A Frustrating Conclusion

Recently I posted a critique of Mike Gendron and his Proclaiming the Gospel ministry (an outreach to Roman Catholics). I then emailed him to give him a fair chance to see it and to dialogue. Without much commentary from me, I will here below post our email exchange. I am doing so because I am truly mystified and frustrated with this brother.

To try to be clear, I had two goals in contacting and critiquing Mr. Gendron:

  1. Call him to account for using fallacious, sub-Christian reasoning.
  2. To ask if he could give evidence that he understands what he is attacking.

And both of these points failed to produce fruit. What I want you to see is our failure to establish even the most minimal line of understanding and communication. I’d love to get your feedback or advice in the comments – how could I have done better?

Continue reading

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Unnecessary Division between Us

GendronI’ve subscribed to Mike Gendron’s “Proclaiming the Gospel” email newsletter for years, until today. Mike is an ex-Roman Catholic with a focus on evangelizing his ex-brethren, and his teachings are pointed, clear, and helpful in preparing to witness to Romanists.

Although I always knew Mike to be a Dispensationalist, I looked past it to learn other things from him, as I do with excellent men like John MacArthur and others. On April 1 of this year, Mike sent out a short article in his newsletter, reposted here: Continue reading

You Can’t Keep a Good Savior Dead: Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius

Resurrection Sunday is just past, and here we are, almost 2,000 years later still celebrating. What are we celebrating? We rejoice that an obscure carpenter from the middle of nowhere, who was brutally put to death by the Roman government, raised Himself from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. We are celebrating that this obscure carpenter, this peasant man from backwater Galilee was Himself the eternal God in human flesh, and that He somehow managed to put away the enmity between God and rebellious humankind. How did He somehow manage that? He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

A divine exchange.

The innocent, offended party reached out to the seething hatred of humanity, and allowed Himself to become the satisfaction for our sin. The innocent for the guilty.

His life was poured out to death, and death swallowed Him whole. In the belly of death, as it began trying to digest Him (like everyone else who ever died), He instead came back to life, bursting the body of death from the inside. Death could not handle Him, this Jesus of Nazareth. He was more than a carpenter. His resurrection is a glorious mystery only partially understood – yet we know that in some mystical way we share in His resurrection – those of us who have called on Him as Lord and been baptized in His name will in like manner defeat death on the final day of history.

Yes, please.

Our dear uncle from almost 1,700 years ago, Athanasius of Alexandria, has so much gold to share with us newer folk. I post quotes from his magnum opus (On the Incarnation) each Tuesday, and so I hope you are in some way helped in your Christian faith by reading these glorious nuggets of theological contemplation. Let’s see what he has to say about all this I’ve been saying.

Uncle Ath?

Yes, kids?

How has death been doing since it met Jesus Christ?

I like this question, kids…

If, then, it is by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ that death is trampled underfoot, it is clear that it is Christ Himself and none other Who is the Archvictor over death and has robbed it of its power.

Death used to be strong and terrible, but now, since the sojourn of the Savior and the death and resurrection of His body, it is despised; and obviously it is by the very Christ Who mounted on the cross that it has been destroyed and vanquished finally.

When the sun rises after the night and the whole world is lit up by it, nobody doubts that it is the sun which has thus shed its light everywhere and driven away the dark. Equally clear is it, since this utter scorning and trampling down of death has ensued upon the Savior’s manifestation in the body and His death on the cross, that it is He Himself Who brought death to nought and daily raises monuments to His victory in His own disciples.Uncle Athanasius

How can you think otherwise, when you see men naturally weak hastening to death, unafraid at the prospect of corruption, fearless of the descent into Hades, even indeed with eager soul provoking it, not shrinking from tortures, but preferring thus to rush on death for Christ’s sake, rather than to remain in this present life? If you see with your own eyes men and women and children, even, thus welcoming death for the sake of Christ’s religion, how can you be so utterly silly and incredulous and maimed in your mind as not to realize that Christ, to Whom these all bear witness, Himself gives the victory to each, making death completely powerless for those who hold His faith and bear the sign of the cross? No one in his senses doubts that a snake is dead when he sees it trampled underfoot, especially when he knows how savage it used to be; nor, if he sees boys making fun of a lion, does he doubt that the brute is either dead or completely bereft of strength.

