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Introductions and Summaries Psalms 49:1-4 Listen to a Parable

Posted by Ez1 Realty on July 1, 2018


Introductions and Summaries Psalms 49:1-4 Listen to a Parable

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Psalms 49:1-4 NLTse Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! (2) High and low, rich and poor–listen! (3) For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. (4) I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.

The obvious key word in this prophecy is listen followed by the related words, people, everyone, and world. Key words also tell us what to listen to, proverbs and riddles. Some translations use the word parables for proverbs. This prophecy is simple. It is asking everyone in the world to listen to many proverbs. It’s also another prophecy about Jesus that is easy to locate because it’s quoted by inspiration in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:1-3 NLTse Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. (2) A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. (3) He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.

As we’ve seen in previous studies of God’s Word, when Old Testament scripture is quoted, we need to look at surrounding texts and the entire chapter to get the whole message. We also learned an important rule of Bible Study concerning the introduction to chapters. Since the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 49 is found in the introduction of Matthew 13, we need to look at the first few words. Look at how the words, “later that same day,” point us back to the previous chapter. Once again there’s a reason Matthew points us back to the previous chapter that we’ll look at later. At this point we’ll compare key words between the prophecy and fulfillment. Psalm 49 has the key word, listen. Matthew 13 repeated the similar words, told and taught. The key word people is also found in both chapters as well as sharing the related words, proverbs, riddles, stories, and parables. The connection between these two chapters is established by the simple Bible Study rule of repetition.

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It’s unusual for both the prophecy and fulfillment to be introductions. This points us to the importance of the lesson since the introduction of chapters establishes the theme. Since the introductions share the same key words and theme, it’s obvious the chapters dwell on the same spiritual lesson which will be revealed as we study and compare more of these chapters.

We need to note, Psalm chapter 78 is a second version of the prophecy fulfilled by Jesus that will be studies at a later time. O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past- (Psalms 78:1-2 NLTse).

We also need to look at the previous study showing how people throughout history will betray Jesus. Once we’re shown how we’ve physically turned away from Jesus and spiritually betrayed Him, we have to learn how to serve Him and prepare to work in the harvest. We see this in the sequence Jesus placed in His word. All the details point to the significance to this subject. Not only is this prophecy found in the introduction to Psalm 40 and Matthew 13, it’s repeated in the introduction of Psalm 78. The fulfillment is also repeated in Mark 4 and Luke chapter 8. When God repeats Himself we need to pay attention!

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parables Jesus told because it is one of the few parables where Jesus explained the spiritual interpretation. In His explanation Jesus tells his disciples; “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’” (Mark 4:11-12 NLTse). We see two concepts in Jesus’ explanation. “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God,” and by turning to Jesus to understand those parables, you will be forgiven. This requires much more than some of the conventional teaching that offers forgiveness by merely knowing Jesus’ name which is sometimes termed the once forgiven, always forgiven theory. To learn and understand the lessons taught between these two chapters we need to compare the summations.

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Psalms 49:16-20 NLTse So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. (17) For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. (18) In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. (19) But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. (20) People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.

Matthew 13:53-58 NLTse When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. (54) He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” (55) Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers–James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. (56) All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” (57) And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” (58) And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

David tells us how useless worldly riches are. Matthew shows us a spiritual contrast when he describes how people in Jesus’ hometown rejected Him. They had the riches of the universe in front of them, but the pull of the world blinded them as they looked at the physical aspects and ignored the spiritual. Looking deeper into the story we see how people Jesus grew up with picked and chose what to see and what not to see. They didn’t see the good Jesus did. They didn’t see the example He set as He grew up in front of them. They also closed their eyes to miracles Jesus performed after He began His ministry. It’s not by accident they asked, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Their faith was anchored in the established religious order who they trusted and believed had the truth. But as history has shown, was far from the truth. All of this ties into the parable Jesus explained and David’s warning about worthless riches. The religious leaders built a fortune on their rules, regulations, doctrines, traditions, and of course their version of the sacrificial system. Every facet of their form of worship was designed to produce income, place excess burdens on people, and draw them away form the real vision of God as well as a personal relationship with Him and His Son. It’s hard to believe people growing up with Jesus missed so much. But how much do people miss today? Do they know how to understand parables like Jesus explained? Don’t forget the opening line to David’s prophecy. “Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world!” Following basic Bible Study rules we see the same method in Matthew. Now it’s time to look back at the previous chapter.

Matthew 12:46-50 NLTse As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. (47) Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” (48) Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (49) Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. (50) Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

To help us understand, Jesus placed a more personal emphasis on David’s plea for everyone to listen. “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” David shows us the world is supposed to listen. Jesus explains His family will be the ones who actually follow Him. David adds more details to his prophecy to show how important it is to learn the mysteries of proverbs and parallels, in other words, how to understand God’s Word.

Psalms 49:5-15 NLTse Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? (6) They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. (7) Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. (8) Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough (9) to live forever and never see the grave. (10) Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. (11) The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, (12) but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. (13) This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. (14) Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. (15) But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.

The contrast continues to unfold as we see David explain how riches and wealth will never redeem a single person. God doesn’t want our wealth, He wants us to listen to His Son. But even as he spoke, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5 NLTse). The way David explains how useless riches are reminds me of one verse. So I advise you to buy gold from me–gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. (Revelation 3:18 NLTse).

There’s a difference between worldly riches and spiritual just like there’s a difference between a message from the world and one from Heaven. Jesus explained how to find the message from Heaven when He taught His disciples how to understand the parable about the sower. Where do you think Jesus got His interpretations for the key words from? Do you think He guessed at them or made up the spiritual meanings like other people do? No! Every interpretation Jesus provided came from scripture. Every interpretation can be proved with scripture. When we look at Matthew 13 we see Jesus point us back to scripture a number of times.

Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. (Matthew 13:5 NLTse).

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLTse)

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. (Matthew 13:11-14 NLTse)

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” (Isaiah 6:8-10 NLTse)

But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (Matthew 13:21 NLTse)

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. (Proverbs 12:1-3 NLTse)

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (Matthew 13:22 NLTse)

This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. (Jeremiah 4:3 NLTse)

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23 NLTse)

For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. (Ezekiel 36:24-30 NLTse)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalms 1:1-3 NLTse)

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:34-35 NLTse)

O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors– stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. (Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse)

The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse)

Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’–‘God plants!’ At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!'” (Hosea 2:22-23 NLTse)

The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. (Matthew 13:39 NLTse)

Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.” Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. (Joel 3:13-14 NLTse)

And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:42 NLTse)

You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. (Psalms 21:9-11 NLTse)

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! (Matthew 13:43 NLTse)

Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:2-4 NLTse)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44 NLTse)

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5 NLTse)

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:45-46 NLTse)

In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. (Isaiah 33:6 NLTse)

There’s an obvious connection between riches and Heaven, but who in their right mind confuses worldly riches from this world with eternal riches from Heaven? Look at what people consider riches in this world and how they effect lives. Today it costs thousands of dollars a month to maintain a comfortable living. Tens of thousands of dollars a year. This world is filled with people after those riches. Mortgage, taxes, food, clothing, cars, vacations, electronics, the latest phone, service plans, insurance, transportation, gasoline, heat, electricity, the list goes on. It never ends in this world. Compare that to Heaven where everything is given by a loving God who died so we can have salvation, eternal life, and Heaven with a home and no bills! One of the things Jesus offers us is the ability to understand His Word. In this example we see unmistakable evidence. Jesus’ quoted a number of texts in His lesson. A large percentage of that lesson is made up of scripture. If we ignore that fact and don’t look at and compare that Old Testament texts to the parable, we’ll never see or understand the message.

Looking at this world it’s not difficult to see where the warnings we that to be heeded. Look at the grand churches with sprawling parking lots, manicured lawns and landscaping designed to attract financially stable members. Inside the church people spend hours, days and weeks choosing carpeting, colors, padded pews, choir robs, and decorations exceeding the extravagance of former idols worshiped generations ago. Some people waste hours every week spending a fortune planning back grounds and flower arrangements to please the eye. More time, money, and effort is placed on planning decorations inside the church than on the sermon. Before the sermon becomes a thought details on lighting, camera, big screens, and sound systems rob time that could have been spent sharing the simple message Jesus gave His disciples to share. Jesus never taught in an atmosphere churches spend millions of dollars and endless hours to create. But that’s the world today. That’s the way of the world. Create a church to compete for members and donations. Popular churches have become so elaborate, they push away the poor, depressed, needy, sick, bewildered, all the people Jesus ministered to. Today’s churches who consider themselves successful reject the same people the religious leaders who opposed Jesus turned away. No wonder we find Jesus preaching this vital message in a simple boat with nothing but blue sky highlighting an endless view of water on the lake. Neither one of the gospel writers recorded any details about forming a committee or collecting funds to paint the boat, or long meetings to agree on a new sail to add atmosphere to the scene. As a matter of fact a sail would have upset the entire service. Jesus was smarter than most people give Him credit for when He followed God’s Spirit to set the location, theme, and words for His message.

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Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 22, 2016


Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

Isaiah 7:10-16 NLTse Later, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz: (11) “Ask the LORD your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want–as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.” (12) But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the LORD like that.” (13) Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? (14) All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (15) By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. (16) For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.

Once again we have a familiar prophecy to study. This prophecy is quoted by Matthew and referenced by Luke. Since Matthew quoted the scripture, we will limit our study to Matthew’s Gospel. When we look at the actual prophecy we notice God asked Ahaz, Judah’s king to give Him a test. It’s unusual for God to ask for a test, so this must be a special matter. Once we examine the prophecy we see a number of unusual circumstances. Looking back a few verses we see why God offered a sign. God promised to save Ahaz from the invading armies from Israel and Syria. Through Isaiah the prophet, God told Ahaz it would never happen. Ahaz refused to ask for a sign so God decided which sign to give him. All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

You may be asking yourself why God choose this sign. This obviously points to Jesus who was born generations after Ahaz died. So Ahaz never saw the sign, but God still saved his kingdom. Why would God give Ahaz a sign that wasn’t going to be fulfilled for hundreds of years? In the first place Ahaz said he didn’t need or want a sign. In this case God granted his request and revealed the sign generations later. This leaves one explanation. The fulfillment of the sign God gave Ahaz has spiritual implications that are related to Ahaz’s experience.

It’s becoming obvious we have to begin taking a closer look at symbols used in Isaiah’s prophecies. After all a large portion of Isaiah’s prophecies contain symbols. The next step is of course to compare the fulfillment to the prophecy.

Matthew 1:20-25 NLTse As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (22) All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: (23) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” (24) When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. (25) But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Comparing the prophecy to the fulfillment the first detail we see is the prophecy was delivered by Isaiah a prophet. News of the fulfillment was delivered by an angel. Angels played a large part in this phase of the plan of salvation. An angel personally talked to Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. Angels also announced Jesus’ birth. Jesus’ circumcision was also attended by the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna. This marked a new phase in the plan of salvation as well as the spiritual battle being fought. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of details to look at. Maybe that’s why Isaiah told Ahaz, “Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?” People look at prophecies will little patience. By doing so they not only test but eventually exhaust God’s patience. Before we get into interpreting symbols, we should compare the introductions and summations. It’s important to know the context before searching for a symbol’s meaning.

Isaiah 7:1-9 NLTse When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan. (2) The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm. (3) Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. (4) Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah. (5) Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying, (6) ‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’ (7) But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; (8) for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed. (9) Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

Matthew 2:1-4 NLTse Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, (2) “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (3) King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. (4) He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

Studying Proverbs showed how important it is to understand the culture. As seen in Proverbs, the meaning of a shoreline for fishermen was the same as a crossroad for most people. Since our culture is much different than that of Judah, Israel, and Syria, we have to look to the Bible to find out what God wanted us to know about the culture. The first obvious question should be, why is Israel attacking Judah?

Israel was the name give to Jacob after he wrestled with God. At this particular time in history, Israel was the name of the ten northern tribes. Judah was the name of the two tribes left to David’s line. The split up came after Solomon. So now the LORD said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.” (1 Kings 11:11-13 NLTse).

God gave Solomon more than all the wisdom in this world, but Solomon never learned how to use it. He married all kinds of different women thinking some of them would bring safety to his kingdom by forming alliances. By doing that, Solomon took his eyes off God, his real security. How could the wisest man in the world make such a mistake? Come on now, we all do it. Things start going well and we place God on the shelf. We think God is more like a genie we can call up when we’re in trouble then put back in the bottle until a problem comes up. We need to understand Solomon’s mistakes before we can understand Isaiah’s prophecies.

Rehoboam was the best Solomon could come up with to succeed him as king. Of course God already told Solomon the kingdom would be split because of the mistakes Solomon made. There was a chance God would have recognized an honest effort on Rehoboam’s part to bring the kingdom back to God. But when Jeroboam confronted Rehoboam about high taxes, Rehoboam consulted with the elders who of course counseled him to listen to Jeroboam. But Rehoboam didn’t like the answer so he went to the kids he grew up with for advise. Their counsel turned out to be the wrong thing to do. Rehoboam told Jeroboam he was going to put heavier burdens on the people so ten kingdoms decided to recede.

We have to look at what caused this predicament. Solomon married a lot of women who served idols. Think of that for a moment. How does one serve idols made of wood and stone, or silver and gold? Do the statues ask for things? Do stone images ask for food? Do wood carvings ask for ointment? Do silver trinkets demand a warmer room? Do gold idols demand sacrifices? No! They can’t talk. Idols don’t have the ability to write commands, demand traditions, or initiate doctrines. Where do those come from? They come from man’s imagination. Think of it. Any and every man made tradition, doctrine, and sacrifice is a form of idol worship.

Seldom is enough consideration given to the effects of Solomon’s marriages. He married a thousand women who raised thousands of sons and daughters. The idol worship Joshua tried to vanquish found its way back in through Israel’s king. Idol worship spread like a cancer. No one could see the damage until it was too late. Rehoboam was a symbol of what was happening but not a detailed explanation of how far the problem reached.

Jeroboam didn’t do much better with the ten kingdoms he led. He didn’t want to loose people to Judah by going back to the temple in Jerusalem. So Jeroboam build a couple of idols of his own, a few temples, and invented his own religion. Who knows why he choose golden calves like the one Aaron molded after leaving Egypt. Another thing happened. The Levites of course protested. Jeroboam didn’t do much better than Rehoboam when it came to taking advice. Jeroboam took his own advise and began putting down the priests protests any way he could. So in addition to the two tribes in Judah a large number of Levites fled to Jerusalem. This had a number of effects. The cities of refuge where the priests lived were set aside by God as safety zones people could flee to if the accidentally killed someone. Before the break up these should have been some of the safest cites and closest to God. There’s not a lot written about those cities but they may be an interesting study.

Once the Levites left, Jeroboam assigned his own priests, who served in his own temple, and followed the order of worship he invented. It was nothing like the temple or worship in Jerusalem. The temple Solomon built had little in common with the humble Tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness. The Tabernacle still existed, but David took out the ark and moved in to Jerusalem. That is after a failed attempt. God wanted to give David some time to consider his actions. But David was insistent, and eventually God let him move the ark without the Tabernacle. If David would have looked, he would have found a specific order Moses recorded describing how every piece was to be prepared for any move.

David adopted a new form of religion. He looked at the laws Moses recorded as one set for the wilderness and another set of rules for his kingdom. David crossed a dangerous path and was facing the fieriest enemy any would ever face. It was the beginning of Jerusalem’s downfall. Most Christians already heard one account or another about one mistake David made, but I’ve never heard anyone who went back, looked at the actual scripture, and saw how many mistakes David made by separating the ark from the Tabernacle. You can look at those details yourself.

There is a strong spiritual relationship between Israel under Jeroboam and that beast in Revelation 13. Both initiated their own form of service. It’s not by accident Jeroboam left Israel for a time and went to Egypt. Then returned to be Israel’s first king when they split from Rehoboam’s kingdom. He took a lot of out Egypt with him. That’s the easy part to see. But there are spiritual implications that can be seen throughout Israel’s and Judah’s history. As well as mistakes we still see today. Those implications are revealed throughout the Bible all the way through Revelation.

With all those priests who opposed idolatry converging on Jerusalem, you would think the city took a turn for the better. But it seems it had no positive effect. On the other hand Jeroboam had to come up with a new worship system. He initiated his own religion going as far as setting up a new day of worship named after himself. The ten kingdoms in Israel were on a fast downward spiral while Judah was skidding down a slower path. Both were pulling away from God. The message God provided by splitting the kingdom fell on deaf ears.

Jeroboam also needed money to run his kingdom. When he split from Rehoboam, Jeroboam left all the money in Jerusalem. But Rehoboam didn’t grow up with a good example to follow in financial matters. Solomon spend money like water. He numbered and enslaved people to build his kingdom. The main emphasis in the Bible is on Solomon’s temple and palace, but look a little deeper. Solomon built thousands of homes for the one thousand women mentioned in the Bible. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The LORD had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the LORD. (1 Kings 11:1-3 NLTse). He also built countless homes for his kids. We also know Jeroboam built temples, palaces, homes, and cities. That takes money and labor. Jeroboam used the same methods to raise money and labor Solomon and Rehoboam used. The king who lead Israel to a promised freedom gave them the same old oppression under new management.

Judah declared war on Israel in an attempt to reunite the kingdom. This of course increased taxes as well as caused a lot of new problems and grief, but God sent a prophet to Rehoboam. “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!'” So they obeyed the message of the LORD and went home, as the LORD had commanded. (1 Kings 12:23-24 NLTse). That stopped the war for a while, but God finally let them do what they wanted to do, fight against one another. The war waged on past Ahaz’s reign.

There is one more lesson we see in this study we’ve seen in the previous Bible Study in Isaiah. Instead of looking back and using the introduction in the same chapter, we had to look forward to the next chapter. There may be a number of reasons for this. One is based on the fact Matthew’s introduction in his book recorded Jesus’ birth line. Since the last study in Isaiah showed how we need to look forward, we once again follow that step and compare the introduction for Matthew chapter 2 to Isaiah 7. Looking at them it seems difficult to see the connection. I had to pray about these details for a few days before I finally understood the answer. I don’t like using any book for Bible Study other than the Bible because I see people taking advantage and abusing the use of other books. I also noticed a lot of preachers and teachers fail to provide information on the references they use. I wonder what they are hiding. In this case we need to look at a reliable source to provide some information on history to find out the relationship between Israel, Syria, and Herod. I thought it may have something to do with Herod and where he came from. But as in most cases, when you go with what you think, prepare to be wrong. Here is a bit out of Encyclopedia Britannica and a link to read the rest of the story.

Octavian, who had met Herod in Rome, knew that he was the one man to rule Palestine as Rome wanted it ruled and confirmed him king. He also restored to Herod the land Cleopatra had taken. Herod became the close friend of Augustus’ great minister Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, after whom one of his grandsons and one of his great-grandsons were named. Both the emperor and the minister paid him state visits, and Herod twice again visited Italy. Augustus gave him the oversight of the Cyprus copper mines, with a half share in the profits. He twice increased Herod’s territory, in the years 22 and 2 bc, so that it came to include not only Palestine but parts of what are now the kingdom of Jordan to the east of the river and southern Lebanon and Syria. He had intended to bestow the Nabataean kingdom on Herod as well, but, by the time that throne fell vacant, Herod’s mental and physical deterioration made it impossible. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/263437/Herod

In the prophecy Jerusalem was threatened by Israel and Syria. In the fulfillment Jesus was threatened by Herod the puppet king of both Israel and Syria. After Jesus’ resurrection His disciples and followers were threatened by Rome, the emperor of Israel and Syria. With a little lesson on history we can clearly see the spiritual connection in the introductions. We also find Syria mentioned in the gospels. At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:1-2 NLTse).

If you search the Internet on articles on Quirinius and the census you’ll find all kinds of conflicting information. After reading a few articles you’ll agree that interpreting prophecies is a lot easier than trying to read and determine which account of history is correct. Don’t forget most of the records were destroyed when one kingdom conquered another. That’s when a lot of history was rewritten from another point of view. So we should never rely on history books and historians as a reliable source. As a matter of fact, this is why I know not to trust any preacher or teacher who does not provide the source of their information. If you search historical records you’ll find conflicting accounts recorded by the same author. Many times history was recorded like news which is supposed to be an unbiased account of an event. That’s why its best to let historians, teachers, and preachers battle over the little details and not get distracted from the more important spiritual details in the lesson.

As a matter of fact, a great deal can be learned about Syria by studying it in the gospels. I took a quick look at Syria in the New Testament and the sequence of texts spells out an important spiritual lesson. I’ll leave that study up to you. All Luke is doing is balancing the gospels with the Old Testament prophecy. The introduction and summation of Isaiah 7 records two powers at work against Jerusalem. Luke points out the fact there are two powers or symbols at work against Jesus at the time, Herod and Rome. Its much more important to concentrate on the meaning of those symbols and how they relate to the lesson than it is to argue individual dates and names. This is why Isaiah told us: Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. We see more spiritual connections in the summations.

Isaiah 7:17-25 NLTse “Then the LORD will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!” (18) In that day the LORD will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. (19) They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. (20) In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River–the king of Assyria–and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people. (21) In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. (22) Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. (23) In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. (24) The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. (25) No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.

Matthew 2:14-23 NLTse That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, (15) and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (16) Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. (17) Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: (18) “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (19) When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. (20) “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” (21) So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. (22) But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. (23) So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

The summations introduce a few new symbols. We know they are symbols because we see Egypt in both chapters. It’s time we looked at some of those symbols in detail. The first to look at would be Egypt. It would make sense to first interpret the symbol repeated between the Old and New Testament. Don’t forget the simple rule, when God repeats Himself, pay attention.

The most obvious place to look at what Egypt represents is at the beginning. And whenever interpreting symbols always remember, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbol. Egypt is actually explained in a prophecy given to Abraham.

Genesis 15:5-21 NLTse Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (6) And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (7) Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (8) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” (9) The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” (10) So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (11) Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. (12) As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. (13) Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. (14) But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (15) (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) (16) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” (17) After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. (18) So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River– (19) the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, (20) Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, (21) Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”

You’ll notice Egypt was not mentioned in this prophecy given to Abram, but is named in the recorded Biblical fulfillment of that prophecy. Additional proof we need to study prophecies with their fulfillment to grasp the proper understanding as well as the spiritual lessons. The people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years. In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the LORD’s forces left the land. On this night the LORD kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. (Exodus 12:40-42 NLTse). No one is sure why the prophecy says 400 years and the fulfillment indicates 430 years to the day. This is a mystery of God’s timing you’ll have to study more on. Instead of arguing dates, we’re here to look at some symbols.

No one is sure why God told Abram; “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Instead of trying to decipher each animal it is much easier to first look at the whole story for a meaning. That is a general rule of context and an important study method. Look at the whole story then figure out the relationship between details. What linked them together? Some people look at this prophecy as if God gave Abram animals with zippers so they’d be easy to divide. Well if you look at the prophecy, Abram brought God the animals and killed them. Abram didn’t have a huge butcher band saw. If anything he had a knife and maybe an ax. Abram had to divide the entire animal, organs, bones, skull, and all. This was a gruesome task leaving Abram splattered with blood from head to toe. No wonder he laid down and fell asleep. Abram was exhausted after dividing a cow, goat, and ram.

Now here is where is gets sticky. There are two main verses to Abram’s dream we need to compare and examine for details. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.

The first symbol to consider describes a terrifying darkness that came down over Abram. The second details are a smoking firepot and a flaming torch. Most people concentrate on only one, the firepot also translated furnace. Some people like to interpret the firepot or furnace as God based on a few texts such as: All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. (Exodus 19:18 NLTse). Other people prefer this text to say the furnace represents Egypt. Remember that the LORD rescued you from the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession, which is what you are today. (Deuteronomy 4:20 NLTse). The fact of the matter is, this shows how all the details need to be examined as well as the context. Don’t forget, there were two items passing between the divided animals, a smoking furnace and a flaming torch. They may both be right, but are ignoring important rules of Bible Study.

Let’s take a brief look at the animals. There is a cow followed by a goat then a ram and two birds that are not divided. The value and power of each animal diminishes. People may argue about the value and power of a goat and ram but we can refer to Daniel chapter 8 for an explanation. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power. (Daniel 8:7 NLTse). There are other prophecies dealing with decreasing value and power we can compare with the prophecy Abram received. At this point those would distract from the study at hand, identifying some of the spiritual symbols Egypt represents. You can take the time to look at those other prophecies and compare them to Abraham’s promise.

Egypt has quite a history in the Bible. Abram was sent to Egypt during a drought. Isaac also went to Egypt as well as Jacob and his family. Abram’s first born son Ismael came from an Egyptian slave. Egypt enslaved Israel for more than 400 years. Egypt suffered a number of plagues in Exodus as well as having their army wiped out in the Red Sea. Shortly after Israel was divided Egypt came and took all the gold and treasures they lost in the Exodus out of Jerusalem and more. So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (2 Chronicles 12:9 NLTse).

Solomon’s first wife was an Egyptian princess. Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the LORD and the wall around the city. (1 Kings 3:1 NLTse). We also see Solomon invested in horses and chariots from Egypt instead of trusting in God. Jeroboam fled to Egypt when Solomon was king and returned to face his son Rehoboam. Among other details not mentioned in this short study, Egypt also captured Jerusalem and appointed a new king. The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. (2 Chronicles 36:4 NLTse). Each of these has a spiritual significance at a specific time within a particular context. The main point is to provide the meaning to a symbol, you need to study and compare chapters to make sure the interpretation is proper and don’t ever forget to pray.

Another important point to remember is God’s time line and how He uses it to teach spiritual lessons. Take for instance the animals Abram divided. Think of those animals as a reference point along a time line. At each point the furnace and torch would have a different effect and meaning. We can see Egypt was sometimes a threat, other times an oppression, and at times a sanctuary. To Joseph, Egypt was all three. We have to determine context to see which one applies to an individual situation. We cannot take one interpretation and apply it to every event and text. Each of those symbols used in Isaiah chapter 7 as well as the entire book of Isaiah and the other prophets have more than one meaning. This is why it’s so important to learn context before you even decide to look at any of the symbols and try to determine what they mean. You have to also learn what they mean and when they mean it. You have to understand God’s timing before your qualified to interpret God’s scripture. The previous book in the series explains God’s timing and the time line He uses in some detail. Studies on Psalms contains a number of examples to learn from. Here we still need to review some of the similarities and differences in the summations for Isaiah 7 and Mark 2.

Isaiah introduced another interesting symbol, Assyria. Don’t confuse Assyria with Syria. They are different kingdoms and have a different spiritual significance. Here we’ll only cover one aspect of Assyria, but remember it requires a detailed study of scripture, timing, and context to determine to correct meaning.

I think (this will almost always get you in trouble) one of the most significant aspects about Assyria is the role they played in the over throw of Samaria. Don’t forget Samaria was the capital of Israel. Most people think of 2Kings chapter 18 when Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and king Hezekiah prayed to God about the situation. That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. (2 Kings 19:35 NLTse). We learn a lot more about how and why Assyria got to Jerusalem if we look back a few chapters. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the LORD and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the LORD’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. (2 Kings 16:7-16 NLTse).

We see a familiar name, Ahaz. It seems Ahaz funded the Assyrian army and persuaded them to attack Damascus. See the evil web they weaved? No wonder Syria and Israel joined forces. They had no choice since Judah joined forces with Assyria. We also see another important detail. Ahaz decided to copy a pagan alter in Damascus and have one just like it built to replace the alter in the temple at Jerusalem. Keep in mind Solomon didn’t use the alter from the Tabernacle but had a larger one built. Now that one is replaced by a pagan alter. Looking at the particular prophecy we’re studying here, God gave Ahaz an important sign and promised to save his kingdom.

Ahaz took the gold and silver form the temple and palace to pay Assyria who didn’t stop at Damascus. Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:5-6 NLTse). Judah financed the over throw of Samaria, Israel’s capital. So we can see Hezekiah’s dad financed the army sitting outside his gates. Assyria quickly turned from an ally to a threat. So which would you use when trying to decide which interpretation fits the symbol in particular texts? Interpreting symbols is not as easy as some people claim it is.

In his summation Isaiah also repeated the symbols yogurt and honey while adding the related symbol milk. We also see Jesus will be eating yogurt and honey. What else did Jesus eat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Luke 24:42-45 KJ2000). Scripture associates honey with opening up the mind and learning about all the scriptures pointing to Jesus. All of the examples here show how important it is to pay attention to the little details. You can’t take the interpretation of a symbol and broaden it out to suit some preconceived idea. The texts clearly show Jesus opened their minds and showed them scripture about Himself. All of those symbols related to honey and milk point to Jesus and the plan of salvation.

Isaiah also repeated briers and thorns three times. When we compare those details to Matthew chapter 2 we can see how Jesus, the promised Messiah has opposing forces all around Him. Not only are those forces trying to kill Jesus, Isaiah helps us see the fact other people are under attack. Some people will see little value in Jesus while others will be fed at a time of spiritual famine. Forces represented by Egypt and Assyria will be hard at work. Its time to look at Egypt as a world power. Egypt is often depicted as the modern day nation we know today which misses the spiritual meaning. In their time as a world power, Egypt extended its reign to all the land around Arabia and much of the Mediterranean sea including parts of Greece. It was a major empire. Assyria shared equal success in their day. The symbols used here were huge empires known as world powers. Rome topped them all by conquering more than 40 modern nations. This is one reason I question many of the modern day interpretations that downscale the symbols. Its easy to see how they downscale the physical attributes of those empires. It takes a lot of study to see how badly those self proclaimed prophets downplay their spiritual significance. All they are trying to do is make themselves look important by trying to make their interpretations look simple. If you pay attention to modern day interpretations you’ll easily see how they use little if any Bible texts. When they do they often use tiny portions of a single text. Most cannot explain the entire chapter of either a prophecy or provide the spiritual explanation of its fulfillment. To think of it, they are like the burning furnace blowing a lot of smoke and making everything more difficult to see.

In addition to the prophecy about God calling His Son out if Egypt, we see another prophecy quoted by Matthew. Our study would not be complete without locating and examining that prophecy and comparing it to its fulfillment.

Jeremiah 31:10-22 NLTse (10) “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. (11) For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. (12) They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD’s good gifts– the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. (13) The young women will dance for joy, and the men–old and young–will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. (14) The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (15) This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah– deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted– for her children are gone.” (16) But now this is what the LORD says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the LORD. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. (17) There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land. (18) I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God. (19) I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ (20) “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. (21) Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. (22) How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.”

The first thing we notice is Jeremiah begins where Isaiah and Matthew left off, by giving us hope and a promise. The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. When we compare this to Matthew, we see how it is referring to Jesus. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NLTse). Jeremiah also promises an abundance of physical food and water which relates to the spiritual food and water Jesus provided. In the middle of the prophecy Jeremiah tells about Rachel weeping for her children which is the slaughtering of all the boys Herod ordered. Jeremiah reminds us to stay on the right path. Don’t be stupid. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. “Mark well the path by which you came. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.” Do you think your on the right path?

In this study we’ve seen interpreting prophecies is not as easy as some people would lead you to believe. I know the world is filled with preachers who base an entire sermon and their personal interpretations on a single verse or two. Is that form of study right and truthful though? Is it correct? Or is it distracting from the truth? This study has shown how the nations mentioned in Isaiah 7 relate to Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Herod was related to both Israel and Syria. Jesus also sought shelter in Egypt. There is a contrast between Jesus and Jeroboam. Both went to Egypt. Jeroboam came out with all kinds of pagan influences including the golden calves he built for Israel to worship. Jesus came out clean, uninfluenced by the population and false worship around Him. As a small boy Jesus as well as Joseph and Mary showed how trusting in God and obeying His instructions will keep you from falling victim to worldly influences. We’ve also seen how the powers in this study appointed their own kings as well as religions and priests. Herod was a king appointed by Rome. His father bought his way into favor with Rome. When we look at the big picture by comparing what those powers had in common, we see they appointed their own kings and priests without consulting God. They set their own standards. God had His way of using those powers when the time was rights. That is one detail to consider when interpreting those spiritual symbols.

Another common theme was taxes. Taxes put Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth. Taxes also put a huge burden on people from all those nations and the nations they conquered. Where did all that treasure the conquering nations stole come from? The people. Kings don’t work or invest their money. They taxed people and collect all that money from them. There has never been a war common people profited from. War always cost the little people big time. Sure the rich and powerful profit from war, but the little people are always the ones who suffer the most, win, loose, or draw.

We see the same problems today. It’s like Solomon said. These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. (Ecclesiastes 1: 1-4 ,8-11 NLTse). What is new? We still have taxes. We still have wars. We now see some of the worst taxes in modern history. Whatever gave the authority to governments to collect wealth and redistribute it? I don’t think there is a country in this world not collecting taxes to benefit a few rich people. What government doesn’t support major oil companies a few major banks and lending institutions, and a never ending list of others? Sure we see some governments providing aid when we see a major catastrophe. What churches provide in funds is like a drop in the bucket compared to what governments are able to give. Where are the churches? Maybe churches could do better if the people weren’t taxed 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more. As a matter of fact governments use taxes to control religions. That’s the major reason most religious organizations won’t speak out against corrupt governments. Churches fear loosing their tax free status governments give them. If they lost their tax free status the government would tax the church 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more on top of taxing the people.

Even here in the United States, a country founded up the concept of fair taxation is standing silent as taxes and corruption increase at an alarming rate. Churches are afraid to speak out about the most severe issues directly effecting a government founded upon religious values, serving a population made up largely of Christians as well as other religions sharing similar values. The United States is quickly exceeding Israel’s decent under Rehoboam. We are experiencing a ceaseless increase in taxes, wars on all fronts, and laws supporting actions that draw people away from God. I wonder when we’ll see a president establishing their own religion, appointing their own priests, and setting up a day to worship him or her. Today it seems as if that’s just around the corner.

How bad were things when Jesus was born? Jerusalem and all of Judah and Israel were under Roman control who appointed puppet rulers. One of them, Herod had no problem trying to kill Jesus and slaughtering hundreds of children. Rome the controlling power cast a blind eye to all of it. The religious leaders also stood against Jesus and plotted to kill Him after He started His public ministry. Finally Rome and Herod stood still and actually authorized Jesus’ execution.

I see a theme in the message here. Jesus came to this world during a major taxation to show He will be here in the end when we see major taxation, corruption, and appointed rulers all over again.

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Psalms 118:14-27 The Stone the Builders Rejected

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 22, 2016


Psalms 118:14-27 The Stone the Builders Rejected

Psalms 118:14-27 NLTse The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. (15) Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! (16) The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! (17) I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done. (18) The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. (19) Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. (20) These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. (21) I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! (22) The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (23) This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. (24) This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (25) Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. (26) Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. (27) The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.

The obvious prophecy in Psalm 118 is, The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is a verse Jesus quoted, one we’ve studied before. As we know, when God repeats Himself it’s time to pay attention.

Looking at the introduction to Psalm 118 it’s easy to see why we need to pay attention. This prophecy is a song of victory. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! What are those glorious things? Have we been looking close enough to see them?

The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. This obviously points to Jesus, and in a spiritual sense points to us who read His Word and take it lightly. Once we study the fulfillment we’ll understand how we actually suffer when we don’t dig deep enough, pray long enough, and listen hard enough to everything God’s Spirit wants to reveal.

It’s time we enter into God’s presence and listen, Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. This points us to the fundamental rule of Bible Study where we rely on God’s Spirit to reveal the lessons.

The Lord will reveal everything we need to understand about His prophecies and their fulfillment. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. Notice how the blessing comes from the House of the LORD! It doesn’t come from human understanding, science, or religion. The blessing comes directly from God, from His House! This prophecy is quoted by Jesus in three gospels, but we’ll concentrate on one of these and look at the symbolism used. The symbolism Jesus wanted them to see. The summation in Mark 12 tells us how simple it is to understand and how little God asks of us.

Mark 12:1-12 NLTse Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. (2) At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. (3) But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. (4) The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. (5) The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, (6) until there was only one left–his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ (7) “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ (8) So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. (9) “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you–he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. (10) Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (11) This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.‘” (12) The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

Most people know Jesus used symbols to illustrate important points in His parables. This parable is no exception. There are a few ways we can find the spiritual meaning of those symbols. We can do a simple key word search. We can look up other texts using the key word until we understand the spiritual meaning. Although this is a good method, it often leads to many paths which increase the chances of getting lost by using the wrong spiritual meaning. Most key words have more than one spiritual meaning. That’s why context is important. Here we use context of more than one chapter to understand its spiritual meaning by comparing the entire chapter of the prophecies to their fulfillment. It’s like a combination lock. A combination lock using one digit is not secure at all. A lock using two digits is not as secure as a lock using four or five tumblers. Keep this in mind when you read or listen to people teach scripture. Using one proof text is not safe at all.

The key word vineyard is a simple word to explain in spiritual terms. The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. (Isaiah 5:7 NLTse).

Although it seems Isaiah summed up the meaning of the spiritual vineyard in Jesus’ parable, this doesn’t tell the full story. So far with one verse we see the vineyard represents the nation of Israel and the garden is the people of Judah. This includes the two southern tribes and ten northern tribes. Now we can assume…. but wait — why should WE assume anything? The prophecy tells us to enter into God’s gates where the righteous enter to bless you from the house of the LORD! Why would we come only so far then turn away to our own understanding? We need to look to God’s Word further, enter into His House and listen harder.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-2, 5 NLTse).

By looking at a few more verses we learn a lot more. We see the Father is the gardener. This also explains the man who built the vineyard is God. We also see another vital point when we compare all the details in the parable. Now that we understand Jesus’ Father is the gardener, we know the son in the parable represents Jesus. Looking at John chapter 15 we also see the vine in the vineyard represents Jesus. This adds a new view to the parable. The farmers thought they could secure the vineyard for themselves by killing the SON. What they didn’t see was the SON was in the center of the vineyard all along.

Look at this from the context in John 15. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:9-14 NLTse).

Jesus didn’t come to this world to introduce God’s love. He came to reveal it! This also points us to the spiritual meaning of another key word, wall. In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. I will give them–within the walls of my house– a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. (Isaiah 26:1-2, 56:5-6 NLTse).

One verse tells us a wall can represent salvation. Another verse shows us there is a condition to enter into those walls. We have to remain committed to serving and loving God by holding fast to His covenant. This is where the farmers went wrong. Of course the farmers are identified in each of the gospels this parable is found. The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. That’s one of the mistakes the religious leaders made. They didn’t know God’s law was a covenant.

The religious leaders thought they were specially gifted. They thought they were above the law. They forgot they were supposed to be a light onto the law by keeping parts of the law centered on their duty as priests. Moses told them to help the poor, the neglected people, widows, orphans, strangers, and foreigners. Priests were held to a higher standard. They didn’t receive land. In exchange for land, they were free from everyday toil. People brought them gifts and offerings they were responsible for sharing. God could have blessed them more and more as they taught people how to live together in peace by honoring God’s law. The more the people were blessed, the more the priests would receive, the more they could work to end poverty in Israel and God’s law would be a light upon all nations who would come to them to learn the secret of their success.

