Author: Alice A. Anacioco

A Wife With Noble Character

A Wife With Noble Character

The poem about a wife of noble character found in Proverbs 31:10-31 is part of the sayings of King Lemuel which his mother taught him. This poem is an acrostic with the initial words of the twenty-two verses all beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

This acrostic form was a device to help people commit the passage to memory. Perhaps Jewish parents instructed their sons and daughters to memorize this poem and use it as a guide for their lives and in their homes.

Who is King Lemuel?

We don’t know much about King Lemuel, other than what is revealed in Proverbs 31. He is not included in the recorded list of the kings of Israel or Judah but his name means “belonging to God” or “devoted to God.”

Although some commentators proposed that King Lemuel is actually King Solomon and his mother was Bathsheba, there is no evidence whatever that the name Lemuel means Solomon. Furthermore, the time of the writing of Proverbs 31 seems to be much later than the time of King Solomon.

Like Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5), perhaps Lemuel’s mother was Jewish and she taught him the fear of the Lord and God’s wisdom.

The Profile of a Wife Worthy of Honor

What kind of wife is described in Proverbs 31:10-31? The following notes develop the profile of a virtuous wife.

A virtuous wife is a woman of character.

Proverbs 31:10-12 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Just as wisdom is more important than wealth (Proverbs 3:15), so character is more important than jewels.

How to be a Virtuous Woman

In his first epistle, the apostle Peter gave this same counsel to Christian wives in his day (1 Peter 3:1-6). Marriage doesn’t change a person’s character. If the husband or the wife has character weaknesses, marriage will only reveal and accentuate them. A husband or wife who hopes to change his or her spouse after the honeymoon is destined for disappointment.

A virtuous wife is trustworthy.

Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”

If the husband and wife trust each other, they will live in harmony. The husband will have no fears or suspicions as she is busy with her work because he knows she has character and will do nothing but good for him and their children.

If brides and grooms take seriously the vows of love and loyalty they repeat to each other and to God at the altar, they will have a wall of confidence around their marriage that will keep out every enemy.

A virtuous wife is a woman who isn’t afraid to work.

Proverbs 31:13b “And willingly works with her hands.”

Whether it’s going to the market for food (Proverbs 31:14-15), buying real estate or planting a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16), she’s up early and busy with her chores. We get the impression that the night before she makes a “to do” list and doesn’t waste a minute in idleness.

She sets about her work energetically (Proverbs 31:17), whether spinning thread, helping the poor, or providing a wardrobe for her children. She prepares the very best for her family, and they have no reason to be ashamed.

A virtuous wife is generous.

Proverbs 31:20 “She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.”

As she ministers to her family, she keeps her eyes open for people who have needs, and she does what she can to help them. Happiness comes to those who have mercy on the poor (Proverbs 14:21), and nothing given to the Lord for them will ever be lost (Proverbs 19:17).

A virtuous wife makes it easy for her husband to do his work.

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”

The city gate was the place where civic business was transacted, so her husband was one of the elders in the community (see Ruth 4). While no such restrictions exist today, in that day a woman never would have sat on the “city council.” But his loyal wife didn’t want to take her husband’s place; she just did her work and made it easier for him to do his.

A husband and wife should complement each other as they seek to fulfill their roles in the will of God. Wise is the husband who recognizes his wife’s strengths and lets her compensate for his weaknesses. Doing this isn’t a sign of personal failure, nor is it rebellion against the divine order (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Both leadership and submission in a home are evidences of love and obedience, and the one doesn’t nullify the other.

A virtuous wife is confident as she faces the future.

Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.”

In the Bible, to be “clothed” with something means that it is a part of a person’s life and reveals itself in that person’s character and conduct (see Colossians 3:8-14, 1 Timothy 2:9-10).

A Wife Worthy of Honor

This wife can laugh at future problems and troubles because she has strength of character and because she is prepared for emergencies. She is a woman of faith who knows that God is with her and her family.

A virtuous wife is a capable teacher of wisdom.

Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

She certainly teaches her children the wisdom of God, especially the daughters, preparing them for the time when they will have families of their own. But she probably also shares her insights with her husband, and he’s wise enough to listen.

Remember that earlier in the book, King Solomon used a beautiful woman to personify wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33; 9:1-6); this godly wife does the same.

A virtuous wife attentively oversees her household.

Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

She isn’t idle, and nothing in the household escapes her notice, whether it’s food, finances, clothing or school lessons. Managing the household is an exacting job, and she does her work faithfully day and night.

Any husband and father who thinks that his wife has it easy should take her responsibilities for a week or two and discover how wrong he is.

A Wife of Noble Character

I’m reminded of the story of a husband who felt that his stay-at-home wife wasn’t working as hard as he was. So he prayed to God and asked to trade places with his “lazy wife.” He wanted to teach her a lesson so she’d know what it’s like to work as hard as he does every day. God granted him his wish, only for the husband to soon realize that he’s the one about to learn a lesson.

You can read the full story here: Husband Asks to Trade Places with His Lazy Wife

A virtuous wife is a woman worthy of praise.

Proverbs 31:28-29 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’”

It’s a wonderful thing when the husband and his children can praise the wife and mother for her faithful ministry in their home. The suggestion here is that this praise was expressed regularly and spontaneously and not just on special occasions.

They did not have Mother’s Day in Israel so every day should be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Tragically, often members of the family take each other for granted and fail to show sincere appreciation.

The father ought to set an example for their children and always thank his wife for what she does for the family. He should see in her the woman who surpasses them all.

Finally, the life of a virtuous wife is a testimony to others.

Proverbs 31:31 “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Her husband and children acknowledge her value and praise her, but so do the other people in the community. Even the leaders at the city gate recognize her good works and honor her.

God sees to it that the woman who faithfully serves Him and her family is properly honored, and certainly she will have even greater honor when she stands before her Lord.

Conclusion

This poem in Proverbs 31:10-31 which is a beautiful tribute to the godly wife and mother gives us the finest description of the ideal wife. But these qualities may seem too high for anyone to attain. What is the secret?

The answer is in Proverbs 31:30. The secret of a virtuous and capable wife’s life is that she fears the Lord. Having charm and beauty is wonderful; the possession of these qualities is not a sin. But the woman who walks with the Lord and seeks to please Him has a beauty that never fades (1 Peter 3:1-6).

A Wife with Noble Character

This passage also describes for every Christian man the kind of wife for whom he ought to be looking and praying. But it also reminds the prospective husband that he’d better be walking with the Lord and growing in his spiritual life so that he will be worthy of such a wife if and when God brings her to him.

The man who has a wife who daily reads the Scriptures, meditates, prays, and seeks to obey God’s will has a treasure that is indeed beyond the price of rubies.


*Reference: The Transformation Study Bible (General Editor: Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe)

*Recommended Resource:

A Woman of Noble Character: Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman in Todays Busy World
By Susan Sikes

Women today have such busy lives and great responsibilities, yet so many still strive to be the Proverbs 31 women spoken of in the Bible. A Woman of Noble Character gives women practical ways to fulfill their role as wife, mother, or keeper of the house in a busy world.

Practically all areas of home life are covered with quick and easy tips to help. A few of the topics are Priorities/Godly Character, Decorating, Cleaning, Finances, Organizing, Cooking/Recipes, and many other helps and tips. Whether you work within or outside the home, this book makes a great resource to managing a home. 

True Prophecy vs. False Prophecy

True Prophecy vs. False Prophecy

Obviously, not every prophecy is from God. That is why we are warned by John “to not believe every spirit but to test the spirits whether they are of God …” (1 John 4:1). We are never to assume that every prophetic utterance, spiritual experience or demonstration of spiritual power is from God.

Testing the spirits working in the body of Christ is the responsibility of every Christian, but especially of the church leaders and pastors. This is done using the gifts of discernment given by God to Christians in general, especially the leadership of a congregation.

