Author: Alice A. Anacioco

The Power of the Word of God

The Power of the Word of God

The Word of God is living and powerful as Hebrews 4:12 says. But what is meant by the phrase “the word of God?” In the Bible, there are actually several different meanings taken by this phrase. So before going any further, it is important first of all to distinguish these different senses.

The Different Forms of the Word of God

A. The Word of God as a Person: Jesus Christ

Sometimes the Bible refers to the Son of God as the Word of God in John 1:1. Clearly, John is speaking of the Son of God here, because if we continue to John 1:14 he says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us …”

Also in Revelation 19:13 where John sees the risen Lord Jesus in heaven and says, “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”

B. The Word of God as God’s Decrees

At other times God’s words take the form of powerful decrees by God. A decree of God is a word of God that causes events to happen or even cause things to come into being (Genesis 1:3, 24 & Psalm 33:6).

Genesis 1:3 NKJV

These decrees of God do not only include the events of the original creation but also the continuing existence of all things, for Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ is continually “upholding all things by the word of His power…”

C. The Word of God as God’s Words of Personal Address

Sometimes God communicates with people on earth by speaking directly to them. There are examples throughout Scriptures, such as when God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17) and after they sinned, God still spoke personally and directly to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.

Another prominent example of God’s direct personal address to people on earth is found in giving of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-3) and at Jesus’ baptism wherein God the Father spoke from heaven (Matthew 3:17).

D. God’s Words as Speech through Human Lips

Frequently in Scripture God raises up prophets through whom He speaks. In Deuteronomy 18:18-20, God speaks to Moses about raising up for the Israelites a prophet from among them just like him, puts His words in his mouth and will speak to them all that He will command.

God made a similar statement to Jeremiah: Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth’” (Jeremiah 1:9).

Although it is evident that these are human words spoken in human ordinary language by ordinary human beings, the authority and truthfulness of these words are in no way diminished; they are still completely God’s words as well.

E. God’s Words in Written Form (the Bible)

The Power of the Word of God
Photo Credits: Bible Gateway

But we also find in Scriptures several instances where God’s words were put in written form. The first of these is found in the narrative of the giving of the two tablets of stone to Moses on which were written the Ten Commandments (Exodus 31:18; 32:16 & 34: 1, 28).

There were further additions to this book of God’s word by Joshua (Joshua 24:26), Isaiah (Isaiah 30:8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:2; 36:2-4, 27-31 & 51:60) and in the New Testament by Jesus (John 14:26) and the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Peter 3:2).

Once again, it must be noted that even though they are written down mostly by human beings and in human language, these words are still considered to be God’s own words.

Of all the forms of God’s Word, the Bible, which is the written Word of God and how powerful it is, is the focus of this article.

How Powerful is the Word of God?

The Word of God is so powerful it can actually bring about a tremendous change in the life of a believer if they would just let it.

The Word of God Corrects

There are many symbols used to illustrate God’s Word that can be found in the Bible itself.

It can be thought of as a mirror in which the sinner or saint looks and sees a true reflection of himself as portrayed by the Lord Himself (James 1:23-25), a seed regenerating the hearer (1 Peter 1:23), a lamp that illuminates and guides the believer day by day (Psalm 119:105), a sword that convicts the hearer (Hebrews 4:12), and even as food that feeds and nourishes the soul of the hearer (Hebrews 5:12-14).

But the Bible also serves as a measuring rod or ruler. Many teachers have used wooden rulers in their classes not only to give the right measurement but, on occasion, to correct a misbehaving pupil. God’s word likewise can do both on these things. It should be used as a standard against which to measure our beliefs.

As Mike Mazzalongo said, “God’s Word is a standard against which all philosophies, ideas, and proposed solutions for the human condition can be measured for accuracy. If God’s Word approves it, we can run with it; if the Word rejects it, nothing we can do will make it work, make it acceptable, or make it right.” 

