Category Archives: THE NATION ISRAEL

How is Jesus Christ “Prophet, Priest, and King?”

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST “PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

You have probably heard the expression—“Jesus Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.” Is there a biblical basis for this? If so, what is its importance?

Hundreds of Old Testament Messianic promises foretold God’s “Anointed” (Hebrew, “Mashiyach;” Aramaic, “Messiah;” Greek, “Christos;” English, “Christ”). This special Man—the God-Man—would function in three specific capacities or roles. He would occupy the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Deuteronomy 18:15,18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee [Israel] a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;…. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (cf. Acts 3:22-23).
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Zechariah 6:12-13: “[12] And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: [13] Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Second Samuel 7:13-14: “[13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. [14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:…” (cf. Hebrews 1:5).

According to Matthew chapter 12, Israel refused to have the Lord Jesus Christ serve them in all three offices.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Matthew 12:41: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas [Jonah the Prophet]; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Israelites believed they knew all there was to know about religious and spiritual matters, so Jesus’ preaching was of no importance to them. Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Matthew 12:6: “But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” The Israelites did not think they needed a Saviour, believing rather they could access God through their own merits. Romans 10:1-3: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Matthew 12:42: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” The Israelites were their own rulers, doing their own thing, throughly enjoying the path that they had chosen in life. Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Book of Hebrews applies all three offices to the Lord Jesus Christ. In spite of Israel’s rejection of Him, one day, He will still be Prophet, Priest, and King!

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Hebrews 1:1-2: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;….”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;….”
  • KING/MONARCH. Hebrews 1:8-9: “[8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: KING DAVID, A THREE-FOLD TYPE OF CHRIST

Everyone familiar with the Bible understands David was king of Israel. Very few, however, realize he was also a prophet and a priest. David—as prophet, priest, and king—is a preview of the Lord Jesus Christ some 1,000 years in advance.

The ephod was a priestly garment that resembled a vest. Even though he was not a priest by blood (David was from the tribe of Judah and not the priestly tribe of Levi), David wore an ephod when praising the LORD. “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14). “And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen” (1 Chronicles 15:27). David even offered animal sacrifices as a priest would. “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

David, as the Holy Spirit moved him, wrote nearly half of the Book of Psalms. “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:1-2). He spoke for God, and is thus called a “prophet.” Acts 2:29-31: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

By the way, when King Saul attempted to usurp the priest’s office by sacrificing a burnt offering, God took the kingdom from him and gave it to David (1 Samuel 13:8-14)!

Also see:
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?
» How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?
» How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?

Who was “Herod?”

WHO WAS “HEROD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

A benighted preacher once remarked, “That ‘Herod’ in the Bible certainly was an evil man!” Actually, however, several men bear this name in Scripture. “Herod” is not a first name but rather a designation—much like “Caesar,” “Pharaoh,” “President,” and so on. The word means “hero-like.” Unfortunately, one challenge to comprehending the Herodian dynasty is its innumerable cases of intermarriage. Extensive incest makes this family tree a nightmare to map! Nevertheless, by understanding these different Herods—and looking to secular history for supplementary information—we can better appreciate and date events in the New Testament Scriptures. (Please bear in mind these dates are approximate.)

HEROD THE GREAT (1st generation)

Herod the Great is the most infamous “Herod” because he was the slaughterer of Jesus’ young contemporaries in Bethlehem (Matthew chapter 2; cf. Luke 1:5). He married at least 10 women, fathering numerous sons—the other men bearing the name “Herod,” whom we will discuss shortly. Herod the Great is the second son of an Idumean* called Antipater. Julius Caesar appointed Antipater as procurator of Judaea in 41 B.C., and Herod the Great assumed power over Galilee shortly after. Roman politician Mark Antony eventually chose the Great to be tetrarch of Judaea, and later he became king of Judaea (where Matthew chapter 2 picks up).

(*NOTE: The Idumeans are Gentiles descended from Esau/Edom (Genesis 36:1), brother of the Jewish patriarch Jacob [Genesis 25:19-34]. In other words, the Herods are non-Jews ruling Israel during “the times of the Gentiles” [Luke 21:24]. God removed Israel’s political might in the Earth beginning with the Babylonian captivity circa 600 B.C, and Gentiles will reign over Israel until Christ’s Second Coming when He sits on David’s throne [Daniel chapter 2]. Although non-Jewish by blood, the Herods entertained some aspects of Judaism.)

