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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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PAUL’S “GENTILE”  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION 

 

The next and present dispensation of time would be using Saul (Paul) to take a new transition of the Gospel of Grace for salvation to the Gentiles. This is commonly called the Church Age! Paul in, Ephesians 3: 2-6:  wrote these words from the King James Version, …you have heard of the

DISPENSATION of the GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you: How that the revelation he made known to me the mystery…when you read you may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ; which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles, and prophets by the Spirit… (KJV) (This was a new revealed dispensation! More on this later.)

 

Also, in Colossians 1: 25, Paul again spoke of dispensation. (KJV) He said, “I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me, to fulfill the word of God; the mystery which has been hid from all ages… but now is made manifest to his SAINTS.” Paul added words of the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles…  Below is the story as to how Paul became a minister to the Gentiles.

 

In Acts 9, Saul, near Damascus, was blinded by Christ in order to see the Light! (No pun intended.) Saul armed with letters from Jerusalem was out to arrest any of those Jews who had believed Jesus was their Messiah. (The Way.) Remember, these Jews had left Jerusalem to escape Saul’s wrath after Stephen’s death. (Acts 8:1, and 9:1-2)

 

Once his blindness was healed Saul went to the Damascus synagogue to preach what?  Paul preached that Jesus was the Promised One as did the disciples. (Acts 9: 19-22) Wait for the next change is to come! At this time, the mystery of Grace hadn’t been revealed to Saul.

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Peter, around this time frame, visited a home of a Gentile, named Cornelius, against his will, and against Jewish law. This is proof Peter was still a law-

keeping Jew at this time. So, we can see Peter, at the time of this event, was still going only to the Jews. In Acts 10: 28, Peter even reminded Cornelius it was unlawful for a Jew to be with a Gentile.

 

However, Peter told the story about Jesus to these Gentiles. These Gentiles believed, and the Holy Spirit was received. In Acts 10: 45, scripture states Peter, and the accompanying Jews, were amazed the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit! Peter then baptized the Gentiles, as per custom. Have you seen the dispensational transition at this time?  Remember, in early Acts the program was that the Jews had to belief Jesus was their Messiah by repenting of their unbelief, and being baptized. These Gentiles received the Holy Spirit through believing only! Baptism came about afterwards only because Peter knew he was to do it with the believing Jews!

 

Peter knew something new and unique was happening, but did not totally grasp it at this time. God had commanded Peter to go to Cornelius to show things were changing as Israel’s rejection continued. God would use this experience of Peter to aid Paul’s Gentile ministry at the Jerusalem Council of around 50 A.D., and twenty years after the cross.

 

Around this same time frame, Saul after being rejected by Jews in

Damascus went to Arabia for three years. (Galatians 1:17) This seems to imply was the time Paul was ministered to by the RISEN CHRIST! (Galatians 1:12) During this time Saul had his zealous Judaism removed, and learned of the Gospel of Grace for salvation, and the MYSTERIES!

(Remember, the apostles spent three years with Christ. I believe, Paul spent

three years with Christ to prepare him with the new dispensation, and to reveal God’s “mysteries”, so often found in his writings. It was time to reveal the secrets of God.) This gospel of salvation and GRACE can be found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, Romans 10: 9-10, and elsewhere. (Interestingly, the disciples spent three years with Christ, and apparently, Paul spent three years with the Risen Christ. See Galatians 1: 16-18.)

 

Paul went to Gentile communities to preach the importance of BELIEVING IN FAITH. Paul told them of Jesus’ life; ministry; death on the cross; burial, and RESURRECTION after three days, and three nights in the tomb! THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION!  or the GOSPEL OF GRACE! He

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explained the importance of believing with complete faith this gospel of grace! A true believing of the gospel, he preached, would promise the Holy Spirit working within oneself!  NO WORKS! No water baptism; no circumcision; no religious rituals or rites; no tithing; no animal sacrificing, no church memberships, and much more! True gospel believers have only liberty and freedom in GRACE! (Also, see Ephesians 2: 8-9 on works.)

 

Whereas, Peter’s ministry required the Nation of Israel to believe who Jesus was, and with Paul’s ministry anyone could find salvation on an individual basis. This would apply to either a Jew, or a Gentile, just through a true believing of the gospel! Did you note the differences? ……………. WOW!!!

 

NOTE: I believe it is important to mention how Paul would usually enter a community and go to the synagogue first to try to convince the Jews of Jesus. He would then go to Gentiles. The vast majority of Jews would not believe.

 

To summarize The Dispensations

 

  1. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached during Jesus’ ministry. The

Jews, and Israel, had to believe Jesus was their PROMISED ONE!

 

  1. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached by the disciples after Jesus’ ascension and their gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jews were required to repent of their unbelief, and crucifying their Promised One. They were to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and receive the Holy Spirit. (All of the House of Israel needed to adhere to this.)

 

  1. The Gospel of Grace was preached by Paul to, primarily, Gentiles on an individual basis. They were to believe with faith the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the gift of the Holy Spirit. (However, at least, Peter gave Paul’s message credence for the wisdom in Paul’s writings towards the end of Peter’s life. More on this later.)

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS OF  THE  BOOK  OF  JAMES

 

James, wrote the Book of James during this time of transitions. His writings were directed to the Jewish believers of Christ (James 1:1) who had been

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dispersed after Stephen’s murder. Note the language James used: THE TWELVE TRIBES OF THE DISPERSION. These Jews, although believers in Christ, were still law-keeping Jews! This is important to remember! (Don’t try to read anything other than what James wrote. This letter was written to believers of the twelve tribes of Israel still practicing law!)

 

Much of James writings include words of works or law-keeping. For instance, James wrote: Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point becomes guilty of them all! (James 2: 10) At the time of this writing this was the dispensation program in place for the Jews. There are no discrepancies at all!  James was writing in regards to the Gospel of the Kingdom! His attempts were based on having Israel repent, believe who Jesus was, and be baptized. Israel was a law-keeping nation. The Jewish believers of Jesus were law keepers at this time.

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS OF THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL

 

The Jerusalem Council of around 50 A.D. easily shows the middle of the forty year dispensational times between the apostles, and Paul. This event happened about twenty years after the cross. This conference is recorded in Acts 15, and Galatians 2. (Paul’s account is found in the Galatians writing.)

