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1 Corinthians 15 (GOSPEL MESSSAGE FOR SALVATION; RESURRECTION)

We are now at a place in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that has much to say. This chapter has vital Biblical doctrine within. Paul reminded the carnal, Gentile believers of the gospel he had preached to them. Paul continued reminding them of this message of the gospel they received by which they were SAVED, but only if they hold fast through faith. Otherwise they BELIEVED in vain.(Verses 1-2) Paul continued with the gospel message he had received from the Risen Christ, and delivered to them, and us today. (See Galatians 1.)

THE GOSPEL OF GRACE 1 CORINTHAINS 1-4

I remind you brethren in which 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 IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, (Old Testament prophecy) THAT HE WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES … Paul added, and he appeared to Cephas (Peter) and the twelve…

Paul explained that the Risen Jesus had been seen by over 500 people, and lastly by Paul, himself. Paul reminded them of his past as a Jewish zealot persecuting the early Jewish, Jesus believers, known as the Way. (This was before his conversion, and having the Grace doctrine revealed by Christ in Arabia. See Galatians 1.) Paul stated he was saved by the Grace of God, and because of his past has worked harder than the disciples.

From the words of their letter, Paul realized some of the Corinthians were having doubts about resurrection. (Like today, there were always those trying to deviate from truth, and Biblical doctrine willing to cause doubt, and confusion.) Paul expressed  that his preaching, and your faith, would be in vain if resurrection be untrue. If Christ hadn’t risen from death then no one would be resurrected either. Everybody will still be with sin. All that have already died were perished. (This should make one think!!)

However, Paul reassured the Corinthians that Christ, the first fruit, did rise from the tomb! He compared Adam whose actions brought about death, and the second Adam (Christ) brought about life! Resurrection had an order in God’s plans. Christ first, then at His coming, the believers. Then the end of the age (Commonly called the Age of the Gentiles in various places in scripture.) will come only because of the Risen Christ, and then the Kingdom that was preached by Christ and the disciples to the Jews will be reality! (Early Acts)

NOTE: This is not simply a spiritual resurrection. This is a bodily resurrection of the physical and the spiritual. Those in this resurrection will have a glorious body as Christ. Can you even imagine this?

Christ will put all his enemies under his feet. (In other words he will conquer all the enemies including DEATH!) Death will be the final enemy to be destroyed.

Some were being baptized in behalf of dead loved ones. Paul emphasized this fact of him being in potential daily peril as he preached of the Risen Christ. Why would Paul do that if the dead be not raised. He spoke of the beasts of Ephesus, where Paul was threatened with death by the idol-loving Ephesians. (See Acts 19; 23-41.) Paul stated the baptism (Holy Spirit baptism.) was not because of a dead man but for a raised man! Paul stated how his well-being was forever in danger. Why would Paul face these mounting issues, and threats? The answer: Because of the Risen Christ!

At God’s time all worldly authorities, powers and kingdoms will be placed under Christ’s subjection including death! This is the last enemy to be destroyed.

Paul compared the glorified, and risen, body to a kernel of wheat. The resurrection of the dead is just like the rebirth of a dead seed. The body is sown perishable, in dishonor, and in weakness, but the body is raised in glory, and with imperishable strength. The grain has to die before it can germinate into a complete new living plant. So are our bodies. He made other comparisons from the natural world too. The dead are like that. Paul compared Adam, and Christ again. Adam was of the natural body, and Christ was the Spiritual body.

Adam was from the earth. (Natural) Christ came from heaven. (Spiritual) The famous verse of Romans 15: 50, Paul told the believers that the man of flesh, and blood will not inherit the kingdom.

(Note the pronouns used by Paul.) A mystery revealed by Christ to Paul: WE shall NOT all sleep, (Die) but we believers will be all changed in an immeasurable amount of time. The dead will be raised perfect (non-corruptible)and the believers on earth will be changed.  This is commonly called in English the “Rapture”! (See 1 Thessalonians 4-5.) The perishable body will become imperishable, and immortal!

Beginning with verse 54 some famous words of Paul. He wrote, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy victory. O Death where is thy sting? He continued, the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law…God who gives us the victory through Christ.

Paul told these believers to be steadfast, strong in the faith, and victory by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ!. (This is to not listen to the believing Jews, or false teachers. Such people were, and are, always distorting Biblical truth.)

