Old Testament on Jesus’ Resurrection

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

Green Red Hot 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.

In light of this past Resurrection Sunday, I’d like to highlight two passages of Old Testament Scripture that speak of the resurrection of Jesus.

1000 Years Before the Resurrection

As Peter preached his first Spirit-filled sermon on the day of Pentecost, he flourishes about his best friend Jesus, saying

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence’ (Acts 2:22-28 NKJV).

There in verse 27, he quotes from Psalm 16, written 1,000 years before the resurrection. The Holy Spirit gave a glorious, though veiled reference to this central event in the victory of Jesus over sin, death, and the devil. This sermon of Peter’s was perfect, pure, and right in every way (having been written down as Scripture, it cannot be anything else), and he rightly cited the prophecy of David in writing about the resurrection of Jesus in veiled terms so long before.

750 Years Before the Resurrection

As with last week’s Prophecy Friday, Isaiah 53 is the controlling text of Old Testament prophecy about Jesus. Within this glorious passage, Jesus stands tall upon His atoning cross, and rises high from His grave. Look with me at 7-10a

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, (to be killed)
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living; (He died)

For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. (He died in our place)

And they made His grave with the wicked— (He was buried)

But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief. (God punished Jesus in our place to set us free)

OK, see all that? He died under the penalty we deserved. He was buried as a corpse.

But then Isaiah sees something strange, verses 10b-12

10 When You make His soul an offering for sin, (His life in the stead of ours, His pure, infinite life as a sin-offering for the impure, finite people He came to redeem)

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, (How does someone who dies live to see a prolonging of His days?)

And the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities. (There it is right there, friends. He both dies, and yet He lives. There is only one way for this to happen: resurrection)

12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

Glory to the risen Lamb. Read and re-read until a fire catches in your soul. Jesus lives.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Spurgeon Quotation on Sanctification in Psalm 119

SpurgeonFrom Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Treasury of David (his commentaries on the Psalms). Here we meditate upon the relationship between the Christian and his sinful flesh.

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to obey the Lord even though you have a new mind, a new heart filled with the Holy Spirit? We need to pray for the very thing we might think is automatically going to happen for us when we are born again. Let’s see what Spurgeon wrote on Psalm 119:36:

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies…”

Does not this prayer appear to be superfluous, since it is evident that the Psalmist’s heart was set upon obedience? We are sure that there is never a word to spare in Scripture. After asking for active virtue it was meet that the man of God should beg that his heart might be in all that he did. What would his goings be if his heart did not go? It may be that David felt a wandering desire, an inordinate leaning of his soul to worldly gain, — possibly it even intruded into his most devout meditations, and at once he cried out for more grace.

The only way to cure a wrong leaning is to have the soul bent in the opposite direction. Holiness of heart is the cure for covetousness. What a blessing it is that we may ask the Lord even for an inclination. Our wills are free, and yet without violating their liberty, grace can incline us in the right direction. This can be done by enlightening the understanding as to the excellence of obedience, by strengthening our habits of virtue, by giving us an experience of the sweetness of piety, and by many other ways.

If any one duty is irksome to us it behooves us to offer this player with special reference thereto: we are to love all the Lord’s testimonies, and if we fail in any one point we must pay double attention to it. The learning of the heart is the way in which the life will lean: hence the force of the petition, “Incline my heart.” Happy shall we be when we feel habitually inclined to all that is good. This is not the way in which a carnal heart ever leans; all its inclinations are in opposition to the divine testimonies.

And not to covetousness.”

This is the inclination of nature, and grace must put a negative upon it.

This vice is as injurious as it is common; it is as mean as it is miserable.

It is idolatry, and so it dethrones God;

it is selfishness, and so it is cruel to all in its power;

it is sordid greed, and so it would sell the Lord himself for pieces of silver.

It is a degrading, grovelling, hardening, deadening sin, which withers everything around it that is lovely and Christlike.

He who is covetous is of the race of Judas, and will in all probability turn out to be himself a son of perdition. The crime of covetousness is common, but very few will confess it; for when a man heaps up gold in his heart, the dust of it blows into his eyes, and he cannot see his own fault.

Our hearts must have some object of desire, and the only way to keep out worldly gain is to put in its place the testimonies of the Lord. If we are inclined or bent one way, we shall be turned from the other: the negative virtue is most surely attained by making sure of the positive grace which inevitably produces it.

Maybe something here will help you be motivated in prayer and holiness. I need these meditations far more often than I make them.

Grace in Christ,

-Justin

The Deeps: Valley of Vision Prayer

Sometimes I have trouble praying as I ought – but often I turn to the Valley of Vision for help in getting my engine started. One of Christianity’s greatest books from the past 2,000 years, VoV would be my second book choice if stranded on a desert island, right after the Bible, and right before The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. Oh, those Puritans.