In 20 B.C., some 16 years before Christ’s birth, Herod the Great began renovating the Jerusalem Temple (built 500 years earlier, in Zerubbabel’s lifetime). Construction continued well after his death—some 46 years total—according to John 2:20. The Great is recognized for erecting numerous monuments in the city, as well as putting some of his own sons to death! When Jesus was just a few years old, the Great died at age 70 from a horrific disease (cf. Matthew 2:19). Overall, he reigned 37 years.

HEROD ARCHELAUS (2nd generation)

Son of Herod the Great through wife Malthace, Archelaus served as governor of Judaea, Idumea, and Samaria from 4 B.C.–A.D. 6. He appears just once in Scripture, a single verse (Matthew 2:22). The Bible simply calls him “Archelaus.”

HEROD ANTIPAS (2nd generation)

Son of Herod the Great through wife Malthace, Antipas was the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 B.C.–A.D. 39 (Calvary was circa A.D. 30). This Herod reigned during Christ’s earthly ministry (cf. Luke 3:1; Luke 13:31). He imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 3:19-20; Luke 9:7-9). Finally, Herod presided over Jesus’ trial at Pontius Pilate’s direction (Luke 23:7-12,15; Acts 4:27). His name appears briefly in Luke 8:3 and Acts 13:1.

HEROD PHILIP I (2nd generation)

Son of Herod the Great through wife Mariamne, he did not rule. Remaining a private citizen, he was Herodias’ uncle and first husband before she divorced him to marry another uncle, Herod Antipas (cf. Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17). Herod Philip I died approximately A.D. 34, just a few years after Calvary.

HEROD PHILIP II (2nd generation)

Son of Herod the Great through wife Cleopatra, Philip II was tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis (cf. Luke 3:1). He reigned 4 B.C.–A.D. 34 (Calvary was circa A.D. 30). Herodias’ dancing daughter (see Philip I above) went on to marry him, her great-uncle!

HEROD AGRIPPA I (3rd generation)

Son of Aristobulus, nephew of Herod Antipas, and grandson of Herod the Great, he was king of Judaea from A.D. 37–44 (again, Calvary occurred circa A.D. 29). Agrippa I beheaded the Apostle James, imprisoned the Apostle Peter, and succumbed to a most horrific death after God struck him down for his blasphemy (Acts 12:1-24). Scripture knows him as simply “Herod.”

HEROD AGRIPPA II (4th generation)

Son of Agrippa I, great-nephew of Herod Antipas, and great-grandson of Herod the Great, he was the king of Judaea who presided over the Apostle Paul’s trial in Acts 25:13–26:32 (cf. Acts 23:35). The Bible calls him merely “Agrippa,” so do not confuse him with his father Agrippa I (above).

Also see:
» Who were the “Herodians?”
» Is “Divine right of kings” a Scriptural concept?
» Why did God let James die but deliver Peter?

Who are the “vipers” of the New Testament Scriptures?

WHO ARE THE “VIPERS” OF THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Who exactly are these “vipers,” and why are they so called?

  • Matthew 3:7: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
  • Luke 3:7: “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
  • Matthew 12:34: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
  • Matthew 23:33: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

“Vipers” is, of course, metaphorical. These are flesh-and-blood humans like us, not cold-blooded reptiles with forked tongues and scaly bodies. (Surely, we are using common sense here, right?) Yet, a figure of speech does not detract from the truth being conveyed in the Scripture. For example, our English expression, “He is a snake,” is non-literal and carries the idea of “treacherous; an insidious enemy.” A related idea is, “She is a snake in the grass.” This appellation denotes someone who feigns friendship, an opponent who pretends to be an ally. Another similar English idiom is, “to nourish a viper in one’s bosom”—to befriend a person who proves to be treacherous. Again, metaphorical language in the Bible does not deny a literal truth underlying the expression. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says the following concerning these “vipers” (Greek, “echidna”) of the New Testament Scriptures: “cunning, malignant, wicked men.”

