Category: Christology

Shadows of Atonement and the Resurrection’s Seal of the Atonement

Shadows of Atonement and the Resurrection’s Seal of the Atonement

What is Penal Substitutionary Atonement and why is it the most important doctrine?

In the simplest possible terms, the biblical doctrine of penal substitution holds that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross takes the place of the punishment we ought to suffer for our sins. As a result, God’s justice is satisfied, and those who accept Christ can be forgiven and reconciled to God. Let me give you a succinct, one sentence explanation of Penal Substitutionary Atonement and then we will look at the doctrine in more detail:  Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of sinners, thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins.

The word penal means “related to punishment for offenses,” and substitution means “the act of a person taking the place of another.” So, penal substitution is the act of a person taking the punishment for someone else’s offenses. In Christian theology, Jesus Christ is Substitute, and the punishment He took, at the cross, was ours, based on our sin (1 Peter 2:24). You may notice that this sounds very judicial and reflects the language of a courtroom and you would be correct in noticing that. Judicial terms are not foreign to the Christian; we speak of justification, reward, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Great White Throne Judgment of the Wicked and others so it is sensible to speak of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

According to the doctrine of penal substitution, God’s perfect justice demands some form of atonement for sin. Humanity is depraved, to such an extent that we are spiritually dead and incapable of atoning for sin in any way (Ephesians 2:1). Penal substitution means Jesus’ death on the cross propitiated, or satisfied, God’s requirement for justice. God’s mercy allows Jesus to take the punishment we deserve for our sins. As a result, Jesus’ sacrifice serves as a substitute for anyone who accepts it. In a very direct sense, Jesus is exchanged for us as the recipient of sin’s penalty.

Objection: Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a Calvinist Doctrine. Answer: Of course it is. Penal Substitutionary Atonement follows, naturally, with the flow of the Doctrines of Grace. Total Depravity lays out the case against us as sinners and Particular Redemption identifies those for whom Christ was the substitute and the Perseverance of the Saints explains the efficacy and durability of the Atonement.

Objection: Penal Substitutionary Atonement is unbiblical.
Answer: (Quoting Got Questions Ministries) Penal substitution is clearly taught by the Bible. In fact, much of what God did prior to Jesus’ ministry was to foreshadow this concept and present it as the purpose of the Messiah. In Genesis 3:21, God uses animal skins to cover the naked Adam and Eve. This is the first reference to a death (in this case, an animal’s) being used to cover (atone for) sin. In Exodus 12:13, God’s Spirit “passes over” the homes that are covered (atoned) by the blood of the sacrifice. God requires blood for atonement in Exodus 29:41–42. The description of Messiah in Isaiah 53:4–6 says His suffering is meant to heal our wounds. The fact that the Messiah was to be “crushed for our iniquities” (verse 5) is a direct reference to penal substitution.
Word Wealth: Kaphar/To Make Atonement: Kaphar, literally, is to cover over or purge. Kaphar and expiate (offset/take away) are the two glorious halves of what happened on Good Friday. Christ, the suffering Lamb, covered over our sin with His precious blood and in so doing removed the filthiness of our sin from the sight of the Father.
During and after Jesus’ ministry, penal substitution is further clarified. Jesus claims to be the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for the sheep in John 10:10. Paul, in Romans 3:25–26, explains that we have the righteousness of Christ because of the sacrifice of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, he says that the sinless Christ took on our sins. Hebrews 9:26 says that our sins were removed by the sacrifice of Christ. First Peter 3:18 plainly teaches that the righteous was substituted for the unrighteous.

Penal substitution derives from the idea that divine forgiveness must satisfy divine justice, that is, that God is not willing or able to simply forgive sin without first requiring a satisfaction for it. It states that God gave himself in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for our sin.

