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Showing posts from November, 2019

Parable of the Sower

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The “Son of Man” sows the “seed” of the gospel in the world, where it grows unseen until the end of the age  –  Mark 4:1-20 .  The first parable in  Mark  is that of the  Sower . Its proper understanding is key to understanding Christ’s other parables, and its point is that the kingdom began to invade the present age with his proclamation of the gospel by Jesus, the “ Son of Man ,” and ever since, it has been in the process of spreading throughout the world - [ Wheat Harvest  photo by  Erik-Jan Leusink  on Unsplash ].

Unpardonable Sin

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A line is crossed when the activities of God’s Spirit in the words and deeds of Jesus are attributed to Satan  –  Mark 3:22-35 .  Christ’s statement about the “ unpardonable sin ” was in response to the scribes from Jerusalem who came to examine his conduct and teachings. In the preceding paragraph, his “ friends ” had concluded that he was “ beside himself .” In the present story, the representatives from the Temple accused him of being in league with “ Beelzebul ,” the Devil - [ Crucifixion - Photo by  Gianna Bonello  on Unsplash ].

Twelve Apostles Appointed

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Jesus chose his Twelve Apostles from among a larger group of followers, including two surprising candidates - Mark 3:13-21 .  After preaching to the crowds near Capernaum, Jesus departed to a “ mountain ” and summoned his disciples, where he chose twelve men from among a larger group. The resultant company corresponded to the twelve tribes of Israel; effectively, he was reconstituting the covenant people of Yahweh, only now, around himself and not the Torah or Temple - [ Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash ].

Crowds Press, Demons Confess

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The crowds welcomed Jesus because of his miracles, only demons recognized him as the Son of God  -  Mark 3:7-12 .  Mark  describes several incidents that occurred while Jesus was teaching in Capernaum. Eager to see his healing powers, the crowd thronged him to the point it became necessary for him to speak from a boat just off the shoreline. But in the middle of his preaching, demons began to declare that he was the “ Son of God .” - [ Photo by  Johannes Plenio  on Unsplash ].

Unsealed Scroll – The Time of Fulfillment is Now

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SYNOPSIS :   Unlike the book of Daniel, the scroll is unsealed in Revelation.  The messianic age and the time of fulfillment arrived in the death and resurrection of Jesus . Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash At the close of his visions an angel commanded Daniel “ to shut up the words, and seal the book until the season of the end .” One school of prophecy sees this as a promise that the meaning of his prophecies will be disclosed in History’s final years, to the “last generation” to live before the end of the age ( Daniel 12:4 ).

Son Surpasses Moses

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The “word” of the Son is superior even to the “word” of Moses, the “servant” and Great Lawgiver in the house of Yahweh . Hebrews  next demonstrates the superiority of the sonly word by comparing it to Moses, the servant of Yahweh. Implicit in the argument is the priority of the “ word spoken in the Son ” over the Mosaic legislation, and at this point in the letter, the comparison with Moses is most appropriate - [ Photo by  Tobias Rademacher  on Unsplash ].

Superior to Angels

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Having achieved the purification of sins, the Son inherited a more distinguished name than the angels .  The Son achieved the “ purification of sins ,” thus qualifying to “ sit down at the right hand of the majesty on high ,” where he continues as the high priest interceding for his people. And he also inherited the “ more distinguished name ,” namely, “ Son .” And as such, he has surpassed even God’s mightiest angels in status and honor - [ Photo by  Edward Cisneros  on Unsplash ].

Jesus and Jewish Tradition

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Synopsis :  The gospel of Mark presents five incidents in which Jesus experienced opposition from religious leaders for deviating from their traditions - Mark 2:1-3:6 . Jesus did not reject the Mosaic Law but, instead, many of the interpretations added to it by the Scribes and rabbinical authorities, especially practices related to ritual purity and Sabbath regulations. As the “ Son of Man ,” the Messiah, he was not bound by human traditions and regulations - His authority was superior to the traditions of the “ Scribes and Pharisees ,” even to the rituals of the Temple.

Faithful High Priest

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Jesus qualified as our high priest by participating fully in human sufferings, mortality, and death .  The priesthood of Jesus is the key subject of  Hebrews . He has become the “ merciful and faithful high priest ” who intercedes for “ his brethren .” This topic was anticipated in the letter’s opening paragraph, including the uniqueness of his priesthood, by declaring that he had “ achieved the purification of sins ,” and afterward, he “ sat down ” in God’s presence - [ Photo by  Christoph Schmid  on Unsplash ].

Exaltation of the Son

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Hebrews presents Jesus as the Son who has been exalted after his suffering and death to become our sovereign and High Priest .  A key theme in  Hebrews  is the elevation of the “ Son ” as the result of his obedient death. In his sufferings, he was “ perfected ,” and in his resurrection, God vindicated him and exalted him to “ sit down ” at the “ right hand of the majesty on high ,” where he now remains to intercede for his people - [ Photo by  Cristian Grecu  on Unsplash ].

Knowing Times and Seasons

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Instead of calculating times and seasons, followers of Jesus must always be prepared for his sudden arrival - Acts 1:6-8 .  Did Jesus task his followers with knowing end-time chronologies, the “ times and seasons ”? Are believers able to decipher key “signs” by which they can decipher the time of Christ’s return? For that matter, did Jesus and the apostles leave us with a comprehensive list and timeline of end-time events whereby we can calculate the arrival of the end of the age - [ Lunar Phases by Ryan Tasto on Unsplash ]?