9 Principles for Judging Prophecy in Scripture

How do we determine between true prophecy and false prophecy? John Hagee, general editor of the NKJV Prophecy Study Bible gives us nine principles to apply in determining if a prophetic word is true.

1) Prophecy agrees with the Word of God.

All prophecy is to be judged by Scriptural standards. Since all true prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit, who is the author of the Word of God, all prophecy will have to agree in fact and in spirit with the Word of God.

Prophecies are never to be received just because they are dramatic or given by certain individuals. In 1 Corinthians 14:29, the apostle Paul tells the church “to let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (or evaluate). Why was there a need to evaluate what was said? This is to determine whether the speaker had truly communicated the Word of God through the Holy Spirit.

God will never contradict His Word

Every prophetic utterance comes either from God, the flesh or from the devil through an evil spirit. We need to test every spirit and evaluate every prophetic word because it is possible for a speaker, under the control of his own emotions, to imagine that God was speaking to him and through him. It is even possible for Satan to counterfeit a prophetic message (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

God will never contradict Himself, and we can distinguish between true and false prophecies by confirming them with what God has already said in His word.

2) Prophecy will edify, exhort and comfort.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says “he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort to men.” The word edify means to build up or strengthen. Paul’s choice of this word was a wise one because the huge mistake the Corinthian believers were making was to emphasize their own personal strength to the neglect of the church.

Paul detected that the believers were neglecting prophecy (that edifies the church) and giving a wrong emphasis to tongues (that edifies only the speaker). They wanted to build themselves up, but they did not want to build up their fellow believers.

The word exhort means to encourage. It could be the speech of a basketball team coach inside the locker room just before a championship game, rallying the team to go out there and give everything they’ve got to bring home the crown.

And the word comfort means exactly that. It has the idea of not only consoling but also strengthening. In other words, to comfort someone is not just to cry with them when they’re hurting; it’s putting your arms around them and strengthen them to carry the load.

A true prophetic word will build someone up, not tear them down; it will encourage someone, not discourage them; and will strengthen, not weaken someone. So when anyone speaks a message into your life under the auspices of prophecy that leaves you filled with condemnation or fear, that message is not from God.

3) Any prophecy containing predictions that do not come true is false prophecy.

How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord? Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously.”

God’s true prophets are always 100 percent accurate. Modern day “prophets” boast of being 75 percent accurate, or maybe 80 percent, but that admission only brands them as false prophets. A prophet sent by God is never wrong; what he predicts will come to pass.

Several Christian cult leaders have predicted the return of Christ and the “supposed” end of the world and repeatedly failed. Believers today must exercise spiritual discernment because many “false prophets have gone out into the world and (1 John 4:1).

4) Prophecy must bear fruit and agree with the Holy Spirit in conduct and character.

Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Any form of joy and peace that bypasses righteousness is a demonic spirit of religiosity. A man who prophesies and does not care and provide for his family is a false prophet. A man who prophesies and lives in sexual immorality or financial irresponsibility is in deep deception and is a false prophet.

Prophecy must agree with the fruit of the Holy Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22-23, namely: love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If the prophecy is without love, joy, or peace, it is not from God.

Galatians 5:22-23 NKJVOne thing we need to remember is that false prophets do not go around screaming obscene slogans. Instead, they come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-16). They look fine. They talk fine. They even act like sheep, but their purpose is to devour and deceive the body of Christ.

The first thing a false prophet or any person in deception will tell you is, “Don’t judge me.” But you are not actually judging; you are simply inspecting his fruit.

5) True prophecy produces liberty, not bondage.

Romans 8:15 says believers did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption by whom they cry out, “Abba, Father.” Also in 2 Corinthians 3:17, it says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

In the new covenant ministry, there is freedom in the Spirit. God’s people no longer have to live by rules and regulations. God wants His children to obey Him not because of an external code (the Law), but because of internal character. God’s word is written on the hearts of His children and they obey Him because of the new life He has given them.

True prophecy will bring liberty to the individual and not bondage. Any form of control over another person by intimidation, manipulation, or domination is witchcraft. False prophecy will always lead to witchcraft and so Christians are warned to not get hooked on anyone but Jesus.

6) A prophecy that comes true but promotes disobedience against God or Scripture is not a true prophecy.

In Deuteronomy 13:1-3, Moses describes a prophet or a dreamer of dreams who predicted an event and it occurred, which was the test of a true prophet (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). But then the prophet invited the people to join him in worshiping other gods.

Why would a prophet deliver a true message followed by an invitation to worship false gods? For the same reasons formerly orthodox religious leaders in the church will abandon their calling and get involved in cults or even organize their own cults in order to have a following, exercise their own authority and make money.

Moses clearly states that just because the prophecy comes true does not mean the person who gave the prophecy is from God. Any prophecy that causes a believer to look to another source for spiritual guidance such as horoscopes, psychic, hot lines, and palm readers is not from God.

7) True prophecy injects fresh fire into the meeting of believers.

The Bible says that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Paul here isn’t suggesting that the law was a mistake for he knew that the lost sinner must be slain by the law and left helplessly condemned before he can be saved by God’s grace.

But a legalistic prophetic word brings death. A prophecy that condemns and puts the congregation under a dark cloud of guilt, thereby killing their joy, power, and effectiveness in witnessing for Christ is not from God.

True prophecy inspired of the Holy Spirit brings spiritual life to a meeting of believers. If a prophecy comes that destroys the worship service, that prophecy is not from God.

8) True prophecy given by the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit.

The Word of God says, “It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6b). The Spirit was given to bear witness to Christ (John 15:26; 16:14) and we can trust the Spirit’s witness because “He is truth.” We may not be present at the baptism of Christ or at His death, but the Holy Spirit was present.

Today, the Holy Spirit is the only person active on earth who was present when Christ was ministering here. The witness of the Father is past history, but the witness of the Spirit is a present experience. And it is the Holy Spirit indwelling every believer that bears witness with their spirit.

Among the 9 principles used to judge prophecy, this is the only one that’s subjective. But when a given prophecy bears witness with your spirit, you’ll know that it is from God.

9) Any prophecy that comes true but does not give glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ is the spirit of divination.

This principle is much the same as principle number 6. The fact that a prophecy comes true is not proof it came from God. Again as John says, we need to test every spirit and every prophetic word that’s spoken.

Jesus Christ, the God-man

A prophecy uttered that comes to pass and yet denies the deity of Christ is false prophecy. Some groups today deny that Jesus is God (such as the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Muslims). Back in John’s day, people did not have a hard time believing that Jesus was God. But they had a hard time believing He was a real man.

Conclusion

False prophets and false prophecy abound in the world today. False prophecy leads to deception and makes the believer the object of manipulation or domination by false prophets who have ungodly motives and hidden agenda.

Hidden Messages in Genesis 5

Hidden Messages in Genesis 5

The fifth chapter of Genesis includes the first genealogy in Scripture and introduces “the written account of the descendants of Adam.” Ten generations are listed here, from Adam to Noah, just as ten generations are listed from Shem to Abraham in the “account of Shem’s family” (Genesis 11:10-26).

But how true is it that there are actually hidden messages in Genesis 5? Adam and his descendants lived a long time but Methuselah lived the longest. Methuselah is well-known as the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father. How can that be?

Enoch didn’t Die

Enoch, Methuselah’s father, didn’t die; he was transferred directly to heaven without passing through death (“raptured,” as some would say). Instead of the echoed words “and then he died,” Enoch’s life’s story ends with the statement, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

It was “by faith” that Enoch was taken to heaven (Hebrews 11:5). He believed God, walked with God, and went to be with God, which is an example for all of us to follow. It must have been difficult to live in close fellowship with God during those years before the flood when vice and violence were prevalent and only a remnant of people believed God (Genesis 6:5).