 

Paul met with the disciples, elders, and believing Pharisees, over his gospel message to the Gentiles. The apostles wanted Jewish law preached unto the Gentiles. The meeting was heated at times, until Peter, remembering his experience with Cornelius; (Acts 10) stood to speak. He spoke of the bondage (Law) upon them. The decision, and take note, was

Paul would be entrusted to go to the Gentiles, and the disciples

would still be entrusted to the Jews! (Galatians 2: 7-9) They even shook hands on the decision! One can easily see the disciples, some twenty years after the cross, were still law keeping Jews, too.

 

IMPORTANT DETAILS  OF  THE  TWO  BOOKS  OF  PETER

 

Peter wrote two books of our Bible. They are 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. These

two books were written towards the end of Peter’s life. Also, the writings were completed as Israel, and the Jews, and the Jewish, Jesus believers were witnessing very troubled times. Israel’s destruction would be occurring in a

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few years. Peter thought the tribulation was about to occur.

 

These two books were written to those Jews who had become believers as to who Jesus was, and were exiled. They ran because of their belief after Stephen’s murder. Proof of this fact is found in 1 Peter 1, where Peter stated his letter is to the exiles of the Dispersion. Peter reminded the readers, in

2 Peter 3: 1, the fact of this letter being his second one to those exiled Jewish

believers. Peter’s words are different than his early Acts sermons. Some things to consider: Peter, as his life is winding down, has realized the Nation of Israel was NOT going to believe his ministry, and repent of their unbelief. Troubled times were already happening, and would continue until Rome finally destroyed Israel out of existence as a nation. Peter wrote much on preparing these people for the bad times ahead leading to the coming of Christ. I believe Peter was seeing the current troubles, of this time, as a forerunner to Daniel’s 70th week. Remember, in Acts 3: 19, Peter spoke of the time of refreshing, and Jesus being sent back to earth. Peter is, hoping, he could still witness Christ’s coming. Remember, Jesus told the disciples they would rule over the twelve tribes of Israel at his coming. They would set on the thrones judging Israel! (This is found in Matthew 19: 27-28.)

 

Peter, by this time, is also writing with words of faith, and of believing Paul’s ministry. He stated in 2 Peter 3: 14-18, about Paul writing to these believing Jews with wisdom, as he (Paul) did in all his epistles.  What was Paul’s wisdom?  The message was to believe the gospel, with faith. That gospel is believing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) Peter, also, mentioned the fact of Paul’s message being hard to understand. (I believe Peter as a law-keeping Jew, was still was having difficulties in faith alone without works as Paul preached in his dispensation. Could the letter to those exiled Jewish believers be the book of Hebrews written by Paul?) Peter wrote of Grace, and faith in words very similar to Paul’s letters. I can sense the difficulties with Peter’s words at this time. He knew his life was about done, and he didn’t see Israel repent of the unbelief, and believe. Peter was seeing the troubled times all around.

 

Understanding how these dispensations worked in the forty year of transitions will greatly aid to grasping Biblical truths. The separation between the Jewish kingdom dispensations compared to the present-day dispensation of grace is markedly different. God used separation between the Jews, and Gentiles throughout Biblical history. That separation was intended by the Lord.

 

 

 

 

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TIMES OF  DISPENSATIONS  IN THE NEW  TESTAMENT

By Larry A. Smail

Introduction

 

Have you ever really debated, within your thoughts, what the message was during the years of Christ’s earthly ministry; followed by the years after the resurrection in regards to the disciples’ “Jewish” ministry, and later, Paul’s “Gentile” ministry, concluding around Israel’s destruction? This time of dispensations lasted, approximately, forty years. (A dispensation is a change of program; a transition, or going towards, or dispensing, in a new direction.)This time frame is one of important transitions! There are three, distinct, dispensations during those forty years of Biblical transitions.

 

If you have read much of the New Testament books of the Bible you may have formulated a number of questions. You may have even felt there are contradictions within the books of the Bible by the various writers.

 

The usual way of thinking may be to simply ignore anything, but Christ’s words. That thought may seem proper; however, you’ll miss the Risen Christ’s words to Paul! Those words are IMPORTANT! One may, simply, disregard some writings, and avoid other writings that do not fit into a previously conceived belief. This may be a denominational belief that has been placed into your thoughts without question. Some may attempt to work all the New Testament books of the Bible as a puzzle in hope the pieces will fit together in the end. Maybe, others throw all the scripture into a Biblical blender expecting the truths to be poured out! Won’t work!

 

Any perceived contradictions are easily explained. However, grasping that fact may prove to be challenging without prayer, study, and a willingness to grasp a truth when revealed. There are specific reasons why Biblical variances are observed within the New Testament. The primary reasons are the dispensations, or the changes in God’s program to finalize the goal of salvation along with the coming kingdom.

 

First of all, the varied writer’s messages are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THE SAME! Their ministries were part of the forty years of transitions covering Israel‘s law-keeping time during Jesus’ ministry; followed with the times of many Jews becoming believers of who Jesus was, but continuing as law-keepers, concluding with the faith, and grace only ministry to believing Gentiles. (The latter applies to Jews today, as well. Paul wrote in Romans 10:12, that there is no distinction between the Jew and Greek… This occurs under Paul’s Grace Doctrine coming later. Notice the separations!)

 

Those interested in Bible study need to separate the Jewish culture, and the Gentiles of the times. They need to understand the variances between law-keeping, Jewish, Jesus believers, and faith-based Gentile believers. They need to separate Judaism; Jesus-believing Jews; (The Way) and Christianity!

 

Before we enter into Christ’s earthly ministry we need to visit some Old

Testament realities involving the Hebrews (Jews) early times and their purpose.  We need to understand how, and why, this nation came to be.

 

THE HEBREW’S  EARLY  YEARS

 

God removed Abraham from the pagan, Gentile populace. He initially used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, (Israel) and Joseph to form a nation of people known as the Hebrews. Joshua 24: 2-3 stated of Israel’s fathers serving other gods. However, these people, the Hebrews, became God’s Chosen People!

 

One, potential, and important, purpose for these chosen people is found in Exodus 19: 5-6. God, through Moses, told these people an important message. These Hebrew people (Jews) if obedient  to God’s covenant were to be a special,  set apart, and unique people, and to become a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, AND A HOLY NATION…    Ask yourself why God would need a nation of priests?  They were to take God’s salvation to THE GENTILES! Isaiah 49: 6, states…”I will give you (The Jews.) as a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 61: 6 repeats of Israel being a nation of priests, and ministers of God!  In Zechariah 8:23, the prophet wrote: “In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (These events are futuristic, and none of these have happened, yet! These will be reality at Christ’s return.)

