The Lonely Road to the Blessed Hope – Pete Garcia - https://www.rev310.net/post/the-lonely-road-to-the-blessed-hope
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door and, no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Revelation 3:8
The watchman on the western wall cried with a loud voice to the crowds thronging below him, Behold, the end of all things is at hand!
No head turned towards him. No ear bent upwards to better hear.
After a moment, he cried out again, Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!
Again, no acknowledgment. Just heads turned downward, eyes peeled to their smartphones, trudging along like mindless zombies unaware of the danger that lay ahead.
In his heart, the watchman knows that this generation will not heed the warning. They are full of eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. They have hearts hardened by the widespread cynicism of the age. Unlike any other generation before it, prophetic warnings these days are simply white noise in a flood of information bombarding the masses. Warnings, prophetic or otherwise, often go unheeded unless the threat is immediate and obvious. Indifference has become the normal state of affairs.
The watchman laments the state of the obstinate crowds addicted to their devices. Like lemmings marching to the cliff edge, each passing day presses this world ever forward into the unforgiving wine press of the wrath of God.
A time of unspeakable horror is coming upon the world. The 70th Week of Daniel, often commonly referred to as The Tribulation, will be a foretaste of hell on earth during the final seven years of mankind. It is this approaching storm the watchman on the wall warns of...a storm that will engulf the whole world into a tempest of tyranny, lawlessness, wickedness, and both natural and supernatural judgment.
Knowing the perilous times ahead and the seeming utter disregard by most in the world today, the watchman walks a lonely road.
The watchman's calling is not glamorous. Nor is it without cost.
Friendly acquaintances have abandoned him. Co-workers have begun to shun him. Even loved ones give wide berth eventually avoiding him altogether. He has had long-term relationships severed by friends and close family. His calling has cost him his livelihood by passed-over promotions, missed positions, and any semblance of upward mobility seems to have now eluded him.
Perhaps even his beloved spouse believes he has finally lost his mind and has taken to mocking and scoffing at him at every opportune time. One day, should the Lord tarry, she will leave him for another like herself. Someone equally distracted with the here and now, where an endless consumption of material things fills the time, yet never manages to satiate the appetite of the soul.
Vacuous and tone-deaf church pulpits increasingly ignore the return of Christ. With heads firmly planted in the ground, so-called "learn-ed" clergy increasingly ignore the compounding signs that the end is racing towards them. Sadly, even the watchman's own church has begun to close ranks against him. No longer allowed to teach or serve in any meaningful way, he walks out of the hollow building to the sounds of those speaking just above a whisper saying things like "he's crazy," "a prophecy nut," and "he has lost his mind."
With little strength, he turns to the shrinking remnant community of fellow watchmen of those like-minded watchers for encouragement. These are those who also willingly challenge the 'willful ignorance' of this age. But why then is he (and others like him) becoming shunned like lepers at every step?
He knows why. He might not bear the ugly sores of leprosy, however, he bears the ugly truth no one wants to hear…the truth that this world is coming to its inevitable end…and quickly.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8
But there is something else.
Something that is even more troubling to those who only profess Christ with their mouths, but not their hearts. Perhaps this division between professing and believing, is what really causes them to reject the watchman's warning, especially in the 'civilized' world. This love for the return of Christ exposes the hollowness of the modern-day church with all its trappings of seeker-friendly messages and kingdom-building platforms.
The truth is, the watchman is ruined by the love of Christ.
For when one tastes of that glory so divine that only Christ offers, nothing else on earth will satisfy.
The watchman becomes consumed by investing in the world to come, and not this present one which is quickly fading away.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 5:19-21
Nothing else on earth will quench the hunger for the true believer. Nothing else will quench the thirst. Christ has ruined his appetite for the things of this world, and he knows he is all the better for it.
Spiritually awakened, the watchman's inner man has become quickened and reconnected back to his Creator. Understanding what he was saved from, he is compelled to share this good news with others before time runs out.
The watchman sees the complete picture. He is not only thankful for what Christ has already done at the Cross but is thankful for what Christ will do in the future. Thus, our blessed hope is bifurcated by the knowledge the Scripture imparts to the discerning believer.