What about certain religious groups which claim Christ was not God, or that the Bible is filled with silly tales? Immediately we can reject such claims by using our divine written ruler to discover that such arguments simply do not measure up.

The Power of God's Word

Sometimes our heavenly Father uses His written ruler to correct us when we are in the wrong. Israel’s great King David once experienced this. “You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word . . . Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:65, 67).

There are times when God’s Word can correct believers when they are in honest and unintentional error. Aquila and Priscilla, a godly Christian couple, use the Scriptures to help a powerful young preacher Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Paul does the same thing for some former disciples of John the Baptist he meets in the city of Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7).

The Word of God Cleanses

One of the pieces of furniture in the Old Testament tabernacle was called the bronze laver (Exodus 38:8). It consisted of a huge upright bronze bowl filled with water resting upon a pedestal. The priests would often stop at this laver and wash.

The Word of God may be thought of in terms of that laver, for it also has the power to cleanse. But while the Old Testament laver could only remove the physical dirt from human hands, the Scripture possesses the ability to take away our moral filth (1 Peter 1:22).

You can learn  more about the Old Testament laver in this article: The Origin of Christian Praise & Worship

So what areas of our lives can the Word of God cleanse?

a) It can cleanse us from wrong thoughts.

Sometimes we are tempted to think critically of others; God’s Word can prevent this (Psalm 1:2). On other occasions fearful thoughts may race through our minds; the Scriptures will prevent this also (Joshua 1:8).

In fact, the Bible will establish our total thought-life if we but allow it to do so (Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Peter 1:5-10).

b) It can cleanse us from wrong words.

Of all the Bible authors, James seems to be God’s expert on the sins of the human tongue. In the first chapter of his book, he deals with this very thing and shows the absolute necessity of dependence upon the Scriptures to keep our words true (James 1:22-26). See also Psalm 119:172.

c. It can cleanse us from wrong actions.

Jesus promised us this would be the case when He says in John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

The Power of God's Word

The Word of God Equips

In a general sense, it can be said that the Bible was written to convict sinners of sin and to equip believers for service.

a. It equips us for evangelism.

Philip the evangelist uses the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah to point the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ in Acts 8:26-35. Peter in his most powerful sermon at Pentecost when he quoted from the prophet Joel and preached to the crowd, who were mostly devout Jews, repentance and the last days in which God would bring to completion His plan of salvation for humankind (Acts 2:14-41).

Believers must also have the knowledge and proper understanding of the Word of God as they go about sharing the Gospel message of salvation to the lost. Without the Word of God as our weapon, we won’t have anything to use to usher in souls into the Kingdom of God.

b. It equips us for using our spiritual gifts from God.

A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to the believer for the purpose of edifying the church and glorifying God. Paul says in Ephesians 1:17-19, 11-14 that a knowledge of God’s Word will provide us with the maturity we need to use our gifts in the most effective way.

c. It equips us to battle with Satan.

In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul likens the believers’ armor to that used by Roman foot soldiers. In this comparison, the Word of God is likened to the soldier’s sword.

The Word of God Confirms

To confirm means to fully establish truth or fact. The Bible should be used to confirm the truth in our own hearts.

a. It confirms our salvation.

Often times many Christians are troubled with doubts about their conversion experience. Did God really save them when they asked Him to do so? Are they still saved today? A number of verses may be used to confirm our salvation and one of the strongest is Jesus’ own words in John 5:24. We have assurance of salvation as God promised in His Word.

You may want to compare John 3:16; 6:27, 35, 37, 40; 10:27-29 and Romans 8:1.

b. It confirms the hand of God in all of life’s bitter disappointments.

Undoubtedly the most important verse of reassurance and comfort in the hour of great need is Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

c. It confirms our forgiveness when we sin.

Admittedly, there are times when we carry an unnecessary burden of guilt over our past sins and failures. And although we have already confessed them, we have difficulty believing that God has truly forgiven and cleansed us.

