Under the Sun

Solomon began his reign well.  When God granted him any request, Solomon asked for wisdom and was given riches, peace, and length of days to boot.  He realized his father’s vision by building God’s house in Jerusalem.  He expanded Israel’s territory to its farthest extent and accumulated great wealth for God’s people.  However, the many wives and concubines he collected for both political and pleasurable ends influenced Solomon’s apostasy.  Ecclesiastes briefly chronicles his life apart from God. Solomon states his purpose in 1:3, “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?”  Profit or gain is generally a business term that describes what is left over when all the expenses are paid.  In Ecclesiastes, it expresses Solomon’s search for meaning, value, or purpose in human existence.  “Under the sun” tells us that Solomon searched for these things without involving God.  Solomon puts his earlier faith as well as his father’s faith to the test.  Is life worth living without God?  Can man find happiness or contentment in the world apart from a God worldview?

Read More

Real Christian Love

Some concepts in the Bible are difficult to understand. This one is not. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  You believe in Jesus, you love him, so what’s next? Jesus makes it pretty simple – keep his commandments. In our relationship with the Lord he expects the same kind of love that we want in our human relationships. Love that lives. Love that grows. Love that works. Love so pure, so fervent, so focused that it moves us to keep the commandments of Christ. And if our earthly relationships are ample evidence, not all love is like this.

Read More

The Son of Man

Daniel 7:13-14: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”

Read More

The Jesus Encounter

In recent weeks, I've enjoyed reading "The God Who is There" and "Escape from Reason"  by Francis Schaeffer.  A good brother in Christ recommended the books to me and I am grateful for the recommendation.  Schaeffer had a lot of good things to say about the devolution of Western thought that began in the early Renaissance and gained steam in late 18th/early 19th century philosophy. 

Read More

The Lord Said to My Lord

In the previous post, I began an examination of Psalm 110.  Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all refer to the Psalm as Messianic.  Ancient Jewish scholars also believed the Psalm was Messianic.  Jesus used Psalm 110 in Matthew 22:41-46 when He asked the Jewish leaders about the descent of the Messiah from David. 

Read More

The Son of David

Psalm 110 is a key Messianic prophecy cited by Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews.  For our purposes, I would like to examine three aspects of the prophecy over the next three blog posts, if the Lord is willing:

  1. The Messiah is the Son of David

  2. The Messiah is superior to David

  3. The Messiah is a priest

Read More

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Peter confessed Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah in Matthew 16:16-20.  As soon as He was recognized, Jesus revealed His destiny to the disciples.  Notice verse 21, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” The rejection by the Jewish leadership and Jesus's crucifixion were a foreseen inevitability, one that Jesus reiterates both in Matthew 17:22-23 and 20:17-18. 

Read More

A Virgin Shall Conceive

The apostle Matthew and his fellow historian Luke both record that Jesus was conceived and born of a virgin (see also Luke 1:26-35).  Both records teach that God supernaturally inseminated His divine seed into the womb of Mary in order to conceive His Son.  Their testimony is one of the key components of Christ’s identity.  Of particular relevance to this series of blogs on Messianic prophecy is verse 23’s claim:  that the conception and birth of Jesus fulfilled a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14.

Read More

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

The men who spent three and a half years with Jesus of Nazareth were compelled to declare Him God’s long-promised Messiah.  The gospel accounts confirm their integrity by painting a brutally honest picture of these men.  That they endured incredible hardships (including gruesome deaths) for the sake of what they believed further demonstrates their conviction.  Though they were initially slow to accept the full meaning of the Messianic prophecies, they were later convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.  Lord willing, over the next few posts, I plan to look at some of the prophecies that convinced these men and that have in turn convinced me of Jesus’s identity.

Read More

You Will Be Witnesses

As I noted in a previous post, the Old Testament contains a strong Messianic undercurrent.  In the first century, the men who followed Jesus of Nazareth claimed He fulfilled the predictions of Moses, Samuel, and those prophets who followed.  The antiquity of these documents and the faithfulness of their transmission down through the centuries assure us that the disciples of Jesus did not alter the prophecies in order to fit Jesus.  The number of instances where these Scriptures predict the life events of Jesus rules out the probability of coincidental fulfillment

Read More

Age and Probability

The Old Testament records Messianic prophecies long before Jesus walked the earth.  The Jews believed that God inspired these scriptures over a period of one thousand years, stretching from approximately 1,400 – 400 B.C.  Josephus, a well-known, first century, Jewish historian testified:

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death.  This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books.  The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life.  It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time (Josephus, Against Apion, 1.8, page 776).

Read More

The End from the Beginning

One of God’s most remarkable qualities is His power to foresee human events.  In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says this power sets Him apart from all other gods:

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’

Read More