The idea of snakes in Scripture finds its origin in Genesis chapter 3: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons…. [13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

We compare this to 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (cf. Ephesians 4:14). Also, Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Finally, Revelation 20:2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,….” The “serpent” of Genesis chapter 3 was Satan himself—pretending to be a friend but nothing more than a sneaky enemy. Likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ addressed the Israeli religious leaders in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In other words, they are working in tandem with Satan. They are his children because their spirit is united with him—but looks are deceiving because they appear godly (see Matthew chapter 23)!

Ephesians chapter 2 says of lost people, including Israel’s unbelieving religious leaders during Christ’s earthly ministry: “[1]…. who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Now, we turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan uses works-religion to blind and confuse individuals even now. This was true of Israel’s religious leaders 20 centuries ago during Christ’s earthly ministry. It was true of Cain back in Genesis chapter 4, for apostate religion is what drove Cain to kill his brother Abel! “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Apostate religionists murdered God’s other prophets throughout the Old Testament—and the adherents of this corrupt religious system eventually put Christ on the cross as well (Luke 11:45-54)! They all hid under the guise of religion; their piety was faked. Pretending to love the Bible and claiming to worship God, they rejected God’s Son and crucified Him in rank unbelief. They were “vipers” indeed!

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE APOSTLE PAUL AND THE VIPER

Considering what has gone before, we now understand the Apostle Paul’s bizarre encounter with a literal snake in the opening verses of Acts chapter 28.

“[1] And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. [2] And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. [3] And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. [4] And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. [5] And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. [6] Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”

Why did the Holy Spirit deem it essential to include this in the record of Scripture? We must remember the purpose of the Book of Acts. It is not, as commonly assumed, a book of doctrine; rather, Acts is the record of God being just or fair in temporarily setting aside apostate national Israel. The unbelieving Jewish religious leaders that so vehemently opposed Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry are still rebelling against Him—that is, His Apostles—during the Acts period. Whether the 12 Apostles during the first half of Acts, or the Apostle Paul during the latter half, Israel refuses to listen to any and all of these men filled with the Holy Spirit.

First Thessalonians chapter 2 thus remarks: “[14] For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: [15] Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: [16] Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

The nation Israel fell back in Acts chapter 7, when she stoned God’s spokesman Stephen. She is fallen at the time of 1 Thessalonians 2:16 (written around Acts chapter 18, for Paul visited Thessalonica in chapter 17). Another passage to consider here is Romans chapter 11, penned in the opening verses of Acts chapter 20: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Again, Israel fell in Acts chapter 7, and she diminished until the close of the Acts period. Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle in chapter 9, his ministry overlapping with Israel’s fading. If we go back to the literal viper latching onto Paul’s hand in chapter 28, we see a picture of apostate Israel attacking him throughout the Acts period. His unbelieving countrymen plotted to arrest and kill him many times over a period of 30 years. Yet, Almighty God would not let him be destroyed. Even during dangerous and seemingly hopeless circumstances, Paul’s ministry continued. The viper—though venomous—could not annihilate God’s apostle of the Gentiles. Unbelieving Israel, under Satan’s control, under the Serpent’s influence, was unsuccessful in stopping the Gospel of Grace from spreading worldwide! Unharmed Paul, shaking off the viper into the fire, depicts God’s Apostle throwing off apostate Israel into the fires of Divine judgment. Paul’s provoking ministry to Israel—his Acts ministry—terminates at the end of that chapter.

Also see:
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» What about snake-handling?
» What about the “talking snake” in Genesis 3?
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» Who were “the strong bulls of Bashan?”
» Is Israel “fallen,” or not? Is Israel “cast away,” or not?

How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?

HOW WAS THERE HEALING IN JESUS’ GARMENT HEM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What is the significance of sick people receiving physical healing by touching Jesus’ garment hem? Why—of all things—was a garment border emphasized in these verses? In faith, we will take our King James Bible and search for answers!

