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Dating the year of crucification of Christ

clock January 7, 2009 02:00 by author wtsang

Having determined that Jesus was crucified on a Friday which was a Nisan 14 (see also the article Was the Lst Supper of Jesus with His Disciple the Passover Meal), we want to determine the year Jesus was crucified. As the scriptures recorded, Pilate trialled Jesus and handed him over to be crucified.

Mark 15:1-15

1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. 2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." 5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. 6 Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, 10knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. 13 "Crucify him!" they shouted. 14 "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

According the Jewish historian Josephus, Pilate's predecessor Valerius Gratus held office for eleven years and all of his office fell within Tiberius' regin (A.D. 14-37). Therefore, Pilate's office could not begin earlier than A.D. 25 (A.D. 14 + 11 = A.D. 25). Also, according to Josephus, Pilate's office lasted for ten years and that Tiberius died before Pilate reached Rome. This implies that Pilate's reign was between A.D. 26 to A.D. 36. To determine the year Jesus was crucified, we may examine the years during A.D. 26 to A.D. 36 in which Nisan 14 was a Friday. The calculations of astronomers limit the probable years to be A.D. 30, 33, and 36 with A.D. 27 an unlinkely possibility. According to Luke 3:1-2, John the Baptist's ministry started in Tiberius' fifteenth year which was A.D. 28/29 and Jesus' ministry started after John's ministry. Therefore, A.D. 27 as the year of Jesus' crucification can be eliminated. Moreover, according to the research of Harold Hoehner of Dallas Theological Seminary, Jesus' ministry began within a few months of the commencement of John's ministry in A.D. 29 (A.D. 14 + 15 years = A.D. 28/29 Luke 3:1-3). This is quite reasonable for the primary mission of John's ministry is to announce the coming of the messiah (Luke 3:4-6). It is unlikely that Jesus was crucified on A.D. 36 for it would make Jesus' ministry 6 years long. Again, acoording to the research of Harold Hoehner, the duration of Jesus' ministry was about 3 years long [1]. Therefore, only years A.D. 30 and 33 remain to be considered as the year of Jesus' crucification.

Luke 3:1-3

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar - when Pontiis Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene? 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:4-6

4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all mankind will see God's salvation.' "

Of the two years A.D. 30 and 33, A.D. 33 was more congruent to the historical fact about Pilate. As we studied the gospels, we learned that Pilate was submissive to the pressures of the Jews who demanded Jesus to be handed over to crucification. Yet, Pilate as described by his contemporary Philo and later by Josephus as being one who was greedy, inflexible and cruel person. A good explanation of the bending of Pilate to the pressure of the Jews was that Pilate was appointed by Lucius Aelius Sejanus who was the mentor and backbone support of Pilate. Sejanus himself was the most powerful man in the Roman Empire and was known to practice anti-Jewish policy in Judea when Tiberius retired to the island of Capri and entrusted the administration of the empire to Sejanus. However, Sejanus was executed by Tiberius on October 18, A.D. 31 for treason. Losing his backbone support, Pilate drastically changed and became submissive to the request of the Jews especially when they shouted Pilate was not a friend of Caesar when they demanded crucification of Jesus [2].

John 19:12

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

Being appointed by Sejanus who had been executed by Caesar Tiberius, Pilate felt it as a threat and succumbbed to the demand of the crowd. In conclusion, A.D. 33 was the most likely year that Jesus was crucified.

References:
1. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspecs Of The Life Of Christ, by Zondervan Publishing House, pp. 45-63
2. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspecs Of The Life Of Christ, by Zondervan Publishing House, pp. 105-114


Was the Last Supper of Jesus with His Disciple the Passover Meal?

clock December 9, 2008 02:00 by author wtsang

It is quite clear by studying Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, and Luke 22:7-14 we may conclude that the Last Supper that Jesus ate with his disciples was a Passover meal.

Matthew 26:17-19

17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" 18 He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' " 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

Mark 14:12-16

12 On the first day of the Feast 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?" 13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." 16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Luke 22:7-14

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." 9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. 10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

However, according to John 18:28, Jesus was arrested and sent to the palace of the Roman governor, Pilate in early morning before the Passover meal. Therefore, it seems that there is an inconsitency between the gospel of John and the synoptic gospels which state that the Passover meal was eaten by Jesus and his disciples the night before his arrest.

