Yahweh’s Covenant with David

After Saul’s failure to serve as king in the way God desired, the scriptures tells us that God sought “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). This was David (Acts 13:22). Now David was far from perfect, he made some very serious mistakes – however, when he saw his sins he always repented and looked to God for forgiveness (Psalms 51). David is characterised by his great zeal for the living Yahweh God. As a result Yahweh made a distinct and separate covenant with David – an unconditional covenant, which we will look at in this study.

Do the scriptures confirm God made a covenant with David?

2 Chronicles 13:5 WEB
Ought you not to know that Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

2 Chronicles 21:7 WEB
However Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a lamp to him and to his children always.

Notice that like the preserving properties of salt, a covenant of salt was one that would last. God guaranteed that the “house of David”—his descendants—would continue to exist forever.

We see in 2 Samuel chapter 7 (and we encourage our readers to read all of this in their own bibles) David desired greatly to build a house for God and discussed this with Nathan the prophet. What was Yahweh’s response to David through Nathan?

2 Samuel 7:10-17 WEB
I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as at the first,
11 and [as] from the day that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel; and I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. Moreover Yahweh tells you that Yahweh will make you a house.
12 When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;
15 but my loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you.
16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.

Let us notice some important points in the scripture above:
Firstly, God re-affirms in verse 10 the promise of the land given in the covenants with Abraham and then through Moses, ‘they shall dwell in their own place’ – land.

Next God promises that David’s son (Solomon) would succeed him as king and that it is him that would build the temple for God’s Presence/Name – verses 12 and 13.

We see in verses 13 and 16 that this promise is expanded to include an everlasting kingdom – another son (descendent) of David’s would rule forever and build a lasting temple for God – the coming Messiah Jesus (Matthew 21:9). In this instance ‘your seed’ points to both Solomon building the physical temple (house) and also Messiah who will build a lasting spiritual temple and rule forever.

Notice verses 14 and 15, this covenant does not rely upon David’s descendants keeping God’s commandments – if they ‘commit iniquity’ He will chasten them, but not reject them as He did Saul. We know that Messiah was sinless, but all the others were not.

This relies purely on Yahweh’s faithfulness to His covenant promise.

Psalms 89:3-4 WEB
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David, my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'” Selah.

Psalms 89:28-37 WEB
I will keep my loving kindness for him forevermore. My covenant will stand firm with him.
29 I will also make his seed endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, And don’t walk in my ordinances;
31 If they break my statutes, And don’t keep my commandments;
32 Then I will punish their sin with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.
33 But I will not completely take my loving kindness from him, Nor allow my faithfulness to fail.
34 I will not break my covenant, Nor alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David.
36 His seed will endure forever, His throne like the sun before me.
37 It will be established forever like the moon, The faithful witness in the sky.” Selah.

Do we see various prophecies pointing to Messiah Jesus as the descendent of David who will rule God’s kingdom forever, fulfilling God’s promises given in this covenant?

Isaiah 9:7 WEB
Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 11:1-2 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.

Jeremiah 23:5 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Jeremiah 33:14-21 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause a Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is [the name] by which she shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness.
17 For thus says Yahweh: David shall never want a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
18 neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to burn meal-offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
19 The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus says Yahweh: If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their season;
21 then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

What was Mary told regarding Jesus before his birth?

Luke 1:31-33 NRSV
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Did the people celebrate Jesus as ‘the son of David’ – the promised Messiah?

Matthew 21:6-11 NRSV
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;
7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.
8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

As we understand from previous studies Jesus first coming was as ‘the suffering servant’ and was rejected by the religious authorities, and it will be at his second coming as ‘ruling king’ he will sit on the throne.

Summary
So we have seen in this covenant with David the promise that David’s ‘house’, ‘kingdom’, and ‘throne’ will be established forever and is significant because it shows that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom over which He will reign. The covenant is summarized by the words ‘house’, promising a dynasty in the lineage of David; ‘kingdom’, referring to a people who are governed by a king in a certain area; ‘throne’, emphasizing the authority of the king’s rule; and ‘forever’, emphasizing the eternal and unconditional nature of this covenant promise to David.

This study shows that Jesus is destined to sit on the throne of David. Although these events are sure to come to pass, many mistakenly believe it has already been fulfilled ‘in Christ’. However, it will not be fulfilled in full until He returns to earth in power and glory, given him by Yahweh our Father God. See our previous studies on Jesus and the Gospel.

