Author: Alice A. Anacioco

Results of the New Life

Results of the New Life

By nature, mankind is sinful and that is why we have been separated from God. Thus, we cannot approach God on our own; we must do so on His term. In order for that broken relationship to be restored, we must be separated from sin and set apart to righteousness. We must have new lives in which our sins have been forgiven and obliterated.

But it is one thing to be convinced of the need for the new life; it is an entirely different thing to acquire the new life. Not only that, more importantly, we also get to enjoy the results and benefits of having a new life in Christ.

Everlasting Life

John 5:24

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

One benefit of finding new life in Christ is called in the Bible “everlasting (eternal) life.” The character of this great reality may be summarized by carefully looking at each word. The word life stresses the quality of this new relationship to God (John 10:10).

It does not mean of course, that we are not physically alive before salvation; it simply stresses the fact that we enter a new, personal relationship with God that gives us the fullness of spiritual vitality that we lacked before (John 17:3).

Results of the New Life in Christ

The word everlasting emphasizes life without end. Though it will not be completely fulfilled until our future bodily redemption (Romans 8:23), it is still a present possession that can never perish (John 10:28).

Everlasting life must not be conceived of as an exclusively future possession. Rather, its possession is clearly seen in our actions. Thus, “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Indeed, love is the confirming evidence that we do, in fact, have eternal life (1 John 3:14).

The greatness of this spiritual reality constitutes a wonderful incentive to vigorously proclaim to those who are still “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

A New Nature

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The term new nature refers to the spiritual transformation that occurs within the inner man when a person believes in Christ as Savior. The Christian is now a new man as opposed to the old man that he was before he became a Christian (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 3:9-10).

This concept of newness may be traced to an important choice between two Greek words, both meaning “new.” One word means new in the sense of renovation (to repair), the other in the sense of fresh existence.

It is the latter that is used to describe the Christian. He is not the old man renovated or refreshed; he is a brand new man with a new family, a new set of values, new motivations, and new possessions.

The old man is still present in the new life and expresses himself in corrupting deeds such as lying (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). The new man, to be visible, must be put on as one would put on a new suit of clothes (Colossians 3:10).

In other words, the new nature must be cultivated or nurtured by spiritual decisiveness to grow in Christ. We must not revert to putting on the old suit of the former life; rather we must continue to grow in this new life (Ephesians 5:8).

The message of the new nature is a message of supreme hope: the Spirit of God can accomplish a life-changing transformation for all who will only believe in Christ.

Christ’s Righteousness

Isaiah 61:10a

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

One of the most awesome requirements of God made upon men and women is that they be righteous, that is, conform to His ethical and moral standards (Psalm 15:2; Micah 6:8). Since God is holy, He cannot allow sinners into His presence (Isaiah 6:3-5).

Since we are all sinners, we could not be saved apart from the supernatural intervention of God (Romans 3: 10, 23). The righteous demands of God coupled with the inability of man might present an insoluble dilemma. God Himself, however, has graciously solved the problem.


He sent Christ, who never sinned, to die for our sins and thus satisfy His own wrath against us. Simply put, it means that God, at the cross, treated Christ as though He had committed our sins even though He was righteous.

On the other hand, when we believe in Christ, He treats us as though we were as righteous as Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Bible calls this type of righteousness “imputed righteousness” (Romans 4:6). That simply means that God puts to our spiritual account the very worth of Christ, much as though He were a banker adding an exhaustible deposit to our bank account.

Sadly, many people still refuse to believe that such an abundant blessing can be theirs as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, the Bible clearly urges all men to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Placed Into God’s Family

1 John 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

In a general sense, all men and women are the offspring of God in that He is the Creator (Acts 17:28-29).

This relationship, however, is not sufficient to offset the penalty of sin, because everybody is a sinner separated from God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, for a sinful person to become a child of God, a miraculous transformation must take place. The Bible refers to this change as being “born again” (John 3:3).

When an individual places his or her faith in Christ as Savior, he or she is born again into a new, spiritual, family relationship with God (Galatians 3:26). They gain God as Father (Ephesians 4:6) and other Christians as brothers and sisters (Hebrews 3:1).

It is significant to note that the term “brotherly love,” which Christians are commanded to have for each other (Hebrews 13:1), is never used in the Greek language to refer to loving others as though they were your brothers. Rather, it is always used of loving those who actually are your brothers.

So it is in the Christian faith; we actually are brothers and sisters with other Christians.

Not only are Christians the children of God by spiritual birth; they are adopted as well (Ephesians 1:5). This figure implies a dramatic transformation of status from slave to son (Galatians 4:1-5). One is no longer in bondage to the master but becomes a free son possessing all the rights and privileges of sonship.

One of these benefits is the right to call God Abba, an affectionate term meaning “father” (Romans 8:15). This marvelous relationship carries responsibilities with it, as well as privileges. Everyone who has the hope of having his sonship perfected someday is presently purifying his own life.

Since Christians or born again believers bear the family relationship to God they must also exhibit the family character.

Empowered By God

Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

It’s been said that one of the most common excuses for not becoming a Christian is the fear of failure to live the Christian life. Besides overlooking the fact that men cannot be saved on the basis of good works (Titus 3:5), this objection neglects the truth that God provides the power to live the Christian life.

Before Christ was crucified He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to help believers (John 16:13-14). The subsequent events of the Book of Acts supply ample evidence of the fulfillment of this prophecy (Acts 4:7, 33; 6:8).

Results of the New Life in Christ

The power of the Holy Spirit was not designed solely for the first-century church. Rather, all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus have power His power available (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, living the Christian life under the Spirit’s power, must not be thought of as simply allowing the Spirit to take control while the believer does nothing.

The believer still must live the Christian life, though he does it through the Spirit’s power. Romans 8:13 says, “… if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Simply put, it is us who must put to death the sinful deeds of the body, but we are to do it through the Holy Spirit’s power.

Christians who struggle in their own strength to live the Christian life will surely fail. We must by faith appropriate daily the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:4-5). To give a practical application, we are to trust the Holy Spirit to empower us in specific instances such as sharing our faith with others, resisting temptation, being truthful, etc.

There is no secret formula that makes the Spirit’s power available. It is simply a reliance on Him to help.

Conclusion

When Christians get “saved” they were given everlasting (eternal) life; they are said to be new creatures; to have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ; to have been adopted into God’s family, and are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The great news is, these wonderful results of having new life in Christ are offered freely to all who trust in Christ for salvation.

If you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ but want to enjoy these benefits of having a new life, why not make the decision now to acknowledge you’re a sinner in need of a Savior.

Here’s a simple prayer you can recite (from your heart) and invite Jesus into your life:

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. I believe You are the Son of God; that You suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. I also believe that You, Lord Jesus, rose from the dead to secure my place in heaven.

And so, right now, I ask that You forgive all my sins and take over my life. I place my faith in You and receive You as Lord and Savior of my life. Come reign in my heart and my life, and help me to live a life that brings glory to Your name.

This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen!

3 Powerful Enemies of the Christian

3 Powerful Enemies of the Christian

In the previous post by Brother Jess Cortez, he said that only those who believed in and received Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior were given the right to become children of God based on John 1:12 and that only those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14).

God’s Word is truth and there is no of going around it. There are only two sides: the Lord’s and that of the devil. You are on either side but not both and there certainly is no middle ground.

And then Bro. Jess went on to enumerate the blessings bestowed on God’s children which are truly amazing. These blessings he mentioned (based on the Word of God, of course) are things I wouldn’t trade for anything else in this world no matter how appealing they may be.

But one thing we often forget is that the moment we decided to be on God’s side is also the day we became enemies with the 3 most powerful forces that seek to constantly defeat the followers of Christ.

Enemies of the Christian

Three powerful enemies are constantly trying to defeat the Christian’s testimony and spiritual success: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Powerful Enemies of the Christians

The World

The Greek word used is kosmos and the root meaning is “order” or “arrangement,” hence beauty (cf. cosmetics and the cosmos flower).

The main meaning of kosmos is the organized system that is under the devil’s control and leaves out God and Christ. According to the apostle John, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

That being said, it is important to note that kosmos does not always have a negative connotation. John 3:16 uses the word for the people that “God so loved.” This meaning also occurs in the expression “Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Paul also uses kosmos for the created planet in his sermon on Mar’s Hill (Acts 17:24).