 

In Exodus 20, the Hebrews received the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, the Jews failed continually! God would still make his move towards the redemption plan in other ways! This must be understood before we move into the words spoken by Christ to the Jews.

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Many, many generations later, Israel was being dominated by the Roman

Empire. Many years of Jewish prophecies concerning Israel‘s King, and

kingdom were falling into place. Israel, however, wasn’t an obedient nation.

 

As promised through these Old Testament prophecies major events were ready to be fulfilled. A man, known as, John the Baptist entered onto Israel’s scene announcing, and preparing Israel that their King was at hand. Of course, with the arrival of their King, the kingdom was just out ahead!

 

Jesus of Nazareth was that Promised Messiah to be their King, and to restore their kingdom glory! However, the nation would need to accept this fact!

Paul wrote in Romans 15: 8-9, that Jesus’ purpose was to be a minister to the Jews in accordance with Old Testament scripture. Here are the verses: For I tell you that Christ became a servant (Minister) to the circumcised (Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, in order that the GENTILES might glorify God for his mercy.” (Read the next few verses adding more detail concerning the Gentile’s hope.) Israel’s second chance to fulfill the Exodus 19 covenant was about to occur.  This, too, must be fully grasped, as well, to understand the dispensational times just ahead.

 

CHRIST’S EARTHLY  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION

 

Jesus’ three year ministry on earth was based on one extremely important message to Israel. The Nation of Israel (Jews) needed to believe Jesus was their Messiah, or Promised One!  THAT WAS IT! If the Nation of Israel would believe Jesus was their Promised One the Kingdom of God would become reality for the nation. Of course, Israel then would become that nation of priests to go to the Gentiles as found in Exodus 19, and Isaiah 61.

 

This Kingdom of God was to be a literal government on earth with Jesus ruling. The Jews would become that nation of priests. This message is known as the Gospel of the Kingdom! OR the good news of the kingdom!

 

Proof of this kingdom being a government of Israel can be read in the words of the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 9: 6-7, the prophet wrote: For a child will be born unto us; a son will be given to us. Ask yourself who the “US” is? The “US” here are the Jews, and Israel. Remember, Isaiah was a prophet for Israel!

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Isaiah added the government will be on his shoulders. This kingdom will be a government ruled over by the child given to Israel. Who was, and is, that child? THE LORD JESUS!!!!!

 

Isaiah continued, His name will be WONDERFUL; COUNSELOR;

MIGHTY GOD; ETERNAL FATHER; PRINCE OF PEACE. There will be no end to this governmental kingdom of peace! He will set on David’s throne over this kingdom in Jerusalem!!!!

 

WOW!!!!!

 

What did Jesus preach on earth? Again, his message was to believe who he was! The writers of the first four books of the New Testament wrote of the importance of believing on Christ’s name! Many of those words of believing were spoken by Christ himself. You can see Christ’s words if you have a red-letter edition of the Bible. His parables were everyday stories to relate the kingdom of God to the people.  (Underline the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God, and you’ll soon see the importance.)

 

The Nation of Israel was still a law-keeping religion! The only difference, now, is Israel had to believe in Jesus as their Promised One! Did Israel believe?  NO!!!  Precious few believed who Jesus was. The Nation of Israel as a whole failed again! Israel rejected Christ again leading to his crucifixion on the cross.

 

CHRIST’S 40 DAYS  ON  EARTH  AFTER  RESURRECTION

 

Jesus was resurrected after three days, and three nights in the tomb. Jesus spent forty days on earth before his ascension to glory. What did the RISEN CHRIST talk about? Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God! (Acts 1) His message was the same. Believe Jesus was the promised One, and the kingdom of God would become reality!

 

THE DISCIPLES  “JEWISH”  MINISTRY  DISPENSATION

 

Other important verses few have seen are located in Matthew 10: 5-6. Jesus told the disciples to go nowhere among the Gentiles…but go rather to the

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lost sheep of the house of Israel and preach the kingdom of heaven is at

hand…    Read that again! This language fits well with the Romans 15: 8 words of Paul. Remember, Paul wrote: Jesus was to be a minister to the Jews…to confirm the promises given to the fathers. (Also, study Matthew 15:21-28, where Jesus tries to ignore a Gentile woman.)

 

Jesus never altered that command during this time of Israel’s history. Yes, he said in Matthew 28: 19, for his disciples to make disciples of all nations, but

Those words were in regards to the Exodus 19 verses again of Israel going to all Gentile nations. The disciples were to have Israel believe who Jesus was, and then the Jews would cover the earth to the Gentiles. This would be the Great Commission! Proof of this can be found in Acts 10 where Peter argued to not go to the Gentiles. Also, the disciples twenty years after the cross during the Jerusalem Council shook hands on the fact that Paul would continue to the Gentiles, and the disciples would stay with the Jews. (Read Acts 15, and Galatians 2.)These were hints of the, soon, future transitions! Are you seeing this? The disciples did not run out to preach to all nations. They were attempting to have Israel believe! (Jews)Also, read Acts 11: 19…preaching to none, but Jews.

 

The next dispensation is about to occur with the disciples after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. A different approach is in play towards the Nation of Israel, and the Jewish populace. (Pentecost is a Jewish time celebrating the Feast of First Fruits. See Numbers 28: 26-31.)

 

Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit began to preach of Jesus’ message; the cross, and the resurrection. Peter’s ministry is preaching to the Jews. The Jews present heard Peter’s words, and became troubled as to what happened with Christ. These Jews requested what they should do now? (Acts 2: 37)

 

Peter addressed his Acts 2, and Acts 3, sermons to Jews. We can know this because he used language mentioning Jews. Peter used wording as, “Men of Judea” (Acts 2:36); “Men of Israel” (Acts 2:22); “All the House of Israel”(Acts 2: 36); and “Men of Israel”. (Acts 3:12)  Other hints can be realized as Peter spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Gentiles could care less of Israel’s fathers! No Gentile language here! Remember, the Jews still were to avoid Gentiles.

 

NOTE: Any mention of a church in your Bible translations relate to these

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Jewish, Jesus believers. The Greek word is ecclesia, which simply means: a called out assembly. This can be a gathering for anything. In early Acts, these individuals are, also, still law-keeping Jews who have accepted, and believed Jesus was the Promised One. The Holy Spirit inspired term of “Christianity” doesn’t appear until Acts 11: 26 with Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles. NOTE: In Acts 19:32, the translators used “assembly” during the riot in Ephesus. The Greek word here is “ecclesia.” Why were the words “ecclesia” translated into two different meanings?