But time and time again the Bible assures us that all confessed sin is instantly and eternally forgiven (Psalm 32:5; Isaiah 38:17).

Conclusion

2 Timothy 3:16-17The Bible which is the Word of God itself is truly inspired and infallible. Although it was penned by ordinary human writers, it has only one author – the Holy Spirit.

We can be confident that every word in the Bible has come directly from God and it has the supernatural power to correct, cleanse, equip and transform every believer into the kind of person that God wants them to be. The Word of God also confirms all the promises of God.

Have you made a personal decision to “be in Christ” by first acknowledging that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior? Have you repented of all your sins and received God’s gift of salvation and eternal life?

If you have been born again, are you immersed in the Word of God and are allowing it to change and empower you so you can be an effective witness for Christ and live the victorious Christian life?


*References:

  1. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
  2. NKJV Prophecy Study Bible
The Elements of Praise

The Elements of Praise

Whether you celebrate the Lord’s Day on a Saturday, Sunday or other days of the week, praise and worship have become a regular part of the service. But what is praise and what is worship? What are the differences between the two? The focus of this article is praise and all its elements.

The Meaning of Praise

The word praise is from the Hebrew word yadah, which means “To stretch out the hand.” That is, to hold out the hands in reverence, to open the hands and let go of everything, to just stand and praise God open-handedly.

Praise is closely intertwined with thanksgiving, which is the joyful recounting of all God has done for us. When we praise God, we are actually offering Him back appreciation for His mighty works on our behalf. In other words, praise is an expression of our thankfulness.

But is that what praise is all about? An expression of thankfulness to God for all the great things He has done for us? Of course not! To praise God is to acknowledge the glories of His excellent person.

As Charles Spurgeon said, “When we praise God, we simply say what He is because the praises of God are simply the facts about Himself.”

The Elements of Praise

In Scripture, praise is usually presented as energetic, lively or active and uninhibited.

Praise the Lord

Considering that Psalms is a book of praise, it is fitting that the last five chapters (Psalm 146-150) begin with Hallelu Yahhallelujah“Praise the Lord!” The exclamation point denotes an excitement, an exuberance, a shouting.

Jehovah (or Yah, for Yahweh) is the covenant name of the Lord. It reminds us that He loves us and has covenanted to save us, keep us, care for us, and eventually glorify us, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Son, on the cross.

The greatness of God is something to shout about. He created all that is. He cared for all He created. He provided salvation when mankind fell into sin. The power of the blood of Jesus has forever broken Satan’s reign over us; the time is coming when He will be forever banished to the eternal fire.

God promises a kingdom to come and we serve a risen Savior who has gone to prepare a place for us so we can spend eternity with Him. No wonder that “praise from the upright is beautiful” (Psalm 33:1).

Praise is Obligatory

Praise is a command. Angels and heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalm 89:5; Psalm 103:20; Psalm 148:2) and all inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalm 117:1; Psalm 138:4; Matthew 21:16; Psalm 148:1-14).

From the heavens, in the heights, the sun, moon, stars, water, the sea creatures, the depths, stormy wind, the mountains and hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, all peoples: young men, maidens, old men, children – praise the name of the Lord!

Thanksgiving Expressed Through PraisePsalm 148:1-14 reads like a roll call asking for every created thing to celebrate God’s greatness. God created all that is. He also sustains all that is. Were it not for Jesus Christ “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3) the entire universe would fly apart, totally disintegrate into nothingness.

Ever since creation, God has continued to hold His creation together. Further, He supplies the needs of His creation. Psalm 104 lists just a few of the ways God provides for the creatures He made, including mankind.

God invites all kinds of praise from His creation. In fact, Jesus said that if people don’t praise God, even the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40).

How to Praise the Lord

1. We praise the Lord with joyful singing.

Psalm 9:11

“Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.”

In Psalm 9, David offers wholehearted praise to the Lord for delivering him and his army from the enemy nations that attacked Israel. He also calls upon the suffering remnant to sing praises to God because He is on their side and fights their battles.