These things can be seen with our own eyes, and it is the same with the conquest of death. Doubt no longer, then, when you see death mocked and scorned by those who believe in Christ, that by Christ death was destroyed, and the corruption that goes with it resolved and brought to end.

My favorite uncle.

This convicts me to not hold this life too tightly, and to not be too afraid to meet the toothless death who is powerless to keep me from my Savior and King.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to share in the resurrection of the just with you (are you trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?).

-Justin

Spurgeon on Psalm 2: Prophecy Fridays

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

Treasury of David

Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David is his expository commentary through the Psalms. Spurgeon here deals in detail with this richly prophetic poem – written 1,000 years before Jesus was born, speaking clearly of Him as the King who is to be feared and loved. This will take us a little while to work through, which means probably nobody will read it. But for those of you who have a few moments to meditate on God’s Word, I encourage you to take in this prophetic word for today.

I’ve clipped down the full text to just the exposition and some additional quotations for verse 12. There is a link towards the bottom if you want to see the entire chapter.

Open the lens of your soul, and behold Christ Jesus stand out in the Old Testament.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God.

Text of Psalm 2:

1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against Yahweh and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the decree:
Yahweh has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve Yahweh with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

And Charles Spurgeon’s Commentary:

EXPOSITION

Verses 1 – 3

We have, in these first three verses, a description of the hatred of human nature against the Christ of God. No better comment is needed upon it than the apostolic song in Acts 4:27, 28: “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” The Psalm begins abruptly with an angry interrogation; and well it may: it is surely but little to be wondered at, that the sight of creatures in arms against their God should amaze the psalmist’s mind.

We see the heathen raging, roaring like the sea, tossed to and fro with restless waves, as the ocean in a storm; and then we mark the people in their hearts imagining a vain thing against God. Where there is much rage there is generally some folly, and in this case there is an excess of it. Note, that the commotion is not caused by the people only, but their leaders foment the rebellion. “The kings of the earth set themselves.”

In determined malice they arrayed themselves in opposition against God. It was not temporary rage, but deep-seated hate, for they set themselves resolutely to withstand the Prince of Peace“And the rulers take counsel together.” They go about their warfare craftily, not with foolish haste, but deliberately. They use all the skill which art can give. Like Pharaoh, they cry, “Let us deal wisely with them.” O that men were half as careful in God’s service to serve him wisely, as his enemies are to attack his kingdom craftily.

Sinners have their wits about them, and yet saints are dull. But what say they? what is the meaning of this commotion? “Let us break their bands asunder.” “Let us be free to commit all manner of abominations. Let us be our own gods. Let us rid ourselves of all restraint.” Gathering impudence by the traitorous proposition of rebellion, they add—“let us cast away;” as if it were an easy matter — “let us fling off ‘their cords from us.’” What! O ye kings, do ye think yourselves Samsons? and are the bands of Omnipotence but as green withs before you? Do you dream that you shall snap to pieces and destroy the mandates of God—the decrees of the Most High—as if they were but tow? and do ye say, “Let us cast away their cords from us?” Yes! There are monarchs who have spoken thus, and there are still rebels upon thrones. However mad the resolution to revolt from God, it is one in which man has persevered ever since his creation, and he continues in it to this very day.

The glorious reign of Jesus in the latter day will not be consummated, until a terrible struggle has convulsed the nations. His coming will be as a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap, and the day thereof shall burn as an oven. Earth loves not her rightful monarch, but clings to the usurper’s sway: the terrible conflicts of the last days will illustrate both the world’s love of sin and Jehovah’s power to give the kingdom to his only Begotten. To a graceless neck the yoke of Christ is intolerable, but to the saved sinner it is easy and light. We may judge ourselves by this, do we love that yoke, or do we wish to cast it from us?