Notice Matthew 9:20-22: “[20] And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: [21] For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. [22] But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

Read the parallel, Mark 5:25-29: “[25] And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, [26] And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

Luke 8:43-44 is also a companion passage: “[43] And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, [44] Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched [stopped, dried up].”

Matthew 14:34-36, while another occasion entirely, nevertheless highlights the idea of touching Jesus’ garment to receive physical healing: “[34] And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. [35] And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; [36] And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”

In order to grasp the significance of this hem, we must consult the Law of Moses. Read Numbers chapter 15: “[37] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [38] Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: [39] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: [40] That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. [41] I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 22:12 is a similar order: “Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.”

JEHOVAH God commanded the Israelites to sew a strip of blue cloth on the borders of their garments. This blue band served to remind them to obey His laws (the Old Covenant). They were His people and were thus expected to act like it. In fact, they had actually promised to obey Him back at Mount Sinai just prior to Him giving the Mosaic Law and entering that covenant relationship with Him. They were married to Him, and were required to have no other gods before Him.

Read Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” Although they boasted they would “do” “all” that God had commanded them (verse 8), they did not obey Him. They engaged in pagan idolatry from that time all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry over 15 centuries later. Their sinful nature and behavior necessitate the New Covenant (yet future).

Pay attention to Jeremiah chapter 31: “[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The New Covenant is God causing Israel to obey Him as opposed to their sinful flesh struggling but failing to obey Him. In other words, if they are to be His people, the arrangement must be based on His righteousness instead of theirs.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, there was a believing remnant present in Israel who understood their personal and national sin problem. The hemorrhaging woman pictures these believing Jews (Mark 5:25 and Luke 8:43 report she suffered her malady 12 years, 12 being Israel’s number in Scripture). We saw how she reached out in faith and grabbed the blue “ribband” (strip, ribbon, hem) on Jesus’ garment. Spiritual healing, depicted by the physical healing, is not in the sinner keeping the laws of God (an impossibility). Rather, spiritual healing is in the Son of God keeping those laws perfectly. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).

Even now, it is Jesus Christ’s obedience to Father God—not our obedience—that delivers us from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Believing Jews in Israel’s program understood this, and we Christians in this the Dispensation of Grace understand that now. Unlike them, we have a complete Bible, and therefore possess a full understanding of Calvary’s crosswork. Christ’s shed blood delivers us from sin (Romans chapter 3) as well as ratifies the New Covenant to save Israel from sin (Hebrews chapter 10). The physical healing of the hemorrhaging woman and the physical healing of the others who touched Christ’s garment border all demonstrate Israel’s future redemption and restoration (spiritual healing).

The Law is “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9), “weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3) because we are naturally unable to keep God’s laws. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Romans 3:19-20 is so plain, we would have to want to miss it not to understand its simple words: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Also, 1 Corinthians 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”

If we want sin to reign in our lives and dominate us, the Law is the means whereby we can be defeated as sinners. Even in Israel’s program, the Mosaic Law was never meant to save anyone, never intended to give anyone a right standing before God. It was given to prove Israel’s failure, and it was to demonstrate our failure—for we are all, Jew and Gentile alike, sons and daughters of sinful Adam. Galatians 3:19 says, “The law… was added because of transgressions [sins, failures]….” But, the good news is that, “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). As the hemorrhaging woman reached out to Christ, depending on His righteousness and not her own, let us place our faith in Christ as sufficient payment for our sins. We will experience permanent, spiritual healing found nowhere else!

Also see:
» Should it be “virtue” or “power” in Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19, and Luke 8:46?
» What does “All Israel shall be saved” mean?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?

Does Israel’s Little Flock have a hope in Heaven?

DOES ISRAEL’S LITTLE FLOCK HAVE A HOPE IN HEAVEN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

As Pauline dispensationalists, we understand that we the Church the Body of Christ are God’s heavenly people whereas the nation Israel is God’s earthly people. Yet, some verses seem to challenge that position. Our critics in denominational circles appeal to these passages to argue against us, claiming the Bible says Israel also has a hope in heaven. We will carefully consider the case they have built against us, comparing verses with verses, and we will see what God’s Word actually says. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

We must consider the following:

  • Luke 10:20: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
  • Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;….”
  • Hebrews 10:34: “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”
  • Hebrews 11:16: “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
  • Hebrews 12:22-23: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,….”
  • 1 Peter 1:4: “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,….”