Important theological concepts about penal substitution depend on the doctrine of the Trinity. Those who believe that Jesus was himself God, in line with the doctrine of the Trinity, believe that God took the punishment upon himself rather than putting it on someone else. In other words, the doctrine of union with Christ affirms that by taking the punishment upon himself Jesus fulfils the demands of justice not for an unrelated third party but for those identified with him. If, in the penal substitution understanding of the atonement, the death of Christ deals with sin and injustice, his resurrection is the renewal and restoration of righteousness. Key biblical references upon which penal substitution is based include:

  • Isaiah53:4-6, 10, 11—”Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all … It was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin … By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.” (RSV)
  • Romans3:23-26—”All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.” (NRSV)
  • 2 Corinthians5:21—”For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (RSV)
  • Galatians3:10, 13—”All who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.’ … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.'” (RSV)
  • 1 Peter2:24—”He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”(RSV)
  • 1 Peter3:18—”For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (RSV)

Now that we have explained what Penal Substitutionary Atonement is, let us look to some shadows of the Atonement in the Old Testament.

The Burnt Offering: A Shadow of the Cross

Leviticus 1:3-9 (HCSB)

Then the Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When any of you brings an offering to the Lord from the livestock, you may bring your offering from the herd or the flock. “If his gift is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to bring an unblemished male. He must bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting so that he may be accepted by the Lord. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering so it can be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He is to slaughter the bull before the Lord; Aaron’s sons the priests are to present the blood and sprinkle it on all sides of the altar that is at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then he must skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest will prepare a fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests are to arrange the pieces, the head, and the suet on top of the burning wood on the altar. The offerer must wash its entrails and shanks with water. Then the priest will burn all of it on the altar as a burnt offering, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”

The first thing we want to see is where the instruction took place. In Exodus, the Lord spoke from the burning mountain, which is a picture of His holiness and the fact that He is apart from the creation. The picture of a forbidding God speaking from a burning mountain also invokes the awe, reverence and fear that are due Him. Here, though, the Lord, Himself, calls Moses to the entrance of the Tabernacle (also called the Tent of Meeting in some translations). Before, the Lord was apart from His people, now He is in their midst; the giving of the Law was essentially, a marriage between God and the People of Israel. In Leviticus, God lays out the ground rules for the marriage; He lays out the obligations of the People as His bride and His role as the husband in this covenant marriage.

Let’s look at a few points in overview and then we will discuss, in earnest, what they mean and what they show is yet to come…

  • The Burnt Offering is a Freewill offering.
  • For those that can afford it, the animal sacrificed is to be from the herd or the flock (verse 2) and for those that cannot afford it, the animal must be a turtledove or young pigeon (verse 9)
  • The animal must be without blemish, i.e. no physical defects such as a limp, blindness, or the like.
  • The offerer will lay both hands on the head of the animal. In the Amplified Version it points out the fact that this symbolically transfers the guilt of the penitent onto the animal to be offered.
  • The penitent person kills the animal before the Lord (that is, in His Presence) Aaron and his sons, the priests will present the blood to the Lord and then dash it upon the altar.
  • The animal will be skinned and cut into pieces. (This particular passage does not prescribe a set number of pieces.)
  • The entire animal, minus the skin, is laid upon the altar and burned

The giving of a Burnt Offering can occur in one of two contexts, a sin context such as when Noah offered Burnt Offerings after the Flood (Genesis 8:20), or a praise context, such as in Psalm 66:3 when the Psalmist offered costly burnt offerings in gratitude for the Lord’s deliverance. Here, we are looking at the Burnt Offering as a covering (atonement) for sin.

Aaron and his sons do the burning of the offering because they are symbols of the Lord. The Lord so hates sin that he must utterly, completely, and totally destroy it and by doing the burning, they picture the Lord destroying the sin. I used three synonyms to demonstrate the superlative hatred that the Lord has for sin. The animal that is burned in its entirety, of course, symbolized the sin that was being destroyed. By bringing the offering the penitent person shows that he recognizes that sin must be destroyed and that he is appealing to the Lord’s mercy, which is what allows the animal to be destroyed in the place of the sinner.

So how, in the world, does this picture the cross? To answer that we need to be sure that we have a clear understanding of what happened at the cross.

  • Jesus, who knew no sin became sin; he took our sin upon Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • The Son of Man gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)
  • The Lamb of God took away the sin of the world (John 1:29, John 1:36)
  • Christ was made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13)
  • Jesus became our High Priest, Himself purged our sins, and sat down at the Right Hand of Majesty on High (Hebrews 1:3, 2:9, 2:17)
  • The payment of our sin is FINAL (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12-15, 9:19-20, 9:24-28)

The Law was a shadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1-20) and the destruction of sin that we see in the burnt offering was made complete on the cross. In the very instant that Jesus cried out that God had forsaken Him (Matthew 27:46) the destruction of sin was made complete through the suffering of Jesus in order that Jesus might bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).