The emphasis is on joyful praise and David’s aim was to honor the Lord, not to glorify himself.

Psalm 149:2, 5

“Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds.”

In the Old Testament, songs were written to commemorate important events. A song of praise reminds us that God takes pleasure in our joyful praise.

Joy is a matter of choice, a positive attitude that we choose to express. Joy is not a gift delivered to our door each morning. When the events of our life seem out of control, we must find our joy in the Lord, which produces the strength we need to get through the tough times.

*Related Article: The Biblical Roots of Christian Praise & Worship

Children will praise the Lord with great joy as they sing songs like “Jesus Loves Me.” Their trusting and meek spirit makes a beautiful melody. When the children were in the temple shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the priests and scribes were upset by these words.

Jesus asked them, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (Matthew 21:16).

We need to take a lesson on praising the Lord from our children and let our praise be a song of testimony about the greatness and glory of God.

2. We praise the Lord with shouting.

Psalm 66:1

“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!!”

As in the previous and the next psalm, Psalm 66 has the whole earth in view and not only Israel. The psalmist understood that God was not only God over Israel but the entire universe. The psalmist then invites all the Gentile nations to praise God with joyful shouting for what He had done for Israel (Psalm 66:5-7).

We offer to the Lord shouts of praise in response to his marvelous works.

3. We praise the Lord with dancing and musical instruments.

Psalm 149:3 (Also Psalm 150:4-5)

“Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.”

The Jews were very expressive people; they used musical instruments, songs, and dances in their worship of the Lord. These dances, of course, were not modern ballroom or club dances but rather interpretive dances that pointed to the Lord and not to a person’s talent (see Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34).

Here’s a beautiful messianic praise dance on the song Baruch Adonai by the Restored to Glory Dance Ministry. Watch and be blessed.

To dance before the Lord the way King David did calls for an unreserved celebration of our faith. Since the Christian life is a life of joy and celebration, we are able to freely dance in celebration of our joy in the Lord.

Why We Praise the Lord

The Bible gives us numerous reasons to praise the Lord:

  • Because of His majesty, greatness, and power (Psalm 145:3-5; Psalm 21:13).
  • Because of His glory and excellency (Psalm 138:5; Psalm 148:13).
  • Because of His goodness and mercy (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21; 2 Chronicles 20:21).
  • Because of His loving kindness, faithfulness and truth (Psalm 138:2; Isaiah 25:1).
  • Because He has provided salvation (Luke 1:68-69) and has done wonderful works (Psalm 150:2; Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31).

In today’s world of uncertainty, God is worthy to be praised for the reason that He alone can be trusted.

Psalm 146:5

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”

When times are unsure, there is only one sure hope – God. Not rank or position. Not military might. Not reputation. Not wealth. Not political friends. Not social status. All these power plays are empty when it comes to building a sure foundation for life, especially eternal life.

People and circumstances come and go like the fog every morning. To trust in them for ultimate help is foolish. But “the Lord shall reign forever” (Psalm 146:10). He is able and sure to help.

Praise the Lord in Times of Trouble

Psalm 147:3, 5

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

When we are in the dessert of our days, we need to praise the Lord. When we are in the valley of the shadow of death, we need to praise the Lord. When we are surrounded by our enemies, we need to praise the Lord. When are discouraged and weary, and overwhelmed with problems, we need to praise Him.

As Jeff and Sheri Easter’s song says, “When everything fall apart, praise His name…”

Praise His Name Lyrics and Chords

We are never closer to God than we humble ourselves completely in His presence (Psalm 147:6). There in the shelter of His arms, we will find that His love never changes, and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1-26).

Even though praise, as mentioned earlier, is intertwined with thanksgiving, we should not praise God only when things are going our way. We should praise the Lord for anything and everything (Philippians 4:6).

