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What is God’s Covenant with Man?

What is God’s Covenant with Man?

We are on a series on the different covenants of God and today’s article deals with God’s covenant relationship with man. When God purposed to create man, God made His covenant with him. What is this covenant and what are the provisions or conditions included in it?

Here is an in-depth explanation of God’s covenant relationship with man by Bishop Moses R. Chungalao, the founder, president and senior minister of the Free Believers in Christ Fellowship International (FBCFI).

The Word Covenant Defined

Another word for covenant is an agreement or a contract. It is much like an employment contract or agreement between an employer and an applicant employee, where all the terms have been set by the employer and the employee only has to agree and sign to be employed.

It’s also like a Lease Agreement of Contract where all the terms have been set by the owner-lessor of the property and the lessee only has to agree and sign the contract to be able to use the property.

In the same way, God already set all the terms of His covenant with man, and man had no part in making the terms and conditions thereof. God’s covenant reveals and expresses His will for man.

What is God's Covenant with Man

The terms are all His commandments, laws, precepts, ordinances or instructions in His word, the Bible. The Bible is full of provisions saying, “These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow…” (Deuteronomy 12:1 NIV) or “Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

Man has no choice but to obey the covenant of God. Remember Adam and Eve who were cut off from God and were cast out of the Garden of Eden to suffer the curse because they disobeyed God and broke the covenant.

The Basis of God’s Covenant with Man

The basis of God’s covenant is His immeasurable love because He is love; that is His whole being and character. God is Love, and we say, “All the time.” There’s not a bit of time that He is not Love. That is His nature and the nature of love is it is reciprocated or symbiotic.

Love seeks to be reciprocated; it seeks to be loved back in the same way and measure. So God planned and purposed to create man to be the object of His love. And He decided that the kind of relationship to the man is as a Father so that He would lavish His son with His love and blessings of great prosperity because of His love.

Because of His love, God could not avoid lavishing his son with everything He was going to create in this earth that is why He made and prepared the whole earth and all it contained for man before creating him.

What is God's Covenant with Man

Ephesians 1:4 (NIV) says, “He chose us in Him before the creation of the world…” In fact, God did not only choose to create Adam but He also “chose us” and even knew us by name (Jeremiah 1:5). So God chose (or decided) everything for man and His covenant with man (and with us) before He created the world, and man had no part in making the terms and conditions of the covenant.

They are all God’s terms and conditions. The whole Bible is God’s covenant and everything written in it is God’s terms and will. God’s will are revealed and expressed by His word or covenant.

LOVE
The First Requirement of God’s Covenant with Man

An expert of the law asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Jesus further said, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-39).

It must be noted that Moses said the exact same thing in Deuteronomy 6:5. Loving your neighbor and yourself is only secondary, including family since your family is part of yourself. To love God is foremost and number 1 priority in God’s covenant with man. Jesus made this very clear in Matthew 10:37.

In fact, Jesus further says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

What is God's covenant with Man

Why is love the first and foremost requirement of God’s covenant with man? It’s because love is the nature and basic character of God, and the nature of love is reciprocal; it is symbiotic. By nature, love wants to be loved in return, and it wants to be loved back in the same way and measure.

Everyone who loves will always want to be loved back because we were created in the image and likeness of God.

OBEDIENCE
The 2nd Requirement of God’s Covenant with Man

God’s covenant with man requires absolute full obedience of man to all the laws, decrees, statutes, precepts, ordinances and commandments in God’s word, the Bible.

The commands of God are very absolute as we read in Genesis 2:16-17. When God said to the man that he will surely die when he eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, death here means separation or being cut off from God.

What is God's Covenant with Man

When man disobeyed and violated the command of God, man was cut off from God and was driven out from the Garden, the kingdom of God.

In many passages of Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 4:9, 23; Deuteronomy 5:1; Deuteronomy 6:12, 17-18, 24; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 11:8, 13, 16, 22; Deuteronomy 12:1; Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Deuteronomy 28:1-8 and Matthew 7:21, God’s covenant explicitly states absolute obedience demanded of man by God.

WORSHIP
Third Requirement of God’s Covenant with Man

From creation it can be understood from the Bible that God planted the Garden of Eden and put the man He created in that garden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:8, 15). Just like a landlord and a tenant, God already planted the garden and it was profusely bearing fruit.

God gave the garden to the man to work it by planting, harvesting and maintaining it, so the man gave all his time and efforts up-keeping the garden of God. The Garden of Eden was the property or Kingdom of God on earth, which He planted and gave to the man for his heritage as a son.

The garden had everything the man needed; it was a paradise. As the man worked the garden and harvested all the fruits, he worshiped God every day and offered the best portions of his garden products (“first fruits”) and fattest animals (“firstborn”) including the fruit of the 2 trees in the center of the garden, the “tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Sacrificial giving is basic worship, as it is commanded, “No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed” (Deuteronomy 16:16). So the man faithfully offered and worshiped God every day until the devil came to them in the garden and were deceived into disobeying God.

Conditions of God's Covenant with Man

Even after the man and woman were driven from the garden, their sons Cain and Abel continued to worship God by offering the fruits of their works (Genesis 4:3-5). God looked with favor on Abel and his offering but not on Cain and his offering because it was not sacrificial.

We can, therefore, understand from all Scriptures that worship is basically honoring God with our whole body, heart, mind, soul, and strength, which is required by God as our expression of love to Him.

Worship was the first thing Noah did after God destroyed the whole creation on earth with flood and it pleased God not to destroy all lives again (Genesis 8:20-21). Worship was the first things Abram did when God called him and he obeyed. And God appeared to him and promised to give the land to his offspring (Genesis 12:7).

When God gave Abram victory over his enemies, Abram gave “a tenth of everything” in honor and worship (Genesis 14:20). Worship is the first thing God commanded Moses to do with his people after bringing them out from Egypt (Exodus 3:12).

SACRIFICE
An Expression of Man’s Love, Worship, and Obedience to God

In God’s covenant with man, sacrifice is the one word that underlines the love of God to man, the required love of man to God, the required absolute obedience of man to God and the required worship and offerings of man to God.

First of all, the love of God was characterized by sacrifice. When God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, He not only gave His life but also suffered to pay for the redemption of man.