Did the 10 Commandments Exist Before The Old Covenant?

Were the ten commandments brought into existence at the time of the making of the old covenant between Yahweh and Israel? Did they come into existence when they were written on tablets of stone on Mount Sinai, or is there evidence in the scriptures to demonstrate that they existed long before that?

When the Israelites were brought out of Egypt but before the cutting of the Old Covenant at Sinai, what were the instructions given them for the gathering of manna?

Exodus 16:4-5 WEB
Then said Yahweh to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from the sky for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law, or not.
5 It shall come to pass on the sixth day, that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

Exodus 16:22-23 WEB
It happened that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one, and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 He said to them, “This is that which Yahweh has spoken, ‘Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to Yahweh. Bake that which you want to bake, and boil that which you want to boil; and all that remains over lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning.”

Exodus odus 16:26-30 WEB
Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day is the Sabbath. In it there shall be none.”
27 It happened on the seventh day, that some of the people went out to gather, and they found none.
28 Yahweh said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?
29 Behold, because Yahweh has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days. Everyone stay in his place. Let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Already at this time they were expected to keep the seventh day Sabbath, and Yahweh was asking ‘How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?’

What was Abraham commended for?

Genesis 26:5 WEB
because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

It was more than 430 years before Israel came out of Egypt that Abraham was ‘obeying Yahweh’s voice and keeping His commandments, statutes and laws!

We see in Genesis 35 Jacob ridding his whole household of ‘foreign gods’ in keeping with the first commandment, and also the second regarding idols/graven images:

Genesis 35:1-4 WEB
God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”
2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments.
3 Let us arise, and go up to Bethel. I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.”
4 They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

Exodus 20:2-4 WEB
“I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Job, who is believed to have lived at the time of Isaac, was also concerned to keep God’s laws and feared his children may have broken the third commandment in their hearts:

Job 1:5 RSV
And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Exodus 20:7 WEB
“You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Yahweh blessed and hallowed the seventh day Sabbath during ‘creation week’ by resting on it, the fourth commandment:

Genesis 2:3 WEB
God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work which he had created and made.

See also Exodus 16 scriptures above.

Exodus 20:8-10 WEB
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates;

Jacob honoured and respected his father and mother, the fifth commandment :

Genesis 28:6-7 WEB
Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan Aram, to take him a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, “You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan,”
28:7 and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Paddan Aram.

Exodus 20:12 WEB
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.

Cain committed the first murder by killing his brother Abel, thus breaking the sixth commandment:

Genesis 4:6-10 WEB
Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen?
7 If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.”
8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go into the field.” It happened, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.

Exodus 20:13 WEB
“You shall not murder.

Genesis 9:5-6 WEB
I will surely require your blood of your lives. At the hand of every animal I will require it. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, I will require the life of man.
6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man will his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man.

Joseph knew that adultery was a sin against God and refused to do it when tempted, so avoiding breaking the seventh commandment, whilst Abimelech narrowly avoided it with Sarah:

Genesis 39:7-9 WEB
It happened after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”
8 But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, my master doesn’t know what is with me in the house, and he has put all that he has into my hand.
9 He isn’t greater in this house than I, neither has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Genesis 20:2-7 WEB
Abraham said about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken. For she is a man’s wife.”
4 Now Abimelech had not come near her. He said, “Lord, will you kill even a righteous nation?
5 Didn’t he tell me, ‘She is my sister?’ She, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands have I done this.”
6 God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against me. Therefore I didn’t allow you to touch her.
7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. If you don’t restore her, know for sure that you will die, you, and all who are yours.”

Exodus 20:14 WEB
”You shall not commit adultery.

Jacob knew all about honesty and stealing and respected the eighth commandment:

Genesis 30:33 WEB
So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Everyone that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen.”

Exodus 20:15 WEB
“You shall not steal”.

Adam and Eve started the slippery slope of bearing false witness and coveting

Genesis 3:6 WEB
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.