Why is the world one of the 3 enemies of the Christian life? This is because it entices us to go against God. In other words, it leads us to sin. This is why the Bible warns us against loving the world or the things in the world; if we do, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15).

Does this mean we should not even think about recreation, books, TV shows, movies, etc? I once had a Christian colleague who said she does not watch movies nor listen to music because she believed it would lead her to sin. She also added that all kinds of entertainment would make her impure and unworthy of God’s love.

While I commend her for making this commitment, I honestly think it would not be fair for her to expect others to do the same. Indeed, Christians should not conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2) but it does not mean we should completely separate ourselves from the people of this world and have a superiority complex.

It’s undeniable that today there are many professing Christians who are walking hand in hand with the world that you can no longer tell the difference between the believer and the unbeliever.

So, where exactly do we draw the line? When considering any activity, think about what God thinks about you doing it. Will He approve of it? Is God glorified? Does this give you an opportunity to let your light shine brightly for those who are still in darkness?

The Flesh

The literal meaning of flesh is found in expressions like “flesh and blood” and “flesh and bones.” Christianity does not teach that the human body is evil, but that it can be used for evil.

The flesh can also refer to a destructive influence. As such, the flesh can be our most insidious enemy because it is inside the believer and ever-present with its depraved cravings.

We cannot say that our old, sinful cravings will completely disappear at the moment of conversion. The Bible teaches that the old nature, with all its corruption, is still there because it is living within us. The urge to sin is ever-present to drag us down and so one should not think that he or she is not a true believer because of such temptations.


Recommended Resource: War Room (Christian Movie 2015)


Even sincere and devout Christians (including the apostle Paul) can have terrific struggles with the flesh. As long as we live in the body we will have to contend with the flesh. The whole terrible catalog of the flesh is recounted in Galatians 5:19-21.

The secret of victory over the flesh is to be led by the Holy Spirit: “Walk (that is, live your life) in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The Devil

Devil (diabolos) is simply an anglicized form of the Greek word that suggests hurling (slander) back and forth. The devil is a personal enemy who opposes God and His plans and tempts His people. The Bible calls Satan the wicked one (Matthew 13:19), a murderer, a liar and father of lies (John 8:44), an adversary who seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and an accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10).

Although the devil has already been beaten at the cross by Christ, he still has the power to influence men to do his work. As I said earlier, the moment you decided to follow Christ, you became enemies with the devil and he is going to tempt you and will try everything to lead you into sin.

Satan’s most powerful tactic is still deception. He does this by first sowing seeds of doubt in your mind about what God actually said. He did it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and succeeded. And so, he will continue to do so among God’s people today.

But when Satan does this to you, there would be no point arguing with him, for he is the greatest debater of all time. He will try to disrupt your focus on God and His works, discourage you, and will stop at nothing to destroy your relationship with Christ. How do you fight him? Your best defense against the devil is the Word of God.

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness while fasting for 40 days, our Lord in three notable temptations used the Word of God. Upon realizing he lost, the devil left Him and the angels came to attend to Him. You can read about it in this post.

One other thing, although we can defeat Satan with the use of Scriptures, we must also submit to God and resist the devil so that he will flee from us (James 4:7). But before the devil even launches an attack against us and catches us off guard, let us always remember to apply the blood of the Lamb.

Lastly, the Christian’s defense against the devil is the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17). The devil is a defeated foe – Christ bested him at Calvary. Nevertheless, he will remain active in the world until he is locked up for one thousand years. The devil’s ultimate doom is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).


Conclusion

Life here on earth is a battleground and the Christian life is a warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

But the Bible tells us that we have victory in Christ because He has already defeated the enemy and has emerged victorious. Christians can live a victorious life because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This is not to say that everything is going to be “a bed of roses” for the believers in Jesus. Sure, there will be trials and difficulties. In fact, the Lord Jesus Himself said that in this world we will suffer tribulations. But we should not lose heart because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man?

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man?

During His earthly ministry, Jesus’ favorite designation in referring to Himself was “the Son of Man.” As a matter of fact, seventy-eight times the Gospels record Jesus using this title for Himself.

One of the most notable instances was when Jesus asked His disciples the question about His identity and put it to them this way:

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am” (Matthew 16:13)?

Why did Jesus refer to Himself as the “Son of Man?” Why not call Himself “the Messiah,” “the Son of God” or “the Son of David.” After all, each of these titles was rightfully His.

The Phrase “Son of Man” in the Old Testament

In the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew expression “son of man” appears 107 times, the majority (93 times) of which appears in the book of Ezekiel. And there are three ways that this expression is used:

  • to contrast the lowly status of humanity against the exalted dignity of God and the angels (Psalm 8:4; Numbers 23:19).
  • as a form of human address to Ezekiel.
  • as a future eschatological figure whose coming will signal the end of history and the time of God’s judgment (Daniel 7:13-14).

The phrase Son of Man in the Old and New Testament

The Phrase “Son of Man” in the New Testament

In the New Testament, Jesus is called “the Son of Man” eighty-eight times. What is the significance of using this designation for Himself? Below are several ways by which the phrase is used.

It is Connected with the Sufferings of Jesus.

The title “Son of Man” is connected with the sufferings that Jesus would experience on behalf of His humanity. Notice that Jesus used this title when He began to predict what would happen to Him in the future (Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 8:31).

We do not find the Lord referring to Himself with titles such as Messiah or Son of God, when predicting His suffering on the cross, as well as His resurrection. Rather, He used the title “Son of Man.”

It is Connected with Jesus’ Earthly Life and Ministry.

When Jesus took on humanity to save mankind, Jesus was recorded saying He had no place to call home. Matthew records the following:

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).

It Refers to Jesus’ Perfect Humanity.

Some believe the title “Son of Man” refers to the fact of Jesus’ perfect humanity. Although He was God, Jesus came down and lived among us as the perfect human being. In so doing, He fulfilled the Law of Moses and did what no other human being was able to do.

By using the title “Son of Man,” Jesus was identifying with the people He had come to save. Jesus wanted to convey the truth that He was entirely human; that although He was God, He became a human being and lived among us for a short period of time.

It is Used in Contexts where Jesus Claims Deity.

Many people who believe that Jesus was just a man use the argument that Jesus never claimed to be God to support their position. In fact, they say, Jesus referred to Himself as the son of man. Yet, we find this designation used in contexts where Jesus claimed deity.

Here are just a few examples:

1. In Mark 2:10, Jesus uses the title Son of Man for Himself when claiming authority to forgive sins. The Jews recognize that only God can forgive sins and yet Jesus used this authority while using the title “Son of Man” rather than “Son of God.”

2. In Mark 2:28, Jesus claimed that He, the Son of Man was “Lord of the Sabbath.” Again, we find this designation of Himself used in a context of rights and privileges which belong to God alone. Indeed, only God Himself could claim that He is Lord of the Sabbath.

3. In Luke 19:10, Jesus used the title “Son of Man” for Himself when He stated that He came to earth to save the lost.

4. In the book of Daniel, we read of the prediction that the Son of Man would inherit God’s everlasting kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14).

In this context, the Son of Man is a divine Person who is in the presence of the Ancient of Days (God the Father). Obviously, this cannot refer to an ordinary human being for no human being could be in such a position.

Therefore, by using the title the Son of Man, Jesus was actually claiming deity. Furthermore, when Jesus was on trial for His life and was asked if He were the Messiah, He referred to this prediction in Daniel.

Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).

Jesus’ statement infuriated the religious leaders and charged Him of blasphemy for claiming equal authority with God. They clearly understood that Jesus referred to Daniel’s prophecy and was claiming the position of authority with God.

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man

It Speaks of Jesus’ Exaltation and Rule.

Jesus also used the title “Son of Man” when He spoke of His return to the earth and His rule (Matthew 25:31). Jesus will come to rule and reign the title Son of Man will be His favorite once again.

Conclusion

Why did Jesus prefer to be called the Son of Man?

Some might think that the title Son of God refers to Jesus’ deity and Son of Man implies His humanity. However, the term Son of Man goes back to Daniel’s vision of a divine being who was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that shall not be destroyed and will be worshiped by all peoples, nations, and languages.

Son of Man is not merely a title for a human being. It is a title that belongs to God Himself and the religious leaders who were schooled in the Old Testament Scriptures knew exactly what Jesus was claiming for Himself.


