Monthly Archives: July 2016

Reading the Old to Understand the New

The Book of Matthew in the New Testament opens with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Out of the long list of names recorded several are familiar from the Old Testament:  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;  Boaz and Ruth;  Jesse, David and Solomon. As the birth of Jesus unfolds in the second chapter of the Book, several verses refer back to what was written previously in the Old Testament. To fully understand the New Testament one must also read the Old, for the Old Covenant introduces the New Covenant founded upon Christ alone as the Sacrifice for sin.

  • When King Herod questioned the chief priests and scribes where the Promised Messiah would be born, “They said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea,” relying upon the Prophet Micah’s prophesy in the Old Testament, “…out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” (Matthew 2:4-6; Micah 5:2).
  • When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee with his young family to Egypt “until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him,” it was the Prophet Hosea the Lord had spoken to and had written 750 years earlier found in the Old Testament, “I… called My Son out of Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-15; Hosea 11:1). 
  • As King Herod saw that he was mocked by the return of the magi to their own country another way and called for the slaughter of all children two years and under, Matthew recalls Jeremiah the prophet saying, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not,” (Matthew 2:16-18; Jeremiah 31:15).
  • Settling in Nazareth upon their return from Egypt, more prophesies written in the Old Testament are noted concerning Jesus, in that, “He shall be called a Nazarene,” a community where residents were often despised and rejected, as Nathanael said to Philip upon his invitation for Nathanael to come see Jesus, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” In Psalm 22 David wrote of the Promised Messiah of the New Testament,But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.” The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth,” and also, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Matthew2:23; John 1:46; Psalm 22:6-8; Isaiah 49:7; 53:3).

As one continues reading throughout the Book of Matthew and beyond, reference upon reference is made back to the Old Testament. The Prophet Isaiah wrote in the Old Testament of John the Baptist’s ministry recorded in Matthew chapter three (Isaiah 40:3). Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in chapter four records Jesus quoting Old Testament Scripture in answer to Satan’s twisting of Scripture. Just as the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:16 writes of the Body of Christ, the Church, being “the whole body fitly joined together,” both the Old Testament and the New Testament fit wholly together, hand in glove. To understand the New, one must be familiar with the Old.

 

NEHEMIAH – Book of “Rebuilding The Wall”

Key Verse:  Nehemiah 1:3-4, “And they said unto me…  The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept.”                                             

 Nehemiah Told of Jerusalem’s Condition – Chapter 1

 King Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem – Chapter 2

 Wall Begins to be Rebuilt – Chapter 3

 Enemies Try to Stop the Work – Chapters 4-5

 Wall is Finished – Chapter 6

 Genealogy of Those Who Returned – Chapter 7

 Law of Moses Read to People – Chapter 8

 People Repent – Chapter 9

 Renewed Covenant with God – Chapter 10

 Those Who Would Live in Jerusalem – Chapter 11

 Dedication of the Wall – Chapter 12

 Law Restored in Society – Chapter 13

Saved From What?

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Upon having been arrested, beaten and thrust into the inner prison after being accused of troubling the city of Philippi with their missionary endeavors, Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God at midnight when suddenly a great earthquake shook the very foundations of the prison, opening the prison doors and loosening the chains of the prisoners. As the jailer called for a light, Paul reassured him all were accounted for and not to take his own life as was custom for those in charge at the time of a prison escape. As the trembling Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the rubble of the destroyed jail, the first words on his lips were “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16)

Every man, woman, boy and girl need to ask the very same question the Philippian jailer asked of Paul and Silas, but what must we be saved from? Surely the jailer was inquiring of more than just being saved from the destruction caused by the earthquake, as the men’s answer dealt with the spiritual and not the physical. The jailer knew the night’s events were all connected, from the praying and singing to the shaking of the ground and the breaking of the bonds. The jailer came to understand the One True God was not pleased with the day’s proceedings and the attempt to silence His witnesses in a city He led them to preach His Gospel.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, (v.18). In Ephesians 5 Paul writes of “the wrath of God” being “upon the children of disobedience,” (v.6). Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5-6 to “Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (desires), and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” It was John the Baptist who asked the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to see him baptize, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7).

What does each and every person need to be saved from? The answer that is applicable to all, in that, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23), and, “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) is… God’s wrath. How can man be saved from experiencing God’s wrath? Paul wrote in his first letter to the believers in the Church at Thessalonica, “To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come,” (1:10). In Paul’s letter to the Roman believers he wrote, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him,” (5:9).

Paul and Silas spelled out exactly what the Philippian jailer needed to do to be saved from God’s wrath, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” and his entire household could be, too, if they would each individually believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection for their sin. The result was the Philippian jailer, “Rejoiced, believing in God with all his house,” (Acts 16:31-34).