"...Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10
This blessed hope is that Christ comes first for His bride to meet Him in the air (lifted up) as an act of endearment. We purify ourselves by holding to this expectation of our blessed hope. It is also a warning to those who are left behind for if our removal is a blessing then what should those who remain expect?
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 (my emphasis)
And then He returns to the earth a second time with His bride in judgment, to vanquish His enemies once and for all.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7
In the meantime, the watchman often wanders this world alone like a nomad; a stranger in a strange land alienated by his new nature and his desire to be pleasing to God. He knows that nothing in this world will satisfy him. Nothing will satiate his desire to be reconnected to his Creator. Spurred on by the boundless revelation in Scripture, he pours over every detail, every jot and tittle allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate his understanding of things past, present, and to come.
He knows this world is coming to an end. The signs Jesus gave us are not just happening, but are being stored up like blast wave awaiting the right moment to explode forth. He knows that the complex schemes of wicked men and angels are coming to nothing because they do not/can not control the future.
Even the normal tasks of work, play, and life, without Christ, are empty and meaningless.
The present world powers in business, academia, culture, and government, are attempting to create a world devoid of God (as if God doesn't exist), and yet, are fulfilling the Scripture exactly as it was written because it has already been foretold.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:1-3
They act as if this world and reality are without an author or creator. They act as if this world and all therein, is accidental. They've convinced themselves that they determine the future, and can control its outcomes. They have successfully exorcised God from almost every facet of the public square, acting as if they don't talk about Him, He doesn't exist.
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:3-7 (my emphasis)
They, like the empty-suited religious leaders of our day, have substituted transformative faith with absolute spiritual regeneration (i.e., being born again), for empty platitudes for how to live peaceably.
Coexistence doesn't bring peace.
Religion does not bring true life.
Morality does not bring sanctification.
Piety does not bring redemption.
Only believing and trusting in the finished work of Christ's death on the cross to pay for our transgressions, can bring true life. As Scripture says,
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. Hebrews 9:28
But Christ did not come simply to die and be seemingly defeated by the powers of this world. For His sacrifice is intricately connected to His return.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For Christ must return to the same battlefield where He was seemingly defeated, and conquer His enemies, and lay claim to the victory promised to Him from before the foundation of the world.
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
So if you are a watchman, and you are feeling despondent, alone, weak, neglected, shunned, and ignored, know that you are not alone. Christ knows your struggles and your walk. He is there with us through every step of the path He gave us to walk. Knowing that we are not alone and that this journey we are on is at its end, and the finish line is in sight, Rejoice!
Rejoice for having the perseverance to endure this race until the end of all things.
Rejoice for knowing that as bad as this life is, it is the closest to hell you will ever be.
Rejoice for the things Christ has in store for those who love Him.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (my emphasis)
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Agenda 2030 - Online Deepfakes May Accelerate Global ID For Internet Access – PNW Staff - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=6336
Deepfake videos have the power to deceive and manipulate the masses, especially in a world where videos can go viral within seconds.
What was once a complex and time-consuming process reserved for skilled individuals is now within the reach of virtually anyone thanks to powerful software and machine learning algorithms, creating convincing deepfakes has become alarmingly effortless.
Fake videos of celebrities promoting phony services have begun to gain some traction on major social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.
Last week, NBC News viewed more than 50 videos posted to those sites that featured computer-manipulated images and audio of well-known people, all of which appeared to have been created to scam viewers out of money.
Many of them centered on Elon Musk, with manipulated videos of several news and television personalities -- including CBS News anchor Gayle King, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and HBO host Bill Maher -- falsely claiming Musk had invented a technologically advanced investment platform.
Most of the videos continued with a similarly deepfaked version of Musk, who encouraged viewers to invest their money in the nonexistent platform. Musk, the owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, has promoted some cryptocurrencies in the past, leading to his becoming extremely popular with scammers who use his image for their own gain.
Many of the videos had tens of thousands of views showing how quickly such videos can spread and some experts are warning the first "deepfake election" will arrive next year, when a substantial number of voters will see political disinformation videos online and not be able to tell with certainty whether they're real.
It may only be a matter of time until a deepfake goes viral to the degree that it causes a national crisis - such as a fake political assassination or other dramatic news event that would destabilize our society. This could be the triggering event to bring about new rules for the internet - including a digital ID system.