Recommended Resource: Son of Man: The Gospel of Daniel 7 and Son of Man: The Apostles’ Gospel by Samuel Whitefield

Jesus never used the title Messiah publicly and, instead, referred to Himself as the Son of Man 78 times. Why?

Son of Man by Samuel Whitefield

The New Testament Gospels, as they are written, depend on Daniel 7. Jesus referenced this chapter far more than any other to reveal Himself as the divine Human and to declare His gospel.

Jesus’ first-century audience understood His message, but we have lost sight of the way Jesus presented His gospel. Our understanding of Jesus, our grasp of the biblical story, and our ability to clearly communicate the gospel have been seriously hindered by our not fully understanding one particular chapter in the Bible.

Daniel 7 is not just an end-time chapter. Based on Jesus’ words, Daniel 7 is a gospel-centered chapter and perhaps the premier summary of Jesus’ majesty.

If we do not know this chapter, we cannot fully grasp the gospel. Jesus commissioned us to carry the message found in this chapter to every people, but we cannot carry what we do not understand. Let Daniel open your eyes to the gospel as Jesus proclaimed it.

Did the apostles continue to use Daniel 7 as a foundation for their gospel? When we examine the New Testament carefully, we find something surprising: Daniel 7 was a framework the apostles repeatedly used to present the gospel of the kingdom.

View the apostles’ gospel through the lens of Daniel 7 in Son of Man: The Apostles’ Gospel, and rediscover the message that turned the world upside down.

What is the Biblical Definition of Repentance?

What is the Biblical Definition of Repentance?

A correct understanding of the doctrine of repentance is very important because it is one of the basics of the Christian faith. The author to the Hebrews said:

“So, let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely, we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1 NLT).

This is why believers need to take time to study this subject.

Biblical Definition of Repentance

We hear so many definitions of the word repentance. But what does the Bible say? What is repentance according to the Bible?

In the New Testament, there are two different Greek verbs translated “repent,” each with a different meaning.

The first is the word metamelomai which means “a regret of past actions.” It has the idea of being sorry or a feeling of remorse for something that was done, but it does not necessarily result in a change of heart and action.

The second verb metanoia means “to change one’s mind as a result of after knowledge,” resulting in a complete change of attitude. It is important to note that when the Bible encourages believers to repent, what is being encouraged is this latter use of the Greek word “repent.”

What is the Biblical Meaning of Repentance

So, whenever we speak of “repentance,” i.e., the act of repenting, we are not speaking of being sorry for what we have done, or merely having a change of mind about our sins. Biblical repentance results in a complete shift of attitude toward God and our sins.

When John the Baptist preached repentance, he was basically telling the people that they needed to change their ways since the kingdom of God was at hand (Matthew 3:1-2). Luke also records Jesus telling the people they had to repent (Luke 13:3).

In Acts 20:21, repentance is defined as turning from sin and turning to God.

The Nature of True Repentance

Repentance is more than sorrow. Feeling sad or sorrowful does not necessarily mean that a person is repentant. Godly sorrow is what leads to repentance.

In his second letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NIV), Paul wrote:

“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it, I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while, yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point, you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

Repentance results from godly sorrow, which in turn leads to salvation and an actual change in direction.

True Repentance Brings about Regret.

Sinners who genuinely repent cause them to regret how they have acted in the past. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul said this:

“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death” (Romans 6:21)!

True Repentance Leads to Action.

To illustrate true repentance, Jesus used the story of one of the two sons who was asked by their father to work in their vineyard. At first, the lad refused but afterward, he changed his mind and went.

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went” (Matthew 21:28-29).

Jesus taught that true repentance is not merely feeling sorry for something that has been done; it has to be followed by actions.


True Repentance Causes Sinners to See Who They Really Are.

When we are genuinely repentant, we will have a new view of who we are. Let us take a look at some examples in the Bible.

Job

While Job was going through his suffering, he protested his innocence and righteousness. However, this changed when he came face-to-face with God:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42: 5-6).

Isaiah

Isaiah, though he was a prophet of God, realized his true nature because he was confronted with the holiness of God. Isaiah saw himself for who he truly was in the presence of God.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5 NIV).

Peter

After Jesus performed the miracle of the Great Catch, Peter saw himself in a different light. He recognized his sinfulness in the presence of Jesus. We read about this in the Gospel of Luke:

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).

The Thief on the Cross

The criminal who was next to Jesus on the cross is another example of true repentance. At first, he joined with the other criminal in taunting Jesus. However, he changed his attitude toward Jesus as well as to the other criminal who was crucified when he realized that the one being crucified next to him was the Messiah.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:39-41).

The thief had a change of heart and asked Jesus if He too could be part of God’s kingdom. In response, Jesus promised him that he would enter paradise with Him (Luke 23:42-43).

Judging by human standards, we may regard ourselves as decent and moral people. But when we compare ourselves to the living God, we will have an entirely different view of who we are.

As the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and reveals to us how it looks before a holy God, we begin to realize how terrible sin is. This understanding of sin causes in us a change in behavior – repentance.

True Repentance Does Not Always Manifest Itself in Emotion.

We often equate repentance to some emotion of sorrow or remorse but just because the repentant person shows little or no emotion does not mean he is not sincere. True repentance is not showing emotion for our past deeds, it is changing the way we act in the present.

In other words, the key is the change in behavior, not the emotion that is shown. A person who truly repents has determined that his or her life must change.

True repentance is not showing emotion for our past deeds; it is changing the way we act in the present.

True Repentance vs. False Repentance

What is the Biblical Definition of RepentanceThe difference between true repentance and false repentance (mere sorrow for sin) can be seen in the example of Peter and Judas.

Matthew records that when Peter realized he betrayed Jesus; he was sorry for his sins. But it did not stop there. He went outside and wept bitterly. There was genuine sorrow for his actions.

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:73-75).

Judas, on the other hand, decided to take his own life instead of coming to God in repentance. Matthew explained it in this manner:

“So, Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).

Judas only had remorse for what he had done, he did not repent. There is a huge difference between the two.

Results of True and False Repentance

Using the same example as above, we read that after he repented, Peter was restored to fellowship. He received the forgiveness of the Lord and learned that repentance can restore us into a right relationship with the Lord.

Also, Peter was given the honor to preach the very first sermon for the church on the day of Pentecost. And in that sermon, Peter urged the people to do the same thing that he had done – repent.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

When Jesus rose from the dead on that Easter Sunday morning, Peter was found with the other disciples. He did not leave the company of believers, nor did he kill himself. He repented of what he had done and had returned to be with the other believers.

On the other hand, Judas only felt remorse. Instead of repenting and looking to godly people for support, he hanged himself. And according to the Scripture, Judas went to his appointed place of judgment, as explained in the Book of Acts:

“With the payment, he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood” (Acts 1:18-19)

These two men provide examples of what we as Christians should do and should not do when we sin. Peter showed us that we should not merely feel sorry for what we have done, but we should repent. We must own up to our sin, and have a determination to change our behavior. The Lord will then restore us to fellowship.

This is what genuine repentance is all about.

Closing Words

Biblical repentance does not merely involve feeling sorry or remorse for sin but also a change of mind and heart that leads to a change in action towards sin. To repent is to recognize that we have sinned and our sins are offensive to God.

We are to turn away from sin, turn to God, ask for forgiveness, and walk with God in obedience to His commands.

God is calling everyone to repentance. The focus of Christ’s mission was to call all sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32) and this call for absolute surrender goes out to all people (Luke 13:5).

Have you accepted the call?


Reference: Winning the Spiritual War by Don Stewart

Recommended Resource: Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel by Richard Owen Roberts

It is a serious problem when society misunderstands or disregards sin and repentance. But when the church neglects these doctrines, the impact is profound. This book unfolds the nature and necessity of biblical repentance, but for the church in particular.

Roberts’ in-depth study heavily references both he Old and New Testaments and includes chapters on the myths, maxims, marks, models, and motives of repentance, as well as the graces and fruits that accompany it. There is also a wise warning about the dangers of delayed repentance.

7 Marks of a True Prophet

7 Marks of a True Prophet

Anyone who loves to study Bible prophecy should get acquainted with the men and women that the Bible calls prophets and prophetesses. Who are they and how were they identified? Are prophets those strange people, wearing strange clothes, eating strange things, preaching strange sermons, and doing strange things that no one understands?

