The Bible is an inspired historical account describing how God established His plan to reconcile the whole world to Himself. It is His Word.
In and through God’s literal and physical interactions with the Nation of Israel and by and through the birth, death, resurrection, ascension and return of the promised Messiah Jesus Christ, readers today are presented with spiritual lessons which are applied (by and through the Spirit) to everyday Christian life.
In and through these spiritual applications believers today grow in faith and love, requisites to being Children of God.
All the physical descriptions, events, and prophesies of the Bible have been literally completed or ultimately abolished with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The Church that Jesus established (which He said the “gates of hell would not prevail against”) was taken in 70 AD leaving the Spiritual Body of Christ to grow and thrive around the world in its place.
Brick and mortar church is only purposeful through its willingness to teach the Word of God, serve as a hub for believers to gather and fellowship, and to feed and clothe the poor.
Denominations, sects, and religious authority are the creations of Man and do more to divide than unite believing hearts and lives. Institutional physical religion is antithetical to God’s intended purposes because they are all “shakable.” (Hebrews 12:18-29)
The Body of Christ is composed of individual believers whom God has written His laws upon their minds and hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 10:16-17)
With sin being removed the only commandments human beings are called to obey are 1) to believe upon Him who God sent into the world (Jesus) and 2) to love God and “neighbor” as ourselves. (1st John 3:22-23)
Because strait is the gate and narrow the way and few be there that find it, a limited number of people will be saved (from hell and the lake of death). Those who enter heaven after this life are God’s children, joint-heirs with Christ, Sons and Daughters of God.
All believers today (since 70 AD) experience their own respective rapture, second coming, and judgment at death. All unbelievers experience being left behind and judgment.
God’s plan has always been to reconcile all the world to Himself that none will be lost.
Some people will come to God by faith in His Son while in this life, others will break in the dark reflections of hell and the remainder will have their souls purged through the Lake of Fire. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord.
God is one. The term Trinity is a man-made construction. Jesus is God in flesh. The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit. The Father is God invisible. All are manifestations of the same One God, who is Love.
There is no access to God but through Christ Jesus. None. No other way.
The first principle of Christianity is faith in Jesus Christ.
The last and ultimate principle and purpose of Christianity is love.
Those who are Jesus’ obey His command – His command is to love.
Those who love are His, those who do not are not.
It is the believer’s love that glorifies God and defines them as His.
December 6th 2015
Okay, last week we left off at verse 19 with Peter telling the Jews that in light of their sin (which was done in ignorance) that they needed to “repent and be converted that their sins may be blotted out” and then he adds something we did not cover -
“when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (verse 20)
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
These passages lend to a meaty subject, and because it is so meaty there has been untold interpretations of it by many very smart people over the ages.
There is a part of me that really hates this part of my job. What part? The part that takes passages like this and lays out stances that have been around for a long time but are NOT the norm.
I do not choose to embrace them because they are out of the ordinary but having not cut my teeth on orthodoxy I have little predisposition to its prejudices – and I believe I am able to more readily see and receive information that traditions have put in the attic.
As the teacher in this gathering I have two firm allegiances – the first is to God and His Word shared contextually, and the second is to telling things as they are to aid seekers in discovering the truth and to therefore help set them free or emancipate them from the shackles of man-made traditions or views.
Our group has thinned over this subject – it will again. But in order to clearly see and comprehend Christianity a sound understanding of these passages are required.
So, remember the setting – Peter and John in the temple having healed a man born lame.
This has opened Peter up to preaching. Preaching what? Jesus Christ.
To Whom. Devout Jews. He told them they had killed “the Just” and “the Holy One” and “the Prince of Life” but that they and their rulers had done it ignorantly, and that in the face of this they should now:
Repent (change their minds) and turn (from their present course) . . . .” that “their sins (related to their rebellious response and rejection of God’s Only Son coming to save them) and then Peter adds:
“when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (and listen to more context -verse 20 and 21) “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Now, point blank, ask yourselves, “What does this sound like Peter is saying and speaking of?”
This chapter contains an account of the opening of six of the seven seals. The scene opens into the future of things - at least the future to John. The actors in this final drama are the Son of God, angels, men, Satan, storms, tempests, earthquakes, pestilence and fire; the scene is heaven, earth, and hell. Revelation mentions no names or times that allow us to pinpoint everything down to a specific time and place. And since the future is "boundless" there are boundless interpretations.
The Lamb, the worthy one, opens the first seal and shows John that which was to come to pass. He looked and saw this and then first heard something - one of the four beasts spoke and it's voice was as thunder. The only beast this first one could be would be the described as the - Lion beast. The Lion represented the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, or perhaps the arrival of the promised Messiah and His ministry. It seems that John was seeing some sort of pictorial or vision of the events he was describing. And he saw a "white horse." In scripture horses are emblematic of war or battle. Each of the four horses we will read about have varying colors: white is purity, red is blood shed, black is corruption and pale or gray is death and ash. In terms of the last days of the age of the Jew, we might see the white horse as the arrival of the only true Messiah on the scene, riding in to conquer sin and death, with a bow in His hand and a crown on His head.
Now we read about the second seal being opened and the horse that came into the scene as a result was a red horse rider and the power and sword he possessed, of course, is indicative of war. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, wearing a crown and bearing a bow, went out on a white horse to conquer on the first broken seal and next came a rider on a red horse who was given power to "take peace from the earth." As the white horse denoted prosperity, triumph, and happiness, this red horse would denote carnage, discord, and bloodshed. This is a clear description of the warfare that was about to fall upon Jerusalem.
Then the black horse that enters the scene is an emblem of famine, which many believe took place under the Roman Emperor around 50 AD. While famine fell upon the land there was neither wine nor oil that was effected. Perhaps the symbolism in scripture of wine (the blood of Jesus) and oil (Holy Spirit) spared those who were blessed from the effects of the black horse curse.