Enrty into Jerusalem

THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. Matthew ch 21 v 1-11. Zechariah ch 9 v 9- 10.

What was the message, which Jesus brought to the people of His day, when He entered into Jerusalem? Jesus had been planning for this day for a long time. He knew that it was in Jerusalem He would lay down His life for the sins of the World. He was totally in control as He came to the climax of His public ministry on Earth, just as He had been throughout the whole of His public ministry. More than half of a man’s communication is conveyed by body language – by his actions, hands, posture, eyes, appearance etc. Jesus entered Jerusalem on an ass or donkey. He might have been expected to have ridden in on a horse or in a chariot or even to walk in on foot. But Jesus rode on an ass. All four Gospel writers refer to this event in the public ministry of Jesus. Many of the prophets had acted out their messages in earlier days. One prophet even walked about virtually naked to draw attention to his message.

Three questions confront a man about this event in Jerusalem.

1.What was the significance of Jesus riding in on an ass?
2. How did Jesus know that He was to ride in on an ass?
3. What were the consequences of His message on this occasion?

Jesus did not as much as speak to the people, yet they responded in a positive way. They cheered, and shouted and laid palms down on the road. His very appearance brought the crowds to the point of a decision. Symbolism is rife throughout speech and actions. If the Prime Minister visits a place he usually arrives in a big car. That conveys the idea that an important person has arrived. If a leader chooses to speak to people in the streets standing on an orange box, he is using the symbolism to show that he is close to the people. To attend a wedding in full dress shows respect for the host and the occasion. To arrive in jeans and a tea shirt would show disrespect. Symbolism is important.

The symbolic message of Jesus was that He was coming to them on a mission of peace. He was well aware that the people wanted to be rid of the Roman occupation. He had almost certainly witnessed the cruel oppression of the Romans and of crucifixion. He knew of the corruption amongst the tax gatherers like Zacchaeus. As it was then, so it is today. There is widespread corruption in the political and business community. Jesus knew that what was needed was not more legislation or regulations or physical strength against the Romans but a change of heart. He longed to see a time when people would not want to fight. Perhaps Jesus had read the words of Micah the night before He set out on His mission to Jerusalem: He knew them well. Micah ch 4 v 3. “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall no longer fight each other, for all war shall end.” That was the utopia the prophet had longed for. Jesus longed for that also, as did many in His day and as do many today – in all sincerity. The difference was that Jesus knew that the utopia could only be attained, if mankind surrendered their greed and pride on the altar of personal sacrifice. Jesus had come to lead the way, so that, with sins forgiven, a man could at last be at peace with other men. He knew that sin not only separated a man from God but also man from other men. There was no other way but for a price to be paid for the sin in the World. That price was to be paid for by Jesus with His own life.

Jesus would not be diverted or side-tracked in fulfilling the plan of God for His life. Similarly a man should be single-minded in carrying out the will of God for his life.

Jesus had chosen an ass as a symbol of the peace mission on which He had set out. The Roman legions entered the city on horseback. The horse was the symbol of war. It was the equivalent today of tanks as the most powerful weapon of war. The ass was the symbol of peace. History reveals that the city of Jerusalem would not accept His message. Instead the city chose to fight a war of rebellion against the Romans, which ended in the destruction of the city and the dispersal of the Jewish people for 1,900 years. If only they had heeded the message of Jesus – but they would not. It was for that very reason that Jesus wept over the city. Luke puts it this way – “Eternal peace was within your reach and you refused it. And now it is too late. You have rejected the opportunity God offered you.” How many human beings reject the opportunity, which God offers them to find peace in their hearts in a relationship with Jesus – but they would not do it. Jesus comes to each person to bring peace but the message also conveys another aspect – the offer is conditional and will not always be available. Grasp it now or take the consequences. For 1,000 years the people had waited for a king like King David. Was Jesus to be such a king to free them from their oppressors? They have waited nearly 2,000 years to have Jerusalem back under Jewish control. Today the whole World wants to take Jerusalem away from the Jewish people.

Looking back on these days John, when he wrote his Gospel account, comments in ch 12 v 42: “Many of the Jewish leaders believed Jesus to be the Messiah but would not admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would excommunicate them from the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” What a sad commentary on the response to the invitation by Jesus. That is the very same reason why many people will not make a decision for Jesus today. They like the praises of men rather than of God. They are afraid of change. “What will the others think, if I leave and go elsewhere?” They might be put out of the institutional Church, if they preach the Gospel. Jesus told the Disciples very clearly that was what would happen to them. “They will drive you out of the synagogues in my name.”

Jesus confirmed the message later when He addressed the crowds. John ch 12 v 47 confirms it. “If anyone hears me and does not obey me, I am not his judge – for I have come to save the World and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the Day of Judgement by the truths I have spoken.”

That was the message Jesus came to deliver that day in Jerusalem. It is the same message Jesus delivers to the World today, as people gather today to reflect on the events of that day. It is an eternal message – one of opportunity.

The coming in peace was not a sign of weakness or lack of commitment on the part of Jesus. When Jesus entered by the Eastern Gate, He turned not to the right – to the Antonio Fortress – but to the left – to the Temple. Within a very short time of His entering the city, He drove the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip. This was not a mission of peace, which saw Jesus in a passive role. Peace is a costly business. Doing good to enemies is a very positive thing. Blessed be the peacemakers. It is necessary to do something positive in order to make peace between people in a state of conflict. Instead of the Temple being a place of quiet and peaceful prayer, it was a noisy market. Jesus had righteous anger for His Father’s House. Real love deals with injustice and corruption.

What was going on in the mind of Jesus as He rode through the cheering crowds? There must have been an assault by Satan on the mind of Jesus, trying his level best to divert Jesus from His purpose. He had tried through Peter to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem in the first place. Matthew ch 16 v 22. That had failed, because Jesus recognised the hand of Satan speaking through His very own Disciple. It does not take too much to imagine the words, which Satan would hurl at Jesus. “It is not worth it. Think of all the pain of crucifixion! These people are only here because you healed them or because of the miracles. You can lay your life down for them, if you like but none of them will follow you. They are a miserable bunch.” Possibly Jesus had to agree with that comment. They were a miserable bunch! “Men today are a miserable bunch!” Satan may well have come to Jesus again: “Even your own Disciples will deny you. Remember how I offered you the kingdoms of the Earth, if you would bow down before me. Well, the offer is still on the table.” Satan comes again and again with the same temptation, until a man yields to him. He nags a man into submission.

It must have taken some little time from entering the city to reaching the Temple. These were possibly the thoughts, which entered the mind of Jesus as He rode along. But Jesus had set His mind to fulfil His Father’s plan of salvation. He would have rejected the fiery darts of the enemy in the same way as He had always done – with the Word of God.

There were perhaps two million attending the Passover in Jerusalem. “Would Jesus come this year?” At the Passover the people ate the lamb to strengthen them for a journey ahead. The blood was placed on the door-posts. Jesus offered bread as symbolising His body and His teaching as the spiritual food of life to strengthen the people for a journey to Heaven.

How did Jesus know about the ass? Was it a word of knowledge? As He sought to do the will of His Father Jesus had come to a big day. It was important that He got the message right. Obviously He prayed about it. Surely God the Father spoke to His Son through the word in Zechariah. He had prophesied through Zechariah that the Messiah would come to the people as their king riding on an ass. Therefore it had to be done in that way, because that was the way the Father had planned it. Jesus would know that that verse was a prophecy concerning Himself as the Messiah. That is a model for a man. When a man has an important decision to make, he should be looking to find out what the Lord wants him to do. Ask Him a simple question and wait for an answer. God has a very full agenda and wants to speak to many people through the actions and words of believers. That is why it is important to be obedient and sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The ass had never been ridden before. In the natural it would have been wild. It had not yet been broken in for riding. Jesus had a very significant effect on all the people He met, including Pilate. It seems that this effect extended to the ass. At every point in His walk through life, Jesus had to exercise faith – believing the Word of God. The Word of God said there was an ass waiting for Him. Jesus believed that – and so there was. Jesus believed it, because God had said it. “What is a man to do now in his life?” Wait for the word of God. Be sure that it is the Word of God for him and then believe it. It may not seem possible or sensible but, if it is the Word of God, a man should proceed and let God unfold His purpose piece by piece as he walks in faith. The first thing for Jesus to do was to call up the ass.

The ass had never been tamed. It shows that Jesus can take anyone, untamed and use him for His purposes. He needed the ass. Jesus needs people to serve His purposes here on Earth. When a man makes his talents and finances available to Jesus, then He can get to work.

The response of the people. As usual the people polarised. Some were excited, while others were suspicious. Some rejoiced, while others schemed and plotted. Some were there because of the spectacle, while others were there to learn from Jesus and thought about His message. Some even asked: “Who is this?” Is it possible that after three years of all the teaching and miracles and healing and meetings, there were some who had never heard of Jesus? It seems to be so. Strange! Yet there are many today, who are completely ignorant about who Jesus is, despite going to Sunday school, receiving a Gideon Bible at school, passing Churches, attending weddings and funerals, hearing His name taken as a swear word on television and in every day life. Yet they still have no idea about who Jesus is. It is strange – but true! The religious people did not rejoice. Jesus brings people to a point of decision. Darkness hates light. The presence of light either disperses the darkness or makes it even darker. The Pharisees asked Jesus to keep the Disciples quiet. “I cannot. If the people do not rejoice, the very stones will shout out for joy at my presence.”

Jesus was welcomed as a prophet. There had been no prophet from God for over 400 years since Malachi. This was a significant event. The act of carrying palm trees was an act of honour to a victorious person. John also says that many were there that day because Jesus had just raised Lazarus from death. They were drawn by the spectacular.

How did the people respond? They shouted out three things.

1. “Hosanna. This means: “save us, we pray.” There was a great need of salvation in the hearts of the people and they called out to Jesus to save them. That was exactly what Jesus had come to do.

2. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Baruchaba is the Hebrew word for this phrase. It is sung today at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.

Jesus said to the city on the occasion when He wept over the city – Jerusalem was the capital city of the nation and as such it represented the whole nation – “Behold your house is forsaken and desolate. I tell you that you will not see me again until you say – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Matthew ch 23 v 39. Until the Jewish people earnestly seek God with all their hearts, they will not find Him. Jesus had witnessed the rapturous reception in Jerusalem but He knew the hearts of the people and knew that they would not serve Him as long as he was the suffering servant – only if He had come to throw the Romans out of Israel. To that extent the taunts of Satan were right. Despite all the praise the real agenda of the crowds was some kind of coup. Pilate was afraid of just such an event, which is why shortly afterwards he had to resolve the matter very quickly. Jesus knew that they would not be shouting for His release when Pilate offered them the choice. Jesus could see right into the hearts of the people. He sees into the heart of every man. He knows just how committed he is to Him – whether he will last to the end of the time of worship – or half an hour beyond – or until Sunday night – or perhaps Tuesday, before he falls away. He knows those who will persevere to the end. That is why He could prophesy that the path to life would be narrow and few there would be who would find it. The praise was shallow for many and many had false hopes of an early departure of the Romans. The people were deceiving themselves.

3.”Hosannah in the highest.” Blessed is the Kingdom He is bringing in. Jesus had spent a long time teaching them about the Kingdom of God – the rule of God in the hearts of men. Some recognised His teaching in their shouts. But were they prepared to submit their lives to let God rule in their hearts?

Many will attend Church for various reasons. Are they seeking the true meaning of life? Are they aware of the need to repent of their sins? Is it just an occasion for putting in an appearance and having their religious card stamped, in the hope that they will have enough stamps when the card is called in? Are they there to salve their conscience or to look good to the neighbours? If a man today had been in the crowd would he have taken off his jacket and it down in the mud for an ass to walk over it? There was an exuberant response from the people. However, as events later in the week proved, it was short lived. How fickle a crowd can be! Were there some in the crowd on that day as Jesus rode on the ass also in the crowd before Pilate shouting: “Crucify Him?” How easily a man is influenced by others. The Lord wants people who will not follow the latest fashion but follow Him in a determined fashion. Remember Jesus warned that many “Christs” would come with the purpose of drawing the people away from following Jesus. Who will heed the message today?

Advertisements

Summary of Jesus

Entry into jerusalem.
The Names of Jesus.
Holiness.
Worship of Jesus.
Types of Christ.
The Titles of Jesus.
The Prisoner.
The Kingdom of God.
The Feast of Tabernacles.
The Return of Jesus.
Psalm 22.
Jesus the Prophet.
Jesus the Priest.
Jesus the King.
Jesus the Counselor.
I Am.
What do you think of Christ?

Names of Jesus

JESUS.

The Bible is a love story. It tells of a loving God who loves His only begotten Son, Jesus and is looking for a bride for His Son. The Bible begins with a wedding between Adam and Eve Gen ch 4 v 1 and ends with a wedding between Christ and His bride – the Church. Rev ch 21 v 9. God even uses the concept of a marriage in relation to His chosen people, Israel. Jer ch 31 v 32. The Jewish people are a thread running through history from the time of Abraham until the end of the age. God is presented as the perfect loving and faithful husband to His bride, Israel. She flirts with other gods but is sustained by the love of her husband, God Himself, who will not let her go. God made a covenant with Abraham to take Israel as His bride and He cannot break His covenant.

Look at the bridegroom in this love story – Jesus. Jesus proved His love for mankind. “Whilst we were yet sinners He died for us.” He stands at the altar waiting for His bride to come to Him. Marriage is all about personal commitment to one another and faithfulness within the marriage. God says that He hates divorce. Divorce is the last word on unfaithfulness. Who would not want such a man as Jesus? The Bible is all about Jesus. He appears in every book of the Bible. There are four reasons why a man should believe in God.

1. The sheer wonder of creation with the teeming life and the amazing human body.
2. The incredible Word of God – 66 books with one message of salvation.
3. The love of God. God asked His perfect Son to die for the sins of each man. There is no man who is perfect apart from Jesus.
4. The fear of judgement at the end of a man’s life, when all the things a man has said, done and thought will be taken into account and the Books will be opened.

1. ADAM. Jesus is the new head of the human race. 1 Cor ch 15 v 45-47. Every human being has a body like Adam’s made of dust. Those who believe in Jesus will one day have a spiritual body like Christ’s. Jesus is the image and glory of God. 2 Cor ch 4 v 4. Rom ch 8 v 28-30. Romans ch 5 v 12ff.

2. The ALPHA and OMEGA. In Revelation ch 22 v 13 Jesus gave Himself that name. Alpha is the first letter of the alphabet and Omega is the last word of the alphabet. In other words Jesus is the language of God. When Jesus speaks it is God speaking. Jesus was present with His Father when they decided to make man in their own image. On the day of judgement Jesus will have the last word concerning the destiny of each man as He passes sentence on every human being who has ever lived. Words are the expression of hidden thoughts. Jesus is the Word of God and He reveals the thoughts of God. Jesus is the WORD of God made flesh. John ch 1 v 1. The Bible is the Word of God. Jesus is God come in person. Every word Jesus spoke was from God. Every word Jesus spoke was truth. In Deut ch 18 v 19 God told Moses that one day He would send an Israeli like him. God would tell Him what to say and God would deal personally with anyone who would not listen to Him and heed His messages from God.

3. THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. Joshua ch 5 v 14. The man who met Joshua described Himself as “commander of the army of the Lord.” There were several appearances of Jesus before He assumed a body within the womb of Mary. These are known as “theophanies.” Jesus appears on several occasions in the Old Testament as commander of the Lord’s army. Rev ch 12 v 7 reveals that there is a spiritual battle going on in the unseen World and Jesus is leading the spiritual forces of good against the spiritual forces of evil. Rev ch 19 v 11-16 confirms the picture of the spiritual reality. Joshua is a type of Christ leading the people to victory over their physical enemies. Jesus is described in the book of Joshua as the captain of man’s salvation and the sword of Gideon.

4. Jesus is the AUTHOR and FINISHER. By the shedding of His blood Jesus purchased salvation for mankind. Heb ch 12 v 2. Those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus did not doubt the miracles but asked Jesus: “By what authority He had done the thing.” All authority was given to Jesus. Jesus gave His authority to cast out demons to His Disciples. Mat ch 28 v 18. Authority is delegated power handed down from a higher authority. Luke ch 10 v 19. The enemies of Jesus recognised that He was in touch with a higher authority. The book of Acts is really the acts of the risen Jesus through the bodies of His followers. It is one reason why the book is the only one without an ending. The intention is that each follower should write his own chapter with his life. In Romans chapters 9-11 Paul explains that God has not finished with the Jewish people. Even after they were scattered to the ends of the Earth, God has all along had a plan to bring them back into the land of Israel and there to fulfil His purpose for them as His chosen people – chosen to fulfil His purpose to demonstrate grace to this World. The story has yet to be finished and the Jewish people will be on centre stage right to the return of Jesus to the Earth. The one who is the author is the one who is entitled to finish the work.

