Tyre and Sidon were still in existence at that time, they had been conquered and were open to the influence and control of foreign powers. The Phoenician religion and culture were fading in history. Tyre, the mother city of Carthage, had been transformed to a Greek city and then to a Roman city at about 64 B.C..

Then a question arises concerning the prophecy of prophet Ezekiel against Tyre. Does the prophecy say that Tyre will be utterly destroyed? Why does Tyre still exist today? Indeed, Tyre was utterly destroyed as prophet Ezekiel foretold. We need to read the prophecy more closely to understand what is being targeted in the prophetic judgment. Some commentators suggest that it is not until 1291 A.D. that the prophecy was fulfilled when the Arabs totally destroyed Tyre to make it impossible for the Crusaders to reoccupy the city. On the other hand, there are skeptics saying that the prophecy against Tyre is a failed prophecy for Tyre has been rebuilt and still exists today. Actually, the prophecy unequivocally targets the Phoenician (Canaanite) Tyre. By Phoenician Tyre, I mean the original Tyre built and sovereignly ruled by the Phoenicians. The Phoenician Tyre consisted of the mainland city which was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and the island city which was conquered by Alexander the Great who also utterly destroyed the mainland city in order to use its materials to build a landbridge connecting to the island city during its siege. The prophetic judgement unequivocally targets against the Phoenicians in Tyre. Incidentally, the "real estate" the Phoenicians occupied was included in the prophecy also. It can be confirmed by reading a comment on Tyre and Sidon made by Jesus when He rebuked and prophesied against Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matthew 11:21). These three cities had the privilege to witness the presence and works of Jesus the Messiah and yet they rejected Him. Jesus then announced prophetic judgement on them. Although Jesus did not say specifically how these cities were judged, He mentioned that Sodom would have remained, Tyre and Sidon would have repented (Matthew 11:21; Matthew 11:23). It is quite clear that Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum would be judged by destruction. Indeed, these three cities were destroyed by earthquakes later. With the comment on Tyre and Sidon given by Jesus, we can conclude that the core of the prophecies against Tyre and Sidon had been fulfilled by the time Jesus mentioned that Tyre and Sidon would have repented. By the core of the prophecies, I mean the judgement on the Phoenicians. After all, only people can repent not the land and houses they occupied. The targets of the prophetic judgement are therefore the Phoenicians who lived in Tyre and Sidon. It is erroneous to associate the prophecies to the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders and the Lebanese people who came in the cities later after the Phoenicians. The reason is simply that it is the people that  committed sins are the causes and subjects of judgement and the destruction of the "real estate" the sinners occupied is incidental and served only as part of the penalty. Sometimes, as in the case of Tyre, the ruins of the "real estates" are described in the prophecy in order to mark the fulfillment of the divine judgement. Therefore, it is also erroneous to think that the prophecy against Tyre has not been fulfilled because newer architectures were added to the city by the late comers after the judgement of the Phoenicians. These new architectures were not the repairs or enhancements of the original "real estates" the Phoenicians occupied such that the prophecy of Ezekiel is violated. The prophecy clearly states that it is the Phoenician "real estates" that will not be inhabited and will not even be found (Ezekiel 26:21).

Let us examine the prophecy announced by prophet Ezekiel to see if it is consistent with the conclusion we made. By reading the details of the prophecy identifying the city being prophesied carefully, we understand that only Phoenician Tyre matched the descriptions. For example, it was Phoenician Tyre that traded with Judah and Israel (Ezekiel 27:17). Over the years, after the decline of the Phoenicians, various architectures were built in Tyre by the Greeks, Romans and even the Crusaders. In addition, you can find modern day residential and commercial buildings in the city. But, all these buildings were not of Phoenician and are therefore excluded from Ezekiel's prophecy. In fact, these buildings were added when Israel and Judah ceased to exist as nations after 722 B.C. and 586 B.C. respectively. In other words, by simple logic based on the timeline, these buildings did not even exist when Israel and Judah ended and logically are not targeted by the prophecy. Therefore, when prophet Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre would come to a horrible end and would never be found, he referred to the Phoenician Tyre (Ezekiel 27:36). Even the characteristics of the ruins of the Phoenician Tyre were specified in the prophecy: sunken into the ocean and embedded in the earth (Ezekiel 26:19; Ezekiel 26:20).

As you can see in the above diagram comparing Tyre in 332 B.C. and today, the major portion of the island which the Phoenician Tyre was located is now under ocean water. The land bridge connecting the mainland and the island has grown over the centuries mainly due to water currents carrying materials to enlarge the land bridge built by Alexander the Great. Today, the phoenician Tyre could not be found for it is under water and below the earth. Please go to this site to confirm that the archeology sites of Tyre today are the Crusader, Arab, Byzantine and Graeco-Roman remains. The Phoenician Tyre is indeed below ocean water and earth today and will not return to the land of the living (Ezekiel 26:19-20).

Therefore, we all witness the power and reliability of the words of God. God is indeed trustworthy for He is faithful and almighty. As the psalmist says, the word of the Lord is faithful and His word is right and true (Psalm 33:4). What God has spoken can be counted on for His word will be fulfilled (Isaiah 55:9-11).

References:
1. Alexander's Siege of Tyre, 332 BC http://www.ancient.eu/article/107/
2. Ezekiel 26:1-14: A Proof Text For Inerrancy or Fallibility of The Old Testament? http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/07/ezekiel-261-14-a-proof-text-for-inerrancy-or-fallibility-of-the-old-testament.aspx
3. The Phoenicians and the Mayans https://books.google.com/books?id=5KrRAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=true
4. The History of Tyre https://books.google.com/books?id=c-xNAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
5. The History of Prostitution: Its Extent, Causes, and Effects Throughout the World https://books.google.com/books?id=sjGJQTkgPp4C&pg=PA683&lpg=PA683&dq

Bible References

Isaiah 23:15

15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

Isaiah 23:1

A Prophecy Against Tyre 23 A prophecy against Tyre: Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor. From the land of Cyprus word has come to them.

Isaiah 23:6

6 Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you people of the island.

Isaiah 23:9

9 The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

Isaiah 23:12

12 He said, "No more of your reveling, Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed! "Up, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest."

Isaiah 23:14

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed!

Isaiah 23:11

11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed.

Psalm 90:10

10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Isaiah 23:1

1Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor. From the land of Cyprus word has come to them.

Isaiah 23:18

18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.

Isaiah 23:17

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.

Isaiah 23:7

7 Is this your city of revelry, the old, old city, whose feet have taken her to settle in far-off lands?

Isaiah 23:11

11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed.

Isaiah 23:14

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed!

Isaiah 23:14

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed!.

Matthew 11:21

21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:21

21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:23

23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

Ezekiel 26:21

21 I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Ezekiel 27:17

17 "'Judah and Israel traded with you; they exchanged wheat from Minnith and confections, honey, olive oil and balm for your wares.

Ezekiel 27:36

36 The merchants among the nations scoff at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'"

Ezekiel 26:19

19 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I make you a desolate city, like cities no longer inhabited, and when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you,

Ezekiel 26:20

20 then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place in the land of the living.

Ezekiel 26:19-20

19 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I make you a desolate city, like cities no longer inhabited, and when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you, 20 then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place in the land of the living.

Psalm 33:4

4 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Isaiah 55:9-11

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.



The Complementary Nature of the Bible Part 3 of 3 (Authentication of the Messiah)

clock February 14, 2015 15:24 by author wtsang

Key Verses:

John 5:39

39You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

John 5:36

36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish-the very works that I am doing-testify that the Father has sent me.

Introduction

To recapitulate our discussion so far, the Messiah was unequivocally identified by God Himself to mankind because the Messiah is the only way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Long before the coming of the Messiah, God inspired the prophets to write prophecies about the Messiah and His mission. At the birth of the Messiah, God notified the shepherds on duty the night the Messiah was born through angels. Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, the Magi, Simeon and Anna were inspired by God to testify that Jesus would be the King and salvation. When Jesus grew up and began His ministry, God sent John the Baptist as the forerunner witnessing that Jesus is the Messiah who has the authority to baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:32-34) and the savior of the world (John 1:29). Even the coming of John the Baptist and his mission were also prophesied by the prophets and announced by the angel to John's father (Luke 1:17). The parents of John the Baptist served as the natural witnesses to identify John as the voice in the desert. In addition, the neighbors of John the Baptist and the people in Judea all witnessed to his miraculous birth by his elderly parents and his ministry in the wilderness.

Even today, God is still actively preaching and inviting people to come to the Messiah through His disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 10:17). The disciples of the Messiah serve as the light of the world and they themselves are identified by the Spirit of Christ that lives in them (Matthew 5:14; Romans 8:9). It is relevant to add a side note here about authentic disciples of Christ. The disciples of Christ are authenticated by their deeds, by their faith and by their teachings. True disciples are authenticated by the fruits they bear (Matthew 7:15-17), and they acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who was the Word that became flesh living among us (John 1:14; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:2-3). True disciples are people who are already saved by faith in the Messiah, born again by the Holy Spirit through the word of God (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:26). Therefore, true disciples naturally teach according to the teachings of Christ which are reminded by the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

But, the Messiah was not merely identified without substance but thoroughly authenticated to whom He truly was. The substance of authenticating the Messiah are the works He accomplished which He was sent to do such that we may put our faith in Him (John 5:36). Jesus' ministry was chartered and powered by God, foretold by the prophets with John the Baptist witnessing Him as the Messiah by the visible sign of the Holy Spirit like a dove descending on Him (John 1:32-34). Later when John the Baptist was imprisoned by king Herod, he sent two messengers to double check if Jesus was really the Messiah. Jesus answered the messengers with the authenticating evidence by His works that they all witnessed such that John would know for sure He was the Lord (Matthew 11:4-5). Jesus had been preaching the good news of salvation by faith and performing the miraculous signs of opening blind eyes to see, enabling deaf ears to hear, making the lame walk, and even raising of the dead. In other words, Jesus' mission and power unequivocally authenticate that He is the Messiah. The generous and gracious invitation for the spiritually bankrupt sinners to simply come in faith to Him to be saved are prophesied by prophet Isaiah and the Messiah came to fulfill this gracious promise (Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:3; John 7:37). The good news is that salvation is a gracious gift of God to sinners who would come to the Messiah to receive. The basis of the good news of salvation is made possible by the Messiah who sacrificed Himself such that sinners who otherwise will perish may have life (Mark 10:45). Therefore, the works foretold by the prophets and fulfilled by the Messiah in the power and unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit serve as His authenticating evidence (John 10:30; Mark 1:8). Let us study the authentication of the Messiah in more details.

1 Authentication By His Mission

Isaiah 61:1-2 serves as the charter of the mission of the Messiah (Isaiah 61:1-2). In fact, Jesus read these verses from the book of Isaiah in a synagogue at the beginning of His earthly ministry to proclaim good news and hope to this dark world which is full of sins and people are bounded by and are afflicted by the consequences of sins without future but waiting for death and judgment. Jesus came to set us free and gave us eternal life (John 8:34, 36). However, Jesus left out in His reading of the Scriptures the "day of vengeance of our God" which is the the second half of the verse of Isaiah 61:2 because His current ministry was about the "year of the Lord's favor".

Note that proclaiming good news to the poor does not mean preaching to the materialistically poor people only. Although materialistic poverty is mentioned in the the Bible, spiritual poverty is even more critical and emphasized because it means a broken relationship with God who is the source of life and blessings. Therefore, the economically rich but lukewarm church in Laodicea was considered pitiful and poor (Revelation 3:17). But, blessed are those who realized their spiritual poverty or bankruptcy such that they tend to be meek, humble and receptive to the gospel (Matthew 5:3). Therefore, it is not being materialistically poor per se the quality pleasing to God but rather the character of meekness and humility that could be brought about by materialistic poverty. But there are many exceptions such that people in dire conditions would not turn to God and there are rich people who are wise enough to realize their spiritual poverty. As an illustration, consider the parable of the prodigal son who wasted all his wealth and becomes deeply afflicted by poverty such that he becomes meek and humble realizing his sins against his father. He then comes home and asks for forgiveness (Luke 15:18-19). Consider also the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the repentant tax collector. It is the humility of the tax collector, who is likely rich, God values such that his prayer is accepted (Luke 18:13-14). Prosperity does carry the danger of temptation and masking the true meaning of life and misleading people into corruption. Therefore, rich people tend to be arrogant, and being deceived into thinking that they are blessed but earthly bounded and they believe that they do not need God ( Psalm 49:18-19; Proverbs 30:8-9; Matthew 6:21). That is why Jesus says that the rich are so hard to be saved that it is like a camel going through the eye of a needle ( Mark 10:25).

Jesus knows deeply about the hardships and sufferings in this world (Hebrews 4:15). He is still constantly inviting people who are weary and burdened to come to Him to have rest (Matthew 11:28). Living in this world means being constantly bombarded by problems which cause stresses, anxieties, and even depression. Jesus teaches us to observe living things in nature like birds in the air, flowers and grass in the fields which do not work and know how to provide for themselves yet they live because of the provision and care by God. Mankind are much more valuable than plants and animals and we should understand that if God takes care of these lower living things, how much will He take care of us. Jesus also points out our problem of lacking of faith in facing these daily challenges (Matthew 6:30). Jesus gives believers two great tips to live by. First, we should live with the pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness as our first priority rather than imitating the wants and practice of the pagans in this world. Second, we face challenges one day at a time rather than worrying about tomorrow with the understanding and faith that the heavenly Father knows our needs and He will provide. (Matthew 6:31-34).

Poor health and death cause tremendous pains and feelings of hopelessness to the people who are suffering including their families and friends. During His earthly ministry, Jesus went about healing every disease and sickness (Matthew 4:23), and made well many suffering from all sorts of disabilities (Matthew 15:31). To teach us that death in this world is not really the end and He has the power to give resurrection and life, Jesus raised Lazarus from the death (John 11:25-26). But, we should understand that Jesus does not say He takes away all brokenhearted events in this world right now. For even though Lazarus was raised from the death, he died again. After all, have you heard of anyone who has been living for two thousand years in Palestine? In fact, Jesus says that we will all encounter troubles in this world, but He has demonstrated that He has the power to overcome the world including poor health and death (John 16:33). The best time and place to live for people who trust in Christ is not right here and right now, but the glorious kingdom of God where God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4). Even now in this world, Jesus promises peace to all who trust in Him such that we may have joy and courage in our daily walk with God (John 14:27). Although the Messiah is not physically walking on the earth now, we all can come to Him by faith and prayers. As apostle Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything but make requests in prayer in every situation with thanksgiving and God will grant us peace beyond our understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). With this understanding and faith, all brokenhearted people should see a bright future and not a future of gloomy hopelessness in this world. Jesus' resurrection power proves that He can make true what He preaches. With this promise, all Christians are commanded to rejoice (Philippians 4:4). But, how does God practically bring joy in the midst of our daily challenges today. Jesus promised peace even in this troubled world and it is brought into reality by the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent after Jesus left the world (John 14:25-27). The Holy Spirit will live in believers' heart to give peace even in difficult time. In fact, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy who works actively in believers' lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Moreover, God is in charge of everything everywhere at all times and He can work in all circumstances for the good of all who love Him (Romans 8:28) because God is almighty, and trustworthy, full of justice, mercy and love. On the other hand, God uses His people as the solution to the many problems of the world for we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). This can mean that we are to bring comforts to brokenhearted people in the world. In fact, Christians, being followers of Christ were delegated with the task to carry on what the Messiah had been doing before He returned to the Father (John 14:12).

Sinners are like prisoners living without freedom. Instead of bounded by physical constraint, sinners are bounded by sins for they cannot overcome the sinful habits, desires and guilts of their lives such that sins are like long chains fastened to their bodies. Some sinners are literally put into prisons because of breakage of laws. Finally, all sinners are awaiting judgement of God for their sins. Therefore, sinners live a life without future and are like prisoners in death row waiting for execution. The Messiah sets all sinners free from the condemnation of God when they repent and trust in Him (Romans 8:1-2). We have all heard and seen the power of sins which traps, captures lives rendering their great potential to a shrinking and useless existence. Some even become members of evil force in the world causing more pains and destruction of others. What about those great kings, generals, noblemen, presidents and business tycoons that have ever lived? Have they not been powerful, prosperous, held with high regard in the world, and even been benevolent to the society with their influence and wealth? Not everything a man does is sinful and some of our acts may even look good. But, we need to understand that a sinner's life is like a sick life decaying day by day to its termination (Isaiah 64:6). When an influential person does not know God, he or she may use their power and means of influence to do great harms to the society by promoting his or her ideologies which tend to be contradictory to the teachings of the scriptures such as homosexuality and abortion. As a result, they do more harm than good to the society. Moreover, people with power and opportunities and talents are considered being given more by God and are rightfully asked for more by His righteous judgement (Luke 12:48). Therefore all people of different social strata in the world are bounded by sins and accountable to the penalty of sins demanded by the justice of God. According to the holy standard of God, we are all captives of sins and need the salvation of the Messiah. Sinners bound to fulfill the sinful desires as slaves serving their master (John 8:34). But, faith in the Messiah set us free from the slavery of sins (John 8:31-32). Instead of living a shrinking and sin stricken life without future, disciples of the Messiah live an abundant life with a bright future (John 10:10).

2 Authentication by His Sacrifice

God is righteous, full of justice and yet rich in love (Psalm 36:5-7). For the demand of justice, wages of sins that we committed have to be settled. But because of love, God desires to forgive us and gives us abundant life. Therefore, God becomes our salvation not by leaving sins unpunished but paying for the penalty of sins for us (Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2). God's grace of salvation is not secretly given to one nation but openly witnessed and available to all nations (Isaiah 52:10). The teachings of substitutional suffering and death for redemption are stressed throughout the Old Testament. However, all the sacrifices performed in the Old Testament are only a shadow of the true sacrifice of the Messiah once and for all (Hebrews 10:9-10). For the sacrifices of animals could never cleanse people from sins but served as reminders of sins (Hebrews 10:3). All these sacrifices point to the ultimate work of the Messiah who sacrificed Himself to redeem sinners. Indeed Jesus came and made an offer for sins of all humans such that whoever accepts His wonderful grace of redemption with faith would be saved from the condemnation of sins for He has settled the penalty in full by His death (Hebrews 13:11-12). In addition to the ceremonies and festivals written and practiced in the Old Testament as the image of the redemptive sacrifice of the Messiah, the Scriptures prophesied in details about the crucifixion of the Messiah such that we know for sure God has fulfilled His promise of salvation through Jesus Christ. Through the writings of prophet Daniel, God said that the Messiah (the Anointed One) would be put to death with precise timing (Daniel 9:25-26). According to scholarly research of Harold Hoehner, Jesus entered Jerusalem and was recognized in public as the Messiah (John 12:13) on March 30th, 33 A.D. commonly called the triumphal entry which was a Monday. But, in my humble opinion, the triumphal entry occurred one day earlier on March 29th, 33 which is a Sunday (see my reasoning in Part 2 ). While prophet Zechariah wrote about the scene of the triumphal entry with Jesus riding on the colt and a large crowd of people shouting and receiving Jesus as the Messiah coming in the name of the Lord (Zechariah 9:9). The event was witnessed by the disciples and was recorded in the gospels (Matthew 21:7-9). Pay attention on the specific details of prophet Zechariah's writing that Jesus would be riding on a donkey and on a colt (a young offspring of a donkey). Indeed, Matthew 21:7 records that the disciples brought a donkey and a colt to Jesus according to His instruction and they put their cloaks on both animals for Jesus to ride on. Due to the strenuous nature of the journey, it was likely that Jesus did not ride on the colt all the way into Jerusalem. Jesus might rode on the mother donkey first and then on the colt into Jerusalem. Skeptics with conspiracy theories (usually are just pure imagination without proof) might say that the donkeys and animals were arranged by Jesus before hand and asked the disciples to take them to Him to make the event a fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy. But, through an unidentified author, the exact words of praises shouted out by the people were written down in the Psalm (Psalm 118:26). Jesus could not control the behavior and response of the crowd if He was a mere human claiming to be the Messiah. Skeptics might go on arguing that the people were arranged to act shouting to receive Jesus as the Messiah. First, in order to deceive people, common sense tells us that it is not a good idea to collaborate with a large number of people especially people who are not subject to the deceiver's control. Otherwise, the secret of deception will tend to leak out. Though not clearly recorded in the gospels, we know that public opinion is subject to manipulation especially for those who do not have a deep knowledge and understanding on a subject matter, Therefore we cannot eliminate the possibility that some people who shouted "Hosanna" for Jesus might be persuaded a few days later to shout "crucify him" (Matthew 27:20; John 19:15). Notice that no one with a rational mind keeps defending and spreading a lie if Jesus is not the Messiah especially when he or she needs to pay a high cost of being killed. In fact all of the twelve disciples of Jesus died as martyrs except Judas who betrayed Jesus for personal gain and John who was banished to the Island of Patmos for his faith. Second, even the children spontaneously praised the Messiah in the temple courts hailing "Hosanna to the Son of David" (Matthew 21:15) which incidentally fulfilled another prophecy (Psalm 8:2). Third, Jesus performed miraculous signs healing the blind and the lame at the temple which unequivocally authenticated His divinity. In fact, the chief priests and the teachers of the law witnessed these events also. But, instead of praising Jesus the Messiah, they became indignant and more eager to plot killing Jesus (Matthew 21:14-16). According to His own accord of sacrificing Himself for sinners (Luke 7:34; John 15:12-14), Jesus was then crucified on April 3rd, 33 A.D. which was a Friday in the same week of the triumphal entry.