It was a great and distinct honor to be a prophet of the living God. That’s why there were so many false prophets in Israel. The prophets anointed kings, performed miracles, and predicted the future.

At the same time, a prophet’s assignment could also bring great danger, difficulty, and even death. As God’s mouthpiece and spokesman for predicting and previewing the future, the prophet was called to speak God’s uncompromising message to an often rebellious people, which frequently brought reproach, opposition, criticism, and even execution.

Throughout history, many people have claimed to be a prophet and made several predictions about the future. How do we distinguish between true prophets and false prophets? In this post, we will look at the 7 distinguishing marks of a true prophet

The Test of a Prophet

The true word and way of God have always been plagued by imitation and counterfeiters. For this reason, the Lord established a clear set of test questions a person had to pass to be received as a true spokesman for God.

Four main passages in the Old Testament deal with false prophets.

Deuteronomy 13:1-14

In this passage, Moses warns the people that there may arise from among them prophets or dreamers who could also accurately predict the future or produce a sign or a wonder. So, they must be careful and not believe them right away. Instead, they should allow God to bring confirmation as it would be unusual for God to speak alone through a dream without confirmation.

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

In this passage, Moses makes a distinction between a true and false prophet.

First, Moses tells the nation of Israel that the Lord God will raise up for them a (true) Prophet like him from their midst, from their brethren, and they should listen to Him for God will put His words in His mouth and will speak to them everything that God will command Him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).

A false prophet on the other hand, who presumes to speak a word in God’s name, but speaks in the name of other gods shall die (Deuteronomy 18:20). How shall the people know he is a false prophet? If the thing that he speaks does not happen or come to pass, it means the Lord has not spoken through him (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Jeremiah 23:9-40

This passage describes the pain inflicted on Jeremiah by the false prophets.

True prophets know how serious it is to be called by God to declare His word, and they accept the responsibility with fear and trembling. So, when they see self-styled prophets living like sinners, they grieve.

No wonder Jeremiah had a broken heart and trembled like a drunken man. He realized what the false prophets were doing to the people and the land, and it makes him sick. The false prophets were committing adultery and walking in lies.

Ezekiel 12:21-14:11

In Ezekiel 12:21-28, Ezekiel’s messages rang with the certainty and the nearness of God’s judgment on Jerusalem and the land of Judah. But the people were quoting a proverb that may have been devised by the false prophets to humiliate Ezekiel.

Because Ezekiel’s prophecies had not been fulfilled immediately the people started paying more attention to the false prophets than to the Word of God. The visions of the false prophets were false and misleading (Ezekiel 12:23).

In Chapter 13 of Ezekiel, God declared that the false prophets had spoken only lies and explained how He would judge them.


7 Distinguishing Marks of a True Prophet

In the above passages and many others, Scripture presents at least seven key distinguishing marks of a true prophet. These marks were not always present in every case, but certainly, in some cases they were.

However, for any follower of God who really wanted to know, there would have been no question who was a true prophet and who was false.

1. The true prophet never used divination, sorcery, or astrology.

See Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Ezekiel 12:24; Micah 3:7. The source of the prophet’s message was God Himself.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

2. The true prophet never tailored the message to cater to the desires of the people.

See Jeremiah 8:11; 28:8; Ezekiel 13:10.

The false prophets, or “pillow prophets” as some have described them, spoke the message that would bring them popularity and money. They were the “Fortune 500” prophets, the religious opportunists (see Micah 3:5-6, 11).

The true prophet spoke God’s unadulterated message regardless of personal loss, shame, and even physical harm.

3. The true prophet maintained personal integrity and character.

See Isaiah 28:7; Jeremiah 23:11; Hosea 9:7-9; Micah 3:5, 11; Zephaniah 3:4.

Jesus said that true and false prophets will be known by their fruits, that is, by what they do and say (see Matthew 7:15-20).

4. The true prophet was willing to suffer for the sake of the message.

When the prophet Micaiah, son of Imlah, prophesied the defeat of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, he was put in prison and was given nothing but bread and water (1 Kings 22:27-28).

Jeremiah was cast into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son when he declared the Word of the Lord saying, “Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live” (Jeremiah 38:4-13).

5. The true prophet announced a message that was consistent with the Law and the messages of other true prophets.

See Jeremiah 26:17-19.

The true prophet’s message must neither contradict nor disagree with the previous revelation of truth, but rather should confirm and build upon that body of truth (see Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

6. The true prophet, when predicting future events, had a 100 percent success rate.

See Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

Unlike the modern psychics, 25 percent (or even 99 percent) was not good enough! If alleged prophets were not 100 percent accurate, the people were to take them outside the city to stone them to death (see Deuteronomy 18:20).

7. The true prophet sometimes had the message authenticated by a miracle.

See Exodus chapter 5 to 12.

This test was not conclusive evidence, however, because false prophets also produced miracles on occasion (see Exodus 7:10-12; 8:5-7; Mark 13:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Therefore, Moses added further aspects to this test in Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

The true test is the content of the message, not miracles. The true prophet spoke only in the name of the Lord and called people closer to God, not away from God.

Conclusion

As the saying goes, prophets were both foretellers and forth tellers. Although they are usually thought of as being announcers of the future, they spent most of their time proclaiming God’s words about the age in which they themselves lived.

But as the prophets delivered God’s message about the present, it naturally spilled over into the future as they threatened punishment or promised blessing.

Do prophets exist today?

There may not appear prophets today as in the Old and New Testament periods. However, it must be noted that God can still speak through people in whatever way He chooses to reveal certain information at certain times. And this information will not contradict what God has already revealed about Himself in His written word, the Bible.


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

The End by Mark HitchcockThe end times have seen a great amount of interest in the last two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive overview of biblical prophecy and eschatology for more than five decades.

Mark Hitchcock’s book is a comprehensive resource for the twenty-first century. The End will do for eschatology what Randy Alcorn’s Heaven did for people’s understanding of heaven. It provides a solid biblical foundation for Christians to explore the essential truths around the topic of the end of the world.

The End lays out Biblical prophecy in a clear and understandable way explaining how to interpret Bible prophecy, pointing out key passages, events, and characters. It also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the different views on the Rapture, the Millennium, and the chronology of end-times events.

Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God

Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God

To be a Christian means you do not only believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God but that He is also God. Unfortunately, many people today who claim to be Christians believe that Jesus is nothing but human. They say Jesus was one of the prophets, or that He was a great rabbi (teacher) or a messenger from God.

Is Jesus God or the Son of God? What does the Scripture say? 

The Jews Reject Jesus

In John 10:22-42, we read how the Jews rejected Jesus. During the feast of Jerusalem in wintertime, the Jews surrounded Jesus as He walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch, and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (John 10:24)

In reply, Jesus said, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:25-28).

Jesus could have stopped right there because He knew that no matter what He will say, they would not believe Him anyway. But He went on to say something that provoked the Jews to anger and they took up stones to stone Him. Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill Him? It’s because of what He said.

What did Jesus say? He said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:29-30).

I and the Father are One - John 10:30

Jesus has been teaching them about the kingdom of God and performing many miracles that caused division among the Jewish people. While some said Jesus was demon-possessed, others argued that the words He has been speaking could not be from someone who has a demon and that a demon can’t perform miracles.

Jesus Claims to be God

One of the most common arguments from people who do not believe that Jesus is God is Jesus’ claim that He is the Son of God. They say, “Jesus said that he is the son of God but he never said, “I am God worship me.”

What they are saying is that Jesus is the son of God in the same way that we are the sons of God. Okay! But if this is what Jesus meant, there would be no reason for the religious teachers to get so angry that they wanted Him dead, right?

Clearly, Jesus said something that a modern Bible reader might not fully grasp without considering the fact that Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience. The fact that the religious leaders charged Jesus with blasphemy for saying that He and the Father are one proves that Jesus spoke of much more than a purpose and will.

Note: The statement of Jesus in John 10:30 holds great importance regarding His deity and the nature of the Godhead. “I and My Father” means that the Father and the Son are not the same Person, refuting the doctrine of “Modalism” or “Sabellianism.” And the words “are one” means that the Father and the Son are equal in nature.

The Jews of Jesus’ day clearly understood what the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other Oneness denominations today seem to miss – that Jesus clearly claimed to be God. And for a mere man to claim equality with God is blasphemy.

The Law of Moses laid down the penalty for such a crime: “And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16).