5. THE BRIDEGROOM. In Jude Jesus is the lover coming for His bride. In the Song of Solomon Jesus is the lover’s dream. Marriage is a central theme in the Bible. The Bible begins with a marriage between Adam and Eve and finishes with the marriage feast of the Lamb. Jesus is looking for a mature and responsible bride. God describes Himself as a husband to Israel and describes Israel as an unfaithful wife.

6. Jesus is a BROTHER. Luke ch 8 v 21. “Those who hear the message from God and obey it.” Jesus is the firstborn Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus are adopted into God’s family and are therefore the brothers of Jesus. Jude v 1. Jude describes himself first as a servant of Jesus. He was also a brother of Jesus in the flesh as was James. It is good for brothers to live in unity. Psalm 133 v 1. Mat ch 25 v 40. “What is done to the brothers of Jesus is done to Him.” When Jesus rose He referred to the Disciples as His brothers. Mat ch 28 v 10. Phil v 16. Onesimus was a slave but Paul regarded him as a brother in Christ. In 1 John ch 4 v 20 John makes it clear that Disciples are spiritual brothers. If a believer does not love his brother whom he has seen he cannot love God whom he has not seen. When a man is adopted into God’s family Jesus becomes his brother. Why did God want to adopt children? He so enjoyed the relationship with His Son Jesus that He wanted to have more children.

7. Jesus is the COUNSELLOR. In Isaiah ch 9 v 6 one of the names Isaiah gives to Jesus is “Wonderful Counsellor.” A believer can be in touch with God spiritually and yet have psychological disturbance and emotional problems. Conversion is not a cure for all emotional problems. Conversion is in the realm of the spirit, while emotions are another part of a man’s personality. Each man comes into the World with lots of needs, which must be met. If they are not met, there is damage to his emotions. Then when he comes to adult life he is unable to cope with some of the pressures, which come upon him. Some believers expect to have no further emotional problems and lead new converts to think that this is the case. The new convert then either represses the problem and denies its existence and is plagued by disorders or else he becomes disillusioned with the Christian life. It is essential to allow Jesus to flow from the realm of the spirit into the emotions. A believer must let Christ into the conscious and unconscious. The need for counselling arises when problems in life are not dealt with and become predicaments or even a crisis or when unforeseen circumstances overwhelm a person and he finds himself in a new situation, which he has never faced before. God has a plan for each life. Jer ch 29 v 11. How to find that plan can be very difficult and a person may need guidance as to which road to follow. The Proverbs are in the Word of God to give a man quick advice for daily living. If he wants to know what God thinks on a particular subject, he may have to read a few passages of Scripture to see how God deals consistently in a given area of life. But if he just wants a quick piece of guidance, then the Proverbs are there for him. The Proverbs help believers to make Godly choices in life. Often the problem in life is related to sin and the need to repent. Since Jesus knows a man better than any human counsellor He is the best person to give wise counsel as to how to deal with the problem. Life is all about making decisions. It is so important to make the right decisions. Jesus is available to help people make the right decisions. Jesus is presented by Luke as the ideal man. A study of Jesus’ teaching directs a man to make right decisions. Jesus helps a man to face up to temptations and to resist temptations.

8. Jesus is the CREATOR of each man. Heb ch 1 v 2. Col ch 1 v 16. In Jesus all things were created. All things were created through Him and for Him. Jesus answers the big questions in life. “Why am I here? What am I to do with my life? Why do I keep letting myself down and others as well?” The book of Genesis informs a man that Jesus created his amazing body with all three trillion cells functioning perfectly. Eccles ch 11 v 5. A man’s parents played a role in the physical body but Jesus slipped the spirit into the tiny body in the womb. Eccles ch 3 v 11. Jesus left a hole in the heart of each human being. It was His intention that the hole should be filled with Himself. But a man has the right to choose to fill it with anything else. Man was the pinnacle of God’s creation. Jesus created each man with three basic needs – to be loved, to belong and to achieve. He created each man with three basic instincts – to eat, not to be eaten or self-preservation and to reproduce his own kind. Then Jesus also created time within which a man lives. These facts contradict the “theory” of evolution. The whole idea that man and this incredible World happened by chance is ridiculous and hardly bears mentioning. When Jesus finished creating the World He saw that it was perfect. Marriage was God’s plan for mankind from the very beginning. Jesus confirmed this in Mat ch 19 v 5. God makes it clear that He hates divorce. Mal ch 2 v 16. While a man’s parents played a part in bringing him into this World, God chose the sex of each individual. The ratio of men to women is almost equal, except after times of war when many men have been killed. After each war there are more males born than females in order to redress the balance. China is the exception with their one child per family policy, which is already bringing problems into their society and it will bring about greater problems in years to come. God has acted in judgement against all societies, which have murdered the babies given to them by God. With that assurance a man can start building his life and living it to the glory of God.

9. Jesus is the DEFENDER of believers. A man has an enemy who seeks to rob, kill and destroy him. Satan is called the accuser of the brothers. Rev ch 12 v 10. There are many attacks of the enemy throughout the life of a believer. Job ch 1 v 9. Satan accused Job of only honouring God because God had blessed him. Heb ch 7 v 25 tells that Jesus ever intercedes on behalf of believers before the throne of God. It illustrates a courtroom where Satan is the prosecutor and Jesus is the defence agent. Jesus pleads with God for those who are being saved. John ch 8 v 7. When the woman was caught in the act of adultery the religious leaders accused her. They tried to involve Jesus in condemnation of the woman. As the men left one by one until there was no one left Jesus said to her: “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more.” Jesus did not come into the World to condemn the World but to save it. Satan attacks believers through the seven spiritual giants in Deut ch 7. The Scriptures give advice how to deal with the spiritual giants. Jesus teaches on how to defeat each of the giants.

10. Jesus is the EVANGELIST. The evangelist recognises that something has gone wrong with the World and is determined to do something about it. The evangelist is the one who brings good news of salvation. In John ch 4 v 1-30 Jesus gives a master-class in evangelism, sharing the good news with the woman at the well and gently leading her to faith in Himself. Jesus not only brings good news to the woman at the well but He is the good news – the living water. It was always God’s plan that salvation would go out from the Jewish people to the nations of the Earth. Isaiah ch 26 v 18 explains that the nation of Israel was with child (salvation) but brought forth nothing but wind. They failed to deliver the message of salvation to the world. The book of Jonah is all about Jesus as the foreign missionary reaching out to the people of Assyria. Jonah was a reluctant evangelist, sent by God to take the message of salvation to Assyria. Jonah did not like the Assyrians who were the enemies of Israel but believers are commanded to do good to their enemies.

11. Jesus is a FRIEND. John ch 15 v 14. “You are my friends, if you do what I command you.” Jesus was with the three men in the fiery furnace. Jesus sets people free from an inferiority complex. He helps the lonely. Jesus knows what it is like to be lonely. The theme of Philemon is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. 1 John ch 4 v 20. If anyone says that he loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar. He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
A man needs intimacy more than anything else in his life, in his Fellowship and in his marriage. Man was created for relationship with God. Intimacy is formed when people choose to spend time together in order to form intimacy. It is a matter of the will. A man needs to will the relationship every day. Jesus chose twelve men to be with Him. When people enter into business together they set out a common purpose. Luke ch 2 v 49. “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business.” Jesus attended Jerusalem at the age of 12 for His coming of age ceremony – His Bar Mitvah. On that occasion a boy became a man and the custom was for the young man to enter into partnership with his father in the family business. Jesus was pointing out that God was His real Father and that His business was now to serve His Father’s interests in the Kingdom of God. That was the main thrust of Jesus’ ministry. One of the aspects of friendship is the desire to spend time together and to help one another. Jesus promised that those who came to Him He would never forsake. In the Song of Solomon there is a love story between a man and a woman. In 1 Sam ch 20 there is the story of the friendship of David and Jonathan. Their friendship towards one another was more important than their loyalty to King Saul. Jonathan put his own life at risk to save his friend David. Dishonour to the name of a true friend goads them into action. Jesus takes the most intense interest in the smallest details of the life of each of His Disciples. He does not allow anything to happen to them unless it can be linked into His purpose to make that Disciple more like Jesus. Those who suffer an inferiority complex find it difficult to make friends. Jesus enables a person to overcome an inferiority complex.
12. Jesus is GOD THE SON. John ch 8 v 58. The clearest of many claims by Jesus that He is God is when He said of Himself: “Before Abraham was, I am.” “I am” was the name given to Moses when he asked who was sending him to Pharaoh. John selects the seven times Jesus used the words “I am” indicating that He is everything a man could need to live on this Earth. His words are the spiritual food and He is the protector of His people. When Jesus revealed Himself to John on the Island of Patmos He appeared in all His glory. Rev ch 1 v 12-20. This was not the body of Jesus who walked through Judea with John or who was in His resurrected body. John now saw Jesus in His glorified body. John could only fall at His feet. Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son. To worship anyone other than Jesus is to commit idolatry.

13. JESUS is the GOVERNOR. Isaiah ch 9 v 6. The government is on the shoulders of Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ both as providing food for the people and governing the unbelieving race of Egyptians. Who will govern the Universe with Jesus? In the Bible twelve is the number for government. The 12 tribes of Israel to govern the land and the 12 apostles to govern the Church. The Eternal purpose of God is to find those on Earth who are capable of ruling the Universe with Jesus. Who is in charge of the World today? Who determines the weather? Rev ch 4 confirms that God the Father has given Jesus His inheritance. The Scroll with the seven seals is the Will or Testament of God the Father. His Son Jesus was the only one found worthy of receiving the inheritance.

14. Jesus is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Eph ch 1 v 20-23. “Jesus is head of all things for the Church.” In Eph ch 3 v 10 Paul explains that: “Through the Church the manifold wisdom of God is made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” When Jesus ascended it must have seemed to Satan that there was nothing to prevent his gaining control of the whole Earth. The Book of Acts is truly the record of the acts of the risen Jesus through those who believe in Him – the body of Christ. Sin separates man from God and also man from man. The love of Jesus for His Disciples reverses that process. That love binds believers together in a common purpose to resist the enemy. Jesus is also head of the local Church. Each Church exists for Jesus. It is wrong to refer to a Church by the name of a leader – Mr Smith’s Church. Each true Church has Jesus as the head of that Church.

15. Jesus is the HEALER. Ex ch 15 v 26. Jesus healed all who came to Him. He never sent anyone away without being healed and He never told anyone to wait for healing. He practised what He preached that perfect love casts out fear. Alternative medicines are man’s attempt to gain healing by methods other than by going to Jesus for healing. Doctors and nurses are part of God’s common grace to mankind as are teachers and politicians. One quarter of the healing ministry of Jesus was deliverance – the casting out of demons. Jesus devised the human psyche and much of the healing of Jesus relates to healing of the emotions. In His teaching Jesus related much of the disease to sinful aspects of the life of the person who was seeking healing. In James Jesus is the one who heals the sick. In Malachi Jesus is the Son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings.

16. Jesus is the INTERCESSOR between God and man. He ever intercedes for believers before the throne of God. Heb ch 7 v 25. The role of the priest in Scripture is to intercede on behalf of man to God. Jesus is the High Priest of the order of Melchizedek. Heb ch 7. In John ch 17 v 20-25 Jesus interceded for the Church for all time. Rom ch 8 v 34. To be an intercessor is to have a burden from God for a particular person or purpose. Believers are a royal priesthood 1 Pet ch 2 v 5. As such they should intercede with God for those matters, which the Holy Spirit lays on their heart. Jesus carries many burdens for His brothers and sisters and ever intercedes for them. Since the Church is His responsibility He has a natural concern for the reputation of the Church.

17. Jesus is the JUDGE of nations and all people. Acts ch 17 v 31. Jesus will be given the role as judge of every human being on the Day of Judgement. Jesus spoke many times about His Second Coming to Earth. There are 1845 references to it in Scripture with 318 references in the New Testament alone. There are 40 chapters dealing with the judgement of the nations. Obadiah deals with the judgement of the Edomites, who have been wiped out, while Israel continues until the end of time. Nahum ch 3 v 19 confirms that there may be a time in a man’s life when the wound has been too deep to heal. On judgement day the 13 books will be opened and everything, which a man has spoken, thought and done will be taken into account in determining the final judgement of every human being who has ever lived on Earth. Mat ch 12 v 36. The events such as the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah remind a man of judgement. Isaiah ch 24 v 5 makes it clear that the reason for judgement is that mankind has broken the moral laws of God, broken the eternal covenant and violated the statutes of God. The book of Amos lists judgement of the nations surrounding Israel in his day, thereby representing all nations. In First and Second Thessalonians Paul describes the judgement, which will take place when Jesus returns to Earth. Rev ch 14 contains a graphic picture of the two judgements to take place at the end of time.

18. Jesus is the JUSTIFICATION of all men. Rom ch 4 v 25. Jesus was raised for the justification of men. Believers are justified through the blood of Jesus. Rom ch 5 v 9. No man is without sin and no man is able to justify himself to be acceptable to God the Father. A man is justified by faith in Jesus who shed His blood for him. Justification is through the death of Jesus and not through the law. Gal ch 2 v 21 and Gal ch 3 v 24.

19. Jesus is KING. Jesus was born King of the Jews. The wise men from the East asked Herod where is the one born the King of the Jews. Mat ch 2 v 2. When He died Pilate insisted that there should be an inscription above the cross confirming that Jesus was the King of the Jewish people. John ch 19 v 19. Luke ch 23 v 38. When Jesus rose He was still King of the Jews. Jesus has never abdicated. Jesus is declared as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is also still King of the Jewish people and Jerusalem is His capital city. First Kings has as its theme the reigning King of Israel. Jesus fulfils that role. The theme of Matthew, written to Jewish people, is the Messiah and promised King. Jesus is the one who was promised to be the Messiah. The Letters to the Thessalonians feature the soon-coming King and Lord of glory who will come back to Earth with the shout and trump of God. All the prophets were given a theme to proclaim. Jesus’ theme was “The Kingdom of God.” Micah ch 5 v 2 refers to Bethlehem as the birthplace of the King of the Jews. In Thessalonians Jesus is the coming King. In Revelation Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords! Rejection of Israel in the form of anti-semitism is in effect rejection of the King of Israel. The Jewish people remind the World of God. They were used to write the oracles of God. The land of Israel was set apart for the Jewish people. Their presence today in that Land undermines all of Islamic theology.

20. Jesus is the LAMB OF GOD. Man looks for a strong animal as a symbol. Russia has the bear, America has the Eagle, Britain has the lion and France has the cockerel. When God looked for a symbol He chose the lamb – a vulnerable animal. God chooses the weak to confound the strong. He chose little Israel as His special land and Jerusalem as the city where He would put His name. 2 Kings ch 21 v 4. The city of Jerusalem has no minerals, no water supply, no harbour or river and it is not on a trade route like most the great cities of the World. In His humanity Jesus was very vulnerable from the moment of His birth and dependence on a teenage Mother and a young man who had to travel to a foreign country to get work. When He arranged His own crucifixion there was not a single person who spoke on His behalf. In Exodus Jesus is the Passover lamb.

21. Jesus is the LEADER of men. Moses was appointed by God to lead the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. Joshua was a type of Christ to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Jesus was an Israelite like Moses Deut ch 18 v 15 to lead the people into salvation and out of bondage to sin. John ch 21 v 19. As a leader of men Jesus calls on His Disciples to: “Follow me.” Only one who demonstrates true character as a leader can invite others to follow him. Ezekiel ch 34 v 11. The leaders of the people referred to as shepherds to lead the sheep (people) had failed and Jesus said that He would come to lead the people. In Israel the sheep follow the shepherd. The genius of leadership is to get the best out of the people under the leader’s authority. The enemies of Jesus saw the miracles and did not deny that they happened. They asked: “By what authority do you do these things?” They recognised that Jesus had authority to forgive sins. Above all a leader needs to have a vision as to where he is going and where he is leading those under his leadership. Jesus set His face to go to Jerusalem.