Daniel 9:26 also mentions that Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed after the Messiah was put to death (Daniel 9:26). Therefore, the event of destruction of Jerusalem and its temple marks the timeline at the point that the Messiah must have been cut off. From history, we know that it was the ruler of the Roman Empire responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple built by king Herod in 70 A.D. which was about 4 decades after the crucifixion of Jesus. Therefore. this destructive event serves as an additional evidence to authenticate the suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah. The destruction was executed by the Roman soldiers under the command of General Titus who became cesar later. To extract gold gildings of temple stones, they melted the gold with fire and leveled the temple stones in order to take the gold trapped between stones thus fulfilling also the prophecy told by Jesus that not one stone will be on top another (Luke 21:5-6). General TItus left one wall standing as a monument of his victory and that wall was called the wailing wall today. But the wall was only a retaining wall of the Temple Mount upon which the temple was located and not the wall of the temple. Had it been a temple wall, it would have been demolished by the gold seeking Roman soldiers. During His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and prophesied specifically how the city would be surrounded and destroyed (Luke 19:43-44). This was exactly the strategy General Titus used to capture the city. This is yet an additional piece of evidence to authenticate that Jesus is the Messiah by His precise prophecy on the destruction of the city and the temple. To reiterate the authenticating evidence by the sacrifice of the Messiah, first, prophet Daniel wrote that the Anointed One was put to death before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in Daniel 9:26 with specific timing. The fact that the book of Daniel was written in between 536 - 530 B.C. establishes the credibility of the book as a prophetic book. Prophet Daniel was a contemporary of prophet Ezekiel and was mentioned in his writing (Ezekiel 14:14). In addition, fragments of the book of Daniel were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which serve as an undeniable evidence of its authenticity. Second, Jesus was recognized in public as the Messiah in Jerusalem with precise timing. Third, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the city and its temple before He was crucified on April 3rd, 33 A.D. which was almost 4 decades before the siege of Jerusalem and the temple. If Jesus was not the Messiah but an ordinary human, He would not be able to make such a prediction. If Jesus was a charlatan, He would not even make such a specific prediction to expose His falsity later to His believers. May I challenge all skeptics to search for the records of major religions in history to see if similar predictions were made to substantiate the originators of those religions as the prophets or agents of the one true God.

3 Authentication by His Death and Burial

After being arrested, the Messiah went through a long period of tortures and insults from Thursday night until His death before sunset on Friday. Prophet Isaiah wrote that the Messiah as the suffering servant of God was beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14-15). The tortures and insults inflicted on the Messiah before crucifixion recorded by the gospel of Matthew include flogging, wearing crown of thorns, being spitted on, mocking, striking on the head by a staff repeatedly (Matthew 27:26-31). David, the author of Psalm 22 apparently wrote about his pains and sufferings but the words were inspired by the Holy Spirit to prophesy the scenes of crucifixion of the Messiah as a suffering servant. The Messiah is righteous but he bore the punishment of sin of mankind such that He was forsaken by God on the cross (Psalm 22:1). Jesus quoted directly Psalm 22:1 on the cross such that we know that this Psalm is a prophecy of his crucifixion (Mark 15:34). This can be confirmed by other verses in the same Psalm depicting the imageries in the scene of crucifixion. He was pierced in His hands and feet on the cross naked. The soldiers cast lots for His garment (Psalm 22:16-18). Even the humiliation and insults people hurled at the Messiah at the site of crucifixion were prophesied with the sarcastic remarks against the Messiah. David specifically wrote down the words of humiliation: "He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue him." (Psalm 22:7-8). Then, Matthew wrote down the witnessed accounts at the actual crucifixion scene describing people shaking their heads, mocking the Messiah being crucified with sarcasm that He saved others but could not save Himself. Not understanding the Messiah's mission, they also made an apparently reasonable statement that if He was the beloved one of God then He should be able to escape or be rescued from the cross (Matthew 27:41-42). Remarkably, Matthew also recorded the specific words of humiliation: "He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him ..." (Matthew 27:43).

One important regulation in celebrating the Passover in the Old Testament is not to break the bone of the Passover lamb. In fact, this particular requirement is a prophecy to authenticate the death of the Messiah who is the Lamb of God that none of His bone would be broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). Apostle John recorded that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two persons crucified along with Jesus in order to hasten their death on the request of the Jewish leaders. But, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they found that Jesus was already dead so that they did not break the legs of Jesus fulfilling this prophecy (John 19:32-33). By the way, on cursory reading of the gospels, it seems that there were only two persons crucified with Jesus, one on the left and one on the right. But, how do you explain the picture painted by John who said that the soldiers came to the first man and broke his legs and then the legs of the other man. But, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they found that Jesus was already dead such that they did not break Jesus' legs. Therefore, it is more reasonable that there were two persons on one side of Jesus and the soldiers visited the persons being crucified one by one. Moreover, Luke recorded that one of the two criminals hurled insults at Jesus while the other one showed a repentant attitude with faith such that he rebuked the other criminal who insulted Jesus and asked Jesus to remember Him (Luke 23:39-44). It is more likely that the repentant criminal was not among those who hurled insults at Jesus as recorded by Matthew (Matthew 27:44). In addition, Luke recorded that the soldiers divided the garments by casting a lot after crucifying Jesus and the evil-doers (Luke 23:33-34). On the other hand, Matthew recorded that the crucifixion of the two robbers happened after dividing the garments of Jesus which suggests that the two robbers were different from the two criminals that were crucified before dividing Jesus' garments as recorded in Luke (Luke 23:33-34; Matthew 27:35-36. 38). Notice that the Young's translation which is the literal translation of the Hebrew and Greek text of the scriptures which includes the word "Then" in verse 38 making it particularly clear the sequence of the events: dividing the garments and crucifixion of the robbers. Moreover, Matthew called the two persons hurling insults thieves (robbers in Young's Literal Translation) while Luke called them criminals (evil-doers in Young's Literal Translation) which suggest that there were two separate groups of two persons each crucified along with Jesus. If it is still not clear, John summarizes it well stating that two persons on each side of Jesus were crucified with Him in the middle in Young's translation (John 19:18).

Instead of breaking His legs, the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus with a spear such that water and blood flowed out suddenly (John 19:34). This was done such that another prophecy in the scriptures was fulfilled which says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." (John 19:37). This prophecy is quoted from the book of Zechariah (Zechariah 12:10). This single verse of scripture written by prophet Zechariah contains a marvelous collection of revelations. This verse contains three prophecies spoken by God as the first person, I and me, grammatically. First, God will pour out the Holy Spirit of grace and supplication on the inhabitants of Jerusalem to bring about a big spiritual revival. Second, they will see God coming and will mourn bitterly. Third, they will mourn because they realize they have rejected and pierced God. This verse does not seem to make sense for how can God be pierced by people for He is almighty and powerful. After all, God is spiritual and invisible. However, when we also read the prophecy in the book of Isaiah, the revelation becomes clearer which mentions the miracle birth of a child by a virgin and He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Isaiah also wrote about the suffering servant of God who was pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). On reading the fulfillment records in the New Testament, the revelation becomes crystal clear that the Son of God Jesus who is God by nature came to world to save sinners and died on the cross for us (Philippians 2:5-8). Zechariah 12:10 also reveals two advents of God who visits the world in a visible manner. The first advent already happened when Jesus came as a baby in a manger. The second advent has not happened and will happen when the resurrected Jesus is returning in glory on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Moreover, when we study the New Testament records and the religious history of Israel, we understand why the people of Israel will mourn bitterly when they see the truth finally. For even today, the majority of Israel do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, the rejection of the Messiah is foreseen by God and was written down in the prophecy. As apostle Paul writes that Israel has experienced blindness in part until the end when Jesus will come to deliver the nation (Romans 11:25-26).

As prophet Isaiah wrote that the suffering servant was sinless and He was punished for the sins of the sinners (Isaiah 53:8). Jesus was crucified like a criminal and His body would have been treated just like a criminal. The Romans who executed the crucifixion would have disposed the body of Jesus in a dishonorable manner. Even if Jesus' family might have claimed the body, they would not have the means to provide a burial privileged by the rich. But, a rich man named Joseph came boldly to claim Jesus' body from Pilate, the Roman officer who gave order to crucify Jesus because of political pressure even though he knew that Jesus was innocent (Mark 15:14). The claim was approved and Joseph and his friend Nicodemus buried Jesus according to Jewish customs in a new tomb Joseph owned. So the prophecy of burial of the suffering servant was fulfilled (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60). Therefore, we see again God is really in control of all things including a relatively minor event of burial when apparently Jesus lost in the battle and died. In fact, God let us know that Jesus is unequivocally the Messiah and the suffering servant. Even the way the Messiah was buried serves as an authentication of who He is. Jesus died according to God's plan of salvation of sinners in the world who trust in Him. Jesus' death is actually a victory for it is the prerequisite of resurrection and life (1 Corinthians 15:55). According to the law, sin has to be condemned and the condemnation results in death (1 Corinthians 15:56). But, God is love and He demonstrates His love by sending His only Son Jesus Christ to pay for the penalty of sin of sinners by His death (Romans 5:8-9). Therefore, there is no condemnation for all who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

4 Authentication by His Resurrection

Normally, a deceased body will decay. Psalm 16 prophesied that Jesus the faithful one would not see decay even though He died (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:29-31). The event that Jonah was swallowed into the belly of a big fish, which was physically like a tomb, for three days and three nights was a prophecy of Jesus' body laid inside a tomb for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). These two verses of the Bible are difficult to see connected until Jesus' express declaration shortly before He was arrested for crucifixion that He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights while quoting Jonah's story (Matthew 12:40). Once again we see Jesus' authority and insight in explaining the true meanings of the scriptures which shows that Jesus is God by nature and He is the ultimate author of the scriptures. A mere human would not be able to point out that the story of Jonah being swallowed and trapped in the belly of a big fish three days and three nights is a prophecy of the Messiah being kept in the grave for three days and three nights before His resurrection, let alone fulfilling the prophecy. We need to understand the meaning of three days and three nights when Jesus was kept in the tomb. According to Jewish custom, part of a day is considered a whole day. Jesus died on the cross in the Friday afternoon on April 3rd, 33 A.D. and was buried in a tomb before sunset. Although the time span in the tomb was only a short while, it is considered one day and one night. The second day in the tomb was from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. The third day was Saturday sunset to early morning on Sunday which was April 5th, 33 A.D. when Jesus was resurrected. Please also note that sunset to sunset day reckoning is used as it was the practice of the Judeans residing in the Southern part of Israel. This is supported by the fact that the Jewish leaders who were watching the crucifixion of Jesus wanted to hasten the death of Jesus and the criminals on the crosses by breaking their legs such that their bodies would not be left on the crosses during the Sabbath which was about to begin at sunset on Friday (John 19:31).

Indeed, the early disciples witnessed this utmost important event of resurrection (Acts 2:32). It was not hallucination. For the resurrected Messiah appeared to many at different times and hallucination which is a personal condition occurs only to a single person at one time (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). Jesus demonstrated that He had a new body of substance and not a facade. During one appearance to the disciples, Jesus asked for something to eat in order to show that He was not a ghost but a resurrected person with flesh and bones. They gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish and He ate it before them (Luke 24:41-43). He was not a Once, apostle Thomas was in doubt when other disciples told him that they had seen the resurrected Jesus. Thomas said that he would not believe unless he could inspect the wounded hands and side of Jesus' body in person (John 20:25). A week later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples to answer especially the doubt of Thomas and asked him to inspect His wounds in His hands and side (John 20:26). Moreover, the resurrected Messiah even served a meal to the disciples (John 21:13-15). Therefore, Jesus proved that death could not hold Him and He resurrected as He said before He died on the cross. Jesus also promised that all who trust in Him will have eternal life. We will also live the eternal life in a new and resurrected body. As Jesus promised that He would drink the fruit of the vine again with us in the kingdom of God which implies that our resurrected bodies will have flesh and bones that may drink the fruit of the vine (Matthew 26:29).

Apostle Paul was a devout Pharisee who was going on a journey to obtain authority to persecute Christians. What made apostle Paul change from being a persecutor of Christians to a zealous Christian himself? Apostle Paul testified that he encountered the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8). Paul's testimony was independently verified by another Christian Ananias who was sent by Jesus in a vision to find and to heal Paul who became blind after encountering the resurrected Jesus (Acts 9:15). Paul went on becoming a suffering missionary, establishing Christian churches and even died for preaching the gospel. The willingness of the apostles and early Christians to die for the gospel tell us that they were truly convinced and believe the gospel. In other words, the authenticating evidence of the Messiah as recorded in the Bible which they witnessed is true. As we know, a rational person will not defend and propagate something he or she knows that is a lie especially he or she gains no benefit for doing so but receive penalty of violent death. To understand this point more deeply, let us call the thing being defended and propagated X. If a believer is willing to defend and propagate X at the cost of his or her life, we can infer that the believer's faith is true and he or she truly believe X. But, we cannot conclude that X is true but the believer's faith is true. Therefore, we need to investigate how the believer came to the belief that X is true. In other words, we need to evaluate the set of things (let us call it F) that the believer saw, heard and experienced on which the believer's faith is established. If F is sufficient to prove that X is true, then we can conclude that X is true. If F is not sufficient to prove that X is true, then we cannot conclude that X is true. To illustrate, let us consider two car buying recommendations from person A and person B. Both A and B have just bought their choice cars, namely Car A and Car B respectively. They both recommend buying their cars of choice to you. We cannot conclude which recommendation is really good just by their willingness to commit their hard earned money in the purchases. We need to know how A came to the conclusion to buy Car A and how B came to the conclusion to buy Car B. Suppose A drew the conclusion by reading reputable independent car reviews of Cars. In addition, A has many friends who are happy owners of Car A for a very long time. On the other hand, B drew the conclusion purely by listening to the words of a salesman in the car dealership. Which recommendation is more reliable: Car A or Car B? As a side note, the Messiah warned us that wide is the road that leads to destruction and many people take this road (Matthew 7:13). On the other hand, there is an alternative but narrow road that leads to life, but few find it (Matthew 7:14). Is the narrow way hidden and impossible to find such that most people do not take it? On the contrary, the narrow way that leads to life which is the gospel is revealed to mankind and written in the Bible by the Almighty God. He Himself has transformed into a man like us and lived in the world to demonstrate and fulfill the way of salvation. However, most people follow the popular ways of life by instinct according to the customs and cultures in their communities. In other words, most people make the most important decision about the meanings, direction and eternal destination of life on the basis of their feelings, cultural familiarity and approval while rejecting the gospel revealed by the one and one God and is open for investigation.

5 Authentication by the Fruits of His Work of Salvation

When Jesus died, He had not established a powerful empire on the earth nor a popular religion. In fact, the disciples who had been with Jesus all along were so discouraged that they were ready to go back to their old occupation (John 21:2-3). Moreover, they were slow in believing that Jesus had resurrected from death even though Jesus had told them before His death that He would rise from the death on the third day. In fact, after Jesus' resurrection, the disciples got reports from the women who first saw the resurrected Jesus and the disciples themselves verified that the tomb was empty, they were still not completely convinced. Even the people who persecuted Jesus knew about the prophecy of His resurrection such that they request Roman soldiers from Pilate to guard the tomb lest the disciple stole Jesus' body and spread the lie of resurrection (Matthew 27:62-64). What changed the disciples from being timid, discouraged and unbelieving to the driving force of the early churches that advanced the gospels to the ends of the world with the willingness of forfeiting their lives? They changed because of the following factors. First, the disciples witnessed the resurrection account firsthand because the resurrected Jesus visited and met with them together as a group and proved to them He indeed resurrected with a glorious body (Luke 24:36-43). Second, they understood the Scriptures written about the Messiah who fulfilled the written plan of salvation by God. They finally realized that the suffering of Jesus, the Messiah was not a defeat but a complete success fulfilling the very plan of God to save sinners of the world (Luke 24:44-47). Third, the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit who gave them courage, gifts and guidance to do the works of growing the churches and preaching the good news of salvation (Luke 24:48-49). The works that Jesus had been doing were carried on and grown in scale by the disciples and all people of faith after Jesus finished His earthly ministry. This is ordained by Jesus Christ before He returned to the Father (John 14:12). Jesus also pointed out that the source of power to carry on the gospel works was not based on the power and strong will of the disciples but the power of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus before His ascendance to heaven (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit does not dwell in the disciples in the early church only. Rather, the Holy Spirit is a continuous blessing promised to all who trust in Jesus. Those who trust in Jesus understand and appreciate how much Jesus has done for them such that they are forgiven and have life. The genuine response to Jesus' work is loving Jesus, obedient to His teachings and receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17).

Even today, when one trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will come in one's life and make one a new creation. This is what it means to be born again by the Holy Spirit as explained by Jesus to Nicodemus (John 3:5). The new lives of disciples throughout generations continuously authenticate the Messiah and His works. For the hearts and souls of believers were bounded by sins, but now salt and light of the world doing good works to the glory of God. The changes in a believer's life is not a relatively minor behavior changes such as quitting smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use and even compulsive gambling, but a revolution from the inside out. People quit smoking or alcoholism because of the adverse effects on their health, career and economic situation such that some are wise enough to quit those habits. Not so for people who trust in Jesus. People with faith in Jesus are blessed deeply and they are filled with the joy of being forgiven and reconciled with God. They live a new life with power to overcome the bondage of sins with changed direction and hope towards the kingdom of God. Of course, there are also many testimonies about the powerful help people of faith receive from God in overcoming those destructive habits such as drugs, alcohol and even criminal behaviors. According to the old human nature, believers also love the world or anything in this world instead of God. The reason is simple. Before being washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit, believers naturally lived like everyone else in the world and were driven and motivated by lusts and pride instead of the words of God (1 John 2:15-17). But now believers live like the master Jesus sacrificially and the world may even think that it is a poor way of living (1 John 4:17; James 2:5). These changed lives authenticate the Messiah who has come to save people from sin. These changed lives throughout generations are the witnesses of the power of God which is manifested in the gospel (Romans 1:16). These changed lives throughout generations serve as the answers to the quest of the German philosopher, Heinrich Heine, "Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer."

Conclusion

Indeed, the Bible is the written revelation of God to mankind. The Bible consists of multiple books written by multiple authors in multiple generations. Yet, the same theme is revealed throughout the Bible: God saves mankind from destruction due to sin by His Son and bring them to His Kingdom and have eternal life. The fact that the Bible consists of multiple books written by multiple authors in various times prove that the ultimate author is God Himself. For only God can transcend times and control history which provide the context of His revelation that we can experience, verify and understand. To show that the revelations are His words, God spoke in prophecies. The accuracy of the prophecies proves that God Himself was speaking. For only God, not men, can foretell events with great precision hundreds and even more than a thousand years before they happen, we can be confident that the Bible is indeed inspired by God.

Bible References

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

John 14:12

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Luke 12:48

48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

John 8:31-32

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 10:10

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 8:34

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

John 14:25-27

25 "All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:4

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 4:23

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 15:31

The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

John 11:25-26

25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

John 16:33

33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Revelation 7:17

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.' ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"

Revelation 21:4

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 6:34

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4:6

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Matthew 6:30

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Matthew 6:31-34

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' or ‘What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Luke 2:8-12

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Luke 2:16-18

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Matthew 2:1-2

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 when it rose and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2: 9-11

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Leviticus 12:1-4

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Luke 18:13-14

13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Psalm 49:18-19

18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper— 19 they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.

John 8:34, 36

34 Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Proverbs 30:8-9

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:25

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."

Luke 15:18-19

18 I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, 19 and am no more worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants."'

Revelation 3:17

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

John 5:36

36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.

Matthew 3:13-14

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

Matthew 3:12

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Matthew 11:4-5

4 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Isaiah 35:5-6

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Isaiah 26:19

19 But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.

John 10:30

I and the Father are one."

Mark 1:8

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Titus 3:5

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 5:26

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Isaiah 55:1

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

John 7:37

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Matthew 7:15-17

15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

1 John 2:22

22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.

1 John 4:2-3

2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Romans 8:9

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Romans 10:17

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Matthew 5:14

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Exodus 13:2

2 "Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal."

Luke 2:8-12

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Luke 2:16-18

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Matthew 2:1-2

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 when it rose and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2: 9-11

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Leviticus 12:1-4

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Luke 2:28-32

28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."

Luke 2:36-38

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Mark 9:3-4

3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Mark 9:7

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Matthew 3:17

17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Matthew 5:14, 16

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Titus 3:5-7

5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Luke 6:46-49

46 "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

John 7:37-39

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

1 John 4:2-3

2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

John 1:1-2

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

Matthew 3:16

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

Isaiah 44:3-4

3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to yo

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

2 Samuel 7:16

16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

Psalm 110: 1

1 The Lord says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

Mark 12:36-37

36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "‘The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' 37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.' How then can he be his son?"

John the Baptist witnessed the acknowledgement of Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 3:17) while John the Baptist as a forerunner of the Messiah was prophesied by prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3).

 

Matthew 3:17

17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Isaiah 40:3

A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:35

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Micah 5:2

2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Matthew 1:16

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Luke 3:23

23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

Jeremiah 22:28-30

28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! 30 This is what the Lord says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah."