 

 

 

 

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Air Force Cadet Chapel

The Colorado trip is winding down and the travel east is about to begin. However, a stop at the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs was on the agenda.

A number of small-scale war planes are on site.

Those individuals entering this academy will have a four-year program earning a Bachelor of Science degree. Upon

Inside the chapel

graduation the graduates are awarded the rank as Second Lieutenants. The program is demanding, but those who complete are the best of the best.

Looking up at a plane we witnessed a small plane towing and releasing a glider. In fact we saw this twice while we were on site.  This is part of the training.

Locally, a beautiful; chapel stands tall. In fact the spirals are 150 feet high. Protestants, Catholics, Jewish and Buddhists all have their own worship areas. Also, faith rooms are present for other faiths. The cost of this chapel was three and a half million dollars.

 

 

 

 

Jewish “synagogue”

 

 

 

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Notes on Christ’s Birth

NOTES ON CHRIST’S BIRTH

By Larry A. Smail

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 1 shows 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

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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.)

GABRIEL’S APPEARANCE TO MARY

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.)

JOSEPH’S ISSUE

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.)

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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,

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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.

THE SHEPHERDS

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?

THE STAR

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

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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.

THE “WISE” MEN

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.

KING HEROD

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

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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

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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 after eight days. (Luke 2:21) Since the travel would take time to get back to Nazareth and Mary would need to gain some strength, Jesus would have been circumcised by priests 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 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.

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. 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.

THIS IS GRACE.

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THE BIRTH OF CHRIST IN BRIEF

  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.
  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 periods. 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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The following is a review study for an upcoming Bible study I shall be doing. The original 13 pages of the detailed study can be found on my September 28 and 30, 2016 entries.

A REVIEW OF THE THREE DISPENSATIONS

By Larry A. Smail

Much time has elapsed since we have studied the first four books of the New Testament through the early chapters of Acts. I believe a review may be needed to remind us of the three dispensations over that forty year time frame of transitions. Remember, dispensations are times of transitional changes. As stated, this time frame covered approximately forty years from Christ’s ministry; the cross; resurrection; the disciples’ Jewish kingdom messages; Paul’s Gentile, believing with faith, message; ending with Israel’s removal from the scene in 70 A.D.

I believe it is sad that these facts of scripture are seldom to, mostly, never heard. The usual attempt has been to try to pick and choose from scripture to fit the pre-conceived years of thought and teachings. Also, most people attempt to place all these dispensations in a blender, but they need to remain separate and understood just where they stand in scripture. This is especially true due to the fact these dispensations are scriptural and provable upon a willingness to see for oneself and throw aside any pre-conceived or denominational teachings.  Once these times are understood the Bible will open up like you never thought possible!

FIRST DISPENSATIONAL TIME

Jesus’ ministry included many, many signs, wonders and miracles. Why did Jesus do these things? He was proving to the Jews just who he was! Jesus was their Promised One; their King and ready to usher in the promised kingdom on earth. This is known as the Kingdom of the Gospel. The only “catch” was the Nation of Israel had to BELIEVE HE WAS THEIR PROMISED ONE! All those parables Christ used to teach were directed to the Jews of Israel to help them grasp their coming kingdom, if they would only believe. This is the NUMBER ONE TIME OF DISPENSATION AND THAT WAS TO BELIEVE WHO JESUS WAS! That takes a faith the Jews didn’t have despite seeing so many miracles!

In Romans 15:8 we can learn why Christ came to Israel. Paul wrote: …Christ became a minister (Servant) to the circumcised (Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, (Faithfulness) in order to confirm (Fulfill) the promises given to the fathers; (Covenant promises of Genesis.) in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. (Grace)   Read again using words in parenthesis.

Remember, in Exodus 19: 5-6 when God told the young nation of Israel if they were obedient to the covenant they would be his own possession (Chosen People) among all people (Gentiles)…and they were to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation!       WOW!

Despite the miracles, the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, rejected Jesus leading to the cross and his death. They could not accept this man, but anything, other than a man of Nazareth. Israel would not be that kingdom and not be that holy nation of priests and they would not be taking God’s mercy to the Gentiles from the Exodus 19 words of God. However, Israel would be given another chance.