Genesis 3:9-11 WEB
Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Whilst Job again recognised these as breaking the ninth and tenth commandments:

Job 31:5-6 WEB
“If I have walked with falsehood, And my foot has hurried to deceit
6 (Let me be weighed in an even balance, That God may know my integrity);

Job 31:9-11 WEB
“If my heart has been enticed to a woman, And I have laid wait at my neighbor’s door;
10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others sleep with her.
11 For that would be a heinous crime; Yes, it would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges:

Exodus 20:16-17 WEB
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

God’s commandments are based on love and have always been in place for the benefit, blessing and protection of man:

1 John 5:3 NRSV
For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,

Summary
As we have seen demonstrated and recorded in scripture, all of the ten commandments were in full force and understood well before they were written in stone at the making of the old covenant between Yahweh and Israel. This of course did not prevent Yahweh from making the keeping of them part of the covenant conditions to be met by the nation of Israel – why wouldn’t He build into this most serious of marriage covenant relationships His perfect laws of love? He wanted the very very best for His beloved – and still does today!

The ‘Old Covenant’ mediated by Moses

We have seen in our studies already that ‘covenant’ was a very serious business, and can be described as ‘A binding, formal agreement between two parties defining the kind of ongoing relationship they are to have with each other. Conditions and promises and or penalties are laid down for both parties, and it is sealed or ratified formally, usually by sprinkling of blood.’

As we go through the details concerning the ‘old covenant’ please note that ‘the law’ can be the basis of the conditions built into a covenant, but the covenant is not the law itself.

Many scriptures liken the covenant Yahweh made with Israel to a marriage covenant:

Isaiah 54:5-6 WEB
For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, says your God.

Ezekiel 16:8 RSV
“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, behold, you were at the age for love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became mine.

Jeremiah 3:8 WEB
I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, didn’t fear; but she also went and played the prostitute.

Jeremiah 3:20 WEB
Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel, says Yahweh.

Jeremiah 31:31-32 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.

Yahweh ‘proposes’ this marriage covenant to Israel through Moses:

Exodus 19:3-6 WEB
Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself.
5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Many of the basic details of the covenant were outlined through Moses to the people of Israel in chapters 20 to 23 of Exodus. How did the people respond?

Exodus 24:3 WEB
Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do.”

They accepted the proposal. At this time they really believed they could keep the terms of the covenant, but they were trusting in their own strength – ‘we will’ was their answer! So the marriage went ahead. The making of this covenant was a solemn event. To impress upon the children of Israel the gravity of what they were agreeing to, an alter was built and sacrifices given upon it, twelve pillars for each tribe were erected as a witness of the proceedings:

Exodus 24:4-6 WEB
Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 He sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen to Yahweh.
6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Were the people under any illusion as to what they were agreeing to:

Exodus 24:7 WEB
He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, “All that Yahweh has spoken will we do, and be obedient.”

Notice that Moses wrote everything down in ‘the book of the covenant’ which was read out to the people as part of the formal ceremony and they responded ‘we will do everything and we will be obedient’.

And the marriage covenant was sealed and ratified with blood:

Exodus 24:8 WEB
Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Look, this is the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh has made with you concerning all these words.”

So what were the terms of the covenant that Israel agreed to? Firstly they agreed to keep the ten commandments detailed in Exodus 20:1-17 (these were already in existence prior to this covenant, which we will cover in a future study). They also agreed to keep ‘laws for civil life as a nation’, which were amplifications and applications of the ten commandments.

The overarching principle was to “love your neighbor as yourself

Leviticus 19:18 WEB
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.

Some examples are below

Exodus 22:22 WEB
“You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child.

Exodus 23:1-2 WEB
“You shall not spread a false report. Don’t join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.
2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;

Exodus 23:9 WEB
“You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

There were also ‘judgements’ – precedents in cases of conflict or violations of God’s laws, for example:

Exodus 22:1-2 WEB
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt of bloodshed for him.

The principle was that the offender paid a penalty equivalent to the damage done or caused:

Exodus 21:22-24 WEB
“If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow.
23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,

Exodus 21:12 WEB
“One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,

The death penalty was prescribed for murder, adultery and kidnapping.

In Exodus chapters 25 to 30 we see the provision of the tabernacle and the priesthood along with the prescribed offerings and sacrifices – all part of the manner in which they were to conduct themselves as Yahweh’s model nation.

Also encompassed within the covenant were promised blessings for obedience and penalties/punishments for disobedience. These can be found in Leviticus 26, which we encourage the reader to read in full, but here include only a few examples:

Leviticus 26:3-4 WEB
“‘If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Leviticus 26:14-16 WEB
“‘But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments;
15 and if you shall reject my statutes, and if your soul abhors my ordinances, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant;
16 I also will do this to you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall consume the eyes, and make the soul to pine away; and you will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will eat it.

Notice that this covenant contained only physical, material promises – Yahweh’s blessings to prosper, heal, protect, give good weather, increase, peace etc, but no mention of His spirit, power, total forgiveness and eternal life.