They also lost sight of God’s original plan. They claimed to be descendants of Abraham. In Abraham’s day the head of the household was the priest. This was handed down from father to the first born son. The father as priest of the home turned the hearts of the sons onto God. The role of priest of the home was restored to the fathers at the first Passover before leaving Egypt. Later God revealed His plan to make Israel a kingdom of priests. Once they turned down the chance to become a nation to take God’s law and light into the world, God choose Aaron as His high priest and the tribe of Levites as His first born son and servants.

The priests looked at only a small portion of the story. In their eyes the tribe of Levi was chosen because they didn’t take part in the worship of the golden calf when Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s commandment. They thought this placed them above the other tribes. They looked at what the Levites did and assumed that was their role as priests. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. Moses told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone–even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (Exodus 32:26-29 NLTse).

This shows how dangerous it is to take one text and assume it tells the full story. Did they forget it was Aaron, the first high priest who made the calf? They forgot a lot of details. This method of picking and choosing particular texts to produce an assumption is dangerous and only leads to destruction.

We see the same mistakes repeated today. Religious leaders want to take up swords against anyone who doesn’t believe exactly what they believe. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a video drifting all over the Internet. A pastor took it upon himself to attack other churches. He claims to keep one of God’s commandments above all else and that gives him the right to manipulate or side track other commandments. He doesn’t view his actions as breaking commandments, but twisting the truth is a lie. Keeping one commandment never allows anyone the right to break a number of other commandments no matter how justified the assumptions are. Sure this pastor feels he is leading a worthy cause, but at what cost? His first mistake was delivering a message before praying. Where God is opening windows to pour out a blessing, he is slamming doors shut.

The servants in the parable are another easy symbol to define. At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. The LORD said through his servants the prophets: They refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the LORD. (1 Kings 18:36, 2 Kings 21:10, Jeremiah 29:19 NLTse).

The servants in the parable represent God’s prophets who they killed. It wasn’t unusual for kings and priests to ignore God’s prophets. Elijah had to stand up to 400 prophets of Baal appointed by king Ahab’s wife Jezebel. No one helped Elijah with the twelve heavy stones he moved to erect the alter. The people stood by and watched Elijah struggle. They didn’t want to make a public stand until after God sent down fire to consume the sacrifice. Doubt and fear clouded their minds.

Jeremiah had to stand up against a host of prophets when he delivered his message. Some were appointed by the king, others by priests. Neither wanted to believe Jeremiah because it wasn’t the news they wanted to hear. Instead of listening they made up their own interpretations without praying to God. All of their interpretations were designed to benefit themselves because they were centered around what the priests, king, and people wanted to hear. That’s what that pastor wanted to accomplish with his video. I’m sure he feels good about himself as he checks the number of views recorded and convinces himself popular belief out weighs God’s advise and commandments.

The fact remains, the religious leaders knew the parable was about them. Once again we see religious leader understanding one little part and making assumptions on the remaining portions of the parable. We see this all the time. I tried reaching out to that pastor and a host of his followers pointing out the video. I’ve also contended with that pastor and his followers on a few other issues. I know that pastor’s ability to study the Bible is limited to proof texts. I’ve read his studies and seen how shallow and one dimensional they are. I pointed out other texts. I also pointed out how his proof texts are taken out of context. But that doesn’t interest him. Instead he tried to lead his church to a unified form of Bible Study – which is simple proof texts and adopt it as a standard. He wanted to go one step further by convincing the church only qualified, educated individuals should be allowed to interpret scripture. This is another example of how far people will go to maintain control. The main weapon they use is to control knowledge by controlling access to God’s Word. They use many means to accomplish their goal.

My goal isn’t to tell anyone what to believe or provide any answers to questions people have. I know that pastor and many others are not ready for some of the details I’ve been shown in God’s Word. They wouldn’t believe them unless they discovered the details themselves. They are like the priests who wondered why a prophet would reveal himself to a leper before coming to them. All their spiritual education is better left up to God’s Spirit. Only He knows what they are prepared to see and understand and at what pace they are able to learn. All I want to do is share a few fundamental study methods they can use and let God’s Spirit lead them. The next one for us to review is the comparison between the introductions of these two chapters. First the prophecy.

Psalms 118:1-4 NLTse Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (2) Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” (3) Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” (4) Let all who fear the LORD repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”

The introduction to the prophecy in Psalm 118 repeats the same phrase four times. It must have a significant meaning, It’s something Aaron’s descendants are supposed to repeat so it must be pointing to something they forgot when the plotted to arrest Jesus. When we compare it to the first verse in Mark 12, we see a connection. Then Jesus began teaching them with stories:

Jesus stories were taught through the faithful love that endures forever! Jesus’ stories weren’t designed to make Him look better by making the priests look bad. Jesus was sending the religious leaders back to Isiah chapter 5 as well as other scripture in the Old Testament. If the religious leaders were the experts in scripture they claimed to be, they would have found more than enough scripture to explain the parable Jesus told them. Neither did Jesus explain the symbols in those parables. He left that up to them and their relationship with God’s Spirit. One of the lessons we need to learn.

That is a major fault I’ve seen in the video being spread on the Internet as well as other videos. Preachers like to take a text, especially a prophecy and leave you with the impression they know every detail. They never seem to share any ideas or instructions teaching how you can study on your own or find answers for yourselves. In essence, they are stealing glory away from God and His Spirit. How many commandments are they breaking? They need to rethink their process to lead you to the open gates inside God’s walls where, “His faithful love endures forever.”

Jesus didn’t make it a habit of interpreting all the symbols. He did it for a few of His parables. Just enough to teach His disciples how to find answers on their own. Jesus sent people back to scripture and God’s Spirit. That’s how Jesus taught and that’s the example we’re given to follow. Psalm 118 explained this.

Psalms 118:5-13 NLTse In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. (6) The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? (7) Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. (8) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. (9) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. (10) Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (11) Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (12) They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. (13) My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me.

What did Jesus do when He was in distress? He prayed to the LORD! What happened? The LORD answered me and set me free. No one set Jesus free except for God. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? We may ask, what can mere people do for me? It seems mere people do more to draw people away from God than putting them in a position to draw closer to God. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. Sure Jesus defended Himself. How did He do it? With words and with the authority of the LORD. You can’t have one without the other. Look at how Jesus tried to reach the religious leaders. They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me. Sure enemies can be pests. Sure they can look for ways to destroy you. Sure they can do their best to discredit you and try to silence you. Did they succeed in silencing Jesus? No! Because Jesus silenced them. He answered them with God’s authority which was given to Jesus at the right time with the right words and with enough scripture to back up what He said. Not one or two verse, but chapters.

What does it take to receive that kind of power? Is it available to everyone? We’ve already studied the summation to Mark 12 in this book, but Psalm 118 adds a new dimension in a whole new light. A light none of us could have seen without His Spirit.

Psalms 118:28-29 NLTse You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! (29) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Mark 12:41-44 NLTse Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. (42) Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. (43) Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. (44) For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Once again we see the phrase, His faithful love endures forever.” Now we have a little more information to explain how to express the faithful love we receive from God. The key is in the related words in the summation to Psalm 118. We praise, exalt, and give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! This is what the widow did when she dropped in two little coins. Those coins had little value, but the message is priceless. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver. You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. (Psalms 119:72-73, Proverbs 3:13-15, Proverbs 8:8-11 NLTse).

After listening to Jesus preach in the temple courtyard, a few coins were a small price to pay for the knowledge the poor widow gained. She wanted others to hear the messages Jesus brought. The widow is a symbol of those giving to the church to spread the message they hear with their own ears, read with their own eyes, and feel with their own heart. The widow symbolizes all those people who trust religious leaders have heard Jesus speak and understand His message. The widow had no way of knowing those religious leaders were planning on killing Jesus any more than people today know if their churches are going to preach how, His faithful love endures forever.” All they can do is trust. The poor widow was also a reminder to the priests of their responsibility. Did they offer that widow a meal, or the orphan a home? Did they welcome and care for the poor, depressed, or strangers in the courtyard that day? Did they fulfill their vows and duty? What happened to those coins? If we looked ahead what would we find the priests doing with money from their treasury?

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Psalms 78:1-8 Speak to You in a Parable

Posted by Ez1 Realty on June 20, 2016


Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, (2) for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past– (3) stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. (4) We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. (5) For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, (6) so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. (7) So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. (8) Then they will not be like their ancestorsstubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

Everyone who takes Bible Study seriously will get as excited as I was when I saw this was the next prophecy about Jesus to study. Who doesn’t want to learn the hidden treasures and stories in God’s Word? Who doesn’t want to learn how to teach them? Unfortunately most Christians would rather ignore lessons about God’s Word. Many Christians have been deceived into thinking all the truth has been revealed. I was watching a preacher on TV. He preached on a verse for ten minutes. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Peter 1:2-3 KJV). The preacher talked about the peace and grace knowledge will give you and insisted people are lost because of a lack of knowledge. Of course he led people to believe God gave this knowledge to him and he was the only one who had the knowledge to save. I guess its too bad for all those people born before this preacher got the knowledge required to be saved. If you weren’t tuned into that preacher’s show, you better pray there’s a rerun. Sorry I can’t share the information with you. All he talked about was the fact he had the knowledge and everyone else was deceived by this, that, or the other thing. The preacher never got to the point – so he never shared the knowledge – but he did ask for money. I guess you had to pay to get saved. Maybe that’s the secret he didn’t share on the air.

That’s one example of how people distort God’s Word. They make a comfortable living claiming they have some sort of greater knowledge, but in reality never share a thing. Why do people fall for such scams? Because no one ever taught them how to study the Bible. People are always searching for truth, but let’s face it – it’s not easy to find. I challenge you to ask your preacher to show you how to study your Bible. What do you think the answer will be? The two most popular are – the preacher will hand you a set or pamphlets he calls Bible Studies. Those were never designed to teach people how to study their Bible and they never will. In essence Bible Study pamphlets are designed to play the odds based on the fact most people will be satisfied with that answer. It’s nothing more than a modern style of counting or numbering like David and Solomon did. Remember the reason David and Solomon numbered Israel. David did it to measure his power. Solomon did it to enslave people. Pay attention to the sequence.

The second most popular answer when you ask a preacher how to study the Bible is, “only qualified, educated people should study the Bible.” This is the answer the TV preacher relied on. He talked a bit about his qualifications, hoping people wouldn’t question him. Well who could? He was talking to a hand chosen TV audience. No one was going to question him. He was displaying his power over the body and mind.

You’ll be lucky to find a preacher who can explain how to do a simple word study which is hardly more than looking key words up in a Concordance and looking at other texts the word is used in. This method can be used to find the spiritual meaning of key words, but some key words have a number of spiritual meanings. Which one do you use? You have to look at the context. Many times the spiritual meaning of a word is taken out of context. The most popular is the symbol of a woman. Preachers love to use the symbol of a virtuous woman as a symbol of their church. The Bible never says a church represents a woman. In over 20 years of asking for a verse, no one has been able to produce a single verse out of the Bible that shows a woman represents a church. There is no end to outside sources people have been able to produce, which shows how long this symbol has been distorted. Take a look and remember, the fulfillment is much greater than the symbol. That hint just gave away the answer.

If you find a preacher who is able to explain how the introduction and summation explain the context of a chapter and know how to point out the rule of repeated words, key words that are the same, similar, and related, you found a preacher who knows how to read, understand, and is qualified to teach God’s Word. If the preacher can’t share those simple Bible study rules, you have a lot of praying in front of you. A good preacher listening to God’s Spirit will open his Bible to show you examples. He’ll know how easy it is to understand lessons are in the gospels. He may show you how the parables Jesus taught in the court have a common theme, they all deal with the harvest of the world. After I discovered this simple method God uses to teach deeper lessons, a friend pointed me to a book written over 150 years ago – so this information has been around for quite some time. It’s nothing new. God wrote it thousands of years ago and people have been using these forms of study since the first printed copy of the Bible was published. Satan knew if God’s people caught onto these Study methods his cause would be lost. Satan would loose again. That’s why He tried to stop printing and distribution of the Bible. Most people think that battle was won – but that’s far from the truth. Satan attacked from different angles. Satan convinced the world the Bible was difficult to understand and locked these lessons in schools of higher education where he could easily manipulate God’s rules of Bible Study until it was all but lost. Who reads books written 100, 200, 300, or more years ago explaining and using these study rules? Sad to say, no one does anymore. The world has fallen for deceptions like the TV preacher insisting people need to go through him for knowledge. But we know that’s not true – for one – David tells us, Jesus tells us, all God’s prophets tells us, God’s Word is open to all of us.

We already know David’s prophecy tells about, “parables and hidden lessons from the past, stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. David also tells us, “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.” These are the mysteries of the Bible people are looking for. How are we supposed to tell our children if we don’t know how to ask and listen to God’s Spirit when He’s ready, willing, and able to teach us these secrets? Too bad there aren’t enough people able to explain those hidden lessons from our past. We’ve covered a number of details in this book and previous books in this series. As we progress in God’s Word from prophecy to prophecy, God’s Spirit reveals valuable lessons showing how to find and understand those hidden lessons. Once again we have to rely on those simple rules to locate a parallel chapter in the New Testament.

David began with the related key words listen, open, speak, and teach. The key word teach is repeated three times. The prophecy is also the introduction of the chapter which of course establishes the context telling us this prophecy will teach us how to understand parables. Once we find a parallel chapter we’ll see how God teaches us so we’re able to teach others.

Searching gospels for the word teach and related words we find dozens to choose from. Once again we have to follow the rule of context by comparing introductions and summations of the prophecy to find the fulfillment. Also remember the key word teach, used as a sort of symbol points to a greater fulfillment. There are a number of chapters to choose from. While praying my mind centered on one chapter in particular where Jesus taught two travelers on the road to Emmaus. Once the key words were highlighted, it showed a spiritual connection to Psalm 78.

Luke 24:13-36 NLTse That same day two of Jesus‘ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. (14) As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. (15) As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. (16) But God kept them from recognizing him. (17) He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. (18) Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” (19) “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. (20) But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. (21) We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. (22) “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. (23) They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! (24) Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” (25) Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. (26) Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (27) Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (28) By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, (29) but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. (30) As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. (31) Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! (32) They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (33) And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, (34) who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” (35) Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. (36) And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.

At first this chapter seems to be linked by the single similar word, teacher. When we consider who this points to all the details begin to fall into place. First we can look at how the author led into this story. After Jesus rose from the grave where He met Mary and the other women, He seemed to disappear. Later on the same day, Jesus turned up on the road walking next to two of His followers. Notice how the author calls attention to the word, walk, by repeating it. Luke is calling attention to a spiritual walk with Jesus. The repeated words, talked, talking, discussed, and discussing also relate to the word walk by pointing out a walk with Jesus refers to a relationship with verbal communication. Jesus’ followers didn’t yet understand the plan of salvation, but they saw Jesus, “was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.” This relates to David’s prophecy where he points out, “we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.” It’s obvious those stories will be about Jesus, His ministry on earth, and the prophecies He fulfilled. Luke also repeats the word recognized to point out how Jesus’ follower did not really know who He was. We have to look at more than the physical aspects of Jesus they didn’t recognize. When you look at this on a spiritual level you can see how they thought they knew Jesus, but missed so much. Look at the detail they misunderstood about Jesus, His victory at the cross and over death. This also points to future generations who take Jesus’ victory for granted. So little is studied and known about the cross on the spiritual level. Too much attention has been paid to the physical aspects of the cross while people lost sight of the person on the cross and what He came to accomplish. People also overlook Jesus’ personality. Listen to this message that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel and Judah–against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.” Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (Amos 3:1-3 NLTse). A walk with Jesus has to be an intimate relationship. It’s not by mistake Amos mentions the family rescued from Egypt and David covers the same subject in detail. To know Jesus you have to look back, way back, thousands of years to see the relationship He has been trying to establish with His followers. On the road to Emmaus, one of Jesus’ followers looked back over a small portion of Jesus’ life, the same small portion a lot of people know. This shows how knowing a small part of His life is not really knowing Jesus. What does Jesus do? He keeps reaching out like He always has. This time Jesus reaches out the way He has been trying do so long. “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” This is knowing Jesus. We begin in the books Moses wrote and followed through all the prophets. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

Scripture explains itself because Jesus spent not only His life on this world, but generations trying to teach this world about Himself. As we get into this study we’ll take a look at how some of the details David recorded explain a little part of Jesus He always wanted us to know. Then they will not be like their ancestorsstubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Because the main theme of David’s prophecy in Psalm 78 is contained in the introduction, our first step is to compare the introduction to Luke 24.

Luke 24:1-11 NLTse But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (2) They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (3) So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. (5) The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? (6) He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (8) Then they remembered that he had said this. (9) So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples–and everyone else–what had happened. (10) It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. (11) But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.

There seems to be very little the introduction to Luke 24 has in common with Psalm 78. On the surface we don’t see much in common with parables and hidden lessons. We won’t see much if we don’t compare the two chapters on a spiritual level. Once we look at, “stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us,” on a spiritual level, we can see the relationship. The angels told the women, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” The word remember ties everything together. Jesus taught a number of prophecies to His disciples and women. They didn’t know what they meant either. Like the men on the road to Emmaus, the women didn’t really know or understand Jesus. But they were about to get to know Him. Jesus didn’t give up on any of them. The women didn’t waste any time as the sprung into action. Their new ministry was plain as, “they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples–and everyone else–what had happened.” This was the beginning of a new phase in God’s plan of salvation. Look at all the characters involved. Angels were given the honor of playing a part in Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb. Then another role for God’s angels was revealed when they told the women what happened and REMINDED them what Jesus told them. Angels are our reminders of what Jesus taught us. Let’s face it, after we read a book we may remember maybe ten percent. Remember school? How hard did you work to prepare for a test? How many times did you have to review details to memorize answers for an exam? How does the effort you put into eternal life compare? The entire introduction of Luke 24 deals with finally seeing the plan of salvation and how the women couldn’t wait to share the story they learned. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past– stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. The spiritual link is obvious. Luke also shows us the role God’s angels will play in the plan of salvation. We are all working together. The angles also serve another purpose, another illustration of the relationship we’re supposed to have with Jesus – as close as the women who found Him risen and the angels given the honor of rolling the stone back and offering praise and congratulations to the Son of God. There is so much more to Jesus than what we see and hear taught today – “He died for our sins.” There is a lot more to learn about Jesus from these two chapters, which leads to other chapters. One of those details is to follow the rules of Bible Study Jesus recorded in His book, His message to this fallen world. The next step is to compare summations.

Psalms 78:65-72 NLTse Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. (66) He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. (67) But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. (68) He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. (69) There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. (70) He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. (71) He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendantsGod’s own people, Israel. (72) He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.

Luke 24:45-53 NLTse Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (46) And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. (47) It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ (48) You are witnesses of all these things. (49) “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (50) Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. (51) While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. (52) So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. (53) And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

One of the first details we see in the summation for Psalm 78 is how its spiritual meaning is clear when we follow the proper sequence of study. Without studying the introduction of Luke 24, Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb, we would not understand the summation of Psalm 78. Now we can see the spiritual meaning of, “Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.” This describes Jesus’ transition from human, to death, to risen Savior.

In this case the NLT seems to have missed the point in translating this verse. Looking at a different translation will help. Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. (Psalms 78:65 KJV). I’m sure there will be some people who will take a look at this and argue the point based only on the physical view. Following another simple Bible Study rule will answer the question. Looking back from Jesus’ resurrection, when was the last time we saw anything about wine? It was the last thing Jesus tasted from this world. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (Mark 15:34-37 KJV).

Once again we’re reminded of one of the most important Bible Study rules. NEVER try guessing at an answer on your own. When an author refers to scripture, always look it up. Notice how God put in another example showing how people misunderstood Jesus. You have to be blind not to see this theme repeated time and again in the gospels and throughout the Bible.

David also repeated the word, “choose,” and words associated with God’s followers. The theme is clear to see. “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” This refers to God training with skillful hands so His people are able to pass the information He gives them to others. This is the theme in the summation in Luke 24 and the entire chapter. “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Now that we know the information about all these stories and secrets is found in scripture, what do we do about it? Lucky for us David recorded a list of texts for us to examine. It’s not by accident God gave us a sequence to follow when we study. Each part builds upon another, but those stones always have a particular order to follow. When we don’t follow the rules and proper sequence we’ll do nothing but build faulty walls. When we follow the rules we help build up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 KJV).

Psalms 78:13-20 NLTse For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! (14) In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. (15) He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. (16) He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! (17) Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. (18) They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. (19) They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. (20) Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”

David looks back to the crossing of the Red Sea. We can study some of the events David lists while asking what all these events have in common. One way of finding the answer is to look at each event then look for the common thread that connects them. Another method is to look at the introduction to Psalm 78 which tells us we are searching for hidden treasure. Since we’ve already studied the parallel chapter, Luke 24, we know Jesus is the hidden treasure David referred to. Before we look at the events David listed, we can look a little further back to review some of the events pointing to Jesus.

A lot of people refer to Genesis 3:14-15 as the first prophecy about Jesus in the Bible. Then the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. (15) And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Later we see Jesus represented as the ram Abraham found caught in the bush. The ram took the place of Abraham’s son as the sacrifice sin required. Some people miss a symbol God gave before testing him with the sacrifice of his son. After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. (Genesis 15:17 NLTse).

God told Abraham to, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (Genesis 15:9-10 NLTse). Why did God tell Abraham to divide each animal? You have to look at what Abraham had to go through to cut each animal in half. It wasn’t an easy job even with the best knives and tools available. There were no specific instructions to separate any part of the animal, every part of the animal was divided evenly. It was a messy, bloody job that left stains on his clothing and an impression on his mind. In the middle of the night Abraham saw a burning furnace pass between the two halves. Furnace can also be translated lamp, light, or candle. How do we interpret the spiritual meaning of those symbols? The first step is to look back at previous texts where we see references to the promised land repeated.

Genesis 15:16 NLTse After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”

Genesis 15:7-8 NLTse Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (8) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”

Genesis 15:1 NLTse Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

Now that we know the prophecy refers to the promised land, we only need to look at it and determine the timing. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse). Once we determine the time frame, we can look at the greater fulfillment of the prophecy which is always greater than the symbol.

Some people think the furnace represents Egypt as the furnace of affliction. Since Egypt is not greater than the symbol, it cannot be the fulfillment. The symbol points to an intersecting event in God’s time line. From there we look at previous and following details and events which point to the greater spiritual fulfillment. Abraham’s experience points to Israel’s release from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea which is a symbol pointing to Jesus’ victory over death and the tomb which is the spiritual crossing to the promised land. Paul explains how these symbols point to Jesus. I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-7 NLTse).

Once we see the time line, we can understand why the animals were equally divided with a light passing between them. Jesus opened the path to the spiritual promised land at the cross which is the greatest source of new light. At the cross we see another separation. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46 NLTse). For a few moments in eternity, Jesus was separated from His Father.

When we look back to compare the lesson taught on the road to Emmaus with Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea, we see another spiritual lesson. Jesus’ followers didn’t recognize Jesus as they walked along the road and the people who crossed the Red Sea complained before and after the crossing. They didn’t recognize Jesus in the pillar of fire. The question is, do you and other Christians recognize Jesus on the walk to the promised land? Do you see Jesus in all the events, symbols, and prophecies pointing to Jesus? A better question is, do you know how to share and explain those events, parables, stories, symbols, and prophecies?

So far this series of books has been rejected and ignored. Publishers have indicated there is no interest or audience in stories or studies about Jesus? What is Christianity without Jesus? In the past churches proclaiming to follow Christ have ignored and shunned new light. God reveals new light for three reasons. First to call His people back. Second to teach a lesson. Third is to reveal fulfillment of prophecy. One of the most important prophetic events most Christians are waiting for is Jesus’ return. God and His angles will perform a great work to call His people, teach lessons, prepare them for service, and reveal prophecy in great detail. Since people have not learned lessons in the past, God will do what He always does when people fail, He repeats the lesson. We can see that happening today in events all over the world. The question is, are you willing to listen this time?

David didn’t stop with the Red Sea. He included details to point us back to their complaints after crossing the Red Sea and seeing Egypt’s army destroyed behind them. All the miracles they saw in Egypt weren’t enough. Neither was the pillar of fire that guided them and stood between them and Egypt’s army. Israel wanted more, so they tested God again.

Psalms 78:27-31 NLTse He rained down meat as thick as dust– birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! (28) He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. (29) The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. (30) But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, (31) the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.

There are a number of spiritual lessons in the symbols as well as revealing an illustration of another important Bible Study rule in this story. David’s Psalm leads us to one story which would not be complete if we didn’t look at the beginning of the story, the details that led to Israel’s complaint when they wanted more than what God already gave them. Before giving them more, God added a condition. “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the LORD heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘” (Numbers 11:18-20 NLTse).

Following basic Bible Study rules we’ve already learned and followed, we have to look back in scripture to see the spiritual lesson taught in this story. Before God agreed to give them what they asked form, He offered them what they really needed. “I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.” (Numbers 11:17 NLTse).

God was willing to give them a measure of His Spirit they couldn’t imagine. Got is repeating His original offer of making them a nation of priests. God is offering another detail of His offer. Think of the details in these stories. Who has the right to question an offer from God especially when He freed them from bondage? This is a lesson in human nature, aspects we still see today. Following God’s rules of Bible Study we have to look at the introduction of this chapter to understand the context.”Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1 NLTse).

Once again we see what seems to be an endless list of complaints. Once we understand the context we begin to see how it reveals the spiritual lesson. Before we begin commenting on the spiritual lesson, we have to continue to follow general Bible Study rules by comparing the summation to this chapter. “But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony”) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt. From Kibroth-hattaavah the Israelites traveled to Hazeroth, where they stayed for some time.” (Numbers 11:33-35 NLTse).

We see God’s anger repeated in the chapter. This brings up the obvious question of why God was so angry? Once we understand God’s personality, we’re reminded of another important Bible Study rule, God provided the answer before asking the question. What was Israel turning down when they demanded meat and WHY? Looking back at the food God offered them we find the answer. That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the LORD has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:13-15 NLTse).

God gave them manna from Heaven to eat. You’ll notice God first sent quail, but there is no indication Israel ate any of the quail that day. They gathered the manna. God knew they wouldn’t be satisfied with food He gave them, so He recorded the vast number of quail just before the description of His bread from Heaven which is a symbol pointing to Jesus, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NLTse).

Now that we’ve gathered a number of related texts scripture led us to, we can understand the spiritual lessons. If Israel had seen Jesus, they never would have asked for any other type of food. They would have never been hungry again. Their lack of insight spiritually starved them. We see a pattern in the food God gave Israel in the wilderness. Manna was on the ground as well as the quail. This seems like a small detail until we consider another symbol Jesus used in a number of parables. When Jesus used the symbol of a sheep, we see an animal who gets its food from the ground. When Jesus leads His sheep, He leads them to pasture, the food He knows they need. Sheep don’t ask for different food, they graze where the shepherd leads them and eat what the shepherd leads them to. Of course there is the parable of the lost sheep. I’ve heard the sermon a hundred times how the shepherd breaks the leg of the sheep and carried it back. Do you really think Jesus searched for people missing from His flock so He can break their legs? Is that story about the broken leg Biblical or a man made story aimed at keeping people in the worldly church? They missed a main feature of the story. Manna, quail, and grass on the ground all appear to be the same source of food, but one of them, quail, is given because people were selfish. When we look at the story we can’t help but see how selfishness destroyed a number of people.

When sheep separate from the flock they wander the wilderness alone, easy prey for the wolf. It’s only a matter of time before a single wolf or pack find the stray animal. This parable seems to contradict other texts relating to a small remnant that follows God and understands. If you study the word remnant, you’ll find they come out of the general population of so – so believers. It’s only a small group that will listen to God’s Words and understand His commands. How many people made it in Noah’s ark or completed the journey to the promised land? Most of the flock is lost. They just don’t know it. The very things that make them think they are safe are putting their salvation in jeopardy.

When we look at quail people craved, it was not what God wanted to give them, but what their selfish desires wanted. When we compare quail to the food from Heaven, Jesus’ bread of life, we see how people use selfish desires to alter God’s Words. Grass for sheep and manna come from Heaven and is gathered from the ground. Quail are also gathered from the ground but come from a different source, the world. People think they’re gathering the right thing but they desire more than what Jesus offers, so they look for something from the world then insist it’s gathered from the same place – they push it on other people claiming it’s much better than what others have to offer. We see an example in the introduction to Exodus 16.

Exodus 16:4-5 NLTse Then the LORD said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. (5) On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”

Once we understand manna represents spiritual food from Jesus, we can see the spiritual meaning associated with the conditions God provided with the food. They’re told to gather food for six days and twice as much on the sixth day which means there is no food collected on the seventh day, but it is still eaten and shared. I’ve heard this preached a hundred times and most preachers look at only the physical aspects of this chapter. I wonder why they’re afraid of the spiritual message.

People are to collect spiritual food during the week and share it on the seventh day Sabbath. Let me ask a question here. Is there anything wrong with meeting to gather God’s Word on the first day of the week? According to scripture there’s nothing wrong with it. The first day of the week is the beginning of a new cycle to collect spiritual bread. Let me ask another question. Is it okay to ask God to work on the first day of the week?

I’ve been in dozens of churches claiming to keep the seventh day Sabbath. I often wandered why they all have long prayers asking God to do this or that for them. Is asking for favors keeping the Sabbath? Is asking God to work on the Sabbath correct? Another thing a lot of Sabbath keepers do is gather spiritual food on the Sabbath even though Exodus 16 says we’re not supposed to. For most Sabbath keepers the seventh day is the only day they gather manna. When did God change the rules? Now I can see why God called it a test. If people gathered His Word for six days a week, maybe they would learn how to understand it.

What food are they gathering on the seventh day? Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the LORD. There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” (Exodus 16:25-26 NLTse). According to the Bible there is no manna available on the seventh day. What food are they trying to feast on? It must be the quail. Food from the world for selfish people complaining they are tired of manna from Heaven.

No one can argue, worship on the seventh day has been changed to reflect the desires of the world. Sabbath worship has been changed to adopt the preferred methods of the world. Why? I can’t be sure, but when we look at the texts, it’s something they craved – the same form of worship the world craves after.

The New Testament describes people gathering in homes on the Sabbath to share the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. The church established by Jesus’ disciples didn’t have buildings or predetermined worship services like we see today. People studied scripture and talked to one another about the things they saw Jesus accomplish in His ministry. On Sabbath they met to share the blessings they learned during the week. Some where along the way many Sabbath keepers decided to ignore Exodus and the New Testament to feast on quail they craved.

None of us can be sure how or when Sabbath worship was changed. We can search the Bible to look for a change, but I don’t think we’ll find any scripture to support the type of worship copied from the world. Sabbath worship may be one of the best illustrations of rejecting manna from Heaven and craving food from the world. We do know God let them have more than they were able to handle. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘” (Numbers 11:20 NLTse). Which gives us two additional points to consider. While it was in their mouths, they gagged on quail. When someone is gagging, it’s very difficult to understand anything they say. It’ll be the same with preachers adding their personal thoughts to God’s Word and adding all kinds of stuff from the world to it.

How many sermons have you heard with little scripture but filled with opinions or stories about people you never heard of with little or no relationship to verses quoted. Rejecting the LORD is rejecting His Word as well as the blessings He gives. When worship is centered around one person sharing their opinion, where is the worship, where is God’s praise? Worship is sharing what God has done for you. It disappoints God when He provides a blessing designed to grow by the effects it has on others. Organized worship eliminates time to share blessings God gave during the week as well as any chance to praise Him.

Not much is found in scripture about praise. It’s not something God wanted to designate. God never wanted to make a list of how to praise Him in the form or a list with designated time frames. God wanted to leave praise to us. One of the most important parts of a relationship with God is searching for and perfecting praise. Like any other relationship this requires time, attention to detail, constant improvement, and of course, a constant growth. None of those features are found in this world’s rules, regulations, and traditions on worship. Israel had a difficult time praising God because of their selfish attitude. We now have the examples Jesus set in the New Testament to follow. Jesus went around helping and healing people on the Sabbath. We don’t see a specific set of rules on the Sabbath in the New Testament compared to the Old Testament. Jesus showed how the Jews misinterpreted the Sabbath and did not honor it the way God intended. When you think of it, the best way to find out about the Sabbath is to honor the day in the simple way God first intended, which was to spend time with Him, the best way to get the answers, directly from the God who set the date. Have a personal talk with God and let Him tell you what He wants to do on the Sabbath. The Jews let religious leaders make all the decisions for them and we saw how that failed. David doesn’t elaborate on the Sabbath, but he wrote about some of the details he saw on Israel’s relationship with God when they crossed the wilderness.

Psalms 78:32-43 NLTse But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him. (33) So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. (34) When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. (35) Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. (36) But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. (37) Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. (38) Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! (39) For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns. (40) Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. (41) Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. (42) They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies. (43) They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan.

What do you see when you look at what these texts teach about Jesus? We see the connection between the symbol rock and it’s fulfillment in our Redeemer, Jesus. We also see the word remember repeated a number of times. We also find remember in the forth commandment which is the last of the commandments describing a relationship with God. The first commandment tells us, “You must not have any other god but me.” (Deuteronomy 5:7 NLTse). Jesus showed the spiritual interpretation. ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

(Matthew 22:37 NLTse). The second commandment tells us not to worship idols or images. The third tells us not to take God’s name in vain. Now look at the second and third commandments from Jesus’ point of view. Don’t you see a deeper meaning? Maybe that was part of Israel’s problem, they looked at the ten commandments on the surface and didn’t spend time on the Sabbath to discuss them with God like Jesus did.

David shows us how Israel had an up and down relationship with God. They ran to Him when they needed help and put Him on a shelf when things seemed to be going their way. They fell out of the time sequence God set for man. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! Why would David say God held back His anger?

Think of a marriage relationship. If there are marriage problems people go to counseling where they learn how to communicate. If one party doesn’t want to put in effort to communicate, it doesn’t matter what the other half does. This is where many people are in their relationship with Jesus. He never stops trying to communicate, but many people continue to ignore Him. Their in a relationship with no desire to listen. That’s where Israel was. They tried setting up Moses between them and God. We’ve seen how that worked out. Only a few of them made it to the promised land because they refused to put their hearts into the first four commandments. They couldn’t see the love God placed in them. Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.

It wasn’t hard for them to ignore the commandments. David tells us they forgot how He rescued them from their enemies. They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. Come on now get serious. I know what your thinking. If you had been there you would have remembered all the details and followed God. Ya sure. How is that working for you so far? Do you remember everything God has done for you in the past year, month, or week? Are you scoring any higher than the people crossing the wilderness when it comes to seeing and understanding the lessons taught along the way? Have you spent time looking at the details, signs, and symbols and praying to see how they relate to Jesus? Have you spent any time at all explaining those hidden lessons and stories to anyone? How do you measure up to the people who fell along the road in the wilderness? Are you following Jesus or are you putting someone in his place like they did with Moses? Although David made a lot of mistakes and often forgot to consult with God on a lot of details, he did spend time with God. We can see it in the details he wrote about.

Psalms 78:44-53 NLTse For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. (45) He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. (46) He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. (47) He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. (48) He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. (49) He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. (50) He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians‘ lives but ravaged them with the plague. (51) He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. (52) But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. (53) He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.

Based on the order David listed the plagues in Egypt it shows he missed the spiritual meaning of the story. David listed, water to blood, flies, then frogs. The actual order in Exodus 7 and 8 is water, frogs, lice, then flies. David didn’t change the order by accident. The order David recorded in Psalm 78 is a clue to investigate. When water was turned to blood, everything in it died. The next plague was frogs God called up from the waters He healed. See the spiritual impact. What is God proving in this sequence? After the frogs died, swarms of lice were raised from dust. Look up the spiritual meaning of dust. After lice came flies. How could there be so many lice and flies days after the land was covered with frogs? God is showing us how He teaches spiritual lessons by looking back and comparing the sequence. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past– stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.

In this study we’ve reviewed a number of Bible Study rules and seen how God builds upon them. We’ve looked at how these stories relate to Jesus and His ministry. At this moment Jesus is in the Heavenly Sanctuary where all the items of gold are reflecting His image and character. His Word is more valuable than gold, and also reflects Jesus’ image, character, ministry, and personality. How can we claim to be Christians if we spend so little time and put in no effort to make our relationship with Him stronger and more secure everyday? Do you really think you can spend eternity with someone you don’t know? “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. (Matthew 7:21-24 NLTse).

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Psalms 49:1-4 Listen to a Parable

Posted by Ez1 Realty on June 4, 2016


Psalms 49:1-4 Listen to a Parable

Psalms 49:1-4 NLTse Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! (2) High and low, rich and poor–listen! (3) For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. (4) I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.

The obvious key word in this prophecy is listen followed by the related words, people, everyone, and world. Key words also tell us what to listen to, proverbs and riddles. Some translations use the word parables for proverbs. This prophecy is simple. It is asking everyone in the world to listen to many proverbs. It’s also another prophecy about Jesus that is easy to locate because it’s quoted by inspiration in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:1-3 NLTse Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. (2) A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. (3) He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.

As we’ve seen in previous studies of God’s Word, when Old Testament scripture is quoted, we need to look at surrounding texts and the entire chapter to get the whole message. We also learned an important rule of Bible Study concerning the introduction to chapters. Since the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 49 is found in the introduction of Matthew 13, we need to look at the first few words. Look at how the words, “later that same day,” point us back to the previous chapter. Once again there’s a reason Matthew points us back to the previous chapter that we’ll look at later. At this point we’ll compare key words between the prophecy and fulfillment. Psalm 49 has the key word, listen. Matthew 13 repeated the similar words, told and taught. The key word people is also found in both chapters as well as sharing the related words, proverbs, riddles, stories, and parables. The connection between these two chapters is established by the simple Bible Study rule of repetition.

It’s unusual for both the prophecy and fulfillment to be introductions. This points us to the importance of the lesson since the introduction of chapters establishes the theme. Since the introductions share the same key words and theme, it’s obvious the chapters dwell on the same spiritual lesson which will be revealed as we study and compare more of these chapters.

We need to note, Psalm chapter 78 is a second version of the prophecy fulfilled by Jesus that will be studies at a later time. O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past- (Psalms 78:1-2 NLTse).

We also need to look at the previous study showing how people throughout history will betray Jesus. Once we’re shown how we’ve physically turned away from Jesus and spiritually betrayed Him, we have to learn how to serve Him and prepare to work in the harvest. We see this in the sequence Jesus placed in His word. All the details point to the significance to this subject. Not only is this prophecy found in the introduction to Psalm 40 and Matthew 13, it’s repeated in the introduction of Psalm 78. The fulfillment is also repeated in Mark 4 and Luke chapter 8. When God repeats Himself we need to pay attention!

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parables Jesus told because it is one of the few parables where Jesus explained the spiritual interpretation. In His explanation Jesus tells his disciples; “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'” (Mark 4:11-12 NLTse). We see two concepts in Jesus’ explanation. “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God,” and by turning to Jesus to understand those parables, you will be forgiven. This requires much more than some of the conventional teaching that offers forgiveness by merely knowing Jesus’ name which is sometimes termed the once forgiven, always forgiven theory. To learn and understand the lessons taught between these two chapters we need to compare the summations.