Recommended Resource: The Forgotten Trinity by Dr. James R. White

The Forgotten Trinity BookWhile many of us struggle to understand it, the Trinity is one of the most important teachings of the Christian faith. It defines God’s very essence and describes how He relates to us. And while it can be a difficult concept to get our heads around, it is crucial for believers to understand how God explains His triune nature in His Word.

In this book, James R. White offers a concise, understandable explanation of what the Trinity is and why it matters. While refuting the distortions of God presented by various cults, Dr. White shows how understanding this teaching leads to renewed worship and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

And amid today’s emphasis on the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, The Forgotten Trinity is a balanced look at all three Persons of the Trinity.

May this book deepen your understanding of this important doctrine while also drawing you closer to the triune God Himself.


Jesus Defends His Claims to be God

When the Jews accused Jesus of making Himself equal with God, instead of denying their accusation He went into great lengths to affirm the charges and proceeds to defend His claims to be God.

In John 10:34-36, Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods?’” (which is a direct quote from Psalm 82:6). If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God?”

This is a rabbinic form of argument that some misunderstand. They claim that Jesus was toning down His claim to deity by showing that the term “gods” can legitimately be used of men in certain ways. Thus, He, a man may be called “the Son of God.” But if this is what Jesus was doing (toning down His claim to deity) the Jews would not have tried to seize Him.

Jesus Backs His Claim with Works

To back His Words, Jesus repeatedly appealed to His works (John 10:25).

When the Jews picked up stones to hurl at Him after His claim to be one with the Father, Jesus said, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me” (John 10:32). Then He adds, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38)?

In each case, Jesus pointed out that His works backed up His verbal claim. As we can see, all that Jesus said and did, especially His miracles confirm that He is God and the son of the Living God.

But despite all this evidence, some still chose to reject Jesus. We would have thought that Jesus would be welcomed in Jerusalem as Messiah because the people there had more than sufficient reasons to believe in Jesus; He was not only rejected but also the people were intent on murdering Him.

Note: You can read the arguments people have against the deity of Christ here.

The Father Sent His Son

Jesus made two other claims: He was consecrated by the Father for a special task and He was sent into the world to carry out His Father’s mission (John 10:36). The scriptural understanding of sanctification is to make holy for God – to be given over as free-will offering and sacrifice for God.

Jesus made Himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of His Father sanctifying Him for this mission of salvation. Jesus challenged His opponents to accept His works if they could not accept His words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument.

Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God

Did Jesus claim to be God or the Son of God? Yes, He did by His words backed with works. Jesus is not only the Son of the living God; He Himself is God.

Jesus is also the perfect teacher in that He does not base His claims on what He says but on what He does. The Word of God is life and power for those who believe and accept it as God’s word for us.

Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And He anoints us with His power to live the Gospel with joy and to be His witnesses in the world.

Are you a doer of God’s word, or a forgetful hearer only?

God and the Coronavirus

God and the Coronavirus

In their daily briefing on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared COVID-2019 a global pandemic. This is due to the rapid escalation in the number of confirmed cases and deaths in more than 100 countries and territories.

As of today, March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus has infected more than 529,000 and killed nearly 24,000 people, causing one-third of the world to declare a national lockdown or otherwise dramatically restricted travel. (Source: WHO)

These numbers are so alarming that some Christians started asking if the world is going to end very soon, or if diseases such as the novel coronavirus are a punishment from God. We are definitely in the last days, but thinking that God uses diseases to punish people is another thing.

Does God have something to do with the Coronavirus outbreak that is causing thousands of people, including Christians, to suffer and die?

If God, Why the Coronavirus?

In an 8-minute YouTube video, Dr. Vince Vitale, RZIM’s Regional Director for the Americas and Director of the Zacharias Institute, tackled this question.

First, he said that from a philosophical standpoint, something like the coronavirus is referred to as natural evil. But how can there be such a thing as natural evil when what we are seeing today seems to be so unnatural?

This does not seem like it’s the way things are supposed to be, at least as we know God has originally designed it.

To put it in perspective, Vince said that natural evils are not intrinsically evil in and of themselves. Like if you put a virus under a microscope, it can be beautiful to behold. Furthermore, there is a category of viruses, friendly viruses, that are good for the body.

Here is the video.

Do you sometimes wish that we are not susceptible to diseases? What if the laws of physics have undergone a redesign and the fundamental natural features of our universe altered? The end result? None of us ever would have lived.

We need to understand that God designed the universe to be inhabited by us, human beings. This is called fine-tuning in cosmology.

Fine-tuning refers to the precise balance of cosmological constants that allow the observable universe to exist as it does. Any slightest variation in these constants would make the universe significantly different. More importantly, it would not be possible for human life to exist.

Is the Coronavirus a Punishment from God?

We know that God is love and that He loves us unconditionally because the Bible tells us so.

It sounds like a cliché I know, but it’s true. God loves us so much and He does not want us to be separated from Him for all eternity because of our sin. So, what did God do? He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die for us just so we can have eternal life (John 3:16).

Yes, God loves us! That’s a fact, and He has our best interest at heart. He wants us to live our lives to the full (John 10:10b) and wants to bless us in every way possible. So why diseases such as Covid-19?

Interestingly, some Christian pastors and leaders believe this is God’s punishment for legalized abortion and gay marriage. Articles like this started circulating after Richard Weber Jr, an attorney for the LGBTQ+ community, died of coronavirus complications.

Meanwhile, conservative pastor Rick Wiles and avid supporter of President Donald Trump, claimed the Covid-19 is God’s punishment to Jews for rejecting Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

If we are to take their words seriously, then why is it that many pastors and Bible-believing Christians got infected with the coronavirus? Several of them even died!

If this virus is a punishment from God for the wicked, why are Christians suffering from it too? Why doesn’t God spare His children to show the world that He is the one true God that every people from every tribe and nation must bow down to and worship?

God and the Coronavirus Outbreak

Can God stop the global pandemic that is affecting the entire world? Sure, He can! God is all-powerful and there is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). So why doesn’t God intervene and stop it so everybody can go back to their normal lives?

Amid this crisis that the entire world is going through, where is God? What does He think about all this? I do not believe one bit that God finds satisfaction at the expense of the suffering of His creation. Remember, if there is someone who understands perfectly what suffering means, it’s the Lord Jesus.

Christ suffered at the hands of His own people. He didn’t have to but He did. He endured extreme shame, suffering, and death on the cross for our sake. It is unreasonable for us to think that He doesn’t care about us nor love us. So, why this suffering caused by a very tiny, invisible, yet potent virus?

Instead of asking why God isn’t stopping this pandemic, the question we should be asking is, “What is God’s purpose for allowing the coronavirus outbreak? What does God seek to accomplish by letting the entire world go through this?”


This global pandemic could be a wake-up call for all Christians. Have we become complacent in doing the Father’s business? Are we sharing our faith with others the way we should? When was the last time Christians all around the world were united to pray for the nations?

We are in the very last days and we should be working double-time to reach out to the lost.

With the current situation, people need to hear that there is a God who loves them and cares so much about them. When people realize that doctors are running out of solutions, they are most certainly open to something else, or somebody else. One who has the answer to their problems and suffering.

If you’ve been paying close attention to the news, you must have read stories about atheist doctors who started calling out to God for help. This is huge! People who do not believe in God are now asking for His help. Do you know what this means? God is opening for us an opportunity to share the Word; let’s not waste it.

Global Effects of Covid-19

It’s devastating to read about people dying everywhere around the world from the novel coronavirus. What’s even more heartbreaking is that many healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses are dying too. These so-called front liners have risked their lives and continue to do so to help and save people who have been infected.

Healthcare professionals, who are now hailed as modern-day heroes, go to work every day. They leave their families behind not knowing if they will ever see each other again. Some might say, “Hey, isn’t this what they signed up for?” And I say, “That’s right!”

As a healthcare worker myself, I am very much aware of the risks that come with this job. I could be exposed to some lethal chemicals, I could contract certain diseases caused by known or unknown bacteria and viruses and end up dying from it.

In the hospital where I work as a Lab. Tech, there are now a few patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Some of our colleagues who were found to have had direct contact with these patients were immediately placed on home quarantine (HQ).

Home Quarantine During Covid-19 Outbreak

Yesterday when I talked to a colleague about the possibility of us getting infected, she was upset that the management refused to give us full details on the current status of our patients who tested positive. While I wasn’t sure what was going through her mind, I could sense her fear, and I understand.