Yahweh knew they would fail to keep the covenant:

Deuteronomy 5:29 WEB
Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!

Deuteronomy 29:4 WEB
but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.

Deuteronomy 31:16-17 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them; so that they will say in that day, Haven’t these evils come on us because our God is not among us?

Romans 8:7 NRSV
For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot,

The lesson of the whole of the Old Testament scriptures is that ‘without Yahweh indwelling us it is impossible for us to love Him, obey Him, and keep His laws and covenant’. Even though Israel believed they could, and fully intended to do so, as we saw in Exodus 24:7-8, they failed miserably time after time after time. But Yahweh knew this all along and has unfinished business:

Ezekiel 36:24-28 WEB
For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

In an upcoming study we will look in detail at this ‘new covenant’ and it’s relevance for us today.

The Covenant with Abraham

Now you might be thinking ‘why should we be interested in Old Testament stuff?’ or ‘that stuff was for the Jewish people way back then’ – well let’s not be too hasty, I think you might find it is just as important for you and I today as it was for Abraham back then!

After all didn’t Paul say something about being Abraham’s children?

Galatians 3:7-9 NRSV
so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.”
9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

If we are of the true faith and believe our Father God, then we are counted as Abraham’s children – will this make much difference to us? We will see as we progress with this study!

Notice the immediate verse before the above scripture:

Galatians 3:6 NRSV
Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,”

It is quoting Genesis 15:6:

Genesis 15:6 RSV
And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Notice that Abraham ‘became and was acknowledged as a believer by Yahweh (our Father God)’ when he was still called by the name Abram, and this was not only well before the ‘Law’ (the Old Covenant) was put in place through Moses, but it was also before any covenant was made between Yahweh and himself!

The ‘believing’ was considered by Yahweh as righteousness – but what was it he believed? He believed all the promises made to him by Yahweh!:

Genesis 12:1-3 WEB
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you, and make your name great. You will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 12:7 WEB
Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said, “I will give this land to your seed.” He built an altar there to Yahweh, who appeared to him.

Genesis 13:14-17 WEB
Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward,
15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.
16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then your seed may also be numbered.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to you.”

Genesis 15:3-5 WEB
Abram said, “Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir.”
4 Behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come forth out of your own body will be your heir.”
5 Yahweh brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So shall your seed be.”

In the last scripture above it is almost 10 years since Yahweh had promised Abram He give him many descendants to inherit and live in the land – but as yet he didn’t even have a child of his own, and he and Sarai were both old. Abram suggested to Yahweh that perhaps the way forward was for him to declare a servant born within his household to be his heir.

What was Yahweh’s response to this?

Genesis 15:4-6 WEB
Abram said, “Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir.”
4 Behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come forth out of your own body will be your heir.”
5 Yahweh brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So shall your seed be.”
6 He believed in Yahweh; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.

Yahweh told him ‘that’s not the way I am going to do it, you will have your own son and through him your descendants will be as numerous as the stars’. Abram believed Him – he took Yahweh at his word.

But the conversation continues:

Genesis 15:7-8 WEB
He said to him, “I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.”
8 He said, “Lord Yahweh, how will I know that I will inherit it?”

Abram understands that the land is promised to him and his descendants, but he asks for some confirmation that he himself will possess it, ‘how am I to know?’ (we know from Hebrews 11:8- this has yet to been fulfilled, but it is absolutely certain). Yahweh understood Abram’s need and moved in an awesome and undeniable way so that Abram could have complete ongoing trust in Him – He obligated Himself to Abram!

Genesis 15:18 WEB
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

This was no casual thing, this was serious, serious business – this was going to bind Yahweh and Abram together in an unbreakable bond and commitment for life – for ever actually!

Look at how this was put in place:

Genesis 15:9-18 WEB
He said to him, “Take me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.”
10 He took him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he didn’t divide the birds.
11 The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
12 When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him.
13 He said to Abram, “Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.
14 I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great substance.
15 But you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age.
16 In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.”
17 It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
18 In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

Look again at the verses above and make careful note of the answers to these questions:

What did Abram do to the animals?

What happened when the sun set?

What did Yahweh say about Abram’s descendants? Where would they go? How long would they stay?

Who/what passed between the pieces of flesh? (A manifestation of Yahweh’s presence?)

Did Abram also pass through the pieces?

Was the covenant thus ratified?

