Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’


Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Secular historians generally write history from an anthropocentric view. That is how it relates and centers on Man and his development and various achievements in a closed universe. But the Bible concentrates on the historical fulfillment of God’s covenantal relationship with the nation of Israel leading up to the first coming of the Messiah and His second coming to Israel in a supernatural fashion whereby God freely and arbitrarily intervenes in the affairs of man. In fact, the Bible says God determines the national boundaries and demographic habitations of humanity with the intent that the children of Israel could live in the land of Canaan in an area that would perfectly accommodate their numbers and allow for this. For Deuteronomy 32:8 says:

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.”

And all that the Bible has predicted about Israel’s divine history thus far has literally come to pass.

So then it is only reasonable and natural to conclude that the prophecies about Israel’s future will also literally be fulfilled. Bible Prophecy predicted as a super sign and precondition for the return of Christ the regathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland as the nation of Israel. That took place on May 14, 1948. The rest of this article will explore and explain how the modern nation of Israel is fulfilling this role as the super sign to indicate the coming of Christ is close at hand and could very well happen in our generation.

The Bible predicts in Deuteronomy 30:1-3 that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will occur sometime after the regathering and return of the Jews from world wide dispersion into the land of Israel. God gave this prophecy through Moses and the Jews just before God brought them into the land of Canaan. The Authorized Version of these verses is most telling:

“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice. According to all that I commanded thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.”

Notice the chronology or sequence of prophetic events here:

  1. God will bring the Jews back to the land of Israel from the nations of the world where they were scattered abroad by Him for their disobedience.
  2. During this regathering the Lord Himself “will return” and complete the restoration of all Israel back into the land.

In others words, when God begins to bring the Jews back into their land He gave them, Christ will return! The phrase “will return” is omitted from most modern translations of the Bible since the Masoretic text (upon which the majority of modern translations of the Old Testament are based upon) and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) do not include it. But the Dead Sea Scrolls copied some 150 years before the birth of Christ and over 1,000 years older than any previously discovered manuscript of the Bible includes this very phrase! The passage reads as follows:

“…then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from the peoples, [from] where the Lord your God has scattered you…” (Martin Abegg,Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, p. 187).

Thus, the phrase has good precedent for being included as from the original. And the prophecy given in Deuteronomy 30:3 foretells that when the Jews return to their ancient homeland from the Diaspora (the scattering of the Jews to all Gentile nations of the world after the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.), the Lord Jesus Christ will return. If we just had this prophecy alone in Scripture concerning the return of the Jews to Israel and the return of the Lord following it, this would be adequate alone to believe in His word that He would regather the Jews back to Israel and subsequently return at the second Coming. This unquestionably means in the words of author Homer Duncan that:

“For centuries, the prophecies concerning the regathering of Israel lay dormant in the Word of God. There was no outward indication that they would be fulfilled, but they are now being fulfilled before our eyes, and this can mean but one thing: THE COMING OF THE LORD DRAWS NEAR.” (Homer Duncan, Israel: Past, Present, Future, p. 16)

Related Links


Tunisian Jews flee upheaval for Israel – JTA
Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: Land Covenant – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
The Modern State of Israel in Bible Prophecy – Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
Federations launching $5.5 million campaign for Ethiopian aliyah – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Is Modern Israel Fulfilling Prophecy? – Pre-Trib.org (Thomas Ice)


Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Part of the reason for the return of Israel’s Messiah will be to enforce the everlasting decree of God’s land grant to the Jewish people and to overthrow the nations of the world in league with the anti-Christ who will violently attempt to take the land away from them (Zech. 12-14; Ezekiel 47:13-48:35). In fact, the boundaries God gave for the Promised Land stretch from the river of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish) to the Euphrates River near the Syrian/Iraqi border (Gen. 15:18-21) — an area yet to be occupied by the Jewish nation that well includes the two presently disputed areas of Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

The covenant God made with Abraham not only would produce the Jewish people from his posterity (“seed”) with a land to live in, but their presence in the world also would greatly benefit and bless Mankind. The Lord said:

“And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Indeed the Jews have brought the world immeasurable blessings. They wrote and preserved the Scriptures (the Bible), which is the number one best-seller in the world and were the people through whom the Messiah came to redeem humanity from sin (Romans 3:2; 9:5). The Jews wrote the Bible and the Messiah Jesus is a Jew.