 

Peter told these troubled Jews they needed to repent, and be baptized. (Acts 2: 37-39.) Ask yourself repent of what?  In verse 36 Peter said, “Let ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL know assuredly that God has made him both Lord, and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” These Jews needed to repent of their unbelief which led to the crucifying of their King, Jesus. They then were to be baptized under John the Baptist’s, baptism of

repentance in order to receive the Holy Spirit. They then would be forgiven of their sin of unbelief, and crucifying their Messiah. This was the next time of dispensation. Notice the difference from what Jesus preached while on earth? Do you see the difference?

 

Peter, in Acts 3: 19 mentioned the time of refreshing. This time of refreshing is part of the second coming of Christ. This second coming occurs at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. (Tribulation) The world will return as it was originally created, or refreshed. Peter stated that Christ would be sent back. (Acts 3:20) Peter’s sermon is in regards to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God being preached again during the end times to announce the kingdom will be, again, at hand! (Matthew 24:14)

 

Another detail of proof as to who Peter’s message is directed comes from Acts 3: 25. Peter talked of the covenant promise which God made with “your fathers.” This covenant was made with Abraham; Isaac, and Jacob.

These men were considered the Fathers of Israel.

 

Peter, and the disciples, were obeying Christ’s command of going to the Jews, attempting to have Israel believe Jesus was their Messiah. Many Jews believed their words, but the Nation of Israel in its entirety, continued to firmly reject Jesus was their Promised One. Israel’s final rejection was about

to occur.

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The disciple chose some men to help take care of the believers in Jerusalem. (Acts 6:2-4) One of those men was named Stephen.  We know little about this man except from a few powerful descriptions of his faith.  In Acts 6: 5, scripture states he was a man full of faith, and the Holy Spirit. In Acts 6: 8, he was described as being full of grace, and power, able to perform great wonders, and signs. An Acts 7: 35 state Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. Scripturally speaking this means there was something extraordinary about Stephen. This man was stoned to death because he spoke words against the Jews in power, and of their betrayal of Jesus, the Righteous One!

 

The murder of Stephen would prove to be the final rejection of Jesus by the Nation of Israel in the eyes of God. Israel from this point on is in a state of

decline. Immediately, another Jew is brought into the word! A man named Saul is mentioned. He would become known as Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles! (Acts 8)

 

Scripture states a great persecution occurred concerning those Jesus-believing Jews. The disciples would continue to preach to the Jews despite this persecution. The persecuted Jewish believers left Jerusalem to Gentile countries. (Acts 8:1, and Acts 11:19) As stated, Israel would be in decline from Stephen’s murder. The disciples continued preaching to the Jews. (These are epistles to the Jews.) However, Israel was in a downward spiral towards destruction. Troubles upon them would increase. The Roman Empire would become increasingly belligerent towards Israel. That destruction occurred in 70 A.D.

 

A major transition would soon happen in regards to Israel, and the man named Saul. God would be using, this Jewish man, Saul to become a minister to the Gentiles, and preach the Gospel of Grace. God was side-stepping Israel to get his words to the Gentiles. The Exodus 19: 5-6 verses of Israel going to the Gentiles would be removed out of God’s agenda at this time. At a future time God will return to Israel when this time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.  (In Romans 11: 25, Paul wrote of Israel’s hardening until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. We are in the time of Gentiles presently.) This will happen at the latter half of the tribulation period or Daniel’s 70th week. (Daniel 9, and 12.) Towards the end of that 70th week, and the time of Jesus’ second coming, God will use the remnant of Israel to, once again, go and take the word to surviving remnants. THIS TIME THE

JEWS WILL BELIEVE WHO JESUS IS! In Zechariah 13: 6, the

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prophet wrote of Jesus’ Second Advent. Jesus will answer the Jews of that

future time when they ask him how he received the wounds. Jesus will answer the wounds came about in the house of my friends. (The House of Israel.) The prophet wrote Israel will ask the Messiah about his wounds from the time of the cross. Again, Jesus, at this second coming, will announce he received the wounds from the hands of his friends. (The Jews.) THIS TIME THE JEWS WILL BELIEVE!

 

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A STUDY OF THE RESURRECTION CHAPTER – 1 CORINTHIANS 15

by Larry A. Smail

PAUL, THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES wrote the books of the Bible known as 1st Corinthians, and 2nd Corinthians. These letters were written by Paul to answer questions, and concerns (And to correct issues) from the Corinthian, Gentile Christians. This study will deal with their questions on resurrection, and to reaffirm the Gospel Message as preached by Paul.

Corinth was a seaport, at the time of Paul. The area was known for great commerce. Unfortunately, the seaport was known for extreme immorality, and pagan worship. Paul, after the church’s establishment, moved on to other areas to preach the gospel message. These people of Corinth were having difficulties in adjusting from their recent conversions from their past, pagan lifestyles. They needed help, and wrote to Paul for guidance.

Paul had preached to these Gentiles of the good news, or the gospel of Grace. Some Corinthians became believers of this gospel message which we will see shortly. However, they began to struggle with the truth. Jewish-Jesus believers, yet law-keepers, who often followed Paul, demanded these Gentile believers submit to Mosaic Law. This issue became a problem with Paul, so much, that he ended up confronting the apostles at Jerusalem. (You can read of this confrontation with Peter, James, John and the others in Acts 15, and Galatians 2. This Jerusalem Council occurred around twenty years after the cross, and resurrection of Christ. The apostles were still law-keepers, at this time. Most do not realize that fact!) Also, the Corinthian believers were still struggling over their past ways of life.

The people of Corinth were waiting for the second coming of Christ, as was Paul. Everybody hoped the second advent would be soon. However, during this wait, the people would see divisions erupt within their church. This often happens. Also, doubts were coming to be the norm due to the Jewish believers telling them they must follow Mosaic Law. They were doubting the resurrection of believers. I am sure pagan influences abounded.

Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians deals with resurrection questions.

