Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category


Larry A. Smail

What is this Gospel of Grace anyway? Well, I can tell you what it is not. The Gospel of Grace is NOT the gospel of the kingdom! Oh my, that statement may “ruffle some feathers.”  These two gospels of the New Testament are NOT the same. These two gospels are NOT supposed to be the same. These two gospels, however, are to be studied and understood through rightfully dividing scripture. The kingdom gospel was the gospel for Israel to fulfill God’s covenant promises to Abraham. Rightfully dividing scripture will do away with the discrepancies and confusion. However, one will need to do so with an open mind, potentially, throwing aside years of denominational thoughts through study accomplished by rightfully dividing scripture. This is very important, yet this may be the hard part! I started this journey many years ago and thankful I did.

So, let us go back to exactly what GRACE is. Webster’s Dictionary describes grace as: a beauty of form in the way one moves; a pleasing quality or manner; a sense of what is right or wrong; an extra period of time allowed to do something …and the love and favor that God shows towards man. Even Mr. Webster got it!

For our study, we are concerned of GRACE from a Biblical standpoint. GRACE may best be described as an “UNMERITED FAVOR” or as the Apostle Paul wrote, a “FREE GIFT OF GOD.” (Romans 6: 23. For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of GOD is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.) With these descriptions in mind, GRACE is an undeserved gift from God to all sinners. However, individuals are required to believe the GOSPEL of GRACE with complete faith. Remember you don’t pay for a free gift, and more importantly, and from scripture, the GIFT of GRACE can’t be received through any works of the flesh. Ephesians 1: 5-8 is clear, “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his GLORIOUS GRACE which he FREELY bestowed on us in the beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of his GRACE which he lavishes upon us.” Paul always writes to believers.

This gift of GRACE is not only a New Testament gift. God granted GRACE with various individuals and people within the pages of the Old Testament. However, this study is most concerned of GRACE from the time after Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection, and especially through the Apostle Paul’s writings of our current time of dispensation. We must remember this dispensation began after


Israel’s failure to believe Jesus was their Promised One or Messiah. Israel was in a state of implosion with internal decay and a defeat as a nation after the Jewish, believer, Stephen’s murder. Stephen was a man filled with GRACE and power. (See Acts 7- 8.) This constant stage of unbelief had the Lord by-passing his Exodus 19: 5-6 covenant promise with Israel and pulling Paul away from his zealous life of Jewry. (See Acts 9.) The covenant is a promise and will come again to fruition at events during Christ’s Second Advent.

NOTE: The Exodus 19: 5-6 covenant was to make the nation of Israel a holy kingdom of priests to take the word to the Gentiles. However, the nation was required to obey the Lord’s ordinances, statutes, and commandments.


Before this study proceeds the reader must realize exactly what is the GOSPEL OF GRACE that Paul preached. This gospel is detailed in a couple places in scripture. The gospel, however, is often alluded to elsewhere in his writings. We have all heard these gospel verses before in our studies…and often.

1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 states the following: Now I remind you brethren, in what terms I preached to you the GOSPEL, which you received, in which you stand, by which YOU ARE SAVED, if you hold it fast- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures…”

Romans 10: 8-10 states the following: The word is near to you, on your lips and in your heart (that is the word of faith we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED.

Be advised, this gospel as preached by Paul is required for forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation! This GOSPEL is a Faith through Believing Only, NO WORKS! Or Faith Plus Nothing!

Ephesians 2: 4-9 says it bluntly, The words from Ephesians add an important truth to the GRACE GOSPEL. Ephesians 2: 4-9: “ But God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses (sins) made us alive together with Christ (By GRACE you have been


SAVED), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places of Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his GRACE in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by GRACE, you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing, it is the GIFT of GOD– not because of works lest any man should boast.”  Works are not required for salvation. Works often pushed, as requirement, for salvation include water baptism, belonging to any one denomination, tithing ten percent, walking the aisle to an altar, reporting to daily church services, listening to gospel music, following any legalistic beliefs forced upon one, what sabbath day to observe, and eating and drinking certain foods… The list of legalisms can become extensively long.

Romans 11: 5-6 states, “So, too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by GRACE. But if it is by GRACE, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, GRACE WOULD NO LONGER BE GRACE.”

NOTE: If you wish to tithe ten or even fifty percent or be baptized in water… you may do so, but DO NOT DO SUCH ACTS THINKING SUCH WORKS WILL GRANT YOU SALVATION.

NOTE: The Book of Hebrews was written to Jesus- believing Jews as an encouragement for them to take the next step of faith only. For this reason, I believe Paul wrote Hebrews. Peter gives this credence as well with his words in 2 Peter 3: 15-16 where Peter wrote of Paul writing to believing Jews. Hebrews 11: 1 and 6 talks boldly of faith where the writer states: “Faith is the assurance of  things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Verse six: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith is of the utmost importance to receive GRACE.

Notice the words from Acts 20: 24 where Luke wrote of Paul. “But I (Paul) do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry  which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the GOSPEL of GRACE of GOD.” This gospel’s importance cannot be made much plainer to understand. Paul received his message via the RISEN CHRIST!

Paul wrote in Romans 1: 4-5, and speaking of Christ, the following: “…the GOSPEL concerning his Son and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received GRACE…”                             



Study Romans 3: 22-24, where Paul wrote: “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe… For ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his GRACE AS A GIFT, through redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” Everybody is a sinner through the eyes of the Lord, however if we believe and trust the GOSPEL OF GRACE with faith, we are considered righteous. That sure is a good deal!

Paul would receive many mysteries or things kept secret by the mind of God.  If  Israel would have believed they would have had these mysteries revealed to them. Paul was commissioned to preach this new mystery or dispensation from the RISEN CHRIST. Included within this new direction the mystery was revealed and that mystery was the GOSPEL OF GRACE. Paul’s commission was to go the Gentiles, and any Jew who would listen, and preach this gospel. Their task was to listen and believe with complete faith his gospel message. The apostles were preaching the gospel of the kingdom to Jews only, after all the kingdom covenant promise was for the Jew. They were preaching exactly what they were supposed to preach. Their message under the kingdom gospel was for the Jews to believe who Jesus was, repent of their unbelief and be baptized, or cleansed, as per Jewish law.

Galatians 1: 11-12: “For I (Paul) would have you know, brethren, that the GOSPEL which was preached by me is NOT man’s gospel. For I did NOT receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through revelation of Jesus Christ.” In other words, he received this GOSPEL from the RISEN CHRIST! Verse fifteen tells us Paul was set apart and he was called to preach this GOSPEL through his GRACE.

The twelve, the elders of the Jerusalem church of Jewish believers, yet law-keepers, and believing Pharisees, were hearing of Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles and sent Barnabas and others to investigate at Antioch (See Acts 11:19- 24.)  Once in Antioch, Barnabas witnessed the Gentiles with the GRACE OF GOD. (ACTS 11: 23) These believers from Paul’s GRACE message were called CHRISTIANS. (See Acts 11: 26.)

NOTE: VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND is the fact the twelve, the elders of Jerusalem’s believing assembly, and the believing Pharisees, did not associate with Gentiles. So, hearing reports of Gentiles being preached to had caused much


Concern and interest. One example of the believing Jew’s mindset is found in Acts 10, where Peter had seen an image of unclean food three times and was told to rise up and eat. Peter’s response was NO for he was a law-keeping Jew never breaking the law and eating foods deemed unclean. However, after the third time he went to a Gentile group. Peter actually states in Acts 10: 28, it is unlawful that he, a Jew, to   associate or visit a house of a Gentile.  This seems out of context with the kingdom message until we realize the Lord had urged Peter to go Gentiles for a futuristic reason. Peter would stand up and speak of this event thus turning the tide in a favorable manner towards Paul and his GOSPEL of GRACE. The event was the Jerusalem Council meeting between Paul and the disciples and Jewish believers some twenty years after the cross. (See Acts 15 and Galatians 2 for some details of this conference.) More later.


Some of the brief information above was setting the stage of this man named Paul and his GOSPEL of GRACE message. Paul begins in Romans 1:1 saying that he was, also, an apostle, SET APART FOR THE GOSPEL OF GOD. Did you see it? Paul was set apart from the twelve disciples and their kingdom gospel message.

NOTE: The GOSPEL OF GRACE is referred to with other words in Paul’s writings. He refers to it as his gospel, the gospel, also, as the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ and the truth. These terms all are the one and same, the GOSPEL OF GRACE. Watch for these key words referring to the gospel Paul preached.

The Apostle Paul wrote of this important GOSPEL of GRACE in his words of Ephesians 3: 2-3. “If you have heard of the dispensation (Stewardship in some translations.) of the GRACE of GOD, which is given to me to you, that is, that God by revelation has shown this mystery unto me… “

The Lord chose Paul because he had the qualities to go headfirst to insist of only GRACE and stand up to the disciples. He was that kind of a man as a zealous Jew, and he would be that kind of man to preach the GOSPEL of GRACE.

Paul is excited with his position and obtaining this gospel from the RISEN CHRIST. Romans 1: 16-17 shows how the man feels about being saved through this gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL; it is the power of God for SALVATION to everyone who has faith…For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, he who through faith is righteous


shall live.”


Paul had preached to the people of Galatia and became very frustrated once he heard of many of them departing from the GOSPEL he had preached. Others had followed his preaching with another gospel. These people were most likely believing Jews who were demanding these Gentiles obey Mosaic Law to be saved. The people were disheartened and confused with all these words.

Paul wrote to them in Galatians 1: 6-9 said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the GRACE of CHRIST and turning to a different gospel-not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the GOSPEL of CHRIST. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let them be accursed. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received let him be accursed. So, this gospel is a serious issue and believing what is required is paramount for salvation.

As stated above, Paul adds very important words beginning with verse eleven. He wrote, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it. But it came through revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul adds more information in Galatians 1: 15- 17. He states, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and called me through his GRACE, was pleased to REVEAL his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went to Arabia, and again returned to Damascus.”

We find that Paul wrote of his gospel in Romans 2: 16. He wrote “… on that day when according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” So, the importance to place 100% faith in this GOSPEL of GRACE is crucial for salvation.

Paul further adding power to faith wrote in Romans 3: 21- 24 where he stated: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his GRACE as a gift,


through redemption which is in Jesus Christ…” later in verses 27, Paul wrote: “…On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith.” Faith in this gospel is a must!

Look again at his words in Romans 5: 1-2. Paul wrote: “Therefore we are justified (Believers in the GOSPEL of GRACE.) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained success to his GRACE in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” Remember, most of the believing Jews, at this time, were still law keepers.

In Galatians 2, Paul wrote very important words at the Jerusalem Council. The disciples, elders of the Jerusalem Jewish assembly and believing Pharisees were present. Paul wrote beginning in verse 2 the following: “I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but privately before those of repute) the GOSPEL which I preached before the Gentiles.”  It is obvious here that Paul preached something different than the twelve. He preached the GOSPEL of GRACE! False brethren had slipped into his congregations to spy out the freedoms of GRACE through Jesus Christ hoping to bring these people into the bondage or Mosaic Law. In verse five Paul wrote that he, “did not yield submission even for a moment, that the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL might be preserved for you.”

This chapter 2 in Galatians goes on stating of two gospels again; Verse seven and eight “…when they saw (Those listed above) that I (Paul)  had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles),  just as they had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (Jews) who had worked through Peter…” Two different gospels! The kingdom gospel and the GRACE gospel!

Paul continues on in verses twenty and twenty-one stating, “ I (Paul) have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; (A reference to the indwelt Holy Spirit.) and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the GRACE of GOD; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Paul says without the faith Christ died in vain. WOW!

Let us take that previous paragraph another step forward to further clarify. Ephesians 1: 12-14 states one of my favorite scripture truths. “…we who have hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, have heard the word of TRUTH, the GOSPEL of your


 SALVATION, and have BELIEVED in him, were SEALED WITH THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT, in which is the GUARANTEE of OUR INHERITANCE until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Do not these words give you hope?


Within the writings of Paul are many references to GRACE. I am selecting various verses to aid in our studies of GRACE and the GOSPEL of GRACE. Be blessed!

1 Thessalonians has powerful words from a prophetic manner, but Paul doesn’t hesitate to talk of the gospel he preaches.  Notice verses four and five where Paul wrote the following. “For we know, brethren beloved  by God, that he has chosen you; for OUR GOSPEL came to you not only in word, but also in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Paul is referring to the indwelt Holy Spirit power received once we fully understand and believe the GOSPEL of GRACE!

Paul writing to the believers adds 1 Thessalonians 2: 2-4, “…as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the GOSPEL of GOD in the face of great opposition… we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the GOSPEL.” Believers were often immediately hit with persecution in the day of Paul’s messages. Believers in anything pertaining of Christ are not favored in many places of the world and increasingly in America. Verse eight and nine continued “…we (Paul and his disciples) were ready to share with you not only the GOSPEL of GOD… we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the GOSPEL of GOD.  Paul seems to be unable to talk of anything else through his excitement in the gospel.

In verse 2 of Chapter 3, Paul wrote of sending Timothy to the people of Thessalonica;“…we sent Timothy. Our beloved brother and God‘s servant in the GOSPEL of CHRIST, to establish you in your faith, and to exhort you…”

Moving to 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10. Paul wrote to those believers concerning when Christ returns, “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the GOSPEL of OUR LORD JESUS. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have BELIEVED, because our testimony to you


was BELIEVED.” Do you remember from page two of what Paul’s gospel message was? The man was referring to those who reject that gospel in his words shown above. Verse twelve mentions GRACE again.