God subsequently reaffirmed this covenant with Abraham to his son, Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob (Genesis 25:5-6; 35:9-15). From these three patriarchs, God eternally promised the land of Israel to the Jewish people. From a divine and biblical perspective then, the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. And so God chose this Land and the Chosen People to play a central role in His plan of redemption for the world and mankind that naturally involves the past, present, and the future.

The plan of redemption for Israel and the world focuses around two epochal events — the first and second comings of the Messiah Jesus Christ. In both advents, Christ has and will personally come again directly to Israel. The covenant God made with Abraham plays a special significance and role in end-time Bible prophecy. The fact God guaranteed the people of Israel a national existence and homeland forever that brought the material and spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations basically defines and determines the primary focus of the whole eschatological program of God. The covenant of Abraham with the provisions of a land, nation, Messianic descendant, and blessing to the world is the building base and foundation upon which the plan of God is built and enlarged through the other covenants.

The creation of the Jewish people and the bestowal of a national homeland via the Abrahamic covenant were preparatory for the first coming of the Messiah. Gentiles who come to faith in Him are adopted into Abraham’s family and receive the blessing promised through that covenant (Galatians 3:8; 14-29). And just as the establishment of the Jewish people as the nation of Israel was crucial to the first coming of Christ, so too Scripture indicates that the regathering of the Jews into their ancient homeland, after being scattered throughout the world for nearly 2,000 years, and the reestablishment of the nation of Israel are necessary for the second coming. In fact, it would serve as a super-sign that will set the stage for the prophesied series of events that will culminate in the return of Christ to Israel. Without the reconstitution of the nation of Israel in our generation, none of the events of End-time prophecy could occur or be possible.

Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy articulate and underscore this point well when they write:

“God’s plan for history always moves forward in relation to what He is doing with Israel. Thus, the fact that Israel has been and continues to be reconstituted as a nation is prophetically significant, so significant that it makes Israel God’s super-sign of the end times. Were Israel not a nation again it would be impossible for events of the end times to occur since so many of them take place in that tiny country or in reference to it. But it has returned and so it is that all other aspects of Bible prophecy are also being prepared for the grand finale of history.” (Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, p. 61.)

Related Links


Israel Through The Eyes Of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Are Israel and the church the same thing? Does God still have a plan for Israel? – GotQuestions.org
Christian Israel supporters urge Rand Paul on aid – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 1) – BPB (Todd Baker)
Soros blames Israel, encouraged by Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – American Thinker


Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B’rit Hadashah Ministries

Preachers and theologians are often fond of saying that History is “His story,” meaning that God plans and determines the details and events that make up human history ruling over the process from beginning to end to fulfill His great purpose for Mankind. Nothing could be truer of Israel. The history of the Jewish people is “His story” played out within human history, which has been revealed, foretold, and written in the Bible.

Israel’s history is supernatural from beginning to end. It began with the Patriarch Abraham some 4,000 years ago when God called this nomadic wanderer from Ur of the Chaldeans (Modern day Iraq) to leave his homeland and go into the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham obeyed that call and became the father of the nation Israel and the Jewish people. Though Abraham, and Sarah his wife, were well beyond the age of having children (Genesis 18:11), God miraculously rejuvenated the ninety-year old body of Sarah to bear them a son; Isaac through whom God would raise up the people and nation the Messiah would come through (Genesis 21:12).

With the promised child came the Promised Land — the land that is called Israel – where Abraham and his descendants would live. In Genesis 13:15 and 17:7-8, God promised to give the land to Abraham and his descendants (the Jews) for an “everlasting possession” under the unconditional terms of an “everlasting covenant”:

“For all the land which you see I have given it to you and your descendants forever. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.”

Here we observe from Israel’s inception that the history of the Jewish people and their divine destiny is inextricably bound up with the land God promised them. The covenant referred to in Genesis 17:7-8 is formally called the Abrahamic Covenant. It is an eternal covenant made between God to Abraham and his descendants forever. God essentially established through this Covenant with Abraham a people from him (the Jewish people), a place for them (the land of Israel), so that the purpose of blessing all the nations of the world could occur in perpetuity, that is forever. Thus God gave the land of Israel to the Jews forever and to no other ethnic group or nation, protestations from the Arabs, Palestinians, and international community notwithstanding.