Could Abram now ‘know for certain’ – verse 13?

The Hebrew word for covenant is ‘beriyth’ and is defined as: a compact, a confederacy, a covenant, league; when between God and man it is a covenant accompanied by signs, sacrifices and a solemn oath that sealed the relationship with promises of blessing for keeping it and curses for breaking it.

The other word used here with ‘beriyth’ is ‘karath’ – translated as made a covenant – ‘karath’ means to sever by cutting with a blade. Hence we say ‘cutting a covenant’ – in this case a reference to the cutting of the pieces, which were then passed through.

So here we find the presence of Yahweh passing through the pieces whilst Abram does nothing but observe the commitment of Yahweh to His promises. Yahweh is effectively saying ‘my covenant is unconditional, the seed, the possession of the land, depends only on Me – not on you’. Yahweh is swearing an oath by Himself (for there is none greater) to fulfil all His promises – this is how Abram will know for certain!

So the covenant was cut, the promises were certain – but Sarai was still not pregnant! Time was passing and Abram and Sarai weren’t getting any younger, so she decided to give Yahweh a helping hand (haven’t we all got impatient waiting for God) – well that didn’t work out too great, you can read all about it in Genesis 16. The result being the birth of Ishmael to Hagar, Sarai’s handmaid.

When Abram was 99 years old Yahweh appeared to him again – to confirm and extend the covenant, let’s look at that in chapter 17:

Genesis 17:1-8 WEB
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty. Walk before me, and be blameless.
2 I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Abram fell on his face. God talked with him, saying,
4 “As for me, behold, my covenant is with you. You will be the father of a multitude of nations.
5 Neither will your name any more be called Abram, but your name will be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made you.
6 I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you. Kings will come out of you.
7 I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you.
8 I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”

Now notice :

Abram was to be multiplied exceedingly.

He will be the father of many nations.

His name is to be changed to Abraham (father of a multitude).

Kings were to come from him.

It is to be an everlasting covenant, not only with Abraham but all his descendants.
Yahweh will be God to Abraham and his descendants.

The land is still to be theirs as an everlasting possession.

See verse 9

Genesis 17:9 WEB
God said to Abraham, “As for you, you will keep my covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.

Abraham’s part (and his descendants) is to ‘keep my covenant’. How? Where is there something for Abraham to do? Verse 1 ‘walk before me and be blameless’, ‘blameless’ meaning continuously upright, with integrity and sincerity, entirely. And verse 7 ‘to be God to you and your descendants’ – in other words ‘I am your God, no other, it is me your love, worship, believe, trust, etc etc’.

Yahweh also gave Abraham and his descendants a sign that their covenant was with Him, a constant reminder that they were God’s people:

Genesis 17:10-11 WEB
This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you. Every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin. It will be a token of a covenant between me and you.

Subsequently we see that this was also accompanied by a ‘circumcision of the heart’:

Deuteronomy 10:16 WEB
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Not just an outward physical thing, but an inner nature and motivation.

Yahweh also addresses Sarai’s ‘helping hand’ – 13 years after the event (verse 25):

Genesis 17:15-16 WEB
God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name will be Sarah.
16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. Yes, I will bless her, and she will be a mother of nations. Kings of peoples will come from her.”

Notice that Yahweh changes Sarai’s name to Sarah (‘princess’ wife of Abraham)

To which Abraham responded:

Genesis 17:17-18
’I will be 100 years old and Sarah will be 90! What about Ishmael, can’t it be him, can’t he live in your sight?’ Yahweh responded ‘NO, however…….’

Genesis 17:19-21 WEB
God said, “No, but Sarah, your wife, will bear you a son. You shall call his name Isaac.Isaac means “he laughs.” I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.
20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But my covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time in the next year.”

It is through Isaac who your wife Sarah will bear you – that is where I will establish my covenant.
The end of this part of the story:

Genesis 21:3 WEB
Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

One part of the covenant promises fulfilled, unbelievably, astoundingly – but just as Yahweh said!

Now as we are informed by Paul and Peter there is also a deeper meaning to ‘seed, descendent, offspring’:

Galatians 3:16 NASB
“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.”

Notice the covenant also promised the eventual arrival of the Messiah, and was also a promise to Messiah Jesus in advance!

Acts 3:25-26 NRSV
You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, “And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

All the families of the earth would be blessed by Christ (the seed) in turning people from their wickedness.