Matthew 14:5

Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

Matthew 21:24-26

24 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, ‘From heaven,' he will ask, ‘Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin'—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet."

Mark 1:4

4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John 1:29-30

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

Matthew 3:17

17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Isaiah 40:3

A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Joel 2:31-32

31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

Acts 2:15-21

15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 "‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

Mark 14:12

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

1 Corinthians 5:7

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

John 12:9

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

John 12:12

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!"

John 7:38-39

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Romans 11:25-27

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

Matthew 27:45

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

Matthews 27:51

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

Romans 10:12-13

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

1 Corinthians 5:7

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Nehemiah 2:1

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,

John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

Ephesians 5:8

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Acts 10:38

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

John 9:5

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Matthew 5:14

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Galatians 3:26

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Matthew 7:13

13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

John 1:32-34

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One."

Luke 1:17

17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Matthew 21:15

15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.

Luke 21:5-6

5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."

Matthew 27:26-31

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Luke 23:39-44

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God," he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,

Mark 15:14

14 “Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!"

John 19:18

18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on this side, and on that side, and Jesus in the midst.

Acts 2:29-31

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.

Jonah 1:17

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:40

40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

John 19:31

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

Acts 2:32

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.

1 Corinthians 15:3-7

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,

Luke 24:41-43

41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

John 20:25

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

John 20:26

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!"

John 21:13-15

13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" “Yes, Lord," he said, “you know that I love you." Jesus said, “Feed my lambs."

Matthew 26:29

29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom."

1 Corinthians 15:8

8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Matthew 7:14

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

John 21:2-3

2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Matthew 27:62-64

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

Luke 24:36-43

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Luke 24:44-47

44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:48-49

48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

John 14:15-17

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit 15 "If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 3:5

5 Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 4:17

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

James 2:5

5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.



The Complementary Nature of the Bible Part 2 of 3 (Identification of the Messiah)

clock February 14, 2015 13:01 by author wtsang

Key Verse:

Hebrews 1:1-2

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

A. Introduction

Part 1 of this article surveys the Complementary Nature of the Scriptures in general. Part 2 and 3 continue to study the same topic with the focus on the central theme of the Scriptures: God is the origin of all creations and He is holy, faithful, full of justice and love as revealed and demonstrated in Jesus the Messiah such that even sinners may be redeemed by the blood of the Messiah, renewed by the Holy Spirit and come to the Father. If we carefully study the Bible we will realize that significant portion of the Old Testament is about the Messiah hundreds of years before His coming, His ministry, death, resurrection and return to heaven (John 5:39). The messages about the Messiah were written, of course, as prophetic messages in the Old Testament addressing to different aspects of His life and earthly ministry. These messages were written by different authors in different times but are complementary to each other presenting the whole picture about the Messiah whom God reveals to mankind. The actual fulfillment of the coming of the Messiah were witnessed by God the Father Himself, John the Baptist, the apostles and many other witnesses (John 5:37; John 1:29; John 1:14). The works Jesus performed serve also as infallible proof that He is the Messiah and His earthly ministry events were written down as the major portion of the New Testament (John 5:36). We must understand that the Old Testament writings about the Messiah were written before the birth of the Messiah such that they have to be prophetic by nature and therefore subject to the stringent test of history. If the authors were mere charlatans, they would not be foolish enough to write prophetic messages only to disclose their falsehood later. If these authors were honest people but were not inspired by God then their prophecies would not come true because false gods would neither tell the truth nor being capable to control the future events against the will of the only One True God (Exodus 18:11). Only God always tells the truth (John 17:17) and only He is able to control the outcomes of the future for He is the owner and creator of all things (John 1:3). Therefore, the Biblical authors must have been inspired by God who is the ultimate author of the Old Testament which is full of prophetic messages about the Messiah and also the New Testament which records the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies with additional prophecies concerning the future events leading to the end of this world and the eternal Kingdom of God. Let us study the Scriptures about the Messiah to see if they are indeed authored by the Only One God Himself.

B. The Great Picture Revealed in Scriptures: The Salvation Plan of God

The need of salvation began upon the fall of Adam and Eve when they were tempted by Satan in the garden of Eden to eat the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God declared enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan. The final result is that the seed of the woman would suffer a painful but not fatal blow afflicted by Satan while the seed of the woman would strike a fatal blow on Satan (Genesis 3:15). In this single verse, God reveals the victor over Satan is a male descendant of the woman Eve. With the writings of the New Testament, we know that the prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and given birth by virgin Mary. Through the grace of salvation, believers are also adopted to Jesus' family as the children of God (Galatians 3:26). Therefore, we should not be surprised by the constant struggle between the dark and evil forces in the world and Christians. To fight this spiritual warfare, Christians are provided with a full armor of God (Ephesians 6:12-17). Children of God also act as the light of the world helping those who still live in darkness to be free following Jesus' example during His earthly ministry such that the gospel of salvation continues to be effective and grow around the world after Jesus returned to heaven (Acts 10:38; John 9:5; Matthew 5:14).

This big picture of salvation is revealed to us in different times and in various ways. Moses wrote about the bronze snake story. During the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites became impatient along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. They complained against Moses and God for bringing them out from Egypt. They forgot God's mercy and miraculous acts to set them free from the bondage of slavery, slaughtering of their infants and other sufferings in the hands of the Egyptians. They should have responded with gratitude and looked up to God for guidance to lead them through challenges they faced during the journey instead of complains and mistrusts. God then sent venomous snakes among them to kill many. When they confessed their sin, God asked Moses to make a snake and put it up on a pole such that whoever bitten by a snake could simply look at the snake on the pole and lived. This event was recorded by Moses in the book of Numbers (Numbers 21:9). Notice that this event revealed that sin results in judgment that leads to death. Forgiveness and salvation from sin required our response in faith. But, we also see the mercy of God and He provides grace of salvation. Sinners need not perform works but to respond in faith to the promise of God. The faith of those bitten by a snake was evidenced by their believing in what the prophet Moses told them such that they came to the pole and looked at the hosted snake. There was no work to be done by the sinners in order to receive this grace of salvation. Salvation was further elaborated by prophet Isaiah who wrote that the good news of salvation would be accomplished by God Himself. For Isaiah wrote figuratively that the "arm" of God would be in display and in action to accomplish salvation such that the whole world would see (Isaiah 52:10). In the same context, prophet Isaiah wrote in chapter 53 that salvation was accomplished by substitutionary sufferings paid for by a person whom we thought was being punished by God. But, in reality this person was suffering for the sin that we incurred. A hint of crucifixion was also revealed with the word "pierced" (Isaiah 53:5). The revelation of redemption of sinners by this person was clearly indicated (Isaiah 53:4-6). Also we read that this person did not come as a dignitary welcomed and respected according to the world view. In fact, he grew up in a humble manner, despised and rejected by many (Isaiah 53: 2-3). But, this was exactly the message and the work of salvation the Lord chose to provide. Clearly, this person or the "arm" of salvation as written by the prophet was Jesus the Son of God. Unfortunately, many rejected this good news of salvation (Isaiah 53:1; Matthew 7:13).

Therefore, even in these few snapshots of the scriptures, we clearly see the complementary nature of the revelations of God. For there is no way for prophet Isaiah to come up with the elaborative writings about the salvation work of the Messiah just by reading the book of Genesis written by Moses. Moreover, Isaiah could not by his human power guarantee such salvation details to be fulfilled by the person he wrote about. First of all, this "person" who could be qualified to take up the sin of mankind would not even exist. For Isaiah wrote in the same context that "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;" asserting the fact that all humans are sinful. In other words, there is none among us who could be qualified to take up the punishment for other fellow humans by sacrificing oneself as a redemptive price. This "person" could only suffer for his or her own sin. Therefore, this "person" of sinless credential could only be fulfilled by the Messiah Himself who has more than a mere human credential. The Messiah did come to save people from sin and the coming and the ministry of the Messiah were recorded by the gospel writers, As apostle John wrote that Jesus the Messiah was Word became flesh dwelling among mankind full of grace and truth (John 1:14). In fact, Jesus came and fulfilled the plan of salvation and He confirmed that the event as lifting of the bronze snake points to His suffering by crucifixion (John 3:14-15).

Based on these few examples, we already see that this plan of salvation was conceived, authored and accomplished by a single entity namely the almighty God who is perfect with holiness, justice and love. In the following passages, we will study more in details how God reveals and accomplish His plan of salvation with the Messiah as the key into His blessings (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

C. Messiah: the Way of Salvation

Prophet Isaiah wrote about the birth of the Messiah as a miracle given by God to mankind that a son would be conceived and given birth by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This is a miracle because all humans have a father genetically. Only the Messiah is an exception. This miraculous promise was fulfilled when Angel Gabriel brought the good news to virgin Mary who was then conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Prophet Nathan communicated to king David the prophecy that his throne would be established forever through his offspring. It is clear that this offspring that will carry the throne forever was not Solomon although he is in the genealogy line of the Messiah. We know from History that David's kingdom was broken and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. and his people were dispersed around the world until 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established and recognized by the United Nations.

We will discuss that this offspring unequivocally refers to Jesus the Messiah and He will sit on the throne of David forever which is a prophecy to be fulfilled when the resurrected Jesus returns to the world (2 Samuel 7:16). This dual nature of the Messiah as the Son of God (Psalm 2:7) and human as the son of David was also written down by king David when inspired by the Holy Spirit who addressed the Messiah as his Lord (Psalm 110:1). This is made clear by Jesus Himself when He asked this thought provoking question: since the Messiah is the son of David, why would David call his own son Lord (Mark 12:36-37) ? The answer is that the Messiah is both God and human just as prophet Isaiah called the Son as "Immanuel" meaning "God with us". On the other hand, prophet Micah wrote that the Messiah was the ruler of Israel whose origin was from everlasting clearly indicating the divine nature of the Messiah.

Prophet Daniel wrote about the plan of God to save Israel and the Gentiles in a summary fashion (Daniel 9:24). A time frame of 70 weeks of years or 490 years was determined. According to the research of Harold Hoehner written in his book entitled "Chronological Aspects of The Life of Christ", the time frame starts on March 5th, 444 B.C. which was the day king Artaxerxes of Medo-Persia gave order to rebuild Jerusalem. But, there is an unspecified time gap between the 69th week and the 70th week known as the church age when the gospel of salvation is being preached around the world and churches are established. The end of the 69th week which is a Monday on March 30th, 33 A.D. marks the coming of the Messiah as recorded in the New Testament when a large crowd of people in Jerusalem welcome the Messiah shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 21:8-9). To verify the prophecy, we understand that there are 360 days in a prophetic year. Sixty-nine weeks of prophetic years gives 69 * 7 * 360 = 173,880. The period between March 5th, 444 B.C. to March 30th, 33 A.D. in Gregorian calendar is also equal to 173,880 days. Note that 1 B.C. is followed by 1 A.D. in Gregorian calendar (i.e. there is no year zero in the timeline). Therefore, there is 444 + 33 - 1 = 476 solar years between March 5, 444 B.C. to March 5th, 33 A.D. Adding 25 days to advance to March 30, the number of days in solar years is given by 476 * 365.242 + 25 = 173,880.19 days which can be rounded to 173,880 days proving the accuracy of the prophecy. Just four days later on April 3rd, 33 A.D., the Messiah was cut off which we know is the death of Jesus on the cross.

One comment on the start date of the sixty-ninth week is relevant in our study. The Bible does not state the exact day in the month but only the month of Nisan when King Artaxerxes decreed to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1). The first day of the month of Nisan is only a good guess and it does produce a good interpretation and verification of the start date of the sixty nine weeks in Daniel's prophecy. Nisan 1 of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes spans the sunset of March 4th to March 5th, 444 B.C.. Hoehner uses March 5th, 444 B.C. instead of March 4th, 444 B.C. with the reason that "the crescent of the new moon would have been first visible so late at night on March 4 and could easily have been missed." Personally, I think the reason given is somewhat arbitrary. However, if we use March 4th, 444 B.C. as the start date, then the end of the sixty-ninth week falls on March 29th, 33 A.D. which is a Sunday. This is consistent to the traditional and popular celebration of Jesus' Triumphal entry, namely the Palm Sunday. Most importantly, by straightforward reading of John 12, the event of a large crowd of Jews who came to see Jesus and Lazarus who was previously raised by Jesus from the dead happened at the dinner reception given by the sisters Martha and Mary. But, Hoehner assigned the event of visitation by the large crowd to the next day following the reception which was a Sunday without a good supporting reason (except by quoting another author). In fact, apostle John expressly used the words "The next day" after the event of visitation by the large crowd to mark the transition to another day which was the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and this event is recognized as the Messiah presented in public (John 12:12-13). No such words for day transition is used between the reception and the event of visitation of the large crowd to see Jesus and Lazarus. Therefore, I would argue that the end of the sixty-ninth weeks falls on Sunday, March 29th, 33 A.D. instead of Monday, March 30th, 33 A.D.. However, in either case of a Sunday Triumphal entry or Monday Triumphal entry, the crucifixion day of Jesus on Friday April 3rd, 33 A.D. is well supported by objective astronomical data when a blood moon was visible when the moon rose on Nisan 14th which was April 3rd, 33 A.D. (see NASA lunar eclipse historical records). You may also refer to an article written by Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington on the Date of Crucifixion. But, one caveat is that the article does not include the best explanation resolving the difficulty of determining whether the last supper dined by Jesus and His disciples was also a Passover meal (Mark 14:12). The best explanation is given in Hoehner's "Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ" which states that there were two customs to reckon a day in Jesus' time: namely sunrise-to-sunrise (Galilean method practised by the Galileans and Pharisees) and sunset-to-sunset (Judean method practised by the Sadducees). The last supper was therefore a Passover meal because it was on Thursday evening Nisan 14 according to sunrise-to-sunrise reckoning. Jesus was then arrested on Thursday late evening and was crucified the next day and died at 3:00 p.m. on Nisan 14, Passover Day for the Judeans and Sadducees according to the sunset-to-sunset reckoning. Therefore the Messiah celebrated the Passover with His disciples and He Himself became the passover lamb sacrificed for the sins of the world the next day (1 Corinthians 5:7).

With the advance in computer technologies, it is possible to do massive calculations based on Kepler's laws of planetary motion such that celestial objects can be simulated and displayed at any point of time. With strong interest and motivation to investigate the star mentioned in the New Testament the magi saw at the birth of Jesus, Frederick Larson cleverly applied a software application called the Starry Night to reproduce the night sky view in Jerusalem at the birth of Jesus. With the software simulation, Larson proposed a convincing explanation of the star of Bethlehem that the magi saw. In addition, he also reproduced the lunar eclipse using the Starry Night software that when the moon rose on April 3rd, 33 A.D., the day the Messiah was crucified, was already a blood moon visible to people in Jerusalem. The appearance of the blood moon on the day of crucifixion gives support to the interpretation that Peter's quote of prophet Joel's prophecy applies to the time when Jesus was crucified and resurrected ushering the beginning of church age (Acts 2:15-21). Firstly, the Holy Spirit comes to the church in general from the day of Pentecost onwards such that all who receive Jesus will receive the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39). Secondly, on the day of crucifixion of the Messiah, the sun turned to darkness for three hours (Matthew 27:45). Thirdly, there was earth shaking earthquake (Matthew 27:51). Fourthly, astronomical data and historical writings support that a blood moon occurred on that day. Fifthly, the Messiah rose in glory the third day after crucifixion. Fifthly, this wonderful grace of the Lord has already effective since the coming of the Messiah such that anyone who call on the name of the Messiah, namely Jesus, will be saved (Romans 10:12-13). Sixthly, apostle Peter quotes this prophecy in his sermon to present the power and fulfillment of the plan of salvation through the Messiah. As a note to those who hold the opinion that Joel's prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, we should understand that Israel as a nation has not fully accepted the Messiah. There is nothing to stop that the same prophecy to be fulfilled one more time to the nation of Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation when the Israelites repent and call on the name of the Messiah and be saved (Romans 11:25-27). Some theologians aptly describe this prophecy as an example of prophecies characterized by the Law of Double Reference.

D. Identification of the Messiah

Jesus claimed that He was the Messiah during His earthly ministry. He introduced Himself as the Messiah during a conversation with a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). Jesus also claimed that He was the only way, and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Since the Messiah is central to the salvation and the restoration of the broken relationship of mankind and God, it is vital for us to know who the Messiah is. Indeed, God meticulously identifies who the Messiah is such that we will not be mistaken and may come to Him for salvation and have life. In addition to the writings of the prophets, God sent a messenger who was contemporary to the Messiah to identify who the Messiah was. Even the coming of this messenger was prophesied by prophet Isaiah who wrote that a voice would be calling to prepare the way of the Lord who was about to appear (Isaiah 40:3-5). Prophet Malachi also wrote about the messenger who would prepare the way of the Lord (Malachi 3:1). The fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming of John the Baptist was nothing short of a miracle by itself. For the parents of John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were of old age and childless (Luke 1:7). Zechariah was a Jewish priest and was informed by an angel while that Elizabeth would bear him a son (Luke 1:13). The event occurred when Zechariah was chosen as a representative to burn incense inside the temple. Due to his doubt of the message angel told, Zachariah was made dumb until John the Baptist was born. This event was a very publicized event for there were many worshippers serving as the eyewitnesses in the temple (Luke 1:21-22). Moreover, Zechariah was a priest and together with Elizabeth were of good reputation among the people (Luke 1:6). All these factors contributed to the natural acceptance of John the Baptist as a popular prophet who preached the baptism of repentance, preparing the way of the Messiah (Luke 3:3; John 1:23; Mark 1:7-8). These facts are recorded in the gospel of Luke which was written in about 60 A.D. and circulated among early Christians who should have heard of these spectacular events (Luke 1:65-66). Some who were in the ages of 70's, 80's or 90's could even serve as eyewitnesses. Therefore, the credibility of the gospel writing is well established based merely on the fact that the book was scrutinized by many contemporary readers. But, there are even more evidence to substantiate the truth. Let us look at some of the evidence identifying Jesus is the Messiah.

D.1 The Genealogy of Jesus

To record the fulfillment of the prophecy that the the Messiah is the son of David, there are two different genealogies written in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke. Both gospels mention that Jesus is the son of Joseph. But, Joseph is mentioned as the son of two different fathers which account for the difference of two different lines of genealogy though they both point to king David as the ancestor of Jesus. Matthew gospel mentions that Jacob begat Joseph (Matthew 1:16) while Luke gospel mentions that the father of Joseph is Heli (Luke 3:23). It is understood by reading the same context of Luke and Matthew that the grandfather of Jesus is Heli. Jesus is called the son of Joseph simply because of the marriage of Joseph and Mary as stated in Matthew 1:16. The only human genetic relationship that Jesus may inherit is through His mother Mary. Luke gospel shows that Jesus inherits His genetic relationship with king David through Heli. Therefore, these are the four facts recorded in the gospels: 1) Jesus inherits human genetics from virgin Mary. 2) Jesus inherits human genetics from king David through His grandfather Heli. 3) Joseph is called the son of Heli who could not have genetic relationship with Joseph because his begetting father is Jacob. 4) Mary and Joseph are married. Note that it is of Jewish tradition that the daughter's name is not recorded in a genealogy but rather the son-in-law's name when the daughter has no brother. Therefore, the gospels logically imply that Mary had no brother and her father was Heli and Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli. The most important point is that both the gospel of Luke and the gospel of Matthew positively states that Jesus is the son of David. However, Matthew shows that Jesus has no genetic relationship to Jeconiah whose descendants were disqualified by prophecy to reign in the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:28-30). On the other hand, Luke points out that Jesus is the descendant of Nathan, a son of David, who is qualified to carry the throne of king David by the prophecy. With all the prophetic messages put together and their fulfillment recorded in the gospels, the picture is crystal clear that Jesus is the Messiah. He is both divine and human and was born of virgin Mary who is a descendant of David. Again we need to understand that no individual author of these books wrote all the information about the Messiah and none could make the coming of the Messiah come true. The New Testament authors could not write according to their imagination either but according to historical facts about the coming and works of the Messiah for their writings were scrutinized by contemporary people (we may study the evidence of the reliability of the New Testament in another article). The only reasonable explanation is that these books are authored by a single author namely God Himself who inspired the authors to write down His plan and implements the plan by His power.

D.2 Identification by John the Baptist

The son of Zechariah and Elizabeth grew up and he fulfilled the prophetic mission God sent him to carry out: to prepare the way of the Lord. John the Baptist was well respected as a prophet in the Jewish community as we see that king Herod considered politically incorrect to kill John when he criticised the king (Matthew 14:5). The lifelong objective of the mission of John the Baptist was to preach the message of repentance of sin (Mark 1:4) and point people to the Messiah for salvation (John 1:29-30). We can see that John did fulfill his mission in testifying Jesus was the Messiah in Israel. Once the chief priests and the elders challenged and questioned Jesus' authority on His teaching, and driving out those who were buying and selling in the temple courts. Jesus did not answer them directly but asked whether John's ministry was based on human origin or from God. They did not answer the question because they knew that John was a respected prophet who testified that Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 21:24-26). Unfortunately, the chief priests and the elders chose to reject the Messiah in their hearts.