Paul writing in prophetic words concerning the Day of the Lord and the coming lawless one said: “… and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH and so be SAVED, Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not BELIEVE THE TRUTH but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Unrighteousness in scripture is rejection of what the Lord said.

Paul, again, wrote of the people being SAVED, through sanctification by the Spirit and BELIEF IN THE TRUTH in verse thirteen. That truth is the GOSPEL of GRACE.  Paul concludes in 2 Thessalonians sixteen and seventeen these words of comfort. “Now may the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through GRACE, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”


The people of Corinth were a tough bunch. They had issues. Paul wrote two letters in the Bible addressing some of their issues. One problem with them was concerning a man named Apollos. Paul clarified he and Apollos were co-workers for the word. In verse ten of 1 Corinthians 3, Paul stated, “According to the GRACE of GOD given to me… I laid the foundation, and another man is building upon it.”

To add to this statement, Paul in Romans 16: 25, speaking of the mystery kept secret  for long ages, said, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to MY GOSPEL and the preaching of Jesus Christ…”

1 Corinthians 15 is known as the Resurrection Chapter and for many great revelations. Remember  the GOSPEL of GRACE is found in verse one through four but read Paul’s words from verse ten and eleven. Paul was describing his past with  persecution of the assembly of Jesus believing Jews when he added, “But by the GRACE of GOD I am what I am, and his GRACE toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them (Disciples) though it was not I, but GRACE of GOD which is with me.”


The following verse concerns those who reject this gospel.  2 Corinthians 4: 2-4 state: “We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of TRUTH we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even though OUR GOSPEL is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the LIGHT of the GOSPEL of the glory of Christ…”  We are seeing so much blindness in the world and America today. They are under a veil!

In 2 Corinthians 6: 1 Paul wrote of entreating the Corinthian believers to NOT accept the GRACE of GOD in vain.  He, also, added of helping them on the day of salvation or the day they heard and believed the GOSPEL. One seldom hears much from the pulpit on Paul’s prison letters. Look what Paul wrote to the people of Philippi. Paul was thankful for these believers. He considered them partners in the GOSPEL. He added, “….because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of GRACE, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation  of the GOSPEL.(See Philippians 1: 1-7.) Paul reminded them he was in prison for the defense of the GOSPEL. And remember that gospel is the believe in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Paul encourages Timothy in staying firm in the GOSPEL at several places in this book.

Colossians 1: 3-6: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the WORD of the TRUTH, the GOSPEL…from the day you heard and understood the GRACE of GOD in TRUTH. Notice how Paul considers the gospel he preaches as TRUTH!

Compare the above message with 2 Timothy 2: 15  where Paul tells Timothy, “…to present yourself to God  as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, righty handling (or dividing) the WORD of TRUTH.” In verse 18, we see some had swerved from the TRUTH stating the resurrection had already happened upsetting the faith of others. They feared they missed it.

I need to write much from 2 Timothy 1: 8-14 for Paul’s words say it all. “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share the


suffering for the GOSPEL in the power of God, who SAVED us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the GRACE which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light the GOSPEL. (Paul is referring the GOSPEL of GRACE of 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 and Romans 10: 8-10.)  Note the words above where Paul mentions, “called us with a holy calling.” Paul is referring to the indwelt Holy Spirit we receive at the time of believing the GOSPEL WITH FAITH ONLY. The man continued stating he was appointed  for this GOSPEL. Verses 11-14 are as follows: For this GOSPEL I was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of sound words which you heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the TRUTH that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.”  Remember in Romans 1: 1-2, Paul wrote he was called  and set apart for the GOSPEL of GOD.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1: 17 that, “Christ did not send me to baptize (A work.) but to preach the GOSPEL…”


Paul wrote some words in Galatians 5 of interest. Verse 2-7 state the importance of faith only. Paul wrote, “ Now I, Paul, say to you that is you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” The word circumcision as used here refers to works of the Law, namely Mosaic Law. He adds, “I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.” James wrote similar words to the believing, yet law-keeping, Jews. (See James 2: 10.) Paul continues to the people of Galatia, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from GRACE. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision  is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from OBEYING the TRUTH? These people of Galatia, most likely, had Judaizes following Paul and demanding Mosaic Law to be saved. This was a problem facing Paul’s Gentile believers.



It is my hope, after following along with this study, we all understand the GOSPEL of GRACE. More importantly, my hope for all of us, is one hundred percent faith through our believing of these vital words for salvation.  Believing Christ died, was buried and after three days and nights followed by his glorious resurrection from the dead is a promise allowing for all of us who believe to be SAVED!

The last verse in Revelation 22 simply states, “The GRACE of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

NOTE: This study has proven to be a rather long study and I apologize for the time needed to review these words, however, this truth is vitally important to study and understand. Your salvation is dependent on your faith and belief in this,


As stated early in this writing one may need to throw aside denominational teachings in order to rightfully divide scripture and place where the words should be, and, also, what is NOT in the Bible, or as I like to remind in the proper dispensation as Paul wrote. The study above may be a lot to absorb in this brief study setting, so I urge you all to take this study and look up the verses included and study the verses before and after to get the context of the events. Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


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A Study of the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is ten-page study.

Larry A. Smail

A most important aspect with studying and understanding the Bible concerns much about the kingdom. The origins of the kingdom travels very far into the past of Israel’s history. The, pre-Hebrew, history of the kingdom is found with the Abrahamic Covenant between the Lord and the man, Abram. (Abram would be later called Abraham.)

In Genesis 12: 2-3 this covenant’s details are found. A covenant is a promise from God. The Lord said to Abraham, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt will be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him who curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Let us break the covenant’s words down for this study. Through Abraham’s descendants, a great nation would be formed. This great nation would become the nation of Israel. A nation, in Biblical terms, would be a kingdom. A most important, and usually overlooked truth is in the last line of the covenant. Through Abraham’s descendants all nations of the earth shall be blessed. This prophetic blessing would become the option to believe in Christ for salvation. Christ would come through the nation of Israel and be that blessing upon mankind.

In Genesis 15: 18-20, the Lord told Abraham of the kingdom’s land area. This is referred to as the Promised Land for Israel and the area for Israel’s future kingdom.

Abraham’s son, and grandson, were given the same covenant. These men were Isaac and Jacob. The latter’s name would be changed to Israel. (Genesis 32: 28.) Israel (Jacob) would have twelve sons and through a series of events would migrate and settle into the land of Egypt. The twelve tribes over the many years would become a great number of people. (See Genesis 37- 50 for story.)

Years later, the children of Israel would exit Egypt and in a very short time were offered another promise from the Lord. Exodus 19: 5-6 is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT OFFER OF A KINGDOM. The offer, “…if you obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure above all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a KINGDOM of priests and a holy nation.”  


NOTE: In Isaiah 49:6, “…I (God) will also give thee (Israel) as a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” These scriptural words forIsrael’s purpose is why Christ told the disciples in Matthew 28:19…”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  The apostles were to work towards having Israel believe and accept Christ as their Promised One before Israel as priests would go to all nations as this light.

Let us break these covenants down, too. The Hebrew people were given an offer to become that great nation first heard about with Abraham. They would become God’s Chosen People and a nation, or kingdom of priests, to go before all Gentile nations. However, the Hebrew people were to listen and obey. In Exodus 19: 8, the people responded, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” The nation of Israel was born. Exodus 20 begins with the laws from the Lord for the newly formed nation of the Chosen People, the Hebrews. However, in a very short time the people forgot their part of the promise with terrible behavior and the worshipping of the golden calf. (Exodus 32)

At Kadesh-barnea the Hebrew people would reject, through their unbelief, God’s words to enter into the Promised Land leading to a forty year time in the wilderness in total. No kingdom yet! (See Numbers 13-14 about this event’s details.)

Under Joshua, the Hebrew people would begin to enter into the Promised Land and expel the heathen, pagan Gentile nations. (Joshua 3) After Joshua’s passing the time of Judges would occur. The judges were actually  the various people of leadership to deliver the Israelite people back into God’s promise.

The prophet Samuel was such a man. Under his time of leadership, the Hebrew people, unfortunately, began demanding to have a king like the Gentile nations. The prophet tried to dismiss their demand but eventually the Lord  agreed to give them a king. The people were told of what would happen with a king. A man named Saul was chosen to became king over Israel. (1 Samuel 8, 9, 10.)

Saul began his reign humble enough but during a needed burnt offering event the king became impatient while waiting for Samuel’s arrival for the burnt offering. (1 Samuel 13: 8-14) The king acting in an unlawful manner conducted the offering against the conditions stated in the law of Moses. (Leviticus 1: 11-17) Samuel was


extremely upset as was the Lord. Saul was told his house, or lineage, would not continue and David  would become the king over Israel.  The kingdom was lost to Saul  and would be set up for David in the near future. (See 1 Samuel 13: 13-14 and 2 Samuel 3:10.)

Why is David’s kingship important to us today? In 2 Samuel 7: 12-13, scripture states the following speaking of David. “When thy days be fulfilled and thou shalt sleep with your fathers,(Die) I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his KINGDOM. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his KINGDOM FOREVER.” This is a prophetic reference pertaining of Christ’s coming from David’s lineage and establishing a kingdom lasting forever. In 2 Samuel 7: 16, the Lord continued by repeating this important promise, “And your house (David’s lineage) and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

Prior to his death, David decided for his son, Solomon to reign upon his passing. (1 Kings 1: 28-30)

King Solomon began his years of kingship favorably, even requested wisdom from the Lord over all things. In 1 Kings 2: 26, scriptures states the kingdom was established to Solomon. However, his reign would begin to corrupt. He used forced labor and raised taxes very high becoming a form of bondage to the Jews. Solomon would, also, have many, many wives from pagan countries. The king was reminded of the result if Israel, and he, turned aside from the Lord. (See 1 Kings 9: 4-9 for details.) Their influence would lead to him becoming involved in pagan worship. (See 1 Kings 11: 9-13.) He would lose favor with the Lord in many ways especially for turning away from the Lord to worship pagan gods. The king had one notable accomplishment being the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. (See 1 Kings 5-8.) The temple was dedicated around 1004 B.C. ( See 1 Kings 8.)  The Jews in future years would yearn for the Israel’s glory days under King Solomon while under various Gentile oppressions.

Solomon, as well as Saul and David never reached the kingdom land size as promised by the Lord to Abraham. There was much turmoil and disobedience within the nation to complete the goal. However, Israel had their kings and a kingdom but without the complete promise being fulfilled. Israel was in decline already and getting worse very soon.


The Divided Kingdom

King Solomon would die leaving the kingship to a son named Rehoboam. The nation of Israel became so divided with this new king for he would not lessen the burdens of his father upon the Jews. (See 1 Kings 12 for details.) Turmoil was the result allowing for Jeroboam to become king of the ten northern tribes. Jeroboam was a son of Solomon, but from a different mother. This land area continued to be known as Israel. The two southern tribes, under Rehoboam, retained the southern land area and became known as Judah or later Judea. Both kings came to power around 975 B.C. and civil war increased between the twelve tribes. Constant failings with the various kings of Israel and Judah continued for years. There were a few God-fearing kings, but not enough to lead and keep the people in a righteous way of life. Jeroboam reinstituted calf worship. (1 Kings 12: 25-33)

Major changes would be coming to the nations of Israel and Judah. In 721 B.C. the ten northern tribes succumbed to the Assyrian military. (2 Kings 17 ) Judah would fall to the Babylonian Empire by 586 B.C. Jerusalem would be razed and the temple destroyed. (2 Kings 24-25.) In both defeats the people were either killed or carried off into captivity. Forget about the forever kingdom anytime soon! Many years into the future the gospel of the kingdom will, once again, be heard in Israel.

The Times of the Prophets

In the years prior to the defeat of all the Jews and into their years of captivity, a number of prophets emerged to tell Israel’s future. Some of the best known prophets of Israel are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

Isaiah wrote prophecy of a coming Messiah King. His words are often read during the Christmas season, but the words werewritten to Israel.

Isaiah 9: 6-7 states: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom… to establish it with judgement from henceforth even for ever…”

The important prophecy to understand with Isaiah’s words are they were addressed to Israel. (The “us” here is Israel. Remember the man was a prophet of Israel


 writing about Israel.) This kingdom from David’s lineage will be a perfect government of peace and this kingdom will be forever under the kingship reign of Christ.

Kingdom Words From the Prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel wrote much on this futuristic kingdom. These prophecies occurred while Daniel was in captivity after the 586 B.C. defeat of Judea. For instance, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great image with different metals representing Gentile nations over Israel. The metals were gold to iron and mirey clay. In this dream, a stone not cut out by man struck the image at the feet pulverizing it into dust. The king was troubled, and Daniel told him what his dream meant. The details of this event can be viewed in Daniel 2: 31-44.

So, for our study purposes, Daniel in verse forty-four states in the days of these Gentile kings the God of heaven will set up a KINGDOM WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED, NOR SHALL ITS SOVEREIGNTY BE LEFT TO ANOTHER PEOPLE.  IT SHALL BREAK INTO PIECES ALL THESE KINGDOMS AND BRING THEM TO AN END, AND IT SHALL STAND FOREVER. (Compare with Isaiah 9:6-7.)  This time begins at Christ’s second coming. The Stone represents Christ removing the evil kingdoms.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s words say much. In Daniel 4: 3 the king spoke of the Lord. “How great are his signs, how mighty are his wonders! HIS KINGDOM IS AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” The king repeats these words in part in Chapter 4: 34.