Hidden Messages in Genesis 5

But Enoch’s life of faith wasn’t a private thing, for he boldly announced that God would come to judge the world’s sins. Isn’t it interesting that the oldest prophecy in the Bible was uttered by Enoch before the flood of Noah concerning the Second Coming of Christ?

It is not found here in Genesis but in the next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude.

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” – Jude 14-15

Enoch’s life and witness remind us that it is possible to be faithful to God “in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Philippians 2:15).

The Birth of Methuselah

The birth of Methuselah when Enoch was 65 was a turning point in his life because he then began to live “in close fellowship with God.” The Bible says, “After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years” (Genesis 5:21-22).

Hidden Messages in Genesis 5

“If men walk contrary to God, he will not walk with them, but contrary to them. Walking together implies amity, friendship, intimacy, love, and these cannot exist between God and the soul unless the man is acceptable unto the Lord.” – Charles Spurgeon

Did the responsibility of raising a son in such a godless world so challenged Enoch that he knew he needed God’s help? Or when the baby was born, did God give Enoch insight into the future so that he knew the flood was coming? We do not know, but we do know that (as history has repeatedly demonstrated) the arrival of Methuselah changed his father’s life.

What’s in a Name?

Enoch named his son using two Hebrew roots: muth, which means “his death,” and shellac, which is a verb form that means “bring,” or “sent forth.” So the name Methuselah means, “his death shall bring.”

It seems that when Methuselah was born, Enoch was told that as long as his son was alive, the forthcoming judgment of the flood (the Flood of Noah) would be withheld. So as we can see, the flood of Noah did not come as a surprise; it had been predicted for four generations.

This significance behind the name Methuselah also hints that a message might be hidden behind these other names found in chapter 5 of Genesis. Adam had a son named Seth; Seth had a son named Enoch, and so on.

The problem with Genesis 5 is that these proper names are not translated for the reader from their Hebrew meanings, so you have to unravel these by digging into the meaning of the Hebrew roots that make up the names.

  • Adam: (adomah) “man”
  • Seth: “appointed” (Genesis 4:25)
  • Enosh: (from root anash, “to be incurable”) “mortal,” “frail,” “miserable”
  • Kenan: “sorrow,” “dirge,” “elegy”
  • Mahalal’el: “the Blessed God” – (mahalal) “blessed”; (El) the name of God
  • Jared: (from the verb yaradh) “shall come down”
  • Enoch: “commencement” or “teaching”
  • Methuselah: “his death shall bring”muth, a root that means “death”; shalach means “bring” or “send forth”
  • Lamech: “despairing” (from which we get “lament” or “lamentation”)
  • Noah: (derived from nacham) “comfort” or “rest” (Genesis 5:29)

We now can look at the genealogy with more insight. The sequence: Adam > Seth > Enosh > Kenan > Mahalaleel > Jared > Enoch > Methuselah > Lamech > Noah reads, in English, “Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow; [but] the blessed God shall come down teaching [that] His death shall bring [the] despairing rest.”

Hidden in the meaning of the names in the genealogy is a beautiful presentation of the Gospel of God’s saving grace.

Lessons in Genesis 5

There are several profound lessons here. First, here is a summary of the New Testament Gospel tucked away in a genealogy in the Torah. This demonstrates something we will encounter throughout all the Scripture: every detail is there by design.

It was only after Methuselah died that the flood came. This tells us one thing: It was no accident that Methuselah lived for nine hundred and sixty-nine years. God kept him alive longer than anybody to give people as long as possible to repent.

It also tells us that God’s plan of redemption was not a knee-jerk reaction to Genesis chapter 3 (The Fall of Man). God had ordained it before the foundation of the world.

It is also noteworthy that the words “and he died” occur eight times in this chapter, emphasizing the fact that death was now reigning over mankind because of Adam’s sin (see Romans 5:12-17, 21). Sin and death still rule today, but through Jesus Christ, we can “live in triumph over sin and death” (Romans 5:17).

God's Plan of Redemption Revealed in Genesis

Conclusion

There are hidden messages in the Bible, and they’re not just the equidistant letter sequences that have caused such controversies in recent years. There are dozens of other kinds of codes that don’t require a computer to decipher; they are there if we know how to look.

The Scripture is inexhaustible – we can never get to the bottom of its depth. And this is exactly what every Bible reader would expect from God.

As Chuck Missler and Perry Stone always say, “The New Testament is the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is the New Testament revealed.”

In other words, many things in the Old Testament do not make sense until you illuminate them with the New Testament.


*Reference:  

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missler

For those who have tried and failed to follow through on a plan to study the entire Bible, Chuck Missler has the answer. Learn the Bible in 24 Hours is an ideal study aid to help you grasp the big picture of Scripture. Each chapter is designed for study in an hour or less.

Features include:

  • Sound, fresh teaching on Scripture
  • Historical and cultural insight into biblical passages
  • Sidebars that highlight the primary concepts of the chapter
What is the Significance of the Lord’s Supper?

What is the Significance of the Lord’s Supper?

Among the two ordinances established by Jesus Christ and observed by Evangelical Churches is the Lord’s Supper. (The other one is Baptism.) So what is the significance of the Lord’s Supper and why do Christians celebrate it?

Biblical Basis for the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper, which is actually the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples the night before He died, is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-25 and Luke 22:14-20).

Each Gospel writer describes Jesus giving thanks, blessing the bread and the cup and giving them to His disciples and saying that the bread is His body and the cup is the new covenant in His blood which is shed for many. In Luke 22:19, Jesus says, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

What is the Significance of the Lord's Supper
Photo Credits: graceexposed.org

From the earliest records, we can tell that the church did exactly what Jesus said: they reenacted that Last Supper in remembrance of Jesus and His death. This is evident not only in Acts 20:7 but also in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

The Lord’s Supper is not just some afterthought on the part of the church leaders to give the Christian faith more appeal or character. It is not also an ordinance which has somehow evolved with the passing of time. Jesus Himself instituted it and commanded it to be continued.

Elements Used in Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ took the bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

There are two elements used in celebrating the Lord’s Supper: bread and wine (or grape juice). Note that nothing is specified about the kind of bread or wine to be used. But a great deal has been given through the years as to whether the bread should be unleavened or the wine should be fermented or unfermented.

Some say that using unleavened bread seems reasonable to use based on the fact that it is what the ancient Hebrew people who fled from Egypt have used to commemorate the “First Passover.”

Since the physical is only a figure of the spiritual, the choice of elements is secondary. It does not really matter if regular bread or unleavened is used. What we should be concerned about is using playful substitutes like bagels and the like.

What about the wine? We have good reason to believe that the wine mentioned in the New Testament was different from the wine we have come to be familiar with today. One of the early church fathers, Justin Martyr, described the Lord’s Supper around A.D. 150, “Bread is brought, and wine and water, and the president sends up prayers and thanksgiving.”

In Jesus’ day, grape juice could not be kept without fermenting it for they had no modern canning and preserving facilities. So He must have used the very common beverage during those times. However, it was very customary to mix in a ratio of three parts water to one part of wine – the normal mixture in the Passover ritual.

If Jesus used wine, why can’t we also use it today? Because of the problem of alcoholism, it might be the better part of wisdom to avoid the temptation with the use of grape juice to commemorate the Last Supper. Grape juice is easily accessible, inexpensive, and nonalcoholic.

Remembering Christ at Communion

Things to Consider When Partaking of the Lord’s Supper

On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus took the cup and the bread – the ingredients of a common meal in that day – and transformed them into a meaningful spiritual experience for believers.

However, the value of the experience depends on the condition of the hearts of those who participate. So what are the things we need to consider when partaking of the Lord’s Supper?

1) We should look back (1 Corinthians 11:23-26a).

The broken bread reminds us of Christ’s body, given for us; and the cup reminds us of His blood that was shed. It is a remarkable thing that Jesus wants His followers to remember His death.

Most of us try to forget how those we love died, but Jesus wants us to remember how He died. Why? Because everything we have as Christians centers in that death. We are to consciously call to mind the person of Jesus and His death as a means for the forgiveness of our sins.