One of the basic laws of Bible interpretation is the law of first mention. The law of first mention states that when a thing is mentioned for the first time in the Bible it carries the same meaning all throughout the Scriptures. It establishes the Bible as consistent in its meaning from beginning to end as it applies to persons, places, events, and things.

In Genesis 13:15 we have the first mention in Scripture stating that God gave the land of Israel to Abraham and the Jewish people forever. This truth is reiterated throughout the rest of Scripture and establishes the rightful owners of the land to be the Jews granted by divine right. There is no deviation or alteration by God from this covenant. It stands for all time. The ongoing struggle for Israel’s right to live in the Land of Promise has already been settled once and for all by the eternal counsel of God as codified and enacted in the Abrahamic Covenant. God has spoken and His Word on this matter is settled forever (Psalm 119:89); thus all the political wrangling about who the land belongs to is quite simply moot and in the end irrelevant and inconsequential.

The current Middle East crisis centers around who owns the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. But unbelief coming from the world disputes and dismisses the whole issue being settled by the inerrant Word of God. One cannot begin to understand the current Middle East crisis and how it relates to Israel’s past, present and future without knowing and understanding the fundamental importance of this divine covenant. Author Richard Booker wisely wrote:

“Indeed the key to understanding today’s headlines and tomorrow’s news lies in the past within the sacred covenant God made with Abraham.” (Richard Booker, Blow the Trumpet in Zion, p.17).

In the series of articles to come, we will explore how this is true throughout the divine panoramic plan God has for Israel in the past, present, and future as revealed through Bible prophecy.

Related Links


Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: Abrahamic Covenant – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Palestinians urge Quartet to back their state – Khaleej Times
Merkel warns against stalled Mideast peace talks – Deutsche Welle
What is the Abrahamic Covenant? – GotQuestions.org
Abbas Reveals His True Agenda – Family Security Matters


Michael GleghornBy Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

Biblical prophecy is a fascinating subject. It not only includes predictions of events that are still in the future. It also includes predictions of events that were future at the time the prophecy was given, but which have now been fulfilled and are part of the past. This latter category includes all the prophecies about a coming Messiah that Christians believe were accurately fulfilled in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If the Bible really does contain such prophecies, then we would seem to have evidence that’s at least consistent with the divine inspiration of the Bible. One can see how an all-knowing God could accurately foretell the future, but it’s not clear how a finite human being could do so. Thus, if there are accurately fulfilled prophecies in the Bible, then we have yet another reason to believe that the biblical worldview is true.

The Place of His Birth

Let’s begin with a prophecy about the Messiah’s birthplace. ‘Messiah’ is a Hebrew term that simply means ‘anointed one’. When translated into Greek, the language of the New Testament, the term becomes ‘Christ’. Christians believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures (see Mark 14:61-62).

In Micah 5:2 we read,

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

This prophecy was given in the eighth century B.C., more than seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus!

Notice, first, that it refers to a future ruler who will come from the town of Bethlehem. When King Herod, shortly after Jesus’ birth, asked the Jewish religious leaders where the Christ (or Messiah) was to be born, they told him that he was to be born in Bethlehem and cited this verse from Micah as support (Matt. 2:1-6). Both Matthew and Luke confirm that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1 and Luke 2:4-7). So He clearly meets this necessary qualification for being the promised Messiah.

But that’s not all. Micah also says that the origins of this ruler are “from of old, from ancient times.” How should we understand this? One commentator notes,

“The terms ‘old’ . . . and ‘ancient times’ . . . may denote ‘great antiquity’ as well as ‘eternity’ in the strictest sense.”1

Dr. Allen Ross states,

“At the least this means that Messiah was pre-existent; at the most it means He is eternal.”2

Micah’s prophecy thus suggests that the Messiah will be a supernatural, perhaps even divine, person. And this astonishing conclusion is precisely what Jesus claimed for Himself!3

The Time of His Appearing

Let’s now consider a fascinating prophecy that, in the opinion of many scholars, tells us when the Messiah would make His appearance. It’s found in Daniel 9.

Daniel was one of the Jewish captives who had been brought to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. The prophecy in Daniel 9 was given in the sixth century B.C. While much can be said about this passage, we must focus on a few important points.

