We have been examining the fact that the Acts period foreshadows the kingdom of God in the miracles that were worked at that time. Many of these reflect various conditions that will prevail on earth during the coming kingdom. We have seen that the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple in Acts 3:1-10 foreshadows the healing and health that will be enjoyed by all in the kingdom of God, as we see in Isaiah 33:24 and 35:6. The shaking of the house in Acts 4:31, directing the apostles in how they were to act, foreshadows the direction God will give men in the kingdom in Isaiah 30:21. The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira foreshadow the punishment that will fall upon evildoers in the kingdom in Psalm 101:5, 7-8. The release of the apostles from prison in Acts 5:19-20 foreshadows the setting of the prisoners free in Isaiah 42:1,7. The conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-6 foreshadows the enlightenment of sinners in Psalm 25:8, 51:31, and 64:1-10. This brings us up-to-date to our current examination.

Next, the amazing story of the resurrection of Tabitha in Acts 9:36-42 foreshadows the Manifest Kingdom of God to come. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

What do you make of the mark of the beast, 666?

The mark of the beast is found in Revelation 13:17-18.

17. and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Most scholars are in agreement that this is referring to gematria, wherein in ancient days there was no separate set of symbols for numbers, and so each letter in the alphabet also had a numerical value. One example of this that we are aware of in modern times is Roman numerals. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet had a corresponding number, and it seems that the letters, or at least the consonants, in the name of the beast add up to 666 by gematria. There is more than one name that could do this, however, so it is not really possible to identify in advance what that name will be. Read the rest of this entry »

litmatch02In our last message, we saw how the beginning of the Acts period foreshadowed the coming, manifest kingdom in many ways. Both start with a sound, both include signs of fire, both see God’s chosen representatives powerfully marked out for all to see, both involve the pouring out of the power of the Holy Spirit, and both break down barriers that exist between people in this world. Thus we saw that, in many ways, the beginning of the Acts period foreshadows the beginning of the kingdom of God.

Yet there are other ways besides how it started in which the Acts period foreshadows the future, manifest kingdom of God. One way is in the unity that existed during Acts, particularly during the earliest time when all believers were together in one large group. We read of this unity in Acts 2:44-45. Read the rest of this entry »

strikematch02In my message, “The Theme of the Bible,” I expressed the opinion that the kingdom of God is the theme of the Bible. The reality of God’s coming government on earth is the goal toward which God is working and the theme upon which all His works are hinged. Ecclesiastes 3:14 declares:

14. I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.

This verse does not tell us that whatever God does lasts forever. This cannot be, for we know that God’s dispensations and works with mankind change. For example, we know that God at one time put the man He created, Adam, in a garden in Eden and commanded him to tend and keep the garden. As long as he did not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he would live perpetually and enjoy the world God had given him. Yet Adam ate that fruit, so what God did in placing him in the garden did not last forever. Therefore, we can assuredly say that all things God does do not always last forever. What is this passage telling us, then? Read the rest of this entry »

definesin02I received the following question:

I have a question for you.  We have recently been studying/discussing the meaning and definition of “sin.”  Does the definition change between the Old Testament, the Gospel Period, the Acts period, and now in the Dispensation of Grace?

The definition I’ve been given is “missing the mark.”  Appropriate, but kind of vague.

My main question has to do with Christ Jesus.  It focuses on sin, particularly referring to II Corinthians 5:20 & 21  –  (20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)

Since Jesus “knew no sin”, it has been suggested that his only sin was the fact that he died.  Can the unavoidable reality of death be a sin?  I have a hard time accepting this concept.  I lean towards the belief that death is the consequence of the original sin, not a sin itself.