Genesis 18:17-18 WEB
Yahweh said, “Will I hide from Abraham what I do,
18 seeing that Abraham has surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him?

Genesis 22:17-18 WEB
that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.
18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

The gospel was preached to Abraham in anticipation of the New Covenant brought by Christ, the seed:

Galatians 3:7-9 NRSV
so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.”
9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

This wonderful covenant with Abraham and his descendants, including ‘the seed’ Messiah Jesus, was subsequently reaffirmed to both Isaac and Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) as you can read for yourselves in Genesis 26:1-6, Genesis 28, and Genesis 35:10-12.

Summary

So as we look into the covenant cut with Abraham we get clear indications of the gospel of grace, the role of faith and believing in the new covenant that was to come (and now has). In fact we ought not to forget that the covenant with Abraham was an everlasting covenant for all Abraham’s descendants and if we are of the true faith and believe our Father God, then we are counted as Abraham’s children. We are in a covenant relationship with our Father – isn’t that wonderful, to know how much we can rely upon Him, trust Him, believe Him – knowing that He is completely and totally committed to us and the promises He has given us!

Of course, our part is the same as Abraham’s was – ‘walk before me and be blameless’, ‘blameless’ meaning continuously upright, with integrity and sincerity, entirely – with a circumcised heart, and know that Yahweh is our God, no other, and it is Him we are to love, worship, believe, trust, rely upon, run to, seek etc etc’. Will we believe Him as Abraham did?

Our Covenant God

Do we understand how important it is to our Father, Yahweh God, that we believe Him and trust Him? That we actually believe and trust Him to such an extent that we will do precisely what He wants us to do – what He instructs us to do for our own good.

Does it make any difference whether we believe, trust and obey our Father God or not? Well it certainly made an incredible difference to one particular man and his family, and consequently to all of us, as we will discover in this study. It is all about the first recorded ‘covenant’ of this present civilization.

We see from Genesis chapters 5 and 6 that by the 9th generation from Adam mankind had greatly multiplied on the earth in terms of population, but also in wickedness, which grieved Yahweh exceedingly:

Genesis 6:5-6 WEB
Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.

So much so that Yahweh came to a decision:

Genesis 6:7 WEB
Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

However, there was one man who was different!

Genesis 6:8-10 WEB
But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes.
9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God
10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah walked with God – probably not perfectly, but he looked to God, listened to Him, believed Him and did his best to obey Him – and this made all the difference. Yahweh gave Noah an instruction to follow:

Genesis 6:14 WEB
Make an ark of gopher wood. You shall make rooms in the ark, and shall seal it inside and outside with pitch.

Yahweh told Noah He was bringing a flood to destroy all life and that Noah was to build an ark – a big one! No simple or easy task – it probably took in excess of 50 years (Noah was over 500 years old by the time his 3 sons were born and he was 600 years old when the flood came).

Did Noah believe God – well he spent all that time building the ark exactly as he was instructed, even though he was probably ridiculed in the extreme by all the people in the surrounding area.

Genesis 6:22 WEB
Thus Noah did. According to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Was this pleasing to God? What did Yahweh tell Noah?

Genesis 6:18 WEB
But I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Genesis 7:1 WEB
Yahweh said to Noah, “Come with all of your household into the ark, for I have seen your righteousness before me in this generation.

Notice the Yahweh took the responsibility of shutting Noah and his family (and creatures to be saved) into the ark, and therefore all others out

Genesis 7:16 WEB
Those who went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God commanded him; and Yahweh shut him in.

And the result of the flood:

Genesis 7:23 WEB
Every living thing was destroyed that was on the surface of the ground, including man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.

Genesis 8:15-19 WEB
God spoke to Noah, saying,
16 “Go forth from the ark, you, and your wife, and your sons, and your sons’ wives with you.
17 Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, including birds, cattle, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth.”
18 Noah went forth, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him.
19 Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, after their families, went forth out of the ark.

Noah worshipped God:

Genesis 8:20-22 WEB
Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 Yahweh smelled the sweet savor. Yahweh said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again strike everything living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Yahweh blessed Noah and his family and instructed them (similar to Adam and Eve):

Genesis 9:1 WEB
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

And the almighty, most high creator God, Yahweh, established His covenant with Noah – He made an absolute, unbreakable commitment to Noah, obligating Himself never again to destroy the earth and all flesh by flood – without any obligation on Noah’s part, an unconditional promise:

Genesis 9:9-11 WEB
“As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,
10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every animal of the earth with you. Of all that go out of the ark, even every animal of the earth.
11 I will establish my covenant with you; neither will all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither will there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Notice that this covenant was extended to be with not only Noah but all his subsequent descendants after him and also all living creatures. It has never ended either.