D.3 Identification by God the Holy Spirit

When Jesus the Messiah came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John witnessed the Holy Spirit manifested as a dove descending on Jesus such that John knew for sure Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 3:16). Moreover, the Holy Spirit will dwell in people who accepts Jesus as the Lord and Savior as a deposit by God guaranteeing even more blessings to come. The gift of the Holy Spirit is consistent to the fact that Jesus invites people who are spiritually thirsty to come to Him and He will gives them Living Water which refers to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). This wonderful blessing was prophesied by prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 44:3-4). The Holy Spirit will identify the Messiah to the believers in two ways. First, the Holy Spirit always acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3;John 1:1-2). Therefore, people who consider themselves religious but found themselves without the indwelling Holy Spirit or having a spirit that denies that Jesus came in the flesh are not saved. Second, the Holy Spirit will remind the teachings of the Messiah to the believers (John 14:26). Of course, when we truly call Jesus Lord, we should put His words into practice (Luke 6:46-49). By our old sinful nature, it is impossible for us to listen and carry out the words of God in our life. Only by the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit that we can be a new creation of God (Titus 3:5). Therefore the inherent quality of true faith implies four integral entities which identify each other: the Father, the Son as the Messiah, the Holy Spirit and the believer. True faith cannot be disguised by practitioners of religions or traditions who place the trust in empty rituals, teachings, idols or false gods. The true worshippers put their trust in one true God such that they have the power to become the light of the world and glorify God (Matthew 5:14, 16).

D.4 Identification by God the Father

When Jesus went up out of the water at His baptism by John the Baptist, a voice from the heavenly Father says that Jesus was His Son identifying the Messiah to John the Baptist (Matthew 3:17). Jesus once led the apostles Peter, James and John up a high mountain and transfigured before them in power and glory. They also saw the prophets Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus (Mark 9:3-4). Then a cloud appeared and covered them and they heard the voice of God the Father saying that Jesus was His beloved Son and they should listen to Him (Mark 9:7). Being one of the three eyewitnesses, apostle John is qualified to testify in the gospel of John that they have seen the glory of one and only Son who came from the Father (John 1:14).

D.5 Identification by Simeon and Anna

Simeon was a man in Jerusalem known to be righteous and devout testified that the baby Jesus was the promised salvation to the world (Luke 2:28-32). Another senior citizen who was a prophetess named Anna also testified that Jesus would bring redemption to Jerusalem to all who were looking forward to the salvation of God (Luke 2:36-38). The facts that they well both advanced in age and known to be living devout and godly lives are significant for their testimonies were likely to be respected and trustworthy. They both testify independently while their testimonies were basically identical in pointing out that the young Jesus was the promised Messiah and the hope of redemption of Israel and the Gentiles. The fact that their testimonies are independent rather than collaborative is the evidence that they were both inspired by the Holy Spirit.

D.6 Identification by the Shepherds and the Magi

At the birth of the Messiah, a team of angels appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks (Luke 2:8-12). They were the first group of people witnessing the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:16-18). Although not recorded in the gospels, it is likely that the Messiah, Mary and Joseph were well respected and received in Bethlehem because of the witnessing by the angels, such that someone in Bethlehem arranged a house for the extended stay by the Messiah and His parents. They stayed in Bethlehem for 41 days or more in order for Mary to recuperate and to fulfil the requirement of the laws of Moses regarding consecration of the firstborn and purification after Childbirth (Exodus 13:2; Leviticus 12:1-4). God also used the stars to communicate to the world the coming of the Messiah. It was understood by the magi such that they came to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem to worship the Messiah (Matthew 2:1-2). The magi witnessed the birth of the Messiah to king Herod but he seeked to kill rather than worship the Messiah. The magi were finally led by a special star to the house where the young Messiah stayed and they worshipped Him (Matthew 2:9-11).

Bible References

John 5:39

39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

John 5:37

37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,

John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 5:36

36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish-the very works that I am doing-testify that the Father has sent me.

Exodus 18:11

11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly."

John 17:17

17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

John 1:3

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Genesis 3:15

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Galatians 3:26

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Ephesians 6:12-17

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Acts 10:38

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

John 9:5

5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Matthew 5:14

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Numbers 21:9

9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Isaiah 52:10

10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah 53:5

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-6

4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:2-3

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:1

53 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Matthew 7:13

13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:14-15

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."

John 14:6

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Luke 2:28-32

28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."

Luke 2:36-38

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:8-12

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Luke 2:16-18

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Exodus 13:2

2 "Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal."

Leviticus 12:1-4

Purification After Childbirth 12 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.

Matthew 2:1-2

The Magi Visit the Messiah 2 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 when it rose and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2:9-11

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:35

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

2 Samuel 7:16

16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

Psalm 2:7

7 I will proclaim the Lord's decree: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father.

Psalm 110:1

1 The Lord says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

Mark 12:36-37

36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' 37 David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight.

Daniel 9:24

24 "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 Place.

Matthew 21:8-9

8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

Nehemiah 2:1

Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem 2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,

John 12:12-13

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King 12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!"

Mark 14:12

The Last Supper 12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

1 Corinthians 5:7

7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Acts 2:15-21

15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

John 7:38-39

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Matthew 27:45

The Death of Jesus 45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

Matthew 27:51

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

Romans 10:12-13

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Romans 11:25-27

All Israel Will Be Saved 25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

John 4:25-26

25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26 Then Jesus declared, "I, the one speaking to you-I am he."

John 14:6

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Isaiah 40:3-5

3 A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Malachi 3:1

3 "I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty.

Luke 1:7

7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Luke 1:13

13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Luke 1:21-22

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

Luke 1:6

6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly.

Luke 3:3

3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John 1:23

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

Mark 1:7-8

7 And this was his message: "After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Luke 1:65-66

65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him.

Matthew 1:16

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Luke 3:23

23 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,

Jeremiah 22:28-30

28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! 30 This is what the Lord says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah."

Matthew 14:5

5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

Mark 1:4

4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John 1:29-30

John Testifies About Jesus 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

Matthew 21:24-26

24 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John's baptism-where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'Of human origin'-we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet."

Matthew 3:16

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

John 7:37-39

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Isaiah 44:3-4

3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

1 John 4:2-3

2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

John 1:1-2

The Word Became Flesh 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

John 14:26

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Luke 6:46-49

The Wise and Foolish Builders 46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

Titus 3:5

5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 5:14

14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:16

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 3:17

17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Mark 9:3-4

3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Mark 9:7

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"



The Complementary Nature of the Bible Part 1 of 3

clock May 19, 2014 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse:

2 Timothy 3:16

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Introduction

The statement "All Scripture is God breathed" asserts that the messages in the Bible are sourced from one being, namely God Himself. Therefore, we should expect that the messages to be consistent and complementary to each other. Although the Bible was authored by about 40 persons of diverse background in a time span of about 1,500 years, the Bible has undergone critical examinations and criticisms over the centuries, yet the Bible stands the test of consistency and continuity. Diligent students with the help of the Holy Spirit will see that the Bible is the revelation of God to mankind. Indeed, we see the same theme revealing the holiness, justice, and love of God which explains why He persistently, faithfully brings His people enslaved in sin to freedom and live an abundant life through His Son Jesus Christ. From the first humans Adam and Eve who fell into sin, God provides salvation to mankind because of His great mercy and love. God chose Abraham and raised his descendants as a nation to reveal His plan of salvation to the whole world on the coming of the Messiah who would fulfill the plan of salvation and reconcile the broken relationship of mankind with God (Isaiah 49:6). The key verse of the whole Bible is found in the gospel of John, chapter 3 verse 16 when Jesus was teaching a Jewish Rabbi named Nicodemus who came to seek Him about the way of salvation (John 3:16).

Complementariness as a Validation Device

A jigsaw puzzle is constructed of many pieces. Yet the pieces fit together well to form a good and sensible picture because the pieces are complementary to each other. It is because of this property of complementariness that we know whether a given piece belongs to the jigsaw puzzle in question or not. If someone throw in a piece which cannot be fit into the puzzle we know that the given piece is fake even though it is made of similar material and painted with similar colors. Another example is a padlock and its key because they are complementary to each other such that they match and work well together as a set. Therefore, the complementary nature of the jigsaw puzzle is a strong evidence to prove that the puzzle pieces are sourced from the same designer. Similarly, we can conclude that the padlock and its key are produced by the same manufacturer. By the same token, the complementary nature of the Bible proves that the contents are indeed authored by an ultimate author, namely God Himself, though there are multiple human authors living in different generations to contribute their writings in the Bible. But, we should understand that the Bible was not written in such a way that the human authors served as the typewriters while God was the typist. Rather, the authors put God's inspiration in writings in their languages, cultural references, styles, experience as eyewitness accounts of events and records. However, the contents of the Scripture are inspired by God. This implies that God is the originator of the contents and He approves what to be written and ensures the essence of His messages is recorded accurately.

Is It Artificial Complementariness?

One may argue that the contents of the Bible are complementary to each other because the latter authors were referencing to the writings of the earlier authors such that the latter authors might artificially tweak their writings to be complementary to the previous books. This is a reasonable argument and question.

First off, we should understand that the Bible is a collection of books written in different times under different circumstances by different authors over a very long period of time. If each author wrote according to his own inspirations, experiences, perspectives and values, we should expect a wide variety of incompatible teachings in the Bible. To prove this point, let us look at the history. With the last book of the Bible already written at the end of first century (the last book being the Book of Revelation written by apostle John), we can still see books written hundreds and even more than a thousand years later that are incompatible to the teachings of the Bible while claiming they were the revelation of God. Authors of these books might even falsely claim that they recognize the authority of the Bible but they received new revelations claiming that the original Bible had been falsified such that they received special revelation to rewrite the words of god. There are in fact major world religions established and strived in this way deceiving many generations of people. Moreover, without a close relationship with the One true God, humans tend to be misled and go astray (Jeremiah 50:6). This happen even to many people in Israel who received first hand the revelation of God through the prophets and yet do not accept Jesus as the Messiah not knowing that the New Testament is mainly the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies written in the Old Testament. Is the rejection of the Messiah a result of the lack of evidence proving that Jesus is the Messiah? Quite the opposite, there are numerous evidence to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. We will revisit this topic in more details in Part 2.

If we study the Bible diligently, we can see that the same theme permeates in the writings such that we are taught consistently about the characters of God, His plan and work of salvation of mankind are fully realized by Jesus Christ. These messages are presented in different contexts and yet they do not contradict each other but shed light on different aspects of the subject. In other words, the Bible manifests consistency in its teachings in diverse manners throughout the pages. The writings are not artificially made complementary by human authors but rather by a single overseeing author who provides the contents of the Bible. But, it does not mean that authors of the Bible would not refer to the writings of the former writers. In the Old Testament, we see that prophet Daniel refers to the prophecy of prophet Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2). In the New Testament, there are numerous quotations of the Old Testament when it is helpful to support and clarify the meaning of a message or to record the fulfillment of a prophecy. But, all the references are made in a meaningful and open manner and not as a pretext to mislead the readers into falsehood.

We should understand that God reveals Himself in human terms for He intends to communicate with mankind and how relevant it is for Him to closely knit His messages in the BIble to human events, past and future. The messages of revelation were written in historic contexts and many of such messages were presented as prophecies. In other words, most of the writings are closely associated with history and prophecies. History is subject to public investigation while the prophecies are subject to the challenging test of fulfillment. Although the Bible does reveal the history of creation of the whole world and the universe, major portion of the messages being communicated by God are written in the historical context of Israel which is the elect nation serving as the light for the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6). The books of the Bible were not casually selected and included as the words of God. Authors of the Old Testament books were godly and well-known in the community which include Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, David, Solomon, Ezra and others. Although the authors of some of the Old Testament books such as Book of Job are not clearly identified, the strong religious system of Israel for admitting, preserving a book into the sacred book collection means that the origin, and contents of every book have been carefully scrutinized by the contemporary people of the book. Moreover, the human authorship is not of primary importance but whether the contents inside the books are indicative of their divine origin. Since God does not contradict Himself, the messages in every book do not contradict but harmonize and complement each other. The strongest and most exclusive evidence proving that a book was inspired by God is the set of prophetic messages the book contain. While people were held accountable by God for not attending to the words written by the prophets, people who claimed to be prophets but proven false would even be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:19-20). This would definitely be effective to eradicate the practice of speaking falsely in the name of God. The words of a person who claimed to speak for God were put to a straightforward test: if the words were fulfilled then the person was a proven prophet and his words would be held respectfully, otherwise a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22). In addition, the sacred books were carefully deposited and kept (1 Samuel 10:25; 2 Kings 23:24). Manuscripts of the Old Testament books were copied with great care by scribes for distribution and uses.

Similarly, in the New Testament time, the authors were not some obscure persons who claimed to have received revelations from God. Rather, they were recognized apostles or persons well-known to be closely associated with the apostles. Moreover, the writings were scrutinized by the apostles among themselves and eye-witnesses of New Testament events such that the writings were indeed true and consistent to the teachings of the Lord Jesus who came to fulfill God's plan of salvation which had already been written in the Old Testament. For instance, a group of early Christians led by James who was a prominent church leader and the brother of Jesus taught that circumcision was essential even for the Gentiles. Apostle Peter (Cephas) who used to associate with the Gentiles but once acted politically correct by distancing himself with the Gentiles when the representatives of the circumcision group came to Antioch. In response, apostle Paul openly rebuked apostle Peter's hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-12). Apostle Paul then made an assertive statement of the gospel that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works (Galatians 2:16). Finally, the council in Jerusalem met and agreed that circumcision was not a requirement but to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality which the Gentiles might be used to practice (Acts 15:29). What about the preservation of the original writings of the New Testament? With the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles and the growth of the churches, New Testament has even more manuscripts and translations than the Old Testament. With the abundance of manuscripts, the messages in the New Testament are automatically preserved with reliability. Any malicious attempts to corrupt the gospel or errors in copying by the scribes can be identified simply by comparing the many manuscripts of the original language and translations. Therefore, the implication of the Old and New Testament books being so carefully produced and preserved supports the claim that they are the words of God rather than artificial writings based on human motives and imagination to make believe. Moreover, the writings are open for study and investigation from the perspectives of history, archaeology, science and prophecy. Most important of all, the Bible is a living book for it is a book of promises made by the living God for all who trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is not just an ancient book of letters in ink reprinted on papers but the messages of eternal life communicated by the living God that are still true and effective when a learner come to Christ in response (John 5:39). In fact, many lives have been touched and miraculously blessed and renewed throughout generations for people who received the promises made in the Scriptures with faith. The heavenly Father is not changeable like shifting shadows (James 1:17) but faithful and will certainly keep His promise of blessings through His Only Son Jesus Christ who is also not changeable like His Father (Deuteronomy 32:4; Hebrews 13:8). The promise of eternal life and blessings through Christ Jesus is not just ink printed on paper, but guaranteed by the indwelling Holy Spirit living in every believer (Galatians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 5:5).

Having discussed the reasons why that the books of the Bible were unlikely artificially made coherent by human authors, let us consider some of the important messages of the Bible as illustrations to understand that they are indeed the inspiration of God.

1. The Messages about Redemption

Let us study the subject of redemption of sinners by God as an example. Redemption is accomplished by substitutionary death. First, in the writings of Moses, animal sacrifices are used as object lessons to teach us about the true sacrifice of Jesus as the lamb of God. In the story of Abraham offering Isaac, the lamb of God was illustrated by a ram God prepared for burnt offering revealing God's love of mankind demonstrated by His providence of His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. The ram in the story is just an image of God's true sacrifice and the difficult, painful and heart-broken command to offer Isaac as burnt offering who was Abraham's only son of promise teaches us to appreciate what it really means to God when He gave His one and only Son for our sins. We also learn in the story that Abraham trusted God's faithfulness, love and salvation when he said that God Himself would provide the lamb for the burnt offering (Genesis 22:7-8). If we study the context, Abraham was promised by God previously that he would become a great nation (Genesis 18:18). God also said that only through Isaac his offspring were reckoned. Isaac was just a boy and of course without offspring of his own when Abraham received the command to sacrifice him. Abraham trusted that God was faithful and would not break His promise. Therefore, Abraham reasoned that God would resurrect Isaac even if he died in the sacrifice (Hebrew 11:19). Abraham's faith prevailed and God indeed provided a ram in place of Isaac to meet the demand of burnt offering. The story therefore also teaches about the importance of faith and deep gratitude towards God's grace of salvation realizing the tremendous cost that He paid such that we may enjoy peace and have life. Without God's providence with His only Son as sacrifice, we all perish. As the population of the descendants of Abraham grew in Egypt, they became the subjects of persecution. The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians and suffered greatly. They cried out to God. Finally, God sent Moses to lead the Israelites away from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Egyptian Pharaoh refused to let go the Israelites and God had to send ten plagues to Egypt in order to punish and convince the Egyptians that it was not a good idea to continue withholding the Israelites. The most powerful strike of Egypt was the last plague of killing the firstborns of both humans and animals. To escape from this plague, the practice of passover was instituted by God which required the killing of year-old male lambs. The blood of the lambs had to be applied to the doorposts and lintel of houses and the meat was consumed to escape death. This corresponds to the teaching of Jesus who sacrificed Himself as the true Passover Lamb once and for all such that we may have life. When we receive Jesus as the Savior, it is like participating in eating His flesh and drinking His blood when He suffered greatly on the cross (John 6:54). In addition to teaching atonement death using animals as objects of sacrifice, Passover celebration also reveals about the serious consequence and judgment of sin which is death, and the wonderful grace of acquittal of judgment and the great joy of freedom from the bondage of sins. The requirement that the lambs chosen for the passover had to be without blemish is to teach an accurate object lesson that the Savior who served as the true passover lamb has no sin Himself. Then prophet Isaiah prophesied at the time that Israel was divided into Northern and Southern kingdoms with their worships becoming empty ritualism and many were plagued with the sin of idolatry. Isaiah then prophesied judgments on the nation. Covered by God's grace, people received words of hope, comfort and salvation preached by the prophet. The pivotal providence that Isaiah prophesied is the righteous and suffering servant of God whose mission was to bear the iniquities of people such that many were justified (Isaiah 53:11). As we can see in the verse, after He suffered, He would see the light of life which is consistent to the writing of David that the faithful one would not see decay indicating that the body of the suffering servant would not decay foretelling the resurrection of the suffering servant (Psalm 16:10). Psalm 49 asserts that the redemption price of a life is too costly for anyone to be able to pay. The payment price is so high that no payment is ever enough for the redemption is for a life that will last forever (Psalm 49:7-9). In other words, nothing in humanity can redeem humanity from death into eternal life. An outside help of redemption is desperately needed. This outside help was the suffering servant God sent to save us. Prophet Isaiah wrote expressly that the suffering servant bore the suffering for the sinners (Isaiah 53:4-5). If no one among men is qualified to save mankind, then where does this suffering servant come from? Nothing is impossible to God. The solution was a child born to the world and the child was of the nature of God Himself (Isaiah 9:6). This assertion is consistent with the teaching that only the Lord Himself can fulfill redemption and He is also called Israel's King and Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 44:24). Putting all the revelations together, we know that the Redeemer is the Lord and He is the King of Israel and yet He is a suffering servant. Who in human history could meet these credentials? There was only one and one person that met these credentials, namely Jesus Himself (John 14:6). Moreover, meeting these credentials automatically means that no one else in the future may meet these credentials. The reason is that one of the credentials of the redeemer is that He is God Himself. Since there is only one God, therefore once the divine redeemer appeared and fulfilled His mission of salvation, there should be no second redeemer that may appear later. This critical revelation consistently leads to the apostolic teaching that salvation can be found on no one else under heaven given to mankind other than Jesus Himself (Acts 4:11-12). Concerning the origin and nature of Jesus, apostle John and apostle Paul testified and wrote that Jesus was God by nature and He created all things of the universe but came to the world as a man and humbled Himself and died on a cross (John 1:1;Philippians 2:5-8). Apostle John was a disciple of Jesus and one of the eyewitnesses of Jesus' works, resurrection and transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3). Apostle Paul was called by the resurrected Jesus such that he converted from a persecutor of Christians to a missionary to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15). Here we see an example that even the two apostles are contemporary to each other, they did not refer to each others' writings but independently wrote down what they received from the Lord. Although apostle Paul did not have the advantage of apostle John for walking and living with Jesus for three years during His earthly ministry, he received revelation directly from the resurrected Jesus (Galatians 1:12). Since apostle Paul was worse than an unknown stranger among Christians at that time for he was a persecutor of Christians, no one with good common sense would believe anything Paul (also known as Saul) said. However, God established Paul's credibility by sending another Christian named Ananias to see Paul and healed his eyes blinded by the resurrected Jesus (Acts 9:17-19). Paul was then introduced and recognized by the apostles and the Christian community at large. Apostle Paul then served zealously in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and planting churches in the gentile communities. Therefore, when someone claims that he or she has some revelations from God, we should ask two questions. The first question is whether his or her credentials are established by God Second, we should ask whether the revelations are consistent to the previous teachings known to be given by God because He never makes mistakes in His communications. When you look at other world religions, you will see that the credentials of their persons of authority have not been proven and established by God. Second, their teachings are in conflict with the Bible which is full of the signatures of God. These religions may accept the teachings of the Old Testament but deny Jesus as the Messiah who has come. Some religions may superficially respect Jesus but deny the divinity of Jesus and His work of salvation. While some religions totally ignore or being agnostic on Jesus Christ who is the only name under heaven that mankind can be reconciled with the only One true God. One thing in common: none of the originators of these religions could prove that God had sent them. They are both deceived and deceivers.