The Coming of John the Baptist

Many, many years had passed. The nation of Israel had not been a sovereign nation for generations. They were under the thumb of Rome at the time of John the Baptist. Israel had not been a sovereign nation since the nation became divided immediately after the death of King Solomon.  The Jewish people are still anticipating  their kingdom glory days as were told by the prophets those many years ago. They were an oppressed people.

A man known as John the Baptist arrived on the scene preaching the kingdom was at hand.  This was an important event. The Jews were excited to hear and gathered around John to listen. John’s message was to repent of their sins and be baptized,


purified, or cleansed according to Mosaic Law in preparation of the kingdom. Of course, the Jews realized to have their kingdom reinstalled a king would be needed, and the Romans would be required to exit Israel. They had hope! Jesus was to be the King of this kingdom if the Jews could believe in him.

Christ came to John and was baptized as per Jewish law. Jesus needed to be baptized although he himself had no sin. This requirement was due to the need to be cleansed or purified to be a priest. He had reached the thirty year of age, too, another requirement of the Jews for priesthood.

The Gospel Of the Kingdom

Read Jesus’ words in the first four books of the New Testament. He talks much of the kingdom and the need for the nation of Israel to believe. I have stated in the past where readers of the Bible may wish to underline every place the words of a kingdom are in print. You will be amazed of the importance of this kingdom to Christ and the Jews. This message of Christ was the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM or the GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM.

The Bible states in Matthew 4: 17 of Jesus preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Also, in Matthew 4:23, scripture states Jesus preached in the synagogues of the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. This message began immediately at the start of his ministry.

The Bible records again of Jesus preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM  in Matthew 9:35. These verses shown here, during Christ’s ministry, are the first to state the actual words; GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.

To tie all this in and the Old Testament words of the kingdom we mustremember Paul’s words to the Gentiles describing Jesus as a minister to the Jews to fulfill the promises to the patriarchs. (See Romans 15: 8 for complete wording.)

However, the Jews rejected Jesus’ kingdom message. He would be crucified and become the sacrificial Lamb. More importantly Christ would be raised after three days and three nights. Believing on these two facts today grant forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation through faith because of believing. The kingdom could have been reality if the Jews would have believed.


The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus, in Matthew 5: 1, was talking to the apostles. The apostles asked Christ how they should pray. Jesus’ words here are heard everywhere at church services today. (See Matthew 6: 9-10.) He gave them much direction during this time alone with them as recorded in Matthew five, six and seven.

“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be they name. Thy KINDOM come, and thy will be done even in earth as it is in heaven…and thine is the KINGDOM and the glory FOREVER.” I imagine the vast majority have never read or prayed these words with a proper mindset. Jesus’ prayer was responding to the apostles in regard to the prophesized earthly kingdom and the kingdom that will last forever. Israel could have had this kingdom in place if they would not have rejected Christ during his ministry on earth or after the resurrection. Then they would become the LIGHT of Isaiah 49: 6!

Israel’s Final Chance to Believe (For now)

Prior to Christ’s ascension to glory he spent forty days on earth preaching the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. (See Acts 1: 3.) The believers had come together, and Jesus was asked , “Lord, will you at this time restore the KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?”   This, of course, is still referring to the earthly kingdom. Jesus told them it was not for them to know the timing. He ascended to glory!

The task for the disciples, after the ascension, was to preach the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM to THE JEWS. Peter said to those Jews, of the requirements beginning at his sermon at Pentecost. He said in Acts 2: 38, “Repent, and be baptized EVERYONE of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” Peter was addressing these words to the Jews! Following Peter’s words would have opened the doors to this forever kingdom; however, Israel would continue to reject the message as a nation and after Stephen’s murder the country began into decline. Any chance for the kingdom to occur at this time was about zero. The Lord would be getting his word to the Gentiles via another route without Israel. BUT… the kingdom promise is still in place and Israel will be involved again at the time of the tribulation. As Christ spoke; the kingdom will be preached throughout the nations and then the end of the age will come.

Some Words From Paul and the Heavenly Kingdom


Stephen’s murder was a turning point, and the Lord would be using Paul to take the word to the Gentiles in place of Israel and that holy nation potential. Paul spoke of the kingdom, but obviously more on the spiritual heavenly kingdom.

Some examples of his words are: Colossians 1: 12-14 where Paul writes to his Gentile believers. He wrote, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, that is, the forgiveness of sins.”

Romans 14: 17: “For the kingdom of God, is not meat or drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Compare with Colossians 2:16-17.)

The apostle of the Gentiles wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 24 concerning the assurance of resurrection the following: “And then comes the end, when he (Christ) have delivered up the kingdom of God even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and every authority and power.”

In the prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul reminded the Gentiles believers of the gospel of Grace (Verse nine) of being called into his own kingdom and glory. Also, in 2 Thessalonians 1:5, Paul recorded, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgement of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God…”  How is righteousness attained from scripture? Faith and belief in the cross and resurrection during this time and present dispensation.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 4: 1, wrote of the Lord Jesus Christ judging at his appearing, and in his kingdom. Also, in verse eighteen, Paul wrote, “…the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom…”

I believe, Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews to believing Jews regarding their need of faith only. This belief stems from Peter’s words in 2 Peter 3: 15 where the disciple wrote of the wisdom of our believed brother Paul and the epistles written to the believing Jews.

Hebrews 1: 8: “But unto the Son he saith, O God, thy throne is FOREVER and Ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.” Jacob (Israel) said to Judah that the scepter shall not part from Judah… Christ came from the


tribe of Judah. King’s had scepters so, at the handing out of blessings, we see in clear prophetic words of a forever kingdom. (Genesis 49: 10) In chapter 12 verse twenty-eight, Paul wrote, “Wherefore seeing we receive a kingdom, which cannot be shaken (Forever) let us have grace whereby we may serve God…”

NOTE: In Acts 20:24, Paul wrote of receiving his ministry form the Lord Jesus to testify solemnly of the GOSPEL of the GRACE OF GOD. (Not kingdom gospel)

Apostles’ Kingdom Talk Towards Believing Jews

Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1: 11  the following: “…an entering shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His words were to the believing Jews who had been dispersed. (See 1 Peter 1: 1, 2 Peter 3: 1.)

Thy Kingdom Come, But When?

So, when will the forever and everlasting kingdom promised those many, many years ago to Abraham finally happen? The answer is: during Christ’s second advent. Daniel’s seventieth week of the 490 year prophecy. There is to be sealed for protection 144,000 Jews, twelve-thousand from each tribe.  (Revelation 7 and 14) This time is often referred to as the tribulation period and consists of seven years. These protected Jews will go about telling any who care to listen that the kingdom is at hand. This is, once again, the GOSPEL or GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM! This is the very same message that John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles preached about those many years ago.

At the conclusion of those terrible years Christ the Promised One, or the Stone of Daniel 2, will return in glory to stop mankind’s evil upon the earth and usher in the thousand-year millennial kingdom reign on earth setting on the throne in Jerusalem. (Revelation 20, 21) The twelve apostles are to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel when Christ’s kingdom is ushered into place. (Matthew 19: 27)

Zechariah tells the story of the surviving Jews of that time. He wrote, of Christ, as a prophet of Israel, in Zechariah 12: 10: “I (God) will pour upon the house of David (Israel)…the Spirit of grace and compassion, and they (Jews) shall look upon me (Christ) whom they have pierced, and they shall lament for him, as one mourneth for his only son…” Also see Chapter 13: 6. The prophet wrote: “And one shall say to him,(Christ) What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall


answer, Thus was I wounded in the house of my friends.(Israel) The Jews of that time will have their eyes opened, their spiritual blindness removed and finally believe!

By comparing the Old Testament words to Revelation, the reader can see similar words being expressed. Revelation 1: 7 states, “… every eye shall see him; yea, even they which pierced him through…” At the end of the age of the Gentiles, the remnant of Israel will see the kingdom promises from old put into reality. Christ will be on the throne and be the King.

A Couple Additional Observations!

Interestingly, the Roman soldiers mocked Christ prior to the cross when they placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.  The soldiers exclaimed “Hail, the King of the Jews!” If they only had realized what they were saying was true.

The Roman man over Judea,  Pontius Pilate had it all correct when he ordered a placard or sign placed over Christ’s head during the crucifixion. In Luke 19: 38 scripture records the following: Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It had written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  The Jewish religious leaders complained over Pilate’s act to no avail. Pilate, no doubt, ordered this sign placed to agitate the Jews.

Perhaps Revelation 19: 6 says it best for Christ will be called, at that time,


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There is only one way for salvation in the dispensation of time we are living in. Paul, the Apostle for the Gentiles, wrote of this gospel of Grace. One example is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4. the apostle wrote to the believers in Corinth:


In simple terms, one has to believe in faith that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and on the third day rose again. This is the gospel of salvation.

The apostle wrote in Galatians 1: 12 he had received this Grace message from the revelation of Jesus Christ…or the Risen Christ. This change in direction towards Paul dispensation occurred because the nation of Israel had rejected Christ again through the murder of the Jewish, law-keeping, yet believer, Stephen.

Also see, Romans 10: 9-10.

Thanks to my friend, Dana Gould for taking my ink image above and adding the neon glow to enhance.

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Key to Understanding The “Crucifixion through Resurrection” Chart (Chart below)

By Larry A. Smail

Sometime during my teen years, I found myself beginning to question many things of life. Traditions in the church were not without being scrutinized by my thoughts. However, I kept such thoughts to myself for I believed I must not be “Christian-enough” to understand such things. Asking, or mentioning my thoughts, to anyone would make me appear stupid. However, with time and study, I began to rethink various issues. One such event was how to get three days and three nights from a late Friday afternoon death on the cross to a Sunday morning resurrection. What was I missing? This chart and these notes, although confusing, hopefully will share some insights to the most important event of scripture…the resurrection!

1. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread always begins on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar known as Nisan. (Nissan) Passover begins at sunset which is the actual  beginning of the Jewish day period. This was mandated by the Lord through Moses. (See Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23: 4-7… for all details.) This month’s timing, and these holy days, always occur sometime within our months of March and April depending on the year and celestial cycles. (One may find words of using the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread interchangeably at times.)

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day event mandated by the Lord to the Jewish people. Passover meal always occurs after sunset on the 14th day of Nisan. This event is followed on the fifteenth day  at sunset with a Holy Convocation or Special Holy Sabbath. This Holy Sabbath marks the beginning of the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (A second Holy Sabbath occurs on the seventh day of this week or the twenty-first day of the month.)

3. IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER… These Holy Sabbaths can occur on ANY DAY of a month. The weekly sabbaths always begin at sunset on our Friday through our Saturday at sunset. Using our present way of determining individual days this timing is actually the Jewish Saturday. In other words, the Jewish seventh day, or Saturday, begins on our Friday evening. (I hope this is not confusing.)

4. The Last Supper was part of the Passover/ Unleavened Bread event. Remember, Passover was mandated by the Lord to the Jewish people. Christ, being a law-keeping Jew, observed this event. One example is found in Matthew 26: 2 where Christ said he would be crucified after the Passover. (Also. See Matthew 26: 17-19, Mark 14: 1-2; Luke 22: 1, 7-13…) This Passover is known as Christ’s Last Supper or as Christ’s Last Passover.

5. The Jewish day begins at sunset whereas “our” 24-hour day begins at midnight. Those dark hours are known as the WATCH and the daylight hours are known as the DAY. However, those entire sunset to sunset hours are still known as a DAY. (Yom is the Hebrew word used for DAY.)

NOTE: With our timing we have a 24-hour day, however, under Jewish timing a day has variable hours or, no fixed length. An hour in Jewish timing is 1/12 of all the hours of any given complete day cycle and, obviously, that timing changes with each day and the seasons. Confused yet?

6. Jewish Sabbaths, as stated, begin at sunset, and completes the following sunset. (For the sake of chart simplicity, we will assume the sunset at this time of the year was approximately around 6:00 P.M. Remember, we are in the very early springtime. To further complicate this is an interesting fact of Jewish time. The “true” sunset begins when three medium light stars are visible in the early night sky.)

7. The Jewish Day of Preparation occurs during the daylight hours. During this time, all preparational requirements for the weekly or holy sabbaths are completed preparing for the beginning of any sabbath at sunset. (Got it?) All cooking is prepared on this day since cooking is work and there is to be no work on the sabbath. The women, also, would have needed to prepare any spices, and such, for burial treatment of the body of Christ on the day prior to the sunset sabbath, as well. Remember Christ was hastily buried to beat the soon coming sunset marking a Special Holy Sabbath or Convocation. (See John 19: 31.)

8. The women discovered very early on the FIRST DAY of the week, or Sunday, the stone had been rolled away and the body was gone. SCRIPTURE DOES NOT STATE CHRIST WAS RESURRECTED ON SUNDAY MORNING ONLY THAT THE WOMEN WENT TO THE TOMB EARLY ON THAT DAY! (See Luke 24, John 20…Also, remember their first day of the week actually began immediately after sunset. More Confused?)


9. IMPORTANT! Jesus had told the Pharisees when they demanded a sign as to who he was, and he responded with some interesting words found in Matthew 12: 38-41, Matthew 16: 4 and Luke 11: 29-31. Christ said the only sign to be given as to whom he was would be the SIGN OF JONAH. 