And the sign God gave that this covenant was in force and we can have absolute confidence in His promise is the rainbow:

Genesis 9:14-17 WEB
It will happen, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud,
15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
17 God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Summary
The recorded story of Noah shows us the kind of wonderful God we have – Yahweh, who hates wickedness, but loves and preserves those who look for Him, listen to Him, believe what He says, and do what He instructs us to do.

He is the only living God, who works by revealing His truth and enters into binding, unbreakable, covenant relationships with His people. He delights in those who believe Him and trust Him.

Every time we see a rainbow we know for certain that our Father is totally true and faithful to His word, His promises, His covenants – He never fails.

Everyone reading this can be very thankful that Noah believed our Father God and followed His instructions, otherwise we would not be here right now! Will we do likewise?

In future studies we will look at just how serious our Father is about covenants and how He deals with His people in covenant relationships, including you and I.

The World To Come Under The Rule Of Christ

We have seen in previous studies that Jesus the Christ (Messiah) will return to earth with all the authority and power of Yahweh God to overthrow the governments of this present world, to depose Satan and lock him away for 1000 years, thereby releasing humanity from the bondage of Satan and inaugurating the rule of the kingdom of God over the whole earth.

What can we expect ‘the world to come’ under the rule of Christ as king to be like – what do the scriptures have to tell us about it?

Israel Restored

The scriptures indicate that Israel will be restored and become an example and a model for all nations, and a blessing thereby to all:

Isaiah 27:6 RSV
6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit.

Ezekiel 36:8-11 WEB
But you, mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are at hand to come.
36:9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn into you, and you shall be tilled and sown;
36:10 and I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built;
36:11 and I will multiply on you man and animal; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better [to you] than at your beginnings: and you shall know that I am Yahweh.

Zechariah 8:7-8 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: “Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
8:8 and I will bring them, and they will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they will be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”

Amos 9:11-14 WEB
In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old;
9:12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.
9:13 “Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the one treading grapes him who sows seed; And sweet wine will drip from the mountains, And flow from the hills.
9:14 I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens, And eat the fruit of them.

Ruined cities will be rebuilt, see above (Amos 9:14) and also:

Ezekiel 36:33-35 WEB
Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built.
36:34 The land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was a desolation in the sight of all who passed by.
36:35 They shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.”

There will be peace and happiness:

Isaiah 14:5-7 WEB
Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers;
14:6 who struck the peoples in wrath with a continual stroke, who ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that none restrained.
14:7 The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing.

Jeremiah 33:10-11 WEB
Thus says Yahweh: Yet again there shall be heard in this place, about which you say, It is waste, without man and without animal, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without animal,
33:11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, Give thanks to Yahweh of Hosts, for Yahweh is good, for his loving kindness endures forever; [and of them] who bring [sacrifices of] thanksgiving into the house of Yahweh. For I will cause the captivity of the land to return as at the first, says Yahweh.

Zechariah 8:4-5 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: “Old men and old women will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
8:5 The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

Ezekiel 28:25-26 WEB
25 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations, then shall they dwell in their own land which I gave to my servant Jacob.
28:26 They shall dwell securely therein; yes, they shall build houses, and plant vineyards, and shall dwell securely, when I have executed judgments on all those who do them despite round about them; and they shall know that I am Yahweh their God.

Jerusalem is effectively made capital of the world, with Jesus’ government headquartered there:

Zechariah 8:3 WEB
Thus says Yahweh: “I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of Yahweh of Hosts, ‘The Holy Mountain.'”

Jeremiah 3:17 WEB
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.

Isaiah 62:1-2 WEB
1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh shall name.

Isaiah 62:7 WEB
7 and give him no rest, until he establish, and until he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

The whole area of Israel will transformed to become fertile and beautiful:

Isaiah 41:14-20 WEB
14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, says Yahweh, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I have made you [to be] a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff.
16 You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and you shall rejoice in Yahweh, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 The poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst; I, Yahweh, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together:
20 that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Isaiah 35:1-2 WEB
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of Yahweh, the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 35:7 WEB
7 The glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 51:3 WEB
3 For Yahweh has comforted Zion; he has comforted all her waste places, and has made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

The rest of the world also transformed

The rest of the nations of the earth will follow this example and learn God’s ways, and be similarly transformed and blessed:

Isaiah 2:1-3 WEB
1 This is what Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be raised above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem

It is also indicated that God will solve the language barrier for mankind worldwide so that all can serve and worship Him in unison:

Zephaniah 3:9 WEB
For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Yahweh, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.