Because of His obedience and atoning sacrifice, YHWH, God the Father has restored unto Him the name at which every knee will bow and every tongue will acknowledge, Lord. (Notice Philippians 2:10 does not say at the name Jesus but at the name of Jesus, which means a different name and it is Lord.) Only a sinless life could satisfy the wrath of God and only God, having humbled Himself, and come as a man (Philippians 2:6) could live a sinless life and satisfy all that His holiness required.

The sinless animal stood in the place of the Son of Man until He came and when He did, the picture from the sacrifice became the reality of the cross…

The Sin Offering (from Got Questions)

“A sin offering was a sacrifice, made according to the Mosaic Law, which provided atonement for sin. The Hebrew phrase for “sin offering” literally means “fault offering.” The sin offering was made for sins committed in ignorance, or unintentional sins. The ritualistic method of the sin offering and the animal to be offered varied depending on the status of the sinner. For example, a high priest who sinned unintentionally would offer a young bull. A king or a prince would offer a young male goat. People in the private sector would sacrifice a young female goat or lamb, unless they were too poor, in which case they were only required to offer two turtledoves or pigeons. Full details of the sin offering and the requirements associated with it are enumerated in Leviticus 4 and Numbers 15.

Again, the sin offering was sacrificed when a person sinned unintentionally by breaking one of the Lord’s commandments and later realized his guilt (Leviticus 4:27). Sin offerings were also part of the ceremonies on the Day of Atonement, as the high priest made two sin offerings: a bull for himself and a young male goat for the congregation (Leviticus 16:11, 15). Unlike some other offerings, the sin offering was not eaten. The live animal was brought to the altar and the sinner was required to lay his hand on the head of the animal (Leviticus 4:29). Then the animal was killed, at which point the priest would take some of the blood and put it on the horns of the altar (verse 30). In some cases, some of the blood was also sprinkled inside the tabernacle (verses 6 and 17). Then all the rest of the blood was poured at the base of the altar (verse 34). The fat of the sin offering was removed and burned on the altar. But all the rest of the carcass was taken “outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown,” and there the carcass was burned “in a wood fire on the ash heap” (verse 12). “In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven” (verse 35).

The sin offering was a poignant picture of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. He was a “lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19; cf. Leviticus 4:32) whose precious blood was spilled after being publicly slain. Jesus was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem, just as the sin offering was to be burnt outside the camp (Hebrews 13:12; cf. Leviticus 4:12). Just as the sacrificial lamb makes atonement for unintentional sins, Jesus’ blood made atonement for the sin of any person who realizes his guilt before God and asks for that atonement to be applied to him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7). “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).

Every person has broken the Law of God in one way or another, whether we realize it or not. Humanity is sinful, and we are all guilty before God (Romans 3:23). It must have been painful for sinners under the Mosaic Law to slaughter an innocent animal when they knew they were the ones who had done wrong. In the same way, it is painful for us to admit our guilt and to know that the innocent and holy Son of God took the punishment for our sin. But this salvation God has provided, and it is the only way. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Praise the Lord that sin offerings are no longer required, because we have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).”

Beloved, there is so much more we could discuss. Had we 20 lifetimes, we could not plumb all the riches of the Atonement. But this being Resurrection Sunday, we need to ask, “What does all of this have to do with the Resurrection?” Simple, the Resurrection is God’s seal of approval on the Atonement.

Did you notice that Jesus used a banking term when He cried out from the cross? Yes, tetelestai means “it is finished,” but in its cultural context, tetelestai was used in banking, specifically loans which gives it the connotation of being paid in full. And isn’t that amazing, that Christ Himself paid the wages of sin on our behalf? The wages of sin is death and you can be sure that those wages will be paid. They were either paid at the cross or they will be paid for all eternity. The Resurrection is our receipt, if you will, that our sin debt is paid in full. Just as nothing can ever keep Jesus in the grave, nothing can keep our sin debt from being satisfied by His atoning death and resurrection.