The idea of a digital ID system is not entirely new. In some countries, digital identification has already been implemented for government services and online banking. However, expanding the use of digital IDs to cover all online activities would be a significant step towards global ID for everyone. No ID, no access would change the nature of identification and verification systems worldwide.
While it might seem to make sense on some levels, the threat to personal freedoms and potential for abuse by Government is vast. In the same way that digital currency provides authorities the ability to track and record every online financial transaction you make, digital ID will provide the same for every click you make online. Do we really want the government to have real time access to our web browsing?
The ability of governments to control what we see and don't see online would make Facebook censorship over 'community standards' pale in comparison. That which is branded 'hate' or 'misinformation" would be blocked and as conservatives have learned - it is often traditional Biblical values that are branded as such.
Europe has already taken the first step towards such restrictions with the 'Digital Services Act', which can fine or ban people for similar offenses. However this would be on an entirely larger scale and in the wrong hands - putting global control over the flow of information into the hands of a few.
The United Nations has made no secret of it's plans to have a global digital identity as part of it's Sustainable Development Goals set forth in Agenda 2030. Some of the more controversial technologies already being talked about for maintaining such a digital ID system are chip implants that can be inserted into someone in chip form.
You would then scan that chip id over an internet enabled device to gain access. It has been suggested such chips could not only be used as a form of biometric identification but also incorporate a digital wallet (digital currency) and health records (vaccination records).
Students of Bible prophecy have long warned that our society was slowly marching towards acceptance of technology that is described in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 13 describes a time in which a 'mark' in the right hand or forehead would be used as both a symbol of identification with the Antichrist and a means to conduct commerce. Without that mark no one can buy or sell. Agenda 2030 is still seven years away but at the rate technology and society is changing, we may see such changes faster than anyone thought.
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Sino Syndrome Surging – Terry James - https://terryjamesprophecyline.com/2023/09/04/sino-syndrome-surging/
The 1979 movie, The China Syndrome, stoked fears of nuclear power plant meltdown. The fear as expressed—only partly joking—was that the melting of nuclear material would keep going deeper into the earth all the way to China, contaminating groundwater and everything else. A real such disaster came only twelve days after the film’s release, when Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania suffered a nuclear power plant meltdown.
The Sino Syndrome, as I call it, in terms of geopolitical-think, is the belief by many today that a deadly danger is coming from the other side of the world toward America at an ever-quickening pace.
Fears are mounting. The Sino threat is growing. The messages I’m receiving amount to being a syndrome, in my view.
China, which I believe without doubt will be the “kings of the east” leading force—that is, the King of the kings of the east—has many worrying that invasion is near. This apprehension includes that of some of my friends, one of whom I will let express his thoughts in brief here.
He says the following in one of his several emails to me:
I’ve seen several other Internet reports also revealing that our government is openly allowing communist China to infiltrate America in many ways. Buying up land, possibly near our military bases! Additional proof that our own pro communist leaders, Obama and Biden, are friendly to Red China and probably not opposed to a Chinese takeover of America. And soon!
I find it quite likely that Barack Obama, wanting to eliminate our free Republic and communize our nation, could simply allow the Chinese communists to help him in that endeavor.
Think about it. Is it not very likely that by now many communist Chinese agents have entered our nation through Obama’s open border and are positioned all across our nation?
I don’t know about you, but I find this news very concerning. You wonder how much longer God will delay the Rapture. Will it not occur until America falls to the Chinese?
There’s been a lot of talk about China invading Taiwan. But, nothing is being said by anybody about how China is rapidly infiltrating our nation, by permission of our leaders. Perhaps as punishment for turning from Him, God may allow us to soon fall to the communist Chinese. Just as He allowed both Judah and Israel to be overrun by their enemies for rebelling against Him.
My friend’s worry is expressed many times over by others who aren’t necessarily close acquaintances. The concern has indeed moved into the arena of near-paranoia in a number of cases.
Their fears aren’t without basis. I, too, don’t take lightly matters coming out of that troubling area. But my concern is greatly tempered, because it’s undertaken with the absolute knowledge of truth found in God’s Word—which I hope to go into a bit later.
First, a look into some of the things feared to be going on with regard to America’s number-one enemy so far as national entities are concerned:
When thinking on this entire range of assaults, all one can say is: “Whew!”