1 CORINTHIANS 15, AND THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION

This chapter, immediately, has Paul reminding the Corinthians as to the purpose of the gospel of grace for salvation. This message has the words Paul always preached in his travels. He wrote: I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, and you have received, wherein you stand. In other words, this good news message was heard by these pagan Gentiles, and they believed the gospel message. Paul continued, by which you are SAVED if you keep in memory, unless you believed in vain. This simply states that because these Corinthians heard, and believed, the gospel they were saved. If they didn’t truly believe the gospel message their belief was in vain, and thus they were not saved.(Verses 1-2)

Beginning in verse 3, Paul continued that He had delivered this gospel just as he received the message from the RISEN CHRIST! (Galatians 1:11-12 records this revelation of Paul.) He wrote, I CERTIFY TO THE BELIEVERS THAT THIS GOSPEL I PREACHED DID NOT COME FROM MAN. HE DIDN’T RECEIVE THIS GOSPEL FROM MAN, AND HE WASN’T TAUGHT THIS GOSPEL BY MAN, BUT BY REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!! ….IMPORTANT WORDS!

Paul stated that he, RECEIVED THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE. (Old Testament Prophecies.) The following words are the Gospel of Grace for Salvation.

THE GOSPEL

CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS, AND WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE!!!

THAT IS IT!!! BELIEVE IT WITH FAITH!!!

One is required to BELIEVE the above mentioned gospel for salvation! Note Paul doesn’t say someone is required to belong to any specific denomination; be baptized in water; tithe; be circumcised; or
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observe special days, avoid certain foods…

TO BE SAVED ONE HAS TO ONLY BELIEVE WITH FAITH!
NO WORKS!

How does one know this is the way to being saved after the cross, and resurrection? See Galatians 1, where Paul rebuked the Gentiles at the Galatia church. Beginning with verse 6, Paul wrote that he was marveled, or astonished, these, once pagan, Gentiles had quickly removed themselves from Christ’s Grace to another gospel! He continued, stating the gospel they were following was actually NOT ANOTHER GOSPEL, BUT A PERVERTED GOSPEL. Again, the Jewish, yet law-keeping, believers of Christ had followed Paul demanding Jewish law had to be adhered to.

Paul wrote, “IF WE, OR AN ANGEL, FROM HEAVEN PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL THAN THE GOSPEL WE PREACHED LET THEM BE ACCURSED! WOW! This fact was so important that Paul repeated the words again!…A DOUBLE CURSE!

Paul, from 1 Corinthians 15: 5, added how Christ, in his resurrected body, appeared to Peter, and James, the other disciples, and over 500 individuals at one time. He wrote these words for emphasis as to the number who had witnessed Christ after the resurrection. Paul concluded as to his experience with, also, seeing the RISEN CHRIST!

Paul often wrote of his past life as a zealous Jew with authority to seek after the Jewish believers of Jesus Christ being their Messiah. Remember in Acts 8, Paul gave approval for the stoning of the Holy Spirit inspired Stephen! Paul wrote despite all the evil he committed to those Jewish believers, through GRACE he, too was changed! Anybody on this earth can be saved from any, and all past deeds no matter how terrible.

Paul was disappointed by the actions of these Gentile believers. Paul reminded them that Christ was preached as being RISEN, yet some do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.

If resurrection isn’t possible then Christ did not arise from the tomb, and any faith of Christ’s resurrection is in vain! If Christ did not rise
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from the grave then any faith towards that is worthless, and every person is still in their sins!. Those believers who had passed on in this faith are perished, too!

BUT!

Paul said Christ did rise from death. Christ was the first-fruit to do so. Adam, the first man, failed to believe God, caused the events known as the curse, and death, to befall the world. Adam died. However, the second Adam, Christ allowed redemption for man along with the opportunity to eternal life, or resurrection, at his second coming. At this coming, Christ will usher in the Kingdom of God, and return the world to it’s early beauty. This will be after all enemies, including death are removed. At this time, Christ will be in control over of everything.

Paul goes to another issue at this time. The people in Corinth, were getting baptized on the behalf of others who had already passed away. Why would you do this act if you didn’t believe in resurrection? He added, why do I face potential harm daily. Paul is saying, why would I face everyday peril if I didn’t believe in resurrection? He dies everyday because of his faith, and belief in resurrection.

Paul mentioned fighting the beasts in Ephesus. This would be the beasts of opposition wherever he went. Just imagine the initial visit of Paul to any locale. He would be ridiculed everyday. However, some of the hearers would remain to listen with open minds! Some believed with faith!

Paul says if there is no resurrection do whatever you want while alive. Faith and belief will not matter if there is no resurrection. Go ahead and associate with bad company, and face ruin if you don’t believe in being raised! BUT, if you do believe, come to what is right, and tell others since many have no knowledge of God.

Paul responded to questions from the letter. The letter asked how are the dead raised? What kind of body will those resurrected have? Paul wrote what is sown will not live unless it dies, and what is sown will not resemble what sprouts up. Paul used agricultural wording to help describe the answer.
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In simple terms, one can take a kernel of corn, or flower seed, and plant it. The result will be a stalk of corn, or a beautiful flower, but the result will be different from the dead seed that was sown. He used various kinds of wild-life, and celestial bodies to further demonstrate. The resurrection is the
same.

The body that is entombed, like the seed that is planted, is dead, and will perish. However, the result of a believer’s death will be an imperishable resurrection. The deceased body is corrupt, dishonorable, and weak as in decay. The resurrected body will be raised in glory. There is the physical body, and there is a spiritual body. Paul compared Adam as the natural with Christ as the Spiritual.

Paul wrote that the flesh, and blood, and corrupt body can not enter into the kingdom of God. Paul added of a secret, or mystery to the people. Everyone will not die, but everyone will be changed at a time in the future. Paul hoped this event would happen during his life, as did the other believers. Those believers of the gospel who had already passed away will be raised, or resurrected with a glorious body. He continued, we believers of the gospel who are alive will be changed instantly! WOW!

That dead, and corrupted believer’s body of the grave will put on incorruption, and the living believers of the gospel will be changed to immortality! WOW AGAIN!

When this event happens, “DEATH WILL BE SWALOWED UP IN VICTORY!”

1 Corinthians 15 concludes with the often preached words beginning with verse 55.

“O DEATH WHERE IS YOUR STING. O GRAVE WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY”!

Paul thanked God for this victory. Those believers of the above-mentioned gospel with faith is what promises salvation! Paul told these Gentiles to not be doubtful, but be strong in faith knowing your faith will not be in vain!
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A STUDY OF DANIEL’S PROPHESIED SEVENTEITH WEEK

By Larry A. Smail

 

Movies have been made, and books have been written. One may hear television evangelists preaching on end time events hoping the listeners donate freely while they are in fear. The prophecies of the tribulation period find many people searching to understand.