To begin, verse 24 gives us the time parameters during which the prophecy will unfold. It reads, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin,” and so on. Although we can’t go into all the details, the “seventy ‘sevens'” concern seventy distinct seven-year periods of time, or a total of 490 years.

Next, verse 25 tells us that from the issuing of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah, there will be a total of sixty-nine ‘sevens’, or 483 years. There are two views we must consider. The first holds that this decree was issued by the Persian ruler Artaxerxes to Ezra the priest in 457 B.C.4 Adding 483 years to this date brings us to A.D. 27, the year many scholars believe Jesus began His public ministry! The second view holds that the reference is to a later decree of Artaxerxes, issued on March 5, 444 B.C.5 Adding 483 years to this date takes us to A.D. 38. But according to this view, the years in question should be calculated according to a lunar calendar, consisting of twelve thirty-day months.6 If each of the 483 years consists of only 360 days, then we arrive at March 30, 33 A.D. Dr. Allen Ross says “that is the Monday of the Passion week, the day of the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.”7 The views thus differ on the date of Jesus’ death, but each can comfortably fit the evidence.8

Finally, verse 26 says that after the period of sixty-nine ‘sevens’ the Messiah will be ‘cut off’ and have nothing. According to one scholar, “The word translated ‘cut off’ is used of executing . . . a criminal.”9 All of this fits quite well with the crucifixion of Jesus. Indeed, the accuracy of this prophecy, written over five hundred years before Jesus’ birth, bears eloquent testimony to the divine inspiration and truth of the Bible.

The Nature of His Ministry

In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses told the Israelites,

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”

This verse promised a succession of prophets who would speak God’s words to the people. Ultimately, however, it refers to Jesus Christ. One commentator notes that the Messianic interpretation of this passage is mentioned not only in the New Testament, but also among the Essenes, Jews, Gnostics, and others.10 Peter explicitly applied this passage to Jesus in one of his sermons (Acts 3:22-23).

But not only was the Messiah to be a great prophet, it was also foretold that he would be a priest and king as well. The prophet Zechariah was told to make a royal crown and symbolically set it on the head of Joshua, the high priest. The Lord then said,

“Here is the man whose name is the Branch . . . he will . . . sit and rule on his throne. And . . . be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two” (Zechariah 6:12-13).

The title ‘Branch’ is a messianic title.11 So the scene symbolizes the future Messiah, here referred to as ‘the Branch,’ uniting the offices of king and priest in one person.

But why is it important that the Messiah be a priest? As a prophet he speaks God’s word to the people. As a king he rules from his throne. But why must he also be a priest? “Because priests dealt with sin,” says Michael Brown, a Christian scholar who is ethnically Jewish. “Priests bore the iniquities of the people on their shoulders.”12 And this, of course, is precisely what Jesus did for us: “He . . . bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).

Dr. Brown points to a tradition in the Talmud that says that on the Day of Atonement there were three signs that the animal sacrifices offered by the high priest had been accepted by God. According to this tradition, in the forty years prior to the temple’s destruction in A.D. 70, all three signs turned up negative every single time.13 Dr. Brown comments, “Jesus probably was crucified in A.D. 30, and the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70.”14 So during this forty-year period God signaled that he no longer accepted these sacrifices. Why? Because final atonement had been made by Jesus!15

The Significance of His Death

Without any doubt, one of the most astonishing prophecies about the promised Messiah is found in Isaiah 52-53. The verses were written about seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus. They largely concern the death of the Lord’s ‘Suffering Servant.’ According to many scholars, a careful comparison of this passage with the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus’ suffering and death reveals too many similarities to be merely coincidental.

In some of the most-cited verses from this intriguing passage we read:

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6).