Jesus was hastily entombed to beat the HOLY “ANNUAL” SABBATH of the Feast of Unleavened Bread including Passover. The timing of this was exact since prophetically Christ would be required to be in the grave for three days and three nights. (See Matthew 12: 38-41.) This would prove beyond doubt that he had died! Also, Christ to be the sacrificial Lamb had to be killed during Passover season to become the savior.

On the Sunday morning following the WEEKLY SABBATH the tomb was found to be empty. Christ was resurrected from the dead! Annual Sabbaths can occur any day of the week. (Note the differences in the two Sabbath times. Important!) Weekly Sabbaths begin on Friday evening at sunset and go to Saturday evening.

After his resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on the earth in his glorified body to add more proof as to who he was! During those forty days what did Christ talk about? He talked about the very same thing as he did during his ministry…the KINGDOM! (See Acts 1:3.) Israel was to receive a second chance to believe Jesus was their Promised One! Their KING! Their Messiah! Christ was “setting the stage” again for what was very soon to begin…that second chance for Israel!

The disciples asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel, now. Christ told them it was not for them to know. However, their success or failure with the Nation of Israel would determine when that kingdom would come to reality. Israel’s first opportunity to be that Exodus 19 nation was over!

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SECOND DISPENSATIONAL TIME

After Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples began the second dispensational time for Israel. Peter, James, John… preached, as did Jesus, the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom to who?…The JEWS. There is no Gentile language here at all!

However, this dispensational time was a little different than what Christ preached. In Acts 2 and 3 Peter preached to whom?  He preached to the NATION OF ISRAEL, the JEWS, after the cross. Notice the Jews had to repent first.  Ask yourself, repent of what? The answer is twofold. The Jews needed to repent of their UNBELIEF AS TO WHO JESUS WAS WHICH LED TO CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS! And, they, now, needed to BELIEVE CHRIST WAS INDEED THEIR KING AND CLEANSE THEMSELVES AS PER JEWISH LAW VIA BAPTISM!

Notice Peter’s language here; if ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL repented and was baptized Christ would return and bring along the promised kingdom. (This is the Gospel of the Kingdom.) There is still no Gentile language being used here!  Many did as Peter preached, but it must be understood these Jews became part of the ASSEMBLY OF JEWISH BELIEVERS. (The Greek word is ecclesia which means “a called out assembly.”) Most everyone thinks these are Christians, but they were still law-keeping, works required, religious Jews with the only difference being they believed Christ was their Promised One. These Jewish believers attended synagogues and the temple; ate only foods allowed by Jewish law; followed all Jewish feast days; (Annual Sabbath times) Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset weekly Sabbaths, law-keeping, circumcision, etc. Notice Peter, also, used other words such as: men of Israel and men of Judea to describe the people who he was addressing. Jesus never once told them to do anything other than go to the Jews. (See Matthew 10: 5-7.)

For more proof on this fact study Acts 10 where Peter went to a Gentile against his will because, as he stated; you know it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a Gentile. Read Acts 11: 19 for more proof.

Also, study Acts 15 and Galatians 2 on the Jerusalem Council. This meeting occurred about twenty years after the cross. The decision was the twelve would 3.

continue with the Jews and Paul would continue with the Gentiles. More understanding is available upon reading the disciples’ epistles and to the people they were directed. They were written to the Jews in dispersion. You seldom hear of these realities on a Sunday. Read and study for yourself.

I realize this is not what the vast majority understand today, but these Jesus-believing Jews were not Christians as we have come to understand Christianity today. Labeling these Jewish believers as Christians causes much confusion in studying the Bible. However, if any Jew repented of their disbelief and was baptized they would still be saved under that dispensation. They were doing what they were supposed to do at that time and that was to have Israel believe Jesus was their Promised One! These Jews did not hear of believing only with faith.

In fact, the Holy Spirit first directed the writer in Acts 11:26 to address these faith-based Gentiles as Christians for the first time under Paul’s preaching. This fact alone must demonstrate the importance of the differences between the law following, but believing, Jews and the faith-based only believing Gentiles. However, under grace there were some Jews who would become Christians through faith and abandoning their religion of law, or Judaism. (This was the entire reasoning behind the Book of Hebrews and that was to convince believing Jews to abandon Law to complete faith only. More details under the third dispensation.)