22. Jesus is the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. Gen ch 49 v 10. Jesus is presented as a warrior God. Rev ch 5 v 5. There was no one fit to open the scroll and receive the inheritance of God, which was contained within the scroll. Then Jesus stepped forward as the only one worthy to open the scroll and receive God’s inheritance. Rev ch 19 shows Jesus as riding forth into battle with Satan. He acts as a mighty warrior and no longer the humble servant. These days are past. When Jesus returns to Earth it will be as a mighty King arrayed in all is splendour and in His glorified body.

23. Jesus is LORD of everything. Jesus is pre-eminent. Colossians ch 1 v 18. Man is called to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Many are happy to accept Jesus as Saviour dealing with their sins but he is not Lord of their life. Dan ch 2 v 21. Jesus raises up empires and dashes them down. The mighty angels are at His command. Jesus could have summoned a legion of angels to come to His aid when He hung on the cross but He declined to do so. Jesus has authority over the angels, whom He created. Mat ch 26 v 53. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus is entitled to be worshipped since He alone has never committed a sin, unlike sportsmen who are worshipped today. Phil ch 2 v 9-11. To worship anyone other than Jesus is to commit idolatry. Jesus said that, if His Disciples love Him, they would keep His commandments. He is both Lord and Saviour.

24. Jesus is the MESSIAH of the Jewish people and of those grafted into the commonwealth of Israel. John ch 1 v 49. Nathaniel recognised that Jesus was the Messiah – the one awaited by the Jewish people. Jesus challenged the Disciples to say who He was. Peter spoke for them in Mat ch 16 v 16 and declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Numbers tells of the manna from Heaven to sustain and feed the people in the wilderness. Jesus claimed to be the Bread of Heaven – the spiritual food for mankind. Israel was chosen by God to bring salvation to the Earth. Isaiah ch 26 v 18 says crudely that Israel had failed and that instead of giving birth to salvation they had brought forth wind. Matthew wrote his Gospel to Jewish believers and wrote to establish that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah – beginning with His genealogy in chapter 1. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in Micah ch 5 v 2 when He was born in Bethlehem. In Isaiah the Messiah is presented as coming to Earth twice. Firstly as a suffering servant and secondly as a triumphant king. Sadly most Jewish people are still waiting for the triumphant king and have missed he coming of the suffering servant.

25. Jesus is the MIRACLE WORKER. Those who actually saw Jesus performing miracles did not question the miracles. They simply asked: “By what authority do you do these things?” Luke ch 11 v 47. It is only people who live two thousand years after the event who question that the miracles took place. John records that Jesus did many other miracles in the presence of the Disciples. John ch 20 v 30. When God is at work supernatural events take place – as when Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, when Jesus was born and when Jesus was at work. However, the miracles were not designed to attract the people but to persuade them that Jesus is God.

26. Jesus is the PASTOR. Jesus meets the three basic needs of man – to be loved, to belong and to achieve. In Timothy, Titus and Philemon Jesus is the great Pastor. Jesus not only loves each man He likes each man – even the un-likable. He seeks the very best for them and has a plan for each life. Jer ch 29 v 11.

27. Jesus is the great PHYSICIAN. As designer of the human body no one knows and understands the working of the human body as Jesus does. On a number of occasions Jesus is said to have known the thoughts of those standing before Him. The fact that a man is accountable to God for his thoughts as well as his actions raises Christianity above all religions. Jesus alone is able to remove the pain from painful memories. The memories remain but the pain associated with them is removed. The letter of James is all about the great physician. James concludes his letter in ch 5 v 13 with instructions about healing. Luke ch 5 v 31.

28. Jesus is the PREACHER of good news. Preaching is distinct from teaching. The preacher has to declare a message from God. While Jesus taught regularly He also made declarations on behalf of His Father. At the end of Psalm 22 v 31 Jesus said that He would rise from the dead and would proclaim His deliverance to peoples in future generations. Each of the prophets had a specific ministry. Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of God – the rule of God in the hearts of men. He preached regularly that the Kingdom of God was at hand or was near.

29. Jesus is the HIGH PRIEST. The whole sacrificial system inaugurated by God in the wilderness pointed to one who would be the High Priest. Only the High Priest was entitled to enter into the Holy of Holies and only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. At the time of Jesus Caiaphas was the High Priest appointed by the political leaders on the basis as the head of the family who would give the highest percentage of the temple offerings to the political leaders. Jesus knew of the corruption and the High Priest Caiaphas knew that Jesus knew. During the trial before the Sanhedrin the real High priest stood before Caiaphas. Jesus came to fulfil the role of King, Prophet and Priest. In Heb ch 5 v 6 God had declared Jesus to be a High Priest forever with the same rank as Melchizedek. Abraham met with Melchizedek in Gen ch 14 v 18-20. In Lev Jesus is our High Priest.

30. Jesus is the PRINCE OF PEACE. Isaiah ch 9 v 6. Man has fought with his fellow man from the time of Cain and Abel. During wars many have sought peace. Only Jesus can bring real peace between two peoples. James ch 4 v 1 asks: “Why do you fight? Because you want and cannot have and so you take.” When a man is not content with what God has provided for him he seeks to take what he wants from another. Satan became Satan when he was not content to be a worshipper of God and wanted people to worship him. Peace can only come to the Middle East when the Prince of Peace is acknowledged by all parties in the conflict. The Prince of Peace alone can bring true contentment to a man and end that struggle between the old man and the new man. In John ch 14 v 27 Jesus promised to leave His peace with His Disciples – a peace that this troubled World can never know. It is His gift to those who put their trust in Jesus.

31. Jesus is the PROPHET. Jesus fulfilled the three roles of Prophet, Priest and King – the only one to do so. The role of the prophet was to be so close to God that the prophet had the mind of God and spoke to the people on God’s behalf. In Deut ch 18 v 15 God said through Moses that one day in the future He would send a Jewish man to whom the people must listen and that He would personally deal with anyone who would not listen to Him and heed His messages from God. When John the Baptist started preaching he was asked if he was The Prophet who was to come. John ch 1 v 21. In Mat ch 21 v 11 Jesus was acknowledged by the crowds as a prophet. In Mat ch 24 Jesus prophesied His Second Coming to Earth and in Mat ch 24 Jesus prophesied events at the close of the present age. A man is a true prophet only if what he prophesies comes true. In First and Second Samuel Jesus is a trusted prophet.

32. PROVIDER of this World’s needs. Mark ch 6 v 42. Jesus fed first 5,000 and then 4,000. The numbers are significant. Mark ch 8 v 21. Jesus explained that He was the spiritual food for the whole World. Despite the enormous growth in the population of the World the production of food has kept apace so much that there is enough food produced to feed every man, woman and child one and a quarter times over. In Israel today the Jewish people produce amazing vegetables and flowers bloom in the desert. Deut ch 28 v 3-6. When Jesus created the World He designed timber, minerals and fuels (including oil) to meet the needs of mankind. It should be no surprise that Israel has found gas offshore. Jesus provides for His people. Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit after He returned to Heaven and the Holy Spirit gives gifts to mankind. 1 Cor ch 12. Friends and family as well as the skills of doctors and others are created as provision for the people and skills are received to enable a man to earn his living and to contribute to the well-being of others. The provision of Jesus contradicts all arguments that life is controlled by chance. The book of Esther, which does not mention God by name, shows how Jesus intervened through Mordecai and Esther to provide safety for the Jewish people.

33. Jesus is the REDEEMER. The story of Ruth is about a kinsman redeemer who paid the price to buy Ruth out of bondage. Jesus paid the price for sin by His death on the cross to redeem fallen mankind from the bondage of sin and to set free those who were in bondage to Satan. Gal ch 3 v 13. Jesus purchased fallen man from the curse of the law, which condemned man to death for his sins. In Job Jesus is the timeless redeemer. There is more in the Bible about the wrath of God than there is about the love of God. By His death on the cross Jesus averted the wrath of God, which rested on each believer. In Exodus God redeemed the people from the power of Pharaoh. In Nehemiah He redeemed the city of Jerusalem as a home for His people. Job recognised that his Lord had redeemed his soul. Job ch 33 v 28. Jesus is the one promised to redeem mankind by bruising the head of the serpent. Gen ch 3 v 15.

34. Jesus is the RESTORER of my soul. Joel ch 2 v 25. Jesus would restore the physical aspects lost by a man due to his sin when He is accepted as Lord and Saviour. Jesus looks to His Disciples to continue the work of restoration of any brother who has fallen into sin. Gal ch 6 v 1. In Phil ch 3 Paul presents a clear picture of a man being restored to relationship with God through Jesus. In Nehemiah Jesus is the re-builder of broken walls and lives.

35. Jesus is the RULER of this World. Col ch 2 v 10. Jesus is the head of all rule and authority. Satan is the prince of the power of the air and ruler of the World. The “World” is man organised in community without reference to God. However Col ch 2 v 10 declares that Jesus is the highest ruler with authority over every other power. Nothing happens but that it first passes the authority of Jesus. Satan is but the servant of Jesus. At the end of time Jesus will slay Satan with the breath of His mouth and destroy Satan when He comes. 2 Thes ch 2 v 8. Since the days of the Tower of Babel men have wanted to run this world without God’s help or intervention and they are slowly putting in place a one World government. Daniel saw the coming of four great kingdoms on Earth but God would set up a Kingdom to destroy all the other kingdoms and smash them in pieces. Dan ch 2 v 44. In Revelation chapter 4 Jesus received from His Father his inheritance namely rule over the World. The Scroll sealed with seven seals is a picture of a Jewish Will. The Will by God was opened by Jesus – the only one found to be worthy to open it.

36. Jesus is the SAVIOUR of the World. The story of Esther describes how Jesus physically saved the Jewish people from extermination at the hands of Haman. One day Jesus will save the Jewish people. Zechariah ch 12 v 10. For the people to receive spiritual salvation it is essential that they are physically alive. Jesus as King of the Jews has preserved His people during several wars since the return to the land of Israel in 1948. Joel ch 3 speaks of the time when Jesus will save His people and restore their fortunes again. The Bible is a story of how God the Father deals with His problem of how to restore a fallen humanity. Someone had to pay the price for sin and Jesus took the sins of the World on His shoulders and at the same time averting the wrath of God. Joshua is seen as a type of Christ saving his people from their enemies. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross and saved His people from the last enemy – death.

37. Jesus is the SACRIFICE. Isaiah ch 53 v 10. Heb ch 9 v 22. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. The whole Jewish religion was based on animal sacrifice for sins. Only a perfect spotless lamb could be used as a sacrifice. The blood of Jesus was holy blood, since He received it from His Father. In Gen ch 22 v 7 Isaac asked: “Where is the lamb?” In John ch 1 v 29 John responded when he saw Jesus: “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.” Jesus’ sacrifice was acceptable to God the Father only because He lived without sin. John ch 20 v 17. Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him until he had been to the Father to see that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father. Later He invited Thomas to touch Him. John ch 20 v 27.

38. Jesus is the SANCTIFIER. Paul states this in his first letter to the Corinthians. 1 Cor ch 1 v 30.
Sanctification is the believer’s deliverance from the power of sin and his renewal in the image of God in Christ. It starts with being set apart by God. 1 Thes ch 5 v 23. The initial act of setting apart is the beginning of the process of moral renewal and purification. Its conclusion is perfection. After conversion sin is no longer a man’s natural sphere. It is no longer his friend and master. He has a new master – Christ. He cannot serve two masters. He is called to be a slave to God. Col ch 2 v 11-15. Eph ch 2 v 1-10. Sanctification is essentially that process whereby the Spirit makes increasingly real in a man’s life his union with Christ in His death and resurrection. There is a change in attitude. 2 Cor ch 5 v 14-15. This does not mean that there is nothing left for a man to do. There is a new sense of responsibility for sin and a desire to put to death those sins, which linger within a man. The believer is to set himself to the task of being like Christ. Paul speaks of pressing on to the goal. There is both a negative and a positive aspect. The believer is not to be conform to the World but is to be changed and transformed in his thinking. Studying theology transforms the mind, as the believer grows in grace and knowledge. Sanctification involves concentration of thought, of interest, of mind, of heart, of will and of purpose upon the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil ch 3 v 13-14.

The believer is sanctified through the Word. Rom ch 12 v 2. The law of God is His instrument to purify a man. God’s law applies the pressure to a man. Salvation does not come through the Law but sanctification does, as the Law guides a man towards holiness. Because the believer has a new master, it is all the more incumbent on him to obey the Law. The Law reveals the holy character of God. The Holy Spirit helps the believer to do it. The example of Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s own character, is before the believer. While God’s immediate purpose is that believers are to be His children, His ultimate purpose for them is holiness. With the privilege goes the responsibility.

Holiness is a group activity. Each person has the duty, but it is only possible to grow towards holiness in a group and as a Church. Believers need fellowship. They are to minister to one another. They need each other to point out sins, which are not obvious to them. A good fellowship assists progress. A poor one hinders it by allowing gossip and criticism. God will finish the process at the Second Coming. It is a life-long process. Believers are engaged in a battle against powerful spiritual forces.

39. Jesus is the SERVANT. Isaiah ch 42 v 1-9. In the Servant Songs in Isaiah chapters 42 to 49 the servant is sometimes clearly the nation of Israel. Sometimes it is clearly a single human being – Jesus and sometimes the song could be either the nation of Israel or Jesus. Acts ch 3 v 26. God describes Jesus as His servant. In John ch 13 v 5-10 Jesus washed the feet of the Disciples. This was a task reserved for the lowest servant in the house when guests arrived to visit the house. The streets were dark and dirty with camel and donkey dung and it was the dirtiest job to be carried out. When Peter and John hired a room for the Last Supper there was no servant to perform the task and Jesus did it Himself. If a Church leader is not prepared to do the dirtiest job as a servant, he is not worthy of being called a Disciple. Mark presents Jesus as the worker and servant of the people. He serves the purpose of God and He serves mankind meeting their basic needs. In Philippians Jesus is the servant’s heart.

40. Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD. In Ezekiel ch 34 the prophet castigated the shepherds – the leaders of the people – as failing to look after the people. Their concern was to look after themselves. In v 11 Jesus says that He will come to Earth and look after His sheep. So in John ch 10 v 11 Jesus declared that He was the good shepherd – the one prophesied in Ezekiel who would come to look after the needs of the people. When Jesus came the Pharisees were described as blind guides looking after themselves but ignoring the people. In Mat ch 18 v 12-14 Jesus told the parable about the shepherd going out to find the lost sheep. Mat ch 25 v 32 Jesus explains how as the great shepherd He will separate His flock of sheep from the ungodly herd of goats. Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd. Who is yours?” The good shepherd takes care of His sheep and meets their needs. Jesus extended this figure of speech to Peter when in John ch 21 three times He charged Peter to feed and look after the sheep. It is the task of the pastor to care for the members of the Church.

41. Jesus is the SON OF DAVID. Bartimaeus called out to Jesus, addressing Him as “Son of David.” Luke ch 18 v 38. David was the eighth son of Jessie. Eight is the number in scripture for a new beginning. God in David was establishing a role of King of the Jewish people and Jesus fulfilled that role. The two books of Chronicles narrate the kings of Israel. Some were good and some were bad. Jesus is the perfect Son of David and the true king of Israel.

42. Jesus is the SON OF GOD. John includes the seven statements by Jesus when he claimed that “I am.” John describes Jesus as the perfect Son of God the Father. He is the type of son every child should aspire to being. He surrendered Himself to carrying out the will of His Father by going to the cross. Jesus referred to God as His Father and on a number of occasions the Father referred to Jesus as His Son. Mat ch 17 v 5. In the cupola of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem Islam proclaims that God has no Son.

43. Jesus is the SON OF MAN. Luke presents Jesus as the kind of man that every human being should be like. He challenges his readers to be a real man. This is the favourite title that Jesus used of Himself. He used it in the trial before the Sanhedrin. Mat ch 26 v 64. It is the very reason why Jesus came to Earth – to enable man to be as God intended him to be – without sin. Luke in his Gospel describes Jesus as the perfect man and challenges men to be like Jesus.

44. Jesus is the SUSTAINER of this World. Who keeps the sun and moon in position in the sky and who regulates the weather pattern with its two jet streams? Who prevents space junk colliding with the Earth? Who keeps your heart beating? Who sends angels to guard each man in all his ways? The vast and almost infinitely diverse universe is only maintained in its ordered being by the constant activity of Jesus. Col ch 1 v 17. “In Christ all things hold together.” Heb ch 1 v 3 says that: “Christ upholds all things by His word of power.” Psalm 91 v 11. Grace is favour to those who deserve nothing but condemnation. John ch 3 v 17.