 

The subject in this study is Daniel’s seventieth week prophecy often referred to as the tribulation period and/ or the great tribulation. Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel, called these years, in Jeremiah 30: 7, the Time of Jacob’s Troubles. Scripturally, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God. (Genesis 35:10) With that in mind one may better describe these latter days as the Time of Israel’s troubles.

 

We know Jesus’ words of Matthew 24: 21 stated, “For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no ever shall be.” Jesus was talking of the end of the age time frame.

 

In more recent history, we know of the holocaust which mainly fell upon the Jewish people. Millions of Jews lost their lives in those years under Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. This World War 2 era event was horrendous, but those years immediately prior to the Messiah’s Second Advent will prove to be much worse! Yes, Jesus said that!

 

Prophetically speaking this final seven years of the seventieth week prophecy of Daniel will be directed towards the nation of Israel, and the Jewish people. However, the entire world will become engulfed in these latter days through wars; famines; pestilences; earthquakes, and terror…

 

This study will focus, mostly, with Daniel’s prophetic words, and a breakdown of those terrible times ahead. However, before we study those words a brief history of the events leading to the prophecy need to be detailed.

 

Events Leading to Israel‘s Captivity

 

The Jewish people prior to their captivity had drifted far from the knowledge of God. Their sins, and iniquities, were simply a part of everyday life. They, as a nation, had forgotten about God. As always, there were still a remnant, who remained faithful, but most had forsaken God. To chastise the nation, God allowed, or directed, the actions of  King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans to invade Israel. Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonian Empire. The capitol of this empire was Babylon. (Present-day Iraq.)

 

The king’s forces reached Jerusalem to lay siege on the city. In 587 B.C. Jerusalem, and other cities of Judah had been defeated. As a result of the military’s success, the temple, and the holy city of Jerusalem were in ruins. The gold, and silver vessels of the temple were carried back to Babylon. The Jewish people were killed, or lead off into captivity. Those captured included a young Jewish lad by the name of Daniel.

 

This young lad would become respected for his wisdom, and understanding of dreams. Daniel would live out his life under various Gentile kings. He would never return to Jerusalem. Daniel would become renowned in Babylon by his revealing of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image. (Daniel 2)

 

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

 

I believe, a brief explanation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream may help with later discussions. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great statue. However, he had forgotten this dream. With all his power he demanded his wise men to tell him what the dream was, and what the dream meant. A task impossible for man to do!  Eventually, he was told of a Jewish man named Daniel with such an ability. Daniel prayed for wisdom.

 

Daniel, through divine help, told the king of the great image he had dreamed. The dream featured a huge statue with a head of gold; chest, and arms of silver; belly, and thighs of bronze; legs of iron; and feet, and toes of miry clay, and iron. A stone not carved by hand struck the image at the feet completely destroying the entire statue.

 

Daniel told the king that the statue’s golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar. (Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonian Empire.) The silver chest, and arms represented the next empire to follow. This empire would be inferior to the king’s empire. (This would prove to be the Medo-Persian Empire. Daniel was still living when this empire took over.) The next empire would be the belly and thighs of bronze. (History tells us

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this was the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great.) The following empire was to be the Roman Empire. This was the strong legs of iron. Rome ruled with an iron fist crushing all opposition! The empire to come consists of  iron with miry clay. The latter day empire will be strong, but will face internal issues. (More on this later on.) This is the image’s feet, and toes.

 

A stone not cut by man hits the statue at the feet, and destroys this statue. The dream had all five of these represented empires blown away as if chaff in the wind. The stone is Christ at his second coming. At that time he will destroy the antichrist ruled, Gentile empire whatever it may be prove to be. Christ will set up an everlasting kingdom. This will be the fulfillment of the time of the Gentiles.

 

One important aspect of this for all to remember is the following: The empires listed above were all controlling over the Jewish people. Israel ceased to exist in 70 A.D. However, Israel is now back in existence. Israel had to become a nation again. That final empire will be over the nation. This is the future to be watched. This empire will be in place during the seventieth week of Daniel! This empire will be the one Christ will destroy at his second coming!

 

Daniel Prior To The Seventieth Week Prophecy

 

As stated, Daniel was a wise man with the ability to interpret dreams. Of course, this ability was through God’s will. Daniel was, also, a man of great faith. In chapter 9, Daniel still living under Gentile rule, was now in the Persian Empire. The Babylonian Empire was defeated under King Cyrus the Persian. (Persia is present-day Iran.)

 

Daniel was lamenting over Israel’s sins; and iniquities. He was greatly saddened at this time of his life. He was not the young lad who was brought into Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar years ago. Daniel had lived most of his life away from his homeland. The time frame of chapter 9 is under King Darius. Interestingly, Daniel had endured these kings, and was respected despite being a Jewish captive. This treatment of Daniel had to have been accomplished through divine intervention.

 

On this particular day while Daniel was in fervent prayer over his people,

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and Israel, a visitation was to occur. Daniel’s prayers included fasting, and

supplications. He was grieving over the great sins of his people in the past. The Jewish people had been rebellious, and had worshiped idols. They had fallen so low in their past years that the sacrificing of their infants to the pagan god, Molech was a reality. Another major iniquity of the Jewish people was their failure to obey the law of the land’s sabbath. Every seventh year the Jews were to allow the land to rest. (Leviticus 25: 2-3, Exodus 23: 10-11) They didn’t do it. God was determined to get those seventh-year land sabbaths back. The prophecy of the seventieth week was about to occur. The stage had been readied.

 

The Seventieth Week Prophecy and Breakdown

 

The angel, Gabriel appeared to Daniel. (Daniel 9: 21 ) This was the very same angel who would appear to Mary to announce her part in the birth of Jesus. Remember, as stated, Daniel had been in deep prayer over Israel, and his people’s great sins. The Jewish people had been wicked, and rebellious. These actions lead to their captivity in the Babylonian Empire.

 

Gabriel’s appearance gave words of prophecy to Daniel. He was, also, giving Daniel some understanding over Israel’s future.

 

Daniel was told in verse 24, “seventy weeks of years were decreed to his people and the holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.”