Psalms 49:16-20 NLTse So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. (17) For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. (18) In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. (19) But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. (20) People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.

Matthew 13:53-58 NLTse When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. (54) He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” (55) Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers–James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. (56) All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” (57) And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” (58) And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

David tells us how useless worldly riches are. Matthew shows us a spiritual contrast when he describes how people in Jesus’ hometown rejected Him. They had the riches of the universe in front of them, but the pull of the world blinded them as they looked at the physical aspects and ignored the spiritual. Looking deeper into the story we see how people Jesus grew up with picked and chose what to see and what not to see. They didn’t see the good Jesus did. They didn’t see the example He set as He grew up in front of them. They also closed their eyes to miracles Jesus performed after He began His ministry. It’s not by accident they asked, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Their faith was anchored in the established religious order who they trusted and believed had the truth. But as history has shown, was far from the truth. All of this ties into the parable Jesus explained and David’s warning about worthless riches. The religious leaders built a fortune on their rules, regulations, doctrines, traditions, and of course their version of the sacrificial system. Every facet of their form of worship was designed to produce income, place excess burdens on people, and draw them away form the real vision of God as well as a personal relationship with Him and His Son. It’s hard to believe people growing up with Jesus missed so much. But how much do people miss today? Do they know how to understand parables like Jesus explained? Don’t forget the opening line to David’s prophecy. “Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world!” Following basic Bible Study rules we see the same method in Matthew. Now it’s time to look back at the previous chapter.

Matthew 12:46-50 NLTse As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. (47) Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” (48) Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (49) Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. (50) Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

To help us understand, Jesus placed a more personal emphasis on David’s plea for everyone to listen. “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” David shows us the world is supposed to listen. Jesus explains His family will be the ones who actually follow Him. David adds more details to his prophecy to show how important it is to learn the mysteries of proverbs and parallels, in other words, how to understand God’s Word.

Psalms 49:5-15 NLTse Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? (6) They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. (7) Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. (8) Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough (9) to live forever and never see the grave. (10) Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. (11) The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, (12) but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. (13) This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. (14) Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. (15) But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.

The contrast continues to unfold as we see David explain how riches and wealth will never redeem a single person. God doesn’t want our wealth, He wants us to listen to His Son. But even as he spoke, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5 NLTse). The way David explains how useless riches are reminds me of one verse. So I advise you to buy gold from me–gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. (Revelation 3:18 NLTse).

There’s a difference between worldly riches and spiritual just like there’s a difference between a message from the world and one from Heaven. Jesus explained how to find the message from Heaven when He taught His disciples how to understand the parable about the sower. Where do you think Jesus got His interpretations for the key words from? Do you think He guessed at them or made up the spiritual meanings like other people do? No! Every interpretation Jesus provided came from scripture. Every interpretation can be proved with scripture. When we look at Matthew 13 we see Jesus point us back to scripture a number of times.

Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. (Matthew 13:5 NLTse).

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLTse)

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. (Matthew 13:11-14 NLTse)

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” (Isaiah 6:8-10 NLTse)

But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (Matthew 13:21 NLTse)

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The LORD approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. (Proverbs 12:1-3 NLTse)

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (Matthew 13:22 NLTse)

This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. (Jeremiah 4:3 NLTse)

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23 NLTse)

For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. (Ezekiel 36:24-30 NLTse)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalms 1:1-3 NLTse)

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:34-35 NLTse)

O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors– stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. (Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse)

The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse)

Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’–‘God plants!’ At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!'” (Hosea 2:22-23 NLTse)

The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. (Matthew 13:39 NLTse)

Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.” Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. (Joel 3:13-14 NLTse)

And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:42 NLTse)

You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. (Psalms 21:9-11 NLTse)

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! (Matthew 13:43 NLTse)

Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:2-4 NLTse)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44 NLTse)

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5 NLTse)

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:45-46 NLTse)

In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. (Isaiah 33:6 NLTse)

There’s an obvious connection between riches and Heaven, but who in their right mind confuses worldly riches from this world with eternal riches from Heaven? Look at what people consider riches in this world and how they effect lives. Today it costs thousands of dollars a month to maintain a comfortable living. Tens of thousands of dollars a year. This world is filled with people after those riches. Mortgage, taxes, food, clothing, cars, vacations, electronics, the latest phone, service plans, insurance, transportation, gasoline, heat, electricity, the list goes on. It never ends in this world. Compare that to Heaven where everything is given by a loving God who died so we can have salvation, eternal life, and Heaven with a home and no bills! One of the things Jesus offers us is the ability to understand His Word. In this example we see unmistakable evidence. Jesus’ quoted a number of texts in His lesson. A large percentage of that lesson is made up of scripture. If we ignore that fact and don’t look at and compare that Old Testament texts to the parable, we’ll never see or understand the message.

Looking at this world it’s not difficult to see where the warnings we that to be heeded. Look at the grand churches with sprawling parking lots, manicured lawns and landscaping designed to attract financially stable members. Inside the church people spend hours, days and weeks choosing carpeting, colors, padded pews, choir robs, and decorations exceeding the extravagance of former idols worshiped generations ago. Some people waste hours every week spending a fortune planning back grounds and flower arrangements to please the eye. More time, money, and effort is placed on planning decorations inside the church than on the sermon. Before the sermon becomes a thought details on lighting, camera, big screens, and sound systems rob time that could have been spent sharing the simple message Jesus gave His disciples to share. Jesus never taught in an atmosphere churches spend millions of dollars and endless hours to create. But that’s the world today. That’s the way of the world. Create a church to compete for members and donations. Popular churches have become so elaborate, they push away the poor, depressed, needy, sick, bewildered, all the people Jesus ministered to. Today’s churches who consider themselves successful reject the same people the religious leaders who opposed Jesus turned away. No wonder we find Jesus preaching this vital message in a simple boat with nothing but blue sky highlighting an endless view of water on the lake. Neither one of the gospel writers recorded any details about forming a committee or collecting funds to paint the boat, or long meetings to agree on a new sail to add atmosphere to the scene. As a matter of fact a sail would have upset the entire service. Jesus was smarter than most people give Him credit for when He followed God’s Spirit to set the location, theme, and words for His message.

Posted in Bible Study rule, Christian Book, Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled, Simple Bible Studies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Psalms 34:19-20 Not One of His Bones will be Broken

Posted by Ez1 Realty on April 9, 2016


Psalms 34:19-20 Not One of His Bones will be Broken

Psalms 34:19-20 KJV Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (20) He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

Psalms 34:19-20 NLTse The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. (20) For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!

Psalms 34:20 KJV+ He keepethH8104 allH3605 his bones:H6106 notH3808 oneH259 of themH4480 H2007 is broken.H7665

BONES H6106 etsem eh’-tsem

From H6105; a bone (as strong); by extension the body; figuratively the substance, that is, (as pronoun) selfsame: – body, bone, X life, (self-) same, strength, X very.

It seems like God’s Spirit is leading us in a new direction again, building on what we’ve learned with a new lesson on how to study our Bibles. Psalm 34:20 is a well known prophecy about Jesus with its fulfillment easily found in John 19. While collecting texts for this study an unusual detail came up. I looked at the New Literal Translation (NLTse) to find this ageless verse translated quite differently than the familiar King James and other versions. I wondered why they felt a need to stray on such a familiar verse.

Its not unusual to see differences like this in translations. This Bible Study lesson will show you how to look into questionable translations. The KJV obviously points to Jesus on the cross and His death before Roman guards broke the legs of the condemned men. There must have been a reason the priests asked them to break their legs. This was another detail of their plan ensuring Jesus would not be an acceptable sacrifice. This shows how God’s Spirit tried to reach the priests. Even though Jesus didn’t fit their concept of their Messiah, something told the priests details in scripture pointing to the Messiah offering the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus pointed them to the right scripture. Some of them must have read those verses and compared them to Jesus. The priests could see the message in scripture, but wouldn’t accept it because scripture didn’t agree with their traditions.

The NLTse presents a different view, pointing to Jesus’ followers called the righteous. It may also refer to Jesus as the righteous in the singular form. How do we solve for this variation? The first step is to look at a direct translation. On this program, E-sword refers to it as the KJV+ translation. Many versions of this translation and some KJV study Bibles use italics to show words which have been inserted to make the English translation flow a bit better. In this case there are no italics, but the original translators inserted the word his in front of bones. Now is when we check the definition of the original Hebrew word by looking at the Hebrew dictionary in the Strong’s Concordance. On a computer program it’s as easy as clicking on the Strong’s number. As we can see the Hebrew word means bone and can be extended to the whole body. On the spiritual level, the body refers to Jesus’ body of believers. Remember the fulfillment of a prophecy is always greater than its symbols.

This lesson deals with looking at the fulfillment of a prophecy on a greater spiritual level while staying within context. To do this we need to look deeper in the text than comparing two texts, which we will do. The first texts to look at is the fulfillment in the New Testament.

John 19:34-37 NLTse One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (35) (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.) (36) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” (37) and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

The first detail a student of the Bible will notice is verse 37 quotes a second prophecy about Jesus. A serious student of the Bible knows the rule, whenever we see Old Testament texts quoted in the New Testament, we need to look at the Old Testament scripture. The Old Testament scripture will always add more details.

Zechariah 12:7-11 NLTse (7) “The LORD will give victory to the rest of Judah first, before Jerusalem, so that the people of Jerusalem and the royal line of David will not have greater honor than the rest of Judah. (8) On that day the LORD will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the LORD who goes before them! (9) For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (10) “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. (11) The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo.

Once we look at the second prophecy John quoted, we see why the NLTse was translated to leave the door open to include Jesus and His followers. Zechariah 12 tells us, ” The LORD will give victory to the rest of Judah first.” This includes more than the interpretation which commonly refers only to Jesus in reference to, “Not one of his bones will be broken” Compare this to the NLTse translation for Psalm 34. “For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”

Looking at this on a spiritual level, we see how God not only saw none of Jesus’ bones would be broken, He also offered protection to Jesus’ followers. One of the rules of Bible study tells us the fulfillment is always greater than the symbol. In this case bones takes on a symbolic form and therefore must be greater than the definition of a physical bone. Zechariah provides a spiritual interpretation that applies to Jesus’ followers at the cross. “On that day the LORD will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David!” What does it mean to be as mighty as King David?

Looking back on David’s life we see a lot of aspects, growth, levels of faith, mistakes, and sins God forgave. As a young boy, God chose David as king and Samuel anointed him. He grew up in king Saul’s presence playing his musical instrument and singing to ease Saul’s troubled mind. As a youth, David had a spiritual influence on Israel’s leader. The influence David had on Israel’s leader extended to the kingdom. David’s youthful faith defeated Goliath the giant when Israel’s army and king shook in fear. David grew to become a commander in Saul’s army. God was with David as he won victory after victory. Among others, the Philistines were scattered before David. The woman sang of the thousands Saul slayed and the ten thousands David slew. Jealousy engulfed Saul and eliminated the only peace He received through David. Saul conceived a plan to send David out against the Philistines thinking David would never overcome the odds. Saul was so confident in his plan, he promised the hand of his daughter as a reward. Much to Saul’s surprise, David succeeded and became his son-in-law. Having David as a relative should have solved the problem, but not for Saul. Finally David fled for his life.

David faced his greatest trials, learning experience and faith while he was on the run avoiding Saul’s pursuit. Taking a close look at the circumstances Saul wasted a great deal of tax money trying to put down a perceived threat he couldn’t do a whole lot about. Samuel told Saul he would loose the kingdom. Saul knew he was fighting against God’s will. Often times Saul left his kingdom unprotected. Spending tax money in an attempt to achieve his selfish goals, Saul left the people he was supposed to serve to pursue what he wanted. Saul was a king, but without a country or God. It was a lesson David should have learned and one we should pay attention to. During his flight David wrote some of the most emotional Psalms begging for help and praising God for His protection. David’s flight began with the death of many priests. Saul had them slain in the hope one of them would reveal David’s location. Each priest valiantly gave his life to protect God’s anointed – a spiritual lesson future generations of priests should all learn from. One of the priests escaped taking the breastplate of righteousness with the Urim and Thummim, stones God used to direct David. As David was directed from mountain side to woods, to caves and valleys, his faith in God grew. God watched David endure trial after trial knowing each one was making David a stronger leader. Finally Saul and his sons died in battle on the same day and David took his role as king.

Before taking control of the kingdom, David acquired a number of wives. When he found fault with his first wife, Saul’s daughter, he put her away, but didn’t divorce her. David continued to acquire wives and house prostitutes in his palace. Some overlook this as tradition. This shows how dangerous tradition can be. David’s multitude of marriages were his downfall. One compromise led to another until David’s lust led him to murder one of his most trusted friends and commanders, Uriah, listed as one of David’s most valiant warriors. To punish and warn David, God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him the baby would die. There was noting David could do. He accepted God’s judgment praying until the last minute.

Having so many wives and children made David a weak husband and father. One of his eldest sons Absalom rebelled against his father and kingdom costing a number of lives, including his own. In his old age, another of David’s sons tried taking the kingdom. Nathan the prophet joined forces with one of his wives, Bathsheba to trick David into appointing Solomon king. It seems David forgot how he was chosen by God and how God sent his prophet Samuel to anoint him. With everything David went through, it seems he forgot a lot of lessons. Although David made one mistake after another, God still loved him, giving him many opportunities to learn and remember lessons. One we need to pay attention to is how God reacted to David’s mistakes. “The weakest among them will be as mighty as King David!” When we look back on David’s life, we see the why God arranged the prophecy to include the weakest and greatest. Look at the lesson God taught when He chose David, who was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and Samuel’s last choice. Maybe we’re the last choice when it comes to how people view us while being first in God’s eyes. “The weakest among them will be as mighty as King David!” Some of the people we view as last are actually first in God’s eyes. Now the spiritual lessons in these prophecies is beginning to reveal itself.

What aspect of David’s life do you see yourself in? Are you the young David full of faith, willing and able to slay giants? Are you more like David in his youth respecting and serving someone who views you as an enemy? Are you like David the young man facing trials that grow faith in God. Do you know how to listen to God’s voice? Will you make the same mistake as David – straying from God’s guidance? Will you use David as an example – make the same mistake he made and say, “compared to David, I’m not so bad.” Will you have rebellious sons like David, or will you send time to teach them God’s laws and commandments like Moses instructed? Where do you imagine your life in regards to the examples David set? Where does that compare to where you want to be? Another aspect of this lesson is God’s respect for David no matter where he was in his walk. We need to foster the same respect for others. Throughout his journey David recorded his Psalms. They were more than prayers. They were prophecies God gave to David to record. David had a unique relationship with God. We have to not only consider God’s patience with David, but imitate it, making His patience a piece of our lives.

The addition of David’s attributes is another step in the lessons God’s Bible reveals. It shows how the prophecies He wrote are linked in a way that they explain one another and establish the context God intended. This should be a lesson you begin using and building on. When we see a series of Old Testament prophecies quoted by a New Testament writer, we have to look up the original texts. The Old Testament scripture will be connected with related texts in the chapter which will show us God’s explanation of the spiritual side of the subject. We can’t guess at spiritual interpretations. We can’t expect to interpret them with our own wisdom. Any of those attempts will do nothing but deny the existence of God’s Spirit, taking the glory off God while trying to place it on themselves. To let God’s Word explain itself, we have to follow general Bible Study rules by comparing the introduction of the chapter containing the prophecy with the chapter explaining its fulfillment.

Psalms 34:1-5 NLTse I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (2) I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. (3) Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. (4) I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. (5) Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

John 19:1-7 NLTse Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. (2) The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. (3) “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. (4) Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” (5) Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” (6) When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” (7) The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

Psalm 34 and John 19 contain a simple contrast. We see David’s typical style of writing which is to praise God at the beginning of his prayer. David draws attention to his reverence to God by using the related words, praise, speak, boast, tell, and exalt. David’s introduction shows the importance of sharing God’s love. John’s introduction to chapter 19 shows us how the Roman guard mocked Jesus. They put a crown a thorns on His head and dressed Him in a purple robe. The Roman guard was following Pilate’s lead. Pilate referred to Jesus as the King of the Jews. When the guards took Jesus away to whip Him, they played their game of dressing Him like a king then mocking Him. Quite a contrast to David, king of Israel who praised God. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” The priests looked on Jesus and shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him.” David the king praises God while Pilate, a subject of the Roman emperor and his guards mock Jesus. Pilate proclaims Jesus innocence but does little to uphold justice. Comparing this to the prophecy in Zechariah 12, we can see how the weakest of Jesus’ followers were far greater than Pilate. Now we understand the comparison to David. Each of Jesus’ followers present at the cross were about to fulfill David’s prophecy of praising God and Jesus by telling people about the cross and their new understanding of God’s plan of salvation. We can see by the contrast, the story goes much deeper. One group will understand and praise God by spreading the message about Jesus. The other group will continue to mock and discredit God’s Son. The summary to David’s prophecy confirms the contrast.

Psalms 34:21-22 NLTse Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. (22) But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

John 19:38-42 NLTse Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesusbody. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. (39) With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. (40) Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesusbody with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. (41) The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. (42) And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Psalm 34 closes with a contrast between people who hate the righteous and those who serve God. Psalm 34 appears to lack information describing what made them wicked. When we see a lack of information, our first question is, where do we find the answer? Learning to reply on God’s Spirit leads us to the answer, in the parallel chapter. In this case we’ve already identified John chapter 19 which describes how Pilate, his guards, religious leaders, and other people mistreated Jesus. This of course is an extreme example, but we need to keep in mind, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbol. In keeping with His own rules, God shows a much greater fulfillment than the prophecy itself.

There’s another lesson seen in the summations. In Psalm 34 we see, “But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” How does this compare to John 19 where Joseph buried Jesus’ body in his tomb? This is where we learn lessons on paying attention and knowing a bit about the history and society the story took place. In Jesus’ time all the religious leaders prepared a tomb for their burial. They didn’t leave details to family or friends, they planned everything themselves. When we look at the crowd gathered at the cross, there were dozens, maybe a hundred of more people with empty tombs at their disposal. Only one of them along with his friend Nicodemus stepped forward to offer his personal tomb and the respect Jesus needed at the moment. We can see how this relates to today’s Christian movement. People sit around – they look up and see Jesus, but there’s no compassion, no desire to give or serve. Joseph is one of the few examples of unconditional love in the Gospels. He gave his tomb to Jesus expecting nothing in return. Although Joseph still believed widely acceptable concepts on the Messiah and didn’t understand Jesus’ ministry or the prophecies He fulfilled, God accepted his gift. Once again we see God using an interesting contrast to teach a lesson. Jesus was surrounded by almost every religious leader in Jerusalem and regions near and far. Many of them wanted to see Jesus’ body cast into the dump to be devoured by wild dogs, pigs, and scavenger birds. Every one of those religious leaders spent time and money on elaborate tombs to guarantee the world would not forget them. Today no one remembers many of their names, but the one who gave up his tomb is remembered across the world. God’s plan of salvation is more detailed than we can ever perceive on our own. God’s plan included a way for each of us to make a mark on eternity. Joseph gave up something no one expected him to give. Joseph also put in physical effort to fulfill spiritual aspects of a prophecy. Look at how many people had to act their parts at the proper time in God’s plan of salvation. It’s actually an amazing feat when you think of it. God’s plan is still in the making. Most people are looking at prophecy as gloom and dome, persecution, trials, and of course the endless list of conspiracy factors. People today are looking at future prophecies the same misguided way the religious leaders did in Jesus’ day. They’re also missing prophecies being fulfilled because they’re acting just like the Pharisees, relying on themselves. There’s little anyone can do about it. People will argue their beliefs with their last dying breath. Human nature today is no different than is was on the day Jesus died. People will either be willing to look with their eyes, listen with their ears, and understand with their hearts – or shut off understanding because they want to think they know everything. That’s one of the elaborate tombs people build for themselves so people will remember them for their whit and imagination. Other people build up tombs around themselves with every item that catches their fancy. Big houses, cars, and fancy clothes to impress people and this life and beyond. Do they really think of fellow Christians around the world as they flock to stores and malls, shop online, buy they latest cell phone, or sit and stare at a screen pushing buttons while in a group of people? So many ways to serve. So much work to do – in their minds there seems to be so little time, money or skills to finish God’s plan of salvation. What’s the problems here? Have they been convinced a small donation once a week puts the job in the hands of so called professionals? Where do we find proof only trained, paid professionals should spread God’s Word? There is no so called professional training in the Bible. Paul disclosed his training in Galatians chapter 2. Paul learned at Jesus’ feet. Don’t rely on anyone but Jesus who trusted His Father all the way to the cross and beyond.

Posted in Advanced Studies, Christian Book, Explained Studies, Inductive Studies, Lessons on How to Study, Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Psalms 2:1-6 Why Are the Nations Angry

Posted by Ez1 Realty on April 6, 2016


  • Chapter 1 – Psalms 2:1-6 Why Are the Nations Angry

    Psalms 2:1-6 NLTse Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? (2) The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. (3) “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” (4) But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. (5) Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. (6) For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

    Before we begin the first lesson, it’s a good idea to review basic study rules covered in previous books. Look for and highlight words that are the same, similar, or related. Those key words tell us two things. The main theme of the texts we are studying. Bible authors follow a pattern of repeating key words to draw reader’s attention to the main theme. Key words are also used to search for parallel texts, which lead to parallel chapters. Context is found in the introduction and summary of chapters. Parallel chapters can have similar or contrasting themes which focus on the same spiritual lessons. It can be difficult to understand Bible study lessons without proper examples. The good news is, God knew we needed good examples. He knew exactly how people would take His simple Word and examples then come up with the most confusing ways of explaining the simple methods God installed in scripture thousands of years ago. There’s never any reason to be confused or intimidated when it comes to Bible Study. When God wrote His book, He included the rules… all of them. The best news is, all of God’s study rules were placed in the prophecies about His Son, Jesus. Not only does God’s plan of salvation provide forgiveness, redemption, and a direct path to God’s throne – God’s plan also includes simple lessons so each of us can learn to study His Word, stand in awe, and give all the glory to Him.

    We see some of the fiercest words in the Bible at the beginning of Psalm 2. David lays it on the line. They are wasting their time when they plot against God and His Anointed One. This is also one of the easiest New Testament texts to find since it is quoted in Acts chapter 4.

    Acts 4:24-30 NLTse When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– (25) you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? (26) The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the LORD and against his Messiah.’ (27) “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. (28) But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. (29) And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. (30) Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

    Notice how only a small part of Psalm 2 is quoted. Look at the details found when the Old Testament texts is read. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” I’ve mentioned how much God teaches with repetition, here’s another example. Did you ever notice how often Jesus quoted scripture? Almost every time He answered a question. The pattern is repeated in Acts. The thing that fascinates me is – if the religious leaders bothered to look at scripture Jesus sent them to, there is no way they would have crucified Him. Take a look at this small detail and think about it for a moment. Why is so much of the New Testament made up of Old Testament texts? I’ll bet you didn’t know this. A large amount of Paul’s letters are actually quotes from the Old Testament. As much as thirty percent or more of some of Paul’s letters are quotes from the Old Testament. Why is that you may ask? For one thing, all of those quotes make it impossible for anyone to separate the New Testament from the Old. I’ve heard some preachers try to do it, but never met one. Here is another fact that may surprise you. I want you to take a look back at all the studies you read, all the seminars you attended, and all the sermons you heard. Did anyone ever point out this little fact? Look at the lesson in Acts 4, ” you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying.” Did anyone ever explain to you the fact this term is repeated in the Bible hundreds of times for a reason. You may be asking why. There are two reasons for this. Either they don’t know, or don’t want you to know. Let’s examine why preachers do not want you to know how to read and study the Bible.

    How long has it been since anyone discovered anything new in the Bible? God’s been revealing new light in every generation. What happened to our generation? Did their god run out of information to share? I can give you one little revelation a serious student of the Bible will see. Look at the story about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Pay attention to ALL the words and the timing. There was a preparation time included. How long did Jesus fast? When did Satan come on the scene? How many sermons have you heard on this story — I know each one left out vital details. Did they tell you what Jesus did during those forty days? Did anyone explain how Jesus prepared for the confrontation? Did anyone bother to show you how Jesus answered Satan? Did they explain the entire chapter Jesus’ first answer came from? Did they tell you how that chapter answered all of Satan’s temptations? Did they explain Satan’s limitations? Why not? Why would one of God’s warriors not equip you with the proper armor to go out into the world as one of God’s soldiers? If your preacher has, that’s great. If they haven’t, how much more are you missing? Why have the so called world’s greatest minds of the most advanced society on earth withheld so many basic details in the Bible at a time you need it most?

    Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Every Christian denomination claims there will be an outpouring of God’s Spirit before Jesus returns. Where is it? Why are they delaying this outpouring? Come on now… the strangest religions in the most isolated areas in the world claim there will be an outpouring of new understanding before the end of the world. The entire world seems to agree, but whose looking? Whose searching? Who cares? Why have they stopped searching?

    Years ago the United States and other countries got into counting. The common term is census. Governments collected all kinds of facts and figures. For what? To identify, prepare for, and solve problems. They wouldn’t think of asking God’s help, but thought with enough facts and figures, they could solve any problem. Soon churches joined the frenzy. They were not only included in Government census, but started their own. There was a reason God told David not to number Israel. David didn’t have to pay the price, but his people did. This is a prophecy repeated today. Get on your computer and see. You can search every fact and figure about any church you choose. But what about finding new insight to God’s Word? Getting the picture here? How did it happen? What went wrong? Churches got caught up in numbers – their main concern today. To increase numbers they compromised – changed the way they wanted their preachers to study the Bible, or shall we say, AVOID studying the Bible at all cost. It seemed to change overnight. Common sense left the world as darkness crept in. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” To free themselves from God, scholars threw out the basic rules of Bible study. The very rules contained within God’s Word discovered long ago and taught for generations. To cover truth they needed a deception so close to truth common people would never notice. Man made up a newer, simpler set of rules… one they could control. Inductive study and context have been replaced by a new form of study referred to as proof texts. The steps are contrary to God and His Word. The steps for proof texts study are simple, there are only three. Develop a concept. Find texts supporting that concept. Check the results against the doctrine you practice. No where does Jesus teach such blasphemy. No where does the Bible support any concept which begins with man’s concept of what to think and how to think. But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. The question remains – do world religious authorities preach proof texts studies from ignorance, or control? All of this is tied into the numbers game, designed to divide denominations instead of bringing them together to drink deep of the pure, untainted water of Christ. To wash the feet of fellow disciples in a show of humility and unity.

    Jesus’ disciples had an attitude quite different from today. A casual reading of the New Testament will show how they struggled to keep the young growing church united. I doubt if church leaders will ever get together to celebrate communion, the observance of the last supper, or an ordinary dinner. For one thing, they would never agree what to eat. If it should be clean, or unclean meats, or no meats at all. Their happy with what separates them… they are deceived into thinking that’s what makes their church grow. I always thought it was Jesus who made a church grow. “Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” This isn’t a new problem. The disciples saw the same problem creep into the early church. People wanted to join the church and bring in a few of their customs. So what is the difference between customs, doctrine, and tradition? Why does every church have custom doctrines, traditions and make them the focus of their study, sermons, and messages? What happened to the simple message Jesus gave His disciples? What happened to simply preaching about what Jesus accomplished? It was enough to hold the early church together. It seems the world just broke down and accepted division. It seems that’s what makes the world happy. Census, numbers, division, and proof texts. A simple plan – man’s plan – but not God’s plan of salvation.

    Time to put away influences running free across the world. No one’s doctrines are on trial here. That’s for you to determine on your own. All I want to do is tell you what kind of deceptions to look out for. What good is that? Once one is exposed, the devil has a list of others to take its place. If you looked at how Jesus answered Satan, you already know Satan’s limitations. Let’s face it, Satan is missing one vital link to God’s Word, His Spirit. We need to look at God’s Word as it’s written – test it, ask questions, wait for answers. It’s not only words we’re looking at but God’s personality and wisdom. We see a portion of that in His creation and another little part in how His lessons effected His followers. We see this revealed in the introduction to Acts 4.

    Acts 4:1-4 NLTse While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. (2) These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. (3) They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. (4) But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of believers now totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children.

    What do we see in this introduction and how does it compare to the introduction in Psalm 2? Peter and John were confronted by all the religious leaders. The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. Those leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. Look at the detail. Why did they arrest Peter and John? Almost every Christian denomination believes in one form of resurrection or another. They may be all over the map on their beliefs, from the moment of death all the way to the moment Jesus returns. That’s not the point, but you can see how man’s common method of study, proof texts will miss the point in this chapter. This is why it’s important to study repetition to reveal the lesson. The kings and leaders stood against the Anointed One, Jesus who is the resurrection and life. Now ask why and how they stood against Jesus. If the religious leaders didn’t believe in a resurrection what did they believe in? Were they of the opinion only people living at the moment their Messiah appeared would reign with Him forever? Why did the religious leaders twist their own beliefs? For control. See how the Bible is showing the problem we’re facing today? See how easily proof texts can be laid aside when control is at stake? If we only looked at the Old Testament we see signs of a resurrection. Many of David’s Psalms talk about his reign in the distant future. The religious leaders knew David was dead. They talked about his future reign. To arrest Peter and John they threw their beliefs out the window to regain control.

    Now to put yourself into the scene, another important step to understand scripture. Imagine yourself in prison with Peter and John. Pray about the scene and look at the image in your mind. What is God showing you? Look back at scripture that comes to mind. Look at how details show Peter and John reactions at the time. Look back at what they experienced and learned before the event. In this case ask yourself what this trial accomplished.

    Jesus took Peter and John up a mountain with another disciple where they met Moses and Elijah. They also heard God’s voice and trembled in fear. Peter often jumped to conclusions, answering questions before he understood them. Peter was always trying to outdo the other disciples. John was the biggest in size. Was physical power going to win John a special seat next to Jesus? Peter and John often argued about who was the greatest. Look at when they brought up the subject. Every time Jesus tried to tell them about the prophecies He was going to fulfill on the cross.

    Peter and John were thrown into a small cell in the deepest, darkest dungeon. There seemed no way out. The smell was worse than they ever imagined. The floors were slimy and so were the walls. It seemed as if the cell was intentionally littered to make them suffer more. A thought occurred to John. He wondered what the pit was like that Daniel was thrown into. No one left the lions out. They ate, slept, performed all their functions in that pit and finally died in the hole. All the lions could do is wait for another meal. John wondered if the angel who spent the night with Daniel did anything to light the cave or counter the smell. For a while they didn’t speak. Peter thought about how he told Jesus he would die with Him, and later denied Him. John’s mind wondered over the times he interrupted Jesus every time He brought up the prophecies. Jesus recounted those events when He sat down to reveal everything after His resurrection. Peter and John were sure of the resurrection. They saw Jesus in the flesh and in the Spirit. When Peter’s mind rested upon this assurance, he asked John. “Remember when Jesus took us up the mountain?” Even in the stench the memory brought a smile to John’s face. “Yes,” he relied. A few moments of silence went by in the darkness. Neither one of the disciples knew if they would live to see another day, or if they were going to live out their last days in that dingy, dark dungeon. John turned to Peter in the dark, reached out, put his hand on him and asked, “forgive me brother? I don’t want to be greater than you. All I want to do is share the comfort Jesus gave us.” Peter was speechless. For what seemed to be the first time in his life, Peter didn’t know what to say. Finally Peter asked, “John can you forgive me?”

    It took a great trial for Peter and John to see their weakness which they always considered their strength. After learning at Jesus’ side for three and a half years, and forty days at His feet, God’s Spirit was still teaching them. In the deepest, darkest, dirtiest hole they could imagine, God’s Spirit reached out and touched each of the disciples. They were ready to preach together. Their first test was to defend their Savior at their trial. The summation of Acts 4 tells the outcome of their trial. When we compare it to the summation in Psalm 2 we see another dimension of the story revealed.

    Psalms 2:11-12 NLTse Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities– for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

    Acts 4:33-37 NLTse The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. (34) There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them (35) and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. (36) For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. (37) He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.

    It’s interesting to think of what Peter and John may have thought about the conclusion in Psalm 2. Of course the lessons Jesus taught them were still on their minds. What did serving the Lord in fear and trembling mean to them? After escaping the grasp of the religious leaders, trembling was fresh on their minds along with thoughts of rejoicing. Psalm 2 was no longer only words, but an experience. Peter and John knew exactly what it meant to find joy in God’s refuge. This was another spring board for Peter and John who went out and testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.

    What about the people who gave up all they had? Did they do it through fear? I see a lot of women saying they’re looking for a God fearing man and wonder what they mean by it. I’m not sure they know what they mean or what they’re looking for. When I chat with them, they seem to have little or no idea what they’re looking for or how to tell if a Christian is for real or putting on a show. I had that experience in my life and learned the lesson the hard way. Looking at the story in Acts 4, we see another important detail that helps answer this question. As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the LORD and against his Messiah.’ “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:23-32 NLTse).

    A closer look at scripture shows all the believers lifted up their voices in prayer, reciting the prophecy in Psalm 2. God’s Spirit gave all the believers the same thought at the same time. Has that ever happened to you? It happened to me. The week leading up to the day I published the second book in this series I talked to a number of people. They all brought up the same concern. They all saw how the world, especially those around them seemed unconcerned about developing a close relationship with God. People thought little about what Jesus is doing today, how He’s calling out for workers, how He’s looking down at a world that seems less concerned than the day before. It wasn’t by mistake my friends shared the same concern. The series of events showed how important it is to share these simple concepts of Bible Study. Doctrines and traditions have little to do with a real relationship with Jesus. What would a marriage be like if week after week the rules of the household were discussed? You do the dishes, cooking, cleaning, clean the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, etc., etc…. What kind of a relationship would that make? Does it sound like fun to you? Is that what church sounds like? People churches are witnessing to today look at their message as the most boring, restrictive choice on earth. What choice do you think they’re going to make? What’s the message the church gives you? Don’t do this, that or the other thing. We do this and that’s what makes us better than others. Where did thinking they were better than the others get the disciples? That attitude led them in the wrong direction. They wanted to be the greatest and missed seeing hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in front of their eyes. What makes people today think they can harbor the same thoughts and selfishness the disciples displayed and not miss messages, lessons, and prophecies in front of them? How many have they missed already? When will time run out?

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2 Kings 4:32-37 Elisha Heals a Woman’s Son

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 31, 2016


2 Kings 4:32-37 Elisha Heals a Woman’s Son

2 Kings 4:32-37 NLTse When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. (33) He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD. (34) Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! (35) Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! (36) Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!” (37) She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.

If your having deja vu all over again, your not the only one. This story is similar to the one about Elijah praying to save the widow’s son in the last study were we also took a brief look at 2 Kings 4:1-7. As usual, things are repeated for a reason. We have the tendency to miss details or forget lessons. I always wonder when I meet people who seldom refer to scripture, but prefer to rely on memory. Here we will let scripture explain scripture.

There may be a question if this story about Elisha and the child is a prophecy? First we need to review this chapter because there is a large amount of misunderstanding between the boy who fell sick and the widows sons. A quick review of the chapter will show the sick boy’s mother was married to a rich man. She welcomed Elisha into her home whenever he passed by. So we shouldn’t confuse her son with the widow’s son in 1 Kings chapter 17. We also can’t confuse Elijah with Elisha. Elijah transferred his roles to Elisha. We can see a symbol of a new era. We should be aware God’s lesson is moving in a different direction using some of the same elements while introducing new and different details. After all, the entire series of the prophecies about Jesus have been teaching one lesson after another.

Without a doubt, child is the key word in 2 Kings 4:32-37. A few other words are repeated, but we can’t be sure they would help lead us to the proper texts. We know the parallel texts in the New Testament will have something to do with a child being healed. The search is on. One of the first texts that comes to mind is, “When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. He went inside and asked, ‘Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.’ The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, ‘Talitha koum,’ which means ‘Little girl, get up!’ And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:38-43 NLTse). This seems like a good fit and one many people would choose, but— check the introduction and summary for Mark chapter 5. It appears to be a poor match for 2 Kings 4. The search continues.

Another story that comes to mind and will show up on a search using the word, “son,” is the one where Jesus raised a widow’s son. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15 NLTse). Once again, the context of this chapter is not a good match for 2 Kings 4.

These two stories appear to be decent proof texts, but proper Bible study is not a search to find texts to support a predetermined concept. Proof text studies are stuck on human thoughts and worldly concepts. Bible study is much more than searching for texts to complete a though. Bible studies that rely on locating texts to support individual thoughts, doctrines, traditions, or prophetic interpretations may satisfy personal ambitions and impress a number of people with limited knowledge of the Bible and improper study methods, but those types of studies will never reveal the real lessons God placed in His Word. The problem with so called Bible studies relying only on locating proof texts is they rarely consider context. What is context? How do you determine the context of a verse, chapter, or book in the Bible? It’s an easy process to follow.

Many people like to teach the Bible is a book of mysteries. It is a mystery for people with preconceived ideas and little or no knowledge of Bible study as its taught in scripture. That’s right – the Bible contains lessons showing how its meant to be studied. These methods were discovered long ago and are still locked away in books written hundreds of years ago. Simple methods to study God’s Word became hidden away in man made phrases the normal person would need a dictionary to unravel. Soon simple Bible study methods were buried under terminology invented to discourage common people from mastering concepts Jesus taught to fishermen, a tax collector and disciples with no previous experience. This was Jesus’ way of telling us, “no experience necessary.”

One simple Bible study method used and illustrated here teaches the concept of repetition. First of all you need to learn to look at the Bible as a simple letter. Think of the Bible as a simple letter from your father. He wants you to understand – right? How would your dad drive home an important point? If he didn’t write a letter, I’m sure you heard the process in his speech. He repeats words he wants you to pay attention to. Right? Does that bring back childhood memories? God did the same thing with His letter, the Bible. Much of the New Testament is made up of letters. In all the books and letters in the Bible, the author repeated key words to make sure readers would see the main thought in each verse and between verses. This explains why we look for words that are the same, similar and related. This is why I went through the process of highlighting words for you. I’m sure you’ve seen how the main thought pops off the page. Now we are beginning to study the way God intended His Word to be read. Proof of this study method is in the Gospels. Look at how Jesus taught His disciples. Jesus used events in His lessons. Notice how many of those events had to be repeated before the disciples finally caught onto the lessons? Feeding thousands is a good example. The second time Jesus feed a large crowd He tested the disciples to see if they learned from the first event. After failing the test, Jesus repeated the lesson. Afterwords Jesus asked them why they failed to learn the first time. Many other events were repeated so we would see the pattern throughout the Gospels and not miss this important detail – and rule of Bible study.

The easiest way of checking context is to compare the texts in question with the introduction and summary of the chapter and book. Some of the best examples are Peter’s letters. They are short and often misunderstood. Much of Peter’s writings are taken out of context. Look at the first few verses in Peter’s letters for his introduction. His entire letter follows this theme. Remember, Peter became very consistent after learning his lesson. You know the old saying, “you learn most from your mistakes.” Peter must have learned a lot during the forty days Jesus retaught His disciples.