45. Jesus is the TEACHER of mankind. When Jesus said that He was the Bread of life He claimed to be the teacher of all spiritual truth. Mat ch 4 v 23. Teaching was one of the main purposes Jesus had in coming to Earth. His remit was to teach about the Kingdom of God – the rule of God in the heart of man. In 1 Tim ch 4 v 1 Paul warns Timothy about the dangers of false teaching. Satan’s chief weapon against believers is false teaching. The denominations are Satan’s greatest achievement. Much of the New Testament was written to combat false teaching, which was circulating in the area. The heresy of Replacement Theology teaches that God is finished with the Jewish people and that the Church is the new Israel. In the Letter to the Romans chapters 9-11 Paul addresses this situation and concludes that in no way is God finished with the Jewish people. The Disciples even asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Mat ch 6 v 5-14. Jesus promised that when He left this World He would send the Holy Spirit to lead the Disciples into all truth. The Holy Spirit continues the work of Jesus to teach. Ezra is a type of Christ teaching those who had returned to Jerusalem.

46. Jesus is the VICTOR. 1 John ch 3 v 8. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the Devil. One of the books, which will be opened on the Day of Judgement is the Book of the Wars of God. Num ch 21 v 14. God is involved in spiritual warfare with Satan. As soon as God chose the Children of Israel to reveal His glory to the fallen World the enemies of God – those dark principalities and powers – mobilised the people of Canaan to fight against Israel. This is the physical picture of a spiritual truth regarding the wars in which God is involved. God invites each man to join with Him in the battles against abortion, murder, pornography, gambling, drugs and others where human beings made in the image of God are being robbed, killed and destroyed. The seven people living in Canaan had names, which represented spiritual giants to be overcome in the life of each individual. Peter warns believers to be on their guard against the wiles of the Devil. The story of Esther shows Jesus leading His people from the wiles of Haman the Amalekite, who sought to exterminate the Jewish people. Likewise Nahum shows Jesus dealing with the Assyrians as the enemy of Israel. Like the Edomites in the book of Obadiah the Assyrians were wiped out. Death is the last great enemy of mankind. Jesus has defeated death. 1 Cor ch 15 v 54-56.

47. Jesus is the WISDOM of God. In Proverbs wisdom is presented as a person. Proverbs provide wise (godly) choices to assist a man in making the best decisions. In Mat ch 13 v 54 those who saw Jesus at work asked this question: “Where did He get His wisdom from?” In Luke ch 2 v 52 Jesus increased in wisdom. In 1 Cor ch 1 v 24 Jesus is described as the wisdom of God. 1 Cor ch 1 v30. God made Jesus man’s wisdom. When a man bases his decisions on the teaching of Jesus he becomes like the wise man who built his house on the rock. The wise man built his house when the weather was good and not in times of storm and rain. The time to build a life on the teaching of Jesus is when things are going well.

Holiness

What is the most relevant subject to speak about? Love? Surely each believer knows that it is his duty to love God and his neighbour. Evangelism? Surely the Church knows that evangelism is essential to its growth? God desires a holy people. God wants believers to be holy. God said to Israel: “Be holy as I am holy.” What is meant by the word “holy”? The World suggests that a holy man means someone who is so heavenly minded as to be no earthly use. Many think in terms of negatives – thou shalt not – men dressed in black or fancy clothes, looking solemn and serious. That is just people trying to contain their un-holiness so that it does not show. God is not drab or dull. Jesus was a man of joy, not all dressed up in special clothes. Is holiness an optional extra for the really keen? Or is it for ordinary believers? It could not be clearer from Scripture what God wants.

Ez. ch 36 v 21. Heb. ch 12 v 14. Ex. ch 19 v 14. Lev. ch 11 v 44.

Lev. ch 19 v 2. Deut. ch 5 v 12. Romans. ch 21 v 1. Eph. ch 1 v 4.

 

If it is not the goal in life to be like Jesus what is? So many believers have never grasped this command and seen it as a possibility. True fellowship with God is only for holy people. It is a promise- only sin separates man from God. Without holiness the people will not see God. Sanctification simply means being made holy. God gave believers His Holy Spirit, not to make them happy, but to make them holy. What does it mean? To be like Jesus. Is a believer like Jesus? Does he want to be like Jesus? He cannot answer “No.” Yet as he answers: “Yes” another question arises: “Is he like Jesus?” A believer cannot have sin and Jesus. Most people want to be happy in this life and holy in the next life. Jesus promises that if man is holy in this life, he will be happy in the next life.

 

Sin is so serious. Satan was thrown out of Heaven. Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden. God sent a flood. Consider the death of Jesus. If sin was so serious that Jesus had to die the most horrible death imaginable, how much more serious is it for believers. Non-believers can plead ignorance to some extent. believers are fully aware of the consequences. If they are not really serious about sin, where is their love for God? Why do they continue sinning? What is stopping the believers becoming like Jesus? In Rev ch 2 in His message to the seven Churches Jesus promises a special blessing to those who overcome.

 

Some ask why they cannot just stay the same? God is concerned for His holy name. Israel let God down. Ez ch 36 v 20. “I had concern for my holy name.” His name is tied up with the reputation of believers who are duty bound to honour God in their actions. Jesus said that He honoured His Father. There are conditions to being a believer. It is not just accepting Jesus as Saviour but Jesus as Lord as well. God communicated through a body and wants to communicate through the bodies of believers, which is why Paul says to believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice. Jesus taught and healed in His body. Jesus left it all in the hands of the 12 Disciples. If they fail, they limit God. God has said that He does not want any to be lost but they will be, if they fail to do what God has asked them to do. Are believers concerned for the lost? It is easier for believers today than it was for the Disciples. They have access 24 hours a day. Jesus slept at times when He was in His Earthly body.

 

If believers want to be like Jesus and are not, what should they do about it? In 1 Cor ch 13 v 4 substitute the word “love” with “I am” and see if it can be read in all honesty. A believer should take the parts, which he cannot read to the Lord. He should list all the sins he knows of and then assess how he rates. Then work at each one. He should wage war on them until they are stamped out. A believer should not go where he would not want Jesus to meet him and should not watch what he would be embarrassed to be watching, if Jesus came into the room. He should not criticise a neighbour, if he would not want Jesus to overhear him. He is hearing anyway, but it is a practical step to take. There are so many ways in which a believer can challenge others and himself. How badly does he want to serve the Lord? The words of John chapter 14 v 12-14 will only come true, if he is seeking holiness. The Scriptures mean exactly what they say. Can a believer say: “Thy will be done” and really mean it?

 

There is an antimony involved. Peter reminds believers that they are set apart for God in Christ. Yet believers are to strive for holiness. This sounds as if it is all up to them.

Beware (a) of forming a set of rules and do’s and don’ts

(b) of denying that non believers can speak to believers also.

(c) of becoming legalistic.

(d) Living a good life does not make a believer in Christ. It needs a declaration by God.

 

Believers should bear the family likeness. It is more than the principle of an adopted child. The natural child has a genetic input. God dwells in them. 1 John ch 2 v 28.

The Fall has been destroyed 1 John ch 3 v 2. Believers shall be like Him. It should be their desire to please their Father and want to purify themselves. They have to care about sin because sin is lawlessness and rebellion against God.

 

The word “World” has different meanings in Scripture.

(a) The “Universe” as in Mat ch 16 v 26 and John ch 1 v 10.

(b) “Human beings and the environment” as in Mat ch 4 v 8-9 and John ch 3 v 16.

(c) “The World now fallen” as in Romans ch 5 v 18. It is characterised by pride and lust – a craving to satisfy the desires of the body, both in the flesh and material comforts.

There is pressure on believers to conform to the standards of the fallen World. There are two tests of authentic Christianity. Doctrine – 1 John ch 2 v 18-27 and life style – 2 John ch 3 v 17. Believers cannot serve two masters. There is pressure to put aside devotion to Christ. Believers are to avoid status symbols and giving false impressions. They need to examine their motives to see that they are pure. They pick up ideas so easily. Where do their priorities lie? There are two particular pressures:

 

1. To become Pharisees and make rules. Jesus broke the rules. He crossed the social and ethnic barriers. It is important to meet people where they are.

2. To see the World as evil in itself. There will be a new Earth one day, but although the Earth has been affected by the Fall it is still essentially good. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. There is nothing wrong with work and earning money or having wealth. What matters is how a man earns it and what he does with it. Believers should not feel guilty in a nice home. Some of the poor could have one also, were it not for waste on their part.

3. To withdraw into a holy huddle and be a rabbit hole believer, rushing from one group of believers to another. They need fellowship but non-believers need the presence of believers with them.

Believers are to be in the World but not of it. They are also to avoid being of the World but not in it. They are to be a purifying influence in the World. To be a light to the World, they need to reflect something of the light of Jesus, having spent time with Him.

 

Holiness is not an extra option for the really keen. It is a command. Jesus said: “Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Mat ch 5 v 43-48. It is not a suggestion by Jesus but is a command.

 

Studying spiritual warfare in the Church is a waste of time, unless believers are holy. John ch 14 v 12. What a challenge that promise is: “You will do what I have done and greater things still” – but not unless believers live the life Jesus lived and have the attitudes and total commitment, which He had. Psalm 24 v 3-6.

 

There cannot be holiness with a sinful life. The two are opposites. Believers cannot have the Spirit of Jesus in full measure and lead a sinful life.

 

Consider this – if sin was so serious that Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, that Moses was not allowed to enter the Holy Land, that the nation of Israel – the apple of God’s eye – was sent into captivity in Babylon, that Jesus had to die to rescue man from sin, how much more serious is it, if believers continue to sin after being saved? This is what God wants of believers – no more and no less. God does not ask them to do anything more than Jesus did. He does not ask them to do the impossible e.g. to fly. So if He asks them to be perfect, then it is possible. It may well be difficult. It need not depress them but challenge them. It may well take time but it is possible. It has to be one of their goals.

 

One of the aspects of becoming a believer is an awareness of sin and the need for a Saviour to deal with their sin. The proud man knows little of sin. The trouble is that believers often have a restricted or confused understanding of what sin actually is. Sometimes they think that a particular activity is sinful when it is not. On other occasion they do not realise that activity is sinful when it is. How are believers to know? Unless believers are prepared to confront sin and tackle it they will be defeated by it.

 

Did Jesus die to save believers from their sins or did he die to save them from sinning? Romans ch 6 v 1-2. 1 John ch 3 v 4-10. “If the Holy Spirit lives in us, we should not sin.” Believers should hate the very idea of doing so. Jesus said: “I always do what is pleasing to my Father.” John ch 8 v 28-30. Do believers seek always to please their Heavenly Father? Should that not be their aim in life? How do believers know what pleases their Heavenly Father? Proverbs ch 6 v 16-19.

 

Basically sin is a personal affront to a holy God. It offends Him. When mankind does not believe in a personal living God but on an idea of a distant God, then there is no aspect of personal offence. A moral code is no substitute for a personal insult to God. Sin is a sign that man does not care for Him. God’s divine wisdom, authority and character is being challenged. Sin had a beginning. Gen ch 3 v 1-7. What were Adam and Eve thinking about? They had it all.

 

They had everything they could have wanted in the World and a personal relationship with God. Yet they swallowed the lie from Satan that they could be equal with God. One writer puts it this way: “In the fall, man snatched at equality with God, sought to be independent of God and questioned God’s integrity and loving provision for mankind.” Ever since, mankind has had a sinful nature. Sin is like a defective gene. Man is born with it. Romans ch 3 v 23. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” “ In sin did my mother conceive me.” Man is not born pure and becomes contaminated by the other people around him. He is by nature inclined to rebel against God. Man does also become contaminated – even worse – by those around him. It is like putting the whites in the washing machine with the colours. The colour runs and the white shirt comes out pink or blue. Notice that the white shirts do not make the blue or pink shirts white. If believers mix with bad company the attitudes and thoughts will rub off on them. Their goodness need not rub off on believers but the badness will rub off on believers. Haggai ch 2 v 11-13. Proverbs tells believers to choose their friends with care. It is important to understand the difference between sin and bad manners.

 

When a child is born, he does not realise the responsibilities, which lie ahead but, as the responsibilities present themselves, the child has to face up to them or run from them. It is too late to say: “Leave me in here – it is safe.” It is one of the reasons why people do not become believers. They realise it is going to involve costly decisions and they love their sinful way of life too much. Jesus makes claims on the life style and attitudes of man.

 

Jesus does not ask believers to do anything, which He has not done. He would never ask a believer to do something, which was impossible. It is difficult, but is essential if a believer is to do the things, which Jesus did. Paul realised that in Philippians ch 3 v 7-15. Paul, the great evangelist and Church planter, the theologian and apostle knew that he had only one option – to press on to the goal of being like Jesus. If it is true for Paul, it is true for all believers.

 

The Bible teaches that there are three categories of sin.

 

1. Falling short of the mark. The things a man knows he should do but does not do – or just not doing what the moral law of God requires. Romans ch 3 v 23. James ch 4 v 17. Sometimes referred to as sins of omission.

 

2. Going astray and doing what seems right to man in his own eyes. Leviticus ch 4 v 2-3. Even though a believer does not realise it, sin can have serious consequences. Little sins may not seem all that important. But they may spoil the witness to someone who is watching and so spoil the plan of God for that person. Parking on a double yellow line may not seem important. Generally nothing happens as a consequence. But the lines are there because certain people, who are knowledgeable in traffic control, have planned them to make the road safe for other users. Perhaps because of a simple piece of careless or selfish parking someone may be killed.

 

3. Rebellion. That is the most dangerous category. It was rebellion that resulted in Satan being thrown out of Heaven. It was rebellion, which got Adam and Eve thrown out of Eden. They knew full well that they should not have done what they did. To disregard what a believer knows to be wrong and offensive to God is dangerous. Romans ch 1 v 19-25.

 

The dominant theme of the Bible is man’s rebellion against God and God’s gracious response in sending Jesus to save man from sinning.

 

One of the best illustrations of sin is weeds in the garden. Weeds spread and choke the good plants and rob them of their dignity and life. Sin ruins a man and takes away his dignity before God. It spoils his relationship with God and takes away that clear conscience and openness before God. Guilt takes its toll. Sin chokes the spiritual life out of a believer. Whatever it is called it has the same effect. A bottle containing poison is still dangerous even if someone adds a new label like lemonade. Sin is addictive and powerful and dangerous. The Bible talks about being slaves to sin. All are in the same situation – no one can stand still. A man is either becoming less sinful or more sinful. He is either weeding out the sins in his life or being choked to death.

 

There is another danger with weeds. If left alone, they will reach a stage when the task of weeding becomes so hard as to be impossible to restore the garden to what it once was. The Bible teaches that if a believer backslides for too long, it is impossible to restore a person to a living relationship with God. Heb ch 6 v 4. That is called apostasy. It is a dangerous state to be in. The person is still saved from eternal separation from God but is not living in relationship with God now and it is impossible for that person to get back into a relationship with God.

 

Now it is not normal for a person to suddenly go out and rob a bank. The person may start by shoplifting, and gradually move on to bigger crimes. So it is with sin. It develops and grows in seriousness. Song of Solomon ch 2 v 15. The little foxes nibble the new shoots and kill the vine plants.

 

1. What does the ordinary man think of sin? Believers are called to be different from the World of people who live in a state of rebellion against God.

 

2. Believers dare not become careless towards sin. In football the best method of defence is attack. If a team sets out to defend, it may not lose but is unlikely to win. It is only by attacking that it wins. So it is with sin in life. It is essential to be busy and about God’s business. Then there is not time to dwell on self and let sin reign.

 

3. Consider the final state of things in the future. The result or consequence of sin is physical death. Romans ch 6 v 23. If Adam had not sinned, he would not have tasted physical death. The body, which God devised for him was designed to last forever. The new bodies, which believers receive after death will last forever, because there will be no sin in Heaven. Rev ch 21 v 1-4.