2. The Messages about Salvation of the Gentiles

Thanks be to God for salvation is not only for the Jews but the whole world. Although Israel is the elect nation and is even called the firstborn by God (Exodus 4:22), the Gentiles are included in the plan of salvation in the very beginning. This message is not first revealed to apostle Paul although he was the missionary bringing the gospel to the Gentiles and he expressly wrote in the Book of Romans that salvation was first brought to the Jew then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). Before Israel was established as a nation, Moses already wrote down the promise of God to Abraham saying that he will be the father of many nations and through him all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 18:18). In fact, the very temple many Jews hold dearly throughout many generations as a place of worship is called a house of prayer for all nations as revealed to prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 56:7). The mercy of God to the Gentiles has also been revealed even in the Old Testament time. Nineveh was an Assyrian great city during the eighth century B.C.. Prophet Jonah was sent to Nineveh to preach repentance such that judgement would not come to the city. Prophet Jonah was reluctant to go because they were the enemies of Israel and he did not want them to receive the blessings of God. Jonah tried to escape from God by sea but was eventually thrown into the sea and was swallowed into the belly of a large fish for three days and three nights. Eventually, Jonah obeyed God's command and went to Nineveh. Surprisingly, from the king of Nineveh to common citizens, they all repented such that they escaped the severe judgment from God. From this historical event, God reveals to us that it is not race or pedigree that give us the blessing of escaping from God's wrath of judgment, but the confession and repentance from sin in response with faith to the words of God. This truth applies even to the gentiles as shown by the repentance of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5, 10). This is consistent and complementary to the teaching in the New Testament about the forgiveness of sin which involves confession and repentance from sin. Although our sin could be as red as crimson, the blood of Jesus will purify us from sin and gives us the power to live a new life that we may have a close relationship with God (1 John 1:7-9). It can be hard to understand what apostle means when he wrote that the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. To understand the meaning of the message, it is best not to interpret the words by our imagination but by the revelation of God who is the ultimate author. When we study the vision of prophet Isaiah when he was in the presence of God, he exclaimed that he was in an abject situation and ruined realizing that he was a sinner in front of the God of holiness (Isaiah 6:5). Then one of the seraphim took a live coal from the altar and used it to touch the prophet's mouth such that he was declared free of guilt and his sin atoned for (Isaiah 6:6). As we know, the altar is a place of sacrifice to God. The vision prophesies the salvation work of Jesus who sacrificed Himself to save us from sin such that sinners who trust in Him are atoned for and their guilt removed. Sinners may then be declared righteous before God. The cleansing work of the live coal taken from the altar is like the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit who makes sinners a new creation (John 3:5; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). Similar to the live coal prophet Isaiah saw in the vision, the early Christians witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost visually as tongues of fire resting on them (Acts 2:3). The early disciples also witnessed that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit proving that the Gentiles are also included in God's abundant grace of salvation (Acts 10:45). The Holy Spirit is also the living water that Jesus refers to when He invited all to come to Him and drink (John 7:37-39).

3. The Revelation about the Triune God

The scripture is full of references revealing that God is a triune God -- Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is one, and yet God consists of three persons as we can read in the Bible that God is referred to with singular pronouns (Deuteronomy 6:4;1 John 4:8) and plural pronouns (Genesis 3:22; Isaiah 6:8). Therefore, the writing of the gospel of John makes perfect sense which says that Jesus (referred to as the Word) was with God in the beginning and Jesus was God (John 1:1). God is not like the familiar concept of organization or company consisting of three members. For organization is an conceptual entity created to represent the members such that membership can change while the organization remains unchanged. Not so with the Trinity because missing one of the Godheads means violating the existence of God for each of the Godheads is integral to the very nature of God. God is eternal and the nature of God is eternally the same -- yesterday, today and forever (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8; Hebrews 9:14). The integral relationship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is also implied by the scriptural texts revealing that the Father and the Son are One (John 10:30), the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of both the Father (Matthew 10:20) and the Son (Galatians 4:6). When a believer is baptized to become a child of God, it is done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

4. The Revelation about the Roles of the Triune God in Salvation

The scriptures also reveal the different roles of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit involve in our salvation: God the Father who chose us before foundation of the world and predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ His Son (Ephesians 1:3-4). Jesus took the image of a man, suffered and died on the cross in order to redeem us from the wages of sin such that we may be justified and accepted as children of God (Philippians 2:5-8;Ephesians 1:7). The Holy Spirit dwells in the redeemed and make us a new creation (John 3:5; Titus 3:5).

As a side note, there are different interpretations about election and predestination of people to be saved. Although the Bible does not reveal precisely how God elected and predestined people to salvation, we know that God has absolute sovereignty to show mercy to whom He desires. But, the Bible does reveals that God created humans with a free will and bestows all with some talents in various portions such that humans are responsible for what have been given to them as managers. It will simply be an unfair judgement on their faithfulness if the managers were programmed to be faithful or unfaithful in using their talents. Starting from Adam and Eve, the choice of obeying and disobeying God is already in display for God did not predetermine that Eve and Adam would succumb to the temptation and power of Satan. Moses wrote that God told Adam that he was FREE to eat from any tree in the garden including the deadly tree of knowledge of good and evil but was warned and commanded not to eat from that tree (Genesis 2:16-17). Logically, the phrase "free to eat from any tree" implies that "free not to eat from any tree". It does not make any logical sense for the true and faithful God to give a command to Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil whom had been predestined to break the command such that sin entered the world. Prophet Isaiah also wrote that we are like sheep going astray and turning to our OWN way (Isaiah 53:6). In addition, how we are saved is clearly revealed. We are saved because of the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). It always pleases God when we preach the gospel to people who do not know God (Isaiah 52:7). It is always a blessing for an unsaved person to repent and receive the gift of salvation. Not only that a sinner is saved from darkness and the destruction of sin but it even brings rejoicing to heaven when a sinner repent and turn to God (Luke 15:7). The Bible also reveals that God is impartial and is full of love, justice and mercy (Micah 6:8). God favors and is pleased with people of humility and faith (James 4:6; Hebrews 11:6). The greatest command of God is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Of course, we cannot love God unless God first loves us (1 John 4:19). In His divine judgment, God would not grant repentance to certain people. For example, the cities of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom were totally destroyed and Jesus said that if the miracles performed in Capernaum were also witnessed by people of those destroyed cities, they would have repented (Matthew 11:21-23). Was it because of the extent of pervertedness or other reasons that led to their destruction? There are the things that are beyond the revelation of the scriptures and human knowledge (Deuteronomy 29:29). But, we trust that God's judgement is true and just (Revelation 19:2).

Conclusion

The scriptures are not artificially made complementary by human authors. The complementary nature of the scriptures is a powerful evidence that they are inspired by God.

1. There are many religions in the world. If you observe some of the more well-known religions, you will realize that they were originated by a single individual who claimed that they received special revelation written down by themselves or their followers. The credentials of these individuals were not well established but self-proclaimed without pervasive supernatural evidence to support their claims they represented divine revelations. They lived for a while and died as ordinary people and their followers carry on their teachings. On the other hand, the Bible was written by multiple authors spanning more than a thousand years. Yet the writings are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that communicates with a consistent theme and a unified message showing that the Bible's ultimate author is God Himself who transcends space and time. Moreover, the Biblical authors were not self-proclaimed personalities but well-known among people of a community of faith. Many of the authors showed evidence that they walked closely with God for they could perform and witnessed miracles only God alone could do. For examples, Moses brought the ten plagues to Egypt in order to set free the Israelites, David as a boy struck down giant Goliath, prophets who were proven to be authentic by foretelling events without error, apostle Peter and apostle Paul who could raised dead people to life, and all the apostles who witnessed the miraculous signs performed by Jesus and His resurrection. Some of the books were written by anonymous authors. But, the process in identifying, and preserving of sacred writings are very rigorous in both the Old Testament and New Testament time because the scriptures are the written authority of the faith. Therefore, their continuous usage by the Old Testament saints, the Messiah Himself and the New Testament church serve as an important criterion that these books belong to the canon of the Bible. Moreover the contents of the writings bear witness that they were originated from God.

2. Some writings of the Bible are simply stubborn historic facts which authors could not manipulate to make them complementary to each other. First, these historical facts serve as the context of writings. For instance, Moses wrote about the Passover lamb in the historical context of the Hebrews being enslaved in Egypt and the story reveals the grace of God and His salvation. At that time, Israel was not even established as a nation. Prophet Ezekiel wrote the dry bones prophecy when the nation Israel had already been established but conquered due to its disobedience to God such that its people were scattered from its homeland leaving no hope of revival as a nation (Ezekiel 37:1-2). But God told Ezekiel to prophesy that Israel would resurrect as a nation (Ezekiel 37:11-12). These historical facts of Israel were the backdrops of the writings that reveal God's grace and power of salvation of the Jews. Israel indeed resurrected as a nation on May 14th, 1948. These events not just reveal the grace, power and faithfulness of God that Israel experienced but its experience can be applied to all people who trust in Jesus. For Jesus came to save sinners of the world from darkness to life fulfilling the blessed promise of God to Abraham that all nations on earth will be blessed through Him (John 11:25; Genesis 18:18). Second, the historic facts are written down simply as the fulfillment of prophecies given previously to the prophets. Therefore, we see that the New Testament consists of writings mainly about the birth, teachings and the works of the Messiah. These are historic facts witnessed by people contemporary to Jesus and the writings are subject to open scrutiny. Artificial textual manipulation and falsification can be ruled out.

3. Very often, the messages are presented in drastically different forms and contexts and yet they do not contradict each other but consistent with a unified theme. Again, they simply reveal different aspects of a subject. The theme and the most important revelation of the Bible is the collection of prophetic messages about the Messiah. Examples of these messages can be found in the Book of Isaiah foretelling Messiah's birth and His ministry. In the Book of Micah, the divine origin of the Messiah and His birthplace are revealed. In the Book of Psalms, the sufferings, scenes of crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Messiah are depicted. In the Book of Jonah, the time duration of the Messiah staying in the grave was prophesied by the incidence that prophet Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish into its belly (probably a whale). The drastic differences in these writings reflect that they are not extended artificially by referencing and adapting to previous writings but coordinated by an ultimate author who dictates the overall picture of the subject. Moreover, many of these messages are prophetic by nature such that human authorship can be ruled out completely. See the next point.

4. The Prophetic Nature of the Messages mean that the writings would be tested by the accuracy of their predictions. The scope of the prophecies of the Bible is long, wide and deep. The scope is long because it starts from the beginning of the humanity in the garden of Eden and ends in eternity in the kingdom of God. It is wide for it concerns the whole world and the destiny of the universe. It is deep for it pinpoints the fundamental problem of humanity: sin which causes a broken relationship with God the creator such that sinners will have an unavoidable gloomy and contemptuous future. But, sinners who turn to God through His Son Jesus Christ will surely have a bright and glorious future (Daniel 12:2). As we know, a non-trivial prediction that is wide and deep is very difficult especially prediction of outcomes that will happen years later. With some diligent and objective thoughts, we should conclude that the BIble is of divine origin for it contains many such prophecies. A single false prophecy would render the Bible unbelievable as the inspiration of God. Many prophecies written in the Bible have already been fulfilled without a glitch up until the coming of the Messiah and the church age. Some prophecies that concern the rapture of the Church, second coming of the Messiah, the Millenium and the kingdom of God have yet to fulfill in the future. For a more mathematical appreciation of the subject, please refer to Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible.

Bible References

Isaiah 49:6

he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Jeremiah 50:6

"My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place.

Daniel 9:2

2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Galatians 3:14

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:5

Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Deuteronomy 32:4

4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

John 5:39

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

Galatians 2:11-12

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12 for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction.

Galatians 2:16

16 yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.

Deuteronomy 18:19-20

19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die."

Deuteronomy 18:22

22 If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.

1 Samuel 10:25

25 Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes.

2 Kings 23:24

24 Moreover Josiah put away the mediums, wizards, teraphim, idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of the Lord.

Acts 9:17-19

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Galatians 1:12

12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:15

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.

Matthew 17:1-3

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Psalm 44:6

6 "This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 53:4-5

4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 9:6

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.

John 1:1-2

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

Philippians 2:5-8

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Acts 4:11-12

11 Jesus is "‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

Acts 4:11-12

11 Jesus is "‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."

John 6:54

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Isaiah 44:24

"This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself,

John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Isaiah 53:11

11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Psalm 16:10

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Psalm 49:7-9

7 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough— 9 so that they should live on forever and not see decay.

Isaiah 53:7-8

7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

Genesis 22:7-8

7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" 8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

Genesis 18:18

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

Hebrews 11:19

19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Deuteronomy 6:4

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Genesis 3:22

And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 9:14

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

John 1:1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 10:17-18

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

Matthew 10:20

20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Galatians 4:6

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

John 10:30

I and the Father are one."

John 15:26

"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

John 17:25

"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.

Ephesians 1:3-5

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

1 Peter 1:2

2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Galatians 4:4-6

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

John 6:44

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Psalm 104:30

30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

Revelation 19:2

for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

Matthew 11:21-23

21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

Genesis 2:16-17

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

Mark 12:30

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

James 4:6

6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Micah 6:8

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.

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

James 4:6

6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Deuteronomy 10:17

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

1 Timothy 2:3

3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

John 6:64-65

64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them."

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Titus 3:5

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Philippians 2:5-8

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Ephesians 1:7

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Ephesians 1:3-4

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

John 6:29

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Romans 10:17

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Ephesians 1:13-14

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ezekiel 37:1-2

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.

Ezekiel 37:11-12

11 Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

Daniel 12:2

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

John 3:16

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.

Acts 15:29

29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

Hebrews 11:19

19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Isaiah 44:6

6 "This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 56:7

these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

Jonah 3:5, 10

5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

1 John 1:7-9

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 6:5

5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."

Isaiah 6:6

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Romans 15:16

16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:11

11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Acts 2:3

3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

Acts 10:45

45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

John 7:37-39

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Exodus 4:22

22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son,

Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.



Jesus the Source of Living Water - Part 3

clock November 11, 2012 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse

John 5:39

39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

Part 1 describes the details of what life is like being nourished by the living water, please refer to Part 1. In Part 2, we survey some common ways people seek to substitute the true source of living water which makes life abundant. Jesus still graciously invites all who are thirsty may come to Him and drink (John 7:37). Part 3 explains why Jesus is indeed the source of living water such that we may come to Him to have life. The best way to find the answer of the question whether Jesus is the source of the living water is to investigate the Bible itself for it originates the claim that Jesus is the source of living water. Is the Bible reliable? Does it say that we should go to Him to have life? In a nutshell, the Bible is the revelation of God in writings inspired by God penned by various authors in different times and places under various circumstances. With such diversity of time and authors, the consistent message of the Bible is that God saves sinners from the corruption and destruction of sins through Jesus Christ (John 5:39). For sin under the authority of law condemns and separates mankind from God who is the source of life and all blessings (1 Corinthians 15:56), Only through Jesus who is full of grace and truth that the ultimate problem of sin and death of mankind can be resolved (John 1:17) .

John 7:37

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

John 5:39

39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

1 Corinthians 15:56

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Old Testament Revelation with New Testament Fulfillment

Let us survey the Old Testament to understand how the writings of Moses, the Law and the prophets reveal Jesus of Nazareth as the source and hope of life of the world (John 1:45). Numerous events and ceremonial laws in the Old Testament time were the images of the Savior who performed the actual work of salvation once and for all acceptable to God. These Old Testament events and laws were given in specific details such that when the Savior came, He and His work of salvation can be identified and we may all believe in Him. The Old Testament saints might not fully understand every detail and significance of following the ceremonial laws, the reward of their faith in God was realized by Jesus Christ once and for all (Hebrews 9:26 ). Here are some specific examples revealing Jesus and His salvation written in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament:

John 1:45

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote —Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

Hebrews 9:26

26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1) Day of Atonement:

Annual Celebration of the Day of Atonement: the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary which represented the presence of God in the Old Testament. Priests were not allowed to enter the Most Holy Place anytime they desired. In fact, Aaron's two sons were killed by God when they came near the altar with a careless attitude and offered profane fire. This teaches us that the holiness of God cannot co-exist with sin such that sinners could not have a normal relationship with God but waiting for judgment (Hebrews 10:27). The relationship between God and mankind can only be restored by the punishment and removal of sin such that sinners become justified before God. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place to offer atonement sacrifices. He was instructed specifically what to wear: linen tunic, linen undergarments, linen sash and linen turban. Since these were sacred garments, the high priest was instructed to bathe himself with water before wearing them (Leviticus 16:4). This teaches us that one may not approach God anyway one thinks right and desirable but according to His words. In fact, Jesus has taught us in a parable that a man was invited by the king to attend a wedding banquet but was not wearing the expected wedding clothes. He was then cast out from the banquet where there was darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:11-13). The parable aptly shows that we cannot invent our way of salvation or religion to approach God but through faith in Jesus alone who is the sacred garment that we may wear to attend the heavenly banquet (Galatians 3:26-27). The high priest was also instructed to bring animal blood into the Most Holy Place for the atonement of sin. While the bodies of animals were taken outside the camp for burning (Leviticus 16:27). Of the two goats used, one was killed representing the substitutional death for sinners. The other was called a scapegoat and would be set free in the wilderness representing the removal of sin after the substitutional death. These activities were the images of Jesus who offered Himself as a sin sacrifice once and for all people who trust in Him such that sinners were deemed righteous before God and may have fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). Jesus literally fulfilled the atonement of sin acceptable to God with His great suffering of crucification outside the gate of Jerusalem (Hebrews 13:11-12). We may now have a normal relationship with God as if we could enter the Most Holy Place with confidence ourselves like a high priest on the day of atonement, not because of animal blood.but the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19). In fact, our bodies literally become the temple of God because the Holy Spirit is living in us (Galatians 3:14).

Hebrews 10:27

but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Leviticus 16:4

4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.

Matthew 22:11-13

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend ?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Galatians 3:26-27

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Leviticus 16:27

27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up.

1 John 1:7

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Hebrews 13:11

11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

Hebrews 10:19

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,

Galatians 3:14

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

2) Passover:

The event and its annual celebration of the Passover were highly significant in the Old Testament time for God set the Israelites free from the bondage of Egypt and started the journey to the Promised land and become a nation (Exodus 12:51). Yet, the event and celebration of Passover were only the image of the work of the Messiah fulfilled in the New Testament in which people of all nations are set free from the bondage of sin and have life (Romans 6:22). The animals used in celebrating Passover were required to be without defect. This requirement (Exodus 12:5) reveals to us that Jesus the Messiah suffered purely for our sins and He has no sin at all (1 Peter 1:18-19). In the New Testament time, Christians celebrate Communion instead of Passover to remember the substitutionary death of Jesus. Christians are taught to eat the bread representing the body of Christ and drink the wine representing His blood with reverence remembering His death for our sins (1 Corinthians 11:28-29). Likewise, in celebrating the Passover, no uncircumcised, causal foreigners might participate in the Passover (Exodus 12:43). The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were celebrated in tandem in the Old Testament time (Leviticus 23:4-6). These celebrations were not prescribed by God for our convenience but with important object lesson for us to know and obey. Unleavened bread is bread not fermented with yeast which is used to represent sin for its power to work through the whole dough by its multiplication and spreading. The sacrifice of Jesus for our sin was not performed such that sinners might be forgiven and stay in sin. As we know God is holy and sinners are considered enemies of God (Hebrews 10:26-27). The reason Jesus died for us while we are still sinners is due to His great love such that sinners may be forgiven and the wages of sin is paid for by His death. After being forgiven, true believers in Jesus are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a new life no longer enslaved by sin and the true meaning of salvation is best communicated to us in prophecy with both the Passover and the Festival of the Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The prescription of not breaking the bones of the Passover animals served as the prophecy to mark the death of Jesus. Indeed, to hasten the death of the persons being crucified along with Jesus, their legs were broken by the Roman soldiers while not one bone of Jesus was broken for He was dead when the soldiers came to inspect Him (Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20, John 19:36). As a solemn reminder of God’s power and mercy for leading them out of Egypt by His great power and mercy, Israelites were instructed to consecrate the first born male of both humans and animals for worship and sacrifice activities (Exodus 13:2). The first born sons were to serve as priests and the first born animals were used in sacrifices. Later when the priestly duties were assigned to the Levites exclusively, first born sons were redeemed at a price of five shekels of silver. First born unclean animals were not sacrificed but redeemed at a price also. This practice is also a fitting object lesson for the New Testament believers who are redeemed by Jesus and should serve God with gratitude as a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).

Exodus 12:51

51 And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

Romans 6:22

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Exodus 12:5

5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.

1 Peter 1:18-19

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Exodus 12:43

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal: “No foreigner may eat it.

1 Corinthians 11:28-29

28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Leviticus 23:4-6

4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.

Hebrews 10:26-27

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning( after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8

7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Exodus 12:46

46 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.

Psalm 34:20

he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

John 19:36

These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,"

Exodus 13:1-2

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal."