Christ said:


 Jesus’ body would spend three days and three nights in the grave to fulfill his own words of prophecy.

10. What was, and is, the importance of Jesus’ dead body in the grave for three days and three nights?

The answer is simple:


The plan for resurrection means little if Jesus had not died on the cross and spent those three days and three nights in the grave. Skeptics or atheists have tried, even using the three days and three nights in the tomb, to state he was not truly dead. Imagine if Christ would have risen on the first or second of those days. Others state the Jews counted even an hour, of a day, as one day. This false way of thinking could mean the few hours from Christ’s death, removal from the cross and burial would be considered a day. Even with using this theory one cannot get three days and three nights. I believe sometime in the far past some person of power used the Jewish “weekly sabbath” instead of the Holy Sabbath thus, immediately, determined the wrong timing. However, their timing theory quickly developed into the Friday cross and Sunday morning resurrection believed by the masses today.

So, using all the information above concerning Jewish timings, Passover, and Unleavened Bread event details, understanding the Holy Sabbaths compared with the weekly sabbaths and utilizing all details given by scripture, Christ would have needed to have been on the cross and died and buried  on the 14th day or our Wednesday. And then calculating times and dates to allow for three days and three nights, Christ would have been resurrected around or after sunset on our Saturday evening to fulfill his own prophecy. Hopefully, my chart will help show this timing.

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A Study on the Origins of Baptism

By Larry A. Smail

Old Testament Forms of Cleansings

This study on baptism may, no doubt, be one of controversy to some. I may make enemies even while using the words from scripture to discuss the actions of baptism. This is one topic that, possibly, instills more arguments than most any other Bible related subject matter. Churches have divided over this topic.

Baptism was not a word used in the early days of the formation of the Israeli people. (The Israeli people were, also, known as the Hebrews, Jews, and Israelites.) However, the Lord commanded water cleansings in those very early years of God’s Chosen People.  These commands were announced through Moses in regard with the priesthood and various other issues of the day needing purifications. For the sake of space, I am not going to go into a lot of detail on the issues of the times demanding “washing to become clean,”

In Leviticus 8: 6, we see the “water cleansing” demands for the ordination of the Hebrew priests. Aaron and his sons were the Levitical priests in those early days of the forming of this nation of Israel. Scripture states the priests were required to be ceremonially washed or cleansed, or purified, or one could say a form of baptism.

In the books of Leviticus and Numbers, purification or washing rituals were told to the people by Moses through the Lord’s commands. Various issues would lead to a time of uncleanliness. Ceremonial cleansings were part of these issues. Some of those washings were required for the touching of unclean things or the dead; childbirth; menstruation. upon being cured for leprosy and certain bodily discharges.

The above-mentioned Old Testament commands dealt with the nation of Israel.

John, the Baptist

Israel, for many, many years, was controlled by a number of Gentile nations. King Nebuchadnezzar completed Israel’s demise in 586 B.C. He destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and carried off or killed remaining Jews. At the time of Christ, the Romans were the oppressive Gentile nation over Israel. However, as we study in the New Testament writings another man of the Lord appeared upon the scene of Israel. John, the Baptizer, or John the Baptist was his common title. John had one purpose in his brief time during his ministry.  John was to go to the nation of Israel and announce their promised kingdom was at hand. The Jewish kingdom had NOT been a sovereign nation since the days before their defeat by Gentile forces well over 500 years in the B.C. era. John was giving the Israelites hope from the Roman oppression for their kingdom was just out in front. Of course, a kingdom requires a king. Israel, to see the fulfillment of these promises had some demands to do. The nation of Israel was to turn around, or repent, from their unbelief and accept this fact of the coming kingdom and king. The nation was to, also, be baptized after repenting of their unbelief. This action is known as John’s Baptism of Repentance. (See Matthew 3: 11.) Notice the entire nation of Israel had to comply in this situation.

John, in Matthew 3: 11, also, told Israel that he baptizes, or cleanses, with water, but the one coming after John would BAPTIZE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT! This would be Christ! (More on Holy Spirit baptisms later in this study.)

Shortly, a man entered onto the scene. This person was the Promised One who John had told the people about and he was the Christ! Jesus, the Christ, was baptized in the Jordan River. An interesting fact needs to be explained at this point. One might ask why this sinless man needed baptized. The answer is quite simple. Christ reached the age of thirty. To be a high priest of Israel a man had to be thirty years of age. Jesus reaching that age was now ready to begin a ministry among the Jewish people hence he was now cleansed as per Jewish law or baptized. Do you remember where it was mentioned above of Aaron the high priest being ceremonially cleansed or washed? Jesus was such a priest!

Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom Ministry on Earth

For the next three years of Christ’s ministry Jesus himself did not perform any baptisms.  (See John 4: 2.) Christ’s purpose, during this first dispensation, was to preach of the kingdom of God and have Israel believe who he was. However, we know from John 4: 1-2, the disciples were doing some baptisms to the JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY. This is important to remember. See next statement.


The disciples, for the most part, stayed true to Jesus’ command with one notable exception with Peter. And that act of Peter was directed by Christ. (Acts 10.)


Disciples After the Cross Ministry

We are, now, at a place where another controversy may be viewed. Some facts  are needed to set the stage. Jesus while on earth never reneged on those words to go only to the lost sheep of Israel. Peter, James, and John… were only ministering to the Jews. In fact, this was their mission after the cross. The books from James through Revelation are directed to believing Jews. Remember this! You may ask why?  Again, the answer is quite simple. Paul told the readers in Romans 15: 8 that Christ came to be a minister, or servant,  to the JEWS (Circumcised) to fulfill  and confirm the prophecies or covenant promises of Abraham to Israel , and the fathers of Israel, in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy or grace. Jesus came to Israel to fulfill the promises to the fathers of the Abrahamic Covenant. Gentiles were NOT part of those covenant promises.  Exodus 19: 5-6  the Lord told Israel they were to be a nation of priest and a holy nation. Isaiah 49 wrote additional words about this covenant and Israel was to be a light unto all nations. (Gentiles)  Do you see how it all ties in?



Another controversy erupts when someone states. Yeah, but Jesus told the disciples in  Matthew to go to all nations with the Great Commission. This too is easily explained. Jesus words here were still dealing with Israel’s purpose way back from those Exodus 19 words.

In Exodus 19: 5-6, as stated above, the newly formed people of Israel had the promise they would become a holy nation of priests to take the word to the Gentiles. Since Israel failed way back then, and again during Christ’s ministry, Jesus, after the cross, was giving Israel another chance to become that holy nation. This time the disciples were to continue preaching to the Jews and get the nation to believe. See below. So, the Great Commission was, now going to the disciples to continue to preach to Israel and have the nation believe. Again, notice the nation of Israel had to believe. Under GRACE, individuals can be saved. This applies to the Jews, too, now! More on GRACE later.

The Bible must be rightfully be divided to understand. These are known as dispensations. There were three major dispensations in the New Testament. Jesus while on earth  was the first dispensation for the JEWISH PEOPLE to BELIEVE


WHO HE WAS! Christ was their Promised One. If the nation of Israel would have believed who Jesus was, they could have had their kingdom as told by John the Baptist and the Old Testament prophets. It was that simple! Israel failed big time!

This is important so a repeat is needed. After the cross, the second dispensation occurred. Israel was being given, yet, another chance for their kingdom and covenant promises. The disciples’ role was to convince Israel that the crucified Jesus was their Messiah. Peter’s sermons were directed to the JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY! The Jews were to repent of their sin of unbelief and the crucifixion of Christ. The people were to then be baptized. This ceremonial cleansing was to PURIFY THEM FROM THEIR SIN OF UNBELIEF AND REJECTION OF CHRIST. (See Acts 2 and 3.) Water baptisms were still in play to cleanse the nation of Israel. Peter’s sermons are full of words indicating he was talking to Jews. That needs to be another study, in itself, to prove.


Again, do you see how this all fits together?

This is NOT the Church

Oh boy, I am asking for more trouble now. Almost all pastors categorize these believers being preached to by the disciples  as the founding of the church. To be clear, these people were part of the JEWISH ASSEMBLY. So, to be factual these people may be called a church but, more correctly, if you choose to use the word “church”  they were a Jewish church of believers in Christ. In fact, the Greek word used for the “church” translation is ecclesia which means A CALLED-OUT ASSEMBLY. This assembly in early Acts consisted of those Jews who had believed Jesus was, indeed, their Promised One. After believing Peter’s words about Christ they were then baptized as per Jesus customs as a form of purification or cleansing. THESE BELIEVING JEWS WERE STILL LAW-KEEPING JEWS! AND THEY STILL AVOIDED THE GENTILES!!!

The disciples ask Christ if the kingdom was going to be restored now. Jesus said it was not for them to know. Why? The coming kingdom depended if they succeed to


have Israel believe. The nation did not believe.

In Acts 1:3, the RISEN CHRIST WAS PREACHING  ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Nothing changed in regard to the importance of the kingdom. In Acts 1: 3, Jesus reminded the disciples they would be BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!  

So, there are many words in Acts 2-3 to prove these people in Peter’s sermons were Jews. I am not going to take space to show all the proofs at this time, but the words all are dealing with unbelieving Jews and those who repented of their unbelief of Christ and were BAPTIZED. Peter is still following Mosaic Law to cleanse or purify these now-believing Jews. NO GENTILE TALK HERE!

Peter, James, and John… were still law-keeping Jews. This is important to remember. We can know this as fact by studying Acts Chapter 10 where Peter did NOT want to go to a Gentile home. Going to Gentiles would be breaking the law. (See Acts10: 28.) Peter and the other Jews saw the Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit even before his sermon was completed. This had not happened to the Jews he had preached to. Peter even with the Holy Spirit entering into theses Gentiles still followed up with a water baptism. Peter was following Mosaic Law to cleanse or purify the Gentiles.


Also, see Acts 11: 19, where scripture states, of the word being spoken to NONE BUT JEWS. These were the believing Jews who scattered due to persecution after Stephen’s murder. See below. Still No Gentile talk here.

Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles

Following the murder of the Holy Spirit inspired, Jewish believer named, Stephen, Israel lost their chance to become that holy nation of priests. (See Acts 7.) God chose another extremely zealous Jew named Saul, later Paul, to begin work towards that Great Commission of going to all nations, but from a different direction. The Word from the RISEN CHRIST would be going to the Gentiles without Israel and the Jews.  Israel was now in a state of decline. They would be no longer of importance and off the scene by 70 A.D.

The next proof these believing Jews were NOT Christians, as we envision


Christianity comes twenty years or so later at the great Jerusalem Council. Here the disciples and believing Pharisees were against Paul’s ministry of faith and the gospel of Grace to the Gentiles. WHY? They were demanding Paul’s Gentiles follow Mosaic Law to be saved. Remember this is around twenty years after the cross! (See Acts 15 and Galatians 2.) Their agreement: The disciples would stay with the Jews preaching the gospel of the kingdom and Paul would continue with Gentiles preaching the gospel of GRACE!

In Acts 11: 26, the Holy Spirit guided Luke to write that in Antioch was where these Gentile,  faith-based believers were called Christians. These people were of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH through faith only. Again, the Jewish Church were believers as to who Christ was, but were still law-keepers. In other words, they were still involved in a works-based religion and NOT FAITH and only Faith. Hope you can see the difference.

Paul’s Gospel of Grace

The gospel of GRACE is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 where Paul wrote: “Now I remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the GOSPEL, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered it to you as of first importance which I also received that CHRIST DIED FOR YOUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, AND WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES.”


It does not matter which verses are read they mean the same, and that is you are saved by believing with faith. So, true Christianity consists of those who believe that gospel as recorded by the Apostle Paul of the Gentiles.  Salvation comes from complete faith in those words. NO WORKS!



No works for salvation. Baptism is a work.

If anyone is baptized as a means of salvation it would be as crucifying Christ again. See more on this below.


SO, if someone of this current dispensation believes and trusts through FAITH in the gospel of grace as outlined above, they are a true Christian.  Baptism is NOT required to be a faith-based Christian. A faith-based, gospel of grace believing individual is baptized with the HOLY SPIRIT. That person is purified and cleansed through the actions of the Holy Spirit due to the faith of those individuals of the gospel of grace. This Holy Spirit baptism occurs the moment you truly believe with 100% faith. This occurs through the actions of the RISEN CHRIST THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Remember John the Baptist’s words that he (John) baptized with water, but the One coming after John, the Christ, would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Read Acts 19: 2-6. Paul came upon some believers. He asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. The people said they had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul asked, “ into what then were you baptized?” They responded into John’s baptism of repentance, or water baptism… Paul, laying his hands upon these believers,  BAPTIZED THEM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!  These individuals had believed in Christ by Apollos, a Jewish believer.

Also, study Acts 18: 24-28 about how the Jewish believer, Apollos was using John’s baptism of repentance until he was expounded upon with the way to God more accurately. Times of transitions were occurring.

Hebrew 6 records the words to struggling Jewish believers. They were having difficulties walking away from the “WORKS” religion to one of true faith. The writer, who I believe was Paul, detailed much in chapter 6. In brief, he wrote to believing Jews of going back to a works religion after hearing, and being enlightened,  through the gospel of grace would be as crucifying Christ again.  The same applies to faith-based Christianity.