John 18:28

28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?"

In order to draw the conclusion that there is an inconsistency in the gospels, we assume that there is a single standard in determining the Passover day. However, there were different calendars for determining the Passover used by different groups and regions during Jesus' time [1]. Therefore, there could be timing difference for Passover depending on what calendar one was using. One scholarly study found that during Jesus' time, the Galileans and Pharisees used the sunrise-to-sunrise standard in reckoning the Passover while the Judeans and Sadducees used the sunset-to-sunset standard in reckoning the Passover [2]. In light of the difference in reckoning, we may conclude that Jesus and his disciples used the Galilean method in reckoning the Passover as recorded in the synoptic gospels while John gospel referred to the Passover based on the Judean method observed by the Judeans and the Sadducees [3]. Both calendars would require slaughter of the Passover lambs on fourteenth day of the month of Nisan i.e. first month of the year mentioned in Exodus 12:2-6.

Exodus 12:2-6

2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

The events at the time of Jesus' crucification viewed by the two calendars of Passover according to the study of Harold Hoehner of Dallas Theological Seminary are as follows.

Passover reckoned by Galilean Method (sunrise-to-sunrise):

Nisan 14 began on Thursday sunrise. At about 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Passover lambs were slaughtered by people who observed the Galilean method of reckoning of Passover. Jesus and his disciples had their Passover meal which was also the last supper after sunset on Thursday. Jesus was then arrested Thursday night.

Passover reckoned by Judean Method (sunset-to-sunset):

Nisan 14 began on Thursday sunset. Jesus was arrested on Thursday after sunset and the Last Supper with his disciples. On Friday, Passover lambs according to the Judean reckoning were slaughtered at about 3 to 5 p.m. which was now late Nisan 14. This was also the time Jesus died on the cross and was then burried. After sunset on Friday i.e. the night of Nisan 15, the Judeans and Sadducees had their Passover meals.

References:
1. Morgenstern, Hebrew Union College Annual, X, 1-148; Stauffer, p. 95; Finkel, pp. 70-74; M. Black, "The Arrest and Trial of Jesus and the Date of the Last Supper," New Testament Essays, ed. by A. J. B. Giggins (Manchester, 1959), pp. 30-32
2. Julian Morgenstern, "The Calendar of the Book of Jubilees, its Origin and its Character," Vetus Testamentum, V (Janiuary, 1955), 64-65 n. 2;Finegan, pp. 452-453; G. R. Driver, "Two Problems in the New Testament," The Journal of Theological Studies, XVI (October, 1965), 327.
3. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspecs Of The Life Of Christ, by Zondervan Publishing House, pp. 86-89


Was Jesus Crucified on a Friday?

clock November 24, 2008 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse: Luke 9:22

22 And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

A short answer to the question is yes and it is the common view of church history and is a common consensus of the Church Fathers. Let's study some scriptures to support this view. Luke 23:54-56 tells us that Jesus died on a Preparation Day which is the day before a Sabbath. The Preparation Day is the sixth day of a Jewish week. It is called a Preparation Day because Jews will not do any work on the Sabbath and life's necessities such as cooking of food and spiritual purification are completed before the start of Sabbath which is at about 6:00 PM Friday. Please note that a Jewish day ends and a new day begins at sunset. After burying Jesus' body by Joseph, the women who saw the tomb went home to prepare spices and perfumes for Jesus burial and rested because of the coming of Sabbath. Therefore we can conclude from studying these verses that Jesus was crucified and died on Friday.

Luke 23:54-56

54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Moreover, Jesus resurrected on the third day (Matthew 16:21) and was witnessed by the women who wanted to put spices on Jesus' body on the first day of the week (Luke 24:1-3) which was a Sunday according to Jewish custom.

Matthew 16:21

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Luke 24:1-3

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

However, one common difficulty in holding this view is due to Matthew 12:40 which says that Jesus was supposed to be in the tomb for three days and three nights contradicting to the view that Jesus was crucified on Friday and raised on the third day therefore the duration of Jesus' death was less than three days. In addition, according to Matthew 27:63, Mark 8:31,9:31, 10:34, Jesus' resurrection occurred after three days.

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.

Matthew 27:63

63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.'