In return, God requires sacrifice on the part of man as proof of his love for God. God commands man to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Sacrificial offering has been the express form of worship from the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the time of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-4), the time of Noah (Genesis 8:20), the time of Abram (Genesis 14:20) and the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 12:5-6).

What is God's Covenant with Man

The Israelites resolved to obey the laws of God and bring to the Temple all the duties required for the house of God (Nehemiah 10:30-39). The Bible says, “Honor (or worship) the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits (the best) of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your jars will brim over with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV).

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). To “be careful to obey every command” is very difficult for sinful man to observe but with the sacrifice to deny ourselves and our self-will to become like Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can become like Him. To become like Christ is possible only if we offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

True worship is definitely and absolutely expressed in sacrificial offering. Giving the best of everything to God in worship is a sacrifice of worship. The devil reversed this principle of God when he deceived Adam and Eve into believing that they must reserve the best of their harvest to themselves and their families and offer to God only too little.

Closing Words

At the start of God’s covenant with man, the facts were established that God created man and put His Spirit on him to be God’s son (Genesis 2:7), lavished the man with everything he needed as proof of His love for him, and established that obedience, worship, and sacrifice are the requirements for man to show his love to God in return.

Spiritual Inventory Checklist

Spiritual Inventory Checklist

Like forgiveness, obedience is one of the major themes in the Bible; it is a clear indication that one has genuinely placed their faith in Christ. But how do we know if we’re living in obedience to the Lord? We can use Proverbs 4:20-27 as a personal spiritual inventory.

While Scriptures are clear that salvation is solely based on the finished works of Christ, good works which include faithfulness and obedience to the Word of God are the marks of true believers.

Spiritual Inventory Questions

Are we living in complete obedience to the Lord? Let’s ask ourselves:

1) What comes into my ears?  

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.” – Proverbs 4:20

Whatever enters my ears will ultimately influence my mind, my heart and my decisions, so I’d better be careful what I listen to. In Ephesians 5:4, Paul warns us to beware of “obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes.”

They say, “Laughter is the best medicine,” because according to scientific studies, laughter does not only trigger the release of the body’s feel-good hormone endorphins, it also decreases stress hormones. The same idea is found in Proverbs 17:22? It says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.”

But what are we joking and laughing about? There are a lot of things Christians can joke about without having to resort to coarse or green jokes. So when unbelieving friends and colleagues engage in obscene talks, it is wise to walk away.

A merry heart does good like medicine - Proverbs 17:22

What about worldly music? I am reminded of what my music coordinator said about being on a bus or cab on our way to work. The driver then starts playing worldly music and sitting there unaware, we might start nodding our head and humming to the tune of the song.

Should Christians stop listening to worldly music? As new creations in Christ, we no longer belong to this world and so our desires are no longer for the things of this world. Worldly pleasures and entertainment, which includes worldly music, belong to this world and we want nothing to do with it.

What about the people we should seek counsel from? Psalm 1:1 tells us to avoid ungodly counsel. Why would you, a Christian, seek counsel from people who do not regard the Bible as authoritative? Christians must seek advice only from Christians who hold to the Bible as the final authority.

2) What is within my heart?

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

It isn’t easy to keep or guard one’s heart for there will be many opportunities to give our heart to a person or path that we are warned against. But it is necessary to keep the heart in the sense of guarding it. Solomon is saying here that the heart should be kept and guarded against the way of the wicked (Proverbs 4:19).

Whatever the heart loves, the ear will hear, and the eyes will see. Do you notice how your kids always manage to find the ice cream shops and the toy stores no matter where you’re driving? If you love bags and shoes, I’m sure you will always manage to locate the best stores. The things that occupy the attention of your heart will determine the course of your life.

The Bible further warns us to avoid a double heart (Psalm 12:2), a hard heart (Proverbs 28:14), a proud heart (Proverbs 21:4), an unbelieving heart (Hebrews 3:12), a cold heart (Matthew 24:12), and an unclean heart (Psalm 51:10).

Do you want to live in obedience to God and not sin? Remember to always keep God’s Word hidden in your heart (Psalm 119:11).

3) What is upon my lips? 

“Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.” – Proverbs 4:24

Whatever is in the heart will ultimately come out of the mouth (Matthew 12:33-34). As God’s children, we must be careful to “have sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8) and speech that gracious and attractive (literally, “seasoned with salt” – see Colossians 4:6).

The ancient Romans, listening to one of their orators, would look at each other, smile and say, “Cum grano salis”“Take it with a grain of salt.” But Christians are supposed to put the salt into their speech and keep their words pure and honest.

For believers to stay on the path of the just, they must pay attention to what they say. Perverse and deceitful words are often used to cover perverse and deceitful actions and could lead us further along the way of the wicked.

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. - Psalm 34:13

Proverbs has a great deal to say about human speech; in fact, the word “mouth” is used over 50 times and the word “lips” over 40 times in some translations. Among other things, Solomon warns us about perverse talk and corrupt speech (Proverbs 4:24), undisciplined talk (Proverbs 10:19), lying lips (Proverbs 12:22), gossip (Proverbs 20:19) and deception (Proverbs 24:28).

In fact, “he who guards his mouth will preserve his life but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3).

4) What is before my eyes? 

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.” – Proverbs 4:25

Outlook determines outcome. Abraham was the friend of God because he “walked by faith and waited for the city … designed and built by God” (Hebrews 11:10). Lot became a friend of the world because he walked by sight and moved toward the wicked city of Sodom (Genesis 13:10, 12).

Everybody has some wisdom before them that helps to determine their values, actions, and plans. We would all be wise to imitate David who said, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” (Psalm 101:3), and the writer of Psalm 119 who prayed, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Psalm 119:37).

Out of distraction, we often depart the path of the just. For that, the blinders used on horses that do them much good would do many of us good as well. To be fit for His kingdom, Jesus said we must not look back or around (Luke 9:62). Instead, we must keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) as we walk the path of life.

5) What is the direction of my path? 

“Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” – Proverbs 4:26-27

The Hebrew word translated “mark out” means “to weigh” or “to make level.” It is related to a word that means “scales” (see Proverbs 16:11).