2) We should look ahead (1 Corinthians 11:26b).

We observe the Lord’s Supper “until Jesus comes again.” The return of Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of the church and the individual Christian (Titus 2:13). Jesus did not only die for us, but He arose again and ascended to heaven.

And one day He shall return to take us to heaven at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:2-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) for the rewarding ceremony at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10), and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

Today, we are not all that we should be; but when we see Him we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).

3) We should look within (1 Corinthians 11:27-28, 31-32).

The apostle Paul did not say we had to be worthy to partake of the bread and cup, but only that we should partake in a worthy manner. If we are to participate in a worthy manner, we must examine our own hearts, judge our sins, and confess them to the Lord.

To come to communion with unconfessed sin in our lives is to be guilty of Christ’s body and blood, for it was sin that nailed Him to the cross. If we will not judge our own sins, then God will judge us and chasten us until we do confess and forsake our sins.

The believers at Corinth neglected to examine themselves, but they were experts at examining everybody else. When the church gathers together, we must be careful not to become “religious detectives” who watch others while failing to acknowledge our own sins.

No one ought to come to Communion who is not a true believer. Nor should a true believer come to Communion if his heart is not right with God and with his fellow Christians. This is why we are given a time of spiritual preparation before partaking of the Lord’s Supper, lest any of us bring chastening on ourselves.

We are to treat the Lord’s Supper with reverence and to practice it in a spirit of self-examination. If we eat and drink in an unworthy manner, we eat and drink judgment to ourselves, and that is nothing to take lightly.

4) We should look around (1 Corinthians 11:33-34).

We should not look around in order to criticize other believers but in order to honor the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29b). This perhaps has a dual meaning. We should honor Jesus’ body as symbolized in the bread, but also in the church around us – for the church is the body of Christ.

The Last Supper should be a demonstration of the unity of the church – but there was not much unity in the Corinthian church. In fact, their celebration of the Lord’s Supper was only a demonstration of their disunity.

It isn’t only good manners to wait for one another when partaking of the Lord’s Supper; it also shows love towards others. If we wait for one another, then each one can receive an equal share.

5) We partake of it as often as we can (1 Corinthians 11:25b).

Nothing is said in the New Testament about the frequency of the Lord’s Supper. Some believe it would be good to do it weekly; others practice it quarterly and still, others celebrate it on the first Sunday of each month.

I believe we are free in this matter. But since we take the Lord’s Supper to remember Christ’s death, we should take it fairly often and regularly. In any case, it’s not the frequency that matters but the attitude of our hearts.

Purpose of the Lord’s Supper

1) A Remembrance

First of all, the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance, a recollection. As we partake, we are to dismiss from our thoughts the care of everyday life and focus our attention completely on the Lord Jesus, foundationally remembering His death on the cross for us.

Let us not forget as some often do, how much our Lord has sacrificed for us at Calvary. The Lord in His gracious wisdom instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper as a loving reminder of His death, resurrection and soon-to-be return.

2) Spiritual Nourishment and Inspiration

Just as certain foods are essential to physical well-being, so we need spiritual foods to nourish our spiritual life. Prayer, Bible study and fellowship are a few of these, but the Lord’s Supper is also an important part of our spiritual diet and we should not neglect it.

3) Fellowship

The Lord’s Supper is a means of fellowship with one another in Christ. It is a sign of the union of believers with Christ, their head.

Since the beginning of the church, it was customary for the believers to eat together (Acts 2:42, 46). It was an opportunity for fellowship and for sharing with those who were less privileged.

They called these meals “fellowship meals” since the main emphasis was commemorating the Lord’s love and showing love for the saints by sharing with one another (Jude 12).

4) Means of Preaching the Gospel

Jesus said in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” The word translated “show” in the original language is actually the word for “preach.” So basically, Jesus is saying, “You do preach the Lord’s death until He comes.”

We need to understand that each time we do Communion we are actually preaching a sermon declaring that Christ died for the sins of the world, that He rose from the grave and He is coming again.

Significance of the Lord's Supper

Conclusion

The Lord’s Supper was a supper with great symbolic meaning attached to it. The two prominent symbols being the bread, which is broken into pieces and shared by all, and the wine poured into a common cup and drunk by all.

Jesus taught His disciples that the bread represents His physical body which was given for us so that we might be saved. The wine, on the other hand, represents His blood which was poured out for the atonement of our sins.

Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh, adding perfect, sinless humanity to His undiminished deity. He took on a sinless body so that He could die in our place by taking our sins upon Himself.

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary for our unmerited benefit and blessing.

Here’s a beautiful song by Matt Redman called “Remembrance.” Listen and be blessed.

Are We Living in the End of Times?

Are We Living in the End of Times?

The answers to the question of when will the world end and how is definitely something that everyone would like to know. Are we living in the end times? Are we the terminal generation? Does the Bible have some answers for us?

Yes, it does. The Scriptures are not silent; God tells us when, how, and where the world as we know it will end.

The Bible gives us at least 7 prophetic signs that we are the generation that will see the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory.

1. The Rebirth of the Nation of Israel.

Every major prophet in the Old Testament testified that God would bring the Jews out of their Gentile graves (Gentile nations) and bring them back to Israel before the coming of the Lord. This was fulfilled on May 14, 1948.

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour

Israel literally became a nation again in one day (Isaiah 66:8) when the British Government decided to endorse the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine after discussions within the cabinet and consultations with Jewish leaders. This is known as the Balfour Declaration.

The rebirth of the nation of Israel in one day is not a historical accident. It is the hand of God controlling the affairs of men just as the prophets of Israel said He would.

2. Jerusalem Will Once Again be the Capital of the Nation of Israel.

The Jews did not control the Holy City from 70 AD when the Romans under Emperor Titus attacked the city and destroyed the temple (as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:1-2) until the Six-Day War of 1967.

After winning the Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, Israel took control of Jerusalem once again. As a result, they were able to capture the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank (formerly known as Judea & Samaria).

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour
Photo Credits: theocracywatch.org

For the first time, Jerusalem is under the control of the Jewish people in two thousand years. God has promised to save His people from all corners of the earth and He specifically told them that they will again dwell in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8).

*Related Article: Jerusalem is the Eternal Capital of Israel

Jesus is not coming to London, New York, Rome or Palestine. Zechariah 14:4 & Acts 1:9-12 tell us clearly that Jesus will return to Jerusalem in glory. Also, the final battle will center on Jerusalem and Jesus will reign from Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom.

3. The Jews Will be Back in Their Land.

The Jews had been scattered over the earth and lived in various parts of the world, mostly in Europe, since their dispersion in 70 AD. And for almost 20 centuries the children of Israel have not lived in their homeland simply because one did not exist.

But after a time of living in all the countries in the world, the Jews would begin to return to their land in fulfillment of the promise of God to bring them back. Isaiah Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied that God will bring the Jews from all corners of the earth back to their land (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:7-8 & Ezekiel 37: 11-13).

Are we really Living in the End Times
Photo Credits: c4israel.org

After thousands of years, the Jews were re-gathered into their homeland. The Jews from the north country (Russia) have returned to Israel by the tens of thousands as have Jewish people from around the globe. We have seen them on television newscasts disembarking from planes in Tel Aviv.

We have read it in every form of print media. But we read it first in the Bible. It is another sign that we are living in the last days.

Another miracle was the restoring of a pure language when in the 19th century, a Zionist movement brought about the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. In 1948, Hebrew became the official tongue of the state of Israel

4. Knowledge Shall Increase.

An important sign confirming that we are the terminal generation is recorded in Daniel 12:4, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

The literal translation of this Scripture indicates that the terminal generation will experience a knowledge explosion. We are definitely that generation.

From the Garden of Eden until A.D. 1900 men walked or rode horses just as King David and Julius Caesar. In the span of a few years, mankind invented the automobile, the jet plane, and the space shuttle.