A major event occurred approximately nine years after the cross. In Acts 7, a Holy Spirit inspired man named Stephen was murdered by the non-believing Jews. Although, they didn’t know it, this murder would lead to the steady decline of Israel into oblivion. This was Israel’s final rejection. Jesus’ disciples continued to preach to the Jews hoping the Nation of Israel would repent and believe who Christ was just as they were supposed to do. The above statement concerning Exodus 19: 5-6 would continue to be on hold. Israel would not become that special nation of priests to take the word to Gentiles. That would have to wait! This will occur during the time of the Second Advent of Christ. The Jews will, again, preach the Gospel of the Kingdom during the final seven years. (This is the time Christ prophesied about during the Oliver Discourse. I believe the144, 000 Jews of Revelation will be the Jews carrying this gospel kingdom to the world.)

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A zealot Jew, named Saul, immediately rose to the forefront at Stephen’s murder. He instituted a great persecution against those Jews who had become believers in Christ as their Messiah. They were known as the WAY!  He hated anything to do with the man, Jesus.  He was a Pharisee, so he donned a lot of power.  He created widespread fear on these Jewish believers. He had them tortured, imprisoned and killed if they refused to renege on their beliefs. Many believers fled to Gentile countries to get away from Jerusalem and Saul! (See Acts 8:1.) Saul, however, headed for Damascus to remove more of these believing Jews.

Saul was immediately converted on the road to Damascus when the Risen Christ made himself known to him. (Acts 9) He was fearful since the very same person he was trying to stamp out of the area was, now confronting Saul, OUCH!

Saul would, shortly, learn what his role was to be in this plan of God. He would be taking the message to Gentiles since the Jews had lost their opportunity to follow through with the Exodus 19: 5-6 words from God. Like I said, Israel was in decline! The Lord was using another Jew to do what the nation of Israel failed to do and that was to take the gospel of grace, or faith only, to the Gentiles.

Prior to Saul having his mission revealed went to the Jews in the Damascus Synagogue and preached what? He told them the exact message of the other disciples at this time and that was that Jesus was their Promised One. Saul would learn more of his message from the Risen Christ. Saul, soon to be Paul, would be the APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES. Paul would be learning the mysteries of God and going to the Gentiles and all mankind with his words.

THIRD AND PRESENT DISPENSATIONAL TIME

In Galatians 1:17, we learned that Paul went to Arabia sometime, soon, after his conversion for three years. Lots of time would be needed to separate Paul from his strong Jewish indoctrination, Law-keeping ways, and being a Pharisee. Christ began teaching him the mysteries of God pertaining to grace! This time in Arabia strongly implies as this time period when the Risen Christ revealed his mission to the Gentiles. As stated, Paul would learn of grace through faith through the Risen Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12.) The Risen Christ taught him of

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the faith through believing, grace doctrine. All through Paul’s writings this doctrine is easily viewed. Watch for the key words and phrases such as: gospel of God; grace; gospel of his Son; gift of his grace; raised from death; faith apart from works; grace of God; abundance of grace; believes… And these are just from the Book of Romans! Look for such key words in all of Paul’s writings!!!

This is, in fact, the THIRD, AND PRESENT, TIME OF DISPENSATION FOR SALVATION THROUGH FAITH ONLY! NO WORKS . Paul, actually, calls this time of dispensation by the name in some translations. (Ephesians 3) In Ephesians 2: 8-9, Paul wrote of GRACE strongly and amplified the words of NO WORKS! PAUL BECOMES THE MINISTER FOR THE GOSPELOF GRACE!

LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KINGDOM AND GRACE GOSPELS!

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 states very well of THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION. PAUL WROTE TO BE SAVED ONE IS REQUIRED TO BELIEVE IN FAITH THAT CHRIST DIED, WAS BURIED AND ON THE THIRD DAY ROSE AGAIN.  Notice how under the first and second dispensation the nation of Israel was required to believe. Under grace an individual can be saved. An individual may be saved be he/she either a Jew or Gentile, now.

If you feel you need to work for salvation then the gift of grace isn’t a gift at all. Paul stated in Romans that if you do anything other than believe with faith you are doing actions crucifying Christ again.

Whenever, God deems the time of the Gentiles to be over, the kingdom gospel will return, as stated above, for that kingdom was foretold many times to Israel. This will become reality upon Christ’s return! Those covenant promises are very much still in place with Israel.