The apostle Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Examine me O Lord - Psalm 26:2

It’s necessary for us to consider the destination of our present path as it would lead us to wise living. Carefully pondering where we are headed will help us to establish our direction and help us to not turn to the left or to the right.

The Lord is weighing our ways (Proverbs 5:21) and our hearts (Proverbs 21:2), as well as our actions (1 Samuel 2:3), and we had better do the same. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted on the temporary and the trivial. If we’re walking in the way of wisdom, God promises to protect, direct and perfect our paths.

Closing Thoughts

After going through this spiritual inventory checklist, can you say with all honesty that you are living a life that is pleasing to God? Are you obedient to Him in everything?

One of the marks of a true Christian is OBEDIENCE. If you claim to have placed your faith in the Lord Jesus but you’re still living like the rest of the world, you’re not only fooling God but yourself.

Let us continually ask God to examine our heart and mind, and reveal to us any area of our life that is not yet fully submitted to Him.

How To Receive God’s Guidance

How To Receive God’s Guidance

There is no question that God’s people need His guidance and we read over and over the subject of God’s guidance in the Old and New Testaments. But how do we receive God’s guidance and direction in our lives? In Proverbs 3:1-12, conditions are given for receiving God’s guidance.

Conditions for receiving God's Guidance

Conditions for receiving God’s guidance:

1. We must learn God’s truth and keep them within our hearts (Proverbs 3:1-4).

The will of God is revealed in the Word of God (Colossians 1:9-10), and the only way to know His will is to study His Word and obey it. By receiving the Word within our hearts, we experience growth in godly character so that loyalty and kindness become beautiful ornaments in our lives (Proverbs 1:9; 3:3).

It is not enough for believers to carry the Bible in their hands; they must let the Holy Spirit write God’s Word on their hearts.

2. We must trust the Lord and obey Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

These are the key verses in this chapter, a promise God’s people have often claimed as they have sought the Lord’s guidance and direction for their lives. And this promise has never failed them – if they have obeyed God. God keeps His promises when we obey His precepts because our obedience prepares us to receive and enjoy what He has planned for us.

To “not depend on our own understanding” does not suggest that God’s children turn off their brains and ignore their intelligence and common sense. It simply cautions us not to depend on our own wisdom and experience or the wisdom and experience of others.

*Read here: How to Love the Lord Your God with All Your Mind 

Abraham did this when he went to Egypt (see Genesis 12:10-20), and so did Joshua when he attacked the little town of Ai (See Joshua 7). When we become “impressed with our own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7), then we’re heading for trouble.

God has promised to guide and direct us on which path to take, but the fulfillment of that promise is predicated on our obedience to the Lord. We must trust Him with all our heart and obey Him in all our ways.

That means total commitment to Him (Romans 12:1-2). The word translated “trust” in Proverbs 3:5 means “to lie helpless, facedown.” It pictures a servant waiting for his master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.

3. We need to share God’s blessings (Proverbs 3:9-10).

The division of “spiritual” and “material” does not apply to the followers of Christ, for everything comes from God and belongs to God. The Old Testament Jews brought the Lord the firstlings of their flocks and the first crops of their fields (Leviticus 23:9-14), and in this way acknowledged His goodness and sovereignty. The New Testament parallel is seen in Matthew 6:33.

4. We must submit to God’s correction (Proverbs 3:11-12).

Discipline is a part of God’s plan to help His sons and daughters mature in godly character (Hebrews 12:1-11). God chastens us, not as a judge punishes a criminal, but as a parent disciplines a child.

God acts in love, and His purpose is that we might “share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Sometimes God chastens us because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He chastens us to keep up from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing.

No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always disciplines in love (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).

Conclusion

The promise of God to guide and direct us will never fail if we obey the conditions God has laid down. God keeps His promises when we obey His precept because our obedience prepares us to receive and enjoy what He has planned for us.

What Is God’s Covenant With Adam?

What Is God’s Covenant With Adam?

God’s covenant with Adam, also called the Adamic Covenant found in Genesis 3:14-21, is the second general or universal covenant. But what is this all about? The Adamic Covenant could be called God’s covenant with mankind, for it sets forth the conditions which will hold sway until the curse of sin is lifted.

The conditions within the Adamic covenant include:

  • The serpent, the tool used by Satan to effect the fall of man, is cursed (Genesis 3:14).
  • Satan is judged; he will enjoy limited success but will be judged ultimately (Genesis 3:15).
  • The first prophecy of the coming Messiah is given (Genesis 3:15).
  • Multiplication of conception, necessitated by the introduction of death into the human race (Genesis 3:16).
  • There will be pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16).
  • The woman is made subject to her husband (Genesis 3:16).
  • The ground is cursed and will bring forth weeds among the food which man must eat for his existence (Genesis 3:17-19).
  • Physical change takes place in man; he will perspire when he works and will have to work all his life (Genesis 3:19).
  • In sinning, man dies spiritually and ultimately will die physically. His flesh will decay until it returns to dust from which it was originally taken (Genesis 3:19).

The Sin of Adam

From man’s perspective, Adam’s sin does not seem to be a very great sin. All he did was take a bite of some fruit. But what made Adam’s sin serious is that the fruit was of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which God specifically said that he was not to eat under the penalty of death (Genesis 2:17).

Up to this time, Adam was morally innocent. But when he sinned, he became a sinner by nature. So he died. He not only died spiritually immediately, but he also began to die physically.

*Related Article: Death Penalty For Sin, Eternal Life In Christ

The story of creation tells us that Adam was the first man ever to live upon the face of the earth. From Adam and Eve has come every other human being who ever has lived. Thus, Adam is the “federal head” from whom every other man came. Like begets like. Dogs beget dogs. Apples beget apples. Human beings beget human beings.

Since Adam sinned before Eve conceived a child, every human descended from him is a sinner just like him except Christ. As a result of Adam’s sin, death entered into the human race (Romans 5:12-14); every human being needs to have the new life (John 3:3, 5-7).

Forbidden Fruit and Lost Innocence

Imagine what may very well have been the single worst moment in the history of humanity: Adam and Eve standing outside the gorgeous Garden of Eden – banished, an angel with a flaming sword to make sure they will never again experience the intimate walks and talks with God or the delicious fruit from the tree of life.