It is this, Beloved, that causes us to break forth in jubilant exultation at the Name, Jesus. All of our sin, everything that separates us from God was broken at the Cross and sin’s power forever destroyed by the Resurrection. If that doesn’t make you wanna shout nothing will.

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

https://soundcloud.com/user-138132460/unmasking-the-apocalypse

 

Text: Revelation 1:1-3

What is an apocalypse?

apocalypse/revelation

Greek: apokalypsis (Luke 2:32; Rom. 8:19; 16:25; Gal. 1:12) Using the roots apo (G0575), “from, away,” and kalypto (G2572), “covering, veil,” this word means “an uncovering, revelation, disclosure.” What is being disclosed was previously hidden. In the New Testament this word is typically used of spiritual things, such as visions (2 Cor. 12:1), spiritual truth (Luke 2:32), or eschatological events (Rom. 8:19; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:13). In these cases, what is revealed could be known only through supernatural disclosure. The entire Bible is God’s progressive revelation of who He is and how He is saving His people, and the Book of Revelation focuses on His final revelation when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why should I try to study Revelation? Isn’t it too hard to understand?

This is a very understandable and legitimate question. John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, really the entire Bible would be incomplete without it. In chapter 1, when we see Jesus’ appearance, it is a perfect exposition of the Old Testament. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: Here we see the most definitive picture of Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

As to whether or not Revelation is too hard to understand, bear this in mind:

  • We read Revelation according to the normal rules of language. Therefore, what appear to be metaphors or similes are just exactly that. If you understand the literary features of Revelation, you will be halfway to a correct understanding of the message therein
  • We read Revelation literally. That means, for example, when the book talks about locusts, it means exactly that; locusts not attack helicopters or other such nonsense.
  • Over half of Revelation refers back to the Old Testament. If you do not understand the Old Testament, correctly, you will never get Revelation right either.
  • God promises blessing to those who read the words of the Revelation (Ch 1 vs 3)

 

What does Revelation really unveil?

  • Revelation reveals Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church
  • It reveals the nature of the Church through 7 types and what the end result will be for each church.
  • It reveals the Divine Judgment Machine and how God deals with a Christ rejecting world
  • The total triumph and finality of redemption is revealed including the final destruction of Satan
  • Lastly, the Kingdom is revealed.

Quoting John MacArthur on Revelation

“The book of Revelation contains truths that had been concealed, but have now been revealed. Though it nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses refer or allude to Old Testament prophetic truth, and it amplifies what was only initially suggested in the Old Testament.

The Apocalypse reveals a great many divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the climactic Battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the Great White Throne judgment, and depicts the eternal bliss of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition. The book of Revelation describes the ultimate defeat of Satan and sin, and the final state of the wicked (eternal torment in hell) and the righteous (eternal joy in heaven). In short, it is a front-page story of the future of the world written by someone who has seen it all.

But supremely, overarching all those features, the book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will one-day blaze forth as strikingly and unmistakably as lightning flashing in a darkened sky (Matt. 24:27).”

That last point, Children of God, is why we study Revelation- so that we might see Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Lord in all His glory and give Him the worship that is due Him.

Even a cursory glance through the book of Revelation reveals that Jesus Christ is its main theme. He is “the faithful witness” (1:5); “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5); “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5); “the Alpha and the Omega”(1:8; 21:6); the one “who is and who was and who is to come”(1:8); “the Almighty”(1:8); “the first and the last”(1:17); “the living One”(1:18); “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1); “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12); “the Son of God” (2:18); the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18); the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1); the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7); the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7); “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”(3:14); “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14); “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5); “the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e. g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1); the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10); the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11); “The Word of God”(19:13); the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”(19:16); Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6); and “Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16). The book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in song, poetry, symbolism, and prophecy. In it the heavens are opened and its readers see, as did Stephen (Acts 7:56), visions of the risen, glorified Son of God. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

Are those who read Revelation really blessed?

Yes, we are really blessed by reading Revelation. For starters, it is given for our comfort as we face a world that is falling apart, where wickedness abounds so much that even Sodom would blush with shame; Christ and His righteous will triumph. The spirit of lawlessness may kill the body (God will allow some to be martyred) but antichrist will never triumph over the Righteous Lamb and those of His Elect.