 

Isaiah ch 6. The priest served in the temple and was separated from the people. He passed through ceremonial cleansing Isaiah was as purified as it was possible for a man to be and yet he was so far short of God. He was clean on the outside but filthy inside. He was a white-washed sepulchure. If he could not enter there was no hope for man. “My doom is sealed.” Lips are a symbol for what is inside a man. There was no hope for him. Rom ch 7 “ Who shall save me?” In chapters 1 – 5 Isaiah was busy criticising everyone else. “Holy, holy, Holy is found only in Isaiah ch 6 v 2 and Rev ch 4 v 8. It was the same revelation to Isaiah and to John. The fire he saw was the Lamb slain. John ch 12. v 37-41. Isaiah saw the Messiah. He described Jesus most accurately. Jesus endorsed Isaiah’s words.

 

Love and holy go together. Holiness is nothing to do with departure from sin but resurrection was the endorsement of holiness – the seal of God. “That is my Son.” Rom ch 1 v 4.

 

At the crucifixion Jesus became a blob of meat on a stick. That is love in its fullness – to do that for another person who does not deserve it. Heb ch 12 v 5-11. Man can share in God’s nature forever. Man often thinks of Heaven as a pension plan.

 

2 Cor ch 6 v 14. Chastisement is to separate man from his fallen nature. Deut ch 7 v 7. God commanded the Jewish people to wipe out the unclean things in Canaan. The unclean thing is the flesh or fallen nature. The World is true to itself. The Church is not true to God. The World is comfortable with the Church and the Church is comfortable with the World, except in situations of persecution. God’s desire is that the Church will be full of compassion for the lost World. It is not about trying harder to do better but yielding more deeply. Prayer is not about volume or time spent with God but yielding to His Spirit. The Church has gone after power and not love. God understands man’s failing but He also means business. God is frustrated that man’s prayers are so limited. Prayer ministry is a priesthood. In yielding God is honoured and listens. God has a deep love for His people. One day the World will know what God does for His people. A whole nation – the Jewish people – will be sanctified. Rom ch 11 v 26.

Worship of Jesus

WORSHIP OF JESUS.

What does it mean to worship Jesus? Is worship limited to an hour and a half on a Sunday? What form of worship is acceptable to the Lord? Should worship be restricted to Jesus? Why not worship the Holy Spirit? Language is always changing. What is meant by the word “Worship”? Must believers worship together, or can they worship alone? What does God have to say on the subject? A man needs to take time to study the Scriptures to find out what God has to say.

The word Worship can mean to adore – to revere – to devote oneself. The true meaning means worth-ship. Giving the value or worth of the person or object, which is the centre of worship. There are at least seven reasons for worshipping Jesus.

FIRSTLY. Believers worship Jesus because He is their Creator.
John ch 1 v 3. “All things were created through Him. Without Him there was not anything, which was made.” Psalm 100 v 4. Human beings ought to thank their Creator not only for this wonderful World teaming with life and beauty but also for their bodies, made up of three trillion cells all functioning together and designed to last forever. Each body is a temple of His Holy Spirit and to be looked after as His dwelling place. Rom ch 12 v 1 says to believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice. They are not to worship nature but the one who created nature. Rom ch 1 v 23. The Bible says that it was through Jesus Christ that the World was created. Creation asserts man’s utter dependence on the Lord. Every breath is quite literally God’s gift. Genesis chapters 1 and 2 narrate the creation story. In Genesis ch 1 man is informed by the Lord that human beings are given authority to rule over creation – on one condition – that God rules over man. That seems a fair deal. Therefore man is a steward of creation and of his body. Man ought to look after both. If he does not, who will? The evidence is that man is not doing a very good job. Psalm 50 v 23. God says that in the act of giving thanks man honours Him.

How does man express praise? An organ? A piano? Guitar? Psalm 150 v 3-5. All sorts of instruments are acceptable to God. So is dancing. Traditions creep in and it is essential to go to the Word of God to see what He has to say. Man dances, sings and plays musical instruments on many different occasions in life. Why not be normal and play them for God? They are a gift from the Holy Spirit in the first place. Be normal. Man does not buy hard-backed pews for his living room. Why does he install them in a Church? That is not normal. Col ch 3 v 16 says that when believers gather they should sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Music, like clothes, goes out of fashion. Why expect young people to sing 18th Century music in the 21st century? Why not music in the current fashion? Choruses v hymns. Choruses are easy to remember while hymns teach doctrine. The New Testament speaks of individual worship but mostly of collective worship. In the early Church worship was conducted in the homes of believers. Simplicity was the keynote. Col ch 3 v 16. Praise, prayer, reading the Bible, and exposition of the Scriptures. Extroverts will worship in a different way from introverts. Both styles are acceptable to God. Forms of worship are affected by the culture of society.

The human spirit, born again of the spirit of God, longs to understand more of what Jesus is doing in His World and how he can be more useful to serve God. The Acts of the Apostles is a record of the acts of the risen Jesus, through the body of His followers. The Book of Acts has no ending. Each believer is invited to write his own chapters in his lifetime.

SECONDLY. Jesus sustains this World. Heb ch 1 v 3. Jesus upholds the World by His word of power. Until that day when His Father says that every name has been entered in the Lamb’s book of life and then Jesus will come with all His angels to gather His own. The return to Earth of the Lord Jesus will be the final act of the unveiling the divine presence, the culminating revelation of the majesty and transcendent glory of the triune God. Jesus’ return will transcend all events in space and time hitherto experienced. Jesus alone has been found worthy to open the seal in the Book of Revelation – in other words He holds the future destiny of this World and is leading the created Universe towards its end. Then Jesus will bring about a new creation – a new Heaven and a new Earth. Each man depends entirely upon Him.

THIRDLY. Jesus is King of this World. Pilate asked Jesus if He was a King and Jesus replied that He was. He is in control of this World. Acknowledging that the World is the Lord’s is a form of worshipping Him. False gods are persons or things, which fill the mind and control the actions of people. The follower of Jesus is to have nothing to do with false gods.

FOURTHLY. Jesus is the Saviour of the World. The wages of sin is death. It is because man disobeys God, ignores God and rebels against God that he must face death and punishment. Jesus came to save men and women from sinning. Not only did He pay the price for their sins by His death on the cross at Calvary but Jesus gives the gift of the Holy Spirit so that there is power to stop sinning. It was then, and is now, sin, which is destroying the physical environment, the moral World and the spiritual World. God does not send anyone to Hell. They choose to go there because they continue to sin against God and reject His offer of a saviour. There is no need to ask if this World is in a mess. It is human beings, who make the decisions, which affect the World in which they live. It is human beings who pollute the land, the air and the sea. It is human beings who decide how the resources of the World are distributed. There is enough food to feed everyone 1¼ times over, yet millions starve. It is human beings who declare war on others. It is human beings who hurt and injure others, physically and emotionally. What price can man place on salvation – a pardon from sins – freedom from the wrath of God and escape from Hell? Jesus left the realm of glory to be born in a cold and stinking stable, to live a life of poverty and to die a cruel and shameful death on a wooden cross – and He did it to save each man from his sins and the punishment of God.

FIFTHLY. Jesus came to Earth to destroy the works of the enemy of mankind, Satan and his demonic forces. Until that time mankind was held in bondage by the prince of the air. Jesus destroyed all the power of the enemy. The last enemy of mankind was death itself. Now Jesus has destroyed the power of death and He came to set man free from bondage. He said that His followers would do what He had done and greater things still. John ch 14 v 12. Believers do not need to fear the enemy of mankind. Jesus sets people free. “If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.”

SIXTHLY. Jesus ever intercedes for believers before the throne of God. He is constantly praying and asking God to bless them. They do not need to worry. The Lord is personally responsible for each child of God who belongs to Him. Then he is free to live, to enjoy life and to serve Him and others.

SEVENTHLY. Jesus is the Word become flesh. John ch 1 v 14. “The Word became flesh and tabernacled amongst us, full of grace and truth. We beheld His glory.” Psalm 138 v 2 says that the Lord has exalted His Word and His name above everything else in all creation. Consider the effort, which has gone into the writing of this glorious book. It is a manual for living for the good of mankind. The Bible is written by the Lord. Respect for it and obedience to it is a form of worship. It shows how much a man respects and values it. There is respect for the Word of God by the manner in which it is read, with understanding and feeling. Let God Himself speak through the voice of the one who reads it.

What consequences are there when a man chooses to worship Jesus?

SINCERITY.
John ch 4 v 23-24. Man is to worship in spirit and truth. Honesty, sincerity and truthfulness are ways in which man worships God. It is not so much where, as how, a man worships. Psalm 51 v 17. A broken and contrite heart is the very opposite of a proud heart. A man is to be sensitive to others and should be careful not to make a thoughtless and hurtful remark. He should seek the good of others as Jesus did. That means an end to gossip and putting others down. John ch 4 v 23. A love for the truth pleases the Lord.

HONOUR JESUS.
Rev ch 5. To honour is to respect highly, to admire and to appreciate. It also acknowledges the superior position of another. 1 Sam ch 2 v 30. “Those who honour me, I shall honour.” The honours list is the way the World gives respect to men and women who excel or are deserving of respect for their contribution to the welfare of others. John ch 5 v 22-24. Jesus has contributed to the welfare of believers. His teaching has had the greatest impact of any person in the history of the World.

Believers honour Jesus when they declare that He is the author of their salvation. Without Him they would not exist as new creatures, born of the Spirit of God. Without Him they would not receive salvation. It was only by His death any man is saved. Here is someone who is reliable, dependable and who defeated the enemy of mankind. No man was able to do that, since no one was strong enough. Jesus is the pioneer of man’s faith. Heb ch 12 v 2. He showed man the way to go, by trusting God. Man honours Jesus when he stands up for His name. By honouring Jesus a man acknowledges that He will not share that honour with any other god. Luke ch 4 v 8.

Worship as the adoring response to Jesus is not confined to acts of corporate praise but is to be carried over as an attitude to the whole of life. It is also expressed in fellowship as members of the family of God. Respect and concern for one another makes an impression on others. See how these Christians love each other. 1 Sam ch 15 v 22. In fact Jesus’ deepest service was offered on behalf of those who were His enemies. He commands His followers to do good to their enemies. “People will not care how much you know until they know how much you care for others.” Hosea ch 6 v 6. Hebrews ch 13 v 16.

A man worships the Lord when he puts his belongings at His disposal, especially his money, which stands for his belongings. Mal ch 3 v 10. Tithes and offerings. One tenth would banish poverty from the Earth. There would still be plenty left for the needs of everyone. The Lord challenges a man to put his money where his mouth is, otherwise he is in danger of becoming a hypocrite. Without the Lord a man would have nothing, not even air to breathe.

THE MORAL WORLD.
Concern for moral integrity. Heb ch 12 v 14. Without holiness no one will see the Lord. So man is to live without sin. How a man lives honours God as a child reflects on the reputation of a parent. A badly behaved child reflects on the parents. A poor employee reflects on the employer. A deserter reflects on the regiment. A poor player lets the team down. A disobedient believer reflects on the Lord. As God’s children believers bring credit to Him or discredit to Him. Apart from sleeping, a man spends the majority of his time in work, whether adult work or schoolwork. By applying himself to living for Him in work, a man declares his concern for the honour of Jesus.

Jesus deserves man’s worship, collectively and individually in his home, at his place of work and in every aspect of a man’s life.

Types

TYPES AND TYPOLOGY.

Typology is where Old Testament persons, institutions and events are interpreted as “types” of the coming decisive work of God in Christ. The aim of typology is to show how Jesus fulfils not only the explicit predictions of the Old Testament, but its whole fabric, in order to establish His coming as the final, complete embodiment of the pattern of God’s saving work through the ages. It is used to show that Jesus is Himself the true Israel and His Church is now the people of God in whom the hopes and destiny of Israel are coming to fulfilment. The New Testament hammers home the point that in the coming of Jesus all will be fulfilled. The World longed for a real revelation of God. Certain people were types of Christ and foreshadowed His coming.

1. Moses is a type of Christ as he leads the people out of the bondage of sin.

2. Pharaoh is a type of Devil as he attempts to keep the people of Israel in bondage.

3. Joshua. His name means “salvation.” Jesus means the same in Greek. He shall save His people. Joshua is the Aramaic for Jesus. Joshua is a wise man. Deut ch 34 v 9. He was a man of faith who did what he was told by God. Ch 1 v 8-9. The angel of the Lord appeared to him. He was God’s man to deliver the physical Kingdom of Israel to the people of God. Jesus was God’s man to deliver the spiritual kingdom of God to the people of God. The physical was symbolic of the spiritual reality brought by Jesus.
The others ganged up on Joshua. Ch 9 v 1-2. The religious leaders ganged up on Jesus.
The physical battles speak of the spiritual forces against Joshua, as they were against Jesus. Ch 23 v 10. One man puts 10,000 to flight.
Joshua presented a choice before the people, as Jesus did. Ch 24 v 14-15. Joshua fought his way into the land inch by inch. Holiness – being like Jesus – is a fight – inch by inch.

4. Jonah. The people in the time of Jesus wanted a sign that God was real. “Prove to me that Jesus is alive and I shall trust Him.” Jesus would reply: “I am alive. Trust me and you will know.”
Mat ch 16 v 1-4. All they will get is the sign of Jonah.
Mat ch 12 v 38-41. Jonah was dead in the belly of the whale and became alive. That is the sign Jesus will give them. An adulterous generation is one, which has turned away from God. Adultery is always a case of leaving the true love and going after a false one. Did God speak to Jesus through the word from Jonah as to what would happen at His death? Jesus was sure that, like Jonah, He would come back from the dead. Jesus was three days in the Earth. A supernatural act of God was required. Jonah was obedient – with some reluctance. He went to an undeserving and inhospitable World in Nineveh in Assyria. Jesus came to a World, which did not receive Him. Jonah was thrown into the sea to bring peace for the sailors. Jesus gave His life for the sins of man to bring peace with God. Jonah was the saviour of the sailors. Jesus was the saviour of the World. He was the saviour thrown into the sea of divine wrath. Jonah calmed the storm. Jesus stilled the waves. Jonah was the scapegoat. Jesus took the sins of the World on His body as the scapegoat. Lev ch 16 v 20-22.
In Jonah a tree withered. Jesus cursed the fig tree. Mat ch 21 v 9. Each wept over a city. Each called for a response to God. God cared so much for Nineveh that He sent Jonah. God so loved the World that He sent His Son Jesus.

5. Melchizedek. He was not a Christophany or an incarnation of Christ. Gen ch 14 v 17-24. Psalm 110 v 4. Heb ch 7 v 1-17. He was a type of Christ in that he was a priest. The role of the priest was to lead people to God as the role pf the prophet was to bring the Word of God to the people. So Jesus was a priest of the order of Melchizadeck in that Jesus brought the people to God and was in Himself the bridge between fallen a man and a holy God. To say that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizadeck clearly differentiates between the two men. Christ is said to be better than Melchizadeck and therefore could not have been the same person.