The blissful feelings of joy and security they had felt in the Garden of Eden were forever gone. In their place, Adam and his wife Eve felt only nagging, haunting emotions of fear, guilt, and shame.

Lost Paradise

Adam and Eve had declared their independence by a single act of rebellion against God. What they had done was more than merely eat a piece of forbidden fruit. At a deeper level, they had defied God’s clear-cut command. They chose to listen to the seductive voice of the serpent and succumbed to their own pride.

They made a huge mistake of overtly challenging the right of the Almighty God to guide and direct their lives, exercising authority and power over their own lives. The consequences of that deplorable decision were catastrophic: the curse of God their Maker, sorrow, death, and a life of pain and regret – not only for them but for all their descendants.

We can’t help but think that at some point, Adam and Eve must have taken one last look at Eden before turning away. Were they quiet? Who broke the silence? Did they blame each other? Or did they fall into each other’s arms?

The Curses Pronounced By God

1) A Curse on the Serpent

The first curse of God’s covenant with Adam and mankind is on the serpent, the tool used by Satan to deceive and seduce Adam and Eve into sin (Genesis 3:14-15). The curse affects not only the instrument, the serpent, but also the indwelling Satan who is still working hard to destroy God’s creatures (Revelation 12:9).

Great physical changes took place in the serpent. Apparently, the serpent walked upright before the curse; since, it has gone on its belly (Genesis 3:14). It used to be the most desirable animal of the animal creation; since, it has been the most despicable. The sight or thought of a snake should be an effective reminder of the devastating effects of sin.

The other half of the curse on the serpent is the predicted final judgment of Satan (Genesis 3:15). Satan will injure the “Seed” of the woman; however, ultimately he will be destroyed by the promised “Seed.” Satan wounded Christ through His suffering and death on the cross, but his apparent victory was only a “bruise” as the Resurrection proved.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ delivered the crushing blow to Satan as it defeated death, the legacy of the fall.

2) Curses on the Ground Causing Chaos to Return to Earth

When Adam and Eve sinned in rebellion against God by doing exactly what God has commanded them not to do, God pronounced curses on the ground which Adam and mankind were to tend as God’s representatives (Genesis 3:17-18; Genesis 2:15).

When God had created the earth, He caused order to replace chaos (Genesis 1:2). After Adam sinned, a measure of chaos was brought back into God’s ordered world. “Thorns and thistles” (Genesis 3:18) represent everything in life that resists human efforts to create order in God’s name.

Further Effects of Sin

Aside from the two curses, God also proclaimed how sin would affect both genders of humanity. The focus of sin’s effects on women is in childbearing, child rearing and in their relationships with men (Genesis 3:16).

The injection of physical pain into childbearing also hints at the years of emotional pain spent on child rearing. Within women’s relationships with their husbands, they are caught between their desire and need for intimacy and the tendency of their mates to dominate them, a clear violation of God’s intention of loving leadership.

On the other hand, men would find the effects of sin permeating their efforts to provide a livelihood for themselves and their families (Genesis 3:19).

The disorder loosed in the soil and in all human enterprise reduces men to toilers who can never win for long in their efforts to make a living. They continue to struggle in order to get ahead of the chaos represented by the thorns and thistles which in effect will distract them from God.

The Gift of Hope

As Adam and Eve began to reflect on the terrible, final moments in the Garden of Eden, they must have thought of the sorrow in God’s voice when He had called out, “Where are you?” And the puzzling curse on the serpent kept running through their minds (Genesis 3:14-15).

God said the serpent would inflict yet more pain and suffering upon humans, but in the end, he would be crushed by the Seed of Eve. It was a small ray of hope, a glimmer of a promise that Paradise would not remain lost forever, a promise of a Deliverer and Savior (fulfilled in Jesus Christ, see Galatians 3:16, 19-26).

It could be that Adam and Eve also recalled the gentle way the Lord had graciously provided them with clothes before sending them away – a hint of God’s love and mercy. The more they reflected, the more they must have become convinced that God wanted to restore them to Himself.

Great news! The long wait for God’s promised salvation has come. Today, unlike Adam and Eve, we don’t have to wait. The day of salvation is already here (2 Corinthians 6:2). Jesus has already come to save us from our sins. 

Did you receive God’s offer of salvation through the finished works of Christ? If you haven’t, now is the time to do it. Now is the day of salvation!


*Reference: 

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition   (Understanding God’s Message in the Last Days)

General Editor: John Hagee

The prophecies of the Bible assure us that God will prevail. The NKJV Prophecy Study Bible 2015 Edition has hundreds of pages of special features that offer a broad understanding of prophetic themes, salvation, covenants, and other important doctrines of the Christian faith.

Features include:

  • Introduction to Bible Prophecy
  • Index to Prophetic Passages
  • Top 20 Questions about Bible Prophecy
  • Diamonds for Daily Living
  • God’s Great Promises
  • God’s Great Salvation
  • Evidences
  • Spokesmen for God
  • Bible Insights
  • Bible Prophecy Charts
  • Full concordance
Choosing Between Blessings And Curses

Choosing Between Blessings And Curses

Bible Verses: Leviticus 26:3-4, 14-16 (NIV)

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.”

“However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commandments, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you.”

Reflection and Challenge

In these verses, it’s very clear that to obey God is “to follow My decrees” but to disobey Him is “to reject My decrees” and to despise His statutes. The word translated “reject” means “a hostile meeting with the intention of fighting.”

Our bodies are the sanctuary of God, and we must be careful to use them for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 6:15-20). The Holy Spirit of God lives in us, and we must not grieve Him by using His temple for ungodly purposes (Ephesians 4:30). Christians who indulge in illicit sex or who defile their imagination with evil thoughts are guilty of violations just as serious.

As children of God, we already have everything we need for “living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3), because we now possess “every spiritual blessing” in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). But to possess these blessings is one thing; to enjoy them is quite something else. As we trust God’s promises and obey His commandments, we draw upon our spiritual inheritance and are able to walk successfully and serve effectively.

Some of the “success preachers” today like to claim these covenant blessings for the church but prefer to apply the judgments to somebody else! Think about it, if this covenant applies to God’s children today, then we should be experiencing the judgments whenever we disobey Him.