What Are Some Works

Today many people pick and choose works from the Bible to justify their actions


or their denominational or legalistic beliefs.  Some examples are: tithing, belonging to any certain denomination; Saturday sabbath versus Sunday sabbath; eating certain foods; not-eating certain foods; water baptisms; sprinkling over immersion, walking an aisle, going to the altar… or anything one deems a MUST TO PLEASE THE LORD FOR “SALVATION”! All of these mentioned and more are LEGALISTIC WORKS! However, if you wish to be baptized, since this is the study, you are free to do so under GRACE. BUT, to be baptized with the intent baptism is required for salvation then you are committing the same as placing Christ back on the cross.


More on Rightfully Dividing Scripture

Here is another place of potential controversy. The books James, 1,2,3, John, 1,2 Peter, Jude and Revelation were directed to those believing Jews. I refer to these books of the Bible as the Jewish Epistles. Some of these books begin telling the reader these words were written to those exiled Jews. For instance, James 1: 1 states to the twelve tribes of the dispersion. 1Peter 1: 1 states, to the exiles of the dispersion. 2 Peter 3: 1 states that this is Peter’s second letter to those of 1 Peter. These writers are still involved trying to get Israel to believe and be baptized as per their orders from Christ. Revelation features many. many words directing the reader to the Jews. Those seven assemblies are believing Jewish “churches” They were all law-keeping but believing Jews. Peter, at the time of his writings, realized his life was ending, but he had come to an understanding of Paul’s faith and grace ministry. See 2 Peter 3: 15 where the man told the Jews to, now, look to the words of Paul for salvation.


Where to stop with such a study is difficult. I could keep typing more information on this subject, but I hope these words of this study are understandable.






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The following is from my Bible study class featuring Galatians 1.

Galatians 1 (Distortion of gospel of grace, and the gospel)

Paul, immediately, proclaimed in this letter to the gospel believers of Galatia, he is an APOSTLE NOT SELECTED BY OR THROUGH MAN BUT THROUGH JESUS CHRIST…WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD (The Gospel is mentioned again!) Paul continued …Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us… (Paul has already alluded to the gospel twice in the introduction! The gospel of salvation can be found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, and Romans 10: 9-10.)

Paul was in awe that the Gentile believers at the Galatia churches were so quickly forgetting about the Gospel of Grace doctrine he had preached to them. He is angry! Jewish, Jesus-believers were distorting Paul’s preached gospel with legalism, and Mosaic Law. The people were falling for their talks. (These Gentiles, recently out of paganism, no doubt, were very confused with all these new teachings from Paul followed by the Jesus-believing, but law-keeping, Jews.)

PAUL STATED IF A MAN OR ANGELS FROM HEAVEN PREACH ANOTHER GOSPEL OTHER THAN WHAT HE PREACHED THEY ARE ACCURSED!!! PAUL GOES ON TO DOUBLE CURSE THESE PEOPLE!! WOW!…This shows the severity and importance of the gospel message of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and other sites. What is that gospel that Paul preached? The gospel for salvation is located in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, and Romans 10: 9-10, and elsewhere.

Here is the gospel of grace for salvation Paul always preached:


Paul exclaimed to these people that the GOSPEL HE PREACHED IS NOT OF MAN. PAUL WROTE HE DID NOT RECEIVE THE GOSPEL FROM MAN NOR WAS TAUGHT IT BY MAN, BUT THROUGH THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!!!! Paul, as he often does, told of his former life of that zealous Jew with the power to arrest Jewish-Jesus believers, and even have them killed. (Remember in our Acts studies we had much discussion of Paul being a Pharisee with power.) Paul then goes on writing about how God had called him unto this service before he was born, and now revealed His son to him. (This was in part, Paul’s Damascus experience of Acts 9.)


Notice, Paul was “CHOSEN, and the RISEN CHRIST REVEALED” to him that he was to be a minister to the Gentiles. Paul DID NOT CONFER WITH MAN NOR GO TO THE APOSTLES AT JERUSALEM!! (One would think Paul would want to go the Apostles to seek what they knew about Jesus. God needed to alienate Paul from the kingdom doctrine of Peter to the Jews (Early ACTS) and reveal to him the Gospel of Grace. This gospel could not be until after Jesus died, and was raised to life, and after the Jews final rejection of accepting Christ as their Messiah at Stephen’s murder found  murder found in Acts 7!) Again God needed to alienate Paul from the apostle’s message of the kingdom. Paul went to Arabia, then after three years came back to Damascus. (Paul, no doubt, received the revelations from Christ while in Arabia, just as Moses received the law. It could take a long time to remove all the years of Jewish indoctrination, and come to understanding grace, and forgiveness over Law, especially after all the terrible things Paul had done.)

After three years Paul went to see Peter for 15 days. (At this stage Peter, no doubt, had great difficulty believing what this man Paul was saying. This is the reason for the Acts 10 visit with Cornelius. God was planting seeds into Peter’s thoughts …salvation would come to the Gentiles!) Paul, also, saw Jesus’ brother, James.

Paul expressed that he was not lying! Paul mentioned how the people marveled at his turnabout, and this glorified God, and the grace freely given! This converted Paul was still unknown to the Jewish-Jesus assemblies of Judea. However, they knew of his past against those Jewish believers of Jesus.

NOTE: Paul, after his Damascus experience, spent three years in Arabia. The original 12 apostles spent three years with Christ, Could this have any scriptural importance? I believe it does. People could NOT say that Paul only knew Christ for a short time.

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Daniel’s 490 Year Prophecy Study (Chapter 9)

By Larry A. Smail

Much confusion surfaces upon listening to and/or reading about Daniel’s prophecy pertaining to the 490 years of Israel until their Messiah comes. I must confess I have spent much time on the subject attempting to grasp exactly what was to happen and what will be happening. Sadly, few have ever heard of this prophecy.

When I began dissecting this prophecy some time ago I began observing that some events didn’t seem to “add up.” Many Bible prophecy teachers will state the Persian, King Cyrus was the king in place when Daniel’s prophecy began to come true. I, too, took the position assuming the scholars were correct after all these people would seem to be “in the know.” Assuming things at any time can lead to wrong conclusions. Unfortunately, as we shall see, some dates of events are not known, but are close. Also, we usually become programmed to believe what we are taught, hear or read without question. Remember the Jews were in captivity at this time and Jerusalem had been destroyed. (See below.)

Why 490 Years?

In brief, the Hebrews failed to obey God on his command for a land Sabbath each seventh year. (See Leviticus 25 and 26.) Prophets warned of future enslavement to Gentile countries. Seventy land Sabbaths were ignored over a 490 year time frame or seventy sevens. The Jews went into captivity for seventy years to make up for those lost Sabbaths. The Lord then gave the seventy sevens prophecy through Gabriel to Daniel ending with the coming of the Messiah and kingdom. (The 490 year prophecy was to answer for these and other sins of the Hebrew people.)

DANIEL 9: 24-26

24: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… (More later from verse 26.)

Upon studying in history books I noticed King Cyrus’ reign was 559 B.C. to 529 B.C. The confusion comes from when the king offered an edict, commandment, or decree, to allow the Jews, captured in 586 B.C.-587 B.C under King Nebuchadnezzar, to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. (Ezra 5:13) This is the decree many prophecy teachers use to begin Daniel’s 490 year prophecy. (Seventy weeks) However, upon doing any math the numbers WILL NOT ADD UP. Daniel’s prophecy of the 490 years includes 483 years to when Messiah will be cut off. Neither the 490 nor the 483 number can be used in this prophecy with any date during Cyrus’ reign. The end of his reign was at 529 B.C. That date is already over the 490 years as told by Daniel. The decree was made during the king’s first year of power, or 559 B.C. Some have tried to use “break or gap” theories to make it all work in regards with King Cyrus or attempts to juggle the numbers.

The Words do Matter! Read them carefully!

Cyrus, indeed, gave the Jews permission through a decree to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, however, the Jews met with many obstacles so their dream under Cyrus did not come to fruition. They met with hostility from surrounding neighbors. Drought and famine affected the work and the dream faltered. So, why do so many prophecy scholars use Cyrus’ decree as the starting point? Like I said the words matter! We will see this fact shortly.

I spent much time figuring on the math scenarios. I read and reread Daniel’s prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-26 attempting to unravel this mystery to me. One day I went back to the beginning of the chapter and there it was! The answer! Daniel 9:1-2 states, “In the first year of Darius….” I do not need to add any more information here. A little later on in this same chapter Daniel received the 490 year prophecy. He received this prophecy under King Darius whose reign was 522 B.C. to 486 B.C. Daniel received this prophecy during this king’s first year in power! That year was 522 B.C.! Now we are getting closer to determining facts of the prophecy. The Cyrus decree is completely ruled out as the starting point of this prophecy. BUT… the 522 B.C. date is still over the 490 years prophecy by 32 years. So neither Daniel’s 490 year prophecy, nor the 483 year prophecy until Messiah is cut off can fall into this time frame. More work is needed from history.

Darius discovered in the archives the decree of Cyrus once he was informed of it. He, also, allowed the Jews to go back to Jerusalem to work on the temple. The Jews had already ceased working there by his reign. The temple was completed under Darius. However, under history, the Jews ceased work after the temple was complete. The city of Jerusalem was not restored at this time. This is important! Now, we need to read Daniel’s prophecy again. The answer is again there! Studiers need to watch the words very closely.

Daniel 9: 25 states, “from the going forth of the commandment to RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM…” Those bold words are so important to the prophecy. Do you see it? The words are “RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM.” Remember, the temple was finished under Darius’ rule. As of this time only the edict to rebuild the temple was decreed. Daniel’s prophecy begins when the decree is ordered to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and not rebuild the temple! Notice the difference! This didn’t happen under Darius.

More years pass and Artaxerxes is the ruler. The existence in Judah had been a discouraging venture. The stress of the physical and political hardships and including the lack of morals within the Jews religious zest weakened the construction to nil. Ezra was one of the men of prominence during this time in Jewish history, as well as, Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 2 states that during Artaxerxes’ twentieth year of reign, Nehemiah approached Artaxerxes about Jerusalem. The king granted Nehemiah permission to return and RESTORE JERUSALEM! There is the first half of Daniel’s 9:25 prophecy. Nehemiah went to rebuild the wall and obtain security to restore Jerusalem. Nehemiah returned into place the Jewish priesthood and Mosaic Law back to the forefront. The Levites would return as priests in the temple along with the resurgence of the Jewish Holy days and weekly Sabbaths. (The Tribe of Levi would be the priests as per Mosaic Law during the early Israelite nation.) Ezra had a big part in this reestablishment of Mosaic Law into the Jewish populace again. Now we are even closer to having the math add up. The 490 year prophecy has begun! There is still more to work on.

NOTE: An issue on the beginning date of Artaxerxes reign needs addressed. Artaxerxes began ruling jointly in 473 B.C. with Xerxes. This occurred to allow Xerxes royal line to continue upon his passing. Artaxerxes began sole-control in 465 B.C. The problem here is where to begin the count to determine Artaxerxes’ 20th year in power and his decree to restore Jerusalem. The ascension to joint leadership in 473 B.C. seems to work very well to account for the 483 years to the cross. Most Biblical scholars use the 465 B.C. date of sole-rule and thus begin the 20 year count in the year 445 B.C. I believe the earlier date is, most likely, the year to work with at this time. Additional notes for Tiberius rule will be addressed later on to help determine the above mentioned date.

Additional Clarity of Daniel’s 490/ 483 Year Prophecy.

The King James’ Version spells out the timing of the 490 year and the 483 year time frame well. Some translations may seem vague. Daniel 9: 24-27; states, 24: “Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people (Daniel’s people were the Jews.) and upon thy holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, (The King and Kingdom) and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Christ) So, 490 years are prophesied to the Jews and Jerusalem to end the sins and iniquity until their Messiah and kingdom arrive to the nation. This is the everlasting kingdom prophesied by the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament.

25:“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; (This totals 483 years.) the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troubled times.” Once the decree is made to restore Jerusalem there will be 490 years until Messiah comes. (This will be at the Second Advent. The 49 years was to complete restoring Jerusalem.)

26:“And after threescore and two weeks (434 years or 434 + 49) shall Messiah be cut off. But not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary ;(Temple) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war of desolations are determined.” At the end of 483 years Messiah will be rejected and cut off.  The people of the prince that will come will destroy the city until the end of the war of desolations is complete. (Rome was the one to destroy Jerusalem and destroy the temple in 70 A.D., so we can safely realize of some form of the Roman Empire will be involved in the tribulation time.)

27:“And he (Antichrist, son of perdition) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; (Seven years) and in the midst of the week (Three and a half years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” This prince (Antichrist) will make a treaty for seven years and after three and a half years this man of sin will stop the Jews temple worship and the remainder of what has been prophesized will occur. These seven years are the tribulation period or the completion of the 490 years. (A form of the third temple will be erected at the time of this treaty. Israel has been planning this third temple.)

Two possible beginnings of the 490 year prophecy have now been discovered with Artaxerxes’ ascending to power, but we need to determine how the 483 years, as stated above, fits. As shown the prophecy stated that Messiah will be cut off and the timing of years equals 483 years. The common thought is to add the numbers up would be take the 453 years from Artaxerxes decree and add the thirty-three years of Christ’s time on earth. (The A.D. years.) This equals 486 years. However, if you add up the 445 years and add 33 years of Christ’s age the number is 478. Most prophecy scholars claim the cross is when Christ, the Messiah, was cut off and, indeed, the cross would seem logical to be the time Messiah was cut off with his death. Notice the numbers above do not add to 483 years as shown.