Verse 4.

Let us now turn our eyes from the wicked counsel-chamber and raging tumult of man, to the secret place of the majesty of the Most High. What doth God say? What will the King do unto the men who reject his only-begotten Son, the Heir of all things? Mark the quiet dignity of the Omnipotent One, and the contempt which he pours upon the princes and their raging people. He has not taken the trouble to rise up and do battle with them—he despises them, he knows how absurd, how irrational, how futile are their attempts against him—he therefore laughs at them.

Verses 5 – 6

After he has laughed he shall speak; he needs not smite; the breath of his lips is enough. At the moment when their power is at its height, and their fury most violent, then shall his Word go forth against them. And what is it that he says?—it is a very galling sentence— “Yet,” says he, “despite your malice, despite your tumultuous gatherings, despite the wisdom of your counsels, despite the craft of your lawgivers, ‘yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion’.”

Is not that a grand exclamation! He has already done that which the enemy seeks to prevent. While they are proposing, he has disposed the matter. Jehovah’s will is done, and man’s will frets and raves in vain. God’s Anointed is appointed, and shall not be disappointed. Look back through all the ages of infidelity, hearken to the high and hard things which men have spoken against the Most High, listen to the rolling thunder of earth’s volleys against the Majesty of heaven, and then think that God is saying all the while, “Yet have I set my kimg upon my holy hill of Zion.”

Yet Jesus reigns, yet he sees the travail of his soul, and “his unsuffering kingdom yet shall come” when he shall take unto himself his great power, and reign from the river unto the ends of the earth. Even now he reigns in Zion, and our glad lips sound forth the praises of the Prince of Peace. Greater conflicts may here be foretold, but we may be confident that victory will be given to our Lord and King. Glorious triumphs are yet to come; hasten them, we pray thee, O Lord! It is Zion’s glory and joy that her King is in her, guarding her from foes, and filling her with good things. Jesus sits upon the throne of grace, and the throne of power in the midst of his church. In him is Zion’s best safeguard; let her citizens be glad in him.

“Thy walls are strength, and at thy gates
A guard of heavenly warriors waits;
Nor shall thy deep foundations move,
Fixed on his counsels and his love.Thy foes in vain designs engage;
Against his throne in vain they rage,
Like rising waves, with angry roar,
That dash and die upon the shore.”

Verse 7

This Psalm wears something of a dramatic form, for now another person is introduced as speaking. We have looked into the council-chamber of the wicked, and to the throne of God, and now we behold the Anointed declaring his rights of sovereignty, and warning the traitors of their doom.

God has laughed at the counsel and ravings of the wicked, and now Christ the Anointed himself comes forward, as the Risen Redeemer, “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:4. Looking into the angry faces of the rebellious kings, the Anointed One seems to say, “If this sufficeth not to make you silent, ‘I will declare the decree’.” Now this decree is directly in conflict with the device of man, for its tenour is the establishment of the very dominion against which the nations are raving. “Thou art my Son.” Here is a noble proof of the glorious Divinity of our Immanuel. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

What a mercy to have a Divine Redeemer in whom to rest our confidence! “This day have I begotten thee.” If this refers to the Godhead of our Lord, let us not attempt to fathom it, for it is a great truth, a truth reverently to be received, but not irreverently to be scanned. It may be added, that if this relates to the Begotten One in his human nature, we must here also rejoice in the mystery, but not attempt to violate its sanctity by intrusive prying into the secrets of the Eternal God.

The things which are revealed are enough, without venturing into vain speculations. In attempting to define the Trinity, or unveil the essence of Divinity, many men have lost themselves: here great ships have foundered. What have we to do in such a sea with our frail skiffs?