Titles of Jesus

TITLES OF JESUS.
ALMIGHTY. Rev ch 1 v 8.
ANGEL OF THE LORD. Joshua ch 5 v 13.
AUTHOR and FINISHER. Heb ch 12 v 2.
BELOVED. Ephesians ch 1 v 6.
BRANCH. Isaiah ch 11 v 1. Jer ch 23 v 5. Zech ch 3 v 8 and ch 6 v 12.
BREAD OF LIFE. John ch 6 v 32-35.
BRIDEGROOM. Mat ch 9 v 15. John ch 3 v 29. Rev ch 21 v 9.
BRIGHT MORNING STAR. Rev ch 22 v 16.
BROTHER. Luke ch 8 v 21.
CARPENTER. Mark ch 6 v 3.
CHIEF CORNERSTONE. Isaiah ch 28 v 16. Ps 118 v 22. Eph ch 2 v 20. 1 Pet ch 2 v 26.
CHOSEN ONE. Luke ch 23 v 25.
COUNSELLOR. Isaiah ch 9 v 6.
CREATOR. Heb ch 1 v 2.
DEFENDER. Luke ch 8 v 7.
DOOR. John ch 10 v 9.
EMANUEL. Isaiah ch 7 v 14-ch 8 v 8. Mat ch 1 v 23.
ETERNAL FATHER. Isaiah ch 9 v 6. 1 John ch 1 v 1-3.
EVANGELIST. John ch 4 v 14.
FAITHFUL AND TRUE WITNESS. Rev ch 1 v 5 and ch 3 v 14.
FIRSTBORN. Heb ch 12 v 23.
FRIEND. John ch 15 v 14.
GOD. John ch 8 v 58. Rom ch 9 v 5.
HEALER. Exodus ch 15 v 26.
GOVERNOR. Isaiah ch 9 v 6.
HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Eph ch 5 v 23.
HOLY ONE. Mark ch 1 v 24. Psalm 16 v 10.
HOPE. 1 Tim ch 1 v 1.
IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD. 2 Cor ch 4 v 4. Col ch 1 v 15.
INTERCESSOR. Heb ch 7 v 25.
JUDGE. Acts ch 17 v 31. John ch 5 v 22-23. Acys ch 10 v 42.
KING. Gal ch 3 v 13.
KING OF KINGS. Rev ch 17 v 14.
LAMB OF GOD. John ch 1 v 29 and v 36. Rev ch 5 v 6-12 and ch 7 v 17.
LAST ADAM. 1 Cor ch 15 v 45.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD. John ch 8 v 12.
LEADER. John ch 21 v 19.
LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. Gen ch 49 v 10. Rev ch 5 v 5.
LIVING WATER. John ch 4 v 10.
LORD. Phil ch 2 v 9-11.
LORD OF LORDS. Rev ch 19 v 16. 1 Tim ch 6 v 15.
MAN OF SORROWS. Isaiah ch 53 v 3.
MASTER. Mat ch 8 v 19.
MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT. Mal ch 3 v 1.
MESSIAH. John ch 1 v 49.
PHYSICIAN. Mat ch 5 v 31.
PROPHET. Mat ch 21 v 11. Deut ch 18 v 15.
PRINCE OF PEACE. Isaiah ch 9 v 6.
PRIEST. Heb ch 5 v 6. Heb ch 3 v 1-2.
PROVIDER. Mark ch 6 v 42.
REDEEMER. Gal ch 3 v 13. Job ch 19 v 25.
RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. John ch 11 v 25.
RULER. Col ch 2 v 10.
SACRIFICE. Isaiah ch 9 v 6.
SANCTIFIER. 1 Cor ch 1 v 30.
SAVIOUR. 1 John ch 4 v 14. John ch 4 v 42.
SERVANT. Acts ch 3 v 26. Isaiah ch 42 v 1-9.
SHEPHERD. Ezekiel ch 34 v 11. John ch 10 v 11. 1 Peter ch 2 v 25.
SHILOH. Gen ch 49 v 10.
SON OF DAVID. Luke ch 18 v 38.
SON OF GOD. Luke ch 1 v 35. Heb ch 4 v 14.
SON OF MAN. Luke ch 22 v 69.
SUSTAINER. Heb ch 1 v 3.
TEACHER. Mat ch 4 v 23.
TRUE VINE. John ch 15 v 1.
THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. John ch 14 v 6. Acts ch 9 v 2.
VICTOR. 1 John ch 3 v 8.
WISDOM OF GOD. 1 Cor ch 1 v 24 and v 30.
WORD. John ch 1 v 1.

JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Genesis. The beginning, the promised redeemer and the seed of the woman.
Exodus. The pass-over and deliverer of God’s people.
Leviticus. The High Priest.
Numbers. The pillar of cloud, the fire and the manna from Heaven.
Deuteronomy. The Prophet like Moses.
Joshua. The captain of man’s salvation and the sword of Gideon.
Judges. The judge and the lawgiver.
Ruth. The kinsman redeemer.
Samuel. The trusted prophet.
1 Kings. The reigning King.
2 Kings. The power in Elijah’s mantle and the miracle worker.
Chronicles. The root and offspring of David and the shekinah glory in the Temple.
Ezra. The faithful scribe.
Nehemiah. The wall builder and restorer of Jerusalem.
Esther. Mordecai and the rescuer of God’s people.
Job. The everlasting redeemer.
Pslams. The Lord and shepherd, high tower and rock of man’s salvation.
Proverbs. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes. The Preacher.
Song of Solomon. The altogether lovely one.
Isaiah. The child and Son, wonderful counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father and
the prince of peace.
Jeremiah. The righteous ranch and rejected prophet.
Lamentations. The weeping prophet.
Ezekiel. The four-faced man and the wheel within the wheel.
Daniel. The fourth man in the furnace and the tamer of lions.
Hosea. The faithful husband forever married to the back-slider.
Joel. The Holy Spirit and fire, the bridegroom, the early and latter rain.
Amos. The burden bearer.
Obadiah. Mighty to save.
Jonah. The great foreign missionary and sign for unbelievers.
Micah. The messenger with beautiful feet.
Nahum. The avenger of God’s elect.
Habakkuk. God’s evangelist.
Zepahnaih. The saviour of the World.
Zecharaiah. The cleansing fountain for all sin and unrighteousness, the Lord of hosts
returning to fight for His people and the restorer of Jerusalem.
Malachi. The messenger of God, the sun of righteousness with healing in His wings.

JESUS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Matthew. The Messiah and promised King.
Mark. The wonderful worker and servant of mankind.
Luke. The perfect Son of man, born of a virgin and the ideal man.
John. The perfect Son of God, the Word made flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Acts. The Baptiser of the Holy Spirit and fire
Romans. The justifier of sinners.
Corinthians. The sanctifier, the head of the body, Messiah and the giver of gifts.
Galatians. The redeemer of man from the curse of the Torah.
Ephesians. The Messiah of un-searchable riches.
Philippians. The God who supplies all the needs of mankind.
Colossians. The creator of all things, the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him boldly.
Thessalonians. The soon-coming King and Lord of glory, the shout and trump of God.
Timothy. The mediator between man and God.
Titus. The faithful pastor and teacher.
Philemon. A friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Hebrews. The new covenant purchased with His own blood. The author and finisher of
A man’s faith.
James. The great physician.
1 Peter. The chief shepherd.
2 Peter. The Lord of great patience to man.
1 John. Fellowship and love.
2 John. Truth and love.
3 John. Brotherly love.
Jude. The Lord of Hosts, the almighty coming to execute judgement on the ungodly.
Revelation. King of kings, Lord of lords, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the language of God,
the spirit of prophecy and the one who rewards those who overcome.

The prisoner

THE PRISONER.

Cast. Barabbas. A terrorist, sullen, stubborn but inwardly afraid of his impending death.
Guard. An articulate, efficient cruel person, good officer material.

Scene. Barabbas’ cell. It is bare, except for a stool or chair on which Barabbas slumps disgruntedly.

Enter guard. He peers through the peephole into the cell for a moment then fumbles with keys and enters.

GUARD. (Loudly) Awake yet, Barabbas? On your feet! Stand still! (Barabbas stands swaying dozing) Did the condemned man enjoy his last night then? Well?

BARABBAS. What – what time is it?

GUARD. About nine. The execution is set for midday. Have you been clearing things up with your God? A lot to do to get off your chest, I imagine. Or have you given up on Him? He doesn’t seem to have helped you much, does He? I thought that He was supposed to be fighting for you, but He has left you in the lurch this time, hasn’t He!

(Barabbas remains silent, which enrages the Guard.)

Was it worth it then, all this killing? For what? You won’t get rid of Rome that easily, you know that. A rabble of badly trained peasants. You are pathetic. (The last word is spat at Barrabus with venom.)

BARABBAS. Pathetic are we? The Romans ran when we fought them last week. We WILL win. (His words are cut short as the Guard hits him.)

GUARD. Stand up straight, Barabbas! You’ll never win, you hear. And it won’t help you anyway. Are you ready for the execution? Are you feeling brave now?

BARABBAS. Kill me and a dozen will take my place. Just……. (his voice breaks for a moment.) Let’s get it over with.

GUARD. Get it over with? Get it over with? You don’t know what you’re saying. Have you ever seen a man crucified? It’s not quick, you know. We Romans know how to make a man suffer. You might just last a day and a half. But usually it takes two or three days to die. You suffocate in the end. You are hanging there, pinned to the tree by nails like these. I just happen to have a spare one here. These are driven through your wrists and feet. Six good blows usually sees the nails in place. You are struggling to pull yourself up to catch a breath. And you have to – using the nails through your wrists and feet to lever yourself up. And then the pain is too much, so you let yourself drop, and lose your breath. So you have to pull yourself up again on those nails. Eventually your body cannot take the pain any more and you just hang – until you choke. If it takes too long, we come and break your legs, and that finishes it. And all the time you are dying, your mouth is drying out and your tongue is swelling up inside your mouth and the thirst drives you crazy. And then there is the heat and the flies buzzing around the wounds on your hands and feet and the bare flesh on your back, where it has been flogged. And you know that you will be hanging there naked for all to see.

BARABBAS. (During the last speech the awfulness of death has been overwhelming him.) Shut up! Shut up! Isn’t it enough for you that I’m going to die. Why do you have to torment me?

GUARD. Why? Because it is all I can do. You are not going to die, Barabbas, though the gods know that you deserve it. You’re free.

BARABBAS. Free? Free? What sort of sick joke is that?

GUARD. That’s right. It seems that the Governor offered the crowd a choice between two prisoners and whichever one they wanted they could have. They called for you to go free. So someone else is going to die on the cross we had built for you. If it was left to me, I’d have killed the two of you.

BARABBAS. Who is this man?

GUARD. Some religious type from up north. I heard someone say that his name is “Jesus.” They brought Him in last night. He doesn’t seem to have done anything so far as the Governor is concerned. But your top boys, the Priests, want Him done away with. The Governor’s mad. That preacher’s a lot less dangerous than you. But that’s justice for you.

Barabbas stands confused.

BARABBAS. I don’t understand.

GUARD. Well, go on man. The door’s open. You’re free. Go on.

Barabbas stumbles out. The Guard follows him out.

End.

The Kingdom of God

THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

Elections are very much a part of life. In the countries of the World the peoples of this World are ruled by either a democracy or a dictator of some kind or another. People in the West think that a democracy is the best form of government and have sought to import the idea to countries in the developing World. It is a fact that the only countries, which are governed by a democracy are those which have experienced a Biblical revival at some time or other in their past. Democracy is defined as Government by the people or their elected representatives. Winston Churchill said of democracy: “Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others, which have been tried from time to time.” But is democracy the ideal way to govern people? Is it what God wanted? The Bible has to something to say. “Israel is you and me on a national scale.” What God wanted for Israel will apply to all countries.

God called one man Abraham to believe Him and to obey Him. God made a promise to Abraham that he would have many descendants. This was followed by the same promise to his son Isaac and then to his son Jacob, later renamed by God as Israel. After Esau left the Promised Land, Jacob returned to live there for a while. But during a time of famine in the land, the Children of Israel set off to live in Egypt. After 400 years they fell into bondage and slavery and God sent Moses to set then free.

When God, through Moses and then Joshua, led the people back into the Promised Land, He did so by communicating directly though Moses and Joshua to the people. God was their ruler. Later God raised up judges who saved the people from their enemies. God used Eli and then Samuel to hold the people together as a people living under a theocracy. That is what God wanted – a theocracy – defined as government by a deity. He wanted to be their King or ruler. There would be administrators to carry out His purposes but He would be their King or ruler. His administrators would consult Him for His instructions to the people and they would convey the instructions to the people. For a while it worked. Israel was a theocracy.

As Samuel was getting old and there was no obvious successor, the people made a decision. 1 Sam ch 8. The people God had chosen to be different were tired of being different. It was a struggle to be holy and shun the abominable practices of the peoples around them. “We just want to be like other people,” was their cry. Prime Minister Rabin of Israel, just after his inauguration as Prime Minister, is quoted as saying that Israel just wanted to be like the other nations and to be at peace with their neighbours. They no longer wanted the strain of being different. Mr Rabin was a humanist in his outlook. A humanist seeks human answers to the problems confronting his nation. He does not believe in consulting God. He regarded the Bible like many Englishmen regard Shakespeare – wonderful literature worth a read from time to time but no more than that. In Samuel’s day the people wanted to be like the other peoples. God allowed them. It was not His ideal but He said that they had free choice. In the same way every man has free choice to do as he wishes. However, God warned the people through Samuel of the consequences of their disobedience. 1 Sam ch 8 v 10-18. God pointed out that a king such as the other people had would compel them to serve him just like the other kings. He would claim their allegiance and seek to mould them into his ways. They would end up in slavery. But the people would not listen. History records that is exactly what happened to the people of Israel. It was not Samuel they rejected but the Lord Himself. When people reject a believer, it is probably the Lord they are rejecting. But it still hurts.

There was a succession of Kings of Israel. Only David and, for a short time Solomon, pleased the Lord. David was said by the Lord to be a man after His own heart. For all his faults and sins, David sought the Lord and could say at his death: “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me, His word is upon my tongue.” After David and, for a while Solomon, it was all disaster until the people were led off into captivity in Assyria and Babylon.

Centuries went by until Jesus was born. Jesus was born a king. Mat ch 2 v 13. Herod confirmed it when he said: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” Jesus died a king. John ch 19 v 19. Pilate confirmed it when he insisted on these words being written above the cross – “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” When Jesus rose from the grave, He was still a king. When He ascended He was still a king. Today, He is still King of the Jews. Acts ch 1 v 6 is a most interesting verse. After Jesus rose and spent time with the Disciples, they asked Jesus: “Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” It might be expected that Jesus would rebuke them and tell them that it was a spiritual Kingdom He was interested in, just as He had told Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king and Jesus said: “Yes He was,” but His Kingdom was not of this World. It was a spiritual kingdom. Many of those who followed Jesus thought that He was about to usher in a physical kingdom and free the Jews from Roman occupation. After centuries of occupation by Persians, Greeks and Romans this was hardly surprising. When the people realised that it was not to be, their enthusiasm faded. Yet Jesus clearly implied that there would be a day when His Father would restore the physical Kingdom of Israel to the Jewish people. The physical Kingdom of Israel was always to be a picture of God’s rule amongst His people, just as the physical land of Canaan was to be a picture of Heaven. So far as Israel is concerned it was to be both a spiritual and a physical kingdom. After all it was God who created the nations and established the boundaries of the countries. Israel had been a nation but from 586 B. C. Israel had ceased to be a nation. Because of their sins, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been taken captive by Assyria and later the Southern Kingdom of Judah had been taken into captivity in Babylon. That captivity lasted 70 years. Jeremiah prophesied that the captivity would end and that the people would return to the land, but once in the land the people who returned lived in subjection to several powers – Persia, Greece, Rome, Islam, the Turks and Britain. It was Ezekiel who prophesied that the people would live under the power of others for 2,520 years, until once again the nation would be an independent nation amongst the other nations of the World. That event took place on 14th May 1948 when the State of Israel was reborn. Isaiah ch 66 v 8.

The Gospels mention the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Are they one and the same thing? Are they different things? Matthew in his Gospel refers to the Kingdom of Heaven, while Mark and Luke refer to the Kingdom of God. The reason is that Matthew was writing to a Jewish readership, while Mark and Luke were writing to a Gentile readership. The Jews did not feel that they should mention the name of God. He was too holy for them to even mention His name. So Matthew writes about the Kingdom of Heaven. Luke and Mark however use the Kingdom of God, since that was easier for a non-Jew to understand.

The countries of the World are known as kingdoms or countries. The principles are the same. There are four requirements to run a country.

1. Resources. Money sums up or epitomises the resources available to a country, whether it be land or minerals or water or livestock. Anything, which contributes to the well-being and prosperity of people is a resource and each resource is identifiable in terms of money. A country, which is bankrupt, is one, which owes more than the value of its assets. Many Third World Countries are bankrupt because the assets and capital have been stripped away and conveyed to other countries or wasted by war and destroyed.
2. People. Trained people are an asset to a country. The more educated and skilled the population, the better the natural resources can be utilised for the benefit of the people. People in the Third World recognise the importance of education in order to improve their lives.
3. Laws. Man living together in community needs laws to regulate activity and control the development of the country. These laws ought to be based on justice and fairness to protect the property rights and physical and emotional well-being of the people of the country – with penalties to ensure that the people conform the laws. Without obedience to the laws of the land society breaks down and lawlessness breaks out. This can be seen in many countries of the World. The laws must reflect a fair reward for the efforts of the people.
4. Leaders or governors are essential. Good and wise leaders will reflect the aspirations of the people and give good leadership passing good laws. In a democracy the people elect the leaders to represent their interests. Taxes are raised by the Government to pay for the essential services necessary to run the country for the benefit of the people.