Down In The Valley

This might be a good prayer for you if you find yourself weak in zeal for Christ, weak in prayer, weak in devotion. It might be a good idea to buy Valley of Vision and keep it close to you for the times you don’t know how to pray. Yes, the Psalms are better, but right after them comes VoV. Just beautiful help for the Christian, here.

Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Valley of Vision

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

Poetic, Prophetic King David and Blind (Tour) Guides: 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 yellow-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Scotch Bonnet

The reality is, I say that at the beginning of every “Prophesy Friday” because I’m aiming 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 we’re going to look at the prophetic power of Psalm 110, one of the most oft quoted Psalms in the New Testament, and one that Jesus Himself used to identify Himself as the Messiah and God. Prophetic pepper. But my friend in Israel didn’t really agree.

He was a soldier in the 1967 6-day war between the teenage State of Israel and her fierce Arab enemies all around. He’s been a champion of his nation, and a believer in all things Jewish since his boyhood. My tour guide through Israel knew his way around the nation, and he had a passion for her every nook and cranny.

Meet Meyil.

Israeli Tour Guide Meyil

At one of the stations of the cross, traditionally where Jesus stumbled while bearing his cross to Golgotha. The photograph is itself a picture of how close most Jews are to the truth, yet turned away looking elsewhere. Jerusalem 2009

As we puttered around Israel in our air-conditioned van, Meyil pulled the steel arm of the microphone down to his mouth over and over.

“This is called ‘Magdala’.

“Over dere is called ‘Waddi’ dat de ancient people walked from town to de other side of de mountains to de other town to visit de relatives.”

“Here Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.”

And all the way around the country we went – Caesaria, Haifa, Ptolemais, Galilee, Golan Heights, West Bank, Dead Sea, Qumran, Jerusalem, and more. It was a fantastic time, made all the better for our tiny tour group because not only was Meyil an expert in the history of his nation, but he also had studied the New Testament at university. He proudly filled in details of every place we went, not only from his own Jewish history, but reverently took off his hat in every Roman Catholic shrine and Christian holy place. I hung on his every word as we walked across the temple mount together, and watched him out of the corner of my eye as the British fellow at the Garden Tomb exuberantly described the historical meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.

During one of our outings – it happened to be in John the Baptist’s hometown – I walked next to Meyil and asked him questions about his life and background. He talked about his time in the military, his schooling, his perspective on Iran and the Palestinians, and of course, on the New Testament and Jesus. Anticipating my evangelistic move, Meyil cut off a question of mine, seeing where I was going – “God is good to us all, and for Him, to try… is enough.” There was his theology. To try is enough for God – to be a good Jewish boy or Christian boy. I walked beside my friend, silenced by the finality of his declaration.

When Israel’s Greatest King Spoke of Jesus

David was the man after God’s own heart. We also know that when David waxed poetic and wrote his Psalms, it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him, just as Peter preached

Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus (Acts 1:16 ESV).

So David wrote his Psalms according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Peter later confirms this idea of divine inspiration when he writes

 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

David was not only Israel’s greatest king, he was also a prophet. Ironically, David prophesied most often about his own descendant, Jesus of Nazareth – and yet my tour guide, as educated in New Testament as he was, as respectful to Christianity as he was, stumbled at this point.

In the southern end of the Old City of Jerusalem, we walked the narrow streets of what is called “the City of David,” otherwise known as the hill of Zion. Meyil pointed and flourished upon every rock and stone, telling of the history of Suleiman the Great, the Turkish ruler who rebuilt the walls of the Old City, and how in the City of David we would see the so-called tomb of David. Outside of the tomb, I noticed the defaced statue of King David,

King David Jerusalem

playing his harp as usual. Here Meyil talked about David; who he was, and how he remains Israel’s most celebrated figure – the founder of Jerusalem as the capital and all. But then he said something that threw me for a loop.

David was many things, but a prophet he was not.

I spoke up immediately, almost on accident: “David was a great prophet, Meyil. He wrote beautiful prophecies…”

“No,” he cut me off, “he did not write prophecy. Let us move on to de tomb” he said, turning to walk onward. I was stunned. Not a prophet? How could he say that? My mind raced to the Scriptures: Psalm 2, 22-24, 40, and so many more speak so clearly of… oooohhh, right. Of Jesus. That’s why Meyil rejected his greatest king as a prophet, because David was constantly writing about his own son Jesus, and no one who rejects the Lordship of Jesus could accept David’s testimony of Him.