Remember that blessed does not simply mean happy, even though that is an acceptable and accurate translation of the word used here. It also means favorable circumstances granted by God and it also connotes having shalom (peace and wholeness) with God.

Beloved, the time is near. This is not kronos which is our normal method of keeping time; it is kairos, the age. John wrote well because we indeed are in last days and there is nothing left to be fulfilled; all that yet remains is for the Lord to consummate redemptive history and to deliver the Kingdom up to the Father.

 

Jesus: The Most Excellent Name and His Superlative Name

Jesus: The Most Excellent Name and His Superlative Name

Philippians 2:9-11

For this reason, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I have heard this passage quoted countless times and rightfully so; the Name Jesus is worthy to be bowed down to, worthy to be adored, to be exalted in exuberant song. It is the very best name there is. Or is it? Does Jesus actually have a better name than Jesus? IF He does, what is that name and why will we bow to it?

As it happens, there is a different name that all men will bow down before. It is a name that has belonged to Jesus since before time began. It was His name before His incarnation; before He condescended to come to this earth and allow Himself to be sacrificed for our sins, this name crowned Him in glory and this name arrayed Jesus in every superlative of majesty that you could ever possibly imagine if you had 1000 lifetimes and no limitations to the capacity of your mind. This name, that Jesus has had for all eternity, is the one before whom every knee will bow and it is the name that will cause every tongue to confess; this name is YHWH (Jehovah). Dear children, it is not simply that every knee bows before Jesus, nor is it the confession of lordship that glorifies the Father but it is instead the confession of the Name that glorifies the Father. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, (don’t miss this) Jesus IS YHWH!

Isaiah 42:8 (ASV) “ I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.”

Isaiah 43:11 (ASV) “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.”

YHWH (Jehovah) in the Old Testament declares that He will never share His glory and that He alone is the savior. But in Acts, the Apostle Peter tells us that it is the name Jesus that salvation is found in. Is there a contradiction here? Does Peter contradict Isaiah? Nope. The Greek Iesus is the same as the Hebrew Y’shua and it is in that name that salvation is found. You might ask how on earth I figure that Y’shua is the name in which salvation is found. Well, Y’shua is the shortened form of Yehoshu’a (Joshua) and Yehoshu’a literally means YHWH is Savior. Isn’t that beautiful?

 

It is YHWH which is Christ’s most glorious Name. The very God who was blasphemed by our sin has put aside the offense and has redeemed us unto Himself. Stop for a minute and think about what this means because it means so much more than you don’t have to go to hell for eternity and it means so much more than you get to go to heaven. You get to be with YHWH and you get to be like Him, unable to die, unable to be diminished. Your eternity with YHWH will be in perfect communion; you will behold the One who loved you more than life and gave His to redeem yours. Standing face to face you will see YHWH on His glorious throne. Eyes that have never seen will behold the Lamb, ears that have never heard will behold the majesty of heaven’s symphony of praise, lips that have never spoken will resound the anthem of Christ’s amazing grace, and feet that have never walked will dance before the throne with all their might just as David did in the Old Testament. In that moment, when all who have ever lived see Jesus in all of the resplendent majesty of His person, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is YHWH and the whole world will glorify YHWH, some in judgment and some from an undeserved spot in heaven but we will all give Him glory forever and ever.

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Below, you will find the foundational statement of faith of all Reformed Christians. Officially codified in AD 390, this is a concise statement on the essentials of Christian Orthodoxy.

 

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.

Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

John 6:35 (NIV)

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What on earth does Jesus mean? What kind of bread are we talking about here? Rye? Wheat? Whole Grain? White? It is good that our minds go in that direction since bread is a staple, that is to say it is an essential for life. In fact, bread is so common that in some cases we use it as a synonym for food in general. If we are “breaking bread” with someone we are sharing a meal with them. Keep the idea of food and sustenance in your mind as we go through this lesson.