*Read here: Blessing Through Obedience

However, experience shows us that more than one compromising believer is successful, healthy, and wealthy, while many of God’s faithful children are going through trials and difficulties. Now, why is that?

The good news is that even in the worst situations, however, there is always hope, for the Lord is “the God of compassion and mercy! He is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. He lavishes unfailing love to a thousand generations. God forgives iniquity, rebellion, and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).

God’s covenant with His people never changes, and if we confess our sins, He will forgive and restore us (1 John 1:9). Whether in blessing, chastening, or forgiving, God always keeps His covenant and is true to His Word.

But knowing how merciful, faithful and forgiving God is must impel us to obey His decrees and statutes all the more. Let us be reminded of God’s great love for us that caused Him to give His only begotten Son to die for us so that we will be reconciled back to God.

And whenever the choice between God’s blessings or curses is laid before us, let us choose the blessings by obeying God’s commandments.

Understanding the 70 Weeks of Daniel

Understanding the 70 Weeks of Daniel

The prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 which is often called the “Backbone of Bible Prophecy” and “God’s Prophetic Clock” tells us that God has put Israel’s future on a time clock. As I said in my article, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Timeline,” this prophetic passage is quite detailed.

Daniel 9:24-27

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself, and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war, desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

In order for us to have a better understanding of its astounding accuracy and significance, let’s break it down into ten basic keys.

Ten Keys to Understanding the Seventy Weeks of Daniel

1. It’s about weeks of years.

The term “week” refers to sets of seven. It could refer to sets of days, weeks, months, or years. The context determines its meaning. In the context of Daniel 9:24-27, we know that this refers to sets of years because Daniel had already been thinking in terms of years in Daniel 9:1-2.

2. The total time is 490 years.

The period involved is a time period of 490 years (seventy sets of seven-year periods using a 360-day prophetic year).

3. It’s about the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.

It’s very important to note that the 490 years concerns the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, not the church. Gabriel tells Daniel this time period is “for your people (Israel) and your holy city (Jerusalem)” (Daniel 9:24).

The Jewish people and Jerusalem

4. The purpose of the seventy weeks.

The purpose of these 490 years is to accomplish six divine goals. The first three have to do with man’s sin, and the last three have to do with God’s righteousness:

  • to finish the transgression
  • to make an end of sin
  • to make atonement for iniquity
  • to bring in everlasting righteousness
  • to seal up vision and prophecy
  • to anoint the most holy place

Christ’s death on the cross made provision for sin, but Israel’s acceptance of this sacrifice will not be realized until they repent at the end of the seventy weeks, in conjunction with Christ’s second coming. The last three of these goals look ahead to the coming Kingdom Age.

5. When the clock starts ticking.

The divine prophetic clock for the seventy weeks or 490-year period began ticking on March 5, 444 BC, when the Persian king Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8).

6. The first sixty-nine weeks (483 years).

Sixty-nine sets of seven (7 X 69) or 483 years would transpire between the beginning of the countdown and the coming of the Messiah. This exact period of time – 173,880 days – is elapsed from March 5, 444 BC, until March 30, AD 33 – the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-44).

The precision of this prophecy is staggering! I call it the greatest prophecy ever given. It stands as a monumental proof of the inspiration of the Bible.

7. The gap called grace.

The first sixty-nine weeks have already run their course. But what about the final period of seven years or what is called the “seventieth week?” When Israel rejected Jesus Christ as its Messiah, God suspended His plan for Israel. So there is a gap or parenthesis of unspecified duration between the sixty-ninth week and seventieth set of seven.

During this parenthesis two specific events are prophesied in Daniel 9:26:

  • The Messiah will be killed – this was fulfilled on April 3, AD 33.
  • Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed – this was fulfilled on August 6, AD 70

God’s prophetic clock for Israel stopped at the end of the sixty-ninth week set of seven. We are living in this gap between week sixty-nine and seventy – it’s called the church age. The church age will end when Christ returns to rapture His bride, the church.

After all, since the church was not around for the first sixty-nine weeks from 444 BC to AD 33, it makes sense the church will not be here for the final week of years either. The seventy weeks have to do with Israel, not the church. This rationale supports the pre-Tribulation Rapture view.

8. The Antichrist’s treaty and the final seven years.

God’s prophetic clock for Israel will begin again after the church has been raptured, when the Antichrist comes onto the scene and ratifies a seven-year treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). This is the seventieth set of seven years, which awaits fulfillment.

Because the first sixty-nine weeks of years were literally fulfilled down to the very day, it stands to reason that this future time of seven years will just as literally fulfilled in the future.

The Antichrist signs a 7-year treaty with Israel

9. The Antichrist breaks the treaty.

In one of the greatest double-crosses of all time, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel at its midpoint (after 3 ½ years) and set an abominable, sacrilegious statue or image of himself in the rebuilt Temple of God in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:21); Revelation 13:14-15). The final 3 ½ years will be the “Great Tribulation” Jesus talked about in Matthew 24:21).

10. The end of the seventy weeks.

At the end of the seven years, God will slay the Antichrist (see Daniel 9:27, 2; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20). This event will mark the end of the seventy sets of seven and the beginning of the one thousand year reign of Christ when the six divine goals in Daniel 9:24 will be completely fulfilled (see Revelation 20:1-6).

Closing Thoughts

As mentioned earlier, predicting a time period of 173,880 days to the very day is the greatest prophecy ever given. Be reminded that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on March 30, AD 33, the first sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) were fulfilled to the very day.

Jesus knew the significance of it when He said to the people, “If you have known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace” (Luke 19:42 NASB). He added those sobering words, “Because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44 NASB).

Jesus emphasized “this day” and “the time” to the Jewish people because He stood before them fulfilling this astonishing prophecy. The time of visitation had come on the exact day prophesied but they had missed it due to their unbelief.

Jesus is coming again someday, maybe very soon. There is a final future “time of visitation” that will also occur right on time according to God’s timetable


*Reference: The End (A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days) by Mark Hitchcock

Why Mary Is Not The Mother Of God

Why Mary Is Not The Mother Of God

Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians frequently refer to Mary as the “Mother of God,” which Protestants object to. Considering the claim of the Catholic Church may even find the name to be a stumbling block. Why? Because to them “Mother of God” implies that God somehow has His origin in Mary. But how could the Creator of all things possibly have a mother?