The prophecies Jesus fulfilled also teach basic Bible study rules. As the prophecies progress in order throughout the Bible, God’s Word adds one lesson after another. The lesson your reading now continues the sequence as it moves us into a new level of study. I hope you don’t think I’ve been using this depth of study for years. As I write this, its as new to me as it is to you while your reading. I am not introducing a new method of study, Inductive study has been around for years. You can search the Internet to find dozens of sites trying to explain how to use this method. What’s new is the method of explaining how to use the simple steps of an Inductive study. Trying to learn without examples is rough. That’s why I try to explain steps as the lesson unfolds. God arranged His prophecies about Jesus in a particular order that takes us from one step to the next. All I do is try to keep the explanations simple and understandable. This may sound like a long winded explanation, but brings out two important points. These lessons will allow people with little experience teaching Bible study to explain the simple steps. The second point is — God’s Spirit will guide you to an easier, more personal way to explain these studies then I am able to provide.

Some times God’s Spirit takes us in an unexpected direction. This is one of the lessons we will see in this Bible study. We looked at two possible verses which seemed like a logical fit, but we have to show respect for the Author. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLTse). Don’t forget to check the context in Isaiah 55. Does Isaiah 55 refer to studying God’s Word?

Once we go a step further by comparing the introduction and summation in the Old Testament chapter containing the prophecy with the New Testament chapter recording how Jesus fulfilled it, we will see how the two chapters compliment one another. There is one story in the Gospels that fits all three criteria:

  1. A greater fulfillment by Jesus.
  2. A parallel Introduction.
  3. A parallel Summary.Matthew 15:21-28 NLTse Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. (22) A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” (23) But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” (24) Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep–the people of Israel.” (25) But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” (26) Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” (27) She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table.” (28) “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

    At first glance, Matthew 15:21-28 does not seem to be a very good fit for 2 Kings 4:32-37. There seems to be a number of contrasts. We have to remember – God uses contrasts to make a whole. Evening and morning make a day. Man and wife make a family. Jesus came to teach equality. He used a Samaritan to teach one of His greatest lessons. Jesus crisscrossed the lake to teach His disciples equality as He ministered to Jews on one side, Gentiles on the other. It makes sense when Jesus heals a young girl to teach a fulfillment of the lesson Elijah began to teach. Another interesting point to consider is how the story about Elisha has so many similarities to Elijah’s story when he prayed and laid on top of a widow’s son to heal him. Elisha represents a movement to the new with a double share of the Spirit. Hence, we should expect to see and receive a double share of God’s Spirit in the lesson Elisha’s story points to.

    The word child is one of the main key words in 2 Kings 4:32-37. In Matthew 15, Jesus talks about children receiving bread. Elisha prayed for a son. Jesus healed a daughter. Elijah had to spread his entire body over the boy twice. Jesus spoke and the child was healed from a distance. All the evidence points to a greater fulfillment by Jesus. Although the key word used to locate the New Testament texts is only used once in Matthew 15:21-28, the connection reminds us to also look for similar and related words. Son and daughter are related words. This study also teaches how to look deeper into the personality of of the two stories – and the Author. Look at how the the woman in 2 Kings 4 would not give up and how Elisha’s servant tried to push her away. But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the LORD has not told me what it is.” (2 Kings 4:27 NLTse). Jesus’ disciples also tried to discourage the woman and asked Jesus to send her away. What lesson is repeated here? In both we see the concern a woman has for a son or daughter, illustrating God’s concern for us. We finally catch on when we see lessons repeating. When we see key words repeated, we find the theme. When we see key thoughts repeated, we understand the lesson.

    The Bible has to studied slowly. One lesson has to sink in before your ready for the next. It took Jesus over three years to teach His disciples the simple concepts we are covering here. One of the main lessons Jesus taught was how to pray and rely on God’s Spirit to reveal the answers. I have to admit, I would have missed some important points if I didn’t put this study away and pray. Here’s the process I follow in my studies:

  1. Collect the texts to study.
  2. Highlight words that are the same, similar, or related.
  3. Put the study aside and pray.
  4. Look at the texts and identify the key thought.
  5. Use key words that are highlighted to search for related texts.
  6. Compare the main thoughts in the introductions and summations in the two chapters.
  7. Highlight words that are the same, similar, or related in the chapters introductions and summations.
  8. Compare the key words in the chapters introductions and summations.
  9. Put the study aside and pray.
  10. Begin writing by paying attention to the key words.
  11. Expand writing to include the key thoughts.
  12. Put the study aside and pray.
  13. Write the conclusions.
  14. Pray and review
  15. ShareMany people fail to listen when they pray. I first ask for forgiveness and claim the blood Jesus shed. This reminds me how dependent I need to be on Christ. Once I have been cleaned by Jesus’ blood, I claim His promise, I ask Jesus to open the path for me to approach God’s throne. I then ask God’s Spirit to reveal lessons in the texts I am studying. I let God’s Spirit choose the points to consider. It may be the verses that began the study. It may be a comparison of the introductions or summations to the chapters. It may be something else in the chapters. I may be told to look back to one of the previous chapters containing the Old Testament or New Testament texts. The fact of the matter is, I have to listen. I have to go through the learning stage before I can graduate to the teaching stage.

    One detail about prayer I don’t want you to forget to mention. The world turned God’s time around and messed up communication with Him in the process. Many people use daily devotions. They suggest you to read devotions in the morning. WRONG!!!! God created the evening then the morning. This is the process we need to follow in prayer. When we pray during the day we open ourselves up to every distraction Satan can throw at us. We need to pray in the evening, and again in the morning. God will answer in both evening and morning when we experience the fewest distractions.

    Points to remember while praying and studying:

  1. You are comparing two or more stories.
  2. One is a form of prophecy leading to a greater fulfillment.
  3. Together the stories teach a far greater lesson than what can be seen viewing them individually.Basics points to consider, pray about and listen for answers to:
  1. Look at similarities.
  2. Look at contrasts.
  3. Look at who is involved in each of the stories.
  4. What relationship do they have with other characters?
  5. What is their motive and background?
  6. When did the stories take place?
  7. What events led into the stories?
  8. Is there a relationship between events leading into the stories?Similarities are found in three major locations:
  1. Original related texts
  2. Introduction to each chapter
  3. Summation of each chapterDuring prayer ask why there are contrasts in the texts. Similarities as well as differences are keys pointing to deeper lessons. Following is a list accumulated from the two texts we have been comparing so far.

    Elisha

    Prayed for a rich woman’s son.

    Jesus

    Healed a foreign woman’s daughter.

    In society

    A rich woman is greater than a foreign woman.

    A Son is greater than a daughter.

    Other similarities:

    Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to send the woman away.

    Gehazi pushed the woman away.

    Greater lessons these details point to:

    Jesus and God show no favoritism.

    Jesus’ disciples were no better than Elisha’s servant.

    Once you pray –God’s Spirit will bring details like this to mind. Once you look at the sequence presented, you will see other deeper lessons. Some people like to make deities out of Jesus’ disciples. Remember in Daniel and Revelation when Daniel and John saw angels? Both fell to their knees to worship the angels. Both times the angel told them to get up and called Daniel and John fellow servants. This is not telling us Daniel and John are equivalent to angles. It shows us we are all equal in God’s eyes. We have no right to elevate anyone above us. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses made mistakes. Its impossible for us to learn from their errors until we see their mistakes for what they are and study stories about them close enough to understand why they made mistakes. When we see one chapter comparing a prophet to Jesus, we should expect to see contrasts. No one was perfect except Jesus. Sometimes the life of the prophets and other characters point to Jesus, other times their lives are a contrast to show us a lesson.

    When we compare the introductions to 2 Kings 4 and Matthew 15, we compare similarities and contrasts which relate to the same theme. There can be a number of both physical and spiritual details to consider.

    2 Kings 4:1-7 NLTse One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” (2) “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. (3) And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. (4) Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” (5) So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. (6) Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. (7) When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

    Matthew 15:1-9 NLTse Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. (2) “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition?” they demanded. “They ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” (3) Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? (4) For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ (5) But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ (6) In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. (7) You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, (8) ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (9) Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'”

    A casual reading of the two introductions shows how one explains the other. To explain the connections we first identify keys words which are repeated. Key words will the be same. similar, or related words. Once we have words in each text highlighted, go back and look for words that are the same, similar, or related between the two introductions. One set of words stick out, “prophets,” and “disciples.” Both share the role of leading people to God. These two words actually set the tone for each introduction. Other thoughts, which are not highlighted here are related. The creditor plays the same role in the story with Elisha as the Pharisees and teachers of religious law do in the story with Jesus. Based on the key words, the main focus in 2 Kings 4:1-7 is on the oil and jars. It’s a little difficult to explain exactly what oil represents in the Bible, so for the time being we will restrict its meaning to context. The next set of key words show that context. God provided oil to pay the widow’s debts to a creditor and save her sons from slavery. Notice – we are not claiming oil represents anything, but letting the context explain why God gave it to the widow and how she used it. Compare this to how the religious leaders tried to restrict Jesus and His disciples.

    Obviously the key word in Matthew 15:1-9 is, “tradition.” This key word has to relate to Elisha and the widow. How is the answer explained by the other key words in Matthew 15:1-9? Father, parents, and mother are also repeated. Mother is a direct connection to widow. Father and parents expand on that theme. Jesus explains how man-made ideas replaced God’s Word. The same applies to the widow. Did the creditor follow God’s law about credit and debts? Remember, debts were forgiven and slaves set free after seven years. We don’t know all the details or circumstances the widow faced – the details didn’t seem important – God was showing His concern and ability to provide no matter how people changed the rules. Just before Jerusalem fell to Babylon, God gave the city one last chance. If Jerusalem freed all their slaves, God promised to spare the city. The leaders agreed. They freed all the slaves. Shortly after Babylon left, with no threat outside the city gates, they reinstated slavery. That was the last straw. God handed Jerusalem over to Babylon. God can move an army of thousands as easily as he can send a stream of oil flow from a single container.

    Not only do these two chapters show how God’s laws will be laid aside for man-made traditions, together they show the lack of compassion the world has. Jesus expanded the subject to father – mother – and family, which places a direct contradiction on the lack of compassion the creditor had on the widow and her sons. If the widow would have lost her sons, her land, home, livestock, business, everything was next. Together these verses show the motive of the creditor in 2 Kings 4. The introductions show the world’s motives. The summations show God’s motive.

    2 Kings 4:42-44 NLTse One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.” (43) “What?” his servant exclaimed. “Feed a hundred people with only this?” But Elisha repeated, “Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the LORD says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!” (44) And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the LORD had promised.

    Matthew 15:29-39 NLTse Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. (30) A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. (31) The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel. (32) Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” (33) The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” (34) Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” (35) So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. (36) Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. (37) They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. (38) There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. (39) Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.

    Its not by chance 2 Kings 4 and Matthew 15 summations share the same theme. They’re so close they hardly need an explanation – but provide the ideal example showing how important it is to study within context. Who knew Elisha was the forerunner of feeding more people with less food? The parallel stories get more interesting when we look at the similarities. One of the first we see – both Elisha and Jesus had leftover bread – a spiritual lesson you can cover on your own. Notice how Elisha had faith to tell his servant to distribute the bread – even tough it looked like it would never be enough. Elijah’s servant doubted at first, but followed orders. This is a lesson Jesus’ disciples should have known, but for some reason they missed it. That’s why Jesus tested them. The example was in scripture long before the disciples were tested by Jesus. Remember, God always gives the answer before He tests you. The widow already had the oil, as well as the widow Elijah met already had flour and oil. God works with what He already gave you. Don’t ever forget that.

    I love the way God’s lessons build and build to a climax. This only happens when we study by following the simple rules of context. Who would have imagined all these stories linked together like pieces of a puzzle giving us a full view of the scene God prepared for us long before any of us were born.

    Long ago I told you what was going to happen. Then suddenly I took action, and all my predictions came true. For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze. That is why I told you what would happen; I told you beforehand what I was going to do. Then you could never say, ‘My idols did it. My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!’ You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard. They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’ “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth. Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. I will rescue you for my sake– yes, for my own sake! I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols! (Isaiah 48:3-11 NLTse).

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1 Samuel 17:34-37 Lion and Bear

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 26, 2016


1 Samuel 17:34-37 Lion and Bear

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NLTse (34) But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, (35) I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. (36) I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! (37) The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”

I had a feeling this story about David had something to do with Jesus, but I had no idea how to put together a study. For one thing, I couldn’t think of a way to locate parallel texts in the New Testament. Looking at words repeated in the texts, it became obvious David was comparing the lions and bears he fought in the field to the Philistine. I knew the word lion is used in the New Testament, but where bear is used didn’t fit the same context. I found one verse in the New Testament that fit the context of 1 Samuel 17:34-37.

1 Peter 5:7-9 NLTse Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (8) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (9) Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Its easy to identify the lion as our great enemy, the devil. All you need to do is search the word lion in a Concordance or a computer Bible program to find corresponding New Testament texts. But there are a number of texts to choose from. How do you know which is correct? By looking at the context. Does the reference texts have the same theme as the subject texts? Compare the main theme.

1 Samuel 17:34-37

I have been taking care of my father’s sheep

The LORD who rescued me

rescue the lamb from its mouth

will rescue me from this Philistine!

Notice how the main theme is established by repeated words and phrases with the same concept? Supporting texts MUST convey the same thought.

1 Peter 5:7-9

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Notice how the word, “care,” forms a relationship between the two verses. There is also a speculative connection. 1 Peter 5:9 mentions the word faith, which is also the underlying theme of 1 Samuel 17:34-37. David is conveying his faith to king Saul. David is not asking Saul to trust in him, but God.

Once a relationship is formed between the Old Testament prophecy and the New Testament fulfillment, other related texts sharing the same theme can be located. Supporting texts should include supporting words in addition to the key word, in this case, “lion,” to ensure all the texts are related. David also used lions as a spiritual symbol.

Psalms 10:1-11 NLTse O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? (2) The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. (3) For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the LORD. (4) The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. (5) Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies. (6) They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!” (7) Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. (8) They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. (9) Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. (10) Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. (11) The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”

You may be asking why additional texts are required. The answer is obvious. To provide additional information. A lion is a symbol representing Satan and his followers. First of all, we see Psalms 10:1-11 is connected to the subject texts by the words, “lion,” and, “mouth.” In this example, lions and mouths are used as a spiritual symbols. A new word is repeated, “helpless.” This helps to identify the condition of people spiritual lions, wicked people, attack. It’s important to know how helpless we are against these people. In essence, the Bible is turning us back to God for protection. This follows the theme in 1 Samuel 17:34-37. Other proof texts emphasize this concept of worship.

Psalms 17:9-13 NLTse Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. (10) They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! (11) They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. (12) They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart– like young lions hiding in ambush. (13) Arise, O LORD! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!

Psalms 17:9-13 also shares a series of key words with 1 Samuel 17:34-37. We also see how Psalms 17:9-13 builds upon Psalms 10:1-11 by sharing the word, “wicked.” Each proof texts builds upon the other by adding more detail. Some are warnings, other texts remind us about the support God offers. One feature is missing, a clear connection to Jesus. How does 1 Samuel 17:34-37 relate to Jesus and His ministry?

Psalms 22:13-18 NLTse Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. (14) My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. (15) My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. (16) My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (17) I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. (18) They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.

Psalms 91:11-13 NLTse For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. (12) They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. (13) You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

Psalms 22:13-18 and 91:11-13 are clearly prophecies pointing to Jesus. Psalms 22 points to Jesus on the cross. The lions point to religious leaders who put Jesus on the cross. They followed Jesus for years trying to find something to use against Him. Why did they follow Jesus to spy on His ministry? It seems the world was filled with false Messiahs at the time. One after another popped up and faded away. Some organized military uprisings. Others made predictions which failed to evolve. After a while they faded away. There was no reason for the religious leaders to give any of those false Messiahs the attention Jesus had to put up with. So what did Jesus do to attract all that extra attention? Its simple, Jesus healed a leper. When Jesus healed him, He told the leper, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Mark 1:44 NLTse). Most people miss the lesson in Mark. Following a simple Bible study rule, we look at the introduction to find the theme of the chapter. “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way.'” (Mark 1:1-2 NLTse). The entire chapter tells about the messengers God sent to announce Jesus’ ministry. Its amazing how scripture is opened up when read within the context it’s written.

Why did a leper lead the priests to impose such a unprecedented resistance to Jesus’ ministry? After all, isn’t a leper on lowest wrung of the social ladder? The fact is, the priests never saw a leper healed. They only account of a leper being healed is recorded in scripture when God healed Miriam and Naaman was healed by following Elisha’s direction. The priests could have looked at those scriptures two ways. God was the only one to heal a leper, or a prophet received the power from God. Either way, once it was verified the man was a leper, the priests were faced with a decision.

Put yourself in their place. What would you do if someone appeared, claiming to be the the Messiah? They heard the story before, but this one was different. He healed a leper, and sent the leper to the temple to offer a sacrifice. The answers were limited. Of course all the leading priests were called together to debate the situation and plan the best course of action. A man comes out of nowhere. They knew little about what the man was preaching. He had a connection with another strange man calling himself John the Baptist, who already established a strong following. John had two messages. He claimed to be the one chosen to announce the Messiah and his preaching centered on exposing the priest’s preaching as corrupt. Some priests suggested Jesus is attempting to claim He is a prophet. Healing a leper should confirm His claim, but other priests insist if God sent a prophet, He would send him the the leading priests. Some of the priests insisted Jesus was another in the long line of people claiming to be the Messiah. Once again the priests insist the Messiah would come to them. They thought the Messiah had to work through God’s established church. Since Jesus made no attempt to work through the priests, in their minds there was no chance He could be a prophet or Messiah.

Something bothered the priests about the leper. The first problem they had to solve was figure out what ceremony to preform. The priests had no choice but to look at scripture for the answer. Once they found out the ceremony for the leper is the same as anointing a priest, there was no way they could bring themselves to conduct a public ceremony. The priests were afraid the people might get the wrong idea. How could God place a leper on the same level as a priest? After a long debate the priests decided gathering more information was the only course to follow. They sent out spies to gather information as well as plant seeds to lead the government to believe they couldn’t trust John or Jesus.

At first glance the priests thought they would quickly put an end to Jesus’ ministry. A few well worded sermons would take care of most people. It shouldn’t take long to gather a list of mistakes Jesus made to expose Him as a fraud. The priests left their meeting confident their well laid plans would result in an acceptable solution within a few weeks. But as days and weeks passed, Jesus’ following grew. It didn’t take long for the priests to see they had underestimated their opponent. Jesus didn’t stop at healing a leper. Reports of Jesus healing all kinds of diseases and casting out demons were being circulated all over the region. Jesus’ ministry was growing like wildfire. There seemed little the priests could do but sit and watch. Unless, they could expose Jesus as a fraud.

The priests had no choice but to take matters into their own hands. They had no choice but to go out and listen to Jesus preach themselves. Everyone they sent failed. Some went as far as crossing over to their enemy. Leading priests put in long hard hours following Jesus, listening to Him, and questioning Him. No matter what they tried, Jesus always had a way of turning their words against them. The priests had to create a new plan. It was soon evident, the only way to deal with Jesus was to kill Him. Secret meetings were held to plan the best course. The longer it took, the more control the priests lost. Privacy was not an option. The priests had to recruit anyone who could help them.

Eventually the priests received a break. One of Jesus’ disciples sold Him out. It cost the priests more than they cared to spend, but they had no choice. Now that they found out where to arrest Jesus in the still of the night, avoiding crowds, they had one chance to make their plan work. Every detail of the trial had to be planned. Long hours went into planning and rehearsals. At last the moment had come.

Jesus’ trial was a mockery. Not much different than His experience at the hands of Rome’s guards. The high priest showed up, intentionally neglecting to wear Israel’s breastplate of judgment. The show piece didn’t fit into his plans as he cut a small slit in the collar of the triple hem sown around the heck opening on the ephod he wore. Strange he cut so close to the neck while neglecting to wear God’s symbol covering his heart. Some of the priests noticed the preparation put into the trial and thought it was strange.

Once they convinced Pilate to crucify Jesus, they followed Him to Golgotha, gathering close to the cross to see their nemesis suffer as they shouted challenges and insults. Like lions they stalked their prey. The site and smell of blood drove them mad.

Like David, Jesus fought and defeated His own lions before He was crowned King. God’s first chosen son, the Levites failed to successfully represent the Messiah. Instead they rejected and crucified Him. It took thousands of years, but God’s plan of salvation was back on track. You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NLTse).

Posted in Bible Study rule, Christian Book, Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled, Simple Bible Studies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ruth 4:17-22 Boaz the Father of Obed

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 24, 2016


Ruth 4:17-22 Boaz the Father of Obed

Ruth 4:17-22 NLTse The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. (18) This is the genealogical record of their ancestor Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron. (19) Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. (20) Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. (21) Salmon was the father of Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed. (22) Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David.

As we already know, words are repeated to draw our attention. Did you ever notice how names are repeated in certain genealogical orders recorded in the Bible? This prophecy about Jesus takes us to the first chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 1:3-6 NLTse Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. (4) Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. (5) Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. (6) Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).

Why was it important to record Jesus’ family line? When we look back on Jesus’ genealogy, there are few names we recognize. It seems all of these people had their ups and downs. None of them was perfect. What important roles and lessons did some of these people teach us? At times it seems like God recorded their history for us to learn from. Are we learning, or do we accept their problems and short comings as human nature that will never change?

Look at Judah. Why was he chosen as one Jacob’s son to carry on the line to Christ? Judah had a sorted background to say the least. When we look at how he contributed to the line leading to Jesus, we see one of the strangest stories in the Bible.

Tamar was aware that Shelah had grown up, but no arrangements had been made for her to come and marry him. So she changed out of her widow’s clothing and covered herself with a veil to disguise herself. Then she sat beside the road at the entrance to the village of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. Judah noticed her and thought she was a prostitute, since she had covered her face. So he stopped and propositioned her. “Let me have sex with you,” he said, not realizing that she was his own daughter-in-law. “How much will you pay to have sex with me?” Tamar asked. (Genesis 38:14-16 NLTse).

One day Judah decided to go into town to find a local prostitute, who turned out to be his son’s widow. To be fair, Judah had no way of knowing. It seems both parties put their interests ahead of everything. For some reason that doesn’t seem much different than any couple having sex outside marriage. The same principles, heartaches, disappointments, and misunderstanding apply no matter what the excuse.

About three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has acted like a prostitute. And now, because of this, she’s pregnant.” “Bring her out, and let her be burned!” Judah demanded. But as they were taking her out to kill her, she sent this message to her father-in-law: “The man who owns these things made me pregnant. Look closely. Whose seal and cord and walking stick are these?” Judah recognized them immediately and said, “She is more righteous than I am, because I didn’t arrange for her to marry my son Shelah.” And Judah never slept with Tamar again. When the time came for Tamar to give birth, it was discovered that she was carrying twins. While she was in labor, one of the babies reached out his hand. The midwife grabbed it and tied a scarlet string around the child’s wrist, announcing, “This one came out first.” But then he pulled back his hand, and out came his brother! “What!” the midwife exclaimed. “How did you break out first?” So he was named Perez. Then the baby with the scarlet string on his wrist was born, and he was named Zerah. (Genesis 38:24-30 NLTse).

Its rather difficult to hide a baby. Even in large, loose fitting garments they wore in those days. It seems they had a less than civilized way to deal with unmarried pregnant women. They also seemed to have a double standard. When Judah was told Tamar acted like a prostitute, he demanded she be burnt. Judah must have forgotten about his encounter with a prostitute a few months ago. Tamar didn’t forget. She took out the personal items Judah felt behind to prove who the father was. Eventually Tamar had twins. We see another twist in fate. First one baby comes out. The nurse identifies the first with a red thread. He goes back in. I wonder if he knew what this world was like and decided to hang onto a secure environment for a while longer. Then the unexpected happened. Perez was born first. Although Zerah out his hand out first, Perez was the first to draw breath. Is there a spiritual lesson?

When we look back along Jesus’ genealogical line we see only a few firstborn sons God chose. Abraham’s first son was with an Egyptian slave. Jacob was Isaac’s second son, also a twin. Judah was not Jacob’s firstborn. David was Jesse’s youngest son. God rarely chose the eldest son. What lesson do we get from Perez? The spiritual lesson is found in one sentence. The midwife grabbed it and tied a scarlet string around the child’s wrist, announcing, “This one came out first.” God is telling us we should not rely on what people say or do. We have to always focus on God’s plan of salvation. Look at how many times people tried to help God with His plan when they didn’t understand it. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. (Genesis 16:1 NLTse). Later it was Rebekah trying to help God’s plan. Thinking God’s blessing came through Isaac’s voice, she hatched a plan to ensure his blessing would fall on Jacob. Of course Rebekah opened a can or worms with problems she had no idea she would face.

Boaz also adds a strange twist to the story. Not only did he have to go through an uncertain process to win Ruth’s hand in marriage, Boaz married a foreign woman. “The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth.” (Ruth 1:4 NLTse). Boaz fell in love and married a Moabite woman. Why? God wanted the world to see Jesus’ perfection did not reply on pure Jewish blood or a spotless genealogical.

Another familiar name is David. People are familiar with some of his stories. One story we’ve heard since we were children is how David defeated Goliath. David faced a giant with only a few stones. It took only one stone to topple the giant. The stone always reminds me of when Jesus renamed Simon. Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:17-18 NLTse). Some times I wander how it may have turned out if David had a better understanding of God and went to Goliath with the same understanding Peter had when he preached. I wander if the proud giant would have seen the light.

It must have been a difficult life for Goliath. People must have feared him from the time he was a boy. Others must have made fun of him based on his size. He didn’t have a friend until some one saw a way to use his strength and size to their advantage. They taught Goliath to hate and trained him to be a warrior. That is all he ever knew in life. What may have happened if David met Goliath when he was mature enough to explain how God wanted to call him back? Instead David looked at the giant and treated him in much the same manner the rest of the world did. Instead of listening to God, or praying about the situation David listened the his older brothers and other Israelites. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” (1 Samuel 17:25 NLTse).

As David grew, so did his confidence and of course, how he relied on himself. One day he sees a beautiful woman. David already had a number of wives and prostitutes. Would one more matter? What harm could one more woman cause? Lust clouded his mind. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (2 Samuel 11:3 NLTse). Nothing curved the lust of Israel’s king. Not duty to country, God, or a friend. This time adultery led to murder. So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” (2 Samuel 11:14-15 NLTse). It’s such an important lesson God took another life so we could see the pattern. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.” (2 Samuel 12:14 NLTse). God took the life of David and Bathsheba’s son.

God’s plan of salvation takes a stranger turn when David’s second son through Bathsheba becomes king, and another in the long line to His Son, the Messiah. Why did God record the errors of such a dysfunctional family? To teach us lessons and reveal details about His plan of salvation. God’s plan of salvation is not based on anyone living a perfect life. God’s plan is not based on how good people are, or what their capabilities are. God’s plan is based on Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice.

Judah should never have fooled around with a prostitute and committed adultery, but he did. Still God used Judah’s mistake and made it fit His plan of salvation. David should have never committed adultery and killed Bathsheba’s husband. Once again God used errors to teach a lesson in His plan of salvation. Jesus died to forgive those sins. But do we look at these examples in the Bible and say, “if it was alright with David, it must be alright to sin?” Look at the price David paid. He lost a son.

I’ve seen people using these examples to justify adultery. They see someone toss away marriage vows to follow their lusts just like David did. Family and friends support them saying, “they have freedom of choice. God wants them to be happy.” Did God want David to he happy at the expense of Uriah’s life and the death of his son? Still people look at these as examples and use them to encourage others when they commit adultery. Family and friends flock together to provide aid and answers by misinterpreting scripture without prayer or guidance from God’s Spirit. It’s human nature justifying and guiding human nature. Creating standards based on their comfort level.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation–the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ–for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 2:12-15, 1:9-11 NLTse).

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Deuteronomy 29:29 The Secret Things Belong Unto the LORD Our God

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 22, 2016


Deuteronomy 29:29 The Secret Things Belong Unto the LORD Our God

Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Secret things. What do secrets have to do with the prophecies Jesus fulfilled? To find the answer we can search the key word, “secret.” This takes us to two possible answers. The first concerns prayer and helping others. Just a note. When searching key words it is best to search the King James Version which is much better at keeping key words consistent throughout the Bible. Once the verse is located, a modern version can be used which may be easier to read and understand.

Matthew 6:3-6 MKJV But when you do merciful deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, (4) so that your merciful deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret Himself shall reward you openly. (5) And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. (6) But you, when you pray, enter into your room. And shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

This verse shows prayer and good deeds in secret result in a reward. Jesus also used the word, “Father,” to show a close connection between prayer, communication with God, and people who dedicate themselves to prayer for others. There is a close connection between Deuteronomy 29:29 using the word, “children,” and Matthew 6:3-6 where Jesus referred to God as, “Father.” Combining the two shows the family atmosphere and relationship Jesus came to teach the world which is part of the story when we consider the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. Although God’s plan has many facets, its main themes are easy to understand. Jesus came to make us right with God. Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. (3) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. (Romans 5:1-6 NLTse).

As we progress through a search of texts explaining the word, “secret,” we run across one of the most profound stories in the Bible. This story had such an impact, it was recorded in three of the Gospels. Many people know it as the parable of the sower. It should be known as the parable of God’s Word. “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. (Luke 8:11, Mark 4:14 NLTse). The thing is, God’s Word was never intended to be a mystery. Go back to Genesis. God created the world, sun, moon, stars, plants and animals with His Word. We still find God in all of these. How are you converted? How did God find your heart? Was it through His Word, or thousands of words from a preacher? Nothing ever changes with God. His Word has always brought creation, hope, restoration, healing, security, and more to those who know Him. When we find God’s Word, we find understanding. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.

Mark 4:21-25 NLTse Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. (22) For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. (23) Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (24) Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. (25) To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

When God repeats Himself, we better pay attention. God repeated this parable in His Word three times. Why? This marked the beginning of a new journey for Jesus’ disciples. This is where Jesus began explaining how His disciples are to understand and interpret all scripture. This began a series of lessons where Jesus led them back to the Old Testament by quoting texts which contained valuable information and lessons about studying God’s Word. Jesus’ parables, including this one about the sower and God’s Word, showed the disciples how Jesus used symbols from the Old Testament to hide the meaning from the part of the world that didn’t care. Jesus began separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff. Jesus’ parables are the beginning of the pruning process where the branches that do not produce are removed. Those who do not learn to interpret God’s Word on their own are not fit to spread His seeds. It is not a matter of learning an interpretation or two. The key is found in the process. Learning how God’s Word is its own interpreter and its own lesson book.

Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, was skilled in the use of scripture. No one knows for certain how Paul learned. It is said, Paul studied scripture at a very young age. As the book of Acts shows, Paul’s early conceptions were based on worldly beliefs. When he was know as Saul, his beliefs of the Messiah did not fit the image Jesus displayed. Saul persecuted any and everyone associated with the new movement following Jesus. Much of Saul’s anger was based on the different views early Christians taught on the prophecies written about the Messiah. Protecting his coveted interpretations was more important than life to Saul. That may have been true because it was not Saul’s life being threatened. He was the one threatening the lives of early Christians, up until the day he met Jesus.

We can’t be certain how Paul learned the truth about the prophecies describing Jesus’ life, but when he saw the light, there was no stopping him. One truth after another flooded the mind of Paul as he finally learned to read scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. People were astonished at Paul’s mastery of scripture as he quoted and explained text after text. Some people claim Paul’s early years was responsible for the way he taught. Others believe it was God’s Spirit who guided Paul through scripture. Maybe it was a combination of the two. Before he could be an effective teacher, Paul had to learn the secret things belonging unto the LORD. Paul is not s super human born with the ability to interpret scripture with one glance. If anything, Paul’s early education was a handicap. Paul had much more to unlearn than most people can imagine. More than any of the other disciples. Paul is an example of how far a person can drift away from God and still be reached. When Jesus blinded Saul on the road, it was was sign showing how spiritually blind Saul was. When he turned his heart to Jesus, scales fell from his eyes. For the first time in his life, the prophecies began to fit together in a way Saul never imagined. One by one prophecies began to unfold. Each prophecy related to stories he heard about Jesus. Maybe Saul witnessed a few of the prophecies being fulfilled. Paul explains a portion of his miraculous transformation in one of his letters. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. (Galatians 1:15-18 NLTse).

In Romans chapter 10 Paul displayed a portion of what he learned during those three years of learning at the feet of Jesus. Paul quotes scripture after scripture, doing what a modern prophet is expected to do. Paul did what Jesus taught him to do, sending people back to scripture where the mystery and secret things of God will be found, reviewed, and revealed.

Romans 10:8-10 NLTse In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: (9) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NLTse (11) “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. (12) It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ (13) It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ (14) No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. (15) “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. (16) For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. (17) “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, (18) then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. (19) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! (20) You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Romans 10:13 NLTse For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

Joel 2:27-32 NLTse Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. (28) “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. (29) In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants–men and women alike. (30) And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth– blood and fire and columns of smoke. (31) The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the LORD arrives. (32) But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as the LORD has said. These will be among the survivors whom the LORD has called.

Romans 10:14-15 NLTse But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (15) And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Isaiah 52:5-10 NLTse What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. (6) But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.” (7) How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! (8) The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem. (9) Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the LORD has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. (10) The LORD has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.

Romans 10:16 NLTse But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “LORD, who has believed our message?”

Isaiah 53:1-6 NLTse Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? (2) My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) He was despised and rejected– a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (6) All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

Romans 10:17-18 NLTse So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (18) But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.”

Psalms 19:1-5 NLTse The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. (2) Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. (3) They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. (4) Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. (5) It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.

Romans 10:20-21 NLTse And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” (21) But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

Isaiah 65:1-7 NLTse The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. (2) All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. (3) All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. (4) At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. (5) Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. (6) “Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them– (7) both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the LORD. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!

Paul had no need to go into elaborate details or provide detailed explanations. His letters contained all the answers. People had the answers in writing. All they needed to do is look at scripture and rely on the Holy Spirit to fill in answers to their questions. This is exactly what Jesus did during His ministry. When people claim they do not understand Paul’s letters it is because they read them and rely on their own minds to provide a personal interpretation, The first thing most people do is consult a different Bible translation. How is a different translation going to make a portion of scripture clearer? The only way to understand is to look up the original texts Paul quoted. If the Pharisees would have looked up 10% of the scripture Jesus quoted, they never would have hung Him on the cross. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever.” They are written in God’s Bible for our review. “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

All you need is one Bible version, but make sure it highlights Old Testament scripture when it is quoted in the New Testament. Some versions will print Old Testament scripture in BOLD letters. Other versions may us quotation marks. (“…”). Study Bibles will most likely place a small number known as a superscript at the beginning or end of the quote. The number will correlate with a chain reference number usually in the center or bottom of the page which will lead you to the texts Paul quoted. Online and computer Bibles usually have a reference guides or commentaries attached. One of the most useful is the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge. It is a chain reference of related texts. In today’s modern age there are more tools available than at any time in history. Isn’t it about time we begin using these tools so we can understand the mysteries, know the secrets of God, and teach them to our children?

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Deuteronomy 18:15-19 Raise Up A Prophet

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 21, 2016


Deuteronomy 18:15-19 Raise Up A Prophet

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NLTse (15) Moses continued, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. (16) For this is what you yourselves requested of the LORD your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’ (17) “Then the LORD said to me, ‘What they have said is right. (18) I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. (19) I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.

The biggest question about this texts is, who does it point to? Does this prophecy apply to John the Baptist, or Jesus? Are both answers correct? Can both answers be correct? Does it make a difference? Both point to Jesus’ ministry. One to the introduction. The other to Jesus Himself.

John the Baptist:

Matthew 11:9-10 NLTse Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. (10) John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.’

Mark 11:29-32 NLTse “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. (30) “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” (31) They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. (32) But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet.

Luke 1:67 NLTse Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

Luke 1:76-77 NLTse “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. (77) You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

Luke 7:26-28 NLTse Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. (27) John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.’ (28) I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”

Jesus:

Matthew 13:57 NLTse And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.”

Matthew 14:5 NLTse Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.

Matthew 21:10-11 NLTse The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. (11) And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:46 NLTse They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

Luke 7:15-16 NLTse Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (16) Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.”

John 6:14 NLTse When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”

Luke 24:18-20 NLTse Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” (19) “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. (20) But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.

Now you’ll notice, there is not a single verse where the author identifies Jesus as a prophet. There are a number of verses showing people identified Jesus as a prophet. John and Jesus share one common trait. Religious leaders disliked both. Both were killed for what they believed in and what they taught. How many of the disciples faced similar fates? How many prophets were rejected because of the message they were given? Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:36-38 NLTse).

Many of those prophets delivered messages about Jesus. People did not understand God’s messages when they were delivered. They did not believe the prophecies when they were fulfilled before their eyes. Generations later people are still misinterpreting, misunderstanding, rejecting, and ignoring messages men died for, including Jesus. No wander this prophecy includes the words, “You must listen to him.” God reminds Israel, they turned down the opportunity to be a nation of priests. They did not want to talk to God themselves. They turned down a personal relationship with God. What parallel exists between God freeing Israel from Egypt and our understanding of the salvation Jesus offers? Why do people look at the event as an entire nation delivered from Egypt? Why are people afraid to look at the story in a personal manner? Did God deliver a nation, or a group of individuals?

In Egypt, people suffered as individuals. They worked during the heat of day as an individual. They suffered the lash as an individual whose back was scarred for life. Husband and wife felt anguish as they saw their sons taken from their home to work in far away fields and mines. Worse yet, they saw their daughters abused. They prayed as individuals, wandering why they their lives seemed of little value. Emotions, pain, sorrow, disappointment, and hope were all experienced on the individual level. Why do people prefer to look at this event as a record of history and view it on a corporate level? How can people ignore individual struggles and the lessons they hold? How can people forget and still say they are following God? Can God ever forget? Are these the type of stories God is waiting to share whenever we decide to have an individual conversation with Him? Are we still afraid to face God on an individual level? Maybe that is the reason people look at lessons on a corporate level. They don’t want to think about individual struggles or learn lessons by communicating with God on a personal level.

What is the connection between Israel asking Moses to stand between them and God, and today’s Christian religion? Some religions claim the law was done away with at the cross. The same people claim there is no reason to read and review the Old Testament. They claim it was for the Jews. They follow this course claiming they are Christians and only need to follow the New Testament. What about the 20 to 25% of the New Testament pointing back to the Old Testament? What about the hundreds of Old Testament texts quoted in the New Testament? If these people read the Old Testament, they would see how they are acting exactly like Jews traveling to the promised land. They want someone standing between them and God. Instead of Moses, they pay a priest or pastor to talk to God. They show up an hour or so a week to get filled in on the news, just in case God has a message. They don’t notice, the same messages are repeated year after year. How can an infinite God run out of material? I don’t know. After studying for more than 30 years, God has never failed to show me something new everyday.