Closing Thoughts

In the sacrifice of praise, we bow in humble adoration before the Savior. While some people may see that as a sign of weakness and think we’re foolish, we praise God because we believe in a risen Savior. We praise God for all that we have and all that we are. In doing so, we witness to the unbelieving world that Jesus lives.

Praise An Expression of Thankfulness

Jesus Christ died at Calvary as God’s sacrifice for our sins. When He said, “It is finished,” the ritual of sacrifices was over – forever. He does not want a goat, a dove or a lamb.

The only sacrifice God wants now is the sacrifice of our praise. He wants living, praising men and women. 

Overcoming the Pain of Betrayal

Overcoming the Pain of Betrayal

Have you ever experienced having a trusted friend, co-worker or a brother/sister in the Lord take advantage of your kindness? In every relationship that we have, trust is an important ingredient. When trust is broken, chances are, the relationship will never be the same again.

In this decade of deception, betrayal surrounds us. Divorce, child abuse, gossip, corruption, and the like bring betrayal on every home. How do we as Christians deal with it? How do we overcome the pain of betrayal?

When Friends Betray Us

Julius Caesar

Caesar, the man who brought Rome to the pinnacle of its majestic power was adored by much of Rome but despised by the powerful Roman Senate. A conspiracy to murder Caesar was developed by men who were deeply indebted to Caesar.

Decimus Brutus, a member of the senate, pretended to be Caesar’s dearest friend. When the time came to murder Caesar, the conspirators agreed that each man would stab Caesar, and the blame would be shared equally. They converged on Caesar, like vultures and began to stab him.

History records that Caesar fought fiercely against his attackers until he saw the face of Brutus. Once Caesar saw the dagger in the hand of his friend, he lost the will to fight. When Brutus plunged the dagger into his bleeding body, Julius Caesar died from betrayal.

Losing a Friend (My Story)

“I just lost a friend,” I confided to Brother Joseph, a good friend and one of our church elders. In reply, he said, “You know Alice, we don’t really lose friends; we just get to know who the real ones are.“Funny,” I said. “That’s exactly what she just posted on her Facebook wall about me.”

Almost three months ago, I had a “fall out” with my “supposed” friend and we haven’t talked since then. I mean, really talk. We do talk at work because we have to. But that’s just the extent of our conversation, no more, no less.

I’ve been going over and over in my head what really went down and wondered why things got sour between us. To be completely honest, I am not putting all the blame on her. I realized I also had my fair share of the pie. I just did not expect her to betray me the way she did.

When we were still friends (or so I thought), we’ve talked about certain things which we agreed will remain just between the two of us. Guess what? She let them all out in the open. What’s worse, she did not stick to the story. She revised them in a way that suited her own agenda (whatever that maybe). In short, there were additions and subtractions here and there.

To say I was shocked was an understatement to describe how I felt when I found out about it. Oh, did I mention that she blocked me on Facebook and Messenger?

Photo Credits : PsychologyToday.Com

I tried to keep my calm and did my very best to understand why she did what she did. She betrayed me, period! And the only reason I could think of was that we were never really friends. I told my roommate and colleague, “You wouldn’t do that to a friend, right?” And she said, “Of course not.”

As they say, “friends hurt friends.” But when you’re truly friends with someone, you will never say damaging things about her and you won’t try to ruin her reputation. Well, no matter how close you are with someone, you will always have disagreements and you will not always see eye-to-eye on certain issues.

But because you are friends and you care about each other, you will never say and do things that will have the potential of ending the relationship. As they say, a misunderstanding or disagreement could either strengthen or end the relationship.

In our case, sadly it’s the latter. Do I hate her? No. Have I forgiven her? Yes. I am open to communicating again, but I also know that things will never be the same again between us.

The Lord Jesus

Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver was one of the darkest moments in all of history and made Judas the worst traitor of all time.

On the night when Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper, Judas plotted with the religious leaders to take them to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and there he betrayed Jesus and had Him arrested.