Knowledge shall increase in the last days

Medically we have experienced such a knowledge explosion that medical science has had to redefine death. Men can be kept alive indefinitely by machines and miracle drugs.

Increase in knowledge is also evidenced by the information superhighway. You can sit in the quiet of your own home and drown yourself in information and knowledge from the internet.

5. Days of Deception.

Jesus warned that the number 1 problem on the earth in the last days would be deception.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:4-5, 24

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the cult called The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name based in Davao City, Philippines, is known for his claim of being the Appointed Son of God as well as being the owner of the universe.

7 Prophetic signs that confirm we are living in the last hour

Secular humanism is deception. New Age theories and philosophies are deceptions. Environmental gurus who teach that the earth is but the breast of “mother goddess” are doling out deception.

Satanism and the occult are deceptions. The apostate church, which has a form of godliness, but denies the power of God, is practicing deception (2 Timothy 3:5). The fact that deceptions abound tells us that we are in living in the end of times.

6. There will be Famines, Pestilences, and Earthquakes.

The United States of America has the ability to feed the world. Yet, they pay their farmers not to grow certain crops lest they glut the market and drive prices down.

And every night on television, we see starving children with bloated bellies, bulging eyes, and bare ribs. Why? Jesus said that in the last days, there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places, which are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7-8).

God uses earthquakes to communicate with the spiritually deaf. The Bible records at least thirty-three instances where God used an earthquake to get man’s attention.

Are We Living in the End of Times

The earth quaked at Mount Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:18). God used an earthquake in Jerusalem at the Crucifixion to split the veil of the temple from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). God used an earthquake at the resurrection to roll the stone from the borrowed tomb – not to let Jesus out but to let us in (Matthew 28:2).

Just last month (June 2019) about 20 earthquakes have been reported in different parts of the world such as the Philippines, India, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Alaska, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

The constant trembling of the earth is God’s voice speaking through nature reminding us that we are the terminal generation.

7. As in the Days of Noah.

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-37).

What characteristics marked the days of Noah? Genesis 6:5 tells us that man’s wickedness on the earth was very great and that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

If you open your morning papers or watch the news on TV and the internet, you’ll lose your appetite because of the murders, rapes, kidnapping, assaults, child abuse, spouse abuse, government corruption, pornography, adultery, homosexuality, fornication and drug addiction that are happening.

This generation is as Noah’s generation with the thoughts of its heart continuously evil. This is how we know we are living in the end of times.

Closing Thoughts

These 7 prophetic signs that have already taken place and we see happening right before our very eyes are all leading up to the soon return of Christ. What are we supposed to do? “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28)

We must also be more watchful and prayerful (Luke 21:36). Are we watching and praying as we are told? More importantly, are we in Christ?

Watch and Pray

This is the question that we must answer individually. Am I really a part of the body of Christ which makes me a candidate to escape all these things that are about to take place? Do I have a redemptive covenant with God through His Son Jesus Christ?

Do not be deceived! It’s not just merely saying a simple prayer and coming to Church on Sundays or when it’s convenient for you. Because if you do not love to fellowship with God now, you’re not going to want to spend eternity with Him.

If you do not enjoy worshiping Jesus for an hour, you’re not going to enjoy worshiping Him for eternity.


*Reference: NKJV Prophecy Study Bible (Top 20 Questions)

*Recommended Resource: The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse
By Dr. David Jeremiah

“The end times.” “The apocalypse.” “The day of judgment.” Terms such as these are both fascinating and frightening for any student of God’s Word. They point to key questions people have wrestled with for centuries, including:

  • What does the Bible tell us about the future?
  • How much can we understand about biblical prophecy and its application in our lives?
  • What signs and signals will precede the end of everything as we know it?
  • Which of those signs and signals have already come to pass, which are we experiencing now, and which are still to come?

In this landmark collection, bestselling author Dr. David Jeremiah offers answers to these questions and much more. Drawing from decades of experience as one of the world’s most-respected Bible teachers, Dr. Jeremiah has updated content from previously published works in additional to writing new material on a wide variety of subjects.

The result is a truly epic and authoritative guide to biblical prophecy-a must-have resource for Christians seeking to navigate the uncertainties of the present and embrace God’s promises for the future.

Who Do You Say Jesus Christ Is?

Who Do You Say Jesus Christ Is?

Peter’s confession of who Jesus is in Matthew 16:16 has been considered by many as pivotal and climactic in the entire narrative of Matthew. That’s because it was on this confession that Jesus built and established the Church. Who do people say Jesus Christ is? Who do you say He is?

We learn from the Gospel accounts that people followed Jesus around wherever He went during His earthly ministry, either to listen to Him teach, have the sick and demon-possessed healed and delivered, or in the case of the religious leaders, to test and trap Him.

Peter’s Confession of Jesus as the Messiah 

Matthew 16:13-17 

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”

Background of the Passage

After the account of Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth (Matthew 13:53-58), the feeding of the five thousand at or near Bethsaida (Matthew 14:13-21), His encounter with the Canaanite woman who has great faith in the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21-28), and the feeding of the four thousand on a mountainside near the sea of Galilee, Jesus and His disciples withdrew to the region of Caesarea Philippi.

This move was likely a retreat from the pressing crowds. Do you notice in the Gospels that whenever Jesus wanted to teach His disciples some very important “Kingdom” truths, He would take them to a private or remote place?

About Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi was a Gentile city at the northernmost region of ancient Israel, some 25 miles or 40 km north of the Sea of Galilee, 50 miles southwest of Damascus and situated in a beautiful location at the foot of Mount Hermon.

Something noteworthy is the historical fact that Caesarea Philippi was a region strongly identified with pagan religions and idol worship. In his commentary, Barclay says, “The area was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship.”

Originally, Caesarea Philippi was called Paneas in honor of the pagan god Pan. And during the reign of King Herod the Great, he built a temple there to honor Augustus Caesar.

Who Do You Say Jesus Christ Is?
Photo Credits: enterthebible.org

When Herod’s son Philip took over, he developed and expanded the city and renamed it Caesarea in honor of Emperor Caesar. He then added his name to distinguish it from other regions named Caesarea, hence, Caesarea Philippi.

What a setting for Jesus to ask a very important question. They had just left the city where there were a lot of false teachings about Jesus. (See Matthew 16:5-12 where Jesus warned His disciples about the yeasts/leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.)

And as they came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, they saw the temple built by King Herod with all the statues of gods. Some commentators even suggest that Jesus and His disciples could be standing in front of the temple when the conversation took place.

The Question of Jesus’ Identity

In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asked a pointed question – a question of His identity: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?” In other translations, it reads, “Who do people say the son of Man is?”

In other words, Jesus was asking what men in general, whether high or low, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, are saying about Him. Why did Jesus ask this question? Was He interested to know who people thought He was?

Is Jesus having some kind of identity crisis? Didn’t He know who He was? Or was it because He’s so concerned about other people’s opinion of Him? Of course not! Jesus knew exactly who He was.

Some say that one probable reason for asking this question was the changing opinions about Him under the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Consider this scenario: Every time Jesus finishes teaching a certain crowd, the religious teachers would step right in to teach the people something else contrary to what Jesus taught them.

No wonder then that despite all the wonders and miracles that Jesus performed which the people witnessed with their own eyes, they still couldn’t figure Him out.

The Reply

“Some say John the Baptist, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14).

Obviously, people who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist (such as Herod the tetrarch in Matthew 14:1-3) didn’t know much about Him; or they would have known that Jesus and John had ministered at the same time.

Apparently, some people thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance like John the Baptist.

What do people believe about Jesus
Photo Credits: Bibleinfo.com

But why Elijah? Because of the miracles that Jesus performed, some people believed He was the forerunner of the Messiah and a famous worker of miracles. The Jews knew their Torah so very well and were familiar with the various miracles that Elijah performed (in the name of God).