So you don’t need a personal relationship with God. You don’t feel a need to study what Jesus taught. God knew that long before you were born. God added, ” I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.”

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. (Galatians 1:6-12, 6:14-16 NLTse)

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Deuteronomy 11:18-22 Teach Them To Your Children

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 19, 2016


Deuteronomy 11:18-22 Teach Them To Your Children

Deuteronomy 11:18-22 NLTse (18) “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. (19) Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (20) Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, (21) so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors. (22) “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

This is another Old testament text with a New Testament parallel. Before crossing over to the promised land, Moses told the Israelites, You must love the LORD your God and obey all his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands. Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the LORD your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm. They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land. (Deuteronomy 11:1-3 NLTse). Jesus repeated the command just before His ascension.

Matthew 28:20 NLTse Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

After Jesus died on Friday near evening, Joseph and a few others took Him to Joseph’s tomb and quickly prepared His body for burial just as the sun was setting. Jesus rested in the grave on Sabbath. After the sun set on Sabbath, Mary and a few other women went about the town collecting spices to anoint His body. Even though Mary anointed Jesus with her perfume and tears, it didn’t seem like enough. As Mary and the other women struggled with the heavy load of spices they gathered, they saw a flash of lightening across the early morning sky and felt the earth shake. Dropping the spices along side the road, they ran to Jesus’ burial cave. Looking from a distance they saw a man dressed in shimmering white sitting on the stone he rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. The angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7 NLTse).

Without hesitation the women ran to tell Peter and the other disciples they knew. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:9-10 NLTse). The women were able to overcome their fears to deliver the message they were given. What kind of spiritual lesson can we learn?

The disciples refused to believe Mary and the others. A little while later a couple of men came to the disciples, telling them how they met someone along the road, what He taught them from the scriptures and how they finally recognized Jesus when He gave thanks for the meal they prepared. The disciples still refused to believe. Finally Jesus appeared to them. They could not help but recognize Jesus, but asked to see the wounds. Why did it take so much evidence before the disciples believed? Was all of this arranged so the disciples would never forget? Was the lesson necessary to prepare the disciples for the ministry in front of them? Were these events arranged as a lesson for us?

Among other reasons, Jesus came to teach the world the truth about God’s law. Is there any kingdom on earth without laws? Why would some religious leaders insist God rules His Kingdom without rules? Why do others insist God’s law was temporary? How can anyone suggest God changed His laws to accommodate this world? What about the rest of the universe and God’s countless number of angels? “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today. But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NLTse).

When we look back a few verses in Matthew 28, we see a distinct connection between the Old and New Testament.

Matthew 28:16-19 NLTse Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. (17) When they saw him, they worshiped him–but some of them doubted! (18) Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. (19) Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Moses told Israel to, “Teach God’s law to their children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” In the New Testament, Jesus told His disciples to, “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” Has anything changed? The first place to begin is within the home. God’s Spirit first works with an individual. The first training ground is the home where the process and techniques are refined. Can a home without rules ever become a guiding light to the world?

Jesus taught adults, including His disciples, they had to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught Nicodemus, he had to be born again. Once we look at the Old and New testament text we not only understand the lessons Jesus taught, but are reminded how important it is to teach children. In Eden, Eve was given enmity, a hatred for Satan, the enemy. This was to ensure her desire would always be for her husband and children. A desire to protect her children by teaching them to observe God’s law and commands. As we teach our children, we not only equip them with defenses necessary to guard against Satan, but to be disciples for Christ.

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Numbers 13:23 Grapes and a Staff

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 17, 2016


Numbers 13:23 Grapes and a Staff

Numbers 13:23 KJV And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

Few people consider this a prophecy about Jesus, but the key words, grapes and staff lead us straight to other, clearer prophecies and events in Jesus’ life. As with other prophecies about Jesus, this also teaches a number of simple study methods. The first is one from of an inductive method of study, looking for words which are the same, similar, or related. In this example we find two words related to grapes.

Isaiah 65:8 KJV Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

New wine is a term to describe untainted grape juice. This is an important term to learn when studying other prophecies. Isaiah tells us a blessing is found in the new wine. When we look the New Testament, we find what pure wine represents. After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. (Luke 22:20 NLTse). To understand the blessing new wine in Isaiah 65 represents, we need to look at the introduction and summation of the chapter.

Isaiah 65:1-2 NLTse The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. (2) All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.

Isaiah 65:23-25 NLTse They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed. (24) I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! (25) The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

New wine represents God’s blessings. His willingness to respond, be found as He waits with open arms. God is ready, willing and able to answer our prayers. Which prayers? What is God’s answer? “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy.” (Isaiah 65:17-18 NLTse). God intends to deliver the promised land He has prepared for His people.

What attitude did the spies have before they went into the promised land? They were given a great deal if responsibility. They were chosen as the first to enter the promised land and bring back an accurate report. Did they ? There were two reports. One verbal, the other spiritual.

As we look back in scripture we see how God revealed Himself to Israel. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply. (Exodus 19:18-19 NLTse). The spies saw God’s glory and power. They saw His miracles in Egypt. They saw Him part the Red Sea and destroy Egypt’s army. There should have been no doubt, God the Creator of all Heaven and earth freed them from slavery. What was their reaction to God showing His power? And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” (Exodus 20:19 NLTse). Instead of trusting God, they feared Him. Did they have the carry the same fear and mistrust into the promised land? But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:31-33 NLTse).

Did they think God was helpless against the giants they saw? Were they answering the proverbial question, can God create a rock so huge He cannot lift it? Where was their faith? Where was the faith of the people listening to them? They missed the blessing supported by the staff.

Staff is another word which takes us to a story about Jesus’ ministry. Jesus commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: (Mark 6:8 KJV). What did the staff represent in this text? When we look back at previous texts in Mark’s Gospel, we find Jesus teaching His disciples how to understand all parables. One of the lessons they had to learn was how to pay attention to Jesus, what He was teaching, and rely on the Holy Spirit. When the disciples were sent out to minister to others, they had nothing to rely on expect the staff, a reminder of what Jesus taught them. With no money or food, no place to love, they had to rely totally in the Spirit to provide for all their needs. During their journey they relied on people touched by God’s Spirit to provide their needs. In most cases they could hardly provide for day to day needs of their family. Families had to extent their trust beyond what they were able to see they could endure. This taught the disciples lessons they would need once Jesus ascended to Heaven. The staff reminded them of the trust they learned from minute to minute, day to day.

We find another text explaining what a staff represents which is a much clearer prophecy about Jesus.

Zechariah 11:7-16 MKJV And I fed the flock of slaughter, even the poor of the flock. And I took two staffs for myself; the one I called Kindness, and the other I called Union. And I fed the flock. (8) I also cut off three shepherds in one month; and my soul was impatient with them, and their soul also despised me. (9) And I said, I will not feed you; that which dies, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off. And those left, let them eat, each woman her neighbor’s flesh. (10) And I took my staff Kindness, and broke it apart, to break My covenant which I had made with all the peoples. (11) And it was broken in that day; and so the poor of the flock who were watching Me knew that it was the Word of Jehovah. (12) And I said to them, If it is good, give My price; and if not, let it go. So they weighed My price thirty pieces of silver. (13) And Jehovah said to me, Throw it to the potter, the magnificent price at which I was valued by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of Jehovah. (14) Then I broke My other staff Union apart, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (15) And Jehovah said to me, Take to yourself yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. (16) For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those going to ruin, nor will he seek the young, nor will heal that which is broken, nor will he feed that which stands. But he shall eat the flesh of the fat and tear off their hoofs.

Between the two staffs we see a simple, unmistakable prophecy about Jesus, the price paid to betray Him, and how it was used to buy Potters field. “They took the thirty pieces of silver– the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.” (Matthew 27:9-10 NLTse).

Jesus was betrayed in the same way the blessing between the two men on the staff was betrayed. God showed Israel a blessing. He showed them how He was going to fulfill His promise, and they turned it down. This is exactly what happened to Jesus. God showed the world exactly how He is going to fulfill His promise of taking all of us into the promised land. Instead of accepting Jesus, one of His disciples betrayed Him. The priests, Pharisees, and all religious leaders rejected Jesus the same way ten spies reject the promised land.

As with all the prophecies about Jesus, this one shows us how to use associated words to locate texts that will explain the spiritual meaning as well as locate texts explaining how the prophecy was fulfilled. We did not have to use any other source beyond the Bible. This shows how the Bible with the Spirit is able to explain prophecy in much greater detail than we are able to imagine. Many more details are contained within the Bible than in anyone’s imagination or any other source. This shows us exactly where to place our trust so we are able to accept God’s promises and know He is able to accomplish everything in His own way, time and in His own way. “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27 NLTse).

 

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Leviticus 22:19 An Offering Without Blemish

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 16, 2016


Leviticus 22:19 An Offering Without Blemish

Leviticus 22:19 KJV Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.

When people see this verse, they immediately know it is a prophecy about Jesus. But how do we show people how the prophecy was fulfilled? If you were to explain how Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, what verses would you show people? If you didn’t know, how would you find them? The easiest way is to search the most obvious words which are, “without blemish.” This leads us to one obvious text.

1 Peter 1:18-19 KJV Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

How do we know these two verses are used within the same context? How do we compare context between two chapters, especially one in the Old Testament, the other in the New? The same method used to compare any context, look at the theme of each chapter. The theme is introduced within the first few verses of a chapter.

Leviticus 22:3 NLTse Give them the following instructions. “In all future generations, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean when he approaches the sacred offerings that the people of Israel consecrate to the LORD, he must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 22 contains instructions for Aaron and his descendants, the priests assigned to minister in the Tabernacle. The command of remaining clean, God established with the priesthood, also applied to the sacrifice. We see evidence of this in the description, a male without blemish. The theme of Leviticus chapter 22 relates to the condition and reverence of both the sacrifice and the priests offering it. The introduction in Peter’s first letter discusses the same subject, remaining clean in the presence of God.

1 Peter 1:2 NLTse God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.

Based on a simple observation of the introduction found in the first few verses of each chapter, we see Leviticus chapter 22 uses symbols pointing to the sacrifice of Christ, while 1 Peter chapter 1 describes it in greater spiritual detail. The animals without blemish were symbols pointing to Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. We also see a reference to Aaron, the high priest and the awesome responsibilities he carried. Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You, your sons, and your relatives from the tribe of Levi will be held responsible for any offenses related to the sanctuary. But you and your sons alone will be held responsible for violations connected with the priesthood.” (Numbers 18:1 NLTse). The high priest was also a symbol pointing to Jesus. “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.” (Hebrews 4:14 NLTse).

How do we explain how a physical lamb with no physical blemishes is a symbol pointing to Christ? When we read a few more verses in Leviticus 22 we find additional details describing the sacrifice. “Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.? (Leviticus 22:24 KJV). How do we explain the connection between the physical and spiritual? Was Christ offered as a physically perfect sacrifice? What verses comes to mind? One of the most detailed prophecies of Jesus is found in Isaiah. “My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected– a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” (Isaiah 53:2-3 NLTse). The entire chapter is a prophecy about Jesus, telling us, Jesus did not come to this world in a physical appearance the world would expect. Because of His physical appearance, we turned our backs on Him. Is this the physical imagine pointing to a perfect sacrifice?

Are there other verses about Jesus’ physical appearance that come to mind? What about His physical appearance just before His crucifixion? “So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:26 NLTse). Think of this in physical terms of inspecting a lamb offered as a sacrifice. Would a priest accept an animal whipped nearly to death? Maybe there was more to this than what we have considered. Although the texts shows Pilate ordered Jesus whipped, did the priests know this was the normal procedure used by Rome? What about another Old Testament text? “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 21:23 KJV). It seems the priests knew enough about scripture to be dangerous. Did the priests turn their backs on Jesus and despise Him so much they did everything in their power to ensure Jesus could not be a sacrifice without blemish? Was it their plan to mark Jesus and hang Him on a tree, the cross, so He could not be the perfect sacrifice they used in their services? It seems the priests planned to have Jesus hung on a cross. Before Pilate had a chance to make a decision, they convinced the crowd to free a violent prisoner and sacrifice Jesus. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!” Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:20-22 NLTse).

Reviewing these texts shows us the physical struggle Jesus endured. How do we look at the spiritual, which is the fulfillment of the physical? The first place to look is the original chapter. “And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.” (Leviticus 22:21 KJV). We find the word perfect substituted for the phrase without blemish. When we search perfect offering we find: The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer.” (Hebrews 10:1-5 NLTse).

There is no better book to study than Hebrews to understand the relationship between the symbols used in the Tabernacle and how they were fulfilled by Christ and His ministry. Knowing these relationships exist is one thing. Studying them, knowing how to explain them, and sharing them with others is fulfilling the role of Jesus’ disciple.

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Leviticus 17:10-11 Blood is the Life

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 16, 2016


Leviticus 17:10-11 Blood is the Life

Leviticus 17:10-11 NLTse (10) “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, (11) for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.

As with most prophecies about Jesus, we not only find a part of God’s plan of redemption, but a vital lesson teaching us how to properly understand God’s Word.

Looking at these texts we see two parts to the message, a warning and a penalty. Both Israel and foreigners are warned about drinking blood. The penalty is separation from the community.

Leviticus 17:12 NLTse That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood– neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’

Leviticus 17:14 NLTse The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.

Once again we see God repeating Himself with key words pointing to the obvious fulfillment recorded in the New Testament, but with a completely different view of the spiritual fulfillment of the symbol. The key words, drink and blood lead us directly to one verse.

John 6:52-59 NLTse Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. (53) So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (54) But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. (55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (56) Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (57) I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. (58) I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” (59) He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Imagine yourself as a witness to this scene. Who was Jesus talking to? What was going through their minds as Jesus taught this strange doctrine? Look at the setting, the contrast between Jesus and the religious leaders. How were they dressed, the expressions on their faces, how they expressed themselves with their tone of voice and body language. Look deeper. What purpose did this meeting serve in God’s plan of salvation?

The religious leaders had been following Jesus for only a short time to determine if He was a prophet or not. Based on the fact Jesus went to the poor, common, sick, and foreign people instead of the religious leaders was evidence enough for them to arrest, try, convict and condemn Him. All they wanted was some proof, evidence He was teaching doctrine contrary to what they believed. It seemed Jesus was giving them the evidence they were looking for. When the religions leaders heard Jesus talking about eating flesh and drinking His blood, they immediately remembered Moses’ law. “The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.”

The religious leaders imagined Jesus was some kind of fanatic sent to lead people into some form of pagan religion eating flesh and drinking blood to honor their idol. They never stopped to look at the spiritual meaning. They never stopped long enough to see if Jesus had a reason to make such a statement. But why would Jesus make such a statement about Himself? Was it intended to attract pagans? Why did He make this statement in a synagogue? To find the answer we have to examine all the clues by looking ahead in the chapter to find the result.

Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” (John 6:60 NLTse). Not even His disciples understood what Jesus was saying. Remember, Jesus was always teaching His disciples to take what He was saying and compare it to scripture. In this case, it appears Jesus may be breaking one of Moses’ laws. But was Jesus telling them to physically eat His flesh and drink His blood, or was Jesus referring to His flesh and blood as symbols?

Jesus was aware his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:61-63 NLTse). Jesus knew many of His disciples were confused. Jesus knew a war was raging in their minds as well as their hearts. He knew this war would rage until His coming, that is the first piece of comfort He brings His disciples, the promise of His return. Jesus also reminds them how He taught them to look at parables. Not through the eyes and imagination of the world, but the knowledge of the Spirit.

“But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. (John 6:64-66 NLTse). When we look carefully at the physical words in these texts, we see one fact few people consider. There was a group of people following Jesus who did not believe Him. Satan did not place all his confidence in a single human being. He knew how unreliable they were and how quickly they could change. He was a master at swaying people, and had seen his share of victories turn to defeat. Satan would not place all his hopes of victory on a single person. Sometimes it may be necessary to separate yourself from those who never want to look past their own wisdom. These people will not only hold themselves back from spiritual growth but do everything in their power to discourage everyone around them. Was this one instance? Is this why Jesus told this story about His body and blood, to separate the nonbelievers?

Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” (John 6:67-70 NLTse). Peter sums up everything for the other disciples. They can see beyond the physical to the spiritual meaning of the symbols, just as Jesus was taught them. He knew the flesh and blood represented the Word, and eternal life. They also saw the relationship between Jesus and His Father. Why couldn’t the people who left see or understand those simple concepts? Would they ever have a chance to understand after turning their backs on Jesus?

Let’s examine the symbols Jesus used during His last supper with His Disciples. Just before the Passover, Jesus invited His disciples to dinner. One Symbol. Before they ate, Jesus poured a basin of water preparing to wash their feet. A second symbol. As Jesus knelt before them, embarrassment overwhelmed each heart. As they watched their Master take each foot, gently washing it in the small pan, a strange feeling gripped their heart. They wished Jesus would do anything else, washing their feet seemed to be too much. Then He took some bread, blessed it and told them to eat. This bread represented His body, the third symbol Jesus used. And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. (Matthew 26:27-28 NLTse).

Jesus used symbols throughout His ministry. Why? Was it to hide the meaning of His parables and lessons from some people? Was it to emphasis the need to reply on the Holy Spirit? Did Jesus use symbols aligning with those in the Old Testament to reveal new lessons? Did Jesus use these symbols to point back to the prophecies about Him in the scriptures?

The Pharisees thought they looked at Leviticus 17 with spiritual eyes. Little did they know there were also physical aspects they could not see. Today we know about microscopic life, disease and viruses living and spread through blood. There has always been a health related reason God instructed us not to drink blood. It is amazing how God’s Word has so much more meaning the closer we look at the facts, both physical and spiritual. It may take years to see all the minute details, but eventually we will. God willing.

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Exodus 29:38-39 Lamb Upon the Altar

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 16, 2016


Exodus 29:38-39 Lamb Upon the Altar

Exodus 29:38-39 KJV Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. (39) The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:

We know the sacrificial lamb represents Jesus, but how many of us are able to show the actual texts from the Bible to others? One easy way is to search the word lamb through the Bible until we find the texts that clearly reveals the meaning of the symbol.

John 1:29 KJV The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:36 KJV And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

As a new believer I have to look back at the previous texts to understand how this text relates to the entire chapter. Jesus, the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world. Jesus came to save all the people in this world through all generations. As I look at EXODUS 29, I see it is written as a summation of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Exodus 29:1 NLTse “This is the ceremony you must follow when you consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams with no defects.

I always asked, why does Aaron the high priest and his sons need a bull as a sacrifice while the rest of Israel requires a lamb? Does this some how indicate the responsibility of the priests are greater, or are their sins more severe? Is God using a bull and the priests as another symbol? When we study the word bull in the Bible we find another prophecy about Jesus that uses bulls as a symbol.

Psalms 22:12-18 NLTse My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! (13) Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. (14) My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. (15) My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. (16) My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (17) I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. (18) They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.

The bulls in Psalm 22 point straight to the priests who put Jesus on the cross. Why were common people able to see this connection while the high priest who sacrificed the Son of God remained blinded to its true meaning? The evidence continues in even more stunning detail as Exodus 29 explains how the high priest is dressed.

Exodus 29:5 NLTse Dress Aaron in his priestly garments–the tunic, the robe worn with the ephod, the ephod itself, and the chestpiece. Then wrap the decorative sash of the ephod around him.

This tells us another prophecy about Jesus’ trial. If the high priest had the breastplate of judgment strapped across his chest, he could not have torn his clothes. This is true on the physical and spiritual level. If he had worn the breastplate, he would have received an answer from God. This is another illustration showing when people disobey God, He still has a way of making their choices serve His plan. The physical mistake made by the high priest is explained in the Gospels.

Mark 14:63-64 NLTse Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? (64) You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”

I can imagine people hearing stories of Jesus’ trial just after His ascension, and the Holy Spirit leading them to scriptures showing how the high priest should have been dressed. One additional text they would have found is: “Make the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue cloth, with an opening for Aaron’s head in the middle of it. Reinforce the opening with a woven collar so it will not tear. (Exodus 28:31-32 NLTse). Everyone would have recognized this as a prophecy, seeing there is no way the high priest should have been able to ripe his clothing. God knew what the high priest was going to do and made it impossible for him to ripe his cloths if he followed the law. The high priest had to cut the ephod before the trial. This showed the high priest’s had a predetermined concept of the prophecies concerning the Messiah and condemned Jesus before the trial began. Everything pointed to one conclusion. The priests considered their opinion more important than listening to God’s Spirit.

Another prophecy in Exodus 29 points to the beginning of the priests prejudice toward Jesus. Then slaughter it, and apply some of its blood to the right earlobes of Aaron and his sons. Also put it on the thumbs of their right hands and the big toes of their right feet. Splatter the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. (Exodus 29:20 NLTse). This is the same ceremony for a leper who has been healed. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: (Leviticus 14:14 KJV).

When Jesus healed the leper in Mark chapter one, He told the leper to go to the priests. “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Mark 1:44 NLTse). Jesus told the leper to present the offering for a public testimony. We are not told if the priests conducted the public ceremony or not. If they had, at the very least they would have publicly endorsed Jesus as a prophet. But prophets do not heal, they only direct people to God who heals. After talking to the cleansed leper, the priests had every reason to investigate the situation. It was their role to protect their flock. What frightened the priests? Instead of investigating with an open mind, did they proceed with prejudice?

As a new believer I cannot help but wonder how deep the message in the introduction and summation of this chapter really are. The beginning of the chapter lists the sacrifices necessary to ordain Aaron and his sons. The summary at the end of the chapter show us how God, and Jesus will walk among us. I can’t help but see the messages inside this chapter and wonder how others viewed this after seeing Jesus die on the cross and rise from the grave. It must have been very emotional to read the end of this chapter and consider all the details pointing to Jesus’ life, trial and sacrifice.

I will meet the people of Israel there, in the place made holy by my glorious presence. Yes, I will consecrate the Tabernacle and the altar, and I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, and they will know that I am the LORD their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the LORD their God. (Exodus 29:43-46 NLTse).

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Exodus 16:21 Manna

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 16, 2016


Exodus 16:21 Manna

Exodus 16:21 KJV And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

After a number of plagues Pharaoh finally gave up for a time, letting Israel go free. It was an answer to a question Moses asked when he first approached the man he grew up with as a brother. To me it rose the question, why couldn’t Moses reach someone he grew up with as a brother? Look at the discussion when Moses first approached Pharaoh. After his presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went to meet with Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.” “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2 NLTse).

What is the lesson? We all seem to experience the same problem, members of our own family do not know God. It seems this is a lesson repeated time and time again in Israel’s journey through the wilderness. With all the miracles God performed before their eyes, Israel’s faith remained small. God gave the head of the household the responsibility of performing the detailed ceremony for the Passover to show them the role of the priest in the family was not only a right, but a requirement.

After going through all of these experiences, many of the Israelites showed how much their confidence grew in God. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'” (Exodus 14:10-12 NLTse).

Looking back a few verses we see how some people doubted, being more concerned about themselves more than God’s plan. Not only had they failed to see God’s power, they also misunderstood the reason behind the sequence of events. “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:2-4 NLTse).

Don’t we often have the same problem. Isn’t this the reason many people try to avoid God when a trial first arises? We try as hard as we can to fight and worry our way through a problem while the Creator is only a prayer away. We trust and rely more on our limited wisdom than our original manufacturer. If only we knew the plans and details God puts into solving our problems. If we did, we may never worry about, or let those situations get to us.

As Israel journeyed to the promised land it became evident they had not planned properly for the trip. After all, they had no idea where they were going or how long it would take. After a few days the little food they brought ran out. They went to Moses, complaining as usual. If one man’s faith was growing, it was Moses. He turned to God and prayed. He knew God would answer. Moses knew God had a plan.

As God looked down at the more than one million people following Moses out of Egypt, He knew exactly what He was going to do. Part of His plan was to wait a little bit to test each individual faith. Some were going to complain no matter what happened. Others waited for real trials to show up before complaining. Many of them could endure the trial for a time before eventually joining what seemed to be the majority of complainers. How many endured until God moved His hand? Did their joy and praise reflect their faith in God? In a way there is a parallel between testing of Israel’s faith and Jesus’ parable of the sower.

When the time was right, God brought bread from Heaven. We are told the Israelites had no idea what it was and called it manna, which means, what is it? Is this also a type of prophecy? John explains what this manna from Heaven represented. It was not only physical food, but also taught a spiritual lesson.

John 6:33-35 KJV For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. (35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

It seems the simple message about this bread is often misunderstood. Jesus had to explain exactly what this means. Today everyone claims to know what the bread represents but do they understand what it means to never hunger or thirst? This was such an important point, Jesus went on to explain it in more detail.

John 6:49-51 KJV Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

When we look at what Jesus is explaining, we see He is referring to His sacrifice, which gives us eternal life. The flesh Jesus gave was His life. How do we eat Jesus’ flesh, His life? How many aspects and details does this cover? All of them?

We need to have Jesus living in our hearts, minds, every part of out physical body and spiritual life. We consume Him through His word, like this study. Every time we open His Word, the Spirit prepares a feast. Jesus comes to our hearts, knocks, and can’t wait to sit down and dine with us. This spiritual connection feeds our faith. He answers our prayers, solves our problems, send us blessings though nature, relationships with others, unexpected blessings, every aspect of our lives. Like Israel’s journey through the wilderness, God knows the trials we will face long before we see them.

What other ways do we take Jesus into our lives? How do we take in His spiritual bread and water? What would our lives be without His influence in our life? Are their parts of our lives we still insist we can manage better than Jesus? Why did the manna in the wilderness melt away when the sun rose.

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Genesis 6:14 Pitch

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 16, 2016


Genesis 6:14 Pitch

At times prophecies about Jesus are difficult to find. Then one day the Spirit will point out a single word. Studying the Bible on a computer has made Bible study much easier. All you really need is a King James Version with a Concordance. Many programs include a Strong’s Concordance which allows you to quickly look up the original Hebrew or Greek word. Along with other information, this will provide the definition which can help you understand the text in a new light.

Understanding any text requires one important and simple step, reading the previous texts which will reveal the context. Many people have a misconception of what context means. In simple terms, context refers to the overall lesson the chapter or story is teaching. Following is one example in which the context will reveal the meaning of one particular word which will show how this text is actually a prophecy about Jesus.

Genesis 6:14 KJV Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Looking back at the previous texts we see God speaking directly to Noah. God told Noah the world had reached a point of wickedness and He had no other choice but to destroy it. What kind of world do you think Noah lived in? What do you think went through Noah’s mind when God told him about destroying the world and all living creatures? Why do animals have to suffer because of man’s sins? God instructed Noah to build an ark. He gave Noah plans and dimensions. Do you think God gave Noah more design details than those listed in the Bible? When the ark was finished, Noah covered it with pitch, a black tar to seal the wood.

It must have been a sight to see. There in the middle of a field along side a forest where so many trees were cut down to supply lumber, stood this huge boat covered in black tar. It must have been a menacing site. The huge black figure standing out in contrast to the blue sky. This wasn’t the only black figure God used as a significant symbol in the plan of salvation. The outside covering of the Tabernacle was made up of black skins. Why did God use black to cover these two structures? He Concordance reveals some very interesting information about the black pitch that covered the ark.

I noticed the word pitch is repeated in Genesis 6:14. Why? All I know is, when God repeats Himself, we should pay attention. So I decided to look up the word in Strong’s Concordance and guess what I found?

PITCH: H3722 ëÌôø ka^phar kaw-far’

A primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: – appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

The original Hebrew word has more than one meaning. Strange as it may seem it can be translated as bitumen, or tar, as it is in this verse, or it can be translated as an atonement. In most other verses in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word ka phar is translated as an atonement. When God writes a story, He makes certain all the physical and spiritual aspects are explained. Not only was the ark waterproof, but covered with an atonement. Is this another prophecy about Jesus?

Noah was told to take his wife, sons, and their wives into the ark. He was also told to put a pair of every living creature in the ark, seven pairs of the clean animals. I wonder how Noah knew which were clean and unclean. God must have instructed them before the flood. Once the ark was loaded, the LORD closed the door behind them. (Genesis 7:16 NLTse)

What do you think it was like inside the ark? A small family gathered together among two of every animal in the world. Did they know they would be in the ark for more than a year? Did they know they would face the worst storm the world would ever see? It must have been quite the experience. The first time anyone in the world was put out to sea in a storm that lasted for nearly a year. After the rain stopped, winds covered the world to dry up a portion of water. The waves must have been enormous while the changing land masses heaved up and down in the most violent earthquakes the world will ever know. How could Noah have designed a ship to endure such forces on his first attempt? Such a task would have been impossible for any man.

What did the family feel on the inside of the ark? Tossed around month after month. Were they able to get up to feed the animals? Were they able to light a lamp or did they make the entire journey in pitch black darkness?

God used darkness to mark a number of the major events of this world. The world began in darkness. Before the rains in Noah’s day the world saw clouds blot out the sun for the first time. During the Passover in Egypt a thick darkness covered the land as the angel of death visited the home of every first born that was not marked by the blood of the lamb. God covered the land in darkness as His Son died on the cross. What will the condition of the world be just before Jesus returns in all His glory?

How did it appear to the people in the world during the flood when suddenly clouds appeared from no where darkening the sky, shutting out the sun, and then the rain came. When did fear set in? At the gathering of the clouds, the first drops of rain, when the water gushed up from the earth? They were warned for year and years. The warning went on long enough to spread out over the entire world. Now the flood was apparent. Did fear increase with the height of the water? People looked on as all their possessions, everything they gathered over hundreds of years disappeared before their eyes. Soon there was nothing to do except seek higher ground in the driving rain.

The rich lived in much larger, taller homes built upon the slopping hills so everyone could admire their wealth. As the water rose the rich looked down at the people around them lost to the flood. They peered out from their lavish homes as structures below were swallowed up. As the water rose they moved to higher levels in their homes. They looked out at all the people they used to build their wealth. Many of their prize possessions were already lost to the flood. They suffered great anguish at their losses and feared for their lives. Did they finally pray to God when they saw all was lost? Was it too late? Was salvation lost outside the ark?

It is strange. The word atone is only found once in the New Testament. When we look at the Old Testament we find many people and sacrifices atoned for Israel’s sins. Among them are the many animal sacrifices. We find an atonement is a reminder. Before the sacrifice was offered, hands were placed on top of the head of the sacrificial animal and the person offering the sacrifice would confess their sins. The New Testament uses a different term, redemption.

Luke 1:68 KJV Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

Luke 21:28 KJV And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Every atonement had one purpose. All of them were symbols pointing ahead to Jesus. They reminded every sinner a Savior was coming. They gave the hope and promise, God had a plan. His Son Jesus was the sacrifice every atonement pointed forward to. Not one of the animal sacrifices had the ability to remove a single sin. Only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus had the power to remove all sins. Jesus paid the price to redeem His people from the powers of sin and death. To deliver them from the sins and influence of this world.

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Listeng to God’s Voice

Posted by Ez1 Realty on February 22, 2015


  • Isaiah 25:6-9 The LORD’S Banquet

    Isaiah 25:6-9 NLTse In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. (7) There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. (8) He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! (9) In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”

    What crosses your mind when you think of God’s banquet? Do you think of the banquet Jesus is preparing in Heaven? Do you think about the emotions you’ll feel when you see Him serving? What impression will that make on you? Do you think about the food laid out on the table? How many varieties of nuts will there be? Almonds, pecans, cashew, pistachio, Brazil, Hazelnuts, and more. Fruits of all varieties. Apples, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, pears, peaches, apricots, persimmons, figs, dates, papaya, and many more we never heard of. They are all different. Eat all you want! God will make more. We haven’t even mentioned vegetables. What a feast. How will grains be prepared? How many varieties of fresh bread will there be?

    Is that the only feast you think about? Is that the only feast you want to attend? Is the feast in Heaven the only banquet your concerned about? What about the last supper Jesus shared with His disciplines before He was taken to the cross? Do you think about those lessons or do you wait for someone to explain the details? Don’t you think about your reaction when Jesus bends over to wash your feet? Would you have listened when He tried to tell the small group about what was about to happen? Do you listen now when Jesus tries to explain the prophecies He fulfilled? Are you listening or are you numbered with the majority of Christians claiming God doesn’t talk to us anymore?

    What about the banquet Jesus invites you to everyday? Do you ever think about the table set in the Tabernacle? The small personal table Jesus sets to invite you to diner and a chat. Do you accept His invitation or are you like people in the parable? They were too busy to attend a wedding banquet the king planned for his son. What happened to those people? It seems everyone is concerned with one person wearing the wrong clothes. No one wants to think about those people who decided not to attend. That lesson is too personal. The point cuts too close to the heart to pray about or preach.

    People say bread on that small table in the Tabernacle represents God’s Word. Do they think Jesus only offers one type of bread day after day? Is that why people want to turn down the invitation? Did the god they serve run out of lessons to teach, experiences to share, and love to give? Or is life too busy, too many other more important matters to think about, too many issues Jesus won’t understand because He grew up in another time and age, too many problems in life you want to solve yourself, or maybe it’s a lack of interest, or a lack of love. Maybe it’s a lack of, faith, or knowledge about Jesus. Why do people turn down His invitation day after day leaving Jesus to dine alone, waiting for your company?

    When we examine the key words it’s not difficult to see banquet and feast stand out. The difficult part is finding a chapter with the same theme in the introduction and summation. In other words the same context and lesson. The New Testament has a number of stories about banquets. A quick search of banquet and feast will show a number of parables about banquets as well as accounts recording details of the last dinner Jesus shared with His disciples before the cross. There is also a description of the banquet prepared in Heaven after Jesus’ return. Most of the parables point to that banquet in Heaven. They all use a number of spiritual symbols. One of those chapters with a parable about that feast prepared in Heaven contains an introduction and summation with spiritual ties to Isaiah 25.

    Luke 14:16-24 NLTse Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. (17) When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ (18) But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ (19) Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ (20) Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ (21) “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ (22) After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ (23) So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. (24) For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.'”

    This is the simplest parable in the gospels explaining the banquet Jesus taught about. Some writers say a king prepared a wedding feast for his son. Luke kept the details simple, repeating only a few key words, banquet, excuse, and servant. In this translation servant is singular which placed a different view on the story. Many people will agree the man represents God, the banquet here shares the theme of the wedding feast, which points to Jesus’ return. Now look at the excuses and symbols which are not repeated, but related on spiritual terms. The first man wants to work in his own field. What is that telling you? On the spiritual level the field represents the world. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse).

    Isaiah is leading us into an unexpected study once we investigate the impact those banquets have on our lives. Where are you at on your Christian walk? Are you still into the milk of the word? When I challenge people to step up, they often use the excuse they are not at a level to share the word. They are only qualified to share information given to them by their preacher or conference to share. They don’t know how to talk with God. Most people have no idea the pathway to God’s throne is open to them. Either that or they don’t like to face the severe honesty it takes to face God.

    Approaching God’s throne is an easy process. All you need to do is follow simple instructions in Hebrews 10 and other parts of the Bible. Plead for and accept the cleansing of Jesus’ blood. Ask Him to cover you and wash your sins away. Ask Jesus to make you clean so you can approach God’s throne to sit at His feet and learn. Then LISTEN.

    When you approach God’s throne, Satan will cast all his seeds at you – all the cares of the world. Satan will tell you – you deserve an answer on this or that. Satan will fill your mind with a thousand distractions and do anything to keep you from hearing God’s voice. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NLTse). What are your thoughts on? Satan wants you to fail. He wants you to ask God for a hundred favors. Satan wants your prayers to focus on what God can do for you and neglect asking what you can do for God. Satan does not want you to see or hear the knowledge He is holding out for you. God is your Father. For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:16-17 NLTse). God wants to do more than solve your problems. He wants you to understand everything about those problems and learn from them so you don’t repeat mistakes. That way you’ll be equipped to help teach others. It’s such a simple process. If you are not hearing God and He is not taking you into visions to show you stories in the Bible related to problems you face and the studies you are working on, you need to begin right away. You can’t delay. You’ve already wasted too much time, wasted too much of your life and missed too many opportunities to serve God. That was the main reason Judah was sent to Babylon. They had to learn how to serve. They also had to learn how to look for the Messiah when He arrived. That’s why Daniel was given a vision. It contained a message to the Jews in Babylon. It showed them not only what to look for in the Messiah, but when to look for Him. How much more could God have done? People we’re just not listening. You can decide to either repeat those mistakes or learn from them. All of this is so simple I can’t see why the world doesn’t understand. Sometimes I feel the world does not want to listen. Like the parable says, people were too busy making excuses.

    Pray to Jesus in the evening and the morning and throughout the day.

    Pray out loud whenever you can.

    Night time is time to rest and get away from this world.

    Take this time to reconnect with God.

    God can reach you through His Word.

    Read scripture in the evening and in the morning.

    Keep in contact with God like a friend.

    God communicates through a series of events.

    Look for patterns in His Word, your life, and world events.

    Pay attention to conversations with people. God also communicates through people.

    Approach God’s throne by praying to Jesus to cleanse you with His blood.

    Lay your sins in front of Jesus.

    Listen to what He has to say.

    Ask Jesus to purify you and place you at the foot of God’s throne.

    Ask about a few subjects one at a time and wait for an answer.

    Ask God about scripture you are studying.

    Listen to scripture that comes to mind.

    Pay attention to parallel themes.

    Pay attention to parallel events in your life and the world related to the subject your studying.

    Learn to identify and suppress distractions while in prayer.

    Don’t let your mind wonder.

    Repeat the details you learned.

    Write to keep a record.

    Other details will come out while writing.

    Learn to share.

    With a little practice you’ll be able to listen to God’s voice in ways you never imagined. While praying about scripture your studying, pay attention to scenes in your mind. Look at people, their reactions to events, the scene they are in, clothes they are wearing, how they are considering choices their facing. Soon you’ll be seeing details in single scenes as well as how they relate to other stories in the Bible. And as always, consider context. Once you begin seeing how God’s Spirit is able to relate stories from different books and time periods, you’ll understand God’s timing and develop skills to see repeated patterns you never saw before, as well as gain a respect for God’s Spirit few people are brave enough to experience.

    When you dine with Jesus are you going to stay with milk or are you ready for meat? In the Bible meat refers to anything solid. You can read the details in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Two of the major offerings for the Tabernacle consisted of the first fruits and a second offering before the final harvest. There is one thing about milk you have to realize. Milk will do nothing to produce more milk, cattle, or anything. If you are stuck on milk you will never be able to produce anything. Look at the first fruits. A cherry has one seed to produce another tree which will make more cherries. Other fruits have many seeds. Consider the pomegranate. If you’ve ever eaten one you know it’s filled with seeds. This is the reason Jesus used pomegranates in the Tabernacle. Pomegranates have very little flesh. They hardly seem worth the trouble to eat. Jesus used this as a symbol of His humility. Jesus takes very little for Himself because He placed the majority of His attention on the seeds He planted.