 

The best way to understand this prophecy of the seventieth week is to dissect each line with words of explanation. Gabriel spoke to Daniel in verse 24 saying, Seventy weeks of years are decreed to his people. Seventy weeks of years equals a total of 490 years. (Seventy times seven. Some translations word this as seventy sevens.) Some Biblical translations actually record the seventy weeks of years as 490 years. Note Daniel was told this time frame was to be on “HIS PEOPLE”. Daniel’s people were the Jews. Remember Daniel was one of the Jews captured from Jerusalem. So we know now that 490 years are determined to the Jewish people. (You may refer to these people as Jews, Hebrews; Israelites, or Israelis.)This time frame of 490

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years is a result because of the Jews past sins, and iniquities against God.

This time was mandated by God to reconcile these people prior to an everlasting righteousness, and to complete prophecy. Also, note the prophecy states those 490 years will be upon the Holy City as well. The Holy City in scripture is Jerusalem. The end result of those years will be an everlasting righteousness and faithfulness, and completion of prophecy with the coming of the Messiah. (This is the second coming of Christ to restore all things to everlasting righteousness.)

 

Gabriel continued in verse 25, “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

 

Verse 25 has Daniel hearing of the time frame when the above prophecy will begin. Gabriel spoke of a commandment, an edict, or a decree. The commandment to rebuild Jerusalem starts the time clock of the 490 years.

 

The next part of the prophecy breaks down some of the years. Gabriel said seven weeks of years (Forty-nine years.) and includes another threescore and two weeks of years. ( 434 years.) One needs to add these years together and the answer equals 483 years. So, The years from the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem to the Anointed One being cut down is 483 years. There are seven years left to complete the prophecy. The permission to rebuild Jerusalem can be found in Nehemiah 2: 1-8. Some confusion may occur since King Cyrus, much earlier, issued a decree to rebuild the temple.(538 B.C.) King Artaxerxes 1 issued a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes did his decree in  445 B.C. Note the differences.

 

Christ was crucified 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Jerusalem was rebuilt over these years, and the Jews had to be watchful for attacks from surrounding enemies.

 

Verse 26 continues, After the sixty-two year sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.  The people of the ruler (Prince) who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come

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like a flood. War will continue to the end, and desolations have been

decreed. Christ will be killed upon completion of the 483 years. Now, one must read the next part of the prophecy closely. At some future time a prince shall come from the people who will destroy the city, and temple. So, we know from history the temple, and Jerusalem were destroyed again in 70 A.D. We need to ask who the people were who destroyed the city? Again, from history we know the Romans under Titus did the deed. Also, of importance we now know something about the Antichrist of the latter days.

 

We can conclude a couple of probable truths with that statement. The best indicator may be some sort of a Roman confederacy. Could this be a European union with Rome playing a huge part? Europe has been trying to organize itself with a European United States for quite some time. They have had big problems with this plan. Could this be a sampling of the internal issues?

 

Another possibility of the worldly power is simply a Gentile Empire. The Romans were Gentiles. We know from Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2 that the final Gentile empire over Israel is prophetically the ten toes of the great image of the king’s dream. The ten toes were a mixture of iron, and miry clay. In other words, the last Gentile empire will be strong, but have major internal conflicts. Regardless, the ruler, president, prime minister, etc. who is in control at this time will be that prince, or ruler, who shall come from a Gentile source. (New world Order?)

 

These times will move fast much like the raging waters of a flood.

 

However, the prophecy stated a total of 490 years to complete the fulfillment. This allows for an additional seven years for the complete fulfillment of the prophecy. That seven years is the Seventieth week of Daniel. (We need to subtract the 483 years from the 490 years. Of course, that equals 7.)

 

Verse 27 states: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

 

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The “he” with this verse is the prince who shall come. This person will

sign a treaty for seven years with Israel. Other nations will be signing as

well, but since the prophecy is dealing with Israel we can know that nation will be the main country involved. Israel will suddenly realize peace. The temple will be erected since we can see from the prophecy the man will break the treaty in three and half years and put an end to the Jews sacrificing, and offerings. Their needs to be a temple in Jerusalem in order to have sacrifices as per Old Testament laws. I have read of a pre-fabricated temple in storage in Israel. I haven’t confirmed this.

 

The Anti-Christ will set up an abomination in the temple. This may be something in regards to sacrificing a pig at the alter. The antichrist will declare himself god. This will last until the last three and a half years are gone. All hell will break upon the Jewish people at this time.

 

Christ in Matthew 24: 15 stated the following: “So, when you see standing in the holy city the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel- let the reader understand.” Christ gives the book of Daniel credence. To deny Daniel’s accuracy is to be in unbelief.

 

The Seventieth Week in Simple Language

 

The following is this prophecy in simple terms to help understand it easier.

 

Verse 24…Four-hundred and ninety years have been prophesied concerning the Jewish people, and Jerusalem to finish their transgression, and to bring about the end and forgive their iniquities, and sins. When these years have been completed Jesus will return and set up his kingdom forever.

 

Verse 25…Understand that this 490 years will begin when permission is granted to the Jewish people to return and rebuild Jerusalem. These years will be troubled. In other words, Israel will be under Gentile control, and fearful of attacks.

 

Verse 26… At the completion of 483 years Christ will be crucified for no reason. The Gentile government at that time will be the forerunner of the future antichrist. These people will destroy the city, and temple. This will all happen fast with wars until the end of the 490 years.

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Verse 27… The antichrist will sign a seven year treaty with Israel. the Jews will be permitted to begin sacrifices and offerings again. However, this will cease when the antichrist commits an abomination at the temple. Much desolations occur until that final seven years ends.

 

More Prophecies From Daniel and John

 

I believe there is the need to continue on with a few additional details from chapter 12 of Daniel, and Revelation. This information will add more information for the latter days prophecies.

 

Daniel 12: 1 states, “…And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered… Remember Daniel’s people are the Jews.

 

In Daniel 12:7, the prophet recorded what he was told about the latter days. “It will be for a time, times and half a time.” This equals the three and a half years as mentioned earlier. (Also, see Daniel 12: 11.)

 

Daniel asked when shall this be. Daniel was told to, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up until the time of the end.”

 

The Book of Revelation states the same amount of time for the terrible times ahead. Revelation 11: 2-3 states: “…they (Gentiles)will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for 1,260 days…” Both of these time frames equal three and a half years.

 

In Revelation 13:5 John stated the following in regards to the antichrist. “and the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months.” Again, we see the three and a half years  mentioned.

