It can be arguably said that the Apostle Paul might be one of the most misunderstood characters in the Bible. He is considered one of the chief builders of the early church and most significant purveyor of the gospel to the Gentiles. And yet, it was Christ’s apostle, Peter who is considered Rome’s first monarchical bishop. From him, and by one-man, apostolic succession (monarchical episcopacy) would continue through every generation.
Most of us probably know the story of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant. She became Abraham’s second wife and bore his first son, Ishmael. Conflict and jealousy arose within the family which led to Ishmael’s banishment, not only from Abraham’s household but also from his father’s inheritance.
Who is the Anti-Christ? That is an interesting and complicated question. First, let me say that the Anti-Christ will be an actual person. However, like Judas Iscariot, he will not become this person until Satan himself enters him— “Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3, NKJV). Second, let me say that it is currently impossible to identify this person. The Bible tells us this man will be revealed to the world at a specific point in time.
Is God judging America? That is a good question, and the answer will depend on what you mean by judging. The definition of judgment is a divine sentence or decision, specifically a calamity held to be sent by God. This leads us to another question: Why would God do this, assuming He is even doing it at all? The answer to this question will also vary depending on our view of God’s character. Is God’s character benevolent or malevolent, meaning, is He disposed towards doing good, or is He disposed towards doing things that are hateful?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NKJV). This is probably one of the most popular verses in the New Testament, clearly pointing to Yeshua as the Divine Messiah; God in human form, manifest and revealed to the creation. However, what exactly did the Apostle John mean when he said, the word became flesh? In a general sense, the word is the bible. So, how does paper or parchment turn into living flesh? I think there more to understand here.
The term firstborn is used extensively throughout the Bible, and God makes it clear that He holds a unique interest and affection for those who are His firstborn, whether of man, plant, or the animal kingdom. It is written, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord’” (Numbers 3:11-13).
I hear a lot these days about what our Christian Community should resemble. A common biblical reference often cited is in the Book of Acts. It is written, “And they [the church] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:43-45). Now, this would have been a Christian community to behold. The church members prayed, took communion, and studied the word of God together as one family.
The first mention of the Jews in the Bible occurs in the second book of Kings, which describes the fall and captivity of Judah. “Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. 2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah” (2 Kings 25:1-2)
What is Zionism, or maybe a better question to ask is what Zion is? The first thing to understand is there is both a natural and spiritual component to God’s Kingdom. Let’s look at the natural first. Mount Zion, called Mount Moriah in the Bible is a ridge system located in Jerusalem. East of Mount Zion is the Mount of Olives. These north-south ridgelines are separated by the Kidron Valley. The Mount of Olives is where Jesus ascended to heaven and is the place where He is prophesied to return.
It should be apparent to anyone even casually reading the news that the world is becoming more divisive. Some might argue the earth has always experienced conflict, which is probably accurate, and only proves that humanity continues to go through cycles of self-destructive behavior that ultimately leads to major national and international conflicts. Are we in that same place today? A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals the political polarization in the United States has reached a dangerous extreme.
It is written, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [nishmat chaim]; and man became a living being [in Hebrew a living soul—Nefesh Chaya]” (Genesis 2:7). Thus, God created man in His image, male and female He created us. We are therefore complex beings comprised of a body formed by the hand of God and made from the dust of the earth, and a soul, a spirit that God breathed into us. While certain basic instincts and emotions chemically derive from our physical bodies, our God-breathed souls contain the more profound essence of who we are. For this reason, we are not like any other creature.
The Apostle Paul had much to say to the gentiles about their relationship with the Jewish people, even warning them to not boast or become arrogant against them. Paul made these critical points in his message to the church at Rome, specifically Chapters nine through eleven. I have paraphrased and emphasized these below, and I believe scripture speaks plainly for itself.
Arguments between early Jewish and gentile believers often resolved around a theological disagreement over the Law of Moses. The word law is translated from the Hebrew word Torah, and literally means instruction. This instruction was intricately woven into the Mosaic Covenant, encompassing 613 positive and negative obligations (does and don’ts).
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21, NKJV). There is much to understand from these three verses. We are going to focus on the last part, where it reads, “until the times of restoration of all things…”
Yeshua’s disciples came to him one day and asked: “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Yeshua then began to tell His disciples about all the difficult things that would happen at the end of the age, especially to the nation of Israel—deception, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and more. Then He said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8), but the end would not come immediately.
I never had any interest in ministry work, mainly because I was more interested in pursuing my own career goals as a Civil Engineer. However, the Lord had other plans for my life. If I have learned anything in my relatively short walk with the Lord, it is that His ways are not only different than ours but are most often opposite ours. It is written, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Yeshua said it like this, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38); “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
I remember the day so clearly, sitting on my living room couch and holding an Old King James Bible in my hand. I was determined to discover the truth contained within. I very much believed in the one true God of Israel. So I said to Him, “I need to know the truth.” I had no concept of the Holy Spirit speaking to me, but somehow asking God to show me His truth made sense. As I started to read the book of Matthew, there was clarity and focus to the narrative. The story came to life, and remarkably the old English language was perfectly decipherable.
“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:24-27).