    This translation shows the servant as singular. Luke wanted to emphasize the point Jesus is the one who came to invite us all to the banquet in Heaven. Even when Jesus invited people like the priests and Pharisees, they looked for excuses not to believe, not to accept the invitation He extended to them. After everyone was invited there was still more room. God will always make more room like the food He has prepared for the banquet. Eat all you want, God will make more. This also shows the invitations have to continue. Jesus pointed to our work and cooperation in His ministry. The most important thing about the invitation is what people will see and experience. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever!

    What does it take on our part? Isaiah tells us God only requires a little trust from us. In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” Remaining on milk and refusing solid food with seeds to spread is doubting God and His ability. It’s not our works that change people, it is God’s. All we need to do is become a living example and deliver messages God designed. One more detail we need to review is shown in Isaiah’s introduction to chapter 25.

    Isaiah 25:1-5 NLTse O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. (2) You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. (3) Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you. (4) But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, (5) or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.

    Isaiah opened this chapter like no other in his book. This introduction mirrors many of David’s prayers in Psalms. It may seem strange to find an introduction explaining important aspects of prayer in a chapter containing a prophecy about the banquet God is preparing, but how do you plan on making it to that banquet? What steps are you going to take? We know Jesus is the bread of life. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51 NLTse). It goes a lot deeper than believing Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus’ life represented much more than salvation. “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NLTse). Jesus meant more than physical bread… we need much more than a casual knowledge of Jesus and a prayer for the salvation He offers. We have to know His Word. We have to commit ourselves to preparing our heart, mind, and soul to be His servant.

    Praise to God has to be personal. It has to come from the heart. It has to be real and tangible. It takes practice. Soon you will see a direct relationship between your praise for God and the answers He gives you. Praise God for everything. Praise Him for your house you live in. Praise Him for all the times He came trough for you when all looked hopeless. Review the details and how God arranged a sequence of events to teach a lesson as well as see you through rough times. Praise God for your family and friends. Praise Him for the moments you spent alone with Him. Praise God for the message and beauty He sent through a sunset. Praise God for the messages He gave you and the people He sent you to. Review little details in your praise. The more you praise God the more you will see His protection and tender loving care – the easier you will hear His voice. Notice how God always seems to do the unexpected? Notice how problems are solved in ways you never imagined? Notice how God sends you to people you never expected? God reaches out to more people in more ways than anyone can imagine. It is like the generous variety of food He prepares for His banquet. God not only loves diversity, He also loves, cares for, and reaches out to all individuals as we see in the Introduction to Luke 14.

    Luke 14:1-6 NLTse One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. (2) There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. (3) Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” (4) When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. (5) Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” (6) Again they could not answer.

    There are two questions that instantly come to mind. What does the introduction to prayer in Isaiah have to do with Jesus eating dinner with a Pharisee? The other question is what dinner is Luke referring to? Luke’s simplicity brings to mind a number of dinners recorded in the gospels. One day Jesus met Matthew and told him, “follow me.” Matthew got up and not only followed Jesus, he was so excited he invited Jesus to dinner and invited all his friends. Being a tax collector the only people who associated with Matthew were other tax collectors. This was early in Jesus’ ministry when priests and Pharisees only started to gather information on the man who healed a leper and send him to the priests to administer the offering. Eating with tax collectors was a mark on the negative side as far as the religious leaders were concerned.

    Near the end of his ministry Jesus had dinner with Simon, a man Jesus cured of the leprosy. During that dinner Mary came in to anoint Jesus for burial and wash His feet. Some people at that dinner were not happy with a sinner like Mary being around while they were eating.

    At another dinner four men lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof of the build, placing him right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:5-11 NLTse).

    What did those dinners have in common? Religious leaders opposing Jesus were present. Here is a very important point you need to learn before you understand Isaiah or any of the other books of the Bible. Isaiah is a lesson book unlike other books in the Bible. Isaiah communicated with God in many ways. Isaiah teaches us how God communicates with us. God spoke to Isaiah. God also gave Isaiah visions. God also communicates in dreams. Isaiah also shows us how to see common threads in the Bible. Isaiah also teaches us how God’s Spirit leads us to other common threads. Here we see common threads in dinners Jesus attended. Jesus healed people at each of those dinners physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Those were points religious leaders couldn’t see. Now ask yourself why. The answer is plainer than you think. Those religious leaders did not communicate with God. What would God’s Spirit tell them about Jesus if they knew how to listen? How much do people miss today if they don’t know how to communicate with God? If they don’t know how to listen to His voice?

    Those religious leaders forgot how to pray. Compare yourself to them. We all make the same mistakes. We all think it’s no use talking to God about what He already knows, or details we think we have figured out. The most important aspect they forgot about prayer, and we forget, is confessing our sins then listening – really listening. God’s Spirit can be brutally honest. People know that. That’s why people avoid that aspect of pray. It’s called confession.

    Let’s look at the mistakes those religious made to see if we can learn a few lessons about ourselves. Put yourself in their place. Be honest about what those religious leaders thought and how they justified things they did. The sacrificial system was a big item. Their system consisted of inspecting lambs, rejecting them, paying a small price to take the animal off the hands of the sinner, then charging a high price for an animal they deemed perfect. Of course the lamb purchased from the sinner was taken around the back of the court to a waiting bin, then transferred to the bin holding perfect sacrifices for sale the next day. Those religious leaders convinced themselves it was a way of serving God by raising money for God. How much money did God get? How much of that money was used to alleviate pain and suffering of poor people, orphans, and widows? That was a second sin those religious leaders neglected to confess. They justified their neglect by convincing themselves widows, orphans and poor people were suffering vengeance from God based on past sins. Those religious leaders convinced themselves they served God by inflicting more pain and suffering on widows, orphans, and poor people, as well as lame, blind,.and sick people. Religious leaders created their own little world where they lived lives of luxury with additional privileges, while people they were supposed to serve suffered under heavy burdens. Another piece of their plan was convincing themselves part of their role in serving God was to go to extremes showing how God blessed them. Those religious leaders led a life masquerading like priests, while no one with as much authority and responsibility was farther from God then themselves.

    That was one example showing how people drift from God. The distance is small at first. Change a rule here, another there. Finally they forget to confess sin altogether. Pride is a dangerous cliff with a big drop. Now take this example and compare it to kings in Jerusalem Isaiah dwelt with. Didn’t those kings forget how to pray? Didn’t they forget how to listen to God? The Bible compared those kings to David for a reason. Alter kings in Jerusalem were not like David. What were the differences? David spoke to God. When David didn’t want to listen, God sent a prophet. David listened to the prophets then confessed his sins. David was a man after God’s heart. David could never give up His relationship with God. It would have broken his heart, like loosing his first love. God was David’s first love. The last kings in Jerusalem forgot how to communicate with God like David did. Then God sent prophets, a lot of them. They still didn’t listen. Like those religious leaders in Jesus’ time, the kings didn’t want to confess their sins, they couldn’t see their sins, they didn’t talk to God, and they didn’t listen. The Bible says they hardened their hearts.

    So what do we do now with these examples from the Bible? We’re seeing how Isaiah leads us to texts with the same theme. As we see how lessons build and expand, we learn to understand context and how God wrote the Bible. We also see how God’s Spirit brings parallel chapters together for us to see how spiritual lessons are taught using a series of examples.

    It’s easy for me to see patterns because my training and experience in engineering helped tune me into looking for patterns as well as focused my mind on learning how things are constructed. I was in engineering when drawing with computers was introduced. The first computer was as big as a room. I had to lay the pattern out on paper to calculate points, angles, and distance with a hand calculator. Then I went to the computer to draw a roll cage and cab for a new tractor design. In an attempt to make things easier, I draw half the cab then asked the computer administrator how to select and flip one half , mirroring it to make up the other half. I was surprised to hear, “the computer can’t do that.” No one thought of that. As years passed computer programs grew. We worked on one advanced system with a lot of features built in to make our job easier. Unfortunately that company didn’t corner the market like one of their competitors. As you can imagine, we had a lot of problems because customers with the more popular system couldn’t read the files we sent them. Once emailing files became popular, we had to switch to the more popular program other companies were using. I was surprised to find the most popular program which became an industry standard was missing a lot of the features the system we had been using included as standard. So I found out how to write simple programs called macros. After I finished writing macros, also known as short keys to put the features I needed into the new program, I began keeping track of processes I constantly repeated. When I noticed I used the same process everyday, I would jot down the steps on a post it note. Next time I needed to repeat that process, I entered into the macro mode to create a new short cut. I went through the alphabet with the control key, also the alternate key as well as a third method added in an updated version, the shift-alternate key combination. I created more than a hundred short cut keys to draw on a computer more efficiently.

    God doesn’t use short cut keys to reveal lessons in the Bible, but we can use lessons in the Bible to save us the trouble of learning lessons the long, hard way. What you need to do is develop skills to see patterns repeated in the Bible. The Bible is written like a song. Songs will teach a lesson or tell a story then go into a refrain, words that are repeated. The first and easiest part of a song to memorize and repeat are the refrain. Right? God repeated lessons in a rhythm. Learning a few simple Bible Study rules will show you how to find those rhythms. The easiest way to teach a child is with rhymes. Now we can look for the rhyme on the summations for Isaiah 25 and Luke 14.

    Isaiah 25:10-12 NLTse For the LORD’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. (11) God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. (12) The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.

    Luke 14:27-35 NLTse And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. (28) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (29) Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. (30) They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (31) “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? (32) And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. (33) So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (34) “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? (35) Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

    As usual, Isaiah is using symbols again. This time it is Moab. Isaiah is using Moab to send us back to scripture. Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. When the younger daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Ben-ammi. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites.(Genesis 19:30, 35-38 NLTse). We have to look a bit further back to understand why God is allowing Moab to be pushed around. It wasn’t only because of their birth. Their father had problems long before their time in the cave. We have to look at these types of symbols in a constructive manner. What made Moab what he was? Where did he get his influence and education from? Who brought him up? We can see Moab and his brother Ben-ammi grew up in isolation influenced by three people. We’re not told much about Lot’s daughters, but we are told a great deal about Lot.

    Lot left his home when God called Abram. Lot’s cattle grew much like Abram’s showing us Lot was also blessed by God. Soon there wasn’t enough grass and water for all of Lot’s and Abram’s cattle, so they decided to separate. Lot took the best fields near Sodom. One day Abram heard Sodom and a number of other nations were over thrown by a confederation of kings. After talking to God, Abram called 318 of his faithful friends to attack the vast army that carried Lot and his family away captive. Those 318 men must have had a close personal relationship with God to face the world’s largest army at that time. Even though the odds were against them, those 318 men followed Abram to victory. Not a soul was lost. Once again God led a small number of people against a large army, who days and weeks earlier defeated a number of nations.

    Later Sodom’s wickedness reached levels beyond imagination and control. God had no choice but to destroy the city. God sent His angel who visited Abram before destroying Sodom. Abram pleaded with the angel who agreed to spare Sodom if five righteous people could be found. In the end, Lot left with his wife and two daughters. The angel only found four people willing to accept his word and leave the city. Of course the experience in the cave showed how righteous Lot’s daughters were. The point is, Abram knew 318 men willing to risk their lives to save Lot and his family. Lot could not convince a single person to leave the city with him. Once Lot separated from Abram, he lost something. Lot lost the ability and drive to lead people to God. Something in Lot’s life took God’s place in his heart. The inability to share God showed up in his two sons Ben-amm and Moab.

    It’s not difficult to see the Lesson in Isaiah 25 repeated in Luke 14. Lot took the best for himself but never really thought ahead in spiritual terms. Lot saw fields of green grass and an abundance of water for his cattle translating into profit for himself. Lot not only took his eyes off Abram, he took his eyes off his duty to God. Once again we see God using a contrast to teach a lesson when we compare Abram’s victory to Lot’s failure. By the way, whatever happened to all of Lot’s cattle? In Sodom we find Lot living in the city. A strange place to find a shepherd. Lot left with nothing. Lot withdrew to that mountain retreat with nothing but his daughters. Everything Lot thought was important was taken away.

    That’s the same lesson Jesus was trying to teach. Sure Lot did nice things. He opened his home to strangers. But he lost the ability to reach people. How? Lot lost communication with God. Remember David talked with God. The worse things got, the more David talked with God. Lot saw the city around him falling into all kinds of sin. Not much different than we see the world today. The closing moments of Sodom showed how little Lot was able to share with his family and neighbors. Other members of Lot’s family decided to stay because they didn’t believe him. A last second show of faith is not enough to change hearts. That’s why Jesus talks about building. It takes time. It takes a foundation, walls, roof, planning, hard work, dedication, and funds. All the things it takes to build a spiritual relationship with God. Of course God provides funds, but how do we use them? To glorify God or take the best for ourselves. Think about that.

    Jesus draws our minds back to battle fields Isaiah walked through. Jesus knew the relationship between these chapters long before anyone discovered the spiritual connection. Long before they were written. Look at key words Jesus used. Construction, building, calculating, cost, complete, and finish are a process leading to and carrying the cross. Jesus didn’t tell them to know about the cross, He told them to carry their cross. To know the cost of that cross they had to carry. Jesus also repeated the word discuss to draw our attention to it. Who are you going to discuss your cross with? Does your preacher know anything about the cross you carry? Only what you can tell him about it. So the information he gives back to you can only be less than the information you give him. That’s what people do. They go to someone they trust and the image and meaning of the cross diminishes. The only way it can increase is to go to the One who knows what it’s like to not only carry a cross, but die on it.

    It wouldn’t be right to put the meaning of those symbols together without teaching you how to repeat the process so you can use it to properly interpret other symbols, not to mention using this pattern to see if interpretations other people teach are correct. How do we know Moab represented Lot’s relationship with God? Or shall we say lack of a relationship? People come up with a number of interpretations for Moab in Isaiah 25. How do we know which one is correct? How do we know Moab is a symbol pointing to Lot’s relationship with God? We learn to look at context. Moab is mentioned in the summary, so it has to agree with the introduction by following the same theme as well as teach the same lesson. Look back at the introduction. “O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.” Isaiah is praying to God. The introduction is a window looking into Isaiah’s relationship with God. Remember Isaiah is teaching us how God communicates with prophets as well as how prophets communicate with God. In this case God used a contrast to teach the same lesson. As we looked back on the story of Lot’s life we found other contrasts teaching the same lesson. This is what’s known as context. Plain and simple. It is so simple no one should forget those lessons once they learn them.

    There should be no doubt the prophecy and its fulfillment are related. It has to be. We also know key words in prophecies lead us to texts explaining exactly how its been fulfilled. There is no guess work. Since the prophecies and fulfillments are related, so are the chapters. Based on God’s pattern in His Word, the introductions and summaries are spiritually related. In this example Isaiah 25 began with a personal prayer to God. Isaiah recorded an example showing how he communicated with God. So the introduction to the parallel chapter must also teach a theme about relationships with God. Jesus showed His relationship with God in the introduction of Luke 14 which also contains a contrast, religious leaders showing the lack of a relationship. Isaiah used Moab as a symbol in the summary. Since the introduction in Isaiah 25 shows a relationship with God, the summary must follow the same theme. This shows us what aspect of Moab to use in Isaiah 25. As a symbol Moab represented a number of things at different times depending on the context. Now we see how the introduction in Isaiah 25 led us to the proper interpretation.

    How deep does the lesson go? Isaiah 25 tells us about God pushing Moab away. Why? To answer that question we can look at the contrast in the introduction of Isaiah 25. Isaiah, God’s prophet is drawing closer to God looking for an answer. Since Moab is being pushed away, context shows a lack of communication with God. Isaiah 25’s parallel chapter Luke 14 shows more details in its summary. Moab never took up their cross. They weren’t interested in measuring the cost. They didn’t lay a foundation. Moab had a history of fighting their own wars. We see another parallel between Isaiah 25 and Luke 14 in the summaries when we compare Moab pushed away like water and salt thrown away. If you look back at the two texts you can see other related words I didn’t highlight. Once we understand the lesson we can go back to see how push is related to thrown. Now you can look back at the two related texts and see a new list of related words. This gives us a brief view of measuring the cost of our cross. Part of that cost is understanding God’s Word. Part of that cost is taking time to develop our relationship with Christ and His Spirit to see one detail after another open up, then look back time and time again to see what details were missed the first time. I can tell you for a fact, every time I study, God takes me back over what I’ve learned and shows me a list of details I missed. This always happens. It will always happen when you put time into a relationship with the Infinite God.

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Isaiah 10:24-27 Break the Yoke of Slavery

Posted by Ez1 Realty on February 22, 2015


  • Isaiah 10:24-27 Break the Yoke of Slavery

    Isaiah 10:24-27 NLTse So this is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, says: “O my people in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you with rod and club as the Egyptians did long ago. (25) In a little while my anger against you will end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them.” (26) The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will lash them with his whip, as he did when Gideon triumphed over the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or when the LORD’s staff was raised to drown the Egyptian army in the sea. (27) In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.

    Once again we have another prophecy from Isaiah that seems easy to identify in the New Testament. There are a number of chapters in the New Testament dealing with the main key words, oppress, bondage, yoke, slavery, and the end of all of them. One chapter in the New Testament seems to reflect the theme in Isaiah 10’s introduction and summation much better than other chapters. Here we will study one of those chapters in detail. Another chapter is included so you can practice basic Bible Study rules and prayer on your own.

    2 Peter 2:17-19 NLTse These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. (18) They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. (19) They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

    In the prophecy, Isaiah is telling Judah not to be afraid of Assyria. Of course Assyria was a physical threat to the physical city of Jerusalem. In prophecy Jerusalem and Assyria are symbols. To reveal the meaning of the symbols we have to understand context which is maintained from between the introduction and summation of the chapter.

    Peter wrote a letter to a physical group of people, the early Christians. No one will argue with the point, his lessons extend to and beyond this day and age. Here Peter talks about people using words to lure believers into a life of spiritual slavery. People are allowed to be CONTROLLED by others offering what may appear to be sound advice.

    It’s time to look at the bigger picture. Isaiah compares the Assyrians to Egyptians for a reason. Call it a hint or a clue. Isaiah wants the reader to look beyond the written word. Not to wonder away from God’s Word, because as we’ll soon see, that is the main theme of this prophecy. Isaiah also wrote: What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. In his wisdom, the LORD will send great disaster; he will not change his mind. He will rise against the wicked and against their helpers. For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the LORD raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall down and die together. (Isaiah 31:1-3 NLTse). The main theme is to learn to trust in God. Why would you trust in powers God laid waste in the past? Compare this to the introduction of Isaiah’s book. Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care– but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.” (Isaiah 1:2-3 NLTse).

    People think it’s difficult to understand Isaiah because he keeps jumping around from the present, sending us into the past, then puts in a prophecy about the future. And he does. Isaiah skips around what we perceive as a time line. But is Isaiah jumping around God’s time line or providing spiritual lessons intersecting the same point in time? Let’s look at this from a human perspective. You have an argument with your wife? What are women good at? During a disagreement women seem to dredge up past experiences you thought were solved long ago. What is the woman doing? Most men think their wives are basically throwing all those events in their face to make the man look bad so the wife can win the argument. That’s not true at all. Remember raising a family is one of the gifts all women are given by God. Learning from past mistakes is one of the most important aspects of all growth. The wife is exercising her spiritual gift by trying to get the husband to learn from past lessons so he stops repeating the same mistakes. Come on now even false teachers who dwell on evolution use the aspect of learning to try and prove their point. The fact of the matter is, men don’t think like women because their too busy trying to defend themselves and their actions while trying to win an argument and heal their pride. Men do it in marriage, at work, and Israel did it to God. This is one of the reasons Israel turned their backs on God.

    Let me explain this in terms a guy can understand. One of your children comes to you for advice. Many fathers will come up with an explanation in record time in an attempt to look good. But does it solve the problem and does it teach the child how to think on their own? Another question is, does it include God in the process and solution? A wise man will put the problem aside until they had time to pray about it then come back with the solution which will include lessons on the process to solve future problems as well as direct their children to the ultimate source of wisdom, God. The solution may include a review of past experiences the child can understand. The father may remind the child of past problems and how they were solved. It may be personal experiences or problems others in the family or friends faced. It may include a story from the Bible. At any rate, teaching the process of solving problems will be more valuable then the solution itself especially if it included the lesson of turning to God.

    Now you can see why Isaiah included key words like wisdom, wise, knowledge, and learning grouped together in particular sections of his book. Isaiah wants the reader to reflect back on the example and see how the solution was derived. Jesus taught using the same process. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! (Matthew 13:12, Luke 21:14-15 NLTse).

    When studying Isaiah or any other book in the Bible, you have to learn to look back to see how events built to reach the situation being studied as well as look ahead to see the results of the actions. Some times people were saved and prospered. Other times they met their fate in a manner we should learn from and try to avoid. So we have to get used to the fact we need to learn and understand the process of looking back and forward, using the series of events that cross the particular time line. We have to learn how to look for events that give us information that help see spiritual lessons and learn from them. If your listening to a preacher or teacher who cannot understand or explain how God uses a series of past and present events to teach a lesson, you better pray for that leader. Isaiah saw a time when people who thought they had understanding will see the truth. Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly. (Isaiah 32:3-4 NLTse). So don’t give up hope. Don’t stop praying and don’t be like them.

    At this time I think we’ve covered enough examples to get used to the idea Isaiah as well as all the books of the Bible have to be compared as a whole before understanding spiritual details. Most people have heard the Bible Study rule of reading a book through before going back to look at the details. Isaiah takes us a few steps further than that. To understand Isaiah, you need a basic understanding of the culture, history, as well as prophetic terms. How can anyone hope to understand and claim to interpret future prophecy if they do not know, understand, and are not able to teach basic concepts of comparing scripture and events? One of the smartest things you can do is get on a program to read the Bible through from one end to the other in about a year. Mark down your start date and write in the date you finish. Read 2-3 chapters in the morning and 2-3 in the evening. Don’t worry about understanding all the details. Familiarize yourself with basic information like the main topic of each book. No need to memorize chapter and verse. All you’ll have to recall is a few basic words in a verse to locate it with a computer search program. You should be able to finish in a year. Once it becomes a habit you won’t want to stop. You’ll begin to see how your daily reading somehow has a bearing on your studies, and life events. That’s just how God’s Spirit works. Some days you’ll glide through ten chapters. Other days you’ll get hung up on one or two. Then you’ll begin to see why. God’s Spirit will arrange time so you’ll read the most prominent chapters when they relate to a significant event in your life. God’s Spirit will create an experience so you won’t want to live without His Word. Then you’ll see why Isaiah grouped together key words like, word, listen, hear, ear, lips, mouth, in the particular sections he recorded them. You’ll see how those words either brought people closer to God or drew them away.

    As we’ve already seen in this book and previous books in this series, one of the most important steps in proving a connection between a prophecy and its fulfillment is to compare the introductions and summations of the chapters. This is an important step to remember and follow. We will let God’s Spirit reveal additional study guidelines and rules when He is ready to introduce them with positive easy to understand examples.

    Isaiah 10:1-4 NLTse What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. (2) They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. (3) What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe? (4) You will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the dead. But even then the LORD’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.

    2 Peter 2:1-9 NLTse But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. (2) Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. (3) In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. (4) For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. (5) And God did not spare the ancient world–except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. (6) Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. (7) But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. (8) Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. (9) So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.

    Now its time to discuss a few of the symbols we have in Isaiah. When we compare the introductions to these two chapters it’s not difficult to see a relationship between unjust judges and false prophets and teachers. We instantly see how one chapter recording the fulfillment compliments the chapter with the prophecy. If you don’t see this type of spiritual connection, you are looking at the wrong fulfillment for the prophecy being studied. We know Peter is writing to all the new Christians believers. When we look at the key words poor and needy, that pretty described a good number of Jesus’ followers, as well as His disciples. Isaiah, as well as other Bible authors establish a connection between the poor, needy, orphans, and widows. Did you ever wonder why? What is one of the names authors use for God? They call Him Father. No where in the Bible does it refer to Satan as a father. So anyone who walks away, or is led away from God becomes and orphan. What about widows? A widow is used to represent the way the world treats God’s follower. The world looks at God’s followers as someone without protection. They can’t see God and neither can they understand His protection.

    Both chapters show God will protect the poor, needy, orphans, and widows. Even though someone wanders away from God it doesn’t mean God stops caring. If you look deep into the subject covered in those introductions, you’ll see past the fact on the surface, God will save and deliver His people. You’ll see how God is reaching out to them. Now you can see the need to understand the time line Isaiah used to teach a lesson. God reached out in the past, reaches out in the present, will continue to reach out in the future. This is one of the lessons we need to learn and apply from those texts. Now think of what you’ll learn when you understand the methods God used to reach out to people. What does God want you to learn from the methods He used and how does He want you to use them?

    When we look back at the prophecy Isaiah recorded. We see a physical army physically attacking Jerusalem. In the introduction we see the spiritual application. The broader view of this prophecy deals with more than the physical threat form Assyria and physical bondage in Egypt. Who is responsible for all of this? There is only one name we can point to, Satan. He’s called all the shots. Satan put greed into Assyria and Egypt. Satan turned them on Israel. We can ask the question, did God allow this to happen or did He direct it? That could be a difficult question to answer. For now let’s just look at what we have here and learn from the facts.

    We can see how the two chapters share key words along the lines of punish, disaster, strike, destructive, destruction, and condemned. Some of those describe what God plans on doing while others describe what people plan on doing with those they can deceive. At any rate, Satan is the one behind all the destruction. He caused it, and will one day face destruction. We see how Satan uses physical means of destruction as well as words. He will creep in any way he can and use anyone he can. Satan will use any weapon at his disposal. Most of us understand how Jesus had to show us and the universe how far Satan will go. For some reason God has to let Satan go so far before He will stop him.

    We’ve seen how crafty Satan can be. Solomon forgot to pray and wound up with a pagan in charge of building the temple. The foreman he used from Tyre and Solomon’s wives we able to introduce a lot of pagan symbols which replaced symbols left behind in God’s Tabernacle. Jeroboam went to Egypt and took enough symbols and traditions out of Egypt to send Israel into a tail spin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. (2 Kings 16:10-12 NLTse). At every turn Satan used every trick at his disposal to either eliminate, punish, or trick people. Words may be one of Satan’s most powerful and deceptive weapons. That’s why Peter included some wise words telling us how important a personal relationship and study of God and His Word should be for us. “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place–until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:2-8, 19-21 NLTse). This seems like a fitting way to conclude this study, but we still have the summations to compare.

    Isaiah 10:30-34 NLTse Scream in terror, you people of Gallim! Shout out a warning to Laishah. Oh, poor Anathoth! (31) There go the people of Madmenah, all fleeing. The citizens of Gebim are trying to hide. (32) The enemy stops at Nob for the rest of that day. He shakes his fist at beautiful Mount Zion, the mountain of Jerusalem. (33) But look! The Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will chop down the mighty tree of Assyria with great power! He will cut down the proud. That lofty tree will be brought down. (34) He will cut down the forest trees with an ax. Lebanon will fall to the Mighty One.

    2 Peter 2:20-22 NLTse And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. (21) It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. (22) They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”

    Your first question may be, what does cutting down trees have to do with people escaping wickedness then winding up being involved in it again? Many Bible authors including Isaiah used trees as a symbol to represent people.

    Psalms 37:35-36 NLTse I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. (36) But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!

    Isaiah 7:2 NLTse The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm.

    Isaiah 27:11 NLTse The people are like the dead branches of a tree, broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots. Israel is a foolish and stupid nation, for its people have turned away from God. Therefore, the one who made them will show them no pity or mercy.

    Remember John the Baptist when he prepared the world for Jesus’ ministry? Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10 NLTse). John was addressing the religious leaders. Peter was warning about some of those religious leaders who decided to infiltrate the new home churches to regain control. Jude told about this. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 NLTse). Satan not only has spies we can’t see but convinces people to use their own spies. This is a war of a magnitude we have to see to appreciate. Don’t forget, Satan doesn’t want anyone to see his plans.

    Up to this point we’ve haven’t looked forward in Isaiah in any real detail. So far this study has shown how people face fear, try to overcome it themselves, and forget about God. Peter also tells us how people will turn away from God to put their trust in new religious leaders. They didn’t learn a lesson after living hundreds of years under the bondage of misguided, greedy religious leaders any more than they learned a lesson after four hundreds years of bondage in Egypt. Most people seem to forget how to totally trust in God. Isaiah covers this in detail in the middle of his book.

    For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries. All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.” When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.” And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The LORD can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!” “What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the LORD. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.'” This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly– like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down. So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land. Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness. In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. (Isaiah 29:10-15, 30:1-3, 30:8-13, 30:18-19, 32:1-3, 33:5-6 NLTse).

    Isaiah tells both sides of the story, the good and bad. What happened when people turned away from God and how much God wants them to turn back to Him. How do people turn away from God like Peter warned about – without knowing they turned away? Do you hear God calling you? Do you communicate with God? Do you pray and listen? Are you in His Word listening to His Spirit? Are you helping people who need help? Are you listening to messages God needs delivered? These are only a few examples. Do you have your own personal ministry? Or are you stuck in the old form of worship letting a few people talk to God for you and handing down so called orders? Are you letting religious leaders determine what message you need to hear? Are you letting religious leaders study for you? Do you depend on religious leaders to reach out to the poor, needy, widows, and orphans? Are you trying to sneak your way into Heaven by relying on a religious leader’s relationship with God? Do they really have a relationship with God? If they did, their first order of business would be to tell you about that relationship and how you can not only share that same experience, but exceed it. There may be no greater joy than to see someone draw closer to God than you are. Time to get back to the example of a father. Shouldn’t every father want to see their children draw closer to God and learn more than themselves? Imagine teaching your children everything you know about God and your relationship with God, then watching them grow to a higher level and accomplish more than you’ve ever dreamed. It is possible with God. Now it’s up to you to look at these other texts in John to see what lessons he added in his book.

    John 8:31-39 NLTse Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (33) “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” (34) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. (36) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. (37) Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.

    John 8:1-11 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

    John 8:52-59 NLTse The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ (53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ (55) but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

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Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

Posted by Ez1 Realty on February 22, 2015


  • Isaiah 7:10-16 Virgin Will Conceive a Child

    Isaiah 7:10-16 NLTse Later, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz: (11) “Ask the LORD your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want–as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.” (12) But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the LORD like that.” (13) Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? (14) All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (15) By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. (16) For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.

    Once again we have a familiar prophecy to study. This prophecy is quoted by Matthew and referenced by Luke. Since Matthew quoted the scripture, we will limit our study to Matthew’s Gospel. When we look at the actual prophecy we notice God asked Ahaz, Judah’s king to give Him a test. It’s unusual for God to ask for a test, so this must be a special matter. Once we examine the prophecy we see a number of unusual circumstances. Looking back a few verses we see why God offered a sign. God promised to save Ahaz from the invading armies from Israel and Syria. Through Isaiah the prophet, God told Ahaz it would never happen. Ahaz refused to ask for a sign so God decided which sign to give him. All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

    You may be asking yourself why God choose this sign. This obviously points to Jesus who was born generations after Ahaz died. So Ahaz never saw the sign, but God still saved his kingdom. Why would God give Ahaz a sign that wasn’t going to be fulfilled for hundreds of years? In the first place Ahaz said he didn’t need or want a sign. In this case God granted his request and revealed the sign generations later. This leaves one explanation. The fulfillment of the sign God gave Ahaz has spiritual implications that are related to Ahaz’s experience.

    It’s becoming obvious we have to begin taking a closer look at symbols used in Isaiah’s prophecies. After all a large portion of Isaiah’s prophecies contain symbols. The next step is of course to compare the fulfillment to the prophecy.

    Matthew 1:20-25 NLTse As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (22) All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: (23) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” (24) When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. (25) But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

    Comparing the prophecy to the fulfillment the first detail we see is the prophecy was delivered by Isaiah a prophet. News of the fulfillment was delivered by an angel. Angels played a large part in this phase of the plan of salvation. An angel personally talked to Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. Angels also announced Jesus’ birth. Jesus’ circumcision was also attended by the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna. This marked a new phase in the plan of salvation as well as the spiritual battle being fought. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of details to look at. Maybe that’s why Isaiah told Ahaz, “Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?” People look at prophecies will little patience. By doing so they not only test but eventually exhaust God’s patience. Before we get into interpreting symbols, we should compare the introductions and summations. It’s important to know the context before searching for a symbol’s meaning.

    Isaiah 7:1-9 NLTse When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan. (2) The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm. (3) Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. (4) Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah. (5) Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying, (6) ‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’ (7) But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; (8) for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed. (9) Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

    Matthew 2:1-4 NLTse Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, (2) “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (3) King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. (4) He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

    Studying Proverbs showed how important it is to understand the culture. As seen in Proverbs, the meaning of a shoreline for fishermen was the same as a crossroad for most people. Since our culture is much different than that of Judah, Israel, and Syria, we have to look to the Bible to find out what God wanted us to know about the culture. The first obvious question should be, why is Israel attacking Judah?

    Israel was the name give to Jacob after he wrestled with God. At this particular time in history, Israel was the name of the ten northern tribes. Judah was the name of the two tribes left to David’s line. The split up came after Solomon. So now the LORD said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.” (1 Kings 11:11-13 NLTse).

    God gave Solomon more than all the wisdom in this world, but Solomon never learned how to use it. He married all kinds of different women thinking some of them would bring safety to his kingdom by forming alliances. By doing that, Solomon took his eyes off God, his real security. How could the wisest man in the world make such a mistake? Come on now, we all do it. Things start going well and we place God on the shelf. We think God is more like a genie we can call up when we’re in trouble then put back in the bottle until a problem comes up. We need to understand Solomon’s mistakes before we can understand Isaiah’s prophecies.

    Rehoboam was the best Solomon could come up with to succeed him as king. Of course God already told Solomon the kingdom would be split because of the mistakes Solomon made. There was a chance God would have recognized an honest effort on Rehoboam’s part to bring the kingdom back to God. But when Jeroboam confronted Rehoboam about high taxes, Rehoboam consulted with the elders who of course counseled him to listen to Jeroboam. But Rehoboam didn’t like the answer so he went to the kids he grew up with for advise. Their counsel turned out to be the wrong thing to do. Rehoboam told Jeroboam he was going to put heavier burdens on the people so ten kingdoms decided to recede.

    We have to look at what caused this predicament. Solomon married a lot of women who served idols. Think of that for a moment. How does one serve idols made of wood and stone, or silver and gold? Do the statues ask for things? Do stone images ask for food? Do wood carvings ask for ointment? Do silver trinkets demand a warmer room? Do gold idols demand sacrifices? No! They can’t talk. Idols don’t have the ability to write commands, demand traditions, or initiate doctrines. Where do those come from? They come from man’s imagination. Think of it. Any and every man made tradition, doctrine, and sacrifice is a form of idol worship.

    Seldom is enough consideration given to the effects of Solomon’s marriages. He married a thousand women who raised thousands of sons and daughters. The idol worship Joshua tried to vanquish found its way back in through Israel’s king. Idol worship spread like a cancer. No one could see the damage until it was too late. Rehoboam was a symbol of what was happening but not a detailed explanation of how far the problem reached.

    Jeroboam didn’t do much better with the ten kingdoms he led. He didn’t want to loose people to Judah by going back to the temple in Jerusalem. So Jeroboam build a couple of idols of his own, a few temples, and invented his own religion. Who knows why he choose golden calves like the one Aaron molded after leaving Egypt. Another thing happened. The Levites of course protested. Jeroboam didn’t do much better than Rehoboam when it came to taking advice. Jeroboam took his own advise and began putting down the priests protests any way he could. So in addition to the two tribes in Judah a large number of Levites fled to Jerusalem. This had a number of effects. The cities of refuge where the priests lived were set aside by God as safety zones people could flee to if the accidentally killed someone. Before the break up these should have been some of the safest cites and closest to God. There’s not a lot written about those cities but they may be an interesting study.

    Once the Levites left, Jeroboam assigned his own priests, who served in his own temple, and followed the order of worship he invented. It was nothing like the temple or worship in Jerusalem. The temple Solomon built had little in common with the humble Tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness. The Tabernacle still existed, but David took out the ark and moved in to Jerusalem. That is after a failed attempt. God wanted to give David some time to consider his actions. But David was insistent, and eventually God let him move the ark without the Tabernacle. If David would have looked, he would have found a specific order Moses recorded describing how every piece was to be prepared for any move.

    David adopted a new form of religion. He looked at the laws Moses recorded as one set for the wilderness and another set of rules for his kingdom. David crossed a dangerous path and was facing the fieriest enemy any would ever face. It was the beginning of Jerusalem’s downfall. Most Christians already heard one account or another about one mistake David made, but I’ve never heard anyone who went back, looked at the actual scripture, and saw how many mistakes David made by separating the ark from the Tabernacle. You can look at those details yourself.

    There is a strong spiritual relationship between Israel under Jeroboam and that beast in Revelation 13. Both initiated their own form of service. It’s not by accident Jeroboam left Israel for a time and went to Egypt. Then returned to be Israel’s first king when they split from Rehoboam’s kingdom. He took a lot of out Egypt with him. That’s the easy part to see. But there are spiritual implications that can be seen throughout Israel’s and Judah’s history. As well as mistakes we still see today. Those implications are revealed throughout the Bible all the way through Revelation.

    With all those priests who opposed idolatry converging on Jerusalem, you would think the city took a turn for the better. But it seems it had no positive effect. On the other hand Jeroboam had to come up with a new worship system. He initiated his own religion going as far as setting up a new day of worship named after himself. The ten kingdoms in Israel were on a fast downward spiral while Judah was skidding down a slower path. Both were pulling away from God. The message God provided by splitting the kingdom fell on deaf ears.

    Jeroboam also needed money to run his kingdom. When he split from Rehoboam, Jeroboam left all the money in Jerusalem. But Rehoboam didn’t grow up with a good example to follow in financial matters. Solomon spend money like water. He numbered and enslaved people to build his kingdom. The main emphasis in the Bible is on Solomon’s temple and palace, but look a little deeper. Solomon built thousands of homes for the one thousand women mentioned in the Bible. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The LORD had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the LORD. (1 Kings 11:1-3 NLTse). He also built countless homes for his kids. We also know Jeroboam built temples, palaces, homes, and cities. That takes money and labor. Jeroboam used the same methods to raise money and labor Solomon and Rehoboam used. The king who lead Israel to a promised freedom gave them the same old oppression under new management.

    Judah declared war on Israel in an attempt to reunite the kingdom. This of course increased taxes as well as caused a lot of new problems and grief, but God sent a prophet to Rehoboam. “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!'” So they obeyed the message of the LORD and went home, as the LORD had commanded. (1 Kings 12:23-24 NLTse). That stopped the war for a while, but God finally let them do what they wanted to do, fight against one another. The war waged on past Ahaz’s reign.