Good to hear from you! Very good question. I will answer as best I can. Read the rest of this entry »

prayhands02I received the following question:

One of my joys in the past year has been attending a women’s Bible study class, led for 46 years by a godly woman.  We have been studying the Book of Jeremiah, a prophet who remained steadfast for forty years in the face of rejection and persecution.  Israel was in decline–much like I believe America is now.  This week she gave us a few guidelines for praying for leaders.  Pray, of course, for strength and wisdom for godly leaders.  Ja. 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
 
But there is a place for imprecatory prayer for evildoers/ evil leaders.  She used as an example David’s prayer against Ahithophel who had defected to Absalom in 2 Samuel 15:31.  Here are her suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

dictionaryword02I received the following question:

Nathan, you make a distinction between “the” new covenant as opposed to “a” new covenant, but II Cor. 3:6 says “the” new covenant.  It would be difficult to convince a covenant theology guy that at least when this was written, this is not “the” new covenant of Jer. 31.

The phrase “the new covenant” in II Corinthians 3:6 is inaccurate. In Luke 22:20, the phrase is he kaine diatheke, “the new covenant.” The same is true in I Corinthians 11:25, he kaine diatheke, “the new covenant.” In II Corinthians 3:6, it is kaines diathekes, “(a) new covenant.” There is no “the” in the text. It is like Hebrews 8:8, diatheken kainen, “(a) covenant new.” Hebrews 9:15 is the same, diathekes kaines, “(a) covenant new.” Hebrews 12:24 is different, diathekes neas, “(a) covenant new.” Only the Lord uses the emphatic “THE new covenant.”

The idea is of a new agreement. Since the Lord is the Mediator of THE new covenant of Jeremiah 31, it is difficult to say that the apostles were also mediators of it. The fact that the agreement they were mediating was not that of Jeremiah 31 is clear from the fact that none of the truths of the covenant of Jeremiah 31 came to be in the Acts period.

saulsword02I Samuel 31

1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.

Now our attention is drawn back from David and his men to King Saul and his army. Remember that we have just seen David’s activities, and that probably on this very same day and at nearly the same time he was slaughtering the Amalekites, a vastly superior force, and winning back his captives without a single loss to him or his men. Saul and the Israelite army are also facing a vastly superior force. Saul, however, has lost the favor of the LORD through his long unfaithfulness and stubborn disobedience. Therefore, the LORD does not help him, and it is the Philistines who are victorious in Saul’s war. The men of Israel flee from the Philistine army, and those who do not flee fall down slain in Mount Gilboa, the place where the Philistines were camped. This is what typically happens to a greatly outnumbered force, when the LORD is not on the side of the smaller force! Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 30 Continued

16. And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

The former slave brings David down to where the Amalekites were camping. David finds them spread out in a very large camp over all the land. They are in the midst of eating and drinking and dancing in celebration of their successful raids against the Philistines and Judah. While these two nations were at war with each other, these Amalekites had sneaked into their lands and taken from them great spoil, enriching themselves. Thus David finds them celebrating, in disarray and not ready for battle. Read the rest of this entry »

destroyedvillage02I Samuel 30 1. Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, In order to make the long trip back to their home in Ziklag, David and his men would have probably headed west to the Mediterranean Sea and then traveled down the coast southward back to Philistia. It seems that they make the long journey in two days, no doubt hurrying both to get away from the angry Philistine lords, and to get out of Israel where they still were fugitives. This must have been a difficult journey, and the thought of the comforts of home that awaited them must have sustained them after the frightening journey with the Philistine army and the near-disaster of almost having to fight their own people. Yet when David and his men get back to their home in Ziklag, they find no such happy welcome as they were anticipating. We learn that the Amalekites had conducted a raid while the Israelite and Philistine armies were busy facing each other. Remember that David, while telling his new master Achish that he was invading Judah, had been making systematic attacks on various towns of the Amalekites, leaving none alive to bring back word to Achish of his true policy. Word of this had not reached Philistia, yet it seems that the Amalekites had somehow learned the truth of these deadly invasions, and have traced the cause back to the land of the Philistines, and even to David and the city of Ziklag. Thus when the armies of Israel and the Philistines, along with David and his forces, are busy facing each other in battle, they use the opportunity to take their revenge. Thus the Amalekites had invaded the southern part of Judah, perhaps because it had formerly been David’s home, and also David’s own town of Ziklag in Philistine territory. Thus the town is completely burned with fire when David and his men arrive. Read the rest of this entry »

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