 

 

 

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I BELIEVE

I have been working on another CD for quite some time. The Cd is called, “I BELIEVE” and is a selection of gospel songs. Deciding on what songs to do proved to be an interesting process for me. I determine what songs to use when I listen to a series of songs and then play any particular song if it is heard continuously within my thoughts. In other words, when I keep hearing a song in my head I believe that must mean something to me. I then consider that particular song. So the selections I am using comes from a number of styles of music. If the song stays in my head the song went on the list!

As I write this entry I have fourteen songs ranging from complete to varying stages of completion. I need some harmonies to complete along with steel guitar and fiddle work. I may add piano and keyboards on a few. I do all guitar work including bass guitar. My melodious voice did all the lead vocals.

This CD, hopefully, will be completely finished within a couple of months.

Current Songs: You’re Worthy Of My Praise; Climb Higher; I Believe; Bless My Soul (10,000 Reasons); I Have A Maker; Come Morning; Revelation Song; Help Me; I Can’t even walk; Wasted Years; Mercy Walked In;  Ancient Words; When He Was on the Cross; Thanks To Calvary

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THOUGHTS ON THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION TIME FRAME

by Larry A. Smail

As early as my late teens, I began to question how anyone may add up the time from a Friday crucifixion and late day burial to a Sunday morning resurrection as three days, and three nights. Of course, I elected to remain quiet on these thoughts for fear of being stupid, and uninformed. After all, the world honors Christ’s death on Good Friday with Easter on Sunday morning. I must not be understanding something!

These thoughts would surface from time to time usually around the Easter season. However, I began studying for answers. One argument I heard was that the Jews counted even a small amount of time on any given day as a “day”. I didn’t buy it! This, to me, sounded like someone trying to make the traditional Easter time frames fit into their traditional beliefs. I needed to study scripture.

Let’s look at some scripture to discuss this most important event for true Christianity.

Matthew 12: 38-40 Some of the scribes, and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher we wish to see a sign from you.” Jesus answered them, “An evil, and adulterous generation seeks a sign; BUT no sign shall be given to it except the sign of 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.”

There you have Christ’s own words concerning the only sign needed to prove who he was, and is! This language occurs several other places in the Bible. The only sign to be given was to be Jesus in the tomb for three days, and three nights. So, who am I, to say any other words other than Christ’s own words as to the importance of this sign!!!

Why is this sign so important? That time frame would guarantee without question that Jesus was truly dead! Skeptics would jump at a lesser time. They would state Jesus wasn’t actually dead only unconscious, and other fallacies.

WHAT WE KNOW FROM SCRIPTURE

Matthew 27: 45: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. The sixth hour would be noon, and the ninth hour would be 3:00 in the afternoon. The Jews began a “day” at 6:00 A.M. our time to 6:00 P.M. Night was 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. This is important to remember!)

Matthew 27: 50:  And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit around the ninth hour. (3:00 P.M. our time)

John 19: 31:  Since it was the day of Preparation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Passover events the Jews did not wish any of the bodies remaining on the cross over the Sabbath time. Joseph of Arimathea requested of Pilate to remove Jesus’ body before sunset. (This annual Sabbath was a high Sabbath, and can occur any day of the week. IMPORTANT! Preparation of this Sabbath had to occur prior to the evening sunset.)

Matthew 27: 57: When it was evening… Joseph of Arimathea requested permission for Jesus’ body… and placed him in a tomb, and the tomb was sealed. (This would take some time to accomplish to beat the quickly coming High Sabbath beginning at sunset.

John 20: 1: (all 4 gospels) Now on the 1st day of the week…  (Sunday is the 1st day of the week, and we know the women went to the tomb early on the 1st day of the week)

To allow for the 3 days, and 3 nights, as told by Jesus Himself the high Sabbath would need to be on a Thursday of that year.

Jesus, to fulfill His own promise, could have been resurrected anytime after Saturday’s (Weekly Sabbath) sunset. (The weekly Sabbath occurs Friday evening at sunset, and lasts until Saturday at sunset.)

The above mentioned facts are known from scripture, and Jewish culture, and law. The best way to determine that time frame is begin counting back from the early Sunday morning visit to the tomb. The tomb was already empty at that early time of the day.