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

3) Bronze Snake in the Wilderness and Implication of True Worship:

After their liberation from the oppression in Egypt, the Israelites seemed to forget the protection and guidance of God when they encountered some difficulties in the wilderness as part of the journey to the promised land. They grew impatient and spoke against Moses and God. They were then punished by the attack of venomous snakes God sent among them. Many died and they finally repented from their sin and asked Moses to pray for them. God instructed Moses to make a snake and put it up on a pole such that anyone bitten by a snake and looked at the snake would be healed. This event was a prophetic image of the crucification of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin when we put our faith in Him (John 3:14, 16). By the way, we should understand that it is the word of God and His work of salvation that matter not the objects being used in the events that matter. It is futile to put any of our faith in a crucifix, bread and grape wine used in the communion for they do not save us though they were meaningful to remind the suffering and death of Jesus. These objects do not contribute any value to our salvation. In fact, the very same error was committed in the Old Testament time when the Israelites burned incense to the bronze snake Moses made in high places (2 Kings 18:4) which were the altars of idol worship set up in the high mountains and hills that the Israelites learned from foreign religions. This practice of worshipping in high places violated the instruction to worship according to the Mosaic law. In the New Testament time, believers no longer worship God in a tabernacle or a temple for God now dwells in every believer’s life. The true worshipers that God seeks are those who worship God truthfully inwardly in spirit which communicates with the Holy Spirit (John 4:24). That is why the bodies of the New Testament believers are aptly called the temple of God. This implies that true worship is not predicated on physical location or objects but on the intrinsic quality of truthfulness in our heart which is reflected in the fruits of our lifestyle. .In fact, believers now are bestowed with a privileged position of royal priesthood and citizen of a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). A major duty of a priest is to serve as a medium between people and God. As members of the royal priesthood, we go out in this dark world to declare praises of God’s mercy and love who saves mankind from the bondage and destruction of sins such that more people reconcile with Him (2 Corinthians 5:20). This privileged position of royal priesthood and holy nation in the world was conditionally bestowed to Israel in the Old Testament (Exodus 19:5). As we know, Israel disobeyed God and the negative consequence became true. Israel as a nation was broken and the Jews were dispersed to different parts of the world. Amazingly, God fulfills His gracious plan of salvation of the world: Jews and Gentiles, through the Messiah Jesus Christ (Isaiah 42:6-7, Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 61:1) who came to Palestine during the reign of the Roman Empire. Before His death of crucification, resurrection, and ascension in A.D. 33 (see part 3 of The Seventy Weeks Prophecy of the Book of Daniel), Jesus taught that believers should be the light of the world which is full of darkness because of sin such that people may see fruits of our new lives as members of royal priesthood and holy nation and glorify the Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:17). Then Jesus command His disciples to make disciples of all nations teaching them what He taught them (Matthew 28:19). By this way, Jesus fulfills what was written in Isaiah 49:6. Even to this day in the New Testament era any faithful church exists with the motivation and mission to make disciples (Acts 13:47). In the Old Testament time, the priests served by presenting dead animals as sacrifices to God as the image of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice with His own body for all such that people who put their trust in Him may have life. It is reasonable for the New Testament believers to offer their bodies not as dead but living sacrifices in serving God which is congenial to their new privileged position as members of royal priesthood (Romans 12:1).

Numbers 21:8-9

8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

John 3:14, 16

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him." 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.

2 Kings 18:4

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. )

John 4:24

24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."

1 Peter 2:9

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Exodus 19:5

5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

Isaiah 42:6-7

6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

Isaiah 49:6

he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

Matthews 5:14, 16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Acts 13:47

47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’"

Romans 12:1 (King James Version)

12 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.

4) Jonah in the Belly of a huge Fish:

Prophet Jonah was commanded by God to Nineveh to preach against their wickedness such that the citizens of Nineveh might repent and escaped judgement. Unwilling to bring the warning of judgement lest the Ninevites repent, Jonah went to Tarshish by ship. God sent a great wind on the sea such that the ship was about to sink. Knowing himself was the culprit, Jonah requested to be thrown into the sea. God sent a big fish to swallow Jonah into its belly. Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights before being vomited out in dry land (Jonah 1:17). The event was recorded in the Old Testament to prophesize a much more important event: the resurrection of Jesus. The belly of the fish was like the tomb where the body of Jesus laid after crucification. We know that the event of Jonah refers to the resurrection event because Jesus expressly told the Pharisees and teachers of the law before his death that He would stayed in the tomb three days and three nights as Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39-40). Indeed, Jesus died on the cross in the afternoon and was buried before sunset on Friday (Matthew 27:57-60). Jesus clearly announced the prophecy of resurrection before His death. Even people who plotted to put Jesus to execution before Pilate understood fully the message for they asked Pilate to send soldiers to guard the tomb to prevent Jesus’ disciples stealing the body and deceived the public that Jesus resurrected. Upon the request of the chief priests and the Pharisees, Pilate sent soldiers to guard the tomb (Matthew 27:62-64). Resurrection happened early in the morning on Sunday and the event was witnessed by the guards and some women who visited the tomb (Matthew 28:2-4). According to Jewish custom, part of a day is counted as a day and sunset marks the end of a day and the beginning of a new day. Therefore, part of the Friday that Jesus was inside the tomb is counted as one day and one night. After sunset on Friday, another day began. The second day ended on Saturday sunset and the third day began. Jesus resurrected on Sunday at dawn and left the tomb (Matthew 28:1-4). Therefore, Jesus’ prophecy came true just as He announced before His death: He would be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The death of Jesus was controlled by God in His plan of salvation of mankind. The evil and unjust participants, physical or spiritual, did not win by fulfilling their desire of putting Jesus to death. Their evil and unjust thoughts and behaviors were foreknown and allowed by God in His plan of redemption. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated He is indeed the resurrection and the life (John 11:15). Most people experienced death or will experience death sooner or later. Death without salvation means the end of earthly life and the awaiting for judgment of sin committed but not paid for by Jesus (Hebrews 9:27). The righteous judgment of God will put those who are not redeemed by Jesus in the lake of fire which is called the second death (Revelation 20:13-15). The redeemed will be forgiven and receive resurrection just as Jesus demonstrated in His resurrection. Jesus is also called the firstborn meaning that He is the first and preeminent in position: the first in resurrection after death to eternal life i.e. the transformation of the perishable body to a new imperishable body, the Lord of all creation, and the head of the church (1 Corinthians 15:42, Colossians 1:15, 18). It is fitting to visualize believers’ faith in Jesus with the picture that the believers are like a flock of sheep following the good shepherd Jesus who is leading the way (John 10:27). The sheep know the shepherd, listen to his voice and follow him closely for the sheep trust the shepherd who is leading them to the green pastures by the quiet waters (Psalm 23:1-2).

Jonah 1:17

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:39-40

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 27:57-60

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Matthew 27:62-64

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir," they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

Matthew 28:1-4

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

Hebrews 9:27

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Revelation 20:13-15

13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

1 Corinthians 15:42

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;

Colossians 1:15

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Colossians 1:18

8 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

John 10:27

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Psalm 23:1-2

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

5) The Spiritual Rock

After leaving Egypt, the Israelites once camped at Rephidim where there was no water to drink. They complained against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt and were even ready to stone him to death. The Israelites seemed to forget that Egypt was a place of slavery where they suffered from mistreatment by the Egyptians and cried out to God for help. But God was gracious to them and asked Moses along with some elders of Israel to go to the rock at Horeb identified by God and to strike the rock with the same staff he struck the Nile. Moses did what God told him and water came out of the rock for people to drink (Exodus 17:5-6). The complaint of the Israelites and their readiness to kill Moses was a reflection of their lack of trust in God and their distant relationship with Him. They forgot that God had sent ten plagues to strike Egypt in order to release them from the bondage of slavery. They also forgot how God had saved them from the pursuing Egyptian army such that they crossed the Red Sea in safety. Even though they had forgotten the mercy and miracles God performed to save them from suffering and destruction, they should realize that God was among them as evidenced by the daily providence of manna to maintain their lives in the wilderness. Instead of being thankful, they took God’s providence for granted, quarreled against the servant God sent to help them and tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7). Is it not like common secular people in the world who do not acknowledge God nor giving thanks to Him for lives and daily providence of air, sunshine, water and food. As knowledge increases, some became prideful and tried to account for the creation without the Creator rather than glorifying, appreciating His power and ingenuity. Today, you can find so called scientists teaching the hypotheses of evolution and laws of nature as the origin and the driving force of creation of the universe. Humans not having a normal relationship with the Creator God are like a derailing train with various kinds of abnormal, confusing and disastrous things happening to their lives. Instead of worshipping and glorifying the creator, humans create idols and false religions including atheism (faith of godlessness) as the substitutionary objects and teachings for worship and faith (Romans 1:23, 30). Instead of having a normal marriage relationship, people have lustful, fornication and even homosexual relationship with one and other (Romans 1:26-27, 29). In general, all humans cannot escape the powerful grip of sin in our lives (Romans 1:29-31). That is why our world is so violent, dark, bleak and cold. Everyone is moving closer to a meaningless and hopeless end day by day. But, God is love and while we were sinners, He sent His only Son Jesus to die for us so that we may have life which is abundant and eternal (Romans 5:8, John 3:16, John 10:10). The event of Moses striking the rock at Horeb was the prophetic image of Jesus Christ, the spiritual rock, being put to suffering and crucification. The consequential event of water flowing out the rock upon stricken was the image of the filling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person who accept the gracious gift of salvation through Jesus by God (1 Corinthians 10:4, John 7:37-39).

Exodus 17:5-6

5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Exodus 17:7

7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?"

Romans 1:20-22

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

Romans 1:23

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Romans 1:26-27

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:29-31 (King James Translation)

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

1 Corinthians 10:4

4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

John 7:37-39

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The Concrete Reality of the Living Water

The living water Jesus gives to all who trust in Him is not abstract or elusive but real and effective. In the past, Israelites were led by God to enter rest in the promised land which is flowing with milk and honey. We are now saved from judgment and even bestowed the privilege to become children of God and enter the eternal Kingdom of God because of Jesus who is still inviting all to come to Him to have rest (Matthew 11:28). God does not take us all immediately to His Kingdom on day one we are saved. He wants most of us to go through a journey in this world where there are difficulties, challenges and temptations of the devil as the Israelites experienced while travelling through the wilderness before entering Canaan. The main reason is that God wants us to practice trusting Him and obeying His words (Deuteronomy 8:3). As the Israelites were guided, provided and protected by God in the wilderness, believers now are not left alone in this world as orphans (John 14:18). But, the Holy Spirit is our help, encouragement and power through Him we live a new life that can overcome the temptation of the world and is no longer enslaved by sin (John 14:15-17, Galatians 5:19-23). Not only a believer can now live a victorious life, but also serves as the instrument of righteousness, doing good works glorifying God giving light in this dark world which is full of people who have not yet known God (Romans 6:13, Matthew 5:14, Ephesians 2:10). Of course, the source of power of doing good works is God Himself (Philippians 2:13). To listen to many illustrative stories of how real lives were set free from the bondage of sins when people put their trust in Jesus, may I recommend listening to the online broadcasting of Unshackled produced by the Pacific Garden Mission. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus who is our example and goal in living through this journey God wants us to go through (Hebrews 12:1-2). In addition, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is the evidence that the person is saved. The Holy Spirit is like a pledge and deposit placed on a believer’s life by God guaranteeing what is to come (.2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Jesus is indeed the source of living water and He is still graciously inviting sinners to come to Him to drink freely (Isaiah 44:3, 55:1, John 4:14, Revelation 21:6, 22:17).

Matthew 11:28

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Deuteronomy 8:3

3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

John 14:18

18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Galatians 5:19-23

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Romans 6:13

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 2:13

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 55:1

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

John 4:14

but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Revelation 21:6

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!" And let the one who hears say, “Come!" Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Conclusion

From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, we see that God is eternal, holy, almighty, omniscient, righteous, faithful, full of justice and yet He is patient, slow to anger, full of mercy and love (Exodus 3:14, Revelation 1:8; Leviticus 11:45, Matthew 5:48; Isaiah 46:9, Psalm 139:4, Psalm 36:5-6). When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s words in the garden of Eden, sin and its consequences entered the world. Sin breaks down the relationship between mankind and the Holy God who is the source of life and blessings to mankind. Sin breaks down the relationship between fellow mankind for sinners are inherently self-centered and resort to unrighteous means for their own interests resulting in oppression, strife and violence. Therefore, living in this world is a difficult, troublesome, and sorrowful proposition with a bleak future of death (Psalm 90:10). Life journey in this world is like plodding in the wilderness without water. Yet, God does not abandon mankind and sent His one and only Son Jesus to save sinners. Jesus came as a sacrifice for the redemption of sinners and restore the relationship with God, taught us how to live and gave us the Living Water to renew us, empower us to live a new life now and with a glorious and eternal future. The whole BIble reveals clearly that Jesus is the only way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Let us all who are thirsty come to Jesus and drink!

Exodus 3:14

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Leviticus 11:45

I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Matthew 5:48

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Isaiah 46:9

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.

Psalm 139:4

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

Psalm 36:5-6

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

Psalm 90:10

10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.



Jesus the Source of Living Water - Part 2

clock April 30, 2012 02:00 by author wtsang

Jeremiah 2:13

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Introduction

Water is essential to life. Without water, life cannot survive. Water is provided by God such that our physical aspect of life may live. Unlike animals, humans were created in the image of God and human life is more than a short physical life span but is meant to reflect the glory of the creator and to live forever. Therefore, Living Water is even more important than water because Living Water sustains all aspects of life, its qualities, meanings and eternal durability. Many people only care about the physical aspect of life and miss out what life truly should be. In Part 1, we study that Jesus is the Source of Living Water and He is graciously offering Living Water to all who ask Him. Life nourished with the Living Water will grow into abundant life.

Unfortunately, not everyone will come to the source of Living Water despite the truth has been revealed to them. Even many of the Israelites who are the elects and experienced the power and revelation of God first hand as a nation, refuse to come to the source of Living Water to have life. In the Old Testament times, many left God and turned to idol worship (Jeremiah 2:13). Eventually, the nation of Israel was conquered and the people of Israel dispersed into different parts of the world. Not until May 14, 1948, Israel was approved by the majority vote of the United Nations to re-establish as an independent nation. We should also know that the lessons written in the Bible about the experience of Israel do not apply to the Israelites only but for the Gentiles also. For God created all people of all nations. The examples and warnings written about Israel are lessons apply to all nations (1 Corinthians 10:11).

1 Corinthians 10:11

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

Man-Made Substitutes for God

The invention of the golden calf as the god of Israel is a good illustration of people forsaking God who is the source of living water and digging their own cisterns that cannot hold water. It happened during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive detailed instructions on ceremonies and commandments from God directly while the Israelites were waiting below the mountain. When Moses did not return after a long time (Exodus 24:18), some of them pressured Aaron to create gods for them to take the place of God. Is it not the same situation of all man on earth? Unlike animals, humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and had a close relationship with God like father and children. But, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and listened to the temptation of Satan, sin entered the world and the relationship with God became broken. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from the presence of God. Their fearful and shameful response to God’s presence reflects their downfall from the original normal relationship with God (Genesis 3:8-10). The reason is that God is Holy and nothing sinful may approach Him. Holiness and sin are like light and darkness and they cannot mix (1 John 1:5). Since sinful persons cannot have a normal relationship with God, we should not be bewildered when many people think that God is elusive and some even think that God does not exist.

Exodus 24:18

18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 3:8-10

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?" 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

1 John 1:5

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Humans were created by God to worship, glorify and serve Him and He sustains our lives, gives meanings, guidance, joy and all the blessings of lives (Psalm 36:9, Psalm 56:13, Psalm 27:1, Psalm 23:1, Psalm 23:6). God is like the Father and the King and His children are like princes and princess. With a broken relationship with God, humans will attempt to fill the void in their lives. By natural instinct, humans invent and pursue things to fill the void: idols, religions, philosophies, materialistic lifestyle, money, power, fame, and pleasures. With all these things in place, humans think that the void can be filled. The fact is that these things cannot replace God in our lives. A simple question will reveal their invalidity to fill the void of life. We should ask if these things by nature Godly? The reason to ask such a question is based on the fact that a missing part of a system should be replaced by an identical part or at least a part similar by design and function. It is like replacing a part in a broken vehicle with an identical part made by the car manufacturer or at least a compatible generic part made by a third party supplier otherwise the car will not work properly. Since there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 4:35), nothing can take the place of God except by God Himself who created our lives. In fact, the things we pursue as substitutes for God very often are incompatible with the nature of God but simply things appealing to our sinful nature. The behaviour to feed the flesh, lust and pride is actually the love of the world (1 John 2:15-16). The idols and gods people create for worship are dead, powerless objects and religions to fill the spiritual void (Jeremiah 16:19-20). The next two questions you may ask is how do you know the Bible is true and the claims of other teachings and religions are false? Actually, we need only to answer the first question that is how we know that the Bible is true because of the Bible and all the other non-Biblical ideas are mutually exclusive. If the Bible is true then all non-Biblical ideas are false. If a single non-Biblical idea, including the belief of atheism, is true then the Bible is false. But, it is helpful to examine first some broken cisterns people created to substitute the source of Living Water.

Psalm 36:9

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Psalm 56:13

For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 27:1

Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 23:1

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:6

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Deuteronomy 4:35

You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

1 John 2:15-16

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Jeremiah 16:19-20

19 LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. 20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!"

Commitment Without Due Diligence

Due diligence is a common business term referring to the careful investigation and analysis of a company or investment being acquired before commitment of the transaction. It is wise and is the responsibility of the investor to exercise due diligence to make sure the acquisition is a profitable deal. The recent huge financial crisis was caused mainly by mortgage-backed securities (MBS) created out of many subprime mortgages. These MBS were created by established financial companies trusted as secure investments even in the opinion of many professional money managers. However, they all failed to do a thorough due diligence on these securities in regard to their origin: subprime mortgages. Subprime mortgages are loans made to lenders to purchase houses by banks without a careful consideration and verification of the capability of the borrowers to repay the interests and principals. The facade of these securities was lifted when many people failed to repay the loans coupled with a widespread drop in house prices. Institutions and Investors who built their portfolios directly or indirectly based on their trust of these MBS suffered huge losses. The same concept of due diligence can be aptly applied in many situations involving the commitment of time, energy and resources. However, it is quite surprising to find that many people committing to a belief system that affect their present life and eternal destination without due diligence. Here are a few examples.

a) Commitment by Following Cultural Practice

This is the most common category of commitment for people tend to establish belief on popularity. Therefore, we can see a pattern that the same religions tend to be accepted by people of the same nationality. For examples, Hinduism is popular in India and Buddhism and its derivative religions are popular in Thailand, Japan and ancient China, Islam in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The mere fact a belief is popular does not necessarily mean that it is true and the origin and core doctrines need to be examined to ascertain their reliability. The examination can be quite simple to carry out if one really has the motivation to find out the truth. A story about Dr. Sun Yat-sen who led the revolution to overthrow the Qing dynasty in China is a good example. When Sun Yat-sen was a youth, idol worship was a common practice. To convince his fellow villagers what they were worshipping was invalid, man-made figure, Sun Yat-sen broke the hand of an idol in a temple in front of idol worshippers saying that the idol could not protect even itself. Unfortunately, most Chinese at that time insisted on their cultural practice to worship idols as their gods and would not accept fact demonstrated in front of their eyes.

Even today with the advance of science and mathematics, millions of people still believe in the aged old teaching of reincarnation which is the core belief of Hinduism and Buddhism which teach that soul will pass from body to another body: human, animal and even plant according to the counting of karma the previous lives have accumulated. Karma is a concept taught by Hinduism and Buddhism which suggests a cause and effect relationship of conducts and quality of reincarnation. Good or positive conducts in past lives will lead to better life in future incarnation and vice versa. Therefore, if one’s accumulated karma is good, one will incarnate and live a more superior life such as a rich person of nobility. Conversely, one with bad karma will incarnate into a person living a harsh life stricken with poverty. To be worse, one may incarnate into an animal. But population growth rate of humans or animals can be accurately predicted by birth rate and death rate. The birth rate and death rate are affected by social, environmental and advance in health sciences. For example, advance of public health in developing countries decreases number of diseases such as Malaria which is a common killer disease results in increase of population. In general, we do not see a relationship of advance in morality or good deeds and the increase in human population and standard of living in the world. From 1950 to 1990, the world population doubled from 2.5 billions to 5 billions and the standard of living increased in many parts of the world. Do we see any increase in good deeds or morality during this period? The answer is no. How about time before the 1950? The answer is even a stronger negative for it was the time of world wars, a time of aggression and destruction. A more reasonable explanation is the advance in science and technology such that people live longer, infant mortality rate decreases, economic productivity increases and the standard of living has been increasing ever since. In fact, there is now a concern that the world will become over-populated. Therefore karma cannot be credited as the driving force of the increase in human population and the increase in standard of living. But rather the increase of human souls along with the increasing standard of living are due to factors such as advance in science, technology, medicine, and economic productivity. Indeed, the Bible has a better explanation which reveals that God is merciful and is slow to anger and gives grace to both the good and evil people so that they may live and civilizations may continue and grow (Psalm 145:8, Matthew 5:45). God gives opportunity for all to repent and turn to Him to receive even more amazing blessings that we have not seen and heard of. Of course, one day this gracious opportunity will end when God will finally exercise judgment to the unrepentant according to His schedule (Romans 2:4).