Paul, Signs and Seasons

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Paul did not provide a detailed outline of the “signs and seasons.” Instead, considering the future, he exhorted believers to live righteously now .  Did the Apostle Paul instruct believers to know the “ times and seasons ” so they could calculate the timing of the “end” and the return of Jesus? In fact, considering that Christ will arrive “ like a thief in the night ,” he exhorted the Thessalonians to live righteously as the “ sons of the light ,” and to “ watch and be sober ” - [ Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash ].

Fulfillment of the Feast

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The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost fulfilled what the feast symbolized  -  Acts 2:1-4 .  In the book of  Acts , the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost stresses the theme of  fulfillment . That day, the things foreshadowed by the ancient feast began to receive their substance. The bestowal of the Spirit was an epochal event that marked the start of the messianic age, and the gift of the Spirit  fulfilled  what the Levitical feast symbolized - [ Wheat Harvest photo by  meriç tuna  on Unsplash ].

Ends of the Ages

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The Apostle coordinated the commencement of the “last days,” the time of fulfillment, with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus .  The Apostle Paul coordinated the commencement of the “ last days ” with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In him, the time of fulfillment had arrived, and all the promises of God were finding their “ yea and amen ” in Christ.  God had spoken truly but partially in the prophets of old; but now, he was speaking fully in His Son - [ Photo by Gontran Isnard on Unsplash ].

Upon these Last Days

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The era of the Levitical priesthood terminated with the superior “word” revealed by God in His Son.  God has spoken His superior “ word ” in the Son “ at the end of these days .” The clause may reflect the idea attested elsewhere by the New Testament that the “last days” began following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Certainly, its use here signals that a significant new era began with his arrival - [ Photo by  Terry Tan De Hao  on Unsplash ].

Prophecy of Joel

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The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the “last days,” just as prophesied by Joel  –  Acts 2:17-21 .  The application of Joel’s prophecy in  Acts  links the gift of the Spirit to the onset of the final era - the age of fulfillment - which began with the ascension of Jesus and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. As Peter declared, the arrival of the Spirit was according to the prophecy from  Joel  about the “ last days ” and the impending “ Day of the LORD .” - [ Photo by  Jeremy Bezanger  on Unsplash ].

House of God

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Jesus is the true and only way of access to the Father, the Greater Bethel, and the house of God  –  John 1:47-50 .  John presents Jesus as the  True House of God  and the open way of access to the presence of Yahweh. He is the Greater and True  Bethel , the “ house of God ,” and from now on, heaven is open to all men, and angels are “ ascending and descending ” on the “ Son of Man .” What Jacob saw in an ancient long has become a concrete reality in Jesus of Nazareth - [ Photo by  Mario Dobelmann  on Unsplash ].

True Worship

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To the Samaritan woman, Jesus revealed that access to the presence of God is not limited to specific locations or structures  –  John 4:20-24 . To a Samaritan woman, Jesus revealed the proper form and location for the worship of the Father. With the advent of the Messiah, concepts about holy space and holy time no longer applied, and the arrival of the “ Son of Man ” rendered the historical debate over the location of the Temple moot. From now on, worship must be performed in  truth  and  in spirit  - [ Photo by  Pablo Heimplatz  on Unsplash ].

Final Sanctuary

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Jesus is the True and Final Sanctuary in which the glory of Yahweh now dwells, the substance foreshadowed by the ancient Temple – John 2:13-22 .  In the second chapter of John , we find the disciples discovered that Jesus is the True and Final Temple of God . The era of God “dwelling” in portable tents and stone buildings in Jerusalem or anywhere else had come to an end. God does not dwell in structures “ made-by-hand ,” nor can His presence be contained within physical or geographic boundaries - [ Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash ].

Jesus Reigns Now

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OVERVIEW  -  His reign began with his exaltation to the throne of God following his Death and Resurrection  –  Psalms 110:1 .  The New Testament links the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus to his past Death and Resurrection, and consistently so. He achieved the right to rule through his faithful obedience unto death. God vindicated His Son by raising him from the dead and seating him “ at His right hand ” to reign supreme over the Cosmos - [ Photo by  ᴊᴀᴄʜʏᴍ ᴍɪᴄʜᴀʟ  on Unsplash ].

Paul’s Propositional Statement

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OVERVIEW - Paul presents the points of agreement and disagreement with his opponents at Galatia – Galatians 2:15-21 . In the first two chapters of Galatians, the Apostle Paul explained how he had received his gospel for the Gentiles by divine revelation, a commission confirmed later by the leaders of the Jerusalem church. And he detailed how certain “false brethren were smuggled in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus” in a similar controversy at the church in Antioch - [ Photo by  Startaê Team  on Unsplash ].

Proclaiming Another Gospel

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The Judaizing opponents at Galatia were preaching a different message that deviated from the apostolic tradition  –  Galatians 1:6-12 .  After a brief introduction, the letter to the  Galatians  begins with a stern warning. What some believers were contemplating amounted to replacing the message proclaimed by Paul with a false gospel. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis for one’s right standing before God is nothing less than the abandonment of the gospel - [ Bible and Cross - Photo by  Katherine Hanlon  on  Unsplash ].

Rescued from this evil age

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Paul anchored all that God has done in the past Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which inaugurated the messianic age  –  Galatians 1:1-5 .  In  Galatians , Paul declared that his apostleship came from the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, the one who gave his life to “ deliver us from this evil age .” This anticipated the defense of his apostolic calling and his disagreement with certain Jewish believers who were operating  as if the old era was still in effect  - [ Dawn Breaking - Photo by Danka & Peter on Unsplash ].