And still, others thought Jesus was someone who spoke the word of God, like Jeremiah and the prophets.

The Unbelief of the People

Notice that no group was officially confessing Jesus as the Messiah. Regardless of the fact that in His words and His works, Jesus gave every evidence to the people that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, the people did not get the message.

They never denied that Jesus was a great teacher and prophet; they did not deny that He performed many miracles. Yet they chose to listen to popular opinions and followed them, instead of diligently seeking for the truth, just as many people do today.

Instead of following their convictions, the people chose to rely on their opinion and the opinions of others, and this is what led them all astray.

While the opinions of the crowd were complimentary towards Jesus, they were inaccurate. Jesus was much more than a national reformer like John the Baptist, more than a miracle worker than Elijah and more than a prophet like Jeremiah.

We might think that the above answers as to who Jesus is are not in any way bad or negative. However, the general tendency was to underestimate Jesus and to give Him a measure of respect and honor but end up falling short of the honor due to Him for who He really is.

The Follow-up Question

Going back to the question of Jesus’ identity, Jesus asked the question as an introduction to a more important follow-up question.

Upon hearing the different opinions of men concerning Him, I find it interesting that Jesus did not make any reflections or comments. Instead, He immediately redirected the question to His disciples. He asked, “But what about you? Who do you say I am” (Matthew 16:15)?

The disciples had been with Jesus for three years. They left everything and followed Him when He called them and became His disciples. Why? Because they believed in Him. You wouldn’t follow someone unless you believe in him, right?

On the part of Jesus, He knew exactly what kind of faith His disciples had on Him. He could see right through them and that is why He often rebuked them for their little faith and told them to increase their faith.

Why did Jesus have to ask His disciples who they thought He was? Because it was not enough to just believe in Him, they must confess Him as well. A confession has to be made as Romans 10:9-10 clearly says.

Romans 10:9-10

Peter Confesses Jesus as Christ

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16)! In other translations, it says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Note: “The Christ” is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew “the Messiah,” meaning, the Anointed One.

In his answer, Peter was saying, “You are the Anointed One, the only Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Life Everlasting.”

Peter understood that Jesus was not only the Messiah but also God Himself. In the Jewish context, to receive the title “The Son of the Living God” in a unique sense was to make a claim to deity itself.

Jesus Pronounces a Blessing

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

You see, Christ’s messianic claims had always been subtle allusions to Old Testament prophecies, combined with miraculous works that substantiated those claims. Jesus had never explicitly taught His disciples the fullness of His deity.

So what happened was, God the Father had opened Peter’s eyes and heart and revealed to him who Jesus really was. When Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ (Messiah), the son of the Living God, it did not come out as a mere expression of an academic opinion about the identity of Jesus.

Who do you say Jesus Christ is?
Photo Credits: rainbowtoken.com

Instead, it was a confession of personal faith that was made possible only by a divinely-regenerated heart.

The carnal man does not have any idea who Jesus is (2 Corinthians 2:14). Only true believers are the ones who understand who Jesus really is. Unless God reveals to us in our spirit, we will never truly understand who Jesus really is.

Closing Words

We know that many people today do not believe Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of the world. But what about us as individuals, what do we believe about Jesus. Who do we say Jesus is?

“Who do you say I am?”

This is the question placed before us today and all who hear of Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? The Messiah? The son of the Living God? The Life Everlasting? Did you confess with your mouth His lordship over your life? Do you believe in your heart that Jesus is who He claimed to be?

Believing Jesus is the Messiah is one thing, confessing Him as Lord and Savior of your life is another thing, especially these days when talking about Jesus, Christianity and the Bible is not the most popular thing to do.

What you and I believe and confess about Jesus is a matter of life and death. We deserve the death penalty as a result of our sin but we receive eternal life as a gift from God when we place our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.


*Recommended Resource: 

Who Do You Say that I AM?: A Fresh Encounter for Deeper Faith
By Becky Harling

Who Do You Say That I Am? is an 8-week study of the “I AM” statements of Jesus that will help women draw deeper into the Word of God for a more personal relationship with Christ. He wants your answer to his question, “Who do you say that I AM?”

The Study Book contains five days of study for each of the 8 weeks along with reflection questions.

Bless Israel and Be Blessed

Bless Israel and Be Blessed

There is a divine principle that begins in Genesis and runs through the Scripture: God blesses those that bless Israel. Simply put, if you bless Israel God will bless you.

When God asked Abraham to leave his country and go to a land that He will show him, God did not only promise to bless him exceedingly; He also promised blessings to those who will bless him and a curse to those who will curse him.

God’s Promise of Blessing and Curse

We are very certain that when God makes a promise, He will not change.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Do you notice how God’s policy of anti-Semitism is established beyond all doubt in these verses? God has promised to pour out His blessings on those who bless Abraham, and He has promised to curse those who curse him (anti-Semitic).

This promise to Abraham which is inherited by his descendants, the Jewish people, remains true today.

If you bless Israel God will bless you

Blessings to a Gentile Nation

A great Bible illustration of this principle is Joseph, a Jewish boy who was sold into Egypt by his own brothers, but who became the prime minister of Egypt.

Joseph foresaw seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. In the seven years of plenty, he built massive storehouses for grain for the seven years of famine. When the seven years of famine began, it affected all other lands but Egypt.

When the famine had spread over the whole land of Egypt and its neighboring countries, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to them. The Gentile world was saved from starvation because of one Jewish slave who became prime minister.

*Related Article: God’s Divine Providence in the Life of Joseph

We also read in the New Testament how Jesus supported the principle that God blesses the Gentiles through the Jewish people when He said, “… salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

The Gentiles received the Word of God through the Jews, the patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles. If you remove the Jewish contribution from Christianity, there would be no Christianity.

Why do you think America has been so blessed? Although America has committed many sins for which they deserve judgment, America has been a consistent friend of the Jews and the nation of Israel, as well as a benefactor.

Not only did the United States of America under President Harry Truman helped persuade the United Nations to recognize Israel as a nation in 1948, but America has also contributed billions of dollars in aid to Israel since then.

Under the Trump administration, America became the first country to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of Israel. And just last month, the United States of America also recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

No other nation in the history of the world has a better record of treating individual Jews with respect than does America.

Blessings to a Gentile Employer

This principle is demonstrated in the story of Jacob and Laban (Genesis 29 – 31). In exchange for beautiful Rachel’s hand in marriage, Jacob agreed to work seven years for her father Laban.

After the seven years were over, Laban deceived Jacob and gave to him his older daughter Leah instead. Jacob was forced to work another seven years for Rachel. Laban also changed Jacob’s wages ten times and started treating him unfairly (Genesis 31:41).

So Jacob took off with Leah and Rachel and all their possessions. When Laban heard of this, he went after Jacob and convinced him to stay. Laban, the Gentile employer, acknowledged firsthand that God has blessed him because of Jacob, a Jew (Genesis 30:27).

Blessings for Blessing Israel

Blessings to a Gentile Benefactor

Ever asked yourself why God the Father chose the house of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion who lived in Caesarea, to be the first Gentile house in Israel to receive the Gospel? The answer is given repeatedly in Acts 10.

Three times in the book of Acts chapter 10 the Bible declares Cornelius, a man who gave alms to the people and prayed to God always (Acts 10:2, 4 & 31). Who were the people to whom Cornelius gave these alms? They were the Jews.

Cornelius was a man of good reputation among the Jews (Acts 10:22). As a result, Cornelius benefited from the principle of “I will bless those who bless you” (Genesis 12:3). What was his blessing?

As a god-fearing Gentile who expressed his unconditional love for the Jewish people in a practical manner, Cornelius was divinely selected by God to be the first Gentile household to receive the Gospel and the first to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Peter was given a vision from God in which the religious barrier forbidding Jews from associating with Gentiles in spiritual matters was torn down. Peter went to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, preached the Gospel, and all those in his house were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44).