Verses 8 – 12

“Ask of me.” It was a custom among great kings, to give to favoured ones whatever they might ask. (See Esther 5:6; Matthew 14:7.) So Jesus hath but to ask and have. Here he declares that his very enemies are his inheritance. To their face he declares this decree, and “Lo! here,” cries the Anointed One, as he holds aloft in that once pierced hand the sceptre of his power, “He hath given me this, not only the right to be a king, but the power to conquer.” Yes! Jehovah hath given to his Anointed a rod of iron with which he shall break rebellious nations in pieces, and, despite their imperial strength, they shall be but as potters’ vessels, easily dashed into shivers, when the rod of iron is in the hand of the omnipotent Son of God. Those who will not bend must break. Potters’ vessels are not to be restored if dashed in pieces, and the ruin of sinners will be hopeless if Jesus shall smite them.

“Ye sinners seek his grace,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
Fly to the shelter of his cross,
And find salvation there.”Verse 10. The scene again changes, and counsel is given to those who have taken counsel to rebel. They are exhorted to obey, and give the kiss of homage and affection to him whom they have hated.
“Be wise.”—It is always wise to be willing to be instructed, especially when such instruction tends to the salvation of the soul. “Be wise now, therefore;” delay no longer, but let good reason weigh with you. Your warfare cannot succeed, therefore desist and yield cheerfully to him who will make you bow if you refuse his yoke. O how wise, how infinitely wise is obedience to Jesus, and how dreadful is the folly of those who continue to be his enemies!

“Serve the Lord with fear;”let reverence and humility be mingled with your service. He is a great God, and ye are but puny creatures; bend ye, therefore, in lowly worship, and let a filial fear mingle with all your obedience to the great Father of the Ages.

“Rejoice with trembling,”—There must ever be a holy fear mixed with the Christian’s joy.

This is a sacred compound, yielding a sweet smell, and we must see to it that we burn no other upon the altar. Fear, without joy, is torment; and joy, without holy fear, would be presumption. Mark the solemn argument for reconciliation and obedience. It is an awful thing to perish in the midst of sin, in the very way of rebellion; and yet how easily could his wrath destroy us suddenly. It needs not that his anger should be heated seven times hotter; let the fuel kindle but a little, and we are consumed.

O sinner! Take heed of the terrors of the Lord; for “our God is a consuming fire.” Note the benediction with which the Psalm closes:—“Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith may be slender as a spider’s thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles:—”Lord, increase our faith.”

    The first Psalm was a contrast between the righteous man and the sinner; the second Psalm is a contrast between the tumultuous disobedience of the ungodly world and the sure exaltation of the righteous Son of God. In the first Psalm, we saw the wicked driven away like chaff; in the second Psalm we see them broken in pieces like a potter’s vessel. In the first Psalm, we beheld the righteous like a tree planted by the rivers of water; and here, we contemplate Christ the Covenant Head of the righteous, made better than a tree planted by the rivers of water, for he is made king of all the islands, and all the heathen bow before him and kiss the dust; while he himself gives a blessing to all those who put their trust in him.

The two Psalms are worthy of the very deepest attention; they are, in fact, the preface to the entire Book of Psalms, and were by some of the ancients, joined into one. They are, however, two Psalms; for Paul speaks of this as the second Psalm. (Acts 13:33.) The first shows us the character and lot of the righteous; and the next teaches us that the Psalms are Messianic, and speak of Christ the Messiah—the Prince who shall reign from the river even unto the ends of the earth. That they have both a far-reaching prophetic outlook we are well assured, but we do not feel competent to open up that matter, and must leave it to abler hands.


EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS [I clipped this section down to notes on verse 12 only. Full text available here.]

Verse 12. “Kiss,” a sign of love among equals: Genesis 33:4; 1 Samuel 20:41; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20. Of subjection in inferiors: 1 Samuel 10:1. Of religious adoration in worshippers: 1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27. John Richardson, Bishop of Ardagh, 1655.

