“Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the birth of our Lord; and it was not till long after the western Church had set the example, that the eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, probably the fact is that the “holy” days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals.” Charles Spurgeon
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Exodus 25:1-9
The Jewish people are in their homeland. And yes they are still returning because the Lord has said “He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven” (Mark 13:27). For when the time was right He brought His people home. When the time came, when their return was necessary for the fulfillment of Scripture, He brought them home. So there will be a time when the Third Temple will be rebuilt.
Solomon’s temple was the place where “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.” (Psalm 29:10). “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.” (Psalm 29:3). The Psalmist’s flood was the abundant natural spring gushing up from within the temple area that Aristeas saw in the Second Temple. The gushing fountain of water pouring tons of water through Hezekiah’s tunnel every minute under the temple. This was the “river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. (Psalm 46:4)
As our Bordeaux traveler enters the Upper City through the Sion Gate he starts north toward the Damascus Gate and records a remarkable observation: “From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk north towards the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate”. This walled platform on Mount Moriah is a huge edifice of over 10,000 stones. This site is currently and has for almost 2000 years been the center of intense conflict and the focal point of religious passion in the birthplace of the Abrahamic religions. We need now to question whether the Jewish Temples were ever on this Moriah Platform. We need to realize that the struggle is not over the site of the Jewish Temple, but over a Roman Fort.
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
In A.D. 70, Jesus’ words were literally and precisely fulfilled when God brought to Jerusalem the Roman army under Titus Vespasian to destroy the city and the entire temple complex.
The day of their victory dawned, and they marched from the prison to the amphitheatre joyfully as though they were going to heaven, with calm faces, trembling, if at all, with joy rather than fear. Perpetua went along with shining countenance and calm step, as the beloved of God, as a wife of Christ, putting down everyone’s stare by her own intense gaze. With them also was Felicitas, glad that she had safely given birth so that now she could fight the beasts, going from one blood bath to another, from the midwife to the gladiator, ready to wash after childbirth in a second baptism.
Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there it no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven. Charles Spurgeon
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” The doctrines which we preach to you are doctrines that have been baptized in blood, swords have been drawn to slay the confessors of them; and there is not a truth which has not been sealed by them at the stake, or the block, or far away on the lofty mountains, where they have been slain by hundreds. Charles Spurgeon
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Martin Luther King quoted from Amos 5:24
As he began the last year of his life, he wrote, ‘To all appearance the present year will be more perilous than any I have seen, but if I live to complete the Persian New Testament, my life after that will be of less importance. But whether life or death be mine, may Christ be magnified in me. If he has work for me to do, I cannot die’.
“Love to God, and love to Christ, and love to saints for God and Christ’s sake, and the enjoyment of the fruits of God’s love in holy communion with God, and Christ, and with holy persons—this is what we have a relish for; and such is our renewed nature, that such happiness suits our disposition and appetite and wishes above all other things; and not only above all things that we have, but above all that we can conceive it possible that we could have. The world does not afford anything like it.”
Jonathan Edwards. “Heaven: A World of Love”
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18
14 And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.” Jeremiah 14:14-15
The practical remark has often been made that many of the things which now frighten Christians and fill them with anxiety would cease to frighten them if they would endeavor to see the Lord Jesus in all, ordering every providence and overruling everything so that not a hair falls to the ground without Him. They are happy who can hear His voice through the thickest clouds and darkness, and above the loudest winds and storms, saying, “It is I; do not be afraid.” R.C. Ryle – Notes on the Gospel of John
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Charles Spurgeon
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30:33
“The Holy Ghost revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to His teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, Wesley, or Gill—we will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect which they deserve as men, but having done so, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has any authority, but “Thus saith the Lord of hosts.” ” Charles Spurgeon
Good Christians can disagree on the tax code, the Affordable Care Act, the size of the military and many other issues, however matters of faith, such as the sanctity of life, is a matter of Christian ethics clearly defined in Scripture. The sanctity of the life of the unborn child is intrinsically entwined in the value our God places on all life. Throughout Scripture, God affirms the value of every human life—from children in the womb to the elderly. Throughout Scripture God attests to His love for all mankind regardless of any of the caveats that we as fallen creatures have personally placed on that value.
Referred to in Jewish literature as “That Man”, so that they didn’t have to write out his name, or alternatively “Yeshu” (.י.ש.ו)- which stands for “May his name be forever erased and forgotten”, Jesus has been avoided in polite conversation among in Jewish communities for most of the last two millennia. Reviled as a traitor and heretic, and blamed for the bloody persecution and murder of Jews at the hands of the church for centuries, Yeshua was considered straight out dangerous.
How do we define the character of a Christian? What is it that sets us apart from the world of non-believer’s? The mark of a Christian, the defining mark of the Christian walk, is that people should be able to see Christ’s character and love in us. The love of Jesus was revealed to us in God’s Word. The love of Christ is the measure of love that each of us should aspire to in our lives. His love is measured by His amazing statement that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). That is the highest standard of love.
For when in the body our brothers in the faith so witnessed the wickedness of the sinful world. For Satan threw at them all that he could. “They stood firm with trembling limbs, and their minds were constant before God in a struggle witnessed by angels, men and demons. The angels awaited the departure of their souls for the purpose of conducting them to their destiny. Men awaited their end and tested the endurance of their human nature to discover if their fear and hope for the future would triumph over pain. The demons were especially curious to see these athletes fall and come to ruin, but their expectations were dashed because God had strengthened them.”
“As the waters overtook the matron martyr the younger woman was implored by her friends to give in to her persecutors, yet she continued to pray and recited verses from the 25th Psalm. Her executioners continued to try to break her and she was “Dragged half-dead from the waters, [and] urged again ‘to pray for the king’…. She had already been overwhelmed in the horrors of death; the black devouring floods were hissing at her feet, as if greedy for their prey; life, and the sweets of life, inviting her one way; death, in one of his most wild and horrific forms, yawning to swallow her up the other way.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40).
The fury of Rome which was to come down on the Waldenses could not wipe out these people of faith. Philippe de Marnix, Baron de Saint Aldegonde observed, “it is the work of God;since whatever diligence the popes and their clergy have used, employing the assistances of princes and secular magistrates, they have not been able to exterminate them, nor by proscriptions, banishments, excommunications, publications of crusades, and pardons to all those who would wage war upon them; nor by all sorts of torments, fires, flames, gibbets, and cruel blood-shedding, have been able to hinder their doctrine from spreading itself almost through all the ends of the earth.”
Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation were not only written to the churches Jesus is addressing in the late first century, they were written to all churches throughout the Church Age. There are many insights we need to grasp from these letters. Yes, two of the churches were commended, yet five were rebuked. We need to remember that Jesus Himself is giving these commendations and rebukes, so we need to listen and heed what He is saying because they apply to us today every bit as much as to the seven. As we sit in our pews we should strongly consider which of these churches our own church more closely resembles.
“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against ation,neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4
What Exactly is Progressive Parallelism? The short answer is that it is the cornerstone of the amillennialist position and without it they have no basis to contend we are currently in the millennial kingdom. I hope that I can make clear their contentions and reveal the theological gymnastics that must be accepted to give credence at all to this view of eschatology. Please examine the following Scriptures from Revelation.
The consequences of institutionalized slavery bringing Divine judgment was not lost on many Americans and was a major theme of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Lincoln knew that God had “His own purposes” in bringing the Civil War to the American people. God brings “woe unto the world because of offenses… (and) if we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses,” then “He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”