God opened the windows of heaven and poured upon a Gentile and his house blessings he could not contain. And that’s because he blessed the Jewish people and the nation of Israel unconditionally.

Conclusion

If God did not cast off His original covenant people, neither should we. If we claim to sincerely love Yeshua, the Jewish Lord, we must love the Jewish people whom He loves.

Biblically speaking, the Jews are the chosen people of God. Christian believers should support the Jews because God loves them and cares so much about them as His chosen people.

While we do not have to support everything Israel does as a nation, we must support their right to exist as a sovereign nation. Some might think that God has forgotten Israel, abandoned them and that they have been replaced by the Church. That’s the biggest lie that’s circulating even among Christians today.

God will surely fulfill His promises and covenants with Israel. God still has a plan for them.

As Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel always says, “The nation of Israel is our insurance policy. If God has abandoned the Jewish people and His covenant with them, what makes us think He would not abandon the church and His promises to us?”

Always keep this in mind: God promised, “I will bless those that bless Israel.”

How to let Your Light so Shine

How to let Your Light so Shine

Being a dedicated Christian is not easy. Even more so because our society is not a friend to God nor to God’s people. But as a Christian and believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are exhorted by the Word of God to let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

In Conflict with the World

Whether we like it or not, conflict exists between us and the world. Why? Because we are different and have different attitudes from the world. As we read the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), we find that they represent an outlook that’s radically different from that of the world.

And here are just some of those differences:

  • The world praises pride, not humility.
  • The world endorses sin, especially if a person gets away with it.
  • The world is at war with God, while God is seeking to reconcile with his enemies and make them his children.

Letting Your Light Shine

The Bible tells us that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), which gives us not only a great compliment because Jesus claimed that title to Himself when He walked this earth (John 8:12; John 9:5) but also a great responsibility to be light-givers.

Our concern should no longer be ourselves and we should stop living only to ourselves. Rather, we must focus on having someone to shine to and do it sincerely and lovingly. It’s high time we live up to what God has called us to do when we received His light.

The purpose of light is to illuminate and expose what is there. To properly put it to use, light must be exposed and allowed to reveal everything that’s hidden in the dark. Therefore, a light hidden under a basket is no longer useful.

Sure, there will always be the strong temptation for Christians to hide their light in order to avoid drawing the world’s attention to them which in effect would “expose them to the ill will of such as hate the light” (Bruce).

Be a Light to Everyone

The idea of a lampstand in Matthew 5:15 gives the sense that Christians are to be intentional about letting their light shine and let them so shine among all men. Jesus was inferring that the light that will shine from us is “good works.”

During Jesus’ ministry, He went about “doing good and healing everyone who was oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). Jesus simply did good everywhere He went, no questions about that.

What about us? What kind of good works are expected from us? The fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Having these character traits manifested in our life is a great indicator of the intensity of the light that we received from Christ.

How to let Your Light so ShineHave you heard the story of a young boy who refused to go home even after the Sunday church service has long been over? His mother took him with her one Sunday to church because no one was at home to be with him. After the service is over, he didn’t want to go home.

The mother spent hours convincing him but he refused and held on tightly to his chair. This caught the attention of the minister who approached them and asked what was going on. The mother was quick to reply that her son is having his usual tantrums and does not want to go home.

The minister smiled and asked the boy why. The boy replied, “I do not want to go home because at home my mother is treating me badly. Since she is much nicer to me here, I’d rather stay here for good.”

A sad story indeed! Christians are supposed to be light-givers first and foremost to their immediate family. A lamp is put on a lampstand in order to give light to all who are in the house (Matthew 5:15b). Here’s a quote from Spurgeon:

Bible Verse: Let your light shine

We are to be looking for ways to let our light shine in greater and broader ways which should start in our homes. Jesus wants us to live visible lives not for men to see how good we are, nor even see us at all, but in order to draw attention to the beauty of God’s work in us.

The object of our shining before all men is for them to see God and His grace in us and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16b).

Our Story, Our Purpose

Every born again Christian has a story. Every born again Christian has a purpose. Both your story and your purpose are given to you by God. And let me tell you, “No two Christians are the same.”

Many times I have been impressed by how God uses others. In turn becoming jealous and envious of them, rather than praising God. Many times I got critical of other Christians not doing enough for God. I realized, however, that both of these responses are wrong, so wrong.

How to let Your Light so Shine

We have to understand that God has blessed all of us, His children, with a specific story and purpose. That is the light or message God has given to each one of us and we must USE IT.

The demoniac had the opportunity to learn directly from Jesus but Jesus told him to go back to the Gadarene people and tell them what God had done in his life.

The Bottom Line

We can praise God for whatever story and purpose God has given to us individually. There is no purpose to be envious, jealous or critical of other Christians because we are not them. God has a purpose for you to do.

Don’t concern yourself with the purpose of others because that is not your business. Go live your life as a testimony to what God has done in your life. At the same time, expect some oppositions and persecutions as a result of living as God wants you to live – to let your light so shine before all men.


*Acknowledgment:

My sincerest thanks to Michael Heilman, one of the authors/contributors of this website, for helping me come up with this article topic and also with the last 2 parts of the article.

What is Palm Sunday About?

What is Palm Sunday About?

Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Resurrection, is one of the few incidents in the life of Jesus that is present in all of the Gospels (Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-17; Luke 19:29-40 and John 12:12-19). But what is Palm Sunday all about? Why is it significant?

Palm Sunday commemorates the event known as the “Triumphal Entry.” This was about Jesus entering into Jerusalem riding on a colt. Since this event was mentioned by all Gospel authors, we can conclude that it was significant not only to the people of Jesus’ day but to all Christians throughout history.

Fulfillment of Prophecies & Demonstration of Jesus’ Authority

Before entering Jerusalem, Jesus sends two of His disciples ahead of Him to Bethphage to get the donkey and its colt that He needed for the event (Matthew 21:1-6; Mark 1:1-6; Luke 19:29-34). They were told that if anyone asked what they were doing, they were to say that the Lord needs them and then they would be sent right away.

Note: While most people today think of a donkey as nothing but a humble beast of burden, in that day, it was looked on as an animal fit for a king to use (1 Kings 1:33).

This preparation before the triumphal entry was designed by Jesus to demonstrate His authority. He knew that the animals would be there and He also knew that they would be given to His disciples if they said the Lord needed them.

Zechariah 9:9

At that time, the disciples did not understand the significance of what was happening but after the resurrection, they could look back and realize how Jesus had demonstrated in this and the other events His authority, that He was in control of all events and not losing control to evil times or wicked men (John 12:16) .

Riding on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt that no one has ever ridden, a crowd comes to greet Jesus, laying before Him their cloaks and waving leafy branches on the road they cut from the trees. Jesus was in the center of the procession and the people all around Him were shouting expressions of praise and celebration, hailing Him as the “King of Israel.”

Little did the people know that they were fulfilling an ancient prophecy:

“Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 118:25-26

What is the Significance of Palm Sunday?

Jesus’ riding into Jerusalem accomplished two purposes: 1) In the first part, He is revealed as the sovereign King, the one with authority but who comes in peace; and 2) as He entered Jerusalem Jesus was recognized as the coming Messiah who brings salvation.

The Gospels tell us that multitudes of people came with Jesus in the procession. The news of His arrival in Bethany had spread so there was time for the crowds to gather, especially those from Galilee and all those who were looking for the Messiah.

Needless to say, Messianic expectations were very high at this time so the people naturally thronged to see Him when the word of His arrival in the area spread. After all, His teachings and miracles had drawn crowds everywhere He went.

The Triumphal Entry
Photo Credits: Free Bible Images (Pinterest)

As Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a conquering King He is hailed by the people as such, in the manner of the day. He ascends into the royal city, His palace, like a king and receives the praise and worship of the people that only He so deserves.

