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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.



How was Tyre Destroyed

clock September 28, 2008 17:43 by author Admin

I recall a meaningful definition of Biblical prohpesy as "history written before it happened"  given by the popular British pop singer Cliff Richard in the great Movie "His Land" as he and Cliff Barrow were treading on the Holy Land in Israel. The destruction of Tyre is indeed also an example of history written before it happened. Ezekiel 26:1-14 says:

 1 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, 'Aha! The gate to the nations is broken, and its doors have swung open to me; now that she lies in ruins I will prosper,' 3 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. 5 Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. She will become plunder for the nations, 6 and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

 7 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. 8 He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. 9 He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. 10 His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the war horses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. 11 The hoofs of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. 13 I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.


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Ancient Tyre site today - Google Satellite View

The prophet Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. The prophecy was obtained from God in the eleventh year after exile i.e. 586 B.C. Babylon besieged Tyre during 585 to 573 B.C. and the coastal city of Tyre was ruined. However, during this long battle, many Tyrians had enough time to escape to the nearby island about one half mile away from the coast with much of their valuables. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon had to stop for they did not have the resources and know-how to seize the island which was well guarded by the fleet of Tyrians.

Laster, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great attacked the island city with an excellent strategy. The Greeks scraped all the remaing dust, stones, timber and rubble, and dumped it into the sea to build a half mile long causeway leading to the island. Perhaps, this was the very first sea-reclamation project in the world. Consequently, the island city Tyre was conquered fulfilling the prophecy. Tyre became a fishing village, a place to spread fishing nets for centuries. In 1291 A.D., the Saracens destroyed what was left in the fourth century B.C. As of today, the ancient Tyre was not rebuilt fulfilling the prophecy. From this historical fact, we see that the Bible is indeed the words of God which is full of authority, trustworthy and true.  Let us study the words by God with a reverent heart. As the Lord says in John 17:17:

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

 



The Downfall of Tyre

clock September 22, 2008 09:04 by author Admin

Eze 28:1-2

 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
       " 'In the pride of your heart
       you say, "I am a god;
       I sit on the throne of a god
       in the heart of the seas."
       But you are a man and not a god,
       though you think you are as wise as a god.

On studying Eze 28, I understand that the ruler of Tyre became very rich and his pride causing him to view himself very highly, even as high as a god and lost sight of the fact that he was a mere mortal. He attributed his success in trade and abundance to his own wisdom and understanding. In fact, he fell into the trap of the ruler of the world, Satan who is operating in the world like a lion seeking for opportunities to devour people. As 1Pe5:8 says:

 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 As a matter of fact, this is not something new in the world. Right at the begiining of humanity in the garden of Eden, the devil lied to Eve, saying (Gen 1:4-5):

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Unfortunately, Eve listened to Satan's lie and led Adam disobeying God's command leading the downfall of the whole humanity.

If you study Eze28:11-19, God seems to announce judement to a spiritual being, namely Satan while the judement was directed to the king of Tyre:

12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
       " 'You were the model of perfection,
       full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

 13 You were in Eden,
       the garden of God;
       every precious stone adorned you:
       ruby, topaz and emerald,
       chrysolite, onyx and jasper,
       sapphire, [a] turquoise and beryl. [b]
       Your settings and mountings [c] were made of gold;
       on the day you were created they were prepared.

 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
       for so I ordained you.
       You were on the holy mount of God;
       you walked among the fiery stones.

I think this judgement was announced both to the king and people of Tyre and Satan who was actually operating in behind when king and people of Tyre succumbed to the devil's temptation.

Similarly, when we studied Isa 14:12-15, judgement was announced to the king of Babylon:

Isa 14:12-15

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
       O morning star, son of the dawn!
       You have been cast down to the earth,
       you who once laid low the nations!

 13 You said in your heart,
       "I will ascend to heaven;
       I will raise my throne
       above the stars of God;
       I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
       on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. [c]

 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
       I will make myself like the Most High."

 15 But you are brought down to the grave,
       to the depths of the pit.


How should we face this spiritual battle? Jam4:7 lays out the winning strategy that we should submit ourself to God rather than Satan:

 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Eph6:10-17 also indicates the fact that there is spiritual dark force in operation, and the only way we may stand is through the power of God and His provision:

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Let us give thanks to God who saves us from sins and give us a new life. Let's stand firm with the help of the Lord and live a life that pleases Him and be witness to people of the world who are still living under the bondage of the devel. As Eph5:8 says:

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord.

 

 

 



Ancient Tyre - A Magnificient and Prosperous City

clock September 14, 2008 14:55 by author Admin

 Tyre was a prosperous and magnificient city. If we studied Ezekiel 27 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eze27&version=31), we know that Tyre was strategically located at the gateway of sea and a center of trade in ancient time. Tyre was a city filled with abundance of goods, skilled sailers, craftmen, builders, merchants, and protected with a strong military force. The prosperity and its magnificience could still be reflected by its archological remains (see http://www.middleeast.com/tyre.htm).

  However, at the later part of Ezekiel 27, we see the "shipwreck" of the city anounced by God through the prophet Ezekiel:

27 Your wealth, merchandise and wares,
       your mariners, seamen and shipwrights,
       your merchants and all your soldiers,
       and everyone else on board
       will sink into the heart of the sea
       on the day of your shipwreck.

  What happened? Were the magnificience and prosperity of the city the cause of its downfall? In a way, these good attributes could become the stumbling block of its downfall. As a matter of fact, we can see a hint of its downfall by studying the beginning verses of the prophecy (Ezekiel 27 3b):

" 'You say, O Tyre,
       "I am perfect in beauty."

   Do you see the symtom of its downfall, namely, Pride? The city (its kings and people), see itself perfect in beauty. This leads me to recall an antithetical teaching in the sermons on the mount delivered by the Lord (Matthew 5:3):

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

Let's continue with next chapter and see a bit more.



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