I tried explaining to her that this is one of the risks of working in healthcare. There isn’t any guarantee that no one will get infected among us. All we can do is take the necessary precautions, put on our full PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gown, face mask, face shield, and gloves.

Frequent hand washing and social distancing also play a vital role in staying protected from the virus. More importantly, we need to pray for God’s divine protection and the blood of Jesus to cover us.

God has so many wonderful promises in His Word that we can claim for us and our loved ones. In Psalm 91:1-16, God promises protection, safety, and security for those who trust in the Lord and make Him their refuge and dwelling place.

My concern now is the possible shortage of personnel in healthcare. If doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners continue to get infected with the coronavirus and succumb to it (God forbid), what will happen to the thousands of people who need medical attention?

I can’t even begin to imagine. I can only hope and pray that this crisis will all be over soon.

Impact of the Coronavirus to the World Economy

The effect of the Covid-19 global pandemic is undeniable.

People everywhere are losing their jobs, business establishments are shutting down, the stock market is crashing, the economy is collapsing. We do not know when this crisis is going to end. Will we be able to recover? Will things ever get better?

We are still in lockdown here in Saudi Arabia, just like most territories everywhere else in the world that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 8, 2020, our government imposed a 14-day lockdown in the eastern region after 11 people tested positive for the virus. I thought everything will go back to normal after completing this period. But due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, (and again just like in other countries especially Italy and America), the lockdown period was extended for another 14 days.

God and the Coronavirus

Not only that we cannot go somewhere else. In a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government also declared a nationwide coronavirus curfew that started on the evening of Monday, March 23, 2020. For 21 days residents are ordered to stay inside their homes from 7 pm until 6 am.

Excluded from the 11-hour long curfew are people who work in certain industries, including healthcare, food service, and media. The curfew is seriously implemented that violators will be punished with a 10,000-riyal fine, and with jail time after multiple violations.

I just watched a video of the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, saying he wanted so badly to re-open the economy in states that are mildly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Trump is getting impatient I guess and is very much concerned about the companies that have shut down.

Will they be able to re-open after this crisis is over?

God is Our Only Hope

As we go through this global crisis, we must not forget that God is our only hope. God is not our last hope; He is not our last resort. We do not go to Him only when all else fails. Instead, we must go to Him first.

In trying times such as this, we are to cry out to God for help. Now more than ever, we need to humble ourselves before God and ask for His grace and mercy. We need to pray fervently for the nations. We are to stand in the gap on behalf of our land.

We do not know what the future holds. Will things ever be the same? We can never tell. 

But one thing we know and can be sure of is that no matter what happens, God is with us, He is for us, and He will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). God has already conquered sickness (1 Peter 2:24) and death (2 Timothy 1:10). There is no reason to live in fear.

In the meantime, let us put our trust in God, hold on to His promises and live each day anticipating the Lord’s return.

Guidelines in Interpreting Bible Prophecy

Guidelines in Interpreting Bible Prophecy

Bible scholars often tell us that approximately twenty-five percent of the Bible was written as prophecy. This is why studying Bible prophecy and knowing how to correctly interpret them is an enormously important subject.

While much of prophecy is simply straightforward and unambiguous, this means that the immediate context usually provides the interpretive framework; there are cases where a prophetic theme does not follow a tight theme with a strict chronological order.

For instance, the scenes described in the prophecy may appear to be like those of a dream with transitory impressions going back and forth in time and between events. In other cases, the prophets made such extensive use of symbolism, thus making it difficult for the Bible reader to understand what the prophecy is about.

So in this article, we will look at some basic guidelines or rules on how to interpret Bible prophecy.

How to Correctly Interpret Prophecy

1. Study each prophecy as a whole – not just isolated parts.

One of the common errors Bible students make when reading and studying the Bible is taking verses out of their original context. In doing so, one can make the text say whatever he wants it to say even if it’s not what the author had in mind when he wrote them.

This is why people who claim to have read the Bible do not always agree on what the Bible has to say about a certain topic or issue.

In the same way, you cannot correctly interpret a prophecy without studying it as a whole. For instance, if you want to study the prophecy about the Antichrist in Daniel 11:36-45, you must start reading from Daniel 10:1.

Rules in Interpreting Prophecy

2. Know the cultural and historical context of the passage.

Every prophecy should be interpreted taking into consideration its historical and cultural contexts. It is also important to know the intended meaning of the author, thus, reading the introduction to the book that contains it will help.

The prophets composed their books from about 850 B.C. till possibly as late as 400 B.C. Generally speaking, this was a time of great tumult politically, militarily, and economically as Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia waxed and waned in power and influence – with the inhabitants of ancient Israel frequently caught in the middle.

It was also a time of religious unfaithfulness on the part of God’s chosen people – even after their return from exile.

3. Bible prophecies should be interpreted in the light of grammatical considerations.

In addition to understanding the historical and cultural settings of the book that contains the prophecy we are studying, following the standard rules of grammar also helps us arrive at the correct interpretation.

We need to understand that words have a particular meaning in a particular context. And the way the words are placed together in sentences and paragraphs will help the reader derive the appropriate message that the writer wanted to communicate.

The same is true with the Bible, God had a reason for moving the writers to choose the words they used and put them together in the order they did. Our goal as Bible readers is to come up with the proper interpretation, which can be done by following common-sense rules.

The strength of this hermeneutical approach is evident in the way the New Testament authors interpreted the Old Testament. This is also the only approach that offers an internal system of “checks and balances” to make sure we are on the right track.

4. Know what the book that contains the prophecy is about.

What is the main theme of the book? In other words, what is the author talking about in the book? Why? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you put the prophecy you are studying in perspective.

Where exactly should you look? If you are using a study Bible, you will find them in the introduction to the book.

5. Know the context of the prophecy you are studying.

To correctly interpret a prophecy, you need to examine the outline and chart that is included at the beginning of the book containing the passage you are studying. Look at the survey section as well.

These study aids provide a wealth of information to familiarize you with the book and make you feel “at home” with it. You must also take into consideration what comes before the prophecy in the book and what comes after it. You can also ask the following questions:

  • Who are the actors?
  • What do they do?
  • What is the result?
  • Where does it happen?


6. Check to see if the symbol or symbolism is introduced or explained earlier in Scripture.

The Bible uses a lot of symbolism and understanding the symbolism, say, in Ezekiel and especially Daniel is crucial to understanding the book of Revelation.

7. Check to see if other prophecies parallel the one you are studying.

Many Bible prophecies can only be understood when read side by side with passages that talk about the same subject. For example, the subject matter of Daniel 2 parallels the subject matter of Daniel 7.

8. Presume the passage or thing being referred to as literal unless it is obviously a symbol or interpreted as such.

This means that unless there is firm evidence in the context that the word is used in some other sense, words are to be understood in their normal, natural sense.

It is also important to distinguish between the symbolic and the literal, the prophecy and the interpretation. The interpretation is not symbolic and is meant to be understood literally.

9. Interpret animals, colors, and numbers literally unless the author reveals that they are approximations by using words such as like, as, or about.

The prophets describe fantastic sights, and there are times when they simply run out of earthly things with which to describe heavenly things.

Examples:

“And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stones in appearance “ (Revelation 4:3).

“The first living creature was like a lion” (Revelation 4:7).

“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire” (Revelation 15:2).

10. If a prophecy has not been completely fulfilled in the past, you can assume that it will be fulfilled in the future.

A partial fulfillment, like the foretaste of the kingdom experienced by Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration of Christ, makes the future fulfillment of the prophecies relating to the kingdom all the more sure. This is Peter’s point in 2 Peter 1:19-20.

Final Thoughts

Many Christians shy away from studying Bible prophecy because there are difficulties in interpreting them. But if we are to take the Bible seriously and we want to know God and His will, we need to study prophecy.

We cannot deny the fact that there have been several erroneous interpretations taught by people claiming to have the Spirit of God. But this should not discourage us from studying prophecy because in so doing will give us a better understanding of what God has done in the past, what He is doing at present and what God has in store for us in the future.


*Recommended Resource: Understanding Prophecy: A Biblical-Theological Approach By Alan S. Bandy & Benjamin L. Merkle

An authoritative guide to clearly understanding the place and meaning of prophecy in the Bible

For thoughtful readers who are curious about biblical prophecy, this book will help them learn the place of prophecy in the message of the Bible and clear up the confusion that often surrounds reading these texts.