Here we have a vivid depiction of substitutionary atonement. The Lord lays upon His servant “the iniquity of us all” and punishes him “for our transgressions.” In other words, God’s servant dies as a substitute in our place. This is precisely what Jesus claimed for himself, saying, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

The parallels between Isaiah’s ‘Suffering Servant’ and Jesus are certainly impressive. But some scholars have suggested that Isaiah’s ‘servant’ is actually the nation of Israel and not the Messiah. Dr. Michael Brown dismisses this notion however, insisting that “nowhere in the . . . foundational, authoritative Jewish writings do we find the interpretation that this passage refers to the nation of Israel. References to the servant as a people actually end with Isaiah 48:20.”16 What’s more, he says,

“Many . . . Jewish interpreters . . . had no problem seeing this passage as referring to the Messiah . . . By the sixteenth century, Rabbi Moshe Alshech said, ‘Our rabbis with one voice accept and affirm . . . that the prophet is speaking of the Messiah, and we shall . . . also adhere to the same view.'”17

For his part, Dr. Brown is so convinced that this passage prophetically depicts the suffering and death of Jesus that he feels “as if God would have to apologize to the human race and to the Jewish people for putting this passage into the scriptures” if Jesus is not the one in view!18 Although this is a strong statement, it’s not unjustified. For Isaiah 53 not only foretells the death of God’s servant for the sins of the people, it also implies his resurrection!

The Mystery of His Resurrection

In the opinion of many scholars, Isaiah 53 not only foretells the death of God’s servant; it also implies his resurrection from the dead!

It’s important to notice that Isaiah 53 makes it absolutely clear that the Messiah is put to death. It says that “he was cut off from the land of the living” (v. 8), and that “he poured out his life unto death” (v. 12). On the other hand, however, it also says that “he will see his offspring and prolong his days” (v. 10), and that after his suffering “he will see the light of life and be satisfied” (v. 11). So the text teaches both that the Messiah will die and that he will live again. And although the passage doesn’t explicitly teach the Messiah’s resurrection, it’s certainly consistent with it. This is really staggering in light of the compelling historical evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus!19

Let’s now pause to consider what we’ve learned in this brief article. Micah 5:2 teaches that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Also, by teaching the preexistence, or even eternality, of the Messiah, the prophecy suggests that he’ll be a supernatural, possibly even divine, figure. In Daniel 9:24-27 we saw that the Messiah would appear to Israel sometime around A.D. 27–33, precisely the time of Jesus’ public ministry! Deuteronomy and Zechariah teach that the Messiah would minister as prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, Jesus spoke God’s word to the people. As a priest, he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. And while he didn’t reign as king during his first advent, he was called “the king of the Jews” (Matt. 27:11, 37). And Christians believe that he’s in some sense reigning now from heaven and that he’ll one day reign on earth as well (Luke 1:32-33). Finally, Isaiah 53 teaches that the Messiah would die for our sins – and then somehow live again. This is consistent with the New Testament’s record of Jesus’ substitutionary death and bodily resurrection.

Of course, we’ve not been able to consider all the prophecies. But hopefully enough has been said to conclude with Dr. Brown that if Jesus isn’t the Messiah, “there will never be a Messiah. It’s too late for anyone else. It’s him or no one.”20 Well, you’ve now heard the evidence; the verdict is up to you.

Endnotes


1) Thomas E. McComiskey, “Micah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), 427.
2) Allen Ross, “Messianic Prophecies,” at www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2764 . Accessed on September 6, 2007.
3) See, for example, Matthew 11:27; John 8:58 and 10:30.
4) Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Daniel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), 114. See also Ezra 7:11-26. 5) J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor Books, 1985), 1362. See also Nehemiah 2:1-8.
6) See, for example, the discussion in Ross, “Messianic Prophecies,” at www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2764 . Accessed on September 6, 2007.
7) Ibid.
8) The first holds that He was crucified in A.D. 30, the second in A.D. 33.
9) Pentecost, “Daniel,” 1364.
10) Earl S. Kalland, “Deuteronomy,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 122.
11) F. Duane Lindsey, “Zechariah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor Books, 1985), 1558. See also Zechariah 3:8.
12) Michael Brown, interviewed in Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus (Advance Reader Copy) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2007), 199.
13) See Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 39a.
14) Brown, interviewed in Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus, 201.
15) Ibid.
16) Ibid., 213.
17) Ibid.
18) Ibid., 212.
19) For a defense of this important claim, please see some of the excellent articles by William Lane Craig at www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=scholarly_articles_historical_Jesus . For more scriptural support, please compare Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:22-36 with Psalm 16:8-11.
20) Brown, interviewed in Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus, 203.

Q. When Jesus was born there was a king called Herod who wanted him dead but when Jesus was on trail Pilate sent him to Herod. I thought Herod died after Jesus was born.