Psalm 145:8

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

Matthew 5:45

45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Romans 2:4

4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

If you are not convinced, you may conduct an experiment with mice. You may apply various measures to control birth rate of mice in your laboratory and observe the population growth rate to see if it is indeed following an exponential growth curve. It is you, the experimenter or investigator who controls the laboratory conditions to determine the mouse population in your laboratory not the factor of karma. Of course, if someone insist on believing the teaching of incarnation, one will find ways to explain and convince oneself. But, one should do it objectively with convincing supporting evidence. For it is about life and eternity. With these, may I point to you some articles on exercising critical thinking on what many have taken for granted about Buddhism: Reasons for stopped following Buddha by an ex-Buddhist and, An imaginary interview with Siddhartha Gautama proposed by an ex-Buddhist.

By the way, may I share with you an experience of mine in sharing the gospel with a Hindu friend named Prasad. For a period of several months, Prasad even went with me to church for Sunday worships. But, I realized then that he went to Christian worships with a Hindu mentality thinking that Jesus Christ was one of the gods in Hinduism. When Prasad was invited to deeper Bible studies first with me and then with another brother in Christ, he left finally perhaps due to his understanding that the teachings of Hinduism were fundamentally different from the faith taught in the Bible. The Bible clearly reveals that there is only one death and judgment will come afterwards (Hebrews 9:27). The cause of sufferings and deaths is sin. The only possible solution is based on the love of God who sent His Only Son to die for sinners such that sinners may accept the grace of God by faith (Ephesians 2:8) not the Karma earned by doing something good. The standard of holiness of God is much higher than the standard of sinners such that our most righteous acts are like filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6). Sinners have no ability to pull themselves from the sinful state and pay for the penalty of sin themselves and be acceptable to God. It is the love of God that He paid the penalty for all sinners as a gift through His only Son Jesus such that we may live not an old sin stricken life but a new abundant life with a glorious eternal future.

Hebrews 9:27

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

b) Commitment by Accepting Novel But Unsubstantiated Teachings - Illustration by Heaven's Gate Religious Group

If someone knocks your door saying that he is a representative of your natural gas utility company and he wants to come into your house for service, do you open the door and let him in without question? No, it is not a good idea even though he wears the natural gas company uniform. We should do some due diligence before letting the stranger in such as asking for his employee number and call the utility company and confirm if there is an employee with such an identity assigned to a service call in our house for service. This is especially necessary for an unscheduled visit. Unfortunately, many false prophets came out in history claiming that they receive special revelations and were asked by gods to deliver the message to the world. Many people accept those messages without due diligence and commit their whole life on it. These so called prophets were very likely being deceived themselves by Satan who could even perform magical feats to deceive. However, the power of Satan was limited in compare to the power of the living God. The confrontation of Moses to Pharaoh is a good example. When Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to perform a miracle to prove that they were the representatives of God to ask for the release of the Jews from Egypt, Aaron threw his staff on the ground and it became a snake. Pharaoh asked his wise men, sorcerers and magicians did the same thing and they could also turn their staffs into snakes. But, the snake that came from the staff of Aaron swallowed up the snakes that came from the Egyptian staffs (Exodus 7:11-12). Yet Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not acknowledge the God of Moses and let the Jews go in light of the evidence. By the way, it seems paradoxical that God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart while sending Moses to Pharaoh asking for the release of the Jews. Actually, God did this as a judgment to Egypt in general and Pharaoh in particular for their sins while demonstrating His power of salvation of the Jews (Exodus 7:3-5). This is consistent with the truth that when people rebel and ignore the true and living God, judgment will come at the extent and time God deems right in His sovereignty. Hardening the heart of sinners such that they would not acknowledge God and repent is a precursor of execution of judgment (Romans 1:22-24). On the other hand, the repentance of sinners is the gracious provision of God (2 Timothy 2:25).

Exodus 7:11-12

11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

Exodus 7:3-5

3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it."

Romans 1:22-24

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

2 Timothy:2:25

25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

Their belief system motivated them to commit mass suicide because they believed that it was the way to get into a UFO which was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp that bought their souls to some sort of higher level. They were committed to execute the suicide because they believed the earth was about to be recycled and it was the only chance to escape. Like many religions in the world, the Heaven's Gate started by individuals with an imaginative idea, opinion or personal revelation. These religions grow when followers without careful thinking and investigation of the origin of the religions become interested and join the religions. As time goes by, the sheer size and length of existence of a religion appears as a support of its authenticity such that more believers join without questioning the origin. The group was started by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1928–1985) who thought that they were the two witnesses mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 11:1-3). They started to preach their belief system in early 1970 which combined Biblical teachings and New Age beliefs. We do not need to spend too much time in studying all their peculiar teachings. But, it is beneficial to see an example of deception taught by this group especially when they quote the Bible as a support of their teaching. One doctrine they taught was that their members should not marry using a verse in the Luke gospel as a support (Luke 20:35). If you read Luke 20:35 out of context, it seems to say that those who are worthy of resurrection will not marry. But, if the reader simply finish the sentence by reading the next verse (Luke 20:36), the meaning becomes clear for it says that they (those who will not marry) can no longer die and they are like angels. Surely, the two verses, the pronouns "those" and "they" refer to the resurrected people who will not marry and who can no longer die in the age to come. How can we be sure? Because people who do not marry in the present age will die just like those who marry. Moreover, marriage is ordained by God when He created mankind. It is absurd to say that marriage is a stumbling block to participate in resurrection. In fact, Jesus teaches that we should revere marriage for God put a man and a woman together in such an unique relationship (Matthew 19:4-6). We will study a little more deeply this false doctrine later. The point is that falsehood of religions can be disclosed by carefully examining their teachings and their origins.

Revelation 11:1-3

1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."

Luke 20:35

35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage,

Luke 20:36

36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.

Matthew 19:4-6

4 “Haven’t you read," he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

To understand the meanings and teachings of the whole story related to the Heaven’s Gate doctrine of non-marriage as a condition to resurrection, let us study the whole passage (Luke 20:27-38) such that we may practice to properly discern messages we may receive based on the Bible. The story is about a group of Sadducees who think that there is no resurrection and they attempt to ridicule Jesus by asking a hypothectical question based on the law of Levirate Marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5) which arranged to have the surviving brother to marry the widow in order to provide an heir to the diseased brother. The question asks if each of the seven brothers married the same woman but died childless in turn one by one, then in resurrection, whose the wife will be among the seven brothers? The Sadducees asked such a question with a motive to prove that resurrection is not possible because God's law of marriage of one man and one woman would be violated in this hypothectical, confusing but possible situation. Jesus then revealed that there was no marriages in resurrection (Luke 20:35). But, Heaven's Gate took this verse out of context and applied to their religious group members that they should not marry at their present life in order to participate in resurrection. Jesus is teaching that the people of this age participate in marriages and let us call it group A people. Some of the group A people will be found by God worthy of taking part in resurrection, and let us call it group R people. Group R people who will not participate in marriages. How do we know for sure that group R people are already resurrected people? We can tell for sure based on their attributes given in verse 36: they cannot die like angels and they are called the children of the resurrection. In addition, Jesus knows that the Sadducees believe in the Torah (the five books of the Jewish Scriptures), therefore He points out that even Moses calls the Lord ‘God of Abraham, and the God of Issac and the God of Jacob.’ which implies that Abraham, Issac and Jacob are still living even though they have died at the present age. Because God is not a God of the dead but God of the living. Therefore, their disbelief in resurrection contradicts to their own reference of doctrinal authority. By the way, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the group R people in our discussion and they have all married before. When we study the Bible, we can find out how we may obtain resurrection. The Bible clearly states that resurrection is not obtained by doing works or observing religious rules or rituals. Resurrection is a gift of God out of His great mercy and grace. We may obtain this gift through our faith in Jesus Christ His Son who has paid the penalty of sins for all (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4-8).

John 3:16

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.

Ephesians 2:4-8

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

As a side note, Satan does know the Bible but he would apply God's words to confuse and deceive people. In fact, the very first temptation to mankind by Satan was the modification of the words of God and giving false promises as incentives to disobey God. First, Satan told Eve that eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not die as a direct contradiction to what God said (Genesis 3:4). Then Satan told Eve a false incentive to disobeying God that she would be like God with discernment of good and evil. Satan imputed a thought to Eve that God withheld something good to them, namely the capability to know good and evil, so that she cast doubt on God and she and her husband ignored the command of God. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world, livelihood became hard for even the ground was cursed. Sufferings and death became constant companions in the world. The first murder recorded in the book of Genesis was an older brother killing a younger brother out of jealousy who were children of Adam and Eve. All these negative outcomes could not happen when Adam and Eve resisted the devil and obeyed God. Satan also tempted Jesus using the words of God, and of course, out of context with distorted meaning. For Satan asked Jesus to jump off the highest point of the temple based on the promise in Psalm 91 that the angels would protect Jesus from hitting the stone. Again we can see the craftiness of Satan who deceived by modifying the meaning of Psalm 91 which teaches trusting in God and His promises of protection into doubt and testing of God. Being well-versed in the words of God, Jesus answered with a correct application of the Bible to uncover the deception of Satan that we should not test God (Matthew 4:5-7, Deuteronomy 6:16).

Deuteronomy 25:5

5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.

Luke 20:27-38

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher," they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" 34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

Genesis 3:4

4 “You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:5

5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Matthew 4:5-7

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God," he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’" 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’"

Deuteronomy 6:16

16 Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.

c) Atheism - Commitment to Embrace Nature Rather than the Creator of Nature

Atheists tend to think that the universe is just the way it is such that given an infinitely long time, everything is possible. To explain the origin of life, evolutionists believe in the hypothesis that there was an existence of prebiotic or primordial soup rich in organic molecules which by chance, gave rise to the building blocks of life. Also by chance, a spectrum of living things from simple to advanced were formed. But, scientific evidence indicates that primordial soup either could not be formed or the recent earth conditions were too adverse for primordial soup to survive if it ever existed (see the article by Jeff Zweerink ). Moreover, there is no fossil record of primordial soup ( see the article by Fazale Rana). Without primordial soup, there is no ingredient to give rise to life by any chance. Rather, life must have been originated from a well designed and executed event as revealed in the Bible (Genesis 1:1, John 1:3).

Genesis 1:1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:3

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

There were scientists such as Robert Dicke, a Princeton physicist, proposing that the universe is an oscillating universe constantly expanding and contracting like a yo-yo without beginning and end. The theory became popular in the 1960’s. The implication of such theory is to do away the need to explain a well designed universe of matter, energy, physical laws, constants and biological lives. With infinite number of cycles of expansion and contraction, one of the cycles must bound to give rise to an ingenious outcome by chance as if it was a masterpiece produced by a great artist. Ironically, the model of oscillating universe closely resembles the age-old belief of orthodox Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age Mysticism which believe in infinite cycles of reincarnation of the universe. Newer scientific findings show that the entropy of the universe is very high making it a very inefficient machine such that large amount of energy is lost instead of producing mechanical work such as bouncing. To help to understand the situation, you may imagine that the universe is like a ball being dropped on a carpeted floor. It will not bounce back too well for the energy of the ball is lost as heat with little energy for bouncing. In fact, the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) project of NASA shows that data collected supports the theory that the universe was born of a singularity event which the scientific community calls the big bang. The big bang event fits the revelation of the Bible that God always exists and all things in the universe: matter, energy, space, time and the laws of physics were created by God (John 1:1-3, Hebrews 11:3). In other words, God is the first cause and He Himself is not subject to the confinement of matter, energy, time and laws of nature but He Himself defined and created those things, How fitting it is when God says He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8). Therefore, the age of the universe is finite and not infinite as suggested by atheists or Hinduism and its derivative religions. The age of the universe is estimated to be only 12 to 14 billion year old (Please see the NASA’s Universe 101 page.).

John 1:1-3

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Hebrews 11:3

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

With such strong evidence of creation, however, not everyone will automatically become convinced and become a worshipper of God. Rather, more conjectures are proposed to answer the quest for the origin. Now the theory of oscillating universe is no longer popular, newer thinkings are proposed to do away the existence of God. For example, Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins recently wrote a book entitled Universe from Nothing proposing that the universe came from nothing rather than the creator God. If you examine a little closer, what the book means regarding the notion of “nothing" is not really nothing as we understand it in our language. In the language as we understand it, “nothing" means total emptiness and it is a paradox to say that “nothing" will become or give rise to something. “Nothing", according to the authors, actually means the existence of “stochastic and random" laws of nature though invisible. In other words, their conception of first cause is the set of stochastic and random laws of nature as a substitute to the creator. This conjecture that the universe came from “nothing" is not entirely new. Back in 1948, British scientists Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold and Fred Hoyle proposed the theory of steady-state universe which states that the universe will appear the same over time and to fill the void of the expanding universe, new matter is continuously created out of “nothing", The universe has no beginning nor end according to the steady state theory such that there is no need of a creator. Please refere to this article for a little more details.. With more observations especially the discovery of background radiation in space, the steady state theory is invalidated. These kinds of thinking and reasoning are the result of the assumption of existence of fundamental natural laws which serve as the origin of all things with the abhorrence of the otherwise proof of the existence of God. The Bible reveals that God is the creator of all things including the definition of the principles both moral and scientific we live and experience accordingly (John 1:1). But, according to the bible of the atheists, “In the beginning, there was nothing but random laws of nature." This remind me what the Bible teaches that although God reveals Himself plainly by His tangible creation of His invisible qualities: eternal power and divine nature, godlessness lead people into foolishness and darkness (Romans 1:19-21). For more comments on the book, please refer to the article by Hugh Ross answering the book entitled Universe from Nothing.

John 1:1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Romans 1:19-21

19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.



Jesus the Source of Living Water - Part 1

clock February 15, 2012 02:00 by author wtsang

John 4:10

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Water is an essential ingredient of life. The physical and chemical properties of water make it an ideal agent to dissolve and transport nutrients, oxygen and minerals essential to the functions of cells, protect body organs and tissues, serve as lubricants of joints . In fact, about 60% to 70% of an adult human body is composed of water by weight. Therefore, life is possible only when water is present. The scriptures use the term living water which is high quality refreshing water to represent the power and blessings essential to sustain life, give joy and meanings to life which only God the creator Himself can give. And the scriptures do not refer to life simply as the physical life in the present body with a temporal time span but life with both spiritual and physical dimensions that lasts to eternity.

The story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the Jacob’s well illustrates the grace of God who sent His Son to give living water to people who are literally living meaningless and withering lives. Jesus chose to reveal Himself as the Messiah and offer to give living water to a sinner and not just an ordinary sinner, but a sinner despised even among sinners. The Samaritan woman came out to draw water at noon time alone in order to avoid meeting others who usually did this chore together in the morning or evening when the sun was mild. Her isolation reveals rejection in her own community and she lived in public shame. Jesus by His omniscient capability disclosed her immorality of marrying and divorcing five times and now was living with a man (John 4:18). Despite her immorality, Jesus came to seek her and offer her living water that wells up to eternal life (John 4:14). In fact, the mission of Jesus coming to the world was to save sinners of all nations even sinners who are desperate and despised (1 Timothy 1:15). The reason our living empty, flesh pleasing, unsatisfying and withering lives is that we all have a broken relationship with God. The reason we have a broken relationship with God is sin because God is light in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Sinners inherently belong to the domain of darkness. Light and darkness cannot mix, therefore sinners are blocked from the fountain of life namely God Himself (Psalm 36:9). Jesus graciously came to restore our relationship with God (Ephesians 5:8) such that we may drink the living water. What is life like being nourished with the living water Jesus gives? Obviously, Jesus was not referring to ordinary drinking water for drinking water can nourish our body only for a very short duration and we need to drink again. Jesus reveals that the living water that He gives will flow from within the life of the recipients in abundance that last forever. Later in the John Gospel (John 7:38-39), living water is plainly revealed as the Holy Spirit. Indeed if a life has the Holy Spirit, it is like a life with the living water flowing within, nourishing and empowering it so that it becomes fruitful glorifying God. It is a life of reconciliation because the broken, alienated relationship with God (Colossians 1:21) is restored to a Father and child relationship (Galatians 4:6). With a close relationship with God and the power of the Holy Spirit, life grows into abundant life.

John 4:18

18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

John 4:14

14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

1 John 1:5

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Psalm 36:9

9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

John 7:38-39

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Colossians 1:21

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

Galatians 4:6

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father."

The gracious act of Jesus is to give abundant life as a direct opposite to the evil and destructive act of a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. The word abundant is in the sense of exceeding quantity and superior quality in life. This is opposite to the natural life that we used to live in the world which is enslaved by sin and destined to perish (John 8:34, Romans 6:23a). To make it worse, this world is filled with evil forces and temptations working against our vulnerable sinful nature. For the prince of the world is Satan who is trying hard to steal and destroy lives (Ephesians 6:12, John 16:11, 1 Peter 5:8). Lives living under the power of Satan cannot display the glory of God and some even become tools of evil for Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2). Just pay some attention to the daily news and you will see and hear uncountable cases of crimes such as murders, sexual assaults, robberies, frauds, corruptions, human trafficking, drug dealings, money laundering and terrorist activities locally and around the world.

John 10:10 (King James Translation)

10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 8:34

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

John 16:11

and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

2 Corinthians 4:4

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Ephesians 2:2

2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Therefore, we need to understand that the meaning of abundant life is quite incompatible to the values and views we learned from the world. You may even find that some of the teachings of abundant life paradoxical to the so called common sense we learned. These are the attributes of the abundant life that Jesus gives.

a. Living with a Clear Conscience and True Joy

We all have committed sins in life. We should all be sorrowful for the mistakes we made. But, there is a distinction between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is temporary, beneficial and will bring healing, renewal and abundant blessings to life (2 Corinthians 7:10). But, worldly sorrow is prolonged and will only bring condemnation, shame and guilt and is destructive. The reason is that the root cause of being sorrow is not resolved. Firstly, sinners are not forgiven by God and they have to suffer and pay for the penalty of sins themselves. Secondly, sinners are too powerless to deal with the temptation of the devil and the weakness of their flesh and therefore will continually be enslaved by sins (see the next section on Power of Living). Moreover, worldly sorrow can be deceitful in the sense that it is not an outcome of true remorse but a consequence of unfulfilled desires or being caught in doing wrong. Godly sorrow is based on the redemptive work of Jesus and will bring us to confess our sins before God and repent such that our sins are forgiven, our conscience is cleansed and our relationship with God is restored because Jesus has paid in full the penalty of sins for us (Isaiah 53:5). The forgiveness is promised by God and the cleansing of our conscience is effective for Jesus has shed His blood for all our sins. The Holy Spirit bears witness within our heart.and guides us to live a new life. Let us approach God with a sincere heart of repentance and faith (Hebrews 10:22). God is faithful and He will do what He promised in His words such that sinners are justified and may walk closely with God (1 John 1:7, 9). This wonderful and gracious promise of God is the basis of our joy in our new life which will not be moved by the changes of our circumstances in the world (Philippians 4:4).

2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Hebrews 10:22

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

1 John 1:7, 9

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

b. Blessed with the Power of Living

Humans are designed and created to live in the presence and close relationship with God. Without a close companionship with God, humans live in the domain of darkness (Ephesians 5:8). People living in darkness may not even know that they cannot see what is true and good that will last eternally. Many simply fill their lives with all kinds of activities: social relationship, works, politics, religion, acquisition of wealth, and pleasure seeking. The reason is that unbelievers are living under the influence of the devil such that they cannot see the love and salvation of God that reconcile and restore the good relationship with God (2 Corinthians 4:4). But when we accept the invitation of Jesus with faith, rivers of living water will flow within the once dry and withering life. First, the blockage to God due to sinfulness is removed because Jesus has paid for the penalty of sin so that believer is justified through faith and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Second, the Holy Spirit will dwell in the believer’s life and make the believer a new creation such that the believer is no longer blinded and enslaved by the devil but live a spiritual fruit bearing life (Galatians 5:22-23). A contemporary example of extending the invitation of people to come to the source of living water is reported in this article authored by Rev. John Burke of Gateway Church in Texas.

Ephesians 5:8

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

2 Corinthians 4:4

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

c. Having an Eternal Perspective of Life that Transcends the Presence by Faith

if we assume the world values of preserving our own lives and maximizing comfort, materialistic achievement and pleasure in the present life, then we will lose it. Jesus teaches that we should abhor these world values and hold to His teachings then we will keep our lives to eternity. Jesus’ view on the present life is that it is only temporary and is never meant the destination we should hold on to (John 12:25). He always teaches that we should have a perpetual view of life and pursue a glorious future while the popular world view of life is limited to a lifetime on earth. The world view gives no answer or avoid discussion altogether about life beyond this lifetime. A common practice of living according to the world view is to work hard, play hard, and hoard things believing that these things bring security and satisfaction in life. But all things in this world which include money, physical goods, real estates, pleasures, popularity, and fame will not last . For according to the words of God, the whole world will someday end such that things of the world will end with the world. Moreover, our lives are limited in time duration and many will be likely leaving these worldly things behind even sooner than the end of the world. Sadly, most people hold the common world view and devote to preserve and enrich their lives in this world even knowing that a hard reality of the end of life is sure and imminent. It is considered foolish, according to the words of God, if we hold the world view in living this life (John 6:27, Luke 12:20). But, it does not mean that children of God do not need to work for daily necessities at all. Jesus means that we should have an eternal perspective of life with the Kingdom of God not the world as the final goal and destination and the heavenly Father already knows and provides for our needs while living in this world (Matthew 6:31-33).

John 12:25

25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 6:27

27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."