In our Facebook group, we once had a discussion with a Catholic Catechist about the proper use of the term “Mother of God.” According to him, the term is not meant to exalt Mary but to give her the honor and respect that is rightfully hers for having been chosen to conceive and give birth to Jesus.

Since it is one of the group’s objectives to refute unbiblical doctrines, we tried explaining to him that although Mary is the mother of Jesus, she cannot be the mother of God. This is because God being the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth had no mother and did not need to have one.

Mother of God

Should we call Mary “Mother of God?”

In his book “Mary: Another Redeemer,” Dr. James R. White says that this is the single most misused theological term around. The logic seems inescapable: Jesus is God, come in human flesh. Mary is Jesus’ mother. Hence, Mary is the mother of God. What could be simpler?

Below is a chapter of the book where Dr. White explains more extensively why Mary is not the mother of God. He said that if everyone would just use the term “mother of God” to communicate just that – that Jesus Christ was truly and completely God – there would be no reason for him to include this brief chapter.

But most of the time when the phrase is used, the person using it is not in any way commenting on the fact that Jesus Christ was God and Man on the earth. They are not speaking about Christ at all, but about Mary, and they are using the title to give her a position of honor and power.

If you want to know more about the controversial movement to name Mary as Co-Redeemer with Christ, get the eBook here.

The Origin of the Term

What did the term mean in the ancient church? How is it being misused today? Anyone who reads the writing of the ancient church knows that the word translated “Mother of God” is the Greek term theotokos. Literally, the word means “God-bearer.” It became a title for Mary so that you often find her simply being called theotokos in devotional and theological writings. But where did the term come from?

Around the beginning of the fourth century, Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, first used this term when speaking of Mary. It is no coincidence that it was the teaching of Alexander that prompted the most famous “heretic” of all time – Arius, the great denier of the deity of Christ – to begin propagating his heresy.

Evidently, at that time, even in its earliest uses, the term was meant to say something about Jesus, not Mary. That is, the term was Christological in force. It was focused on Christ and was meant to safeguard the truth about His absolute deity.

The term really entered into the “orthodox” vocabulary through its usage at the Councils of Ephesus in AD 431) and more importantly, Chalcedon in AD 325. We can learn the most about how this term was originally understood by taking a moment to understand why it appears in the creed produced at Chalcedon.

The debate over the complete deity of Christ had lasted for many decades, continuing on well after the Council of Nicea had finished its work in AD 325, not coming to completion until the Council of Constantinople in AD 381. But once this great truth was properly safeguarded, other questions began to arise.

One of the questions went like this: Granted that Jesus Christ was truly God and inhuman flesh, how then are we to understand the relationship between the divine and the human in Christ? Was He really a man at all? Did His deity swallow up His humanity? Was there some mixture of the two? Or was Jesus two people: one divine and one human, merely sharing one body?

Sadly, the debate was undertaken in anything but a calm and respectful climate. More time was spent on political maneuvering than upon meaningful exegesis. But despite the rancor of the debate, the resulting understanding was very important, especially for our understanding of the term theotokos.

Debate Over the Nature of Christ

One of the principal participants in the debate over the nature of Christ was a man named Nestorius. But since he was eventually condemned as a heretic, we have some doubts as to whether we a completely accurate (or fair) view of his beliefs, as they have come down to us primarily through the writings of his enemies.

Basically, Nestorius objected to the use of the word theotokos. He quite rightly expressed concern that the word could be easily misunderstood. But most importantly, his denial of the propriety of theotokos led him to insist that Mary was the mother of the human “element” of Christ, which resulted in a functional separation of the divine from the human in Christ. The basic danger of Nestorius’ position, then, was that it led to a Jesus who was two “persons,” with no real connection between the divine and the human.

Those who defended the use of theotokos did so by insisting that the Messiah was fully human and fully divine from the moment of conception, hence, the Child who was born was not only a human Child with deity dwelling in him but was the God-Man, the Incarnate One.

Chalcedon insisted that Jesus was one Person with two distinct natures, the divine and the human. The divine did not “swallow up” the human, nor was it “mixed” with the human to create something that was neither fully God nor fully man. Nor was Jesus schizophrenic – a human person, Jesus, and a divine Person, separate from Him. He was one person with two natures.

What is vitally important today is that the term “God-bearer” as it was used in the creed and as it was applied to Mary in these controversies said something about the nature of Christ, not the nature of Mary. “Mother of God” is a phrase that has proper theological meaning only in reference to Christ.

Hence, any use of the term that is not simply saying, “Jesus is fully God, one divine Person with two natures,” is using the term anachronistically, and cannot claim the authority of the early church for such a usage.

*Get Dr. James White’s book “Mary, Another Redeemer” here.

The Misuse of the Term Today

Outside of the seminary classes and theological debates about the Trinity, you will not hear the term “Mother of God” used in a historically proper and theologically accurate way. That is, every time you hear the title used outside those contexts it was being used to say something about Mary rather than something about Christ.

Obviously, Nestorius was right about one thing: the term is liable to serious misuse and misunderstanding.

Conclusion

Mary is not the mother of God in the sense that she gave rise to the being of God. We normally use the word “mother” to refer to the one who gave rise to us as individuals, and from whom we derived our human nature. Yet the divine Person who became Jesus, the eternal Son of God (Colossians 1:13-17), the Logos (John 1:1-14), has existed eternally and is the Creator of Mary.

Mary was used to bring the Incarnate One into the world, but she did not add to or give rise to the Eternal son who came into the world through her. Her Child was fully divine (hence she is theotokos) but she herself did not give rise to the divinity of her Son. For this reason, there can be nothing about the term theotokos that in any way exalts Mary, but only Christ.

Of course, if this is true, then the vast majority of the use of the phrase “Mother of God” in our world today is simply in error. Prayers addressed to “Mother of God” that seek her intercession and ascribe to her power and glory and honor are using the title in a way completely foreign to the biblical truths that gave rise to it in the first place.