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CRUCIFIXTION & RESURRECTION

TIMELINE CHART

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WEDNESDAY           THURSDAY              FRIDAY           SATURDAY

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Cross, burial                   DAY 1                       DAY 2                 DAY 3

 

______________________________________________________________________________

NIGHT 1                       NIGHT 2                    NIGHT 3             Resurrection

 

______________________________________________________________________________

Jesus, to fulfill scripture would have been resurrected at sunset after the weekly Sabbath. Burial occurred just prior to sunset on Wednesday evening to beat the Annual High Sabbath. The Passover feast days, along with two Jewish Sabbaths would not allow the women to show up prior to Sunday morning. Jesus became the Passover Lamb at this time. The time frame insured Jesus would be in the tomb for three days, and three nights to fulfill prophecy.

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THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE…THE TRUTH

At most every turn in America these days the “political correct” mentality rules over the thoughts of far too many. Our American culture has declined in liberty and freedoms because of this way of thinking. Self-thinkers are becoming increasingly rare! One basic right of Americans is the Freedom of Speech found in our Bill of Rights. So many people seek anything they can find to announce another’s word or action as offensive. Lawyers are making fortunes with these people. Today, if one says anything at all chances are someone will be offended. Many years ago while still in school I announced the PC culture, that was beginning to really take hold, would cause the decline in American values. I hate it when I am right!

Today, political correctness has evolved for over fifty years and a cry has been shouted around daily. That cry  of the left is “Separation of Church and State!” Usually the additional word of “unconstitutional” is included somewhere in the cry…you know for added emphasis! These words are screamed constantly with anything pertaining to Christ or God in a public place, and I mean anything. The courts have been used as a tool to complete the left’s attacks. And many courts proudly use their personal agendas to accomplish the goals. Astronomical expenses will occur to fight these challenges. Many succumb rather than spend their precious and limited funds to fight the courts. I believe it will be only a matter of time that the attacks will filter into private displays of anything deemed Christ-like. This is the signs of the times we live. Examples are happening almost daily of such attacks. One recent example pertained to a  teacher wearing a cross necklace. Yes, this is how bad the PC world has become. Commonsense is gone!

Christ-based holidays, even the secular ones, have been attacked constantly. One seldom hears the Christmas songs played during the holiday season if a reference to Christ is included in the lyrics. You’ll happily hear Grandma Got Run Over By A reindeer. (Not me, however.)  The Christmas holiday and Easter have become 90% secular in America culture.

The truth of the phrase, “separation of Church and State” has a completely different origin as we would suspect upon listening to the medias and politicians. Those words actually began many years ago as they were shouted by prominent ministers in the 1500 era of England.  The phrase would enter to the land of America during the 1600 time span as Europeans escaping religious persecution traveled from across the sea! The phrase was used by Bible-oriented ministers and colonists. Yes, the phrase was used by leaders of the Christian faith and not the secular world. This is a far cry from what we are all are lead to believe in today’s left-leaning world. Also, few Americans know the facts and believe the left may be correct because our government court system has permeated this falsehood as well. You have heard about if a lie is told enough the lie will become factual. This has all occurred since World War 2.

Thomas Jefferson is usually given credit for the separation of Church and State. He wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to clarify the issue. The ministers were concerned over potential issues of their freedoms from the state. Today, the words in this letter are used against Jefferson’s real response since he actually used the phrase.. The letter reaffirmed Jefferson’s belief on a “wall of separation of Church and State,” however, he was reaffirming the churches freedoms from any meddling into their beliefs from the state. This letter because of the phrase used has been constantly brought up as Jefferson’s belief that anything of Christ not be used in a public place controlled with taxpayer’s expense, etc.

As stated, the history of the “separation of Church and State” phrase goes back much further. The real reason ministers pushed for separation of Church and State began around 390 A.D. under Roman Emperor Theodosius. This man assumed control of the church and decreed Christianity as the official religion of the empire. This would not be a true Christianity! This decree allowed the State (Government) to have control over what could be preached and what the people had to believe. The people would be required to enforce any mandated, religious doctrines of the State.

Anybody who studied the history of Christianity will see the many atrocities committed by the State rulers using the name of Christ as a catalyst for justification. Many Christians, not adhering to the State’s form of Christianity, were tortured; imprisoned and executed by those leaders of the state-controlled Church. And these acts were done by those professing to be Christians, as well. Of course, these people were not true Christians by any means. True Christianity would never commit to such acts of brutality. However, many of the world believe if anyone professes to be a Christian then they must be one and any such actions are permissible as a Christian. WRONG! One poll I have seen claimed 80% of Americans believe they are Christians. I would like to know the reasons these individuals believe they are Christians. I imagine their reasons are wide and varied and not Bible-based.