When Friends Betray You

Although some argue that Judas is not to be blamed because it was foreordained and there was nothing he could possibly do about it, the fact remains that he betrayed Jesus and he acted on his own accord. Judas was not just a pawn or puppet in God’s hands. He betrayed Jesus because he was a thief who never really believed in Jesus as his Lord (John 12:6; 6:64).

At some point, we will all face the bitterness of betrayal so we should not think we could escape it. Even the Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest disciples – Judas.

How to Overcome the Pain of Betrayal

Betrayal breaks our heart and leaves an eternal scar that only God can heal. Yes, we can overcome the disappointment of betrayal; David shows us the road to recovery in Psalm 54.

1) Call on the Name of the Lord.

David’s life was in danger as “strangers” were attacking him (Psalm 54:3; 1 Samuel 23:15) and he called on God to save him and vindicate his cause (1 Samuel 24:15). By the way “strangers” doesn’t suggest that his enemies were Gentiles, for the Ziphites belonged to the tribe of Judah, David’s own tribe.

The word is also used in Job 19:13 to describe Job’s family and friends, and David used it in a similar way in Psalm 69:8. It can describe anybody who has turned his or her back on someone, which the Ziphites certainly did to David their king. David was betrayed by his own people. And he reacted to betrayal by appealing to the power of the name of God.

When friends or loved ones betray us, we do not have be depressed or seek revenge. Instead, let us call on God for He commands us to call on Him in times of trouble, seek His will and guidance and He will answer us, show us what we need to do, be with us and deliver us (Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 50:15).

How to Overcome the Pain of Betrayal

2) Get your emotions in check.

David’s first reaction to betrayal was to be proactive and to assume responsibility for his life (Psalm 54:1). Although he knew that the God who created the galaxies can handle his enemies, yet he recognized that he needed to do something for himself.

When he asked God to vindicate him, he acknowledged that some of his actions or decisions must have rubbed people the wrong way and that is why they were after him. But instead of seeking to destroy his enemies, he got his emotions in check and asked God to prove him right and his enemies wrong.

Twice David had an opportunity to slay Saul but refrained from doing so, for he knew that God would one day deal with the rebellious king (see 1 Samuel 26:8-11). We too need to take control of our emotions, decisions, and behavior. We must stop being controlled by circumstances and conditions and take control of our choices.

3) Trust God completely.

David relied on God to handle his enemies. He said, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life “(Psalm 54:4). This central verse of the psalm records the turning point in David’s experience.

The Word translated “help” or “helper” is related to “Ebenezer in 1 Samuel 7:12 and it means “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” It is a word David often used in his prayers (Psalm 10:14; 30:10; 33:20).

*Read here: Trusting God with All Your Heart

David also recognized that God would settle the score and he chose to be happy and praise the name of the Lord (Psalm 54:5-6). He was confident that God will deliver him out of all troubles (Psalm 54:7). Praise is the appropriate response of a grateful heart to the goodness and faithfulness of God.

David’s words revealed his faith, for he spoke of his deliverance as already completed as he looked calmly at his enemies (Psalm 22:17; 59:10; 118:7). David had more suffering and peril to experience before he would ascend the throne, but he was confident that the Lord would see him through – and He did.

Closing Thoughts

When we have been betrayed, when lying lips assassinate the truth, when justice is delayed, we need to remember that God is faithful. Betrayal can either make us bitter or better.

We cannot overcome the pain of betrayal until we discover the power in the name of the Lord, for He will deliver us out of all trouble.

Laura Story says in her song Blessings, “When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home.”

True indeed, this is not our home. We’re just pilgrims on this earth (1 Peter 2:11-12); we are just passing through this life journeying toward heaven – our final destination (Philippians 3:20).

Have you experienced betrayal? How did you deal with it? Please do share your story in the comment section below.


*Are you looking for Bibles, reference materials, Bible study guides, devotionals, Christian music and movies for personal use or as gifts to friends and family? Look no further because Christianbook.Com has everything you need at the most reasonable prices.

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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.”