Mark 8:31

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

Mark 9:31

31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

Mark 10:34

34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

The question is whether there is inconsistency in the phrases about the time of resurrection: "on the third day", "three days and three nights", and "after three days". There is no inconsistency when we understand it in the context of Jewish thinking at that time which suggests that a part of a day is counted as a whole day. To substantiate this thinking, we can study Matthew 27:63 again and also verses 64 to 66 in continuation.

Matthew 27:63-66

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." 65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

This two verses recorded the fact that the Pharisees asked Pilate to send soldiers to guard the tomb of Jesus againist any possibility of Jesus' disciples stealing his body and spread the lie (that is according to these Pharisees) of resurrection. Notice that the duration of security was until the third day. Therefore, we can see an example of a equivalence of "after three days" and "thi third day". Otherwise, the Pharisees would have asked for guarding the tomb until the fourth day. One could argue that the Pharisees came to Pilate to ask for tomb security the next day after Jesus' death (Matthew 27:62), therefore, guarding the tomb "until the third day" could mean the fourth day after Jesus' death. But, judging from the context of verse 63, "until the third day" was reckoned from date of Jesus' death to make a more reasonably coherent point. Moreover, the following Old Testament references also suggest the equivalence of a part of a day and a whole day: Genesis 42:17-18, 1Kings 20:29, 2Chronicles 10:5, 12; Esther 4:16, 5:1; 1Samuel 30:12-13:

Genesis 42:17-18

17 And he put them all in custody for three days. 18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God:

1 Kings 20:29

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day.

2 Chronicles 10:5

5 Rehoboam answered, "Come back to me in three days." So the people went away

Chronicles 10:12

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days."

1 Samuel 30:12-13

12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights. 13 David asked him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He said, "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.

In conclusion, it is reasonable to view that Jesus was crucified and died near the end of Friday when the Sabbath was about to begin and resurrected early on Sunday morning. The phrases "on the third day", "after three days", and "three days and three nights" are all referring to the same time span betweeen Jesus' death and resurrection based on the Jewish thinking that part of a day was regarded as a whole day. Therefore, "three days and three nights" referred to the three nights according to our concept of a day as Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. And the three days referred to Thursday/Friday, Friday/Saturday, and Saturday/Sunday in our conecpt of day. This view is supported overwhelmingly by scholars throughout the church history.[1]

 

References:
1. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspecs Of The Life Of Christ, by Zondervan Publishing House, pp. 74


Do not jump to conclusion

clock November 10, 2008 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse: John 7:42

Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"

Many people tend to reject the gospel without a good and solid consideration of facts. Many times when I tried to share the gospel, or simply to distribute a booklet of the Gospel According to John, I got a lethargic repsone. Some said that he was a Buddhist, Muslim or simply an atheist. My advice to them was not to jump to the conclusion because of your upbringing, tradition, culture or hearsays and do an objective study and investigation whether this gospel is truth or myth. In fact, this mentality is not new and shared by people living in Jesus' time and saw him preaching and walking in Galilee. However, as recorded in John 7:42, some people jumped to the conclusion that Jesus could not be the Christ based on the fact that Jesus was preaching in Galilee frequently. They might also drew such a conclusion based on the hearsays of people there. They had just made a wrong conclusion that costed them dearly for they missed the most precious blessing God gave to mankind: forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God with a new heart through the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-38):

37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

Had they done a little objective investigation and study of the scriptures, they would find out indeed Christ would have the ministry in the land of Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2):

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

On the other hand, they were right when they said that Christ would came from Bethlehem which was the prophesied place Jesus was born (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.

They could have realized that this prophecy had been fulfilled in their time if they did a little investigation. Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem and a descendant of David in flesh as recorded in Luke 2:4-6:

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

For even blind men could realize Jesus was indeed the promised Son of David walking among them (Matthem 9:27):

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"

As a matter of fact, Jesus promised (Matthew 7:7-8):

7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.



The Everlasting Ruler

clock November 3, 2008 02:00 by author wtsang

Key Verse: Ezekiel 37:25

25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.

