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“Rhoda, Fragrant Rose”

Acts 12:13-16

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

So, God sent His angel to free Peter from prison, and I must say I am always awestruck when I read the part that Peter slept soundly while in chains between two soldiers. What strong faith he must have had. As I read that the angel of the Lord “…smote Peter on the side, and raised him up…” I can’t help but think, “How could he be sleeping through this so soundly that the angel had to smack him on the side and say wake up, let’s go.” I am not sure if I could have such strong faith in such dire circumstances, but I digress. ūüėČ

We see in the above Scripture that Peter went straight to the house of Mary and knocked on the door and the damsel Rhoda (whose name means rose) came to answer his knock. I can so relate to Rhoda. In her great excitement that Peter was outside the house, she forgot to open and let him in. I can see myself doing the exact same thing, “Oh, Peter, it’s you!” Shut the door and run to tell everyone, “Our prayers are answered. Praise God! Peter is at the door!” I, too, would be so elated that God had so quickly answered our prayers and that Peter was safe, I must run and tell everyone!¬†I like to imagine God smiling down and chuckling at Rhoda’s reaction. Well, they thought she had lost her mind, and they even said maybe what she saw was his angel – it was a common Jewish belief that every Israelite was given a special guardian angel who looked like him. There they were praying constantly, crying out to God, all in one accord, for God to intervene. Yet when they were told that He had answered their prayers, they did not believe? Ahh, our humanity… Peter continued to knock and they finally opened the door and were astonished, at first. I am sure as they welcomed him in and listened to him recount how God delivered him from the jail, they praised and thanked our great YAHWEH.

Rhoda lived about 43 A.D. during the first Christian persecution of Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the infamous Herod the Great (Matthew 2). She was the maid of John Mark’s mother Mary, in whose home the small congregation in Jerusalem often gathered to pray. On this night, they had prayed long past midnight for the release of Peter from prison. Since James, the brother of John, had already been put to death, the young church feared the same fate for Peter. While they were passionately praying, Rhoda heard a knock at the gate and ran to the door. She immediately recognized Peter’s voice when he spoke to her. But, as we see above, in her excitement, she forgot to open the door. She left Peter standing outside the closed gate. She ran, bolting into the room and interrupted those praying, and with great excitement she announced that Peter was standing at the door. Rhoda never doubted whose voice she had heard. She was terribly excited but not surprised that God had heard their pleas. Unlike the others, who had to open the door and see Peter with their own eyes, Rhoda had faith great enough to know that God would answer their prayers, even in the most unexpected way. The mundane tasks assigned to her as a household servant did not keep her from experiencing the joys of being a part of kingdom business through her genuine, believing faith.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in God's Love

 

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The House of Mary

 

The church was growing and Barnabas was sent to Antioch to check on them, and “when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” (Acts 11:23) He then went on to Tarsus, seeking Saul. “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year¬†they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians¬†first¬†in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) The name Christians started out as a nickname, but became a means of identifying those who lived and behaved like Christ. What a great example the early church sets for us through all time. Would that today’s churches would actually behave Christ-like as did the early church.

As usual, with growth comes persecution and in Acts 12 Herod “stretched forth¬†his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put¬†him in prison, and delivered¬†him¬†to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people…but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon¬†him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from¬†his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and¬†from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered¬†the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” (Acts 12: 1-12)

So we see most clearly that the early Christian church was a¬†praying church. Now we will take a look at the woman Mary, the mother of John Mark, who graciously opened up her home to Jesus’ disciples and early church.

Scripture mentions Mary only one time. During the persecution of Herod Agrippa, this brave woman offered her house to the first group of Christians at Jerusalem as a place to worship God and to pray. Mary was a woman of means, with servants and a house large enough to accommodate the entire Jerusalem congregation. Since Scripture records no husband, Mary was probably a widow.

Times proved difficult for Christ’s followers during those early turbulent years. Herod Agrippa had imprisoned Peter after killing James, the brother of John, with the sword. Yet, in spite of the risks involved, Mary courageously opened her home regularly to Christians.

After an angel miraculously escorted Peter from prison, he went immediately to Mary’s house, a familiar place of hospitality for the disciples. There he found the entire congregation praying for his release.

With the fearless example of a mother like Mary, it really is no wonder that John Mark became a missionary, church leader, and the author of the second Gospel.

II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;

then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in God's Love

 

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The Last Week in the Life of Jesus – Day 3 – Tuesday

Challenge of Jesus’ Authority Before the Sanhedrin

Luke 20:1-8

“1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?

3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:

4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?

5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?

6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.

7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.

8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

Foretelling of the Destruction of Jerusalem and Jesus’ Return

Matthew 24:15-28

“15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25 Behold, I have told you before.

26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”

Anointing of Jesus at Bethany

John 12:2-8

“2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,

5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”

Judas’ Bargain with the Jewish Rulers to Betray Jesus

Luke 22:3-6

“3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.

6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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Jesus’ Appearances after His Resurrection

There have been those who have called Jesus’ Resurrection false and fictitious. I believe it to be indisputable as recorded by God’s chosen human pens. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for preserving your infallible Word for us, so we can know Your truths.