 

The disciples after the cross, and resurrection understood much of the prophecy of the seventieth week. However, they believed it would be in their lifetimes. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, believed this, too.

 

 

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Laurie, and I spent some time visiting the area in, and around, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This area is well-known for being Amish, and Mennonite, country.  The primary reason for our visit was to see a couple of Christmas shows.

The first show was one that can only be described as “SPECTACULAR”!  The show was called the, MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS. This event was held at the famous  Sights & Sounds Theater. Those who participated in this show were unbelievable. Add to their talents the stage props, and lighting effects, and you have the ingredients of a show to behold.

This play has three stages, detailed props; lighting effects; camels; donkeys; sheep; men on horses, angels flying around the stages, and over the audience, to enhance the overall sensations.

The time frame of this play begins during the immediate days, and weeks, before the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary of her being chosen to have the Son of God. It ends with his birth!  Visit their site at: http://www.sight-sound.com

The following day we attended the American Music Theater. Again, we were knocked off our feet with the professional of the musical called, DECK THE HALLS. This play featured an on stage orchestration and many singers, and dancers.  A lot of Christmas music was performed.  They have a lot of big name entertainers showing here. Their site is: http://www.amtshows.com

We spent additional time in communities , such as, Bird In The Hand, and Intercourse where we enjoyed visiting shops and EATING!!!!

I enjoyed seeing some Amish, and Mennonite farm and their farmlands. I love the rural aspect of the area, obviously!

Interestingly enough, I found two purses over the weekend. What are the odds of that!!! Both times the owners were either hollered at to stop , or by chance came back looking.

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My last entry of September 10, 2015, served as an introduction to some entries of a spiritual interest.  This entry, part 2, will be the second one of an undetermined number of future blogs. I am certainly hoping most will not click off these sites without reading on, and considering the topics.

I have discovered for anyone studying the Bible they will first need to be willing to consider what the book does NOT say, as well as, what the Bible, actually, does say. This can not be easy unless there is a willingness to think. We all have been pre-programed into our thinking as to what the Bible states. This is a primary reason for the many traditions, denominations, and, even, cults. Much confusion has evolved over the Jewish law- keeping believers in contrast with the faith-based Christians, as per Paul’s message.

I discovered those who study need to separate the Jewish aspect of the Bible with the Gentile teachings. Once readers grasp the importance of separation of these two groups the Bible will OPEN UP WITH KNOWLEDGE! Remember to think…all through the Bible the Lord had a separation between the people to become the Jews, and the Gentile people. The two WILL NOT MIX scripturally, and they are not supposed to do so! Check out Acts 11:26. This is where the Holy Spirit inspired the FIRST use of the word, “CHRISTIAN” towards Gentiles that had believed Paul’s message. This didn’t occur in early Acts with Peter’s message. Peter was preaching to Jews. Those Jews who believed were still law-keeping Jews, but now they believed that Christ was indeed who he said he was!  THEIR PROPHESIED KING!

Biblically speaking, most of the Bible concentrates on the Jewish people. The Old Testament; Jesus’ ministry on earth; the immediate years after the cross; and ascension, and to the 70 A.D. destruction of Israel all dealt with the Jewish people. Did you know the people who were to become the Jews originally were to be a nation of priests to take God’s word to the Gentiles? See Exodus 19: 5-6, where the Jewish people were told if they obeyed God’s voice they were to be God’s possession among ALL PEOPLE, and become a nation of priests, and a holy nation. This would have occurred at the time of Christ on earth if the nation of Israel would have accepted who Jesus was, and BELIEVED!

Even those Jews who believed that Christ was their Messiah, and King, were still law-keepers of Judaism. So were Christ’s apostles!  You can see in various places where they were preaching Christ in the temple, or synagogue. This is all what was required at that time! Shocked? Some twenty years after the cross, the Apostles, met with Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, at what became known as the JERUSALEM COUNCIL. This occurred somewhere around 49-52 A.D. The disciples were demanding Paul’s Gentiles practice the laws of Moses! The apostles of Christ were still law-keeping Jews, but they were believers. See the difference?The final decision at this council was that Peter, James, John… would continue ministering to the JEWS, and Paul would continue with the Gentiles. Paul preached of SALVATION BY FAITH ONLY THROUGH BELIEF IN THE DEATH , BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST! (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 10:9-10.) THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION! The Apostles were still preaching to the law-keeping Jews to BELIEVE THAT JESUS WAS THEIR MESSIAH, AND KING, AND THE LORD WOULD RETURN AND ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM! One can read of this Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, and Galatians 2. Galatians is Paul’s account of the meeting. BOTH PARTIES SHOOK ON THIS DECISION OF THE APOSTLES GOING TO THE JEWS, AND PAUL GOING TO THE GENTILES!!!! This is, yet, ANOTHER SEPARATION of the Jews, and Gentiles.

Those studying need to ask questions!  Ask yourself to whom any particular book of the Bible is addressed to. Paul’s writings often state that he was the APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, and  followed with information of the individual, or community the letter was addressed to. James wrote to the 12 TRIBES OF THE DISPERSION. The twelve tribes are Jewish, yet law keeping, believers as to who Christ was!  The twelve tribes are the twelve tribes of Israel! These people had fled Israel after the stoning on Stephen. (Acts 8-9) A great persecution began by the Jews on the believing Jews at this time. In Acts 11:19, Luke stated those who were scattered because of the persecution over Stephen (Acts 8-9)..spoke the word to none, but JEWS! Another separation!

Peter’s two epistles state the same thing. He was writing to the Jewish believers in dispersion. (1 Peter 1: 1, and 2 Peter 3:1) The Jewish believers were still practicing temple worship; circumcision; sacrifices, etc., as per Jewish law!

Another question to ask yourself is what were the conditions, and situations of the time that a particular letter was sent. For instance, James, and Peter’s letters were written prior to the 70 A.D. destruction of Israel, and the Jewish people. The closer the time to this Roman attack the more extreme the persecution was being witnessed by these Jewish believers. The apostles  were trying to comfort the believers with their words. Peter, etc. believed they were seeing the prophesied Time of Jacob’s trouble just ahead, and I am sure the situation seemed accurate! Paul thought he would see the end of the age, as prophesied in scripture, and Christ.

Part 3 will address some word translations that can cause confusion. A number of interesting verses will begin to be printed . I bet most readers of the Bible glanced over these verses without understanding exactly what was going on. It will be fun!

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