Verse 12. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.” From the Person, the Son, we shall pass to the act (Osculamini, kiss the Son); in which we shall see, that since this is an act which licentious men have depraved (carnal men do it, and treacherous men do it—Judas betrayed his Master by a kiss), and yet God commands this, and expresses love in this; everything that hath, or may be abused, must not therefore be abandoned; the turning of a thing out of the way, is not a taking of that thing away, but good things deflected to ill uses by some, may be by others reduced to their first goodness. Then let us consider and magnify the goodness of God, that hath brought us into this distance, that we may kiss the Son, that the expressing of this love lies in our hands, and that, whereas the love of the church, in the Old Testament, even in the Canticle, went no farther but to the Osculator me (O that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! Canticles 1:1), now, in the Christian church, and in the visitation of a Christian soul, he hath invited us, enables us to kiss him, for he is presentially amongst us. This leads us to give an earnest persuasion and exhortation to kiss the Son, with all those affections, which we shall there find to be expressed in the Scriptures, in that testimony of true love,a holy kiss. But then, lest that persuasion by love should not be effectual and powerful enough to us, we shall descend from that duty, to the danger, from love, to fear, “lest he be angry;” and therein see first, that God, who is love, can be angry; and then, that this God who is angry here, is the Son of God, he that hath done so much for us, and therefore in justice may be angry; he that is our Judge, and therefore in reason we are to fear his anger: and then, in a third branch, we shall see how easily this anger departs—a kiss removes it.

Verse 12. “Kiss the Son.” That is, embrace him, depend upon him all these ways: as thy kinsman, as thy sovereign; at thy going, at thy coming; at thy reconciliation, in the truth of religion in thyself, in a peaceable unity with the church, in a reverent estimation of those men, and those means, whom he sends. Kiss him, and be not ashamed of kissing him; it is that which the spouse desired, “I would kiss thee, and not be despised.” Canticles 7:1. If thou be despised for loving Christ in his Gospel, remember that when David was thought base, for dancing before the ark, his way was to be more base. If thou be thought frivolous for thrusting in at service, in the forenoon, be more frivolous, and come again in the afternoon: “Tanto major requies, quanto ab amore Jesu nulla requies;” (Gregory) “The more thou troublest thyself, or art troubled by others for Christ, the more peace thou hast in Christ.” . . . . “Lest he be angry.” Anger, as it is a passion that troubles, and disorders, and discomposes a man, so it is not in God; but anger, as it is a sensible discerning of foes from friends, and of things that conduce, or disconduce to his glory, so it is in God. In a word, Hilary hath expressed it well:“Poena patientis, ira decernentis;” “Man’s suffering is God’s anger.” When God inflicts such punishments as a king justly incensed would do, then God is thus angry. Now here, our case is heavier; it is not this great, and almighty, and majestical God, that may be angry—that is like enough; but even the Son, whom we must kiss, may be angry; it is not a person whom we consider merely as God, but as man; may not as man neither, but a a worm, and no man, and he may be angry, and angry to our ruin. . . . “Kiss the Son,” and he will not be angry; if he be, kiss the rod, and he will be angry no longer—love him lest he be: fear him when he is angry: the preservative is easy, and so is the restorative too: the balsamum of this kiss is all, to suck spiritual milk out of the left breast, as well as out of the right, to find mercy in his judgments, reparation in his ruins, feasts in his lents, joy in his anger. From Sermons of John Donne, D.D., Dean of St. Paul’s,1621-1631.

Verse 12. “Kiss the Son.” To make peace with the Father, kiss the Son. “Let him kiss me,” was the church’s prayer. Canticles 1:2. Let us kiss him — that be our endeavour. Indeed, the Son must first kiss us by his mercy, before we can kiss him by our piety. Lord, grant in these mutual kisses and interchangeable embraces now, that we may come to the plenary wedding supper hereafter; when the choir of heaven, even the voices of angels, shall sing epithalamiums, nupital songs, at the bridal of the spouse of the Lamb. Thomas Adams.

Verse 12. “If his wrath be kindled but a little;” the Hebrew is, if his nose or nostril be kindled but a little; the nostril, being an organ of the body in which wrath shows itself, is put for wrath itself. Paleness and snuffling of the nose are symptoms of anger. In our proverbials, to take a thing in snuff, is to take it in anger. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 12. “His wrath.” Unspeakable must the wrath of God be when it is kindled fully, since perdition may come upon the kindling of it but a little. John Newton.