We need additional facts from history. The general thought process is Christ was born in the year 0 A.D. Those of the early “Roman church” times that did the calculation as to when Christ was born didn’t know the history apparently. (This dating method came about by a Roman abbot named Dionysius Exiguus the Little. This man was commissioned in 525 A.D. to determine the date of Easter by Pope John 1. He modified the Alexandrian System which was an Egyptian calendar reformed under Emperor Augustus. Exiguus used existing Roman calculations using the year 754 A.U.C. (A.U.C. is a Latin abbreviation meaning from the founding of the city of Rome.) or YOR (Years of Rome). His dating method was adopted by “Christian” countries. This system is known as the Gregorian System.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: In 313 A.D. Emperor Constantine issued a decree of religious tolerance and it became fashionable to be labeled a Christian. This decree was called the Edict of Milan. Christianity would become the state religion of the Roman Empire. Are you getting scared yet? Pagans of this time, now called Christians, brought their pagan traditions into this State Church and subverted it. December 25th was made into the Christmas holiday and coincided with the Roman heathen festival of Saturnalia. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 said there would be a great apostasy (Or falling away) before the man of lawlessness is revealed. It is easy to see this apostasy began very early in the church and has carried through unto this very time. So, by these very early years Paul’s gospel had been subverted in many ways. Many prophecy scholars claim the apostasy mentioned is to occur just prior to the final seven years. Upon studying the history of “Christianity” it is easy to see the continual eroding from the Christianity as preached by Paul. You should be scared by now! This “state church” was the reason the “separation of church and state” became an issue hundreds of years ago. That is another study.

King Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. from history. That fact alone means little, but read the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew 2. King Herod upon hearing of the King of Israel being born in Bethlehem acted upon the knowledge. He mandated all male babies from two years and younger be killed. Herod didn’t want any new Israeli King interfering with his power. KING HEROD WAS ALIVE WHEN JESUS WAS BORN YET HE DIED IN 4 B.C.!!! This is important!

NOTE: Historically, Tiberius Caesar came to power in 12 A.D. as a co-ruler with Augustus Caesar. He became sole-ruler in 14 A.D. Luke 3:1 and 23 states Christ was “about” thirty years old with Tiberius’ 15th year of power or 26 A.D from history. Subtract thirty years from 26 A.D. and you’ll get 4 B.C. This number is by using the 12 A.D. date of ascension to power. Fourteen A.D. will not work with 4 B.C. With this in mind it seems logical to use the early year of 473 B.C. to begin Artaxerxes rule.

With Herod’s death of 4 B.C. in mind, Jesus would have been born in 4 B.C. Christ would have been born in very early 4 B.C. for Herod died sometime afterwards in the same year just prior to Passover. Now there is, at least, a several year discrepancy using 0 A.D. as the date of Christ’s birth. Using this date of 4 B.C. would mean Christ’s life on earth after the 0 A.D. starting date would be 30 years depending on which month. (Thirty-three years minus four B.C. years equals twenty-nine or thirty. See the NOTE below on Jewish dating.) But now, adding up the 453 B.C. date of the decree and the 29 years adds up to only 482 years. Thirty years would equal 483 years.

NOTE: The Jewish system for their annual year cycle has their first month occurring in the time frame during our March-April months. I believe the cross actually occurred, most likely, in very early 30 A.D. The Jews used a lunar cycle to determine the beginning of the calendar year. This fact alone causes variables within the first day of their first month of Nisan.

I conclude the most probable time of the Messiah being cut off via prophecy would be using the cross at around 30 A.D. That would add up to the 483 years required for prophecy. However, if the term “cut off” means anything other than the death on the cross then we would need to add the date of Messiah being cut off as the timing of Stephen’s murder by stoning. The rejection at Stephen’s murder could, possibly, be a form of Messiah being cut off. Scripture goes into strong detail about Stephen’s murder so that fact must mean something of great importance.

Secondary Thought Using 445 B.C. as the Beginning of the 20th Year

Yes, Christ, most likely, died in very early 30 A.D., but very soon afterwards Israel was being preached to by the Apostles for the nation of Israel to believe and repent of their disbelief and the crucifying of their Messiah. Israel’s murder of Stephen turned everything around with Christ revealing the new dispensation or transition to Paul towards the Gentiles. Israel would be in a downward spiral. This murder of Stephen was the final rejection of Christ by Israel. The Jews could have had their Messiah until this rejection.

We can conclude Stephen’s death wasn’t long into Peter’s ministry years. I have read estimations of anywhere from one to three to five to seven years. Scripture does not tell us how many years after the cross Stephen’s murder took place. Dates I have seen are estimated from 30 A.D. to 36 A.D.

That Holy Spirit filled man’s murder was Israel’s FINAL REJECTION! In other words his death was the final rejection and the time could be thought as when Messiah was cut off from Israel! We know, scripturally that Saul was immediately introduced and he would quickly be converted and become Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles. (See Acts 7:58.) Israel was, now in a spiral towards the end! Israel would cease to exist in 70 A.D. Israel’s rejection of Christ being their Messiah had begun her decay! Israel would not believe!

NOTE: Now, by using the 445 B.C. date for the decree to restore Jerusalem and adding the twenty-nine to thirty years of Christ until the cross to 475 years. Add seven or eight years until Christ’s final rejection equals 483 YEARS. Any discrepancy here would be slight errors due to the variances of the dating systems. I do believe we, today, can determine with 99 percent accuracy as to what B.C. year the birth of Christ occurred. Errors would, probably, be within one month since we know his birth was prior to Herod’s 4 B.C. death. We know Herod died just prior to Passover of 4 B.C. Also, we can’t accurately determine the year of Stephen’s stoning. As stated above, I have seen a date varying from 30 to 36 A.D. Stephen’s stoning is a variable difficult to determine. Possibly, using a Jewish lunar calendar with accurate comparison with the Gregorian calendar along with other details we could pinpoint the date more accurately. Maybe, the exact date by Jewish calendar has recorded Christ’s death or Stephen’s murder. However, this calculation is very, very close. So, either date of the beginning of the 490 year prophecy can work out mathematically. I lean strongly to the earlier date of 453 as the twentieth year of Artaxerxes reign and thus the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

We must remember if Peter, James and John… could have succeeded to have all of the house of Israel (See Acts 2: 36.) repent of their unbelief leading to Christ’s death on the cross by believing Christ was their Promised One, the Lord would have returned when he ushered in the kingdom following the prophesized seven years of Jacob’s troubles. (Tribulation, Great tribulation…) That equals to the 490 years! (483+7) The apostles believed those seven years would be in their lifetimes. They expected to see Christ’s return. Paul believed he would see Christ’s return, as well. (Many of the New Testament writers were witnessing an increase of trouble brewing thus believing the time of Jacob’s Trouble was just ahead.)

Final Seven Years

Jesus in Acts 1 told his disciples it was not for them to know when the kingdom would come into existence. That timing of the kingdom would be partially in their hands. As stated, if Israel and the Jews would have believed Jesus was their Promised One and repented of their unbelief leading to the cross they could have had their kingdom in short order. (After the prophesied seven years.) However, the Nation of Israel rejected and Christ used Paul to take the Gospel of Grace to the Gentiles without Israel. Also, the Lord has not forgotten his promises to Israel. Israel will be involved in the future plans.

We still have seven years remaining of Daniel’s 490 years to complete the prophecy. Those years are mentioned in Daniel 9: 24 and 27. At the completion of those seven years Messiah will return with his Kingdom. Israel will be completely restored to its former kingdom glory. Peace will be realized by all. Christ alluded to this seventh year and the pause prior to this fulfillment with his words in Luke 4: 16-20 of Isaiah 61: 2. (At the time of this study, Jerusalem is being called the capital of Israel again. This will prove to be important in the fulfillment of prophecy.)

As often discussed in our other studies, Israel would cease to be a nation in 70 A.D. BUT, in 1948 Israel became a nation again. This reforming of the nation of Israel had to happen for prophecy to continue. Israel regained Jerusalem in 1967. Today Jerusalem is being called the capital again. Exciting times!

This has happened!

Sometime soon, the seven years left in the 490 year prophecy of Daniel will begin. Those seven years will be a terrible time for Israel and the world. However, at the end of those seven years the Second Advent will be reality!

The Kingdom with Christ reigning will be reality!

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NOTE: I have been doing a Bible study for around ten years now. I have attendees from the denominations of Free Methodists, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, Catholics and Lutherans. I was considering doing this study again since new people have come on board since I first read the study. With the Coronavirus issue keeping everything shut down I decided to share the study. Hope you can find some hope in these uncertain times.

By Larry A. Smail

People hearing of resurrection may have varying mindsets as to what the event actually is. In this study, we are going to use scripture to seek information, and evaluate the meaning of a Biblical resurrection.

First, we need to analyze the word, “resurrection” in regards with scripture. A resurrection is the spiritual and bodily reunion of an individual to eternal life. This body will be a glorified body. We will include scripture, later on, as to what Jesus’ glorified body consisted of prior to his ascension to heaven. How God completes this event is beyond human comprehension, but scripture has many words to express on the event. We need to remember in Matthew 19: 26, Christ states “Nothing is impossible with God.” Christians need to believe this with faith!

One may hear the word used in other ways. One may hear, sometimes, of resurrection in regard to flowers. The thought pertains to the flower drying up and dying in the fall. Flowers will again be resurrected come spring as new life emerges. However, the flowers never truly die. The bulbs: tubers, and rhizomes are still alive as winter moves onto the landscape. These roots are alive, but dormant until the warmth of spring activates the new growth. If the flower dies completely over winter, there will be no growth come spring.

A very early statement of a future resurrection comes to us in Job 19: 25-26. Job who was a righteous, and faithful man of the Lord, stated the following: “For I know that my redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has thus been destroyed then from my flesh I shall see God.” Job knew he was to die, and return to the earth, but he, also, knew he would be brought back to life, and see God on earth. This information had been revealed to Job.

David, in Psalms 17: 15, states: “As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness: when I awake, (resurrection) I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form.”

The prophet, Daniel, in Daniel 12:13, was told by an angel in regards to the end of the age: “Go your way till the end: and you shall rest, (Die) and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

In Isaiah 26:19, the prophet wrote: “The dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake, and sing for joy.

Some Verses from Christ Concerning Resurrection.

Many of Christ’s words can be found in the first four books of the New Testament. I will not include all of them, but I will list some verse references. In Matthew 12: 39-40, Jesus told the Pharisees what was to happen. These words were in regard to those people requesting a sign as to who Jesus was. Jesus said, “No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days, and three nights in the belly of the fish, so will the Son of man be three days, and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 16:4; Mark 8:1; Luke 11:30)

In Matthew 16: 21, Jesus told the twelve he would be killed and rise up on the third day. (Other verses stating this are: Matthew 17:9; Matthew 17:22; Matthew 20: 18-19; Mark 9:9; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34; Luke 9:21…)

The story of Lazarus is not a true resurrection. The story is in John 11: 38-44. Jesus’ friend, Lazarus had died. Jesus is sent for, but he delayed arriving until four days later. Lazarus had been in the grave for these four days allowing for decomposition to begin. Lazarus’ sister, Martha had hoped Jesus would have arrived before her brother’s passing. Jesus told Martha, prior to raising Lazarus to life, that her brother would rise again. Martha replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and whoever lives, and believes in me shall never die.”

Remember the definition of true resurrection. Lazarus, indeed, had been raised from death, however, he didn’t have the glorified body as Christ, and the First Fruit had, and has! Lazarus would die again in the future and be placed in a tomb.


The resurrection is the most important aspect of God’s plan for salvation for us today. Christ, himself spent three days, and three nights in the grave, or, at least, the physical part of him did. Spiritually, he spent that time in

Paradise with all the righteous individuals of the past. The word Hell actually refers to the grave.

Sometime prior to the morning of the first day of the week, Christ rose from the grave in victory over death. Take note, the Bible does not state Christ was resurrected on the first day. The evidence of the empty tomb was made known at the break of the next day when some of the women followers approached the tomb. It was empty! He had risen!

The resurrected Christ in his glorious new body spent forty days on the earth preaching about the coming kingdom. (Acts 1) He ascended to heaven and is awaiting the time of the Gentiles to be fulfilled. At that time Jesus’ Second Advent will occur. The resurrection chapters are located in Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 and John 20.

The Glorified Body

After the resurrection, as stated above, Jesus was on earth for forty days preaching about the KINGDOM! What were some of the features of his glorified body that we can know through scripture? Unfortunately, the writers did not include many details. In John 20:19, Jesus simply appeared with the disciples despite the door being shut. This body was physical, yet he had the ability to appear, and disappear. Notice, when Jesus, again appeared for Thomas’ sake, he told the man to touch his physical wounds for evidence that Jesus was actually bodily present. (John 20:27)

In John 20:30, the writer simply wrote that Christ did many things, and healings.

At another event, found in John 21: 12, Jesus called out the disciples to greet him on the shore of the lake. Jesus had a fire going. Jesus ate the fish, and bread with them.

In Luke 24: 43, scripture says Christ ate with the disciples. So, this glorified body eats food.

In Luke 24:31, Jesus appeared, and later disappeared, after meeting and dining with the two men on the road to Emmaus.