 

A. It’s a complicated matter.  Herod the Great was the King of the Jews when Jesus was born and was the one who wanted Jesus dead. He died shortly after the Holy Family fled to Egypt and his son Archelaus became the governor of Judea for a few years. When they returned from Egypt, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth to avoid him (Matt. 2:22-23).

Another son, Herod Antipas, ruled over Galilee from 4 BC to 39AD.  He is the one who put John the Baptist to death. (Salome, who danced for John’s head, was the daughter of his wife/niece/sister-in-law Herodias and his brother Herod Philip I. She later married her uncle Herod Philip II.)  Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, since Jesus was considered to be a Galilean.

A grandson of Herod the Great, named Herod Agrippa I, had the Lord’s brother James killed, and put Peter in prison.  Agrippa’s son and daughter, Herod Agrippa II and Bernice, who were also husband and wife, are the ones before whom Paul appeared (Acts 25:13-26:32). Their sister Drusilla was married to Felix, the governor of Judea who had earlier presided over Paul’s trial (Acts 24:24).

The Herod family would be called Jordanians today, but ruled over Judea and surrounding areas for 4 generations, having been granted the right to do so by the Romans. It was quite a family.

False Arrest – Confronting the Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police

Brannon HowseBy Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend

If you’ve read some of my articles before, you know how much I enjoy pointing out the intolerance of people who scream the loudest about how important it is to be tolerant. And it’s almost amusing that those who yammer about not judging others are the most judgmental of your judgments. Well, I’ve found a new set of hypocrites that try desperately to bully us into doing as they say but not as they do. I’ve christened these folks the Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police. Usually, of course, I go after liberals, but some of the PCM18s are simply misinformed yet genuinely well-meaning Christians. Either way, they’re also dead wrong.

What exactly do PCM18s do with the Matthew chapter (specifically 18:15-17)? They twist it to fit their convenience and use it against people like me who try to blow the whistle on bizarre or heretical claims made in the name of Christ.

Recently, I heard from members of the PCM18 Police (they’re stationed all over the country) as a result of several articles I wrote earlier this year. In February and March, I produced a three-part series on the false teaching of Christian happy-talk superstar Joel Osteen. Indicting him was easy. All I did was quote from Osteen’s interview on Larry King Live and from his book, Your Best Life Now. Although his statements obviously contradicted the Word of God, I pointed it out anyway, and perhaps that’s what made some folks so mad.

I also released an article on 85 “evangelical” leaders who had signed a left-wing global warming initiative that is being funded by radical, anti-Christian foundations. A few in this group of 85 held press conferences and interviews and even launched a series of national television commercials and radio spots to ballyhoo their “insights.”

Then I did what may have been the most unpardonable, un-PC act of all. I wrote an extensive article on the dangerous and unbiblical beliefs of the Emerging Church and some of its leaders.

Citations from the PCM18 Police rolled in like a tsunami. But did they e-mail to privately chastise me for my “unbiblical” conduct of writing and speaking out against the false teachings of Joel Osteen, the Emerging Church, or the liberal activism and unchristian funding of the group of 85? No, of course not – even though that is exactly what they were writing to tell me I should have done. (You’ll recognize that the hallmark of any tolerance monger is that they want you to do what they would never do themselves.)

The PCM18s ignored my private e-mail address – which is clearly posted on our Web site – and instead posted their virulent objections in the feedback section. I had to laugh. Without first coming to me in private as the scripture they quote says to do, they publicly blasted me for not first going in private to those about which I had written.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think Matthew 18 is a great chapter of the Bible and one that should be followed (of course). However, the PCM18 Police strip Matthew 18:15-17 from its context in order to force their politically correct, “non-judgmental,” tolerance agenda on Christians that challenge unbiblical beliefs, doctrine, or worldviews. If you read the verses in context, it is clear that they address how to handle a private issue or a personal offense. These three verses detail the steps that should be taken for church discipline of an individual that has sinned. If the offending person does not repent when you confront him or her privately, then you are to take one or two people with you. If the individual still will not repent, take the issue before the church. If even that doesn’t work, the person is to be removed from fellowship until he or she does admit to the sin and repents.