Perhaps you are shocked to learn Israel is connected to “heaven” in Scripture. However, these verses really should not surprise us. After all, we are quite familiar with John the Baptist’s message, are we not? Matthew chapter 3: “[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Israel’s Gospel message is certainly related to “heaven.” As you can read, “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35) involves the preaching of “the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 4:17). None of this should actually astonish us because John’s message links to Daniel 2:44-45, verses written six centuries prior.

Daniel chapter 2 says: “[35] Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth…. [44] And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. [45] Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”

If you read this chapter in its entirety, you will see how the Bible enumerates the Gentile empires that will rule over Israel (the Middle East—Earth!) until Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming. At that Second Coming, the Lord Jesus Christ will establish an earthly kingdom to replace the pagan Gentile governments that went before. Pay attention to verse 44: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Who will set up this kingdom? The Bible says “the God of heavenwill inaugurate that kingdom; therefore, it is titled “the kingdom of heaven.”

When John the Baptist, or even the Lord Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17), preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” we know they are referring to Heaven coming on the Earth. It is not that believers here are going up to live in Heaven forever but rather Heaven is coming down to them on Earth and they living on Earth forever. “Our Father which art in heaven… Thy kingdom come,” the Israeli saint prays according to the petition of Matthew 6:9-10. Even Moses, 15 centuries before Christ, understood it would one day be “as the days of heaven upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:21). Therefore, the Apostle John wrote of Israel’s Little Flock in Revelation 3:12: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

It is important to notice that the Israeli saints do not have a lasting presence in Heaven. That is true of us, however. Israel does not judge or rule over angels. That is true of us, however (1 Corinthians 6:3). We as members of the Church the Body of Christ are not promised the Earth. In stark contrast, the nation Israel is promised the Earth: “The meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:9,11). Our glorified bodies are “eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). This is not true of Israel. We members of the Body of Christ share in Christ’s authority in the heavenly places: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7). This is not true of Israel. We could continue the comparisons (see Colossians 1:5,16-20), but these should suffice in addressing our critics’ claims.

We close this section by quoting Ephesians 1:20-23 to highlight the location of the Body of Christ’s eternal inheritance: “[20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

The Old Testament saints (although physically dead) are currently in the New Jerusalem, in the third heaven, as per Hebrews 12:22-23: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect,….” However, the Heavenly Jerusalem is not permanently in Heaven, so those Old Testament saints living in it are not perpetually in Heaven. New Jerusalem comes down to Earth in Revelation chapters 21–22. Ultimately, though, even with all this said, we still recognize the hope of the Old Testament saints remains the same: the God of heaven setting up an earthly kingdom that lasts forever (Daniel 2:35,44-45).

Revelation chapter 21: “[1] And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God…. [10] And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,….”

Israel’s eternal hope, while an earthly kingdom, is called “the kingdom of heavenfor three reasons. Firstly, it is Heaven on Earth (Deuteronomy 11:21). Secondly, the God of Heaven establishes it (Daniel 2:44-45). Finally, it currently exists in the third Heaven until it descends to Earth where it remains forever (Revelation 21:1-3,10).

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Will living in Heaven forever be boring?
» What is the difference between “the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven?”
» Why are the heavens “not clean in God’s sight?”

Can you explain Isaiah 5:8, “Woe unto them that join house to house…?”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN ISAIAH 5:8, “WOE UNTO THEM THAT JOIN HOUSE TO HOUSE…?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read in Isaiah 5:8: “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!” What is this all about?

Here is the first of six “woes” in Isaiah chapter 5 (cf. verses 11,18,20,21,22). In these verses, JEHOVAH God is pronouncing warnings to the Jews concerning their specific sins.

To “join house to house,” to “lay field to field,” is qualified by “till there be no place.” In other words, they have crammed into one plot of land as much as they possibly can. Think of massive apartment complexes or merged estates that have no vacant spaces between them. Avarice—extreme greed—has consumed the nations Israel and Judah. They are so materialistic and selfish: their purpose or intent in packing the land is “that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!” They do not want neighbors; they want God’s land all for themselves.