Interestingly, no longer does Jesus tell His disciples to be quiet about Him but to shout His praises. That day, Jesus openly declared to the people that He was their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.

Unfortunately, the people did not welcome Jesus and lavished Him with their praises because they recognized Him as their Savior from sin. They received Him out of their desire for a messianic deliverer who would lead them to revolt against Rome.

Roman Triumphal Entry vs. Christ’s Triumphal Entry

At Passover season, the city of Jerusalem was the delight of the Jews and the despair of the Romans. Thousands of devout Jews from all around the world would arrive in the Holy City with their hearts full of excitement and nationalistic fervor.

During the festival, the population of Jerusalem more than tripled making it necessary for the Roman military units to be on special alert. They lived with the possibility that some enthusiastic Jewish Zealot might try to incite a riot or kill a Roman official. There was also the potential for disputes among various Jewish religious groups.

What is Palm Sunday all about?

Jesus’ triumphal entry was nothing like that of a Roman triumphal entry but it was a triumph just the same because as God’s anointed King and Savior, His conquest would not be military but spiritual.

In order to merit a triumph, a Roman general would have to kill at least five thousand enemy soldiers. But the Gospel would “conquer” some five thousand Jews and transform their lives in a few weeks (Acts 4:4). Christ’s “triumph” would be the victory of love over hatred, truth over error, and life over death.

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

When the people saw Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, they hoped that perhaps He would be to them a great temporal deliverer. They hailed Him as King with their praises, recognizing Him as the Son of David who came in the name of the Lord.

Jesus had been widely recognized by his followers as “the Coming One.” So when the people repeated their “Hosanna” to God in the highest, they were praising God for sending them the Messiah, the Savior of Israel.

Note: The word “hosanna” is the Greek writing of the Hebrew verb “save;” it is a request for salvation or deliverance, as in Psalm 118:25. It was part of the Hallel, consisting of Psalm 113 – 118, which was sung at the Passover season.

What is the significance of Palm Sunday

They recognized that Jesus was a prophet and so it was fairly easy for them to get caught up in the Messianic fervor in light of His miracles and teachings. They hailed Him as their King without grasping the truth about His inevitable suffering as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

In fact, even the people closest to Jesus did not understand that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the promised Messiah was not to take up His throne but to die on the cross.

And when Jesus failed the expectations of the crowd and refused to lead them in a massive revolt against the Romans, they quickly turned on Him and within just a few days, their shouts of “Hosanna” would change to cries of “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21).

Note: The Jewish leaders had decided not to arrest Jesus during the feast, but God had determined otherwise. The Lamb of God must die at Passover.

Significance of Palm Sunday to Believers Today

Palm Sunday is something that Christians continue to celebrate and commemorate today. It was an important event that served as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Zechariah 9:9; Psalm 118:25-26), Jesus’ recognition as sovereign King and Messiah and it prepared the way for the events that led to His death and resurrection.

The Jews desired deliverance from the Roman occupiers, but Jesus came to deliver us on a much deeper level – from the power of sin and death.

As our Savior, deliverer and King Jesus truly deserve all our praises and adoration. Hallelujah! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Conclusion

Palm Sunday is the story of Jesus the King who came not in His majestic glory and splendor; He did not come as a conquering king with His kingdom of armies. Instead, Jesus came on a lowly donkey, on the clothes of the poor and humble, in lowliness and servanthood.

When Jesus came for the first time, He came in love, grace, and mercy and sacrificed His own life for the redemption of mankind. But when Jesus comes again, He will come in power and glory to conquer, rule and reign.

Are you awaiting His return?

The Power of Waiting On the Lord

The Power of Waiting On the Lord

Ever find yourself standing in front of the microwave oven saying, “Hurry up?” Or pushing the elevator call button every five seconds while waiting for the elevator to arrive? Waiting is said to be one of the most difficult things to do. I know, it’s a tough assignment.

We get impatient waiting; we hate to have to wait for our ride to arrive or our food to be served, and even for our prayers to be answered. But let us not forget that the Bible promises power to those who patiently wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). More importantly, we do not survive spiritually if we do not learn to wait.

We Renew Our Strength by Waiting on the Lord

It’s important to note that the strength we have right now that needs to be renewed from time to time is not our own strength. It is strength that we received when we first came to the Lord in weakness.

Unless we first acknowledge that we are weak, we will never admit that we need the Lord’s strength. For “God’s strength is reserved only for those who know they are weak and know they have no might” (David Guzik).

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

So how do we receive this “new” strength from the Lord? We receive it by waiting. We need to understand that waiting on the Lord does not mean sitting around until the Lord does something.

Indeed, God gives us strength but we should not expect it to come as if He were just pouring it into us while we sit passively. We receive God’s strength as we continually seek Him and rely on Him, instead of our own strength.

How to Wait on the Lord

A. Wait with Patience

We should wait on the Lord with patience.

When we do not know what to do about something, we should wait. Often times we get caught up in just doing something that we neglect to hold still, listen and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

So many of us are waiting for something and as we wait, we can become discouraged and start asking when the waiting will ever end. Will God ever answer my prayer?

When the pieces of our lives are not fitting together the way we want, we get busy and start trying to force things to work, as Abraham and Sarah did.

B. Wait in Prayer

We should wait on the Lord with prayer.

The first step in getting answers to our prayers is to pray. When we face trials, prayer should be the first we head. Psalm 130:1-2 is a prayer for God to listen. The psalmist is so consumed with despair, asking God to listen to his requests.

Do you know that failure to pray is a sin? 1 Samuel 12:23-24 says, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

Twice the psalmist says in Psalm 130:5-6 that his soul waits for God’s response. Consider also the repeated phrase, “more than those who watch for the morning. The psalmist is so eager for the Lord’s presence that he says it twice for emphasis.

Are you praying while waiting on the Lord?

C. Wait on Purpose

We should wait on the Lord on purpose and make God the focus of our lives.

Divorce, addiction, emotional disorders, and criminal records are evidence of lives torn apart because someone decided on pursue to follow some voice other than God’s, some counsel other than God’s, some plan other than God’s.

In Psalm 62:5-6 David wrote, “My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.”

The Power of Waiting on the Lord

We also read in Psalm 1:1-3 that there is a blessing for those who do not seek the counsel of the wicked. Clearly, the righteous man and the ungodly (wicked) man are different in the way they think and behave.

The Christian knows that God’s word is always the best counselor, and godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s word to help someone who needs counseling.

My Personal Testimony

Seven months ago, I submitted my resignation letter because I truly believed that I am not properly compensated for the work that I do and have been doing for 8 long years. I have been praying and asking God for a raise for more than 2 years but it seemed like God was silent.

So I took that as a go signal from God for me to resign and apply in another company that is willing to pay me more than what I was currently making. Upon handing my resignation letter, the HR called me to his office and asked if I would consider staying. In return, they will give me a pay raise.

What he offered was much lower than what I was expecting. But because I have not heard from the companies I applied to and my resident visa is expiring in a few days, I took the deal.

Today, I still feel like my salary isn’t worth the workload that I do. Was I impatient for doing things my way instead of waiting on the Lord? Maybe! Today, I take delight in the great and mighty things that God is doing n my life and church ministry. God is still good and He is good all the time.

And through all that, I have learned that if we take the time to pursue God’s direction and wait for His response, we will get much better results.

Are we weak? It is because we are not waiting on the Lord.

Closing Words

God loves us and He wants us to live with joy, hope, and victory. But at the same time, God desires for us to wait with patience, in prayer, and on purpose and He will answer.

There is power in waiting on the Lord. It gives us the benefit of getting our strength renewed. The basic meaning of the word renew is to change; it means to keep putting on fresh strength.

But we also have to remember that the Lord gives us strength not to show off but to move forward and progress for Him and in our walk with Him.


*Reference:

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition  {Diamonds for Living}
By John Hagee, ed.

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.