The subject is of particular importance because many believers teach that the Kingdom of God will be heralded in when Jesus returns in bodily form. They say that it is a future event. Those who teach that say that Jesus will return and reign on Earth with the elect for 1,000 years, making reference to 1,000 years in Revelation as a literal time. They make no suggestion as to what will happen at the end of the 1,000 years. That teaching indicates that the Kingdom of God has not started yet. Where does that leave man? In His teaching on prayer Jesus said His Disciples should pray in this way. “Thy kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Jesus equates the coming of God’s kingdom with the doing of His will. Where God’s will is done with perfect submission, there is the Kingdom of God revealed. That is NOW – not in the future but today. God wants what happens in Heaven to be happening now on Earth – praise, worship and obedience to His Word. When Jesus started preaching, He said: “Repent and believe, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Mark ch 1 v 15. That sounds like – NOW. In Jesus the Kingdom had become a living reality. John ch 18 v 36. “My Kingdom is not of this World.” That sounds like the present tense. “Seek first His Kingdom and all these things shall be yours as well.” Mark ch 12 v 34. When Jesus saw that He answered wisely, He said to him: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” In Luke ch 17 v 20 Jesus said: “The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you. The Kingdom of Heaven has come upon you.” It is a reality – NOW.

The Kingdom of God is defined as the rule of God in the hearts of men. Who rules a man’s life? Who makes claims on what he does and what he cannot do? Whom does he serve? Bob Dylan wrote a song once called: “You’ve got to serve somebody.” Everyone serves somebody. Even the Prime Minister serves the electorate. When God rules in the hearts of men and they do what He wants, then the rule of God has begun and the Kingdom is here now.

Daniel ch 2 v 44. In the vision to Nebuchadnezzar, which Daniel interpreted, there was picture of 4 kingdoms, each succeeding the previous one. Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. In the days of those kings God would set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. It shall last forever. While the other kingdoms were symbolised by precious stones, gold, silver, bronze and iron, God chose a common stone as a symbol for His kingdom. Daniel ch 2 v 31-45.

Jesus knew the Scriptures and knew that He was the one to establish that Kingdom amongst the people. That was why He said to render to Caesar what is due to Caesar and render to God what is due to God. The civil authorities are there for man’s good to make the practical arrangements to organise the society in which he lives. They establish the traffic lights of his coming and going. But in the last resort man is responsible to God. He must obey the Word of God if it is in conflict with the law of the government. Jesus looked to a day when the other kingdoms would be destroyed and the Kingdom of God would last forever unopposed. Jesus expects His disciples to grasp both truths – both the present reality and the future glory.

God wanted to rule in the hearts of men and women. If that were the case, there would be no need for those laws, which are designed to make people behave as they ought to behave towards one another e.g. theft, fraud, physical violence, etc. There is no law against a man loving his neighbours. God through Samuel pointed out that a king such as the other people had would compel them to serve him just like the other kings. He would claim their allegiance and seek to mould them into his ways. Moral laws would not be required, if all were obedient to God’s law but it is there to point out the need for obedience.

Jesus is King. What does it really mean? What holds a man’s life together and gives it shape? The Bible has several ideals or challenges to shape man’s life. Children of God. The family of God. The servant of God. One of these concepts is the Kingdom of God. The idea of serving a King. For centuries a king was a very special person, one who could do anything he wanted. The idea was that he was just that bit special, above the ordinary people. He could do no wrong. He was worth serving. That is the idea, which God is putting to man in presenting Jesus as King. God’s kingly rule demands man’s obedient submission. Entry into the Kingdom requires the unquestioning obedience of a child and at the same time makes absolute demands of loyalty and devotion. The Kingdom of God is likened to a pearl – something very precious. It is the one thing of supreme value in life, for which any sacrifice is worthwhile. Believers live within the Kingdom of God. The more believers there are in a democracy, the more like the Kingdom of Heaven it will be. The fewer believers there are, the less like the Kingdom of God it will be.

God said of Jesus in Psalm 45 v 6-7. Thy throne O God is forever and ever. The righteous sceptre is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.
Psalm 2 v 6. Psalm 24 v 7. Mat ch 4 v 17. Mat ch 4 v 23. Mat ch 10 v 7. Mat ch 18 v 3. Luke ch 9 v 62. Mat ch 19 v 14. Mark ch 12 v 34. John ch 3 v 5. Rom ch 14 v 17.
1 Cor ch 15 v 50. Rev ch 11 v 15.

Man has not made a great job of running this World. God spoke of starting again with His own Kingdom. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven being near to them. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom is one and the same thing. In order to run His Kingdom God needs the same four things.

1. Money and resources. Tithes are simply taxes to run the affairs of the government. Tithing is basic to being part of the Kingdom. If a believer has not grasped that fact, then he has not really entered the Kingdom. The believer who does not tithe is a parasite on society in the same way as someone in the kingdom of the World, who chooses not to work and gets benefit paid for by others.
2. People. That is why Jesus invited people to follow Him to live in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts of men and women.
3. Laws. To regulate the affairs of the people in a system, which is fair and just and allows people to express their full humanity and find that their basic needs are met. Freedom from the control of the enemy. If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
4. Leaders. The government is upon His shoulders. Isaiah ch 9. But as in His own lifetime Jesus trained others to extend the Kingdom after He had returned to Heaven, so today God needs leaders to run the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul explained the requirements for leadership in God’s kingdom. 1 Tim ch 3. The enemy is always seeking to deceive and encourage believers to appoint people who are not fit to lead, whose life style or doctrine are suspect. Those who lead well in this life will be given greater responsibility in the life to come.
The difficulty for the believer is that he has to live in two kingdoms at the same time. He is a citizen of a country and also lives in the Kingdom of God.

The difficulty for the believer is that he has to live in two kingdoms at the same time. He is a citizen of a country and also lives in the Kingdom of God.

THE KINGDOM and THE CHURCH.

The power of the Holy Spirit is essential for the Church to be the Church. A believer can go to Church and yet not be the Church. The Church must operate in the power of the Holy Spirit or else it is just a gathering of people. The ministry of Jesus was to speak of the Kingdom of God. In His parables Jesus referred to the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same. Matthew wrote to the Jewish community and mentioned the Kingdom of Heaven because the Jewish people did not use the word “God”. Luke wrote to the Gentile people and used the words – the Kingdom of God.

The relationship of the Church to the Kingdom.
For some the Church is seen as an instrument to save souls so that they can go to Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is regarded as a future event – to come in the future. Jesus referred to the Kingdom as of now. He said: “The Kingdom of God is near you or is upon you.”
For some the Kingdom of God is of this World. There are two views.
(1) The ecclesiastical view is that the Church is the Kingdom. They are equivalent terms. To join the Church is to enter the Kingdom. The Church then becomes an ecclesiastical and Worldly enterprise. The emphasis is on the Church and not on the Lord. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this World.” It is in this World but not of this World.
(2) The eschatological view. For many believers the Kingdom is to come in the millennium. It will occur at the last days when Jesus returns and establishes His Kingdom. It will be a future Kingdom.
There is confusion in the Church. Is it of this World or is it in the World to come? Is the Kingdom one with the Church or is it an anticipation of the Kingdom to come?

The teaching of Jesus on the Church and on the Kingdom. Jesus brought the Kingdom into the World when He came. The Kingdom advances in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom is now embodied in His people – His Disciples. For Jesus the Kingdom was not so much a domain as a dynamic – not so much a place as a power. It is advancing and growing as the Spirit moves.
The Church. It is a community to bear witness and to go forth in a spiritual walk – bearing witness to the King.
(3) The urganomic view. The word means to work or function efficiently – the working concept of the Kingdom. Jesus abounded in good works in the Spirit. John ch 10 v 37. “I have shown you many good works from the Father.” Mat ch 5 v 16. “Let your light shine and do good works to the glory of your Father.” Paul Eph ch 2 v 10. “Believers are created for good works.” The Church is the work of God through Messiah Jesus. Jesus saves believers, and empowers them as the Church of the Messiah to do the works of God led by the Spirit. God has commanded believers to do good works. Work is the fruit of faith and of love. John ch 14 v 10. “You will do what I have done and greater works.”
The word for work and the word for worship is the same word in Hebrew. Hebrews ch 10 v 3. “Stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together but encouraging one another.” The Church is a working concept of the Kingdom.
The World also does good works. The believers should do their works in the love of Messiah and in the power of the Spirit. When kindness is shown, the Kingdom advances. When there is forgiveness the Kingdom advances. When there is healing the Kingdom advances. When there are acts of generosity the name of God is honoured and the Kingdom advances.

Jesus only mentioned the Church three times in the Gospels. The Church is mentioned 100 times in the Epistles. Jesus prioritises the Kingdom and not the Church. Mat ch 6 v 33. “Seek first the Kingship of God.” For Jesus the Kingdom is separate from the Church. The Kingdom permeates His ministry. “This is why I was sent – to proclaim the Kingdom of God.” For Jesus the Kingdom takes priority over the Church They are not the same thing. The Kingdom was in existence before the Church was started and it will continue long after the Church has fulfilled its mission.
The Church is an assembly of Kingdom citizens assembled for worship and instruction in the service of the King and in the power of the King’s Spirit. The Church is to bear witness to the Kingdom and be the vehicle by which the Kingship of God advances.
Jesus emphasised three aspects of the Kingdom.
1. A person – Himself as God’s agent of the breaking Kingdom.
2. A power at work. He was led by the Holy Spirit.
3. A people. Those who submitted to His authority and obeyed His Word and kept His commandments. The Sermon on the Mount describes those who have received the kingdom of God.
The Kingdom advances by God’s initiatives and as a result of the believers exercising their responsibility as believers. The Kingdom advances when believers do the Father’s will. May your Kingdom advance – may your will be done. Believers are provoking one another to doing God’s will. Therefore they need to meet together to make sure that they give to serve God by doing His will. God makes his believers into living stones.
Stop going to Church and not being the Church. There is a need to think corporately. Believers are saved to serve and do good works – meeting the needs of the people we meet. Gal ch 6 v 10.

Isaiah spoke of the holiness of God.
Ezekiel spoke of the glory of God.
Jeremiah spoke of the judgement of God.
Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God.

Tabernacles

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

John ch 7 v 37. Jesus stood up in the midst of a crowd of people in Jerusalem and spoke these words: ” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow from the inmost beings of anyone who believes in me.” The nation of Israel had waited for centuries for the fulfilment of the promise of God that He Himself would come to lead His people. Ezekiel ch 34 v 11. Jesus was living on Earth in a human body. His Mother Mary knew it. Presumably His Father knew it, although Joseph does not feature much in the Gospel accounts. Jesus wanted people to think it through the significance of His words. What was the message, which Jesus was conveying to the people around Him on that occasion and what is the message to us in the late 20th century?

God inaugurated the Feast of Tabernacles.
Zechariah confirmed that it was for all time and not part of the ceremonial law.
Jesus was born at Tabernacles and not in December
Jesus confirmed that He was God in human flesh.
Jesus confirmed that He is coming back – at Tabernacles?
Come to me for salvation. I alone can give the gift of eternal life.

In Luke ch 7 v 19 John the Baptist sent some of his own disciples to Jesus to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah. John had been sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. He preached that Jesus was the coming Messiah and yet it seems that even John the Baptist was not quite sure. What was Jesus’ answer? ” Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive sight, the deaf hear, the lame walk and the lepers are cleansed.” healing and the miracles.

“I think that God is like this or that.” God is exactly like Jesus. He who has seen me has seen the Father. The situation today is exactly the same. We live in a World, which cries out for peace and healing and an end to oppression and poverty and famine. There is a genuine desire for these things. People re sincere in their concern to see a change in the World. We must not doubt their sincerity, but it is not working. If anything, the situation in the World is getting steadily worse. But do they want the Messiah for Himself or just for what He will do for them? Isn’t is just the same today. How many Christians want Jesus for healing – or the gifts of the Spirit – or freedom from sin – or to change their situation and make things easier? But do they want Jesus because they love Him and want to follow in His footsteps and serve Him? Are they prepared to pick up their cross and follow Jesus, regardless of the consequences? That is what Jesus did. He spoke out regardless of the consequences. He knew the religious leaders would seek to kill Him, if He said what He knew was right.

” If that is not God at work, what is? John was invited to look at the evidence and make up his own mind. It was the same for the ordinary people. They experienced the healing and the miracles. They listened to the teaching and knew that this man was someone special. It was up to them to respond. Would it have made any difference to them if Jesus had proclaimed Himself to be God? Yet on other occasions Jesus clearly stated that He was God. Humanly speaking it was inconceivable that the Creator of the Universe should assume a frail body and live next door to them, working as a carpenter. It was unbelievable! It is as unbelievable today that God the Holy Spirit should live within the bodies of school children and teachers and businessmen and bus drivers. Jesus said to Peter: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven.” In other words only the Holy Spirit Himself can lift the veil from the eyes of a human being to believe in Jesus. He generally does that in conjunction with the preaching and life of another individual human being. But sometimes He does it all on His own in unusual situations. So in one sense it didn’t matter whether or not Jesus declared Himself God. That was the work of the Holy Spirit to choose when and how to reveal God to the World.

When was the Feast of Tabernacles established and what was the purpose of the Feast? The Feast of Tabernacles was – and still is – an integral part of the plan. It takes us back 3,000 years to its inauguration. Then on to the life of Jesus. Then it leads us to the present day and finally into the future and the return of Jesus in bodily form to this planet on which we live and breathe.

God had a vast plan to be unfolded down through the centuries. God had brought the people out of Egypt and set out the terms of His covenant. Then as a visible sign that He will be with His people, He gave Moses special instructions to build a special tent for Himself. He was to have a home like the people.

Ex ch 40 v 34. In this way God will travel with His people and they will know that He is no local deity, whose power is limited. Many of the materials used were brought from Egypt, given willingly by the Egyptians. Wood is scarce in Sinai but the acacia tree grows there. The herds provided skins and sealskins came from the Red Sea. God called the people to obedience and then He had the tabernacle built to identify with His people. The intention of freedom was that God would dwell with His people.

At the centre of the tabernacle was the ark. Everything pointed to it. To enter the court of the tabernacle was to enter the presence of God. Inside the ark were the tablets of stone – the supreme verbal statement of God’s holiness. Ex ch 25 v 16. The whole structure of the Tabernacle speaks clear and splendid truths. The Tabernacle is the physical picture of the spiritual truth that God dwells with His people and that He intends that His people worship Him as He directs and not as they decide. Also that it is only by a blood sacrifice that a human being can enter into the presence of God.

Exodus ch 40 v 34. The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was to be a visible sign that God would be with His people. He was to have a home among them like their homes. It was not just as a memory but that He might travel with them where they went. It was to be a God-centred religion. God was physically at the centre of the people. Lev ch 23 v 33. Jesus was the fulfilment of the Feast in that He had come to dwell in the midst of the people in a human body and with His people forever by His Spirit.

How did it start, this plan of God? The Feast of Tabernacles was – and still is – an integral part of God’s plan. God ordained the Feast when He spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai about 3,200 years ago. Lev ch 23 v 33 – 43. The command was that for 7 days in each year the people were to live out of doors in booths made of branches of palm trees covered with fruit. This had two effects. Firstly, it made the people realise how dependent they were on God. It makes man feel very vulnerable in a tent in a strong wind. Secondly, it enabled them to forget the material possession of their house and all the security that afforded them. God knows how material possessions steal man’s affection and demand his time and loyalty. By being away from the house and the need to look after the house, the people were able to concentrate on God. It was like an extension of the Sabbath once a year for a whole week. Exodus ch 23 v 16. The Feast of Tabernacle was begun on the 15th day of the seventh month in the year (Tishri – September – October ) and lasted for 8 days. It commemorated the life in the wilderness during the flight of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan. It was one of the 3 national feasts of the Jews. Passover and Pentecost were the others. All males were obliged to attend the feast. That is why the brothers of Jesus told Him that He should attend the Feast. They were right. On the first and last days there was to be a special convocation or gathering. During the 7 days the people camped out in booths, family by family. It was to be observed perpetually. Zechariah chapter 14 v 16-21 declares prophetically that this Feast will ultimately become a memorial feast for all nations.

What was the purpose of the Feast? To impart to the Jewish people that they were not alone but that God was close to them and one day would come to live in their midst. God is amongst you. Emmanuel is one of the names of God – meaning God is with us. Now Jesus fulfilled the three great feasts of Judaism. Passover. Jesus was Himself the passover lamb – the perfect human sacrifice to take away the sins of the World. Pentecost. Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. He would ask His Father to send the Holy Spirit to Earth to live in the people. That was the promise of Jesus that He would give the gift of eternal life. Tabernacles? Would Jesus also fulfil this Feast by coming from Heaven to live among the people? That is exactly what He was saying in Jerusalem on that day. ” Here I am. You have been talking about me for centuries and expecting the day when I would come to live among you. Well, here I am. How do you do?” John ch 1 v 14 says the Word of God became a human being and dwelt among us. The true translation says that the Word became a human being and tabernacled among us. Quite unbelievable! You see there was knowledge on the part of the people but no faith. Although the people had understood the Feast and its meaning, there was no expectation that it would actually come true. God operates only in the realm of the expectations of the people. That is faith. If there is no expectation that God will do something, then He cannot do it. Unbelief binds the hands of God.