    There is one more lesson we see in this study we’ve seen in the previous Bible Study in Isaiah. Instead of looking back and using the introduction in the same chapter, we had to look forward to the next chapter. There may be a number of reasons for this. One is based on the fact Matthew’s introduction in his book recorded Jesus’ birth line. Since the last study in Isaiah showed how we need to look forward, we once again follow that step and compare the introduction for Matthew chapter 2 to Isaiah 7. Looking at them it seems difficult to see the connection. I had to pray about these details for a few days before I finally understood the answer. I don’t like using any book for Bible Study other than the Bible because I see people taking advantage and abusing the use of other books. I also noticed a lot of preachers and teachers fail to provide information on the references they use. I wonder what they are hiding. In this case we need to look at a reliable source to provide some information on history to find out the relationship between Israel, Syria, and Herod. I thought it may have something to do with Herod and where he came from. But as in most cases, when you go with what you think, prepare to be wrong. Here is a bit out of Encyclopedia Britannica and a link to read the rest of the story.

    Octavian, who had met Herod in Rome, knew that he was the one man to rule Palestine as Rome wanted it ruled and confirmed him king. He also restored to Herod the land Cleopatra had taken. Herod became the close friend of Augustus’ great minister Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, after whom one of his grandsons and one of his great-grandsons were named. Both the emperor and the minister paid him state visits, and Herod twice again visited Italy. Augustus gave him the oversight of the Cyprus copper mines, with a half share in the profits. He twice increased Herod’s territory, in the years 22 and 2 bc, so that it came to include not only Palestine but parts of what are now the kingdom of Jordan to the east of the river and southern Lebanon and Syria. He had intended to bestow the Nabataean kingdom on Herod as well, but, by the time that throne fell vacant, Herod’s mental and physical deterioration made it impossible. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/263437/Herod

    In the prophecy Jerusalem was threatened by Israel and Syria. In the fulfillment Jesus was threatened by Herod the puppet king of both Israel and Syria. After Jesus’ resurrection His disciples and followers were threatened by Rome, the emperor of Israel and Syria. With a little lesson on history we can clearly see the spiritual connection in the introductions. We also find Syria mentioned in the gospels. At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:1-2 NLTse).

    If you search the Internet on articles on Quirinius and the census you’ll find all kinds of conflicting information. After reading a few articles you’ll agree that interpreting prophecies is a lot easier than trying to read and determine which account of history is correct. Don’t forget most of the records were destroyed when one kingdom conquered another. That’s when a lot of history was rewritten from another point of view. So we should never rely on history books and historians as a reliable source. As a matter of fact, this is why I know not to trust any preacher or teacher who does not provide the source of their information. If you search historical records you’ll find conflicting accounts recorded by the same author. Many times history was recorded like news which is supposed to be an unbiased account of an event. That’s why its best to let historians, teachers, and preachers battle over the little details and not get distracted from the more important spiritual details in the lesson.

    As a matter of fact, a great deal can be learned about Syria by studying it in the gospels. I took a quick look at Syria in the New Testament and the sequence of texts spells out an important spiritual lesson. I’ll leave that study up to you. All Luke is doing is balancing the gospels with the Old Testament prophecy. The introduction and summation of Isaiah 7 records two powers at work against Jerusalem. Luke points out the fact there are two powers or symbols at work against Jesus at the time, Herod and Rome. Its much more important to concentrate on the meaning of those symbols and how they relate to the lesson than it is to argue individual dates and names. This is why Isaiah told us: Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. We see more spiritual connections in the summations.

    Isaiah 7:17-25 NLTse “Then the LORD will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!” (18) In that day the LORD will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. (19) They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. (20) In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River–the king of Assyria–and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people. (21) In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. (22) Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. (23) In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. (24) The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. (25) No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.

    Matthew 2:14-23 NLTse That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, (15) and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (16) Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. (17) Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: (18) “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (19) When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. (20) “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” (21) So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. (22) But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. (23) So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

    The summations introduce a few new symbols. We know they are symbols because we see Egypt in both chapters. It’s time we looked at some of those symbols in detail. The first to look at would be Egypt. It would make sense to first interpret the symbol repeated between the Old and New Testament. Don’t forget the simple rule, when God repeats Himself, pay attention.

    The most obvious place to look at what Egypt represents is at the beginning. And whenever interpreting symbols always remember, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbol. Egypt is actually explained in a prophecy given to Abraham.

    Genesis 15:5-21 NLTse Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (6) And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (7) Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (8) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” (9) The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” (10) So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (11) Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. (12) As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. (13) Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. (14) But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (15) (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) (16) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” (17) After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. (18) So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River– (19) the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, (20) Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, (21) Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”

    You’ll notice Egypt was not mentioned in this prophecy given to Abram, but is named in the recorded Biblical fulfillment of that prophecy. Additional proof we need to study prophecies with their fulfillment to grasp the proper understanding as well as the spiritual lessons. The people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years. In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the LORD’s forces left the land. On this night the LORD kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. (Exodus 12:40-42 NLTse). No one is sure why the prophecy says 400 years and the fulfillment indicates 430 years to the day. This is a mystery of God’s timing you’ll have to study more on. Instead of arguing dates, we’re here to look at some symbols.

    No one is sure why God told Abram; “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Instead of trying to decipher each animal it is much easier to first look at the whole story for a meaning. That is a general rule of context and an important study method. Look at the whole story then figure out the relationship between details. What linked them together? Some people look at this prophecy as if God gave Abram animals with zippers so they’d be easy to divide. Well if you look at the prophecy, Abram brought God the animals and killed them. Abram didn’t have a huge butcher band saw. If anything he had a knife and maybe an ax. Abram had to divide the entire animal, organs, bones, skull, and all. This was a gruesome task leaving Abram splattered with blood from head to toe. No wonder he laid down and fell asleep. Abram was exhausted after dividing a cow, goat, and ram.

    Now here is where is gets sticky. There are two main verses to Abram’s dream we need to compare and examine for details. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.

    The first symbol to consider describes a terrifying darkness that came down over Abram. The second details are a smoking firepot and a flaming torch. Most people concentrate on only one, the firepot also translated furnace. Some people like to interpret the firepot or furnace as God based on a few texts such as: All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. (Exodus 19:18 NLTse). Other people prefer this text to say the furnace represents Egypt. Remember that the LORD rescued you from the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession, which is what you are today. (Deuteronomy 4:20 NLTse). The fact of the matter is, this shows how all the details need to be examined as well as the context. Don’t forget, there were two items passing between the divided animals, a smoking furnace and a flaming torch. They may both be right, but are ignoring important rules of Bible Study.

    Let’s take a brief look at the animals. There is a cow followed by a goat then a ram and two birds that are not divided. The value and power of each animal diminishes. People may argue about the value and power of a goat and ram but we can refer to Daniel chapter 8 for an explanation. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power. (Daniel 8:7 NLTse). There are other prophecies dealing with decreasing value and power we can compare with the prophecy Abram received. At this point those would distract from the study at hand, identifying some of the spiritual symbols Egypt represents. You can take the time to look at those other prophecies and compare them to Abraham’s promise.

    Egypt has quite a history in the Bible. Abram was sent to Egypt during a drought. Isaac also went to Egypt as well as Jacob and his family. Abram’s first born son Ismael came from an Egyptian slave. Egypt enslaved Israel for more than 400 years. Egypt suffered a number of plagues in Exodus as well as having their army wiped out in the Red Sea. Shortly after Israel was divided Egypt came and took all the gold and treasures they lost in the Exodus out of Jerusalem and more. So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (2 Chronicles 12:9 NLTse).

    Solomon’s first wife was an Egyptian princess. Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the LORD and the wall around the city. (1 Kings 3:1 NLTse). We also see Solomon invested in horses and chariots from Egypt instead of trusting in God. Jeroboam fled to Egypt when Solomon was king and returned to face his son Rehoboam. Among other details not mentioned in this short study, Egypt also captured Jerusalem and appointed a new king. The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. (2 Chronicles 36:4 NLTse). Each of these has a spiritual significance at a specific time within a particular context. The main point is to provide the meaning to a symbol, you need to study and compare chapters to make sure the interpretation is proper and don’t ever forget to pray.

    Another important point to remember is God’s time line and how He uses it to teach spiritual lessons. Take for instance the animals Abram divided. Think of those animals as a reference point along a time line. At each point the furnace and torch would have a different effect and meaning. We can see Egypt was sometimes a threat, other times an oppression, and at times a sanctuary. To Joseph, Egypt was all three. We have to determine context to see which one applies to an individual situation. We cannot take one interpretation and apply it to every event and text. Each of those symbols used in Isaiah chapter 7 as well as the entire book of Isaiah and the other prophets have more than one meaning. This is why it’s so important to learn context before you even decide to look at any of the symbols and try to determine what they mean. You have to also learn what they mean and when they mean it. You have to understand God’s timing before your qualified to interpret God’s scripture. The previous book in the series explains God’s timing and the time line He uses in some detail. Studies on Psalms contains a number of examples to learn from. Here we still need to review some of the similarities and differences in the summations for Isaiah 7 and Mark 2.

    Isaiah introduced another interesting symbol, Assyria. Don’t confuse Assyria with Syria. They are different kingdoms and have a different spiritual significance. Here we’ll only cover one aspect of Assyria, but remember it requires a detailed study of scripture, timing, and context to determine to correct meaning.

    I think (this will almost always get you in trouble) one of the most significant aspects about Assyria is the role they played in the over throw of Samaria. Don’t forget Samaria was the capital of Israel. Most people think of 2Kings chapter 18 when Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and king Hezekiah prayed to God about the situation. That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. (2 Kings 19:35 NLTse). We learn a lot more about how and why Assyria got to Jerusalem if we look back a few chapters. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the LORD and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the LORD’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. (2 Kings 16:7-16 NLTse).

    We see a familiar name, Ahaz. It seems Ahaz funded the Assyrian army and persuaded them to attack Damascus. See the evil web they weaved? No wonder Syria and Israel joined forces. They had no choice since Judah joined forces with Assyria. We also see another important detail. Ahaz decided to copy a pagan alter in Damascus and have one just like it built to replace the alter in the temple at Jerusalem. Keep in mind Solomon didn’t use the alter from the Tabernacle but had a larger one built. Now that one is replaced by a pagan alter. Looking at the particular prophecy we’re studying here, God gave Ahaz an important sign and promised to save his kingdom.

    Ahaz took the gold and silver form the temple and palace to pay Assyria who didn’t stop at Damascus. Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:5-6 NLTse). Judah financed the over throw of Samaria, Israel’s capital. So we can see Hezekiah’s dad financed the army sitting outside his gates. Assyria quickly turned from an ally to a threat. So which would you use when trying to decide which interpretation fits the symbol in particular texts? Interpreting symbols is not as easy as some people claim it is.

    In his summation Isaiah also repeated the symbols yogurt and honey while adding the related symbol milk. We also see Jesus will be eating yogurt and honey. What else did Jesus eat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Luke 24:42-45 KJ2000). Scripture associates honey with opening up the mind and learning about all the scriptures pointing to Jesus. All of the examples here show how important it is to pay attention to the little details. You can’t take the interpretation of a symbol and broaden it out to suit some preconceived idea. The texts clearly show Jesus opened their minds and showed them scripture about Himself. All of those symbols related to honey and milk point to Jesus and the plan of salvation.

    Isaiah also repeated briers and thorns three times. When we compare those details to Matthew chapter 2 we can see how Jesus, the promised Messiah has opposing forces all around Him. Not only are those forces trying to kill Jesus, Isaiah helps us see the fact other people are under attack. Some people will see little value in Jesus while others will be fed at a time of spiritual famine. Forces represented by Egypt and Assyria will be hard at work. Its time to look at Egypt as a world power. Egypt is often depicted as the modern day nation we know today which misses the spiritual meaning. In their time as a world power, Egypt extended its reign to all the land around Arabia and much of the Mediterranean sea including parts of Greece. It was a major empire. Assyria shared equal success in their day. The symbols used here were huge empires known as world powers. Rome topped them all by conquering more than 40 modern nations. This is one reason I question many of the modern day interpretations that downscale the symbols. Its easy to see how they downscale the physical attributes of those empires. It takes a lot of study to see how badly those self proclaimed prophets downplay their spiritual significance. All they are trying to do is make themselves look important by trying to make their interpretations look simple. If you pay attention to modern day interpretations you’ll easily see how they use little if any Bible texts. When they do they often use tiny portions of a single text. Most cannot explain the entire chapter of either a prophecy or provide the spiritual explanation of its fulfillment. To think of it, they are like the burning furnace blowing a lot of smoke and making everything more difficult to see.

    In addition to the prophecy about God calling His Son out if Egypt, we see another prophecy quoted by Matthew. Our study would not be complete without locating and examining that prophecy and comparing it to its fulfillment.

    Jeremiah 31:10-22 NLTse (10) “Listen to this message from the LORD, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. (11) For the LORD has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. (12) They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the LORD’s good gifts– the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. (13) The young women will dance for joy, and the men–old and young–will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. (14) The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (15) This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah– deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted– for her children are gone.” (16) But now this is what the LORD says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the LORD. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. (17) There is hope for your future,” says the LORD. “Your children will come again to their own land. (18) I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God. (19) I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ (20) “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. (21) Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. (22) How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.”

    The first thing we notice is Jeremiah begins where Isaiah and Matthew left off, by giving us hope and a promise. The LORD, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. When we compare this to Matthew, we see how it is referring to Jesus. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NLTse). Jeremiah also promises an abundance of physical food and water which relates to the spiritual food and water Jesus provided. In the middle of the prophecy Jeremiah tells about Rachel weeping for her children which is the slaughtering of all the boys Herod ordered. Jeremiah reminds us to stay on the right path. Don’t be stupid. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. “Mark well the path by which you came. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen– Israel will embrace her God.” Do you think your on the right path?

    In this study we’ve seen interpreting prophecies is not as easy as some people would lead you to believe. I know the world is filled with preachers who base an entire sermon and their personal interpretations on a single verse or two. Is that form of study right and truthful though? Is it correct? Or is it distracting from the truth? This study has shown how the nations mentioned in Isaiah 7 relate to Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Herod was related to both Israel and Syria. Jesus also sought shelter in Egypt. There is a contrast between Jesus and Jeroboam. Both went to Egypt. Jeroboam came out with all kinds of pagan influences including the golden calves he built for Israel to worship. Jesus came out clean, uninfluenced by the population and false worship around Him. As a small boy Jesus as well as Joseph and Mary showed how trusting in God and obeying His instructions will keep you from falling victim to worldly influences. We’ve also seen how the powers in this study appointed their own kings as well as religions and priests. Herod was a king appointed by Rome. His father bought his way into favor with Rome. When we look at the big picture by comparing what those powers had in common, we see they appointed their own kings and priests without consulting God. They set their own standards. God had His way of using those powers when the time was rights. That is one detail to consider when interpreting those spiritual symbols.

    Another common theme was taxes. Taxes put Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth. Taxes also put a huge burden on people from all those nations and the nations they conquered. Where did all that treasure the conquering nations stole come from? The people. Kings don’t work or invest their money. They taxed people and collect all that money from them. There has never been a war common people profited from. War always cost the little people big time. Sure the rich and powerful profit from war, but the little people are always the ones who suffer the most, win, loose, or draw.

    We see the same problems today. It’s like Solomon said. These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. (Ecclesiastes 1: 1-4 ,8-11 NLTse). What is new? We still have taxes. We still have wars. We now see some of the worst taxes in modern history. Whatever gave the authority to governments to collect wealth and redistribute it? I don’t think there is a country in this world not collecting taxes to benefit a few rich people. What government doesn’t support major oil companies a few major banks and lending institutions, and a never ending list of others? Sure we see some governments providing aid when we see a major catastrophe. What churches provide in funds is like a drop in the bucket compared to what governments are able to give. Where are the churches? Maybe churches could do better if the people weren’t taxed 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more. As a matter of fact governments use taxes to control religions. That’s the major reason most religious organizations won’t speak out against corrupt governments. Churches fear loosing their tax free status governments give them. If they lost their tax free status the government would tax the church 30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more on top of taxing the people.

    Even here in the United States, a country founded up the concept of fair taxation is standing silent as taxes and corruption increase at an alarming rate. Churches are afraid to speak out about the most severe issues directly effecting a government founded upon religious values, serving a population made up largely of Christians as well as other religions sharing similar values. The United States is quickly exceeding Israel’s decent under Rehoboam. We are experiencing a ceaseless increase in taxes, wars on all fronts, and laws supporting actions that draw people away from God. I wonder when we’ll see a president establishing their own religion, appointing their own priests, and setting up a day to worship him or her. Today it seems as if that’s just around the corner.

    How bad were things when Jesus was born? Jerusalem and all of Judah and Israel were under Roman control who appointed puppet rulers. One of them, Herod had no problem trying to kill Jesus and slaughtering hundreds of children. Rome the controlling power cast a blind eye to all of it. The religious leaders also stood against Jesus and plotted to kill Him after He started His public ministry. Finally Rome and Herod stood still and actually authorized Jesus’ execution.

    I see a theme in the message here. Jesus came to this world during a major taxation to show He will be here in the end when we see major taxation, corruption, and appointed rulers all over again.

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Psalms 89:24-29 Unfailing Love Will Be With Him

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 22, 2014


Psalms 89:24-29 NLTse My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power. (25) I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers. (26) And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ (27) I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth. (28) I willlove him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end. (29) I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.

 

We must had passed the exam on the last lesson. This prophecy is much easier to locate and explain. After I gathered the texts, the lesson on the surface is obvious. It shows Jesus’ role as king and priest. I must have listened to more than thirty sermons saying Jesus is king and priest, but can’t remember anyone providing texts to prove it. I was on the phone with a pastor friend and asked him if he ever ran across scripture showing Jesus is king and priest. His answer was, “no.” This is the first time I’ve run across it and I was surprised how easily it is explained. Once again we’ve shown another study method, an illustration how God linked His Word together using different authors over generations of time. There are actually two part to this prophecy. The first part we’ll concentrate on for this study. The second part of the prophecy adds back ground details and most likely is related to another parallel chapter adding more details for what must be another related lesson.

 

Psalms 89:36-46 NLTse His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. (37) It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” (38) But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. (39) You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. (40) You havebroken down the walls protecting him and ruined every fort defending him. (41) Everyone who comes along has robbed him, and he has become a joke to his neighbors. (42) You have strengthened his enemies and made them all rejoice. (43) You have made his sword useless and refused to help him in battle. (44) You have ended his splendor and overturnedhis throne. (45) You have made him old before his time and publicly disgraced him. (46) O LORD, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire?

 

The second part of the prophecy clearly identifies Jesus as the King mentioned in the first section. Only Jesus fits the description. “His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom willendure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” Psalm 89 goes on with a vivid description of how Jesus will be rejected, cast off, renounced, thrown down, broken on a physical level and ruined, robbed, ended, and overturned in a spiritual manner. This of course refers to Jesus’ rejection by the religious leaders. When we look back on the story of Jesus’ trial we see the religious leaders wanted nothing to do with justice because they couldn’t see Jesus as king, much less priest. To be king Jesus had to be from the family line of Judah. To be priest, people had to come from the line of Levi. Did those priests see the Messiah would be both King and High Priest?

 

For us this is an easy study based on the fact one verse is quoted in the New Testament. “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth.” You can search key words in the texts or find the connecting verse the easy way, look in the chain reference in a study Bible, or if your using E-Sword like I am, look in the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge in the commentaries which will lead to Hebrews chapter 1.

 

Hebrews 1:4-8 NLTse This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. (5) For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus“You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (6) And when he brought his firstborn Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (7) Regarding the angels, he says, “He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.” (8) But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.

 

This is typically as far as most people go when comparing scripture, find the connecting verse and make an assumption from that point. Since we’ve learned how God uses parallel chapters, we know we need to compare introductions and summations which will show us context and as we’ve seen, reveal a much deeper spiritual meaning. I’m sure after going through this study, you’ll never take a short cut on Bible study again.

 

Psalms 89:1-7 NLTse I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. (2) Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is asenduring as the heavens. (3) The LORD said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: (4) ‘I will establish your descendants as kingsforever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.'” (5) All heaven will praise your great wonders, LORD; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. (6) For who in all of heaven can compare with the LORD? What mightiest angel is anything like the LORD? (7) The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.

 

Hebrews 1:1-3 NLTse Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. (2) And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through hisSonGod promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. (3) The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character ofGod, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic Godin heaven.

 

The first detail you should notice is how the word angel is repeated in Hebrews 1:4-8 and in the introduction to Psalm 89. It’s God’s way of letting us know we’re on the right course. It’s also God’s way of making sure these texts cannot be misinterpreted. There is always the chance someone will claim David is the one angels will praise. The texts clearly spells out, “I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.” Once again, a closer translation will clear up questions. “Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.” (Psalms 89:4 KJV). Scripture indicates one of David’s descendants will occupy the throne for all eternity. Hebrews clears up any question. “This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” This is one detail showing how important it is to compare parallel chapters instead of merely pulling out one or two proof texts to prove a point. Without respect for proper context, who knows how people may try stretching these texts.

 

At first there doesn’t seem to be a very close relationship between the introduction in Psalm 89 and Hebrews 1 until we look at verse 3, “he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” This is the link to the theme in Psalm 89, Jesus as King. There is another spiritual connection. David repeated the phrase, unfailing love which directly relates to God speaking through His Son who said: “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.” (Matthew 13:12-13 NLTse).

 

We all want to understand more of God’s Word. Seeing, feeling and understanding His unfailing love is the first step. Once we reach that step, we can see how Jesus’ Words are as important as water and nourishing as food, spiritual food from Heaven. Going from one text to the next is dining on a feast set by a King. The important part of this lesson shows how God’s Word and Spirit lead us from one text to the next in a particular order, making understanding easy.

 

Psalms 89:47-52 NLTse Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence! (48) No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of thegrave. (49) Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. (50) Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insultsof so many people. (51) Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. (52) Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!

 

Hebrews 1:9-14 NLTse You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” (10) He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. (11) They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. (12) You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” (13) And God never said to any of theangels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (14) Therefore, angels are only servantsspirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

 

The first thing we see in Psalm 89’s summation is the related words empty and futile which also relate to die and grave. This is a continuation of the prophecy about Jesus, who also had to die. His status as Son of God did not exempt Him from the grave.

 

Just before Jesus was condemned to the cross by Pilate, the priests accused Jesus of claiming He was King. They didn’t argue this point by accident. The priests knew the Messiah was going to take David’s throne. They knew part of the prophecy, but didn’t see all the details. This shows how important it is to understand all the details before making any assumption. Basing an interpretation on a portion of facts will always result in misguided understanding. How many prophecies are interpreted on a small part of what the Bible has on a subject? Look at the facts in this prophecy. If the priests would have looked at Psalm 89, they may have seen how the descendant of David to take the throne forever will be rejected. If they would have looked at these texts with an open heart, they would have been filled with the greatest horror ever experienced in this world if they realized they had treated God’s Son the way they did. How much did this oversight cost them? The lesson is repeated in the summation of Psalm 78.

 

Hebrews was written after Jesus’ disciples finally understood the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s plan of salvation. We have the advantage of seeing all of these details after Jesus fulfilled all of those prophecies and explained them. When we look at recorded details like we should, we have more to be responsible for than the leading priests in Jesus’ time. We have a whole New Testament explaining details they missed. We have no reason to fall back on human understanding like the priests and Pharisees did. One of the reasons the priests didn’t understand the prophecies about Jesus is because the didn’t take time to look back at scripture Jesus sent them to. They not only shut out Jesus, but the Holy Spirit. “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:8-10 NLTse).

 

We don’t want to make the same mistake the priests and Pharisee made. We want to be open and prepared to listen to everything God’s Spirit has for us. Going trough this series of books, we’ve seen how patiently God teaches, going over previous details while adding new. One of the ways God leads us to more information is quoting Old Testament texts. Ignoring those texts is denying God’s Spirit. To follow God’s rules of Bible Study, we have no choice but to look at the original texts, ““Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet,” is found in.

 

Psalms 110:1-4 NLTse The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (2) The LORDwill extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies. (3) When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. (4) The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

 

God laid out His Word like a road map of time and prophecy. If we stray off His path, we’re lost. Psalm 110 not only ties in Jesus as King, ” The LORD will extend your powerfulkingdom,” but ties Jesus’ Kingdom with His role as High Priest by providing another text quoted in the New Testament. ““You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Once again this is an easy text to locate in the New Testament. The ease with which this information is found between Old and New Testament scripture indicates how important this message is. Not only does this show how important the information in this study is, the time in which this information is revealed shows us we are living in a special time in prophetic history. I doubt if this is the first time the link between Jesus’ roles of King and Priest was discovered. Most likely someone put this information together, wrote and taught on the subject and it was widely accepted. A number of pastors and teachers share this information, but few if any are able to explain it. This study emphasizes the need to get back into God’s Word and Spirit like never before. When we uncover information so many people agree with but few are able to explain with God’s simple Word, it shows us something is wrong in this world. It shows how people take God’s Word and Spirit for granted and for lack of a better description, have been ignoring both.

 

We’re not the first people to see and understand this connection. Most of us have heard or read about Jesus’ role as King and High Priest. What’s been lost is the ability to let scripture explain itself. This also shows how the world has separated itself from God. The world is becoming more like the Pharisees everyday. God’s Spirit is being replaced by pride and self reliance. The only way to get back in tune with God and His prophetic time line is to dedicate time to read scripture, follow the patterns God placed in His Word, pray and most importantly, LISTEN.

 

Following God’s plan of Bible Study leads us back to Hebrews. Following is one of the texts Melchizedek is mentioned in. Melchizedek is mentioned sixteen times in Hebrews which shows it is an important lesson. We have to look back in history to understand how important this message is. The Jews only looked for a Messiah as King. The priests and Pharisees expected to keep the priesthood to themselves. God’s plan was to return the priesthood to everyone like He offered it to the head of the household before they left Egypt and then everyone early in their journey in the wilderness.

 

Hebrews 7:16-22 NLTse Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. (17) And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (18) Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. (19) For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (20) This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, (21) but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The LORD has taken anoath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.'” (22) Because of this oathJesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.

 

Not only is Melchizedek a symbol pointing to Christ, Jesus is a sign pointing to the restoration of the priesthood, restoring that position to all of us. This has special meaning because there can only be one King of kings. Jesus as King is the only one with the power to appoint priests. Kings and governments have tried appointing priests, and they will again. They’ve all fallen and will in the future. Jesus’ Kingdom is the only one that will last forever. David pointed out this fact. We share in Jesus’ Kingdom by becoming His priests, with Christ as High Priest.

 

The most important lesson we’ve learned in this study is how Jesus leads us as High Priest, through His written Word, which directs us to related scripture written in the Old Testament and quoted in the New Testament. We’ve also seen how important it is to follow God’s simple sequence of Bible Study.

 

  1. Highlight key words that are repeated. They will be the same, similar, or related words.
  2. Pray before looking for a parallel chapter which shows the fulfillment of the prophecy.
  3. Parallel chapters can be located by using key words to search for the fulfillment.
  4. Parallel chapters can also be found by searching for Old Testament texts quoted in New Testament scripture.
  5. The fulfillment is always greater than the symbol.
  6. Compare introductions and summations which establish context.
  7. Pray and listen to God’s Spirit to see the relationship between the prophecy and parallel chapter explaining the fulfillment.
  8. When Old Testament scripture is quoted in the New Testament always look at the original texts.
  9. Keep praying on the subject and listing. Pray about the main connecting texts, comparisons in the introductions and summations. Take your time and pray about each one day at a time. 

    I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. (1 Corinthians 9:23-27, Galatians 5:7-8 NLTse)

     

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Psalms 78:1-8 Speak to You in a Parable

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 22, 2014


Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, (2) for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hiddenlessons from our past– (3) stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. (4) We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. (5) For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, (6) so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. (7) So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. (8) Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubbornrebellious, and unfaithfulrefusing to give their hearts to God.

 

Everyone who takes Bible Study seriously will get as excited as I was when I saw this was the next prophecy about Jesus to study. Who doesn’t want to learn the hidden treasures and stories in God’s Word? Who doesn’t want to learn how to teach them? Unfortunately most Christians would rather ignore lessons about God’s Word. Many Christians have been deceived into thinking all the truth has been revealed. I was watching a preacher on TV. He preached on a verse for ten minutes. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Peter 1:2-3 KJV). The preacher talked about the peace and grace knowledge will give you and insisted people are lost because of a lack of knowledge. Of course he led people to believe God gave this knowledge to him and he was the only one who had the knowledge to save. I guess its too bad for all those people born before this preacher got the knowledge required to be saved. If you weren’t tuned into that preacher’s show, you better pray there’s a rerun. Sorry I can’t share the information with you. All he talked about was the fact he had the knowledge and everyone else was deceived by this, that, or the other thing. The preacher never got to the point – so he never shared the knowledge – but he did ask for money. I guess you had to pay to get saved. Maybe that’s the secret he didn’t share on the air.

 

That’s one example of how people distort God’s Word. They make a comfortable living claiming they have some sort of greater knowledge, but in reality never share a thing. Why do people fall for such scams? Because no one ever taught them how to study the Bible. People are always searching for truth, but let’s face it – it’s not easy to find. I challenge you to ask your preacher to show you how to study your Bible. What do you think the answer will be? The two most popular are – the preacher will hand you a set or pamphlets he calls Bible Studies. Those were never designed to teach people how to study their Bible and they never will. In essence Bible Study pamphlets are designed to play the odds based on the fact most people will be satisfied with that answer. It’s nothing more than a modern style of counting or numbering like David and Solomon did. Remember the reason David and Solomon numbered Israel. David did it to measure his power. Solomon did it to enslave people. Pay attention to the sequence.

 

The second most popular answer when you ask a preacher how to study the Bible is, “only qualified, educated people should study the Bible.” This is the answer the TV preacher relied on. He talked a bit about his qualifications, hoping people wouldn’t question him. Well who could? He was talking to a hand chosen TV audience. No one was going to question him. He was displaying his power over the body and mind.

 

You’ll be lucky to find a preacher who can explain how to do a simple word study which is hardly more that looking key words up in a Concordance and looking at other texts the word is used in. This method can be used to find the spiritual meaning of key words, but some key words have a number of spiritual meanings. Which one do you use? You have to look at the context. Many times the spiritual meaning of a word is taken out of context. The most popular is the symbol of a woman. Preachers love to use the symbol of a virtuous woman as a symbol of their church. The Bible never says a church represents a woman. In over 20 years of asking for a verse, no one has been able to produce a single verse out of the Bible that shows a woman represents a church. There is no end to outside sources people have been able to produce, which shows how long this symbol has been distorted. Take a look and remember, the fulfillment is much greater than the symbol. That hint just gave away the answer.

 

If you find a preacher who is able to explain how the introduction and summation explain the context of a chapter and know how to point out the rule of repeated words, key words that are the same, similar, and related, you found a preacher who knows how to read, understand, and is qualified to teach God’s Word. If the preacher can’t share those simple Bible study rules, you have a lot of praying in front of you. A good preacher listening to God’s Spirit will open his Bible to show you examples. He’ll know how easy it is to understand lessons are in the gospels. He may show you how the parables Jesus taught in the court have a common theme, they all deal with the harvest of the world. After I discovered this simple method God uses to teach deeper lessons, a friend pointed me to a book written over 150 years ago – so this information has been around for quite some time. It’s nothing new. God wrote it thousands of years ago and people have been using these forms of study since the first printed copy of the Bible was published. Satan knew if God’s people caught onto these Study methods his cause would be lost. Satan would loose again. That’s why He tried to stop printing and distribution of the Bible. Most people think that battle was won – but that’s far from the truth. Satan attacked from different angles. Satan convinced the world the Bible was difficult to understand and locked these lessons in schools of higher education where he could easily manipulate God’s rules of Bible Study until it was all but lost. Who reads books written 100, 200, 300, or more years ago explaining and using these study rules? Sad to say, no one does anymore. The world has fallen for deceptions like the TV preacher insisting people need to go through him for knowledge. But we know that’s not true – for one – David tells us, Jesus tells us, all God’s prophets tells us, God’s Word is open to all of us.

 

We already know David’s prophecy tells about, “parables and hidden lessons from the past, stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. David also tells us, “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.” These are the mysteries of the Bible people are looking for. How are we supposed to tell our children if we don’t know how to ask and listen to God’s Spirit when He’s ready, willing, and able to teach us these secrets? Too bad there aren’t enough people able to explain those hidden lessons from our past. We’ve covered a number of details in this book and previous books in this series. As we progress in God’s Word from prophecy to prophecy, God’s Spirit reveals valuable lessons showing how to find and understand those hidden lessons. Once again we have to rely on those simple rules to locate a parallel chapter in the New Testament.

 

David began with the related key words listen, open, speak, and teach. The key word teach is repeated three times. The prophecy is also the introduction of the chapter which of course establishes the context telling us this prophecy will teach us how to understand parables. Once we find a parallel chapter we’ll see how God teaches us so we’re able to teach others.

 

Searching gospels for the word teach and related words we find dozens to choose from. Once again we have to follow the rule of context by comparing introductions and summations of the prophecy to find the fulfillment. Also remember the key word teach, used as a sort of symbol points to a greater fulfillment. There are a number of chapters to choose from. While praying my mind centered on one chapter in particular where Jesus taught two travelers on the road to Emmaus. Once the key words were highlighted, it showed a spiritual connection to Psalm 78.

 

Luke 24:13-36 NLTse That same day two of Jesus‘ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. (14) As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. (15) As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. (16) But God kept them from recognizing him. (17) He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. (18) Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” (19) “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. (20) But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. (21) We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. (22) “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. (23) They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! (24) Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” (25) Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. (26) Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (27) Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (28) By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, (29) but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. (30) As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. (31) Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! (32) They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (33) And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, (34) who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” (35) Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. (36) And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.

 

At first this chapter seems to be linked by the single similar word, teacher. When we consider who this points to all the details begin to fall into place. First we can look at how the author led into this story. After Jesus rose from the grave where He met Mary and the other women, He seemed to disappear. Later on the same day, Jesus turned up on the road walking next to two of His followers. Notice how the author calls attention to the word, walk, by repeating it. Luke is calling attention to a spiritual walk with Jesus. The repeated words, talked, talking, discussed, and discussing also relate to the word walk by pointing out a walk with Jesus refers to a relationship with verbal communication. Jesus’ followers didn’t yet understand the plan of salvation, but they saw Jesus, “was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.” This relates to David’s prophecy where he points out, “we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders.” It’s obvious those stories will be about Jesus, His ministry on earth, and the prophecies He fulfilled. Luke also repeats the word recognized to point out how Jesus’ follower did not really know who He was. We have to look at more than the physical aspects of Jesus they didn’t recognize. When you look at this on a spiritual level you can see how they thought they knew Jesus, but missed so much. Look at the detail they misunderstood about Jesus, His victory at the cross and over death. This also points to future generations who take Jesus’ victory for granted. So little is studied and known about the cross on the spiritual level. Too much attention has been paid to the physical aspects of the cross while people lost sight of the person on the cross and what He came to accomplish. People also overlook Jesus’ personality. Listen to this message that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel and Judah–against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.” Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (Amos 3:1-3 NLTse). A walk with Jesus has to be an intimate relationship. It’s not by mistake Amos mentions the family rescued from Egypt and David covers the same subject in detail. To know Jesus you have to look back, way back, thousands of years to see the relationship He has been trying to establish with His followers. On the road to Emmaus, one of Jesus’ followers looked back over a small portion of Jesus’ life, the same small portion a lot of people know. This shows how knowing a small part of His life is not really knowing Jesus. What does Jesus do? He keeps reaching out like He always has. This time Jesus reaches out the way He has been trying do so long. “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all theScriptures the things concerning himself.” This is knowing Jesus. We begin in the books Moses wrote and follow through all the prophets. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road andexplained the Scriptures to us?”

 

Scripture explains itself because Jesus spent not only His life on this world, but generations trying to teach this world about Himself. As we get into this study we’ll take a look at how some of the details David recorded explain a little part of Jesus He always wanted us to know. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn,rebellious, and unfaithfulrefusing to give their hearts to God. Because the main theme of David’s prophecy in Psalm 78 is contained in the introduction, our first step is to compare the introduction to Luke 24.

 

Luke 24:1-11 NLTse But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (2) They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (3) So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. (5) The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? (6) He isn’t here! He is risen from the deadRemember what he told you back in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (8) Then they remembered that he had said this. (9) So they rushed back from thetomb to tell his eleven disciples–and everyone else–what had happened. (10) It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. (11) But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.

 

There seems to be very little the introduction to Luke 24 has in common with Psalm 78. On the surface we don’t see much in common with parables and hidden lessons. We won’t see much if we don’t compare the two chapters on a spiritual level. Once we look at, “stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us,” on a spiritual level, we can see the relationship. The angels told the women, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the deadRemember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” The word remember ties everything together. Jesus taught a number of prophecies to His disciples and women. They didn’t know what they meant either. Like the men on the road to Emmaus, the women didn’t really know or understand Jesus. But they were about to get to know Him. Jesus didn’t give up on any of them. The women didn’t waste any time as the sprung into action. Their new ministry was plain as, “they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples–and everyone else–what had happened.” This was the beginning of a new phase in God’s plan of salvation. Look at all the characters involved. Angels were given the honor of playing a part in Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb. Then another role for God’s angels was revealed when they told the women what happened and REMINDED them what Jesus told them. Angels are our reminders of what Jesus taught us. Let’s face it, after we read a book we may remember maybe ten percent. Remember school? How hard did you work to prepare for a test? How many times did you have to review details to memorize answers for an exam? How does the effort you put into eternal life compare? The entire introduction of Luke 24 deals with finally seeing the plan of salvation and how the women couldn’t wait to share the story they learned. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past–stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. The spiritual link is obvious. Luke also shows us the role God’s angels will play in the plan of salvation. We are all working together. The angles also serve another purpose, another illustration of the relationship we’re supposed to have with Jesus – as close as the women who found Him risen and the angels given the honor of rolling the stone back and offering praise and congratulations to the Son of God. There is so much more to Jesus than what we see and hear taught today – “He died for our sins.” There is a lot more to learn about Jesus from these two chapters, which lead to other chapters. One of those details is to follow the rules of Bible Study Jesus recorded in His book, His message to this fallen world. The next step is to compare summations.

 

Psalms 78:65-72 NLTse Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. (66) He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. (67) But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. (68) He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. (69) There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. (70) He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. (71) He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own peopleIsrael. (72) He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.

 

Luke 24:45-53 NLTse Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (46) And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. (47) It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ (48) You are witnesses of all these things. (49) “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Fatherpromised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (50) Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands toheaven, he blessed them. (51) While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. (52) So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. (53) And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

 

One of the first details we see in the summation for Psalm 78 is how its spiritual meaning is clear when we follow the proper sequence of study. Without studying the introduction of Luke 24, Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb, we would not understand the summation of Psalm 78. Now we can see the spiritual meaning of, “Then theLord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.” This describes Jesus’ transition from human, to death, to risen Savior.

 

In this case the NLT seems to have missed the point in translating this verse. Looking at a different translation will help. Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. (Psalms 78:65 KJV). I’m sure there will be some people who will take a look at this and argue the point based only on the physical view. Following another simple Bible Study rule will answer the question. Looking back from Jesus’ resurrection, when was the last time we saw anything about wine? It was the last thing Jesus tasted from this world. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (Mark 15:34-37 KJV).

