Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Course of this Age

As we continue our study of prophecy in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in Luke 21 we must approach it with one of two preconceived assumptions.  It is either obscure and hidden truth or else it is obviously clear and plain.  One thing for certain is that it is revelation from God.  What is revelation?  It is revealed; not hidden obscure  truth.  That’s the purpose of the book of The Revelation.  It is revealing to us truths about the future.

 

Since what God says about the past is clear and plain and accurate, it is reasonable to expect that what He says about the future is also clear and plain and can be expected to be fulfilled.

 

Jesus is returning to this earth in power and great glory.

 

That is stated in Luke 21:27-28. God-fearing Israelites were certainly aware of Christ’s coming Kingdom.   God made a covenant with David which is recorded n II Samuel 7  and repeated  again in Psalm 89,  This covenant is God’s promise that someone from David’s line would one day reign over the earth forever.  This Kingdom is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Old Testament.  You can read about His Kingdom in Isaiah 9:6-7,  11:1-10, Jeremiah 23:5-6,  Ezekiel  36-39,  Daniel 2:44, and Zechariah 12-14.  

 

Jesus’ Disciples were certainly aware of Christ as the Messiah.  They had walked with Him and sat under His ministry for three years and were convinced He was the Messiah.  Peter, speaking for the rest of them, confessed Jesus as the Son of God.   They had witnessed Jesus’ miracles and listened to Him as He taught the people and confronted the Scribes and Pharisees with their hypocrisy.  They were ready and anxious for Him to establish His Kingdom and they looked forward to helping Him administrate it.

 

They had witnessed His glorious Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey.  They had to be impressed with the adulation of the huge crowds that greeted Him with palm branches and with their robes thrown down in honor to Him.  They had watched Him cleanse His temple and drive out the money changers and sellers of animals and birds for sacrifice.   They could not help but be aware of the enmity of the priests and Pharisees as Christ exposed their evil hearts.

 

The Disciples were ready and anxious for Christ to establish His Kingdom and give them honor and responsibility in that Kingdom.    That concern prompted their question in Luke 21:7 as to when that Kingdom would be established.

 

The second part of their question concerned the signs that would indicate it was at hand?  So Jesus devotes most of His Discourse to answering the question of signs of His coming Kingdom. 

 

I. DECEPTION  21:8

 

We dealt with the first sign in the previous article.  That sign is the deception of many false prophets and false Messiahs.  That deception began in the first century and has increased over the past two millennia.

 

II. DISASTERS  21:9-11

 

World-wide wars, commotions, pestilence and natural disasters are all evidences of God’s hand on history, as we move closer to the Kingdom when Christ reigns from Jerusalem.   Romans 8:18-23 speaks of the curse on the entire creation brought on as a result of man’s sin.  That curse will not be removed until Jesus comes back to reign.  

 

As long as we have rebellious hearts that reject Christ as Saviour and King,  we can count on a disastrous life. When we receive Christ as Saviour, we immediately have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

 

When we surrender to Christ as Lord of our lives,  we have the peace of God controlling our hearts, even though we lives in a world that groans under the curse of sin. See Colossians 3:15  and Philippians 4:4-7.  Rebellious Christians can count on unrest and disaster following them throughout their lives.

 

In the midst of disaster throughout this church age, we Christians can take comfort  that all these things are simply evidences of the truth of Christ’s words and assurance  that His Kingdom on earth will one day be a reality.

 

Though we can have His peace ruling in our hearts, we live in a troubled world groaning under the curse of sin.  Disasters, disturbances, pestilences, political unrest, wars, earthquakes, famines, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis have continued to fall upon this sin-cursed, world for these past two millennia. 

 

In each generation Christians have taken comfort that the persecution, wars and disasters are all to be expected and that they are signs of the  return of Christ to reign on this earth.

 

These disasters will intensify during the Tribulation beyond anything we have ever seen or heard.  Thank God, Christians will miss that by being raptured out of this world before the Anti-christ is revealed.

 

In Acts 2:1-13  the miraculous events of Pentecost occurred, including the supernatural gift of Christians to speak and share the Gospel of Christ in foreign languages they had never learned. Many were saved.  Then Peter, quoting Joel 2:28-32 began to speak in Acts 2:14-21 and he described the entire church age, beginning with Pentecost and ending with the Great Tribulation.

 

You may wonder why there was no mention of the Rapture of the Church. The answer to that question is that the Rapture was a secret mystery given to the Apostle Paul to reveal to the Church.  His major teaching on this is found in I Corinthians 15:51-58 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

 

In our next message in this series, we will deal with the promised persecution of the Church as Jesus taught it in Luke 21:12-18 and I will show you why we hold to a Pre-Millennial view of prophecy.