Contemporaneous with the Prophet Isaiah, the Prophet Micah wrote in chapter 2 of his Book concerning the covetous Jews: “[1] Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. [2] And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. [3] Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil…. [8] Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. [9] The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.

The Jews have perverted their own court systems so as to steal property from their fellow Israelites (thus making them poor and homeless). They purchase that land, disobeying the Law of Moses that said they were neither to sell the land nor let it fall into the hands of Jews from other tribes. Plots of land were to stay within the family.

Reading the Law of Moses in Leviticus 25:23-25: “[23] The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. [24] And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. [25] If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.”

With excessive greed driving the Jews of Isaiah and Micah’s day to buy up land and build houses, the LORD gives them a solemn promise. Let us go back to Isaiah chapter 5: “[8] Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! [9] In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. [10] Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.(Verse 10 is severe famine, extreme agricultural hardships.)

The houses they were so fixated on buying and building, the land they were so determined to purchase and keep for themselves, God would take it all away during the fifth course of judgment or chastisement. Gentiles (Assyrians and Babylonians) would enter the land of Palestine in the decades following Isaiah and Micah and take the Israelites (north and south) captive! Both Bible history and secular/world history testify to that fact that the Jews lost their land as they were scattered amongst the Gentiles’ lands.

Leviticus chapter 26: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

“[31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. [35] As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.”

Also see:
» Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?
» Why did Ezekiel in Babylon warn of Jerusalem’s fall?
» How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?

Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?

DOES THE NEW COVENANT TAKE AWAY ISRAEL’S FREE WILL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. The Bible verses about the New Covenant causes a Calvinist to say, “See, God’s grace cannot be resisted! He has chosen Israel and she must follow His will!” Indeed, while God has chosen the nation Israel to serve Him, individuals within the nation are given the free will to cooperate with Him by faith or rebel against Him in unbelief. Whoever in Israel trusts His Son automatically falls under the New Covenant.

The primary New Covenant passage is Jeremiah chapter 31: “[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Now, Ezekiel 36:24-28: “[24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. [25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

The Jews under the New Covenant will have the indwelling Holy Spirit just as we Christians do today. After all, without the strengthening of the third Member of the Godhead, they are as powerless in doing God’s will as we would be powerless.

John chapter 14: “[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…. [26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John chapter 16: “[13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. [15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Luke 24:49: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (See also Acts 1:4-5 and Acts chapter 2, the coming of the Holy Spirit on Israel’s Little Flock.)

As concerning Israel under the New Covenant (which is yet future from us), the individual Jews have already exercised faith in God’s Word to them. Redeemed Israelites (corporately, redeemed Israel) came to faith in Christ—already making a willful choice—prior to the inauguration of that covenant. They knew they would have their sin nature removed and they came by faith to God in order for Him to do just that for them. At the beginning of the Millennium and onward into eternity future, their sin nature will be removed. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, they will automatically and completely accomplish God’s will.

One day, friends, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we will have our sin nature removed as well. When we get to Heaven, sin will no longer be an issue for us. Until then, we are exhorted in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.” We are also encouraged to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The implication here is we most definitely can (!) and do (!) refuse to let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts and lives. If we Christians were unable to sin, such instructions would be completely unnecessary. We have free will even now, after coming to Christ. We exercised volition when we trusted the Gospel of the Grace of God in order to pass from eternal death to eternal life. The difference between Israel and us is that we have a relationship with Almighty God through the blood of Jesus Christ apart from any covenants (Ephesians 2:13).

Historical, national Israel most surely can—and did—refuse Almighty God. Most individuals within the nation rejected Jesus Christ and demanded His crucifixion. The Lord Jesus declared in Matthew 23:37-39: “[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. [39] For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” He also stated in John 5:43: I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (Since they rejected Jesus, they will receive Antichrist. Again, God gives them over to free will!) The Holy Spirit through Stephen accused Israel in Acts 7:51: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

Also see:
» How are we “able ministers of the new testament?”
» How did the Israeli patriarchs “resist” the Holy Ghost?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?