PCM18s would have you believe Matthew 18 means you should never write or speak publicly to oppose one of their Christian happy-talk gurus unless you first speak to that person privately. This is just an absurd manipulation of Scripture. In reality, the PC “Police” seek to intimidate and manipulate by guilt those with whom they disagree. Apparently, such childish techniques are the best they can muster when backed into the proverbial corner with solid biblical facts. With finger wagging and heaping helpings of self-righteous indignation, they offer verbal or e-mail lashings about how you are sinning and should repent and cease at once from speaking out against false teachers and their accompanying doctrines. PCM18s drone on about how you are not loving or are creating disunity among Christians and how this is such a bad witness to unbelievers.

A bad witness? And it would be a better witness to allow false teaching and a false gospel to go uncorrected and unchallenged? What the Police don’t want you to know is that throughout the New Testament the great apostle Paul himself publicly denounced false teachers by name without first going to them in private. After all, how can one privately correct public false teaching? It can’t be done, and that’s exactly why we are to publicly point out erroneous teaching once it has been promoted in books, television, radio, Web sites, and other public forums.

So now you’re ready. If you should ever happen to get “pulled over” and given a citation by the Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police for boldly refuting someone’s public false teaching, take the law into your own hands and make a Christian-citizen’s arrest by pointing out their illegal handling of the Scriptures.

Related Links


Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now? – BPB (Brannon Howse)
Was Jesus Polite to False Teachers? – John MacArthur
What is the Emergent Church – SpiritandTruth.org (Andy Woods)
False Teachers Exposed – False-Teachers.com
Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave – Brannon Howse (Book)

How Complicated is Salvation?

Andy WoodsBy Dr. Andy Woods
SpiritandTruth.org

On his second missionary journey while in Philippi, Paul was asked the most important question that a human being can ask. The Philippian jailer inquired, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer was astonishing in its simplicity. He tersely replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31). Notice that there is only one verb for the lost person to fulfill before he can receive salvation: “believe.” Nothing in Paul’s answer resembles other conditions that are commonly inserted into modern evangelistic messages, such as baptism, church membership, walking an aisle, Godly sorrow, forsaking sins, etc…

As one begins to study this issue throughout the Bible, he or she quickly discovers that Paul’s evangelistic message in Philippi was by no means an isolated case. There are probably somewhere between 150 to 200 New Testament passages which singularly condition a lost person’s salvation upon belief alone in Christ. Some of the more well-know passages include John 3:16; 6:28-29; Rom 1:16; Eph 2:8-9. Belief is a synonym for faith or confidence or trust in God’s provision. The moment a lost person exercises trust in Christ is the moment he is saved. End of story.

Lewis Sperry Chafer, Theologian and founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, entitled this biblical phenomenon: “Belief: God’s One Condition of Salvation.” While it is true that multiple conditions, such as repent, submit, or obey, are required for the newly saved person to mature or grow in their newfound relationship with Christ, it remains a biblical fact that initial salvation is as simple as the one verb “believe.”

Why has God made salvation so simple? Three reasons come to mind. First, God has designed salvation as a free gift (Rom 4:4). If there was some human action to be performed beyond belief then salvation becomes something that we do rather than what God does. Such a human insertion reduces salvation’s free gift status by making it something we earn. Second, God has specifically designed salvation so that the principle of human boasting is eliminated (Rom 3:27; 4:2). Yet, if the unsaved could do anything to merit salvation beyond simple belief, then he has contributed to the salvation process and thus has something to boast over. God cannot allow this to happen given His aversion to pride of any sort. Third, the unsaved person is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and thus incapable of doing anything of spiritual value, such as obey, submit, forsake, etc… By making these other things the conditions of salvation rather than simply believing, obstacles are placed in front of the unbeliever that he or she is incapable of fulfilling. The lost are capable of doing only one thing that is pleasing to a holy God: trusting in His provision for salvation.

Let us praise God for His wisdom in keeping salvation so simple. Let us also strive to maintain the simplicity of the Gospel as we share it with others lest it be reduced to another mere human works oriented message, rather than a divine one.

Related Links


The Condition of Salvation – Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
The Nature of Post-Church Salvation – BPB (Jack Kelley)
What is Soteriology? – GotQuestions.org
Salvation – Lewis Sperry Chafer (Book)
God’s Plan of Salvation – Bible.org (J. Hampton Keathley, III)