Glad you visited,

-Justin

Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Treasury of David is in the public domain.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. – Jesus

Since I’m a novice in Koine Greek, I wouldn’t yet try my own posts concerning exegesis of the original New Testament, but I can recognize a home-run when I see it. Enjoy (great blog over at treyjasso.com).

Nil Nisi Verum

This is a popular text that I believe is a great starting point in the discussion of God’s effectual work. It is in the Gospel of John 6:44.

I was talking about this verse with someone last night. And I pointed to this verse to help this person understand why I held the view that man has no ability to come to God on his own. That is another way of saying that man possesses an “inability”. The person challenged my understanding of the verse so now I would respond at length to demonstrate that if you want to hold to a view of Prevenient Grace or that all humanity possess an ability, this isn’t the place to look.

First we look at this in the Greek: John 6:44  οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν πρός με ἐὰν μὴ ὁ πατὴρ ὁ πέμψας με ἑλκύσῃ 
αὐτόν,κἀγὼἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. 

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Scads of Gospel Power: Prophecy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Red Pepper

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. Today I am going to recap the posts I’ve written in this series so far. I’m so entirely excited about Prophesy Fridays so far – it is some of my best writing I have done in over a year of blogging.

I could really use your words of feedback, support, or challenge if you disagree with something. I put a lot of work into this series, and have little indication if it is beneficial to anyone! So check them out…

Jesus Drops in on Samson’s Parents

Isaiah sees the Atonement 740 Years Out

The God of Israel will be Pierced

Poetic, Prophetic King David and Blind (Tour) Guides

Staycation in Babylon and Glimpsing the New Covenant

Maybe pick one of these and read it carefully – I hope the people of the Lord Jesus are fed and drawn to Him through these posts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

Staycation in Babylon and Glimpsing the New Covenant: Prophesy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Red Peppers

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. This is going to be a heavy dose today, so strap on your thinking caps!

Today we’re going to visit with Ezekiel – a man who was carried off to Babylon in 597 BC when the Hebrew kingdom of Judah was dismantled by mighty Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon – Emperor of the Middle Eastern peoples. Ezekiel’s prophecy is graphic, gritty, and at some points difficult to interpret. Jewish men traditionally were not to read it until they turned 30 because of the horrific nature of some of the pictures, and because of the sexually explicit imagery used to describe the spiritual whoredom of Judah and Israel (ch. 23).

It is a prophecy of disorientation and devastation, and in the midst of the events of the book, word reaches Ezekiel that Jerusalem has been destroyed (586 BC). At that point, Ezekiel begins to receive a new type of prophetic word: reorientation and restoration for the descendants of the Babylonian exiles. On this turn in the narrative, Charles Dyer writes

During these final years Ezekiel was ministering in Babylon, predicting the coming collapse of Jerusalem. His message fell on deaf ears till word of the city’s destruction was received in Babylon. The fall of the city prompted a change in Ezekiel’s prophetic message. Before Jerusalem fell, Ezekiel’s message focused on Judah’s forthcoming destruction because of her sin. After Jerusalem’s fall, Ezekiel’s message centered on Judah’s future restoration. [1]

Ezekiel

I give you all that information in order to provide context for what I want to highlight today. As Ezekiel begins his staycation in Babylon, he is given a hopeful prophecy for the future restoration of his nation… yet the prophecy of the restored Israel would grow and expand into the inclusion of the Church of Jesus Christ (as is the nature of much Old Testament prophecy).

Through the destruction of old Jerusalem, Ezekiel becomes a prophet for the New Jerusalem – the New Covenant in Jesus Christ and the better promises given to all who are in Him. Want to see a glimpse of it? If you read carefully and follow my thinking, I know you will be blessed like I’ve been.

We only have space for a very small slice of Ezekiel’s prophecy, as it is dense and difficult, but a small slice is enough to get a ton of Christ.