True Bible-based ministers, in time, demanded that the State separate themselves from the Church. One man and clergyman named Richard Hooker first used the phrase of separation of Church and State.

King Henry VIII started the Anglican Church upon wanting to get divorced. His new church would allow the divorce as needed. Also, Parliament passed laws as to who could take communion and who could be ministers. This added more control over the Church. Are you seeing the trends?

A Reverend John Greenwood was executed for stating a separation was needed. This man started a congregation attended by many English Pilgrims. Parliament passed a law of anyone denying Queen Elizabeth 1 of church supremacy would be imprisoned without bail. Pilgrims began traveling towards the New World of America to escape such laws being enforced upon their beliefs. The Pilgrims believed the government had no right to plant churches by power and force laws and penalties the State deemed correct.

As previously stated, Theodosius took the Church over in 390 A.D. The centuries following lead to even more rulers of the State mandating all church authorities to follow whatever religious doctrines the State decided as doctrine. These many years had a complete lack of religious tolerance. These were the centuries where all the negative attributes of Christianity occurred. many of which are still used today to combat anything Christ-like. A couple of examples of the past were the Inquisition and the Crusades.

Those calling themselves the Puritans began fleeing soon afterwards. Puritans were having their noses sliced, ears cut off and brands placed on their foreheads for not adhering to State-controlled Churches. Over the next hundred years or so many others left for America. These individuals including Jews, Quakers, Anabaptists, Huguenots and Lutherans were part of this migration from religious persecution. William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania, was a Quaker.

Christ is Matthew 24 prophesied of a great “falling away” prior to his Second Advent. Paul in  2 Thessalonians 2:3 stated of a Apostasy prior to the revealing of the Wicked One during the latter days. Apostasy  means to fall away from sound Christian doctrine.This false Christianity permeated the world for these many years. I believe the apostasy mentioned above has been in effect since the very early years of the church’s establishment.

However, there were bright times in Christianity. Bible-oriented leaders began efforts to reform the terrible abuses of the State-controlled Christianity. These were the cries of true separation from the State. Many of these leaders would face tremendous persecution even death. All through the decades the State has controlled and abused the Church. By the time of the New World colonies early years the idea of “separation of Church and state” was firmly planted within the populace’s thinking. Many had witnessed the abuse of the State-run church. They wished to avoid such control in their new world if possible. This mind-set had become prominent with the colonies independence from England in 1776. Read the Declaration of Independence for yourself and you will notice the issues these Americans had with England at that time. So, it is no wonder the Founding Fathers included the Freedom  Religion in the new Bill of Rights. In fact this right was listed as the First Amendment.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

“Congress  shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The idea of “Separation of Church and State” in America changed drastically in 1947.  Many have become completely ignorant of this reality. A supreme court ruling in 1947 used Jefferson’s words of “separation of Church and State” to rule in favor of actually keeping religion from all walks of life concerning public places. HOWEVER, the court did not use the remaining words of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. They used only the phrase! The new America of shame would be now become the normal way of thinking. Later, in the early sixties an atheist found a sympathetic court to the 1947 ruling and the reading of Bibles in schools became the attack. Now, prayer in school is against policy. If a kid would draw a symbol of religion he/she could be disciplined. This is why having the right judge is so important in America. Remember the original intent of separation was to keep the State from meddling, interfering, and controlling the Church’s beliefs, doctrines and expression. The phrase was never  supposed to be used to remove crosses; Ten Commandment monuments, Bibles from the schools; public prayer for graduation ceremonies, Christmas songs and the like. The “separation of Church and State” was to protect such liberties!  Words were spoken stating, “The separation of Church and State does not mean the exclusions of God, righteousness, morality from the State.”  

Now armed with the above knowledge as presented above read the First Amendment again!

The “separation of the Church and State” was intended by our Founding Fathers to keep government away from governing Christianity and not to be intrusive to Christianity. The Founders knew very well what had happened to the European Churches once the state controlled it all. They wanted their new government to not be as the State had been in Europe for those many, many years. Wow! We have come a long way from the original intent!!!!!

 

 

 

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