Jesus revealed Himself to the following people in or around Jerusalem:

  • Mary Magdalene – John 20:11-18 ” But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” What an honor it most assuredly was to be chosen the first to see our Resurrected Christ.
  • To the other women (“Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them” Luke 24:10) – Matthew 28:8-10 “And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”
  • To Peter – Luke 24:34 “Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”
  • To the ten disciples – Luke 24:36-43 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”
  • John 20:19-25 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

  • To 11 disciples, including Thomas – John 20:26-29 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
  • To those who observed His Ascension – Luke 24:50-53 “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”
  • Acts 1:4-12 “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.”

Jesus revealed Himself on the Emmaus Road:

  • To 2 disciples – Luke 24:13-35 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.”

I believe our Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. I think it funny that He suddenly appeared to people, out of nowhere, without warning, scaring the living daylights out of them. I can imagine them jumping out of their skin seeing what they perceived as a ghost or “spirit” just appearing in front of them. I would probably have said “Boo!” as I appeared.

Jesus revealed Himself in Galilee:

  • To the disciples – Matthew 28:16-20 “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (I find that last phrase so very comforting.)
  • John 21: 1¬†¬† After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
    2   There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
    3   Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
    4   But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
    5   Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
    6   And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
    7¬†¬† Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
    8   And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
    9   As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
    10   Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
    11   Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
    12   Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
    13   Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
    14   This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
    15   So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
    16   He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
    17   He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
    18   Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
    19   This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
    20   Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
    21   Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
    22   Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
    23   Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
    24   This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
    25   And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Jesus revealed Himself to over 500 people at one time – 1 Corinthians 15:6 “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”

Jesus revealed Himself to James and the apostles – 1 Corinthians 15:7 “After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.”

Last, but not least, my very favorite of all, Jesus revealed Himself to Paul (Saul) on the road to Damascus. I find it truly proof of how God loves us unconditionally. So much so that He would choose an elite Pharisee Zealot, who helped bring in anyone who followed Jesus and His ways, to be tortured and killed by the Romans. Saul was very passionate about his beliefs, but Jesus showed him how passionately deceived he was. God can use even the worst of us for His glory.

  • Acts 9:1-6 “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”
  • Acts 18:9-10 “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”
  • Acts 22:1-8 “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.”
  • Acts 23:11 “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”
  • Acts 26:12-18 “Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:8 “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

As I share Paul’s testimony, my thoughts are, “What a testimony for winning souls to Christ. I believe that we all have a testimony that God can use to win the lost for Him. All we need do is share our story of who and what we were before we met and accepted Jesus as Lord, as compared to how He has changed us since.”
LORD, please give us your boldness to share our story for your glory and your kingdom to come!

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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While We Were Yet Sinners!

Yes, God loves us while we are sinners and He does not ask us to “clean ourselves up” before coming to Him for forgiveness and salvation. Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I am much comforted to know God’s unconditional love more each time I think on this verse. I love Easter more with each passing year, as I reflect on how great a love my Lord has for me and all of mankind.

I am humbled every day of my life by the fact that Jesus was tortured, mocked, spit upon, and murdered for my sins, but I see no need to repeatedly crucify Him. To me the miracle of His resurrection is most important to stand firm on as my hope for my place in eternity in His presence.

I enjoy reading each of the apostles’ account of Jesus’ Resurrection, but the one that speaks most to my heart and soul is John’s (the disciple whom Jesus loved). I do not believe that Jesus loved John more than the others, but I do believe it highly possible that John loved Jesus more than the others did.

AN EMPTY TOMB!

John 20: “1¬†¬† The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2   Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3   Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4   So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5   And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6   Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7   And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8   Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9   For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10   Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11   But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12   And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13   And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
14   And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15   Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16   Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17   Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18   Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19   Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20   And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
21   Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22   And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23   Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24   But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25   The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26   And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27   Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28   And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29   Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30   And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31¬†¬† But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

English: Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

English: Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in God's Love

 

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God’s Angels – Part 3

III. The Responsibilities of God’s Righteous Angels

A. In the Past They Have:

1. Appeared in dreams – Matthew 1:20-24 “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:”

2. Given laws and revelations – Acts 7:53 “Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

B. In the Future They Will:

golden-city-of-heaven1. Guard the gates of the New Jerusalem (our final home) – Revelation 21:12 “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:” Also compare Genesis 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

2. They will help regather Israel – Matthew 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

3. They will help separate the good from the ad – Matthew 13:24-30 “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:36-41 “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;”

Jesus Christ, angels and apostle. Church of th...4. They will accompany Christ to earth – Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”¬† 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

5. They will bind satan and guard his abyss – Revelation 20:1-3 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Revelation 9:1 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.”

C. Presently They:

1. Wage war in actual combat – Revelation 12:7-9 “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Daniel 10:20 “Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.”

2. They help to execute judgement – Genesis 19; Matthew 13:41-42; Acts 12:23 “And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”

3. They minister to the saints – Hebrews 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” See also Acts 10 and Matthew 4:11.