Chapter 34, Verses Wow through Hallelujah

Written around 580 BC, keep in mind Ezekiel is writing what God is giving him to write – and he is writing to the generations of Jews who will suffer through exile in Babylon… but because they are the words of the all-knowing God who is outside of time, they are also words that foreshadow a greater restoration, one which will include the entire world!

After condemning the leaders of the Jewish nation for failing to shepherd the people according to the covenant, Yahweh declares Himself to be the true shepherd (Ez. 34:11-13 NKJV):

11 For thus says Yahweh God “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”

What’s that? 600 years later, Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd” John 10:11, and also

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).

Do you see the connection? Let’s look back at Ezekiel 34 –

12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

That dark and cloudy day was first of all referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile, but that dark day can also refer to the thousands of years where there was no hope for the Gentiles. They were born, lived, and died in spiritual darkness as the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. Jesus, as the Word of Yahweh in Ezekiel 34, claims He will seek out His people in every nation.

13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.

When He finds us, He restores us – both Jews and Gentiles! We are all feeding on the goodness of the “land” of Israel, metaphorically speaking – we are all within the covenant blessings spoken to Abraham… because of and in Christ!

But wait, there’s more. You may not be convinced of the connection between Ezekiel’s prophecy and Jesus. Look further as Yahweh through Ezekiel reprimands the Hebrew people who have despised the good gifts of God… but with the appropriate New Covenant lens, we see it was actually Jesus they trampled. Read this and think of Jesus’ trial, mocking, and crucifixion (Ez. 34:17-19):

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.

(Read about how Jesus claims that power in Matthew 25).

18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

This is a picture of how Jesus was treaded down and trampled by His nation. Ezekiel’s contemporaries had similarly despised the good gift of God’s covenant and favor to them, but look then at this:

19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

Oh my. Yahweh makes a difference here between His flock and the people of Ezekiel’s nation. In other words, the people of Ezekiel’s time are excluded from the flock of Yahweh – excluded and cursed by their breaking of the covenant. They have treaded and trampled God’s gift, but His flock will eat and drink from that very trampled gift.

Do you see the prophetic power here? He’s talking about you and me in the New Covenant – those in Jesus Christ which for Ezekiel would be another 600 years in the future!

Look carefully at it: what is it the Church eats and drinks? What else but the broken body and blood of the Lamb?Communion Our communion supper! Our Jesus, coming to us in the bread and the wine, offering His saving benefits to His flock!

Even More Clear

Ezekiel continues to speak the Word of Yahweh, and Jesus becomes crystal clear in the passage:

23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken.

Just so there is no confusion about who it is that is at the head of all these blessings. Just so we’re clear, oh Israel, who will be your King and benefactor. This is an echoing of Yahweh’s promises to David that his own offspring would sit on the throne of the covenant nation forever, from 2 Samuel 7:16.

But realize something about Ezekiel writing this Word from God in 580 BC: David had been dead and moldering for over 400 years, so when Yahweh declares that David will be His shepherd and servant to rule His people Israel, He is speaking of David’s descendant.

And here’s the last piece of the puzzle. In 70 AD when the Romans wrecked the temple and destroyed the Jewish nation (again), all of the family records of the Jews were lost. After that time, no one can say for certain which person belongs to which family or tribe. What Jew today can be crowned as the Son of David? Not one. There is no line from David to the present day Jew, and so that Shepherd and Prince who will be ruler over the New Covenant, restored nation… had to have lived and been revealed before 70 AD. And since there was no restored Davidic kingdom at that time, there is only one possibility left: that Shepherd, King, and servant of Yahweh did not stay dead, rose from the earth into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting to return again to earth and consummate His visible rule over all people. The great Shepherd of Israel and Son of David is alive and ready to be revealed in His majestic reign, just as promised.

For now, He is reigning until the Father places all His enemies under His feet. He is the King of Zion. He is the Son of David. He is the Lamb slain for His flock – and He is coming back to rule the earth in judgment and power. He is the fulfillment of these, and many other prophetic pictures in Ezekiel. Read it for yourself!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

[1] Charles H. Dyer, Ezekiel, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, 1226.