This glorified, physical, and spiritual body is capable of anything, and everything.
Paul’s Words on the Resurrection

Paul, known primarily as the Apostle to the Gentiles, had much to say in regard to resurrection. Much of what we know of resurrection comes from the words of Paul.

In Acts 24: 14-15, Paul, during his defense at Caesarea, told those in attendance of resurrection…”having hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just, and unjust.” In Acts 26:8, Paul said, “Why is the thought incredible to any of you that God raises the dead?”

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he wrote in Romans 6: 4-5, “…as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too, might walk in new-ness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall (Not may.) certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

Romans 6: 9, “For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again.”

Romans 4: 24, “It will be reckoned to us who BELIEVE in him that raised from the dead, Jesus our Lord who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

Romans 5: 21,”as sin reigned in death, grace, also, might reign through righteousness (Faith) to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10: 9-10, states the following: “because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart, and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips, and so is saved!” (Gospel)

The Apostle, Paul, goes into great depth reinforcing the truth of resurrection in his letters to the Corinthian people. These letters were in response to questions, and concerns from members of the Corinthian church.

The next paragraph is one example of the gospel needed for salvation.


In 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4. Paul reminds the members of the GOSPEL TO BE SAVED! He wrote, “I would remind you brethren, (Believers) in what terms I preached to you the GOSPEL (Good news) which you received, (These people had heard and received the gospel of grace through Paul’s preaching.)in which you stand, by which you are SAVED, if you hold it fast- unless you believed in vain. (This gospel is for salvation if you truly believe in faith.) For I (Paul) delivered to you as of first importance which I, also, received. (This message of salvation is the MOST IMPORTANT words he received from the Risen Christ.) that Christ died for our sins in accordance with scripture. (Christ was crucified so ALL could be forgiven of their sins as prophesied in the Old Testament prophecies.)that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according with the scriptures…” (CHRIST RECEIVED RESURRECTION BACK TO LIFE.)

1 Corinthians 15: 12-14, “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead (Resurrected) how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. (Jesus would still be dead.) Then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.” (Everything we have preached and everything you believed is in vain.) Paul, through verse 18 wrote of futile faith if Christ has not been raised, and we all are STILL IN OUR SINS, and those who have died have perished.

1 Corinthians 15: 20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the FIRST FRUITS of those who have fallen asleep.” (Died)

In 1 Corinthians 15: 51, Paul wrote of a revealed secret to him. “We shall not all sleep (Die) but we shall be changed. At the last trump, the dead will be raised, and we shall be changed. He wrote of the perishable putting on imperishable, and the mortal putting on immortality. (Those dead coming back to life and those believers changing to immortality occur through the resurrection.)

Galatians 3:11, Paul wrote…”He who through faith is righteous shall live.”

In 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17, Paul wrote explained that the dead in Christ (Those who had died as believers of the gospel.) will rise first, then we who
are alive shall be caught up together…

1 Thessalonians 5:9…”to obtain salvation through out Lord, Jesus Christ who died for us whether we wake, or sleep we might live with him.”

One more from the pen of Peter. In 1 Peter 1: 3-4, Peter, towards the end of his life, wrote: …”By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading..”

First & Second Resurrections

There are two primary resurrections shown in scripture. The first one will be those who have passed in righteousness, and those martyred during the tribulation period. The second resurrection will be against all those from the beginning who had died faithless, and rejected, with unbelief God’s words.

The angel told Daniel, in Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Jesus, in Luke 14: 14 talked of being repaid at the resurrection of the just.

Jesus talked of two resurrections in John 5: 29, when he stated: “…for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good (Righteous believers) to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil (Rejection and no belief) to the resurrection of judgment.

The Book of Revelation talks of the two resurrections in Revelation 20: 5 where the writer stated, that after Christ’s thousand years of the kingdom has been completed the second resurrection will occur. (Those who have been lost over time and those who had taken the mark and worshiped the beast will be resurrected after this time. This is known as the Great White Throne Judgment prior to the second death.) He, also, states blessed are those who share in the first resurrection.

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Verses Leading To Salvation
Larry A. Smail

This study will detail verses with information for attaining salvation through the words of scripture. Much confusion over this vital knowledge is found within the church system. A brief history of Christ’s ministry and the apostle’s ministry will be mentioned here to set the stage for today’s dispensation for obtaining salvation.

1. What was Jesus’ primary message during his ministry?

Christ’s primary message was to fulfill the covenant promises given by God to the patriarchs so many years in the past. This is part of the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12: 1-3 and other chapters. The Lord promised, in part, through the seed of Abraham that a blessing would occur for all families of the earth. This blessing would be a Savior to redeem the curse upon mankind and give individuals an opportunity for salvation.

Christ constantly spoke about the “kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven.” This IS, in fact, the GOSPEL, or the GOOD NEWS, OF THE KINGDOM. As stated often within our studies, one should underline or highlight every place in the first five books of the New Testament where the above-mentioned words are written. In order to fulfill the covenant promises, Jesus was, also, ministering for Israel to believe just who he was…and that was their Messiah; their Promised One; Wonderful Counselor; their King, Prince of Peace…. The Apostle Paul clarifies this in Romans 15: 8, when he wrote: “…Christ became a servant (Or a Minister) to the circumcised (Jewish People or Israel) to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy…” Historically, once Israel left Egypt, God very quickly told the budding nation the following:

Exodus 19: 5-6 states, “…if you (Israel) obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples…you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy (Set apart) nation.” (Or the Chosen people)

Isaiah 49: 6 states this speaking of Israel, “I will give you (Israel) as a light to the nations, that my SALVATION may reach to the end of the earth.”

This was what Jesus meant when he told the disciples, “… to go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” But first, the disciples needed to have Israel believe who Christ was along with the kingdom restored. At that time, Israel would become that kingdom of priests to go to the Gentiles.

History tells us Israel failed constantly. They lost their kingdom. The nation of Israel became under Gentile dominion for many, many, many years.
Israel rejected Christ’s message to have their King and Kingdom. They didn’t BELIEVE!!!! Their unbelief led to Christ’s death on the cross. Three days and three nights later Christ was raised back to life!

2. What was the message after the cross and resurrection?

Acts 1: 3 records the resurrected Christ as being on earth for forty days and speaking of the “Kingdom of God!” Jesus’ message was still the same. In Acts 1: 6, the disciples asked Christ, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The importance of this kingdom to the Jewish people cannot be understated. The Jews lost their kingdom and the magnificent Solomon’s temple way back in 586 B.C. under King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire. The hope of their kingdom restoration was of vital importance. The kingdom is just as vital to modern Jews today! They are waiting for their Messiah today, as well. The Jews have increased their plans to have their third temple now that they are back in the land of Israel since 1948. One may say, Israel has some of their land back. The Jews still need their temple and King.

3. What was the disciples’ message during their ministries?

The best example is found in Peter’s sermons of Acts 2 and 3. Peter was preaching to Jews in Jerusalem about who Christ was, his death on the cross and the resurrection and the covenant promises to Abraham. Remember, the covenant promises were for the Jews. In verse 36, Peter reminded these Jews by saying, “Let “all the house of Israel” therefore know assuredly that God has made him that God has made him both Lord  and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The Jews, now troubled over the events, wanted to know what they should do now. Peter told them to; “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (These Jews were to repent of their unbelief as to who Jesus was which led to the crucifixion. They were to then be baptized as per Jewish law as a type of cleansing or purification. If they believed, then the nation would be in a position to take salvation to the Gentiles and have their King and kingdom.) The disciples started the Jewish church of believers, yet they were still law-keeping. Important for study!

By studying the Jerusalem Council of around 50 A.D. it is easy to see there is a difference. The disciples were to continue with their kingdom message to the Jews and Paul was to stay with the Gentiles. Christ while on earth, in Matthew 10: 5-6 told the twelve to, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL.” Verse 7 added; the disciples were to preach that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN WAS AT HAND. (Jesus, scripturally, never said anything to change that course of action and it is easy to see just how Jewish his disciples remained. After all they were to work to have Israel believe. Jesus, at this time, was still here on earth during his ministry years, and the kingdom promises could have been reality if the Jews would have believed! Scripturally speaking, the disciples held true to staying with the Jews with a couple exceptions with Peter. More later on this difference. See Acts 15 and Galatians 2 to study this conference or council.

4. What caused Israel’s rejection before and after the cross?

In the simplest term…ISRAEL REJECTED CHRIST THROUGH THEIR UNBELIEF! Paul wrote in Romans 8-11 about Israel’s failure through their unbelief as to who Christ was. He wrote in Romans 11: 25 of Israel’s hardening of their hearts. Paul, also, added “until the full number of the Gentiles come in.” Israel will be given another opportunity to believe the gospel of the kingdom during the tribulation, also known as, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. (Jeremiah 30: 7) The Jewish remnant at that time will believe! Zechariah 12: 10 tells us, Israel will mourn for Christ the one they pierced. ISRAEL WILL BELIEVE!

5. What was the turning point with God’s plan with Israel?

Acts 7 gives us the story of the Holy Spirit, inspired, Jewish believer named Stephen. He was murdered by the Jews for his belief of Christ being their Promised One. Immediately in Acts 8 Saul (Later Paul) was introduced. Big changes would be coming. Israel’s future would be spiraling downward from this time until the Romans destroy Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. Israel would cease to exist as a nation. Remember since 586 B.C. Judah and Israel were under Gentile control.

6. So, what now? What was to be the next part of God’s plan? Who was to be the one during this next dispensation?

Paul would be called out of his Jewish zealous ways by the RISEN CHRIST. Romans 1: 1 states, Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an APOSTLE, SET APART for the GOSPEL OF GOD which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures.” Paul added…”according to the Spirit of holiness by his RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received GRACE and apostleship to bring about the obedience of FAITH for the sake of his name AMONG ALL NATIONS…”
Israel lost the chance to be the nation of priests to carry God’s word to the Gentiles. Paul would begin taking the word to the Gentiles now, but without Israel.

Also, in Galatians 1: 1, Paul wrote he became an apostle not through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. He added in verses 11-12: “…the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I (Paul) did not receive it from man nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (The RISEN CHRIST)

7. What is this gospel of grace and how does one obtain grace?

There are two primary places in Paul’s words that detail the process of obtaining salvation. Romans 10: 9-10 the apostle wrote: “…because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. One needs to humble themselves in prayer and truly believe from within their innermost being.

A second place in scripture is 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4. Paul wrote: “Now I would remind you, brethren in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you have received, in which you stand, by which you are SAVED, if you hold it fast-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that CHRIST DIED FOR YOUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, THAT HE WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES…”

This is the GOSPEL OF GRACE given freely for those who believe Jesus was raised from the grave unto life. This is promised through those who receive and believe Paul’s words with FAITH! (Paul added in 2 Corinthians 4:3 words about the lost. He said the gospel is hid to those who are lost or perishing.)

8. What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 6 adds: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

9. What is the difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace?

The gospel of the kingdom preached by Christ while on earth and the disciples was simply believing who Christ was and the kingdom would become reality for the nation of Israel. Israel could have had their kingdom if they would have accepted Christ as their Promised One. After the cross, Israel could have had their King and kingdom if the nation would have turned around from their unbelief as to who Christ was. Neither option occurred in Israel’s history. (Notice the difference between these two gospels. The kingdom gospel had to have all of Israel believe. With grace, an individual can be saved.)

The kingdom will be reality on earth at Christ’s second coming.

The Gospel of Grace is to believe, after the fact, of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection with complete faith and the Holy Spirit will dwell within and mercy and grace is granted. Any person who has truly believed and has received grace through faith should see a change within as the process towards being Christ-like permeates their being.

Romans 4: 3 states Abraham believed what God said and that faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.

However, works should become part of the grace experience, but works will not grant salvation!

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By Larry A. Smail

This is a rather long study, but worth the time to read and ponder.

The accounts of Christ’s birth in scripture actually give very little details. Only a handful of verses within a couple books of the New Testament give any information of his actual birth. However, there are words in Old Testament prophecies that, also, affirm the New Testament accounts.

I believe this fact of little detail was by design. Perhaps, the infinite wisdom of God knew mankind would create rituals around Christ’s birth that would greatly lesson the importance of the reasons as to why the God of heaven would come to earth as a baby only to sacrifice his earthly life for mankind. Thankfully for us this same man would arise from the grave and death giving us all the opportunity for eternal salvation. (Gospel of Grace)

Before we dive into this study of Christ’s birth, I believe, some study needs addressed from Old Testament prophecies to learn why, and how, Christ’s birth came to be.
The Jews from antiquity knew they were destined to be a great nation. After all God had made covenant promises with the Jews’ fathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… Other promises insured they were to be a special and holy nation of priests to take God’s message to the Gentiles if they only were obedient. (Exodus 19: 5-6 Also, see 1 Peter 2:9 and Isaiah 42: 6.)

In an early prophecy of Genesis 49: 8-10, the patriarch, Jacob told his twelve sons they would praise his one son named, Judah. He, also, added the scepter shall not depart from Judah. (A scepter is a ceremonial staff held by an imperial authority such as a king. This individual would be over a royal kingdom. This prophecy indicates the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Remember, Jesus has been known in scripture as the Lion of Judah. See Revelation 5:5.)

In 2 Samuel 7 beginning with verse 12, the prophet Nathan told King David prophetically that after his death his offspring would establish a kingdom or a royal house. These shows a King and Spiritual kingdom would be established through David’s lineage. This natural, or earthly, kingdom (Israel) would be corrected as needed, but God would NOT remove his steadfast love and promises. (This is why Israel became a nation again in 1948. Those promises will be coming soon.)