If all this threat from China—and from its ally Russia—comes to fruition, we will, as my friend fears, soon be under the thumb of the most despotic, torturous regime to exist on the planet. Americans will be facing the darkest of times, almost rivaling the conditions prophesied under Antichrist’s regime in Revelation.
But, as always, I stick to my absolute confidence that this just isn’t going to happen. While it is a possibility–even a likelihood—that this nation and others of the West will suffer even military attacks following the Rapture of the Church, I’m of the studied opinion that neither China nor Russia will conquer the United States—or any major nation-state of the Western hemisphere, for that matter. This is even though the Marxists and communist types have made great inroads into this part of the world.
The reasons I am so confident of what I write here are found in God’s Word. I have written the following consistently.
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 say that Russia and its forces will meet their doom on the mountains of Israel as they attack. All the while, the other areas of the world–the Western world—will be observing Gog’s defeat and only issuing diplomatic notes of protest (this being evidence that China and Russia have not conquered the West).
China, on the other hand–the king of the kings of the east—will be held back until the late Tribulation era by a God-ordained and stipulated barrier that separates the Occidental and Oriental worlds.
This barrier is the Euphrates River of the Middle East.
That holding back of the great invading force until near the time of Armageddon is found in Revelation, chapters 9 and 16.
This, my take on the matter, I realize, will make little difference to most who view developments in China, Russia, and the Middle East, because most don’t take into account God’s Word on matters involved. The Sino Syndrome is building. Troubles coming out of those areas of this ever-darkening world are likely to appear much more ominous in the very near future.
I can only urge those so fearful of things they believe are coming to consider studying God’s prophetic Word–to overlay all of the portentous things they fear with the template of the Bible.
I’m speaking to Christians, of course. The lost mind can be brilliant in IQ, but totally oblivious to truth. The Christian, however, has every promise of the ability to find truth in all matters—including those concerning their future so far as war and peace are concerned.
And the only peace to be found is in the Prince of Peace. He has promised to keep us from that hour of Tribulation (Revelation 3:10).
If you haven’t yet come to Him for the “peace that passes all understanding,” here is how to instantaneously embrace the only way God has provided to be saved from the troubles coming upon this fallen world of rebels:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9–10)
Can You Find Jesus in the Old Testament? – By David Jeremiah - https://harbingersdaily.com/in-depth-can-you-find-jesus-in-the-old-testament/
When Dr. David Murray was asked to teach Hebrew and Old Testament in a seminary, he asked himself, “Why would God have given us the majority of the Bible in the Old Testament?” The key came when Murray realized Jesus Christ answered that question Himself. He told His disciples the Old Testament was all about Him. Murray learned what we’ll discover in this lesson--
When His critics challenged His identity as recorded in John’s Gospel, Jesus replied, “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:37–40).
The word “Scriptures” here referred to the Old Testament, for the New Testament hadn’t yet been given. Jesus was claiming that God the Father spoke of Him in the inspired pages of the Old Testament. As we study this subject in the Old Testament, we can pinpoint more than three hundred specific predictions about Christ, plus a multitude of signs, types, indications, and foreshadowing—all pointing to Him. His birth, His life, His character, His ministry, His betrayal, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension were detailed hundreds of years before they occurred.
When you read the Old Testament with Jesus in mind, everything is different. It’s impossible to miss it. We realize the Hebrew Scriptures are more than a collection of stories; they present the portrait of the coming Messiah.
Jesus: The Seed of the Woman
The first presentation of the Gospel in the Bible occurred as early as the Garden of Eden. We find it in the third chapter of the book of Genesis—in Genesis 3:15. Theologians call this verse the protoevangelium. Proto means “first” and evangelium means “Gospel.” They call Genesis 3:15 the “first Gospel.”
The Bible begins with the book of Genesis and its story of Creation when God spoke and the universe came into existence. He created Adam and Eve for fellowship with Himself, but they violated His command and disobeyed Him. It was a sad day for all humanity as we fell into sin. When the first couple disobeyed the commandment of God, which was given in the abundance of His blessing, God punished them. But He never gave up on them. The Lord had already prepared a plan of redemption to take care of Adam and Eve, and to ultimately take care of us.