Psalm 110 and Jesus’ Puzzling Question

Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, less than a week from His crucifixion. The Pharisees had badgered Him and hounded Him for years, and Jesus had just about had it (read Matthew 23 to see what He thought of them). At the end of Matthew 22, Jesus takes a turn asking a question to them:

What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? (Matt. 22:42 NKJV)

That word Christ, from the Hebrew, means “Messiah” – Jesus was asking the Pharisees a grade-school question. Whose son is the Messiah? Any Jewish toddler could have answered between suckles at momma’s breast.

They said to Him, “The Son of David.”

OK Jesus, we’ll play your game. We’ll feed you the obvious answer… now what’s the punchline?

Yes, they were in for a punchline. Thinking they knew their Scriptures, that they had turned them in and turned them out and turned them into sauer kraut, they had yet missed the central, unifying figure of the entire Bible: the Man asking them the question. There is no irony in all of literature like this moment. He then delivers the goods:

How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

‘Yahweh said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?”

First Jesus notes the divine inspiration of the text of Psalm 110:1, David calls Him “Lord” in the Spirit.

Second, whoever this Lord is, David sees Him seated at the right hand of Yahweh… the checkmate comes:

If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?

In other words, riddle me this, Batman: If all of us scholarly Jews agree that Psalm 110 is referring to the Messiah, as we do, and the Messiah is David’s son, as He is, then how is it David calls Him ‘Lord,’ as in, “my Lord and my God”… ? Jesus had delivered the bomb into the house, and the eyes of every Pharisee had just watched the fuse disappear into the explosive head – kaboom, friends. Kaboom, Meyil. Kaboom, world. The Messiah is also the Lord of heaven, the Messiah is a divine Son – yet also a human being… all there in Psalm 110, all written by David His ancestor 1,000 years before His virgin birth.

So what did the great scholarly Pharisees reply to this explosion of prophetic grace?

And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (Matt. 22:46).

Oh, well pardon me. Cat got your tongues, boys? No wonder they murdered Him – He looked them in the eye, claimed to be the fulfillment of their Scriptures, and made them silent fools in front of their nation.

What About You?

Have you bowed the knee to the Man Jesus Christ? He is the fulfillment of all Scripture; the meaning of life is found in Him. He is the Creator of the cosmos, and the King of eternity. He is Wonderful… and He bowed His own royal head in death to purchase the forgiveness of sins for you. Believe it.

I will leave us this week with the full, glorious text of Psalm 110 – a sort of autobiographical sketch of the God-Man Messiah Jesus. Grace to you all who love Him.

1 Yahweh says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Yahweh sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
Yahweh has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

Yahweh is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

I pray that Meyil, and every Jew would see the true King of Israel.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Repentance From Sin Includes Restoration of Joy

For each and every person who believes in Jesus the Christ; for every one that believes He is who the Bible says He is, and believes what the Bible says He has done (and is doing, and will do in the future), 1 John 5:1 says this:

Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. (ESV)

We are born from above, born of God’s Spirit, regenerated in the inner-man, made a new creature, justified in God’s court of law, adopted into God’s family and inner-circle, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places, to name just a few of the identification markers of being a Christian.

But what about when we sin? The Lord’s Word speaks to His sinning, stumbling children:

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8-14

He knows our sins, and He does not deal with us accordingly. He dealt with Jesus Christ according to our sins! Oh wondrous gospel of love and grace! God’s omnipotent forgiveness has reached the most wretched of us – and remember, weak  and fearful Christian, that He has removed your sin from you as far as the east is from the west. Indeed, before the world was formed Jesus had decided to die for your sins; past, present, and future (Romans 5:6-8; Rev. 13:8).

So then, my brothers and sisters, what happens when we sin? We do not lose the love of God – He loves us unconditionally. He favors us in all our frailty. He is ready to extend the word of forgiveness to us, the forgiveness already applied to us in Christ. What has happened to us in our sins? We lose our own sense of joy. We lose our sense of intimacy with Jesus our Lord. This is not His punishment, but rather, His discipline as a loving Father who ensures our perseverance in faith to the end.

My dear friends, wait no longer when you have sinned: confess it to your heavenly Father, and seek the Lord Jesus Christ. This is repentance. Turning to God, hoping in His grace – repentance from sin… away from sin.

As David prayed in his own hour of confession,

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:12 (NKJV)

Whose salvation is it? It is God’s salvation. Restore to me the joy of YOUR salvation, my beloved Lord, and rid me of the shame of my sins. Set me on a course to make sinners to know this love and mercy You have poured out on me and my family. I worship You, Lord Father God. Be magnified!

That right there, beloved Church universal, is our home base. We return to Him in our sins, and He restores the joy of His salvation. Hallelujah!

So, what are you waiting for? Seek the restoration of your joy… in Him!

Soli Deo Gloria

-Justin