Studying biblical prophecy is about much more than predicting end-times events. Rather, a proper approach to prophecy acknowledges that the threads of prophecy crisscross throughout Genesis to Revelation, forming the fabric of canonical Scripture. This is why having a good grasp of the prophetic genre is essential for understanding the message of the entire Bible.

Authors Alan Bandy and Benjamin Merkle not only offer thoughtful and careful explanations of individual biblical prophecies but also give the reader the big picture of how all prophecy relates to and should be interpreted in light of Jesus Christ.

This book examines the nature, themes, purposes, and theology of biblical prophecy and provides a framework for how to interpret any passage in the context of the Bible as a whole.

How to Effectively Witness for Christ

How to Effectively Witness for Christ

Do you still remember how you came to faith in Christ? God must have used somebody to share the good news of salvation to you. Was it a friend, a colleague, or a family member? Regardless of who that might be, now that you have received God’s gift of salvation, it’s your turn to share it with others.

But why should you do that? Why share the good news? It’s because all followers of Christ are to be His witnesses. Every Christian is commanded to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

However, fulfilling this mandate known as the Great Commission can be a real challenge to every follower of Jesus.

So in this article, I am going to share some guidelines or techniques on how to effectively witness for Christ.

Preach the Gospel

Does Mark 16:15 (quoted above) mean that every Christian must become a pastor or a preacher and speak from a pulpit or platform in order to proclaim the good news of salvation? Of course not!

To “preach” does not necessarily mean to deliver a sermon to an assembled group of people. We simply have to reach out to the lost and introduce the gospel to them. And like I said, this was a command (from Jesus), not a suggestion.

Did you know that this command was not obeyed immediately? Jesus’ disciples stayed in Jerusalem for many years after the church was born at Pentecost. It was only when the persecution started that Christianity began to spread to the world. And when it did, it spread robustly and continues to.

The more the church was persecuted, the faster the gospel propagated.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. - Mark 16:15

Important Note:

In many Bibles, Mark 16:9-20 is footnoted in some way because apparently, it did not exist in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the gospel of Mark.

Although the vast majority of later manuscripts include this passage, the two oldest and most respected manuscripts the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus (dated from 325 and 340 A.D.) do not contain this section. A few ancient manuscripts put asterisks next to Mark 16:9-20 to indicate that it is an addition to the original text.

Nevertheless, many very early Christians referred to this passage in their writings, which shows that they accepted it as genuine. But whether this portion of Mark’s gospel was written by Mark or was added later on by scribes, it is important to note that it offers no new information, nor does it contradict previously revealed events and/or doctrines.

Why Should Christians Share Their Faith?

Aside from the fact that God has commanded us to do so, we share our faith as a demonstration of our love for God. Jesus said that if we truly loved Him we should keep His commandments (John 14:15).

Christians must also share their faith because all are lost (Romans 3:10, 23) but God desires to save all people (Acts 4:12, 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). Sharing our faith is God’s chosen method to tell all people what Christ has done at Mount Calvary for the forgiveness and salvation of man.

God could have used angels but He didn’t. It’s because only redeemed sinners can tell lost sinners about Christ (Romans 10:14-17; Acts 8:13).

We must share our faith because someone once shared their faith with us. It may have been a faithful Bible teacher, or a godly pastor, or a praying parent. In other words, they have the right to expect that we will do for others what they have done for us.

Effective Witnessing Techniques

1. Be a clean vessel for God.

First, to be an effective witness for Christ, we must be clean vessels. God reminds Isaiah the prophet of this, “Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isaiah 52:11). We cannot expect to share our faith successfully if we are deliberately living in sin and disobedience to God.

We must confess our sins to God and forsake them, then yield our lives completely to God. Although God does not demand golden or silver vessels, He does require clean ones. (Notice that God used and continues to use imperfect people.)

2. Pray, pray, pray.

Prayer is very important if we are to be effective soul-winners for Christ. Before we even attempt to evangelize, we pray not only for the blood covering of Jesus upon us because we will be engaging in a spiritual battle but also for God to open doors so we can proclaim the gospel.

We must pray that God will lead us to the people He wants us to share the gospel with; we pray that God will open their hearts to receive the gospel.

When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch in Syria from speaking to great multitudes at Iconium and Lystra, passing through Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga and Attalia, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).

We also read in Colossians 4:3-4 that Paul asked the brethren to pray for him and his companions so that God will open a door for the message of the gospel, and for him to proclaim it clearly as he should.


3. Be totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

Before His ascension, Jesus gave a specific instruction to His disciples to not leave Jerusalem but to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them and empower them to become His witnesses not only in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, but also to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:4, 8).

We must acknowledge that we cannot be effective witnesses for Christ without the Holy Spirit to work on our behalf. We can do nothing without God and this includes soul-winning. We do not know the right words to say; many of us may be timid and are not eloquent speakers.

But God did not only promise that He’d give us the courage to speak, but He’d also give us the words to proclaim.

The apostle Paul, who used to be a zealous Jew taught by Gamaliel, said to the church in Corinth in his first letter that he knew nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He then went on to say that he was proclaiming his testimony about God to them not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the most powerful sermon ever that led to the conversion of 3,000 souls in one day. How did he do that? The Holy Spirit enabled him.

These two instances in the ministry of Paul and Peter clearly illustrate that without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we cannot possibly share the gospel effectively.

One side note: It’s not your job to convert people to Christ. Your job is to share the Gospel. So do your job of sharing the gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job of convicting.

4. God is patient with lost sinners.

One other thing we need to keep in mind is that God does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

The leaders of Israel had rejected the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus, yet God gave them another opportunity to repent and be saved. They had denied and slain their own Messiah, yet God patiently held back His judgment and sent His Spirit to deal with them.

God’s people today need patience as they witness to a lost world.

Had there been times when you lost patience with someone you’re witnessing to because it looked like it wasn’t working? Let me just say that whenever you’re tempted to lose patience with the lost and want to give up, remember how God has been patient with you up until today.

Now, the question you may want to ask is: At what point should we stop trying to convince someone their need of a Savior? If after repeatedly sharing with them the bad news (we are all sinners) and the good news (Christ paid for our sins by His suffering and death) but they’re not interested, I believe it’s time to move on to the next person on your list.

Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” In other words, we should not shove the gospel down the throats of people who do not want it; they will just continue to mock God and His Word.

5. Learn to do basic Apologetics.

One of the most effective tools in witnessing is apologetics, from the Greek word apologia, meaning to give a defense.

We first read this word from Peter when he said in his epistle, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

In short, apologetics is the science and art of defending the Christian faith by using reasons and evidence.

When Peter and John were brought before the rulers, elders, scribes and priests, (including Annas the high priest), and was asked in what power or by what name has he been performing miracle healings, Peter implored apologetics. He gave a clear defense of the gospel by declaring to them the fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 4:5-14).

Apologetics - an Effective Tool in Witnessing

Can you give an answer as to why you’re a Christian? Why do you believe Christianity is true? What’s your basis in claiming that the Bible is God’s Word? You do not have to attend seminary school, but as a Christian, you must be able to explain why you believe what you believe.

I often hear many Christians (including pastors) say this to non-Christians: “Just believe.” And I’m like, “What? Seriously?” Haven’t these Christians read how Jesus gave evidence for His claim of divinity by performing miracles? He did not just claim to be God by attributing to Himself God’s name (I Am); He did many miracles to prove it. The climax being His resurrection!

Christianity hinges on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and the historical evidence for the resurrection is very strong and compelling. This alone should be enough to give Christians confidence that they did not believe in vain.

6. Learn Polemics

Polemics is a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

Polemics is the other side of apologetics. If apologetics is defense, polemics is offense. As Jay Smith always says, “The best defense is a good offense.” In basketball, you don’t win the game just by defending the goal; you win by attacking the basket and scoring against your opponent.

This is not only true in the game of basketball or soccer, but also in witnessing.

While in Thessalonica, it was Paul’s custom to go into the synagogues of the Jews for days, months and even years, to argue and reason with them persuasively from the Scriptures about the kingdom of God. He would explain and prove that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead (Acts 17:1-3; 19:8-10).

Do you see what Paul had been doing? He’s on the attack! He did not just wait for the Jewish religious leaders to question him; he went to them and proclaimed the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

So how and where do you begin? You can start the conversation by asking what they believe about life and death, or heaven and hell. Ask them where they think they will go should they die today and why.