Genesis 3:15 is the record of what God said to Satan. It’s incredible that the first promise of the coming Redeemer was spoken by God to Satan. Almighty God said in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
That sounds like a code, and in a sense it is. God told Satan that one day the Seed of the woman—Jesus—would come. He predicted that Satan would bruise the Messiah’s heel, but the Messiah would crush Satan’s head. In other words, there would be a tremendous conflict between Satan and the promised Seed of the woman. The latter would be hurt, but the former would be destroyed. Romans 16:20 says, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…”
When Jesus went to the cross, Satan bruised His heel. Satan thought he had won, but he didn’t destroy Jesus; he just bruised His heel. The Bible says one day Jesus will come again and crush Satan’s head.
With that thought in mind, read Galatians 4:4–5 which says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Genesis 3:15 is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible, because it is the first promise of the Gospel.
Here we get the first inkling that a Savior would come into the world to defeat Satan and bring us back to the family of God.
Jesus: The Passover Lamb
Turning to the book of Exodus, we see another picture of the coming Savior—the Passover Lamb. God’s plan of redemption continues to unfold, and here we have one of the Bible’s greatest types.
The early chapters of Exodus describe the conflict between Pharaoh and Moses. God hurled many plagues against the Egyptians, culminating with the night when the Lord struck down the firstborn in every home in Egypt. But among the enslaved Hebrews, a special instruction was given. Every family was to take a spotless lamb, slaughter it, and brush its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their house.
Exodus 12:12–13 says, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you…”
That’s the origin of the word Passover. Jewish people celebrate the night when the angel passed over the houses where the blood was on display on the doorposts. Through this vivid Old Testament story of divine deliverance, the Lord revealed His pattern and His plan. Our salvation requires the sacrifice and blood of an innocent, spotless lamb (Jesus). That’s exactly how the ministry of Jesus was introduced 1,400 years later when John the Baptist introduced the Messiah to the world, when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
Think of all the things John could have said. Behold the King of Israel! Behold the Messiah! Behold the King of kings! Behold the Prince of Peace! Behold Immanuel!
Peter later wrote, “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” (1 Peter 1:18–19).
Just as the lamb in the Old Testament enabled the death angel to pass over the houses of the Israelites who displayed the blood on their doorposts, so the blood of the Lamb of God who was slain on Calvary, when applied to our hearts, keeps us from the judgment of our sin and death. Our sins are covered by the precious blood shed for us.
In the Old Testament, He is the Passover Lamb. In the New Testament, He’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is arguably the most poignant description of the Person and work of the Messiah, and its truth stretches from Genesis to Revelation.
Jesus: The Bronze Serpent
The book of Numbers describes one of the most vivid symbols of Christ in the Old Testament—the bronze serpent. In Numbers 21, the children of Israel grew impatient and sinned recklessly, and grumbled against Moses and against God. As discipline, the Lord sent venomous snakes among them. The people cried out to Moses, confessing their sin and begging for mercy from God. Moses prayed for the people that God would take this punishment away. The Lord spoke to Moses and told him, “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” (Numbers 21:8). The Bible says, “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Numbers 21:9).
Over a thousand years later, a man named Nicodemus sought out a young rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth for personal counseling. Jesus reached back into the book of Numbers and claimed that the bronze serpent was a biblical preview of His own work on the cross. He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14–15).
People in the wilderness looked to the serpent and they were healed. And when you and I look to Jesus, so are we. The remedy for our past sinful choices isn’t to heal ourselves. The remedy is to simply look to Jesus. Look to the cross and say, “I know You’re there for me. You paid the penalty for my sin.” It’s the perfect illustration of Jesus, and it is found in Numbers chapter 21. That is Jesus in the Old Testament.
Jesus: The Forsaken Savior
Let’s move out of the historical books of the Old Testament and open the book of Psalms. We can discover a lot about the Lord Jesus Christ in the 150 chapters of this great book of the Bible, for many of the Psalms are Messianic in nature and have specific predictions about the coming Messiah. But we only have time in this lesson to pause at Psalm 22, which foretells the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ so accurately you would think the writer was standing at the foot of the cross. Psalm 22 predicts the words Jesus utters while dying on the cross (verse 1); the public nature of His suffering and death (verse 7); the exact words flung at Him by bystanders (verse 8); the dehydration and loss of bodily fluids involved in His death (verse 14); the disjointed position of His body (verse 14); His intense thirst (verse 15); the piercing of His hands and feet (verse 16); His unclothed state in death (verse 17); the gambling away of His garments by the executioners (verse 18); His declaration of victory at the resurrection (verse 22); and the global impact of the message of death and resurrection throughout history (verses 27–31).