And the fact that, in general, the term is avoided as improper outside the narrow spectrum in which it speaks to the important truth of the uni-personality of Christ, as well as His full deity, is a testimony to the spiritual sensitivity of believing Christians.

We cannot help but conclude that the use of “Mother of God” as a title for Mary that leads to her being seen in quasi-divine categories is nothing but a gross misunderstanding of the true relationship between the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth and the eternal God who sent the eternal Son to be born of her.


*Reference: Mary-Another Redeemer? – eBook  By James R. White 

Mary, Another Redeemer? explores Roman Catholic teachings about Mary from a biblical and historical perspective. Skilled and knowledgeable author James White traces how the Mary of the Bible – esteemed mother of the Lord, obedient servant and chosen vessel of God–has become the Immaculately Conceived, Bodily Assumed Queen of Heaven, viewed as Co-Mediator with Christ, and now widely recognized as Co-Redeemer by many in the Catholic Church.

A calm, even-handed look at the woman the Bible calls “blessed among women” – and an invitation to single-minded devotion to God’s truth.

About the author: 

James R. White is the author of several acclaimed books, including The God Who Justifies, Scripture Alone, The King James Only Controversy and The Forgotten Trinity. The director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, he is an accomplished debater of Muslim apologists and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. He and his family live in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Timeline

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Timeline

Daniel 9 which contains the “Seventy Weeks” prophecy is no doubt one of the most significant and detailed prophetic passages in the Bible. It begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging they have sinned against God and asking for God’s forgiveness.

In answer to Daniel’s prayer, the angel Gabriel explained that during a period of “Seventy Weeks” or “seventy sets of seven” (Daniel 9:24), the Lord would accomplish six specific purposes for the Jewish people.

The first three have to do with sin and the last three with righteousness. The Lord would “finish their rebellion,” that is, the transgression of the Jewish people, and “put an end to their sin” – Israel’s national sins (Zechariah 12:10–13:1). The last three divine purposes focus on righteousness and the future kingdom of the Messiah.

When Jesus returns, He will establish His righteous kingdom (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 31:31-34) and rule in righteousness (Isaiah 4:2-6). All of these wonderful accomplishments would be fulfilled during seventy weeks – 490 years – that Gabriel divided into three significant periods: 49 years, 434 years and 7 years.

Timeline of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

A. Period 1 – 49 years (Daniel 9:25)

During this period, the Jews would rebuild the city of Jerusalem in troubled times. The key issue here is the date of the decree. This is not the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC permitting the Jews to return to their land and rebuild their Temple (Ezra 1; Isaiah 44:28) because the emphasis of this decree is on the city of Jerusalem.

While some scholars opt for the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC, sending Ezra to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:12-26), that decree also emphasized the Temple and its ministry. The decree of Daniel 9:25 is probably that of Artaxerxes in 445 BC authorizing Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and restore the gates (Nehemiah 2:5-8).

B. Period 2 – 434 years (Daniel 9:26)

Gabriel affirmed that 483 years are involved from the giving of the decree to the coming of “the Anointed One,” the ruler (7 x 7 = 49, 7 x 62 = 434; total = 483). When we count 483 solar years from the year 445 BC, we end up with AD 29/30, which brings us to the time of Christ’s ministry on earth.

But this Anointed One, the Christ, would not be permitted to rule; for His people would cry out, “We do not want this man to be our king” (Luke 19:14 NIV). The Messiah would be “killed appearing to have accomplished nothing.”

This speaks of His rejection by the Jewish nation (Luke 13:33-35; John 1:11) and His crucifixion as a criminal, turned over to the Roman authorities by one of His own disciples. But He would die for the sins of the world, including the Jewish nation.

That same nation that asked for Jesus to be crucified went on to persecute the church and kill Stephen (Acts 7). In AD 70, the prophecy in Daniel 9:26 was fulfilled when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, and the Jewish nation was scattered.

The Romans are the “prince” (or ruler) who will arise and “whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple,” and that prince is the future Antichrist that Daniel described as the “small horn” and the blasphemous king (Daniel 7:8, 24-25; 8:23-27). This takes us to the third period.

C. Period 3 – 7 years (Daniel 9:27)

The “prince” refers to “the Antichrist” (Daniel 9:26) who will rule in the final seven years of the prophetic calendar that Gabriel gave Daniel, the period we know as “The Tribulation” or “The Day of the Lord.”

While the Lord has always known wars and desolation (Matthew 24:3-24), the end of the age will introduce a time of terrible suffering that will climax with the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 6 – 19; Matthew 24:15-35). The event that triggers this last seven-year period will be the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and the Jewish nation.

At this time, the Antichrist will be a key political figure in Europe – one of the ten toes of the image in Daniel 2, and the “little horn” who emerges from the ten horns (Daniel 7:8, 24-25) and he will have the authority and ability to end the Middle East problem. He will covenant to protect the Jews from their enemies, probably so they can build their Temple and restore their sacrifices.

The spiritually blind Jewish leaders, ignorant of their own Scriptures, will gladly enter into the covenant. “For I have come to you in My Father’s name, and you have rejected Me,” Jesus told the Jewish leaders of His day; “Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them” (John 5:43).

After three and a half years, the Antichrist will break the covenant, seize the Temple, and put his own image there, and he will force the world to worship him (2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13). This is the “abomination that causes desolation” (Daniel 11:31; 12:11) about which Jesus spoke and that marks the midpoint of the tribulation period (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14).

The “man of lawlessness” and “the one who brings destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), who up till now has deceived the world by playing a shrewd political game, will reveal himself as a tool of Satan and a cruel world dictator, Christ will defeat him when He returns to establish His kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21).

Concluding Words

We are living today in the church age when Israel has been partially blinded and temporarily set aside (Romans 9–11). Like Paul, we must have a heart concern for the Jewish people, pray for them, and seek to share the Gospel with them.

Gentile believers have a debt to the people of Israel (Romans 15:24-27) because they gave us the knowledge of the true and living God, the inspired written Scriptures, and the Savior, Jesus Christ.