7. A changed life is the best defense of the truth of Christianity.

In his evangelistic ministries, Methodist preacher Samuel Chadwick used to pray for “a Lazarus” in every campaign, “some great sinner” whose conversion would shock the community. He got the idea from John 12:9-11.

God answered his prayers in meeting after meeting as infamous wicked individuals trusted Christ and became witnesses through their changed lives.

How to be an Effective Witness for Christ

This is Paul’s exhortation for all Christians in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

You may have heard this exhortation from most pastors about living the faith as followers of Jesus. “Be careful how you live your life because you may be the only Bible unbelievers will ever read.”

Concluding Words

When the disciples asked Jesus what are the signs of His coming and the end of the age, He said to them:

“Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9 You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me, you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (Mark 13:5-10).

The end is near, the days are evil. Jesus is coming soon. Christians need to work double-time to witness to the lost.

The Great Commission still stands. Are you fulfilling it?


Recommended Resource:  The Case for Christ, Revised & Updated: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus By Lee Strobel

The Case for Christ by Lee StrobelIs there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the son of God?

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields.

Strobel challenges them with questions like: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

In this winner of the Gold Medallion Book Award and two-time nominee for the Christian Book of the Year Award, Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions play like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.

The new edition includes scores of revisions and additions, including updated material on archaeological and manuscript discoveries, fresh recommendations for further study, and an interview with the author that tells dramatic stories about the book’s impact, provides behind-the-scenes information, and responds to critiques of the book by skeptics.

This updated edition will prove even more valuable to contemporary listeners.

Jesus in the Order of Melchizedek

Jesus in the Order of Melchizedek

One of the most mysterious and intriguing figures in the Bible is Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek and why does the author to the Hebrews say that Jesus is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek? Was Melchizedek Jesus Christ?

Who was Melchizedek?

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, is first mentioned in Genesis 14:17-20. After Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and his allies, Melchizedek, together with the king of Sodom, went out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh.

Melchizedek brought Abram some bread and wine and blessed him saying, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand” (Genesis 14:18-19).

Melchizedek’s family history is different. Although he was a man and had to have a mother and a father, the Old Testament has no record of his genealogy, and this is significant because most great persons in the Old Testament have their ancestry identified.

The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness” in the Hebrew language. The word Salem means “peace” (the Hebrew word shalom) so that Melchizedek is “king of peace” as well as “king of justice.”

Note: Justice and peace are often found together in Scripture. True peace can be experienced only on the basis of righteousness and justice. If we want to enjoy peace with God we must be declared righteous (just) by faith (Romans 5:1). People cannot be right with God by keeping the Old Testament law (Galatians 2:21). Only through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross can justice and peace meet.

Melchizedek, a Type of Christ

How is Jesus like Melchizedek?

After his sudden disappearance in the book of Genesis, it is interesting how Melchizedek is presented in Psalm 110:4 as a “type of Christ.” David writes, “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”

How is Jesus like Melchizedek
Photo Credits: Pinterest (Pin by Kellys Destiny)

The reason Jesus Christ can be a “priest forever” is that He belongs to the “order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek’s priesthood differed from Aaronic priesthood in a number of ways. First, he had no genealogy and thus his priesthood was understood to be eternal.

In Hebrews 7:1-3 we see five qualities of Melchizedek’s priesthood: It is a priesthood of righteousness, peace, a royal priesthood (Melchizedek was a king), a personal priesthood rather than an inherited priesthood, and it is eternal since it has no genealogy, beginning or end.

Jesus Christ: Priest Forever in the Order of Melchizedek

The order of Melchizedek indicates that Christ was not appointed to the Aaronic priesthood of the old covenant but to a priesthood that would replace it and would be greater, just as Melchizedek himself was greater than Aaron and even Abraham himself.

The priest was the only one who could present a gift to God (Hebrews 5:1). He could do so because he had to be chosen to be God’s servant. As the minister of God, the priest had special access to God’s presence and could approach more closely than ordinary worshipers. He was the intermediary between God and the people. He represents the people to God and God to the people.

In the Old Testament economy, the throne and the altar were separated. King Uzziah wanted to be both a priest and a king, and God judged him (2 Chronicles 26:16-20). But Melchizedek had both offices – king and priest. Aaron never had that privilege. And it must be noted that Melchizedek was not a counterfeit priest; he was the “priest of God Most High” and his ministry was legitimate.

Only in Jesus Christ and in pre-law Melchizedek were these two offices combined. Jesus Christ is the High Priest on the throne.

Psalm 110:4, the central verse of David’s messianic psalm, is important to the message of the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:17, 21) because it announces that the Messiah will be both King and Priest, something unheard of in the Old Testament history.

More importantly, in this psalm, Melchizedek pictures our Lord as a heavenly High Priest. If Jesus were on earth, He could not minister as a priest because He did not belong to the tribe of Levi. Jesus was born of the seed of David, the tribe of Judah. But because His priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek, who was both king and priest, He can minister in heaven today.

Jesus Christ is Our Great High Priest

In Hebrews 8:1-3 we read that “we have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man; a high priest who is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices.”

This high priest is Jesus Christ. As a High Priest, Jesus must offer gifts and sacrifices (Hebrews 5:1). We must not, however, get the impression that our Lord is offering sacrifices in heaven that corresponds to the Old Testament sacrifices. Rather, Jesus offered Himself once and for all as the sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 7:27).

In Hebrews 10:11-18, the writer contrasts the old covenant high priest with Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. The fact that Jesus sat down after He ascended to the Father proves that His work was completed (Hebrews 1:13; 8:1).

Jesus in the Order of Melchizedek

The ministry of the priests in the Tabernacle and Temple was never done and never different; they would offer the same sacrifices day after day. This constant repetition was proof that their sacrifices did not take away sins. What tens of thousands of animal sacrifices could not accomplish, Jesus accomplished with one sacrifice forever!

Christ’s position as the great high priest enabled Him to play a special role in our redemption. Because He was appointed priest, Christ was able to offer His death as a sacrifice for others. He became the sacrifice on earth that He might become the High Priest in heaven.

Was Melchizedek Jesus Christ?

Melchizedek was not an angel or some superhuman creature; nor was he an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. He was a real man, a real king, and a real priest in a real city. But as far as the record is concerned, he was not born, nor did he die (Hebrews 7:8). In this way, he pictures the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who is Priest “forever.”

It may not have been obvious to Abram at that time, but the mysterious priesthood of Melchizedek pointed forward to the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ who would minister grace and mercy to us based on His own sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus is our great and eternal High Priest who lives forever. He is the high priest who is Himself sinless and never needs to offer any sacrifices for His own sin. In the offering of Himself, He made the perfect sacrifice which once and for all opened the way to God.

And no other sacrifice needs to be made, hallelujah, praise God!

Have you received Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins?


Recommended Resource: 

Melchizedek’s Alternative Priestly Order: A Compositional Analysis of Genesis 14:18-20
By Joshua Mathews

Product Description:

Genesis 14:18-20 is a brief episode depicting the encounter between Abram and Melchizedek. Taking this episode and its context in the Pentateuch as the starting point, Mathews sets out to analyze the text as it has been composed, in order to understand the biblical and theological significance of this priest-king Melchizedek.

The thesis proposed and investigated is that Melchizedek’s royal priestly portrayal in Genesis initiates a priesthood that is intentionally presented as an alternative to Aaron and his priesthood. The claim is that this distinct priestly order is evident in the biblical text as we have it, and it may be discerned by reading the text carefully, on its own terms, with close attention to its compositional features.

Chapter 1 introduces the study and offers an overview of the history of interpretation related to Genesis 14 and Melchizedek. In chapter 2, various hermeneutical issues and approaches are examined in order to clarify methodology and identify some of the problems being addressed.

 In chapter 3, the heart of the book, Mathews considers Genesis 14:18-20 in the context of the Pentateuch, focusing on Melchizedek in relation to the Abrahamic narrative and covenant, the royal message of the Pentateuch, and Aaron’s priesthood.

Beginning with Psalm 110, chapter 4 identifies echoes of Melchizedek and his priesthood in several texts in the Prophets and Writings. The book concludes in chapter 5 with a summary and synthesis of the preceding analysis as well as some implications and suggestions for further research.