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June 12, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on The Course of this Age

The Incarnation

In Philippians 2:5-11 we read one of the most amazing and beautiful statements in the Bible on the incarnation of Christ and His humility shown in His incarnation.  Yes, God the Son, Creator of the Heavens and the earth, without ceasing to be God, left the glories of Heaven to stoop in humility to walk among men as a human being, as a poor slave, (for that’s the meaning of the Greek word translated servant) and be tortured and executed on a Roman cross in order to pay the penalty for the sins of the world.

 

The first man, Adam, whom He had created out of the dust of the earth, had chosen to disobey God and experience spiritual death and later physical death.  In order to redeem fallen humanity,  God had to come down to this earth as a man Jesus, the Second Adam,  and take the death that we deserved. Those who trust Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins are saved and are born into the family of God.  Read the fifth chapter of Romans to better understand this truth.

 

For more details on the crucifixion go to my link JESUS and read a medical doctor’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

 

Three days later God the Father raised Him from the dead and He ascended back to Heaven in a glorified body, the same body the witnesses of the Resurrection saw and touched.  As He went up to Heaven in that body, so He is returning in that same body to rule on this earth for a thousand years.  For more information on all of this go to the link Prophecy or Olivet Discourse.

 

The Incarnation, God becoming flesh, is the foundational bed rock truth of the Christian Faith. Believe that the Lord Jesus is God and that He died and rose again to save you from your sins and you will experience salvation and assurance that you are saved. See Romans 10:9-13.  Deny this or confuse it and your “Christianity” evaporates into thin air.

 

Philippians 2:1 begins with Paul’s plea for humility and unity in the church. He uses the Lord Jesus Christ as the perfect model of this humility. Read with me verse 5-8. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

 

Note that this passage begins by stating that Jesus was in the “form” of God.  The Greek word for “form” is “morphee” the word that refers to His essential being.  Jesus has always existed as God and will continue to exist as God for eternity.

 

Note the word “fashion” in verse 8.  The Greek word for “fashion” is “skeema”, It refers to His appearance as people recognized Him.  On earth, God was seen in the person of Jesus as a man.  At the same time, throughout His short life on this earth, He never ceased to be God, although He voluntarily limited the use of His attributes as God.  He claimed to be God repeatedly, as recorded in John 5:18, 10:33, and 14:9.  His enemies were very much aware of that claim and it made them so furious, that they repeatedly tried to kill Him.

 

Note the word “equal” in Philippians 2:6.  The Greek word is isos. It is the same prefix used in the English words isomorphic (having the same form), or isometric (having the same measurements) or isosceles triangle, (a triangle having two equal sides. 

 

Even Jesus’ enemies understood that He claimed to be equal with God and that is what infuriated them and caused them to eventually crucify Him. Of course, God used their fury to carry out His own will.  It was God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified, for only as He died and shed His blood as the full payment for our sins, could we have ever been saved.

 

After Jesus’ Resurrection, He appeared at least twice to His disciples.  Depressed Thomas  had missed His first appearance, telling the other disciples that unless he could put his hand in the wound in Jesus’ side and put his finger in the nail holes in Jesus’ hands He would not believe.

 

John 20 tells the moving story of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas when He returned to His disciples the following week.  As He appeared in the room, He spoke directly to Thomas, inviting him to put his hand in Jesus side and his fingers in Jesus’ hands.  Thomas did not have to do that.  Instead he fell on his face before God and cried out in saving faith and I believe with tears, “My Lord and my God!”  From that day forward, Thomas was a believer and a faithful witness of Christ.

 

If God had died when the Man Jesus died,  God the Father and God the Holy Spirit would have also died,  for the three persons are one God,  If God had died, the universe would have imploded into nothingness, for Colossians 1:15-17 declares that the universe consists or is held together by the power of Christ.   Because Jesus is God, the Man Jesus had to rise from the dead three days after His crucifixion, which He did.

 

This doctrine of the incarnation, God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ, is the foundational bed rock truth of the Christian Faith, which Peter confessed in Matthew 16:15-19.  Jesus responded to Peter, “Peter, you are (and the Greek says) a small stone. And upon this (and the Greek says) the bed rock of your confession, I will build My Church and all Hell cannot stop its progress.

 

What will you do with Jesus?  Reject Him as God and as the One who died on a cross and rose again to pay for your sins, and you will continue in your lost condition and one day face Christ as your judge. See Revelation 20:11-15.   Or Bow before Him today and receive Him by faith as your Saviour from sin, and He will save you from your sins. Through faith, you will be born again into the Family of God.  Read John 1:12

 

Now, with your Bible, dig into this web site and learn some foundational truths to help you better understand what it means to be a Christian.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on The Incarnation