All that, one thousand years in advance!—though the process of execution by crucifixion was not even invented at that time.
Yet David vividly described it in this Psalm that was written ten centuries before it actually happened.
Jesus: The Suffering Servant
Now let’s move to the prophet Isaiah, whose book contains so much prophetic information about the coming Messiah we sometimes call the book of Isaiah the “Fifth Gospel.” According to this prophet, the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14); He would be called Immanuel, which means, “God with us” (7:14); He would come from Galilee (9:1); He would be born a Child, a Son; the Prince of Peace who would inherit the throne of His father David (9:6–7); He would be anointed by the Holy Spirit (11:1–2); He would possess remarkable traits of character and personality (11:3–5); and do something so extraordinary on a mountain that the shroud of death covering all nations would be destroyed and He would swallow up death forever (25:6–8).
Isaiah wrote all about Jesus approximately seven hundred years before the Savior was born.
When you come to the great fifty–third chapter of Isaiah, you have the story of the Suffering Servant. Isaiah wrote: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5–6).
These examples are only a portion of the Old Testament prophecies related to Jesus Christ. Mathematicians who have studied the prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament have concluded that the probability of all the predictions about Him coming true is virtually nonexistent without the hand of an omniscient God recording in advance what would happen. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, and there isn’t any question about it. Any honest and reasonable person who studies this subject with integrity and an open mind can only be amazed at the accuracy of the fulfillments.
To know the Suffering Servant of Isaiah is to know the Gospel and the extraordinary love of Jesus!
Knowing Jesus From the Old Testament Reassures Our Faith
First, when we study the fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about Christ, it tremendously strengthens our faith. Some people believe that faith is believing in something despite the evidence, but it’s actually believing in something because of the evidence. The Bible tells us the truth. Whenever we have a trickle of doubt about the truthfulness of Christianity, one of the best things we can do is go back and read Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 or spend some time in a survey or summary of Old Testament Messianic prophecy. Our faith is always reassured and affirmed, for no one except God could have made so many predictions—all of which came true exactly as stated.
Knowing Jesus From the Old Testament Revives Our Hearts
Second, knowing Jesus from the Old Testament brings revival to us; it makes our heart burn. In Luke 24, two disciples were walking to the village of Emmaus on Easter Sunday, and they were troubled and confused. All of a sudden, Someone caught up with them and began walking with them. It was Jesus, but they did not recognize Him. They told Him of their hopes that Jesus would be the One to release them from their bondage. When they arrived at their home, they offered Him dinner, and as He broke the bread, they realized Who it was who had been with them.
Luke 24:32 says, “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” When Jesus opened the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Himself, their hearts revived, and they were filled with joy and excitement at this truth: The Jesus of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. He is the promised Messiah.
Knowing Jesus From the Old Testament Restores Our Hope
And then, knowing the truth about Messianic prophecy and that Jesus fulfills that calling restores our hope. Writing about the purpose of the Old Testament, the apostle Paul said: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). We have hope. It’s not hope–so hope, it’s a know so hope. We know that Jesus is who He claims to be.
Make sure the promised Messiah is your Savior, study His portrait, and always remember the combination to a life of joy and victory is the simplest formula in the world—it’s simply J–E–S–U–S. He is the Jesus of the Old and the Jesus of the New Testaments. We find Him in the Old in prophecy and picture; we find Him in the New in presence and in power.
Most of all, we must find Him in our heart. He built a space within us only He can fill. We can try to fill it with everything else, but only Jesus satisfies us. It’s not a matter of simply knowing about Him; it’s a matter of knowing Him, loving Him, and walking with Him in the everyday experience of life. We were created for Him—the Jesus of the Old and New Testaments, the Jesus of eternity.