 

Once again we’re reminded of one of the most important Bible Study rules. NEVER try guessing at an answer on your own. When an author refers to scripture, always look it up. Notice how God put in another example showing how people misunderstood Jesus. You have to be blind not to see this theme repeated time and again in the gospels and throughout the Bible.

 

David also repeated the word, “choose,” and words associated with God’s followers. The theme is clear to see. “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” This refers to God training with skillful hands so His people are able to pass the information He gives them to others. This is the theme in the summation in Luke 24 and the entire chapter. “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you withpower from heaven.”

 

Now that we know the information about all these stories and secrets is found in scripture, what do we do about it? Lucky for us David recorded a list of texts for us to examine. It’s not by accident God gave us a sequence to follow when we study. Each part builds upon another, but those stones always have a particular order to follow. When we don’t follow the rules and proper sequence we’ll do nothing but build faulty walls. When we follow the rules we help build up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 KJV).

 

Psalms 78:13-20 NLTse For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! (14) In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. (15) He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. (16) He made streams pour from the rock, making thewaters flow down like a river! (17) Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. (18) They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. (19) They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. (20) Yes, he can strike a rockso water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”

 

David looks back to the crossing of the Red Sea. We can study some of the events David lists while asking what all these events have in common. One way of finding the answer is to look at each event then look for the common thread that connects them. Another method is to look at the introduction to Psalm 78 which tells us we are searching for hidden treasure. Since we’ve already studied the parallel chapter, Luke 24, we know Jesus is the hidden treasure David referred to. Before we look at the events David listed, we can look a little further back to review some of the events pointing to Jesus.

 

A lot of people refer to Genesis 3:14-15 as the first prophecy about Jesus in the Bible. Then the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. (15) And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Later we see Jesus represented as the ram Abraham found caught in the bush. The ram took the place of Abraham’s son as the sacrifice sin required. Some people miss a symbol God gave before testing him with the sacrifice of his son. After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. (Genesis 15:17 NLTse).

 

God told Abraham to, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. (Genesis 15:9-10 NLTse). Why did God tell Abraham to divide each animal? You have to look at what Abraham had to go through to cut each animal in half. It wasn’t an easy job even with the best knives and tools available. There were no specific instructions to separate any part of the animal, every part of the animal was divided evenly. It was a messy, bloody job that left stains on his clothing and an impression on his mind. In the middle of the night Abraham saw a burning furnace pass between the two halves. Furnace can also be translated lamp, light, or candle. How do we interpret the spiritual meaning of those symbols? The first step is to look back at previous texts where we see references to the promised land repeated.

 

Genesis 15:16 NLTse After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”

 

Genesis 15:7-8 NLTse Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (8) But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”

 

Genesis 15:1 NLTse Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

 

Now that we know the prophecy refers to the promised land, we only need to look at it and determine the timing. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse). Once we determine the time frame, we can look at the greater fulfillment of the prophecy which is always greater than the symbol.

 

Some people think the furnace represents Egypt as the furnace of affliction. Since Egypt is not greater than the symbol, it cannot be the fulfillment. The symbol points to an intersecting event in God’s time line. From there we look at previous and follow details and events which point to the greater spiritual fulfillment. Abraham’s experience points to Israel’s release from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea which is a symbol pointing to Jesus’ victory over death and the tomb which is the spiritual crossing to the promised land. Paul explains how these symbols point to Jesus. I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-7 NLTse).

 

Once we see the time line, we can understand why the animals were equally divided with a light passing between them. Jesus opened the path to the spiritual promised land at the cross which is the greatest source of new light. At the cross there we see another separation. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46 NLTse). For a few moments in eternity, Jesus was separated from His Father.

 

When we look back to compare the lesson taught on the road to Emmaus with Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea, we see another spiritual lesson. Jesus’ followers didn’t recognize Jesus as they walked along the road and the people who crossed the Red Sea complained before and after the crossing. They didn’t recognize Jesus in the pillar of fire. The question is, do you and other Christians recognize Jesus on the walk to the promised land? Do you see Jesus in all the events, symbols, and prophecies pointing to Jesus? A better question is, do you know how to share and explain those events, parables, stories, symbols, and prophecies?

 

So far this series of books has been rejected and ignored. Publishers have indicated there is no interest or audience in stories or studies about Jesus? What is Christianity without Jesus? In the past churches proclaiming to follow Christ have ignored and shunned new light. God reveals new light for three reasons. First to call His people back. Second to teach a lesson. Third is to reveal fulfillment of prophecy. One of the most important prophetic events most Christians are waiting for is Jesus’ return. God and His angles will perform a great work to call His people, teach lessons, prepare them for service, and reveal prophecy in great detail. Since people have not learned lessons in the past, God will do what He always does when people fail, He repeats the lesson. We can see that happening today in events all over the world. The question is, are you willing to listen this time?

 

David didn’t stop with the Red Sea. He included details to point us back to their complaints after crossing the Red Sea and seeing Egypt’s army destroyed behind them. All the miracles they saw in Egypt weren’t enough. Neither was the pillar of fire that guided them and stood between them and Egypt’s army. Israel wanted more, so they tested God again.

 

Psalms 78:27-31 NLTse He rained down meat as thick as dust– birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! (28) He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. (29) The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. (30) But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, (31) the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.

 

There are a number of spiritual lessons in the symbols as well as revealing an illustration of another important Bible Study rule in this story. David’s Psalm leads us to one story which would not be complete if we didn’t look at the beginning of the story, the details that led to Israel’s complaint when they wanted more than what God already gave them. Before giving them more, God added a condition. “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the LORD heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘” (Numbers 11:18-20 NLTse).

 

Following basic Bible Study rules we’ve already learned and followed, we have to look back in scripture to see the spiritual lesson taught in this story. Before God agreed to give them what they asked form, He offered them what they really needed. “I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.” (Numbers 11:17 NLTse).

 

God was willing to give them a measure of His Spirit they couldn’t imagine. Got is repeating His original offer of making them a nation of priests. God is offering another detail of His offer. Think of the details in these stories. Who has the right to question an offer from God especially when He freed them from bondage? This is a lesson in human nature, aspects we still see today. Following God’s rules of Bible Study we have to look at the introduction of this chapter to understand the context.”Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1 NLTse).

 

Once again we see what seems to be an endless list of complaints. Once we understand the context we begin to see how it reveals the spiritual lesson. Before we begin commenting on the spiritual lesson, we have to continue to follow general Bible Study rules by comparing the summation to this chapter. “But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony”) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt. From Kibroth-hattaavah the Israelites traveled to Hazeroth, where they stayed for some time.” (Numbers 11:33-35 NLTse).

 

We see God’s anger repeated in the chapter. This brings up the obvious question of why God was so angry? Once we understand God’s personality, we’re reminded of another important Bible Study rule, God provided the answer before asking the question. What was Israel turning down when they demanded meat and WHY? Looking back at the food God offered them we find the answer. That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the LORD has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:13-15 NLTse).

 

God gave them manna from Heaven to eat. You’ll notice God first sent quail, but there is no indication Israel ate any of the quail that day. They gathered the manna. God knew they wouldn’t be satisfied with food He gave them, so He recorded the vast number of quail just before the description of His bread from Heaven which is a symbol pointing to Jesus, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NLTse).

 

Now that we’ve gathered a number of related texts scripture led us to, we can understand the spiritual lessons. If Israel had seen Jesus, they never would have asked for any other type of food. They would have never been hungry again. Their lack of insight spiritually starved them. We see a pattern in the food God gave Israel in the wilderness. Manna was on the ground as well as the quail. This seems like a small detail until we consider another symbol Jesus used in a number of parables. When Jesus used the symbol of a sheep, we see an animal who gets its food from the ground. When Jesus leads His sheep, He leads them to pasture, the food He knows they need. Sheep don’t ask for different food, they graze where the shepherd leads them and eat what the shepherd leads them to. Of course there is the parable of the lost sheep. I’ve heard the sermon a hundred times how the shepherd breaks the leg of the sheep and carried it back. Do you really think Jesus searched for people missing from His flock so He can break their legs? Is that story about the broken leg Biblical or a man made story aimed at keeping people in the worldly church? They missed a main feature of the story. Manna, quail, and grass on the ground all appear to be the same source of food, but one of them, quail, is given because people were selfish. When we look at the story we can’t help but see how selfishness destroyed a number of people.

 

When sheep separate from the flock they wander the wilderness alone, easy prey for the wolf. It’s only a matter of time before a single wolf or pack find the stray animal. This parable seem to contradict other texts relating to a small remnant that follows God and understands. If you study the word remnant, you’ll find they come out of the general population of so – so believers. It’s only a small group that will listen to God’s Words and understand His commands. How many people made it in Noah’s ark or completed the journey to the promised land? Most of the flock is lost. They just don’t know it. The very things that make them think they are safe are putting their salvation in jeopardy.

 

When we look at quail people craved, it was not what God wanted to give them, but what their selfish desires wanted. When we compare quail to the food from Heaven, Jesus’ bread of life, we see how people use selfish desires to alter God’s Words. Grass for sheep and manna come from Heaven and is gathered from the ground. Quail are also gathered from the ground but come from a different source, the world. People think they’re gathering the right thing but they desire more than what Jesus offers, so they look for something from the world then insist it’s gather from the same place – they push it on other people claiming it’s much better than what others have to offer. We see an example in the introduction to Exodus 16.

 

Exodus 16:4-5 NLTse Then the LORD said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. (5) On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”

 

Once we understand manna represents spiritual food from Jesus, we can see the spiritual meaning associated with the conditions God provided with the food. They’re told to gather food for six days and twice as much on the sixth day which means there is no food collected on the seventh day, but it is still eaten and shared. I’ve heard this preached a hundred times and most preachers look at only the physical aspects of this chapter. I wonder why they’re afraid of the spiritual message.

 

People are to collect spiritual food during the week and share it on the seventh day Sabbath. Let me ask a question here. Is there anything wrong with meeting to gather God’s Word on the first day of the week? According to scripture there’s nothing wrong with it. The first day of the week is the beginning of a new cycle to collect spiritual bread. Let me ask another question. Is it okay to ask God to work on the first day of the week?

 

I’ve been in dozens of churches claiming to keep the seventh day Sabbath. I often wandered why they all have long prayers asking God to do this or that for them. Is asking for favors keeping the Sabbath? Is asking God to work on the Sabbath correct? Another thing a lot of Sabbath keepers do is gather spiritual food on the Sabbath even though Exodus 16 says we’re not supposed to. For most Sabbath keepers the seventh day is the only day they gather manna. When did God change the rules? Now I can see why God called it a test. If people gathered His Word for six days a week, maybe they would learn how to understand it.

 

What food are they gathering on the seventh day? Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the LORD. There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” (Exodus 16:25-26 NLTse). According to the Bible there is no manna available on the seventh day. What food are they trying to feast on? It must be the quail. Food from the world for selfish people complaining they are tired of manna from Heaven.

 

No one can argue, worship on the seventh day has been changed to reflect the desires of the world. Sabbath worship has been changed to adopt the preferred methods of the world. Why? I can’t be sure, but when we look at the texts, it’s something they craved – the same form of worship the world craves after.

 

The New Testament describes people gathering in homes on the Sabbath to share the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. The church established by Jesus’ disciples didn’t have buildings or predetermined worship services like we see today. People studied scripture and talked to one another about the things they say Jesus accomplish in His ministry. On Sabbath they met to share the blessings they learned during the week. Some where along the way many Sabbath keepers decided to ignore Exodus and the New Testament to feast on quail they craved.

 

None of us can be sure how or when Sabbath worship was changed. We can search the Bible to look for a change, but I don’t think we’ll find any scripture to support the type of worship copied from the world. Sabbath worship may be one of the best illustrations of rejecting manna from Heaven and craving food from the world. We do know God let them have more than they were able to handle. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘” (Numbers 11:20 NLTse). Which gives us two additional points to consider. While it was in their mouths, they gagged on quail. When someone is gagging, it’s very difficult to understand anything they say. It’ll be the same with preachers adding their personal thoughts to God’s Word and adding all kinds of stuff from the world to it.

 

How many sermons have you heard with little scripture but filled with opinions or stories about people you never heard of with little or no relationship to verses quoted. Rejecting the LORD is rejecting His Word as well as the blessings He gives. When worship is centered around one person sharing their opinion, where is the worship, where is God’s praise? Worship is sharing what God has done for you. It disappoints God when He provides a blessing designed to grow by the effects it has on others. Organized worship eliminates time to share blessings God gave during the week as well as any chance to praise Him.

 

Not much is found in scripture about praise. It’s not something God wanted to designate. God never wanted to make a list of how to praise Him in the form or a list with designated time frames. God wanted to leave praise to us. One of the most important parts of a relationship with God is searching for and perfecting praise. Like any other relationship this requires time, attention to detail, constant improvement, and of course, a constant growth. None of those features are found in this world’s rules, regulations, and traditions on worship. Israel had a difficult time praising God because of their selfish attitude. We now have the examples Jesus set in the New Testament to follow. Jesus went around helping and healing people on the Sabbath. We don’t see a specific set of rules on the Sabbath in the New Testament compared to the Old Testament. Jesus showed how the Jews misinterpreted the Sabbath and did not honor it the way God intended. When you think of it, the best way to find out about the Sabbath is to honor the day in the simple way God first intended, which was to spend time with Him, the best way to get the answers, directly from the God who set the date. Have a personal talk with God and let Him tell you what He wants to do on the Sabbath. The Jews let religious leaders make all the decisions for them and we saw how that failed. David doesn’t elaborate on the Sabbath, but he wrote about some of the details he saw on Israel’s relationship with God when they crossed the wilderness.

 

Psalms 78:32-43 NLTse But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him. (33) So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. (34) When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. (35) Then they remembered that God was their rock, thatGod Most High was their redeemer. (36) But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. (37) Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. (38) Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! (39) For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns. (40) Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. (41) Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. (42) They did not remember hispower and how he rescued them from their enemies. (43) They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan.

 

What do you see when you look at what these texts teach about Jesus? We see the connection between the symbol rock and it’s fulfillment in our Redeemer, Jesus. We also see the word remember repeated a number of times. We also find remember in the forth commandment which is the last of the commandments describing a relationship with God. The first commandment tells us, “You must not have any other god but me.” (Deuteronomy 5:7 NLTse). Jesus showed the spiritual interpretation. ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”

(Matthew 22:37 NLTse). The second commandment tells us not to worship idols or images. The third tells us not to take God’s name in vain. Now look at the second and third commandments from Jesus’ point of view. Don’t you see a deeper meaning? Maybe that was part of Israel’s problem, they looked at the ten commandments on the surface and didn’t spend time on the Sabbath to discuss them with God like Jesus did.

 

David shows us how Israel had an up and down relationship with God. They ran to Him when they needed help and put Him on a shelf when things seemed to be going their way. They fell out of the time sequence God set for man. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back hisanger and did not unleash his fury! Why would David say God held back His anger?

 

Think of a marriage relationship. If there are marriage problems people go to counseling where they learn how to communicate. If one party doesn’t want to put in effort to communicate, it doesn’t matter what the other half does. This is where many people are in their relationship with Jesus. He never stops trying to communicate, but many people continue to ignore Him. Their in a relationship with no desire to listen. That’s where Israel was. They tried setting up Moses between them and God. We’ve see how that worked out. Only a few of them made it to the promised land because they refused to put their hearts into the first four commandments. They couldn’t see the love God placed in them. Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.

 

It wasn’t hard for them to ignore the commandments. David tells us they forgot how He rescued them from their enemies. They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. Come on now get serious. I know what your thinking. If you had been there you would have remembered all the details and followed God. Ya sure. How is that working for you so far? Do you remember everything God has done for you in the past year, month, or week? Are you scoring any higher than the people crossing the wilderness when it comes to seeing and understanding the lessons taught along the way? Have you spent time looking at the details, signs, and symbols and praying to see how they relate to Jesus? Have you spent any time at all explaining those hidden lessons and stories to anyone? How do you measure up to the people who fell along the road in the wilderness? Are you following Jesus or are you putting someone in his place like they did with Moses? Although David made a lot of mistakes and often forgot to consult with God on a lot of details, he did spend time with God. We can see it in the details he wrote about.

 

Psalms 78:44-53 NLTse For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. (45) He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. (46) He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. (47) He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. (48) He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. (49) He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his furyrage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. (50) He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians‘ lives but ravaged them with the plague. (51) He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. (52) But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. (53) He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies.

 

Based on the order David listed the plagues in Egypt it shows he missed the spiritual meaning of the story. David listed, water to blood, flies, then frogs. That actual order in Exodus 7 and 8 is water, frogs, lice, then flies. David didn’t change the order by accident. The order David recorded in Psalm 78 is a clue to investigate. When water was turned to blood, everything in it died. The next plague was frogs God called up from the waters He healed. See the spiritual impact. What is God proving in this sequence? After the frogs died, swarms of lice were raised from dust. Look up the spiritual meaning of dust. After lice came flies. How could there be so many lice and flies days after the land was covered with frogs? God is showing us how He teaches spiritual lessons by looking back and comparing the sequence. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past– stories we have heard and known, stories ourancestors handed down to us.

 

In this study we’ve reviewed a number of Bible Study rules and seen how God builds upon them. We’ve looked at how these stories relate to Jesus and His ministry. At this moment Jesus is in the Heavenly Sanctuary where all the items of gold are reflecting His image and character. His Word is more valuable than gold, and also reflects Jesus’ image, character, ministry, and personality. How can we claim to be Christians if we spend so little time and put in no effort to make our relationship with Him stronger and more secure everyday? Do you really think you can spend eternity with someone you don’t know? “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. (Matthew 7:21-24 NLTse).

 
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Psalms 77:1-14 Search and Ponder

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 22, 2014


 

Psalms 77:1-14 NLTse I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! (2) When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. (3) I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. (4) You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even topray! (5) I think of the good old days, long since ended, (6) when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. (7) Has the Lord rejectedme forever? Will he never again be kind to me? (8) Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? (9) Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? (10) And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (11) But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. (12) They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. (13) O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? (14) You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

 

As we can see, David opened his prayer with an emphasis on prayer. Cry, shout, pray, and prayed all point to the main theme. The main feelings in this prayer are a search for comfort, help, and compassion. These are the elements David is looking for from God. David also tells us why he is praying. It is a stressful time. He feels overwhelmed, distressed, rejected. David feels like God is against him and failed him. David teaches us a key element in prayer – he thinks. While in thought he recalls and remembers God’s mighty works, all of His ways, great wonders and awesome power he witnessed in his life. Since this is a prophecy about Jesus, we need to look at all the attributes David placed in his prayer and let them lead us to a parallel chapter when Christ felt the same emotions. Prayer is the key word that leads us to the time Jesus prayed in the garden.

 

Luke 22:35-47 NLTse Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. (36) “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! (37) For the time has come for thisprophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” (38) “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. (39) Then, accompanied by the disciplesJesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. (40) There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” (41) He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, (42) “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (43) Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. (44) He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. (45) At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. (46) “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” (47) But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss.

 

There’s been thousands of sermons preached and thousands of more studies written about Jesus’ prayer in the garden. Sadly most of them missed the main theme – prayer, which is one of the fundamental aspects of a relationship with Jesus. This example shows us a number of lessons by contrast. How many times did Jesus return to pray? If Jesus had gotten all the answers the first time, there would have been no need to return. If Jesus had to return to prayer three times to get the answers He was looking for, who in their right mind would put their salvation in the hands of a religious leader who looks at a text and tries to fascinate people by showing how he can derive every shred of truth without praying once? It happens all the time.

 

I’m like everyone else. I sat in church for thirty years listening to the same sermons repeated over and over again. No one ever had anything new to see or share. For the most part sermons are delivered by preachers who heard the story from someone or read it in a book written long ago. They take someone’s idea, add a few details and call it their own. Where’s the Spirit in that? When Jesus had to return three times, shouldn’t we be willing to return thirty times to listen to God’s wisdom? But many preachers think if they don’t instantly have all the answers, it’s a sign of weakness.

 

It seems the best we can do is work with God’s Spirit on our own and learn to trust in Him as we climb our personal ladder to Him. Most people are stuck on the first wrung with one foot on the ladder, the other afraid to leave this world. It takes both hands and feet to climb a ladder. This seldom used symbol illustrates total commitment.

 

We have to learn to put away influences from the world to see lessons in God’s Word. Scripture tells us Jesus prayed so hard He sweat droplets of blood. This has a number of meanings. In contrast it shows how religious leaders fight against anything new. They refuse to accept any little detail their minds didn’t conjure up or was not given to them by the governing body They forget God sent individuals to kings, not kings to individuals. Preachers with little or no concept on how to study and their own and rely on God’s Spirit oppose the slightest new detail and revelation with all their blood, sweat and tears. Jesus put so much effort into pleading with God for an answer He produced sweat like droplets of blood. It’s sad to see the contrast when religious leaders oppose and fight to shut out God’s voice with as much effort as Jesus applied to hear it.

 

To see lessons in this prophecy about Jesus, we have to master the main theme – PRAYER! One of the main lessons brought out by Jesus is His willingness to return time after time to plead for an answer. After gathering and marking the texts, it’s time to pray and let God’s Spirit lead you to a parallel chapter. Using the key word prayer to search we find a number of chapters to choose from. This is why we need to pay particular attention to prayer as well as the introductions and summations which establish context. Later in this study we’ll cover how the summation of Psalm 77 relates to the summation in Luke 22. First we need to understand the importance of prayer. Once a parallel chapter is located, it’s time to pray again. Prayer is more than asking for things. Prayer is boldly approaching God’s throne and like Jesus did, ask a question and listen. Notice the process is asking one question and listening for God’s answer one at a time. There is a certain sequence God has to explain details. We’ve seen this detail in the time line God uses and how He uses it. We have to learn to understand in God’s time frame, not ours. If we rely on our understanding of time, we’ll be stuck on the first step with one foot on the ladder and the other in the world. We have to step up and leave the views of the world behind.

 

Many preachers are stuck in the world because of the way they’ve been taught in institutions. They haven’t been taught how to think on their own, or approach God’s throne. Their main focus in school was to finish an assignment to obtain a passing grade. Their minds are stuck on the concept of preparing a paper or study which is acceptable and graded by another person. This concept is made part of the process and continues with them until they finally find God and break the chains holding their minds in a pit of self reliance. Students develop a fear of straying away from established and accepted institutional truth. Everything they do is centered around pleasing a teacher then the world. In our previous lesson Jesus told His disciples they were going to be hated by the world because concepts and the understanding He was about to give them is way beyond worldly thoughts and accepted traditions. Prayer is the only way to break the chains of tradition and find out what God has to teach on any given subject.

 

First pray about the two introductions. Look at how God put an emphasis on the main thought with the use of key words. Look at the emotions conveyed. Put yourself in the scene. Understand how God’s time line works. Listen to how God links other verses and lessons. Much of the scripture will be in or near the chapters being studied. Previous verses and chapters show how the author led into the lesson. Following verses and chapters show how the lesson was applied. Parallel chapters fill in details people will never find on their own. Comparing time lines from the prophecy and fulfillment always brings a deeper understanding of the lesson. These are simple rules to follow. Looking at the sequence of study it’s easy to see why going back to pray is a fundamental step in the process. One that keeps us humble.

 

Once we enter into prayer we’re shown the elementary elements of the story. These are details we’ve heard and already understand. They are a good starting point for God to begin and gives God the chance to show He is communicating with you. Then God begins to reveal details you never saw before. They become so clear you wonder how you ever missed them. One of the details I was shown in prayer is another illustration of God’s timing.

 

Most of us have heard sermons or read studies where people try to explain Jesus’ three days in the tomb. When we think about those sermons and studies we see how the speaker and author used only human understanding to explain the three day time frame. They use earthly reasoning to explain a spiritual event. Does that make sense? How can worldly wisdom ever explain God’s spiritual lessons? It can’t! It’s impossible to explain spiritual lessons with human reasoning. The only thing human reasoning will ever do is create a new tradition to drive people deeper into a rut.

 

To explain this we can look at other related stories in the Bible. Jesus used a wedding a number of times to teach a lesson. When we receive a wedding invitation it tells us the hours of the reception. It may say, “Reception from 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM.” This is a reception from the aspect of the guest. It is not the full story or time line of the reception. The family preparing the reception begin planning months ahead. Arrangements are made, a location chosen, food and decorations planned. The day before the reception food is prepared and the location decorated. Hours before people are at the location making final preparations. Some people may insist the printed time on the invitation is all that matters. They may argue the printed time, 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM defines the reception. To them that’s the only time that matters. This is nothing less than on opinion based on a selfish attitude of someone who has no part in the preparations. People who argue minute details on Jesus’ three days in the tomb argue the written hours because they have no understanding what God and Jesus went through to make the necessary preparations. Jesus sweat water and blood while praying in the garden before His arrest. He bled water and blood after dying on the cross. God’s spiritual lesson included more than time in a physical tomb because God was there over seeing all the preparations. God wasn’t the only one making preparations for Jesus sacrifice. When we look at the the introduction to Luke 22 and other gospels we clearly see how religious leaders placed Jesus in a tomb long before His trial. The moment Jesus was arrested, He was tried, convicted, and condemned. In the minds of the priests, Jesus was as good as dead when they paid the ransom money.

 

To understand Jesus’ prayer we have to compare the prophecy with the fulfillment and compare similarities. We see a sequence of details repeated by David and Jesus. “I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; Iremember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.” This is one of the rules of Bible Study we have seen taught in scripture, how to identify key thoughts that are repeated and linked by related words. Jesus used different terms, but the same thought. “For the time has come for thisprophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” Both David and Jesus are referred to prophets as well as personal experiences. This details reveals what was on Jesus’ mind when He prayed.

 

People like to speculate on what Jesus prayed about in the garden before His arrest, but few take time to look back in scripture for the answer. Most teachers try to answer the question with human reasoning trying to impress us with the thought they know what Jesus went through or learned the details in an institution. None of us can say we know what it’s like to be the Son of man and the Son of God. It’s an experience reserved for Jesus alone and not open to speculation. The answer can only be found with repeated prayer and scripture, the same things Jesus relied on for the answers He needed.

 

The first detail good students of the Bible will see is the prophecy Jesus quoted. One of the most important rules of Bible Study is to ALWAYS look at scripture Jesus quoted. In this case a Bible chain reference will quickly take us to Isaiah chapter 53 which in an entire chapter dedicated to Jesus. We will only look at the texts Jesus referred to.

 

Isaiah 53:10-12 NLTse But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

 

Based on the facts and only facts in God’s written word, we’re shown beyond a shadow of a doubt Jesus knew what was happening and looked to scripture in the garden when He prayed. Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him and the final result. So now we see what did Jesus prayed about. His prayer was an example for us. We can put ourselves in Jesus’ place to look at what He felt from a human stand point. But only a human point of view because that’s all we know.

 

How would you face death if you were in Jesus’ position? We know Jesus knew His hour had come. Does everyone know what time they are going to die? Jesus also knew a lot of His followers would also know the exact time they would be executed. It’s a devious plan by Satan to inflict as much pain and suffering on Jesus’ follower. Knowing the exact moment of execution is one of the tools Satan’s agents have been trained to use. It’s supposed to make them doubt God’s power. This is why Jesus had to suffer the same fate – knowing exactly when and how He was going to die. All of His followers facing the same fate had Jesus as an example to look to. This is also why Jesus explained how to constantly return to and remain in prayer. It’s sad to think how often this lesson and secret died with Jesus’ closest followers who understood each of these details. It’s even sadder to see preachers and teachers giving people one tenth of the answers and claiming they know everything. To think Jesus died for them to. Like Jesus pointed out in Isaiah, “He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” Preacher how far do you continue to rebel?

 

David shows us how Jesus looked back for strength in His time of need. Jesus went to scripture for strength. This shows how important Bible Study is. How are people who never put in time to learn God’s Word going to make it through a trial when all they have to rely on is a few simple details some told them? Their faith will never develop beyond an elementary level. Where will their trials lead? When they do have trails do they pray to God, listen, go back and pray more? Or do they go to people who tell them simple stories. Are people willing to look for real answers, or are they looking for the simple way out?

 

I’ve heard a few sermons that insisted Jesus was afraid and prayed for a simple way out. They completely misinterpret what Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Some people insist Jesus didn’t want to go through with what was about to happen. This may be understandable from a human point of view, but why would the Son of God point His disciples back to Isaiah 53 then insist He didn’t want to do it? In His human form Jesus prayed to elevate the suffering. In His human form Jesus felt the pain of the whip and nails as well as His body felt the bite of cold and exhaustion of heat. Jesus prayed for the same thing He wants to give to His followers, a way to face death without physical pain and torment. But He had to suffer everything Satan threw at Him. This was a major part of the lesson we see in God’s plan of salvation which includes war between Jesus and Satan. Jesus was not afraid to die. He was not afraid of victory. Prophecies showed Jesus what He was about to suffer and when. It took an extra measure of strength to endure the physical suffering. The prophecies prepared Him for everything He was about to face. Previous studies showed how religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus. Those studies explained details showing religious leaders today betray and deny Jesus and God’s Spirit. The introduction of Luke 22 records many of the details on the surface. Comparing those details to David’s prayer in Psalm 77 adds a new layer of understanding.

 

Luke 22:1-6 NLTse The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. (2) The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to killJesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. (3) Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, (4) and he went to the leading priests and captainsof the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. (5) They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. (6) So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.

 

David cried out to God in his introduction. He Shouted and searched for the Lord! Why? Because he was in trouble and needed comfort. When Jesus quoted scripture, He showed us He knew He was in trouble. Jesus knew the leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Him. This shows us another important aspect of prayer, the preparation. Other gospels tells us how Jesus sent Judas out of the room. Jesus knew who would betray Him and when. Jesus learned all of this from prayer and scripture. God’s Spirit revealed all the details to Jesus the same way He will reveal all of those details to you when you pray and study scripture. It wasn’t by accident Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples. People can know Jesus, they can listen to Him and still not understand. Is there one verse in the Bible showing how and when Judas prayed? Judas had a plan of his own. He didn’t go to Jesus to confirm his plan, instead he went to the religious leaders. We see this process repeated throughout scripture. We saw it when Solomon built his temple. When did Solomon pray? After the temple was build. His prayer is filled with the main theme repeated time and time again when Solomon claims it was, “the house I built for the Lord.” Did Solomon build the house? Did he lift the stones? Did Solomon cut and finish the wood? Did Solomon labor over a hot fire to purify the gold? Did Solomon labor long hours on his hands and knees to lay the gold? Did Solomon face the sting of the whip? No!. Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen. (2 Chronicles 2:17-18 NLTse).

 

Solomon followed in his father’s foot steps and went a step further. The gold his father left him wasn’t enough. Solomon added taxes to the people’s burdens while he and his government officials lived in luxury, “All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day! (1 Kings 10:21 NLTse). Solomon made up his mind to build a stone temple, a house for himself and elaborate houses for his wives while his kingdom squandered in poverty.

 

Solomon’s wives brought more than their idols with them to Israel. His wives brought a tradition called slavery. Each wife he married from different kingdoms brought their own slaves. Solomon mentioned God’s deliverance from Egypt a number of times in his prayer, but did he realize what it meant? No! Solomon took a bad idea from his father, justified it by linking it to tradition and took his own census. This time he counted up people he could enslave. Once Solomon instituted slavery like Israel suffered in Egypt, he reached a point when a clock began ticking. Time was running out on his kingdom.

 

Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces. (1 Kings 9:24 NLTse). Solomon broke God’s commandment by marrying for selfish gain rather than love and the relationship with God marriage represents. Solomon had a conscience but wasn’t wise enough to know how to follow it. He became embarrassed by his marriage to his Egyptian wife, so he moved her out of the city. Solomon was supposed to be the king of peace, but he didn’t trust God or His promises, so Solomon purchased chariots and horsed from Egypt. Another detail God warned about. Did any of this preparation do any good? No! God taught a lesson by returning all the gold and treasure back to Egypt.

 

Pharaoh paid close attention to everything that happened in Israel. Not only did Egypt have a financial stake in Israel, they invested one of their greatest treasures in Israel’s future – Pharaoh’s daughter. When Egypt heard news of Solomon moving their princess out of town, they were enraged. Solomon thought trade with Egypt more than made up for the insult, but he was wrong. Egypt didn’t easily forget how Solomon insulted them. Egypt waited for the right time to exact revenge. When the time was right, God lifted his hand and allowed Egypt to carry out their plans. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse).

 

If Solomon prayed at the right time, he could have seen this coming. All of that could have been avoided, but Solomon had a desire to finish his plans before praying. I see people making this mistake all the time. They have an idea — like some kind of vision where they may see one of the deceptions in this world. Instead of praying on the subject which would have allowed God to lead them to scripture, they say, “don’t need your help God, I can handle this one on my own.” They wind up taking a text here and there claiming it supports their study. Like Solomon taking credit for building the temple, they take credit for every detail of the study. But does it really teach something, or is it something the author thinks the world will agree with and accept? If you disagree with them or try to add a point, they throw on their Pharisee hat – they don’t want anyone to think there is a detail about our Infinite God they don’t know. It’s as if they place their salvation in knowing everything. Come on now – Jesus had to go back three times to get the answers.

 

The leading priests and teachers of religious law couldn’t be told a thing. They plotted to kill Jesus because He told people details they missed. I see the same attitude almost everyday. People’s comments are so shallow and their studies are out of context. They claim Satan is working through a single agency to overthrow the world and anyone who disagrees with their findings is an agent of Satan. People have been mesmerized by their own concepts. They have to learn to cry out, shout and pray to the Lord for answers like David pointed out. With all his efforts, David still made mistakes. It makes me think of what David looked back on and what he learned from it. David repeated the process twice, but did he follow his own advice? It’s a trial we all face.

 

Jesus also knew the trials His disciples were about to face. Jesus knew the suffering they were about to witness would give them the strength they needed in their ministry. Everything Jesus did had a purpose. Some are able to see the reasoning, others cannot. We see some of those details when we compare the summations of these two parallel chapters and learn how and where they branch out.

 

Another illustration showing how important it is to pray in sequence is the sweat and blood. As discussed, the symbols of water and blood were repeated after Jesus died on the cross. To understand this point we need to follow clues found in the summations of these two parallel chapters.

 

Psalms 77:15-20 NLTse By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (16) When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked andtrembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. (17) The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. (18) Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. (19) Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! (20) You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

 

You may be asking yourself why David closed this Psalm by making references to Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. We can’t find an answer until we follow general Bible Study rules and look back in scripture.

 

Exodus 15:3-13 NLTse The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is his name! (4) Pharaoh’s chariots and army he has hurled into the sea. The finest of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. (5) The deep waters gushed over them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. (6) “Your right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O LORD, smashes theenemy. (7) In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrow those who rise against you. You unleash your blazing fury; it consumes them like straw. (8) At the blast of your breath, thewaters piled up! The surging waters stood straight like a wall; in the heart of the sea the deep waters became hard. (9) “The enemy boasted, ‘I will chase them and catch up with them. I will plunder them and consume them. I will flash my sword; my powerful hand will destroy them.’ (10) But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. (11) “Who is like you among the gods, O LORD— glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (12) You raised your right hand, and the earth swallowed our enemies. (13) “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home.

 

We see two things in David’s summation. Key words sea and water pointed us to the event he is referring to. David concentrated in other key words, trembled, quaked, rumbled, and shook. Of course those key words refer to the earth and its elements. They can also direct our attention to previous events and stories following that point in time.

 

Once again God is revealing lessons on how He views time. We have one time line established by the prophecy David wrote. This takes us to Jesus’ time in the garden. This time line shows Jesus knew religious leaders were plotting against Him. Jesus quoted a prophecy which led us to Isaiah 53, another intersecting line in the moment of time in our study. David’s Psalm also led us to scripture about the Red Sea which also crosses the time time we are working on.

 

By His sacrifice, Jesus open a way through the spiritual sea in this world for us to travel to the real Promised Land in Heaven. By pointing us back to Isaiah 53, Jesus shows us how to study and understand scripture. Part of the lesson Jesus is teaching shows how the spiritual sea is parted. Understanding God’s time line is part of that lesson.

 

In God’s time line, when one point in time is shown to cross another point in time, we have to look at previous and following verses, paying particular attention to key words and repeated theme. In this case we see one theme repeated before and before Israel crossed the Red Sea. When we look at the summation of Exodus 15 it shows that theme. Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. (Exodus 15:24 NLTse). We see the same theme in the previous chapter. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'” (Exodus 14:10-12 NLTse).

 

Israel complained before and after crossing the Red Sea. It’s an habit they kept repeating. We find it again in the following chapter. Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:1-3 NLTse).

 

One of the details Israel hadn’t learned was how to look back which happens to be one of the most important details in Bible Study. Instead of complaining, they should have prayed and looked back at what God did for them. David reminded us about this. If they would have looked back they would have remembered all the miracles and plagues God used to free them from Egypt. They would have seen how some of the plagues effected Egypt but not Israel. They also would have seen how they were freed without raising a weapon. Even when Egypt pursued Israel thinking they were trapped by the Red Sea, God didn’t raise a hand. He parted the waters with His breath then closed the waters over Egypt’s army. The first plague turned water to blood. The last plague Egypt faced was water crushing the life out of their army. Water and blood flowing from Jesus’ side points us back to physical plagues in Egypt, the physical crossing of the Red Sea and pointed forward to our journey into the promised land. The fulfillment is always greater than the symbols. What does this story have to do with the summation in Luke 22?

 

Luke 22:63-71 NLTse The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. (64) They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” (65) And theyhurled all sorts of terrible insults at him. (66) At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, (67) and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?” But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. (68) And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. (69) But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.” (70) They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?” And he replied, “You say that I am.” (71) “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

 

Luke used key words mocking, beating, hit, hurled, and insults which relate to Israel’s complaints. After all God did for Israel, their complaints were like a slap in the face. The religious leaders who arrested and tried Jesus shared the same attitude towards God some of the people who came out of Egypt had. Both had the Son of God in front of them. Israel had a pillar of fire as well as hearing God’s voice from the mountain. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw Jesus teach and heal. Israel had manna from Heaven in addition to flocks of quail. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law heard how Jesus fed thousands.

 

Learning more about God’s timing shows us how His Word is arranged to lead us to texts explaining details few people have seen. As we progress through the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, God builds one lesson upon another using simple illustrations everyone can understand. God’s Spirit shows how He wants us to understand the relationship between these stories and how they open up the spiritual interpretation to us. There’s no reason to take one or two verses from a prophecy then add all kinds of personal ideas, call it a study then insist it is the only true interpretation. How can anyone refer to those types of personal opinions as a Bible Study when they ignore every study rule God placed in His Word? Have people considered – maybe God has not spoken through prophets in such a long time because He’s already placed everything in His Word – it’s just sitting there waiting for someone to find it? God doesn’t need to add any more prophecies, He’s already covered every detail we need to know how we’re going to Heaven and how He will recreate this world. What more do we need to know? Some of us are smart enough to know God also placed the interpretation to every single prophecy in His Word. That’s one of the things we look at to know and use to prove He is God. 
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