  1. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, is the source and sustainer of life. John 10:28 tells us that Jesus gives life and those to whom He gives it will never perish. 1 Timothy 6:13 contains an admonishment from Paul in the sight of God who gives life to everything and we saw at the beginning of this series that Jesus is, in fact, the I AM of the Old Testament and therefore, He is the God who gives life to everything that has it.
  1. Bread played an integral role in the Passover and in the history of the Children of Israel in the wilderness. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover feast and then for seven days following as a celebration of the exodus from Egypt. Finally, when the Jews were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sustain the nation (Exodus 16:4).
  1. Jesus was responding to the obtuseness of the crowd who did not get who He was. The statement that He is the Bread of Life is staggaring!! By equating Himself with bread, Jesus is saying he is essential for life. Now, the life Jesus is referring to is not physical life, but eternal life. Jesus is trying to get the Jews’ thinking off of the physical realm and into the spiritual realm. He is contrasting what He brings as their Messiah with the bread He miraculously created the day before. That was physical bread that perishes. He is spiritual bread that brings eternal life.
  1. Jesus is not talking about physical hunger and thirst. Think back; in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)” When Jesus says those who come to Him will never hunger and those who believe in Him will never thirst, He is saying He will satisfy our hunger and thirst to be made righteous in the sight of God.

 

Our deepest need is for a relationship with God. Jesus is the satisfaction of that need. When we come to Him, He gives us eternal life and then sustains that life so that we never again are in a famine for relationship with God.

 

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I. Why does Jesus use Alpha and Omega?
A. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet implying that Jesus is the first and last, the cause of everything. (Colossians 1:16). Alpha and Omega shows Jesus as the cause of all history, the Creator God, and the culmination of all history as all history is moving toward His full and final glory.

II. What is the significance of the phrase, “which is, and which was, and which is to come?

A. When God told Moses, “I Am Who I Am” it was a statement that is a present continuous, which essentially means that what is said is always that way. God always is, that is to say that He transcends time.

1. God is not bound by the physical laws and limitations of our time and space (Isaiah 57:15)

a. God is a spirit (John 4:24) and so is unbound by these laws 2. God is timeless (Psalm 90:4) and His perspective on time is

different from ours (2 Peter 3:8, Psalm 102:12, Psalm 102:24-27)
B. In short, there has never been a time when God was not and will never be a time when He is not.

III. What is the significance of “the Almighty”
A. God Almighty was a name well known to the Jews

1. Six times in Genesis, God is called Almighty (Genesis 17:1 Genesis 28:3 Genesis 35:11 Genesis 43:14 Genesis 48:3 Genesis 49:25)
2. God tells Moses that He was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty but not buy His Covenant Name, YHWH (Exodus 6:3)

B. The name, God Almighty is used more than 12 times in the Old Testament. By appropriating this Name unto Himself, Jesus is declaring, in absolutely direct terms that He is, in fact, the One, God Almighty.

Explaining YHWH: Jesus’s I AM Statements

Explaining YHWH: Jesus’s I AM Statements

In Exodus 3, the Lord tells Moses, in answer to the question of His Name, I AM WHO I AM. Like many of us, Moses most likely thought to himself, you are what? Well, Jesus answered that with 7 Statements in the Gospel According to John and two more in Revelation.

 

Jesus declares, I AM…

  1. The Bread Of Life

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

  1. The Light Of The World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

  1. The Gate

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

  1. The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

  1. The Resurrection And The Life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

  1. The Way, The Truth, And The Life

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

  1. The Vine

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

  • Statement 1 tells us that Jesus is the One who spiritually sustains us.
  • In statement 2 we learn that through Him we gain spiritual understanding and wisdom for living.
  • Statement 3 explains that He has given us free and unlimited access to His Kingdom.
  • Statement 4 shows how He did this by paying our entrance fee with His life
  • In statement 5 we learn that whether we die before the rapture or are taken live in it, He has guaranteed our eternal life with God.
  • Statement 6 explains that He is the only one who can do this for us, and
  • Statement 7 reveals that for the balance of our life on Earth, the things we do in His strength, out of gratitude for what He’s done for us, are the only things that matter.

 

In Revelation He declares

I AM…

Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The first and the last and He that liveth and was dead

Revelation 1:17-18

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

We are going to cover the I AM Statements in Revelation first and then will look through John’s record. When we are through we will have a very strong foundation to understand Whom Jesus is.

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