Nathan continued that this royal house of David or kingdom shall be forever as well as the throne. (This will happen at the Second Advent of Christ.)
Israel and Judah would be greatly chastened with falling into Gentile control. This happened over 500 years before Christ beginning with King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans. However, during much of this Gentile control, Israel’s prophets continually told of a coming kingdom and King despite Israel’s failings.

Words from Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the future King and kingdom are often heard during the Christmas season. Take note: These words were written by a Jewish prophet to the Jews. Isaiah 9: 6- 7states: “For unto us is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore.”

This King will, also, to be known as the Promised One, the Messiah and the Anointed One for the Jews. That King would be Christ! He will be King over Israel and set upon the throne of David. (Paul in Romans 15:8-12 stated: Christ came to earth to be a minster, or servant, to the Jews to confirm God’s covenant promises. This would allow the Gentiles to receive mercy and glorify God. Notice how everything fits together. Remember the scriptural verses mentioned earlier.) We know the Jews rejected Christ and they have been greatly chastised.
Micah 5: 2 tells us this ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem. This man’s origin is from of old, from ancient of days. (This is Christ. John: 1-5 calls Christ the Word who was from the beginning.)
Matthew 1shows Christ’s genealogy and begins with Jesus Christ, the son of David. Joseph, who would be the husband of Mary, is shown to be of the seed of David, too. Mary would be the young woman to give birth to Christ. (Luke 3 appears to give Mary’s lineage, but there has been debate on this. Luke wrote of

the ancestors of Christ beginning with Joseph, but then uses other names that do not fit with Matthew’s genealogy account. This can be explained for under Jewish culture the lineage is through the father. Luke, to stay within this cultural demand, appears to be using Mary’s lineage. However, after writing Mary’s father’s name Luke added Joseph’s name. This indicates both, Mary and Joseph are in David’s lineage.)

As stated, Israel had been under Gentile control for over 500 years by this time in their history. The Lord knew the timing was right to move with the delivery of Israel’s King to fulfill prophecy. He sent an angel named Gabriel to visit a young Jewish virgin. Her name was Mary. (Mari) This visit was sometime within August and September. (See writings in Luke 1: 26-38.)The Bible records this happened in the sixth month. (The Jewish calendar and new year begin with Nisan. (Abib) Nisan1 varies within our March-April time frame.)
Mary, upon seeing this angel was troubled. Gabriel told her to not be fearful for she had found favor of God. Mary was told she was to deliver a son named Jesus. This baby would be called the Son of the Most High and receive the throne of David. This son would rule forever over the House of Israel and his kingdom would never end. (Remember the prophecies mentioned above from 2 Samuel and Isaiah.)

Of course, Mary couldn’t understand how she would have a son since she had not been married. Gabriel told her she would conceive through actions of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High. The child would be called holy (Set apart) and the Son of God! Mary was faithful and agreed to do whatever was required of the Lord. (How soon did this supernatural conception take place? It is impossible to know, but I suspect this all occurred quickly.)

Mary and Joseph were betrothed. (Engaged) Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy and was to divorce her privately to avoid public shame and scandal. (Remember Joseph and Mary had not any relationship that would have led to her pregnancy.)

One can see Joseph was a man of integrity. (Under Jewish law a man could divorce a wife, or betrothed, simply by a formal act from the man with a certificate of divorce.)
However, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream explaining Mary’s pregnancy was the result of the Holy Spirit. The child, he was informed, would be called Jesus and he would save his people from their sins. Joseph was satisfied and the marriage would happen. (The story of Joseph is in Matthew 1: 18-25.)

A decree from Caesar Augustus (Reign 27 B.C.-14 A.D.) was issued for the Jews to be counted. (Luke 2: 1-5) Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth, so they would be traveling to Bethlehem, known as the city of David. This town was his hometown. Mary was very well on her way by this time to give birth. However, they headed for Bethlehem. (The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is approximately 70-80 miles depending on the route they chose to use.)

NOTE: This trip would have been organized with others in the area since traveling alone for such a distance would have been extremely dangerous. Also, remember Joseph was a carpenter. He would have had wagons of some sort to carry tools and materials. Joseph would have used such a wagon to travel to Bethlehem with supplies, needed belongings and a place to sleep.

In Luke 2: 6-7, we see Mary would give birth while in Bethlehem. (This birth would have happened sometime in May or June depending on when she conceived through the Holy Spirit and assuming that supernatural event occurred quickly after the visitation of Gabriel.) This satisfied ancient prophecies. Jesus was born, wrapped with swaddling clothing and he would sleep in a manger until a better place would be had. (Placing swaddling clothes on a baby was customary. The baby was wrapped and this method seemed to be positive for a baby. This act was to have the baby feel secure as he was in the womb and to cut down on possible scratches as the baby moved his arms around. Mangers could have been made from wood or hewn-out stones. The livestock would feed from a manger.)

NOTE: Scripture states there was no room in the inn. Jesus was born elsewhere. Christmas traditions usually use a stable or barn. Some suggest a cave. However,

many places had the living quarters upstairs and the livestock below. Jesus could have actually been born on the lower floor of some family members or friend’s abode. We simply can’t say from scripture except he wasn’t born at an inn.

There were shepherds in a field watching over their livestock at night. The livestock were, probably, sheep. (This would need to be in warmer time of the year. Spring is lambing season.) An angel of the Lord appeared to them and they were fearful as the glory of the Lord shone around them. The angel told them to not be afraid because this appearing to them was to bring about good news. That good news was of the Savior, Christ the Lord’s birth in the city of David. (Bethlehem) They would find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
A heavenly host sung praises before their eyes. They searched out this baby. These men told the news to everyone they met. (See Luke 2: 8-20.)

NOTE: I wondered about this supernatural appearing to the shepherds and if there was any significance to this. Then I thought of the men commonly referred to as the wise men. Did the Lord use the lowly shepherds to indicate all common men would, now, have hope? Shepherds were considered to be at the “bottom of the heap.” The wise men of wealth and position in society were on their way to see this King. I believe these two groups of classes were supernaturally approached by the Lord to demonstrate that this baby would cover the sins of the world regardless of cultural standings and classes of people?

At some time during this event of Christ’s birth a “Star” appeared. This star probably made its debut much prior to the actual birth. Much speculation and theories have been used to find out exactly what this star was in those ancient skies. One thing for certain the star was an event known or recognized by only a few. The star wasn’t something that impressed most of the people of the area. People educated in astronomy, or the study of the stars, saw the star. Apparently, some who knew enough of prophecies recognized this star as something very

important. Perhaps, they had visions from an angel of the Lord. Scripturally, we can’t know how their knowledge came to be. Regardless, these men began the quest to find the King of the Jews. More on the star shortly.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of King Herod. Men, some- times called Magi, from the east came to Jerusalem seeking information on a new King of the Jews. They, added, they had seen “HIS STAR” in the east and came to worship him. (Nowhere in scripture does it state there were three wise men. All we can know there were, at least, two men because of the plurality in scripture. Of course, they would have had their servants along with supplies needed to travel. They were not “kings” as per common Christian songs, but rather learned and educated men, possibly, in a study of the heavenly stars and various religious cultures. This study of stars is astronomy. They may have been priests of Zoroaster from eastern lands near Persia which is present-day Iran or Iraq. They were, most likely Gentiles, but they could have been Jews since many Jews had lived in these areas. Remember, the Jews had been carried off hundreds of years ago. Some remained in these countries to live their lives. Personally, I lean towards these men being Gentiles and practiced the ancient religion of Persia known as Zoroaster. Somehow they knew of the promise of a Messiah to the Jews. Did an angel of the Lord appear to them with words of this coming King? Did they see this from dreams? Were they to arrive in Bethlehem representing the Gentiles?) The story of the “wise men” is in Matthew 2: 1-12.

Herod was king over Judea. He was a Roman appointee who was an Arab that had converted to Judaism. These educated “wise” men came to Jerusalem to inquire as to where this King would be born. These people of Jerusalem were not aware of any star apparently, or at the least, didn’t think anything special from the appearance. This Star was not the bright illuminating star featured in Nativity images and Christmas cards. The Star was only special to those educated with such knowledge of the heavenly stars. Herod called his priests and such and was told the prophecies exclaimed the King would be born in Bethlehem. Herod wanted to

know when the star first appeared and told the “wise” men to return once this King was found so he too could go and worship him. (This proves even King Herod wasn’t aware of anything all that unusual in the night sky. Herod’s story is in Matthew 2:1-19.)

The men headed to Bethlehem. The Star appeared to them and led them to where the child was living. (Notice this time a Star led them to where the baby was staying. This star mentioned here, I believe, was an angelic-style star. Many times in scripture the word “Star” was used to indicate an angel. It seems a heavenly star was viewed by these men with heavenly knowledge. It indicated to them a King was born. But, note this star, now, went before them as a guide and stood over where the baby was. I do not see this to be the same heavenly star. This star, apparently, was for their guide only.) The men worshiped the King and gave gifts. They found the Christ in a “house.” (Some time may have elapsed since the star’s first appearance until these men first saw the star, realized the importance of it, planned to go to Judah, traveled and found the Christ. Jesus and Mary were still in Bethlehem at this time. This was, probably, the time of waiting for the eight days for circumcision and rest for Mary.) The men realized through dreams they were not to return to Herod. The wise men may have arrived about this time of circumcision for Matthew 2: 13 states after the Magi had gone Joseph was told to go and take the child to Egypt. (It is six miles between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.)

Herod was angry when he realized the “wise” men were not coming back and ordered the murder of all male babies from two years old and younger. He, apparently, through the wise men’s description as to when the original star appeared wanted to make sure that King would not live. He ordered all male babies from two years and under to be killed. Herod wanted to be thorough so he added a two year time span. (Matthew 2: 16-18)

Herod, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus, died in 4 B.C. shortly before Passover of April 9-11 in the year of 4 B.C. (My research has three dates of possible Passover for that year.)This date would mean that Christ had to have been born prior to Herod’s death. Remember Herod ordered male babies murdered from two years and under. This may indicate the star witnessed by the educated

astronomers from the east actually appeared and stayed in the sky for a period of time prior to Christ’s birth. (More details below.)
Jesus’ parents would have had him circumcised on the eighth day. (Luke 2:21) Since the travel would take time to get back to Nazareth and Mary would need to gain some strength, Jesus may have been circumcised in Bethlehem. According to Jewish law Mary would be required to go through the “Rite of Purification” This rite is found in Leviticus 12: 1-8. This purification for having a male child lasts 40 days. These facts indicate Jesus was, probably, born in early 4.B.C. shortly before Herod’s death. A 5 B.C. date could only work if the birth was very later into that year as in March 30 or the last day of the year 3757. Some claim the birth was 2 or 3 B.C. as the year of Christ’s birth. I can’t see how considering Herod’s death of 4 B.C.
By adding these known dates, I believe quickly after the eight days since the birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary headed to Egypt. Herod ordered all male babies of Bethlehem murdered. Herod died shortly thereafter and the family returned from Egypt, at the proper time to Jerusalem, to make an offering for Mary’s purification completion. (Luke 2: 22) At this time, while in Jerusalem, scripture states of a man named, Simeon who realized the baby was the Messiah.

Upon the completion of the circumcision; the escape to Egypt; the return to Jerusalem for the purification rite to be fulfilled as per Jewish law, the family returned to Nazareth. It seems apparent that the family left quickly after the circumcision to Egypt and once Herod died they returned to Jerusalem immediately.

Although, many of the traditional ideas of the Christmas season do not fit into the reality of those times, it is important to realize his birth is what truly is important. The world would have a Savior and an opportunity to see salvation if they believe that Jesus died for their sins was buried and rose from the grave.

One needs to believe Jesus died for their sins to have forgiveness of sins. One, also, has to believe Jesus rose from the grave to receive salvation.

1. The prophetic time was right for the King of the Gentile-controlled nation of Israel. Mary was approached by the angel Gabriel to announce she would give birth of the Messiah. Daniel’s 490 year prophecy dictated when the birth would need to be. (Found in Daniel 9.)
2. Joseph was told the same information through a dream and they married.
3. The STAR has, probably, had already been in the heavenly nights with only a few understanding the significance of the appearing.
4. Joseph and Mary began the trek to their hometown of Bethlehem as commanded by law for a census.
5. Mary gave birth while in Bethlehem. This fulfilled prophecy.
6. Shepherds came that night due to the appearance of a heavenly host of angels with an announcement of the birth of a Savior.
7. The Magi show up sometime around the eight day law pertaining to circumcision. The Star led them to the house where the baby was now living. Joseph, via a dream, learned of Jesus’ peril and immediately moved the family to Egypt after the Magi had left. Herod placed an order for all males of Bethlehem two years old, and younger, to be murdered.
8. Herod died shortly after and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to complete the forty day Purification Law of the Jews for Mary’s birth of a male child. The notes here of 7 and 8, above, would require all of these events to fall within a forty day time period. This would include the birth of Jesus; the eight day until circumcision; the wise men visiting; Joseph’s dream to go to Egypt; Herod’s death, the travel to Jerusalem to complete the offering and forty day time of Mary’s purification. That is a lot happening in a short time.
9. The family moved back to Nazareth to await the ministry of Christ at thirty years of age.

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