The incarnation was an essential part of the Gospel. John points out that Jesus is both truly man and divine. There was knowledge on the part of the people but no faith. Although the people had understood the Feast and its meaning, there was no expectation that it would actually come true. God operates only in the realm of the expectations of the people. That is faith. If there is no expectation that God will do something, then He cannot do it. Unbelief binds the hands of God.

Salvation has the same purpose. God wants to indwell the believer so as to work out His purposes on Earth through the believer. It is the plan of God from eternity. The instructions start with the inside and work outwards. It begins with the invisible God and works outwards. If religion does not match and fulfil the will of God, then it is false religion.

So many of the directions, which the Lord gave to Moses were swept away when Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law. The moral law did not change one iota. But what of the Feast of Tabernacles? It was also a Feast to be held in perpetuity. Zechariah ch 14 v 16-21. Since it was not to be swept away by the coming of the Messiah, it had a special significance, not only for the Jews but also for non-Jews. So God is planning to bring the Jewish people and the Gentile believers together in worship of Him in Jerusalem, year after year. That is part of the plan of God for the peoples of this planet. There is even the threat of a drought on the nations who are not represented at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. So it has relevance for the World today.

The Jewish calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar. The fifteenth day of the seventh month is equivalent to the last days of September and the early days of October. The Feast built to a climax. On the last day there was the ceremony of water-pouring. Water is associated with the recognition of a gift from God, essential to the physical life of the nation. Man needs water for he crops and his body needs water or he dies. The symbolic of pouring of water pointed to the need of the people of Israel for spiritual life.

The Feasts were all to provide a reminder that God constantly provided for His people. There was to be meeting of God and His people. Jesus claimed that they could not live spiritually without Him. Isaiah ch 12 v 3. Joel ch 2 v 28. The Spirit would be poured out like water.

Hebrews ch 8 v 5 says that the tabernacle was a foreshadow of Heavenly things to come. Heb ch 9 v 1- 14 explains the significance for the Jews. The real High Priest would come to live with mankind. The Feast pointed to the fact that Israel’s life rested upon redemption. v 33 Jesus was saying that He was going into the holy of holies to meet His Father, where they could not go.

v 37. On the last day Jesus proclaimed that He was the fulfilment of the ceremony. He was God who had come to live with them. Both in the Tabernacle and in the Temple there was limited access to God because of the barrier of sin. God had promised that one day He would make a new covenant with the House of Israel and that He would remove the barrier. Jer ch 31 v 33. The Feast included a ceremony that every day the priests brought water from the Pool of Siloam and poured it out in libation upon the altar of the Temple. Hence Jesus claim that He was the real water or source of life.

Would Jesus also fulfil this Feast by coming from Heaven to live among the people? That is exactly what He was saying in Jerusalem on that day. ” Here I am. You have been talking about me for centuries and expecting the day when I would come to live among you. Well, here I am. How do you do?” John ch 1 v 14 says the Word of God became a human being and dwelt among us.

Tradition drives the Holy Spirit away. Tradition says to the Holy Spirit: ” We are fine as we are. We do not want to change. We do not want anything supernatural going on here, thank you very much.” The Jewish people for all their knowledge were bound by tradition and in unbelief. Jesus said: ” Come to me and I shall give you salvation.” This was the carpenter from Nazareth. The Jewish people had heard the Word of God but they had not believed it. It is just as unbelievable today that God as a Spiritual being is present in this building, because He lives in our bodies. We can speak to Him and He hears us. Sometimes when you hear people praying you know that there is unbelief. People just do not speak to others in that way. There is no expectation of anyone listening. It is merely meditation or a vague cry for help. The difference between prayer and meditation is like a real phone call and an answering machine. With an answering machine there is no guarantee that anyone will ever hear what you have said and there is no immediate reply. The Jewish people had heard the Word of God but they had not believed it. So many have heard about Jesus but they have not believed the God’s Word.

Although there was a desire for the Messiah and a deep concern for His coming, most of the people wanted the Messiah for what He could give them. They wanted peace – and only the Messiah could bring peace, because He is the prince of peace. They desperately wanted healing. They tried everything possible. Only the healer Himself could give them healing. They wanted prosperity. “Silver and gold are mine” says the Lord. Economic prosperity could be theirs, if they heeded His message and dealt a death- blow to sin. They wanted freedom from the oppression of their political masters. Surely the King of kings could change the situation. But they wanted the Messiah for what He would do for them and not for Himself. They did not seek a relationship with Him. They could not see Jesus as God because of their own particular prejudices and ideas concerning God. Today the World cries out for peace and healing and an end to oppression and poverty and famine. There is a genuine desire for these things. People are sincere in their concern to see a change in the World. If anything, the situation in the World is getting steadily worse. But do people want the Messiah for Himself or just for what He will do for them? No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem. ” How often I would have gathered you like a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not come to me.”

Isn’t it just the same today. How many Christians want Jesus for healing – or the gifts of the Spirit – or freedom from sin – or to change their situation and make things easier? But do they want Jesus because they love Him and want to follow in His footsteps and serve Him? Are they prepared to pick up their cross and follow Jesus, regardless of the consequences? That is what Jesus did. He spoke out regardless of the consequences. He knew the religious leaders would seek to kill Him, if He said what He knew was right.

What does the Feast of Tabernacles have to do with the future? There are 318 references to the bodily return of Jesus. Jesus Himself said; “You will not see me again, until you say: ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” Tabernacles takes place every year in Jerusalem. The nations, represented by groups and individuals, are going up to Jerusalem to take part in the procession through the streets of Jerusalem along with the Jews to welcome the Messiah. It is to Jerusalem that Jesus will return – not Rome or New York or London or Tokyo. The angel said to the Disciples as they saw Jesus ascend that He would return as He left and that one day His feet would again stand on the Mount of Olives. When He does return, Jesus will not look like an ancient person 1,900 years old. He will not look one day older than He looked on the day when He ascended, because Jesus has not been in time and subject to the aging process. He will still look a 33 year old. He will look as John describes Him in Rev ch 1 in His glorified body.

Why should God have arranged for the Feast to continue for all time, if there is not a specific purpose in it. Jesus was born at Tabernacles. He revealed Himself during the Feast of Tabernacles. It will not be surprising, if He returns physically during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. It would be entirely consistent of God to send Jesus at the time prophesied. But then everyone would know when to expect Jesus! But they can know now – if they are sufficiently interested to know. They know that Jesus was born in October and not December, if they can be bothered to do anything about it. A diligent search of the Scriptures reveals that Jesus was born at the time of Tabernacles. The irony is that, if Jesus was born in early October, then He was conceived around the end of December. Now the birth was natural, but the conception was supernatural. There was nothing sensational about the birth in a dark, cold, smelly stable. It is the conception, which was supernatural and which we should be celebrating rather than the birth. That was when God sent Jesus to live on Earth. But the evidence is that most Christians are more interested in running their Churches than engaging in spiritual warfare and taking God at His Word. What are we going to do concerning this great truth revealed through the Scriptures? God is here in our midst, although we cannot see Him. Can we just sing a few more songs and go home again?

When will Jesus return? Will Jesus return during the Feast of Tabernacles? Why should God have arranged for the Feast to continue for all time, if there is not a specific purpose in it. Jesus was born at Tabernacles – not in December. He revealed Himself during the Feast of Tabernacles. It will not be surprising, if He returns physically during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. It would be entirely consistent of God to send Jesus at the time prophesied. But then everyone would know when to expect Jesus! But they can know now – if they are sufficiently interested to know. They know that Jesus was born in October and not December, if they can be bothered to do anything about it. A diligent search of the Scriptures reveals that Jesus was born at the time of Tabernacles. The irony is that, if Jesus was born in early October, then He was conceived around the end of December. Now the birth was natural, but the conception was supernatural. There was nothing sensational about the birth in a dark, cold, smelly stable.
It is the conception, which was supernatural and which we should be celebrating rather than the birth. That was when God sent Jesus to live on Earth. But the evidence is that most Christians are more interested in running their Churches than engaging in spiritual warfare and taking God at His Word. What are we going to do concerning this great truth revealed through the Scriptures? God is here in our midst, although we cannot see Him. Can we just sing a few more songs and go home again?

The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the strands of involvement by God in human affairs to bring the people He has created to Himself through Jesus. Jesus understood that fact and He was excited about it. Are we? Do we really believe that we are children of God? Do we really believe that Jesus always intercedes for us and that God answers our prayers? Do we really believe that Jesus will return to Earth soon and that we shall give account to Him Are we much different from the people who were present on that day in Jerusalem, when Jesus spoke the message to the people in that city?

The Feast of Tabernacles started on the 15th of the 7th Month Tishri ( September – October ). It lasted 8 days. It commemorated the life in the wilderness during the flight of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan. It was one of the 3 national feasts of the Jews. Passover and Pentecost were the others. All males were obliged to attend the feast. During the 8 days the people camped out in booths, family by family. It was to be observed perpetually. Zechariah chapter 14 v 16-21 declares prophetically that this feast will ultimately become a memorial feast for all nations. This happens today. As Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Passover, so He also fulfilled this Feast.

Key aspects. John ch 1 v 14. The Word i.e. Jesus, became flesh and tabernacled with mankind. This was the incarnation of God. God became man to redeem man and restore man to a relationship with God. The incarnation was an essential part of the Gospel. John points out that Jesus is both truly man and divine.

The tent or tabernacle, which God told Moses to build was to be the meeting place of God and man. It was to be provisional and symbolic of the real meeting of God and man. It was used until Solomon built the Temple when he laid it up in the Temple. That was then to be a more permanent meeting place. Finally Jesus said that the real meeting place would be in the body. Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit i.e. Jesus tabernacles within us as the Holy Spirit of Jesus is given to man. The Tabernacle housed the tablets of God i.e. the Commandments of God or the Word of God. There were two compartments. The outer was the holy place and the inner was the holy of holies. The curtain separated the two. Only the High Priest could go into the holy of holies. Detailed instructions were given for the making of it. Hebrews ch 8 v 5 tells us that the tabernacle was a foreshadow of Heavenly things to come. Heb ch 9 v 1- 14 explains the significance for the Jews. The real High Priest would come to live with mankind. The Feast pointed to the fact that Israel’s life rested upon redemption. V 33 Jesus was saying that He was going into the holy of holies to meet His Father, where they could not go. V 37. On the last day Jesus proclaimed that He was the fulfilment of the ceremony. He was God who had come to live with them. Both in the Taberbacle and in the Temple there was limited access to God because of the barrier of sin. God had promised that one day He would make a new covenant with the House of Israel and that He would remove the barrier. Jer ch 31 v 33. The Feast included a ceremony that every day the priests brought water from the Pool of Siloam and poured it out in libation upon the altar of the Temple. Hence Jesus’ claim that He was the real water or source of life. In a booth man is vulnerable without the security of material support. His support rests on God. Jesus was born during Tabernacles. Will He come again during the Feast of Tabernacles?

The Feasts were all to provide a reminder that God constantly provided for His people. There was to be meeting of God and His people. Josephus called Tabernacles the holiest and greatest feast of the Jews. Jesus claimed that they could not live spiritually without Him. Isaiah ch 12 v 3. Joel ch 2 v 28. The Spirit would be poured out like water. Zech ch 13 v 1. The ritual of water was connected to the need for rain during the next year.

Jesus is working to a timetable. It was to be the right time for God to work. Most teaching was on the saying of Rabbi so and so. But Jesus taught without reference to anyone. ” I say to you:.” Circumcision mutilates the flesh and this can be carried out on the Sabbath, so what is wrong with healing the body on a Sabbath? Pharasaism has survived today. It has become a pattern of morality, ceremonialism and legalism.

Jesus by His words challenged the listeners.
Some believed that He was the prophet.
Some believed that He was the Christ.
Some were agnostic. They didn’t know enough to make up their minds.
Some were antagonistic.
Some were interested. No one has ever talked like this man.
Some wanted more time to think. Nicodemus wanted to weigh up the evidence.

Why did Jesus not go at first? We are not called to conform but God has a plan for each of our lives. The gibe about Galilee shows the contempt on the part of the authorities for the provincial people. Like Moses and Ezekiel before Him, Jesus believed that He was sent by God for a purpose.

God had brought the people out of Egypt and set out the terms of His covenant. Then as a visible sign that He will be with His people, He gave Moses special instructions to build a special tent for Himself. He was to have a home like the people. Ex ch 40 v 34. In this way God will travel with His people and they will know that He is no local deity, whose power is limited. Many of the materials used were brought from Egypt, given willingly by the Egyptians

Wood is scarce in Sinai but the acacia tree grows there. The herds provided skins and sealskins came from the Red Sea. God called the people to obedience and then He had the tabernacle built to identify with His people. The intention of freedom was that God would dwell with His people. Salvation has the same purpose. God wants to indwell the believer so as to work out His purposes on Earth through the believer. It is the plan of God from eternity.

The instructions start with the inside and work outwards. It begins with the invisible God and works outwards. If religion does not match and fulfil the will of God, then it is false religion.

At the centre of the whole divinely-dictated religion was the ark. Everything pointed to it. To enter the court of the tabernacle was to enter the presence of God. Inside the ark were the tablets of stone – the supreme verbal statement of God’s holiness. Ex ch 25 v 16. The whole structure of the Tabernacle speaks clear and splendid truths. The Tabernacle is the physical picture of the spiritual truth that God dwells with His people and that He intends that His people worship Him as He directs and not as they decide. Also that it is only by a blood sacrifice that a human being can enter into the presence of God.

Our difficulty is a lack of knowledge of the Scriptures. This is not a lack of knowledge of the Scriptures on the part of unbelievers but also on the part of believers. The occasion was the Feast of Tabernacles. How many Christians understand the importance of the Feast of Tabernacles and therefore the significance of the message? Without the knowledge of the Scriptures, there can be no understanding of the message, which Jesus was declaring on that day. No wonder that Jesus had on occasions to chide people that they did not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

One of the strange aspects of the life of Jesus was the fact that He regularly told His Disciples not to tell people who He was. Mat ch 16 v 20. After challenging the Disciples as to who He was – Peter replied on behalf of the Disciples that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God – Jesus strictly charged the Disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ. That seems strange, doesn’t it?

When was the Feast of Tabernacles established and what was the purpose of the Feast? God had a vast plan to be unfolded down through the centuries and this Feast of Tabernacles was – and still is – an integral part of the plan. It takes us back 3,000 years to its inauguration. Then on to the life of Jesus. Then it leads us to the present day and finally into the future and the return of Jesus in bodily form to this planet on which we live and breathe.

How did it start, this plan of God? God ordained the Feast when He spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai about 3,200 years ago. Lev ch 23 v 33 – 43. The command was that for 7 days in each year the people were to live out of doors in booths made of branches of palm trees covered with fruit. This had two effects. Firstly, it made the people realise how dependent they were on God. It makes us feel very vulnerable in a tent in a strong wind with the elements only a matter of a piece of material away. Secondly, it enabled them to forget the material possession of their house and all the security that afforded them. God knows how material possessions steal our affection and demand our time and loyalty. Also by being away from the house and the need to look after the house, they were able to concentrate on God. It was like an extension of the Sabbath once a year for a whole week. Exodus ch 23 v 16. The Feast was begun on the 15th day of the seventh month in the year and lasted for 7 days. All males were to attend the Feast. That is why the brothers of Jesus told Him that He should attend the Feast. They were right. On the first and last days there was to be a special convocation or gathering.

So many of the directions, which the Lord gave to Moses were swept away when Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law. The moral law did not change one iota. But what of the Feast of Tabernacles? It was also a Feast to be held in perpetuity. Zechariah ch 14 v 16-21. Since it was not to be swept away by the coming of the Messiah, it had a special significance, not only for the Jews but also for non-Jews. So God is planning to bring the Jewish people and the Gentile believers together in worship of Him in Jerusalem, year after year. That is part of the plan of God for the peoples of this planet. There is even the threat of a drought on the nations who are not represented at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. So it has a relevance for the World today.