Daily Jot: When the church compromises - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Mankind is constantly under the influence of Satan to imitate or replace God. Communism, for example, seeks to replace God with the state. It compels or forces people to comply with the government as the provider of all things. It appeals to the human sense of fairness by creating victim classes such as women, homosexuals, the environment, and skin color. It equates communist values with Godly values. It promises utopia. But the Communist Manifesto calls for the abolition of religion, morals, property ownership, and even marriage. So what happens when the church compromises with communism? Ultimately, communism turns on the church. Nicaragua serves as a great reminder.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, and the World Council of Churches quietly supported the communist uprising in Nicaragua led by Daniel Ortega. Nuns, priests, pastors had bought into the false promise that Ortega’s brand of communism would be best for the people, that Ortega would use the church to minister to the poor. The church was banking that it would get both money and support from the communist government to ease suffering and bring the gospel to the people. Ortega and the communist Sandinistas gained power, then lost power, then used the church, primarily the Roman Catholic Church, to regain power.
In December 2009, my visit to Nicaragua was eye-opening. There were billboards all over Managua with the image of Ortega striking a god-like pose. The words “Christiano, Socialista, Solidario” are boldly placed beneath his triumphant outstretched hand. Christianity, socialism, solidarity–The marriage of Christianity and socialism in an attempt to convince people that socialism is the vehicle by which the Word of God, the acts of Jesus Christ, is expressed through man. This is the brainwashing of a highly religious people (73% of Nicaragua is Roman Catholic, 15% evangelical) that it is their Christian duty to give up their rights to the government. The Roman Catholic Church was complicit in helping Ortega. But today, the tables are turned and the communist manifesto is the rule—Government as God. And the church is on the outs.
In fact, Ortega has banned the main Jesuit order in Nicaragua and shut down the Catholic university there because it’s a “center for terrorism.” In response, the Jesuits issued an official rebuke, saying “This is a government policy that is systematically violating human rights and seems to be aimed at consolidating a totalitarian state.” They should have known that in the first place. Back in 2009Nicaraguans warned me that Americans are falling prey to the same deceptive practices. They said trust and apathy will allow the institutionalization of socialism in America. Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The Nicaraguans wish they had taken this advice. God’s word and communism are incompatible. The church, above all, should know this. Some Jesuits are finding out the hard way and Americans should take heed.
Daily Devotion: Temporary Division - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
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. —Romans 5:1
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/temporary-division/ - Listen
In Matthew 10 we find one of the more controversial statements of Jesus: “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ ” (verses 34–36 NLT).
This must have shocked His listeners. After all, on the night of Jesus’ birth, didn’t the angels appear to the shepherds and say, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 NLT)? Is Jesus not the Prince of Peace? What is this about?
It all fits together when we see the big picture.
Yes, it is true that Jesus has ultimately come to bring peace. But before there can be peace, there must be the end of war. And in a war, someone has to win and someone has to lose.
Before we become Christians, we are in a war with God. We’re opposed to Him. But when we, by His grace, come to our senses and surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.
As Romans 5:1 tells us, “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” (NLT).
Where we once were divided from God, we now have peace with God.
Yet Jesus said He came “not to bring peace, but a sword.” And this is a double-edged sword. Though it’s true that it cuts, it also gives life.
What initially wounds ultimately heals, much like a surgeon with a scalpel. We don’t feel the pain of the surgeon’s scalpel until the anesthesia wears off. But when we realize our life was prolonged because of surgery, we recognize that what temporarily caused us pain ultimately extended our lives.
In the same way, Jesus comes with a sword. Yes, it brings temporary pain when we realize that we’re separated from God. But what temporarily causes pain ultimately brings eternal life.
The same is true when you’re seeking to live a godly life and it causes division in your family. Don’t lament. Instead, think of it this way: it’s better to temporarily offend someone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ with a convicting message of the gospel and see them ultimately come to faith than to never offend them in any way and see them go into a Christless eternity.
Now, we shouldn’t unnecessarily offend family members with our witness. Sometimes this happens, especially with believers who are very new in the faith. They lack something called tact, and they’re persecuted not because of their faith but because they’re obnoxious.
We must also remember that if we’re going to be true disciples, it may bring temporary division. It may even cause temporary pain. But ultimately it could bring the greatest harmony of all.
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