*Reference: Study Notes & Commentary (NLT Bible) – by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

*Recommended Resource: Daniel: The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentary

Perhaps no Old Testament book is as far-reaching in envisioning historical events as the Book of Daniel. In this revised edition of his classic work on pre-millennial prophecy, Walvoord addresses alleged historical inaccuracies, considers past and future fulfillments of specific prophecies, explores different approaches to interpretation, and examines textual and doctrinal issues.


*Learn to create your own website for free by joining me in a wonderful community that teaches you everything you need to know about web design and affiliate marketing.

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The How’s and Why’s of Praise and Worship

The How’s and Why’s of Praise and Worship

In my previous article “The Biblical Roots of Christian Praise and Worship,” I dealt with the Tabernacle of Moses from which praise and worship in churches today had its origin. In this article, we will look at the how’s and why’s of praise and worship. Why and how should the people of God praise and worship the Lord?

As a redeemed Christian, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the “praise and worship” part of the church service. Some even say it is their favorite part, aside from the sermon or message, of course. But how much do we really know about praise and worship?

The book of Psalms is a good place to start, for it is all about praising and worshiping God. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to tackle all chapters that deal with this topic and compress them all into just one article.

However, I am convinced that Psalm 95 gives us a basic understanding of praise and worship:

Psalm 95:1-7 (NLT)

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. 3 For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. 4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. 5 The sea belongs to Him, for He made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, 7 for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care.

Understanding Praise and Worship

The Hebrew word “Yadah” translated “praise” means “to stretch out the hand.” That is, to hold out the hands in reverence, to open the hands and let go of everything.

Alban Douglas made a very good point when he said (in his book 100 Bible Lessons) that if we hold the Lord in the highest state, respect or adoration, it would be easy for us to praise Him. That is because we only praise something or someone that we honor and regard so highly.

Why we praise the Lord

Worship, on the other hand, has several meanings in the Bible. Worship in Hebrew is “Shachah” meaning, “to prostrate, to bow down, to fall down or to stoop.” In the Greek New Testament, there are 3 words translated as worship:

a) Pruskuneo – meaning “to kiss (like a dog licking his master’s hand), to fawn or crouch to, to adore.” It occurs 59 times in the New Testament, carrying with it the idea of falling down to kiss the ground before a king or kiss their feet.

b) Latreuo – used 21 times in the New Testament, which means “to render religious service of homage.”

c) Sebomai – used 10 times in the New Testament, and it means “to reverence or hold in awe.”

Difference Between Praise and Worship

Basically, praise means looking up, while worship means bowing down. Do you know that some people who enjoy lifting their hands and shouting do not enjoy bowing their knees and submitting?

True worship is much deeper than communal praise; for worship involves realizing the awesomeness of God and experiencing the fear of the Lord and a deeper love for Him

How to Praise and Worship the Lord

The psalmist tells us that our praise should be joyful and enthusiastic – he even commands us to sing and shout, and wholly focused on the Lord (Psalm 95:1). How do we worship the Lord? By bowing down and kneeling before Him (Psalm 95:6).

Too often Christian praise is nothing but religious entertainment; it never moves into spiritual enrichment in the presence of the Lord. It is important to understand that praise and worship is not a show whose goal is to appeal to the flesh or natural part of man.

The verb “come” (Psalm 95:2) means “to go to meet God face-to-face, and be in His presence.” Do we have a personal encounter with God during praise and worship? Or do we treat this part of church service only as a form of entertainment?

Why We Praise and Worship the Lord

A. We praise the Lord because He is great and above the false gods of this world (Psalm 95:3).

The Scriptures are very clear God; we are to worship the Lord our God only (Luke 4:8; Psalm 45:11) and we are not to worship idols. God is a jealous God and does not want to share His glory with anyone (Exodus 20:5). No wonder that when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the command to not have any other god besides Him is first on the list (Exodus 20:2-3).

Unfortunately, many people in the world worship idols of wood and stone, either out of ignorance or because they do not believe in the one true God – the God of the Bible. Many worship idols of self, money, business, possession, power, pleasure and family.

True worship

Let us not forget how God punished the nations for ascribing worship and adoration to false gods. He even punished His chosen people, Israel, for repeatedly falling into the sin of idolatry as a result of living alongside these nations and intermarrying with them.

We should delight in praising God because He is not only the Creator of the universe but He also controls all things. The depths of the sea and the earth, and the heights of the mountains all belong to Him. The Lord knows what is going on in the waters as well as on the earth (Psalm 95:4-5).

*Note: Christians should not praise the Lord only in health and prosperity, but also in sickness and in adversity. We should praise the Lord in anything and everything (Philippians 4:6). Because the true Christian is one who can trust and praise the Lord even through blinding tears.

B) We worship the Lord because He is our God; we are His people and He watches over us and cares for us (Psalm 95:7).

The object of worship is God. He alone is Yahweh the Lord, the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He is our Maker and our Shepherd (Psalm 23). Jubilation has its place only if it becomes adoration and we fall prostrate before Him in total submission, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”

*Are you a worship leader or an aspiring worship leader? Here’s a short video on how to make a line up for praise and worship:

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that there are a lot more reasons why Christians should praise and worship the Lord. But in this age, when inventing clever new worship forms is a common practice and novelty is slowly replacing theology, the Word of God is a vital part of Christian worship. Hearing and heeding God’s word must be central if our worship, private or corporate, is to be truly Christian.

Praise and Worship

And whether we worship at home or in the church is immaterial. What matters to God is our spiritual condition. Our goal in praise and worship is not only to sing songs of praise and adoration for God; we must come into His presence in total surrender so we can hear His voice and be able to tap into His power and anointing.

What motivates you to praise and worship the Lord? How do you do it? Please let us know in the comments below.


*Are you interested to take up Christian drum lessons? Join worship guitar class right here.

NO BETTER PLACE (Words & Music by Ptr. Ruel Buyacao)

NO BETTER PLACE (Words & Music by Ptr. Ruel Buyacao)

Someone once said that if you want to know what heaven is like, think of the most beautiful and most peaceful place on earth, multiply that a thousand or hundred thousand times and you get a glimpse of heaven. Well. no matter how beautiful that place is, it surely cannot compare to what heaven has to offer.

Here’s a song that expresses how much one longs to be in the presence of the Lord. You may want to sing it to the Lord, and sing it from your heart.

No Better Place Lyrics and Chords