4. They help rule nations – Daniel 10:13-21 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Also Daniel 12:1.

18th century rendition of a guardian angel.5. They help individuals – Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Also Hebrews 1:14

6. They praise and worship God – Luke 2:13 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,” Psalm 103:20 and 148:2 “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word;” “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.” Revelation 5:11-13 “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

7. They strengthen in trials – Matthew 4:11 “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Luke 22:43 “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

8. They help direct sinners to Gospel witnesses – Acts 10:3-48 “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”

9. They help direct Gospel workers to sinners – Acts 8:26-40 “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.”

10. They minister before God – Revelation 8:2 “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” Revelation 14:15-19 “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

11. They protect the saints – Psalm 34:7; Acts 12:7-10 “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.”

12. They witness confessions – Luke 15:8-10 “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” See also 1 Timothy 5:21.

Angel of the Death13. They help transport the deceased to the presence of God – Matthew 13:30 “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Luke 16:22 “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;” Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 24:31; Also Mark 13:27 “And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

14. They help impart God’s will – Acts 5:19-20 “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” Acts 10:1-6 “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”

15. They help bring answers to prayer – Daniel 9:21-23 “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Also Daniel 10:12-13.

16. They are present in the Church – 1 Corinthians 11:1-10 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” Revelation 2: 1, 8, 12, 18 and 3:1, 7, 14 – “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; – And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; – And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; – And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; – And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. – And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; – ¬†And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;”

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Heavenly and E...Related articles

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Eschatology

 

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True Biblical Account of the Birth of Jesus

English: Nativity scene on the Buenos Aires Me...

Our Preacher at Lighthouse Baptist Church recently taught on the Biblical Truth of Jesus’ Birth in Chronological Order from the uncorrupted King James Version. As a Bible teaching and preaching church, we receive this teaching of God’s truths every year, and it never grows old to me. I believe the whole world should at least hear, or read, the truth.When I first learned these truths, I was in shock. Afterall, this is not the story the world tells of Jesus’ birth. This is not what I grew up hearing. But, when I checked God’s Word I found it was not true that the Wise Men should be included in the nativity scene, along with other twists and turns that are not true. The Wise Men were not at Jesus’ birth; they came two years after Jesus was born. Read on and see the truth.

I. Luke 1:26-38

26¬†¬† And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, (this is speaking of the sixth month of Elizabeth’s (Mary’s cousin) pregnancy with John the Baptist.)

27¬†¬† To a virgin (unfortunately, some of the newer, corrupted Bible versions change the word virgin to maiden or young woman. If Mary was not a virgin, Jesus was not the Messiah-just what satan would have the world believe!) espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28   And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29   And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30   And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31   And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32   He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33   And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34   Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Because she was a virgin.)

35   And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36   And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37   For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38¬†¬† And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (What an obedient woman of God. She could very well have said “No, I do not want to do that.” But, thank God, she did not. I have to wonder if such a Godly woman could be found in this world today, but alas, God’s timing is always perfect!)

II. Matthew 1:18-25

18   Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19¬†¬† Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (Can you imagine what people were saying when Mary returned from Elizabeth’s and was obviously pregnant. Maybe Joseph went to see her some time during those three months, but it is highly unlikely, so he must have been very surprised when she returned with this shocking news. And many rumors flew for sure. I am again aware of what a close relationship Mary must have had with the LORD God.)

20   But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21   And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22   Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23   Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24   Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25   And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

III. Luke 2:1-20

1   And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2   (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3   And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4   And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) (It is important to note that they left Nazareth and went to Jerusalem.)

5   To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6   And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7   And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8   And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9   And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10   And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12¬†¬† And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (There is no mention of a cave or a stable. Mangers were spread about in the fields. There is also no mention of a star or the Wise Men yet. An angel told the shepherds about the Saviour’s birth.)

13   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14   Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15   And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (The shepherds were in the field tending the flocks.)

16   And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17   And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18   And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19   But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20   And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

IV. Matthew 2:1-18

1   Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2   Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3   When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4   And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5   And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6   And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7¬†¬† Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. (Because no one there ever saw the star. It led the Wise Men on their two-year journey from the east. No one in Bethlehem knew anything about ‘the star’.)

8   And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9¬†¬† When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. (Perhaps the star was actually one of God’s angels!)

10   When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11¬†¬† And when they were come into the house, (Note: “the house” not stable or manger. Joseph and Mary and Jesus had returned back home to Nazareth where their house was and where they were from.) they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

12   And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13   And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14   When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15   And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

16   Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (There you have it. Why would Herof slay baby boys of two years and younger? Because by the time the Wise Men actually made it there, Jesus was about two years old.)

17   Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

18   In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

These days it is extremely difficult to find a nativity scene that is Biblically correct, and I have collected nativity scenes for many years. What usually happens when family members and friends learn that you collect something? It becomes a cherished gift to give at Christmas time. The tradition in our home is to take the wise men from the nativity sets and place them in the eastern most corner of our home because they are still traveling on their long journey to see the ‘young child’ Jesus.

I would like to wish all of my devoted readers a very blessed Christmas Season and remind us all to truly remember that it is Jesus that is the reason for this celebration.

GOD BLESS!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in God's Truth

 

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