As discussed in last blog entry, Israel returned to her homeland and re-established as a nation fulfiling part of the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 and we all withness this fulfillment in recent world history. However, God also says in Ezekiel 37:25 that David will be their prince forever. When I studied this passage, my question is whether the person David the king David who had ruled over Israel before or Jesus Christ, the Messiah who is considered the seed of David in terms of flesh. To answer this question, I researched on the related scriptures on Eze37:25. By the way, interpreting the Bible with the Bible is a good method to understand the Bible. Althoguh the Bible is composed of 69 books and written by many authors in different times, the ultimate author of the Bible is God himself. Therefore, the Bible is consitent in theme and complimentary in different parts of the Bible. As Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

As a matter of fact, after Jesus' crucification, believers became sad and discouraged. Many of them thought that this was the end of Jesus' ministry and so were their hope. Then, the resurrected Jesus studied the Bible with two discouraged disciples who were explaining to them what these events really meant in Luke 24:26-27. Notice that Jesus used various books of the Bible in the study:

26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Let's return to our study of who the everlasting ruler is. Please refer to 2 Samuel 7:8-17,

8 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. " 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.' "

17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

God revealed to prophet Nathan that through an offspring of David, God will establish his kingdom (verse 12) and his throne will last forever (verse 13). In verse 14, God also reveals that he (David's offspring) will be God's son and God will be his father. Therefore, we can see that it is the seed of David, Jesus Christ the Messiah who extends the throne of David forever and Jesus Christ is called the Son of God. Friends, when we put our trust in Jesus, we can also enter the kingdom of God which lasts to eternity! Please note that before this revelation to prophet Nathan, God has also revealed to Abraham, the forefather of David in Genesis 17:5 and 18:18,

17:5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

I hope all mankind will receive the everlasting blessings from God promised to father Abraham. Friends, you know that this promise is confirmed to all who put their trust in Jesus in 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.

To close, I want to point out part of a verse in the referenced scripture (2 Samuel 7:14 ) which says "...When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men." Notice that Jesus, born in human flesh, has been tempted in every way and even by the devil, but did not fall into temptation and sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He was punished by God on our behalf such that we who trust in Jesus will satisfy God's demand of justice (Isaiah 53:5-6).

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Isaiah 53:5-6

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

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

Jesus Christ is indeed worthy and qualified to be our everlasting ruler who is Word became flesh and came to the world (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, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Let us read together the popular Christmas scriptures in Isaiah 9:6-7 with joy and gratefullness.

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 increase 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.



Valley of dry bones

clock October 28, 2008 02:00 by author wtsang

Key verses: Ezekiel 37:1-3

1 The hand of the LORD was upon 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. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know."

This vision given to Ezekiel more than two thousand five hundred years ago right before the destruction of Jerusalem by the army of Nebuchadnezzar. God used dry bones to represent the whole nation of Israel because the nation would be broken and ceased to exist as a nation. As a matter of fact, after Jerusalem was conquered in 70 A.D. by the Roman Empire, they scattered in different countries all over the world. Apart from countries where many Jews known have lived such as Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Russia and the USA, Jewish population can even be found in unexpected countries such as India, China and Ethiopia.


These dry bones represent the ''dead'' nation of Israel for there is none other example in world history that a broken country with their citizens scattered over the world could re-establish and become a nation again. Yet, God told Ezekiel more than 2,500 years ago that the Israelits would scatter into different countries and would return to their homeland and re-establish as a nation (Ezekiel 37:11-13):

11 Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house 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: O 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. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

God also emphasized that they will be re-established as a united country rather a divided country of northern and southern countries since 931 B.C. after Solomon''s reign (Ezekiel 37:21-22)

21 and say to them, ''This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

On May 14th, 1948, Israel declared independence with the support of the United Nations resolution. Land was given to the Jews and they might return to form a nation. We all witness one of the greatest miracles in world history for we actually see a ''dead'' country resurrected into a living country in our very eyes today! Friends, as we studied this passage in the Bible and consider the history of the Jewish people and the return to their homeland and become an independent nation, we should see the power and faithfulness of God and the trustworthiness of His words the Bible. We can trust this when Jesus said in John 11:25,

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;


I enjoy listing more scriptures about the prophecy of the return of Israel:

Jeremiah 29:14

I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Ezekiel 11:17

"Therefore say: ''This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.''

Ezekiel 20:41

I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.

Ezekiel 28:25

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob.

Ezekiel 34:13

I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.



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