Luke 12:20

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Matthew 6:31-33

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

d. Ready to serve and not to be served

By our old nature, we like to be served by others. Abundant life in God’s perspective is just the opposite. In fact, the life example of Jesus is a thorough demonstration of serving others (Mark 10:45). Although Jesus is God by nature, He took the image of a man and not just of a man but of a humble servant. On the night when Jesus was about to be arrested for torture and crucification based on false accusations, He washed the disciples’ feet and told them that they should follow his example by serving one another (John 13:14-15).

Mark 10:45

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

John 13:14-15

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

The greatest commandment of God is to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. The second greatest commandment is similar to the first which is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). In other words, we are to love God and others from our inside out. The practical way to express love is to serve. During His earthly ministry, Jesus went about doing good to others as examples for all believers: healing the sick, blind, lame, dumb, and leper; feeding and helping people in need (Matthew 14:16, John 2:3); teaching people the truth of salvation and life (Matthew 5:1-2). Most of all, Jesus sacrificed His own life such that sinners who have faith in Him may have life. Jesus also taught us about the practical way to express love even to strangers with the story of a good Samaritan who helps a victim wounded by robbers (Luke 10:33).

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 14:16

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

John 2:3

3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine."

Matthew 5:1-2

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

Luke 10:33

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

The power of service is from God who will be glorified by our service. Jesus taught us that believers would be doing the works that He Himself had been doing and even to a greater extent because His earthly ministry was limited to a few years. After His death and resurrection, He would return to heaven at the Father’s side (Luke 22:69). His earthly ministry would be carried on by the apostles and the disciples from generations to generations. We can ask God for the power to do the works that may glorify the Father (John 14:12-13). Born again believers empowered by the Holy Spirit would continue doing good works which is the will of God (Ephesians 2:10). Service could also be rendered as material and financial gifts that help the weak to strengthen and go through difficulties. This is also a tip to a life of blessing (Acts 20:35). The best service we can do to others is surely to bring the good news of salvation to others such that they may believe and receive God’s salvation and life. In fact, this is also the command and delegation by the authority of God to all disciples to make disciples of all nations. This command was given by Jesus Himself right before His ascension to heaven after His resurrection (Matthew 28:18-20).

Luke 22:69

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

John 14:12-13

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Acts 20:35

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ "

e. Imperishable

The life that God gives has the inherent quality that lasts until eternity. Nothing is really good or meaningful no matter how good we think it is if it lasts only a short while and disappears because its quality is depreciating moment by moment after a duration of growth. Any time duration is short as if it is non-existent in compare to eternity. To help us understand, consider the concept of limit in mathematics. A finite number N, no matter how big it is, divided by the infinity will be equal to zero and can be ignored in a equation. Kings, rich and famous people will try all possible means to preserve their lives. The best they could do is to build monuments, and in modern practice, create legacy buildings and benevolent funds such that their names may be remembered. Although the names and the associated histories of the persons may be remembered by later generations, the lives behind the names cannot be preserved. There are also various religious thoughts addressing the wishes of eternal life. For example, Egyptian mummies were made with the belief that the soul called the ba and the invisible twin called the ka of the dead might return to the preserved body and lived forever in the tomb. This was the reason why the Egyptian tombs of kings and nobles were made with sophistication and decorated with treasures. They are simply unproven human thoughts. One thing for sure is that many Egyptians tombs have been targets of robberies. The treasures in the tombs were stolen and the mummies were shifted and some end up in museum displays.

The life that God gives has the inherent quality that lasts until eternity. Nothing is really good or meaningful no matter how good we think it is if it lasts only a short while and disappears because its quality is depreciating moment by moment after a duration of growth. Any time duration is short as if it is non-existent in compare to eternity. To help us understand, consider the concept of limit in mathematics. A finite number N, no matter how big it is, divided by the infinity will be equal to zero and can be ignored in a equation. Kings, rich and famous people will try all possible means to preserve their lives. The best they could do is to build monuments, and in modern practice, create legacy buildings and benevolent funds such that their names may be remembered. Although the names and the associated histories of the persons may be remembered by later generations, the lives behind the names cannot be preserved. There are also various religious thoughts addressing the wishes of eternal life. For example, Egyptian mummies were made with the belief that the soul called the ba and the invisible twin called the ka of the dead might return to the preserved body and lived forever in the tomb. This was the reason why the Egyptian tombs of kings and nobles were made with sophistication and decorated with treasures. They are simply unproven human thoughts. One thing for sure is that many Egyptians tombs have been targets of robberies. The treasures in the tombs were stolen and the mummies were shifted and some end up in museum displays.

John 3:16

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 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

1 Corinthians 15:17-19

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:22

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Philippians 2:6-8

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

1 Corinthians 15:20

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

f. Living with a Glorious Body

As we all experience, our present bodies are subject to a biological growth curve. A normal body starts growing from infancy, childhood, adolescence, then adulthood. From adulthood, our bodies start declining. With the loss of health, the reality of death will eventually come when the bodies succumb to illness. The Bible articulates it well that our bodies are like new grass that spring up in the morning but by the evening it is dry and withered (Psalm 90:5-6). Some futurists proposed a process call mind uploading or mind transfer by scanning and representing a human brain in digital details and transfer the data to a super computer which then may emulate the original human brain with thoughts and feelings. The process may go further by putting the computer inside a human like robot or humanoid robot which simulates the body. If the process is successful, these futurists may claim success in achieving immortality. This is an interesting and imaginative idea. But, to me it is an attempt to create a model of a human being with electronics and mechanical components. By definition, a model is an incomplete representation of the real thing and the model is limited to the emulated features of the real thing being modeled. The set of features is not only unreal but is limited by the interest and knowledge of the modeler. As we know, although the knowledge of mankind has advanced to a large extent, there are still too many unknowns. For example, computer scientists could simulate with limited success of human thinking activities using neural network algorithms but no one know completely how a human brain really works and not even the details of the biology, physiology, chemistry and physics of a single brain cell. On the other hand, God does not promise life reduced to simulated model living in a computer and robot, but an eternal life of love, glory, joy, honor with a real and imperishable body. Jesus has demonstrated that a real, physical body accompanies resurrection. In fact, the resurrected body is more superior than the old body for it is not limited but transcends physical limitations the old human body experiences. To illustrate this point, Jesus in His resurrected body could go through walls and appeared to the disciples gathering in a house and asked the doubting disciple Thomas to put his finger into His wounded hands and side. The holes in the hands of Jesus were the nailed holes in crucification and the hole on His side was resulted from the piercing of a spear by a Roman soldier (John 19:34). The wounds are preserved in Jesus’ resurrected body as an identification and the mark of love and sufferings to the redeemed. On another occasion, Jesus appeared to the disciples and they were frightened and thought that they saw a ghost. But, Jesus demonstrated to them that He had flesh and bones in His resurrected body and asked them to touch Him (Luke 24:37-39). Jesus even ate a piece of broiled fish in their presence (Luke 24:42-43). People who receive the gift of salvation by faith will also resurrect with a glorious body like Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20-21).

John 19:34

34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

Luke 24:37-39

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

Luke 24:42-43

42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

g. Imperishable Inheritance

Ownership of treasures in the world is temporary (Matthew 6:19). Firstly, worldly treasures could drop in values and their usefulness could deteriorate as they age. Secondly, worldly treasures can be lost when the owners fall victims into theft or deceptive schemes. Lastly, even common sense will tell that ownership of worldly treasures ends when the owners disease. As a contrast, believers view worldly treasures as opportunities and tools God has given them to manage in their new and abundant life. Worldly treasures can be applied in such a way to further the preaching of the gospel such that more people may enter the Kingdom of God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of the believers’ heart are enlightened to see the glorious, imperishable treasures in the Kingdom of God such that they will become faithful managers of the worldly treasures and opportunities they are given (Ephesians 1:18, Matthew 6:20).

Matthew 6:19

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.

Ephesians 1:18

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Matthew 6:20

20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.



Jesus the High Priest - Part 2

clock December 2, 2011 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verses:

Hebrews 8:1-2 1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

The Awesome Power of Salvation of the High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek

1. Justification and Glorification of Sinners

Salvation is based on the love of God who performs the work of salvation from start to finish to save people from sin. This is best illustrated by the story of the prodigal son told by Jesus. The prodigal son was self-focused, disrespectful to his father, demanded his share of inheritance before the passing of the father, went away and wasted all the inheritance on sinful activities and was finally stricken with abject poverty. While feeding pigs in the field as a hired hand, he had to feed on pods that the pigs were eating out of hunger. At the bottom pit of his life, he realized that he could still ask for mercy of his father who might hire him as a servant which is a much better position than his present situation. The son headed back to his father. While a long way off, the father saw the prodigal son and was filled with compassion for him. The father ran to his son and threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20). Then the son repented before his father saying that he was not worthy to be called his son. But, the father said to his servants to bring the best robe and put it on the son, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet (Luke 15:22). The story illustrated how much love and compassion the Heavenly Father has towards desperate sinners who realized their spiritual helplessness and are willing to return to Him for mercy and help. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, people who realize their spiritual bankruptcy are blessed for there is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3) and will be comforted when they morn (Matthew 5:4). For Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). If we observe carefully about the story, we also see that the repentant prodigal son is not only totally forgiven, but justified and gloried as a son (Luke 15:22). Salvation implies justification and glorification of sinners to conform to the image of God’s Only Son Jesus Christ such that the previously undeserving sinners are adopted to be the children of God and become the brothers and sisters of Jesus (Romans 8:23, 29-30). As we consider this a little deeply, we should realize how great the love of God is. An undeserving sinner is forgiven, justified and adopted as a son of God. As Charles Wesley’s Hymn entitled “And can it be?"

Universally true to all people, our present bodies are temporary and they are growing old day by day and are getting weak and die eventually. However, this is the end of the life story for the children of God. In fact, according to the promises of God in Christ Jesus, the best is yet to come. For the redeemed will resurrect and receive a new glorious body like the Lord Jesus (1 John 3:2, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44). In God’s kingdom, all the common negatives we used to experience in the world will cease or cannot be there at all. There will be no more sin, pain, sorrow, tear, death, divisions, and struggles between people and nations. All the redeemed live in the presence of God and His glory. There is even no need of a temple and lamp because God’s presence is among the redeemed (Revelation 21:22). A man-made temple is only a building symbolically representing the presence of God in which priests may perform sacrifices with animals and men may worship and pray. Since men live in the direct presence of God and Jesus is the lamb and High Priest in God’s Kingdom forever, there is no need of a symbolic representation anymore. The city needs no other light source for God’s glory gives it light and Jesus Himself is the lamp (Revelation 21:23).

1 John 3:2

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

Revelation 21:22-23

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

2. Sanctification by the Holy Spirit

Salvation also implies sanctification of the redeemed by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2). Sanctification means setting apart for God and holy purposes. Apart from setting Himself as an example of how to live in the world but out of the world (John 17:18-19), Jesus as the High Priest prays for the redeemed such that they are sanctified for the glory of God. In His prayer, Jesus mentions the truth that is the word of God as the agent of sanctification (John 17:16-17). Humans are subject to many messages in their daily lives from various sources: Internet , radios, TV, newspapers, magazines, seminars, books, parents, teachers, co-workers, friends and more. These messages carry a wide spectrum of values but mostly secular by nature. Some messages even appeal to the flesh and mislead us into temptation and the love of the world (1 John 2:16). While some messages carry useful information such as Mathematics and Science that convey knowledge and teach us skills such that we may be productive in our daily living in the world. Yet, these messages could not be fully beneficial and even became destructive if they were not applied on the foundation of the words of God. The reason is that people could use their knowledge purely for selfish gain. To make things worse, some even use their knowledge and skills not to serve but to destroy like the terrorists. Therefore, we all need the words of God to immerse and integrate into every aspect of our lives to teach us true values, wisdom and guide us in the discernment of good and evil. But, the old sinful nature of the redeemed is still in conflict with the new spiritual nature. The old nature tends to delight in sin while the new nature desires the words of God (Romans 7:21-23). Even apostle Paul was frustrated in his internal conflict between the two natures. But, thanks be to God for He empowers us to overcome the sinful nature by the Counselor that is the Holy Spirit living in us upon the salvation of Jesus Christ (Romans 7:24-25). Before salvation, a human life is controlled only by the sinful nature living according to the flesh. After receiving salvation, God gives the redeemed a new nature which abhors sin and the Holy Spirit that helps the redeemed to put the sinful nature to death (Romans 8:13). In fact, the mark of the redeemed is a life no longer enslaved by sin but led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). The practical implication of sanctification is that the redeemed may become salt and light in the corrupted and dark world glorifying the heavenly Father (Matthew 5:13-16). Many human teachings and religions teach that man can become good and approach their gods or even become gods themselves by human will power and efforts. This is a direct contradiction to the gospel that the source of power of sanctification is the indwelling Holy Spirit in the new life of the redeemed (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2). For the new spiritual nature of the redeemed has the good intention but lack of power to overcome the old sinful nature. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, the redeemed can be victorious over the old nature.

As Jesus said to the disciples that when He was about to die, resurrect and return to heaven, He would not leave them as orphans and will send the Holy Spirit to teach them all things and remind them everything He said to them (John 14:26). What words did Jesus communicate to us in His earthly ministry? Jesus in human form was communicating to us the words from the Heavenly Father (John 14:10). After Jesus died on the cross, resurrected from the tomb and returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit came and sanctifies us by the very same words of God. How wonderful, how consistent the work of God is! The messages we receive in the world are relative and keep changing according to the changes in politics, social values, economics and religions. But the words of God revealed, taught and fulfilled in Christ Jesus are constantly the same, effective, and trustworthy. Hebrews 13:8 summarizes it well, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Surely, these words do not apply only to the disciples Jesus was talking to physically in His earthly ministry but to all disciples of all generations. Firstly, apostle Paul who received the revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12) was sent to bring the gospel to the gentiles. The work and power of the Holy Spirit is surely part and partial of the gospel. In fact, the evidence of a person belonging to Christ Jesus is a new life no longer enslaved by sin but walks in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25). Secondly, Jesus commanded the disciples to make disciples of all nations, teaching the future disciples what He taught them (Matthew 28:18-20). Indeed, the early disciples went to different parts of the world to make Disciples of Jesus and wrote the books of the New Testament communicating the teachings of Jesus Christ. Today, the gospel which is the power of God that saves all who believe is still being relayed by Christians from generation to generation in different parts of the world. God’s salvation is powerful for it redeems a hopeless sinner fully by the work of Christ and snaps back the sinner otherwise walking on the path of darkness and destruction towards the glory of God. On the new journey, the redeemed is anointed by the Holy Spirit who provides strength to stand firm in Christ. The Holy Spirit is also a deposit made by God guaranteeing a glorious future (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The transformation of a sin laden life into a life of spiritual fruit is the evidence of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in a redeemed life. Therefore, sanctification is performed by the Holy Spirit using the words of God on a redeemed life. Sanctification of the redeemed is predicated on the sacrifice of the High Priest Jesus Christ. Sanctification of the redeemed is the will of God as we can see in the High Priest prayer to the Father (John 17:17).

1 Peter 1:2

who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

John 17:18-19

18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

John 17:16-17

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

John 15:3

3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

1 John 2:16

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

1 John 2:16

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Romans 7:21-23

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

Romans 7:24-25

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 8:13-14

13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

John 14:26

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

Galatians 5:24-25

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Galatians 1:12

12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

3. Gracious and Loving Friendship Even to Desperate Sinners

The High Priest Jesus was well known as a friend to sinners in His earthly ministry. As He was criticized eating, drinking and a friend even to tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34). Well, this is exactly the purpose of the mission of Jesus - to call and save sinners (Luke 5:31-32). In fact, Jesus loves sinners so much that He was willing to die for us even when we were sinners (John 15:13). He is also a faithful and understanding friend who shares our sorrows and understand our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). We can now pray to God in the name of Jesus who will help and give us the power and wisdom to face the temptation and challenges in this world. We may confess our failures to God in the name of Jesus who has paid for our sins and we may be forgiven. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can grow more like Jesus who has lived in this world and faced all kinds of temptations yet He acted righteously in every way.

Jesus who is God by nature empathizes and understands our weakness not only in the sense of His omniscient capability but by actual experience living a life as a man on earth to identify with mankind (Philippians 2:6-7, Hebrews 2:16-18). Please note that Hebrews 2:16 states that Jesus came to help Abraham’s descendants which surely means all people of the world: Jews and the Gentiles alike who are justified before God through faith like Abraham who became their forefather in the spiritual sense and not in the flesh (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-3). All are now saved through faith in Jesus Christ who performed the work of salvation (Genesis 17:4, Romans 4:16-17). Therefore, Jesus is truly the perfect High Priest bringing salvation to the world, reconciling us the sinners to God, and be our great mentor in teaching, demonstrating, helping us to live an abundant life even in the world (John 10:10). Our High Priest does not pray that we leave this evil world right away upon receiving salvation but stay while God provides protection to us from the evil one (John 17:15-16). Staying in this world, we are told by our High Priest to set our heart not in this world but in heaven (Matthew 6:20-21) and be a witness to this dark world such that people may glorify God and come to Him ( Matthew 5:14-16). Our High Priest in particular commands Christians to love each other (John 15:12, 14). In fact, this is the sign and testimony of Christians in the world (John 13:35). Although our High Priest is in heaven now while we are still in the world, He does not leave us as orphans for the Holy Spirit lives within us, strengthening and encouraging us in the world (John 14:17).

Luke 7:34

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

Luke 5:31-32

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

John 15:13

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Philippians 2:6-7

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Hebrews 2:16-18

16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Genesis 15:6

6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:1-3

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Genesis 17:4

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

Romans 4:16-17

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 17:15-16

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Matthew 6:20-21

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

John 15:12, 14

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

John 13:35

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 14:17

17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

4. Eternal Establishment of Righteousness and Peace

During His earthly ministry, Jesus habitually went to the synagogues to teach on the sabbath day. Once in a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1 and stopped at the second half of Isaiah 61:2 which is about the day of vengeance of God (Luke 4:18-19). The reason is that the first coming of the Messiah, who is full of grace and truth, is the fulfillment of the year of the Lord’s favour. The day of vengeance of God is to be fulfilled at the second coming of the Messiah who will bring judgment and eradication of evil. We tend to mistaken that peace is the condition of living in harmony due to absence of struggles and wars. But, true peace must be predicated on righteousness. Otherwise, evil will grow and destroy peace. Melchizedek was the king of Salem which was the old Jerusalem. The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness" and “king of Salem" means “king of peace" (Hebrews 7:1-2). Genesis recorded that Melchizedek came out to greet Abraham upon his return from a battle to save his nephew Lot who was taken captive along with other victims by four kings: Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar (Genesis 14:16). These kings’ act of taking captive of innocent people was clearly unrighteous and Abraham had to resort to fighting in order to save his nephew. This is a clear illustration that a battle can be a righteous act against unrighteousness. Look at the world today and in history, we see many people have been trying hard to achieve and maintain peaceful living. In realities, struggles are the constant companions of mankind: people against people and nations against nations. True peace has never been achieved because unrighteousness abounds in the world. Jesus is the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek and He will establish righteousness and true peace in His Kingdom. Unrighteousness will be eradicated in God’s plan and the powers of nations who are rebellious against Christ’s reign will be crushed and judged (Psalm 110:5-6). Righteousness and peace can be found in nowhere except the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, many people would not accept the invitation to come to the Kingdom of God. They have different excuses in rejecting the invitation and rather go on their own way and accept what this world may offer (Luke 14:18-20). But, let us continue to bring the good news for those who will gladly accept the King’s invitation.

Isaiah 61:1,2

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,a 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

Luke 4:18-19

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."

Hebrews 7:1-2

1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness"; then also, “king of Salem" means “king of peace."

Genesis 14:16

16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

Psalm 110:5-6

5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

Luke 14:18-20

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

Conclusion

Jesus is the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek appointed by God. He is indeed the perfect High Priest reconciling sinners to God. He is not a symbolic being but a true living High Priest who has lived among men and now in heaven and is the only one that can bring us to the Father.

The salvation that is brought about by the High Priest Jesus is true and effective for all who believe: Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:16). With only one sacrifice, a new covenant of God is fulfilled between God and mankind. Sinners who trust in Jesus are now justified because of His sacrifice. Then the Holy Spirit will come to the justified sinners to make them new creation of God as if their minds and hearts written with the laws of God (Hebrews 10:14-16). What is the essence of the laws of God? The essence of all the laws is to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). Although the power of God is invisible, it is effective in bringing sinners a revolutionary change inside out (John 3:8). The change in the believer’s life is realized as fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control such that the believer’s life is a practical observance of the laws of God (Galatians 5:22-23). Notice that this is the power and work of God who makes a sinner a new person. In other words, the sinner is re-created into a new being living a life glorying God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

At His second coming to the world, Jesus will bring to judgment of all evils and their supporting powers either of man or satanic nature. When Satan was put to final judgment, the ultimate weapon of Satan which is death will also be destroyed by Christ (Hebrews 2:14-15). Death is the ultimate problem without solution that every human faces. But death has been conquered by Christ and has been nullified by resurrection into life with a glorious future (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus will reign in the Kingdom of God forever where there will be no sin, pain, suffering and death (1 Corinthians 15:25-28). How much we should be grateful to our High Priest Jesus Christ who is full of grace and truth!

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Hebrews 10:14-16

14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

John 3:8

8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Hebrews 2:14

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

1 Corinthians 15:22

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:25-28

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that “everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.



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