Health restored

Man will be released from bondage to sickness and disease:

Isaiah 33:24 WEB
24 The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people who dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Isaiah 35:3-6 WEB
3Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Tell those who are of a fearful heart, Be strong, don’t be afraid: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [with] the recompense of God; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the mute shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Jeremiah 30:17 NRSV
17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: “It is Zion; no one cares for her!”

Agriculture is abundantly productive

The land is healed and becomes super-productive:

Isaiah 30:23 WEB
23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures

Jeremiah 31:12 WEB
They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow to the goodness of Yahweh, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

Ezekiel 34:27 WEB
The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them.

Amos 9:13 WEB
“Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the one treading grapes him who sows seed; And sweet wine will drip from the mountains, And flow from the hills.

The world re-educated

Has the whole world been deceived? By whom?
Revelation 12:9 NRSV
9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him

Is he the real author of wrong education?

John 8:44 NRSV
44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies

Have people been led astray, particularly in their knowledge of the true God Yahweh and His ways?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NRSV
13 For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

Titus 1:16 NRSV
16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Hosea 4:6 NRSV
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Will the devil be allowed to continue this after Christ’s return?

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

The people will now be taught truth:

John 17:17 NRSV
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 8:31-32 NRSV
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Will people acknowledge past error?

Jeremiah 16:19 WEB
19 Yahweh, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, [even] vanity and things in which there is no profit.

They will be led into true repentance and the ways of the true God:

Isaiah 55:6-9 WEB
6 Seek you Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near:
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 2:3 WEB
3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

Psalms 25:8-9 WEB
8 Good and upright is Yahweh, Therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
9 He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way.

Habakkuk 2:14 WEB
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea

Jeremiah 31:34 WEB
34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Isaiah 29:24 NRSV
24 And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Isaiah 19:21 WEB
21Yahweh shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Yahweh in that day; yes, they shall worship with sacrifice and offering, and shall vow a vow to Yahweh, and shall perform it.

Natures of animals changed

The basic natures of animals will be transformed:

Isaiah 11:6-8 NRSV
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

Hosea 2:18 WEB
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, And with the birds of the sky, And with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, And will make them lie down safely.

Man changed also

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NRSV
26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Jeremiah 31:33 WEB
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

Romans 5:5 NRSV
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

2 Peter 1:4 NRSV
4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

Summary
In this study we have had a brief look at some of the aspects of the wonderful transformation to take place under the rule of Christ as head of the government of the kingdom of God after his return to earth.

This only scratches the surface, and yet we start to get an idea of the total change and transformation that will take place for the benefit and blessing of all mankind.

If we are willing to believe the gospel that Jesus brought regarding the coming of the kingdom of God, and study the scriptures diligently, then we can start to glimpse what a wonderful positive future our perfect Father God has in store for us all.

The Kingdom of God Pt 3

In Part 1 we looked at WHAT the kingdom of God is, and WHY it is coming, using two of Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’.

In Part 2 we studied the scriptures regarding WHEN this will take place and HOW it will be brought about.

In this study we will continue and examine what the bible teaches about WHERE this will happen and WHO will be involved.

WHERE will the kingdom of God be?

Did Jesus teach his disciples (and by extension us) to pray to the Father for His kingdom to come? Was it to come to earth and involve our Father’s will being done here on earth ‘as it is in heaven’?

Matthew 6:10 NRSV
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Will Christ arrive on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, to set up God’s government starting from here – on the earth?

Zechariah 14:1-4 WEB
Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Were the apostles told that Christ would return in the same way as he had gone (into the clouds on the Mount of Olives, out of the clouds arriving on the Mount of Olives) – back to the earth?

Acts 1:11-12 NRSV
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

Will God’s kingdom and government be established and flow out of Jerusalem – on the earth?

Isaiah 2:2-3 WEB
It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be raised above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
2:3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

Did Jesus say the inheritance of the meek was to be the earth?

Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Was the promise to Abraham and his descendents to inherit the world?

Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Are the saints to rule the earth?

1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

Is it the earth that will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh?

Isaiah 11:9 WEB
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.

This is supported throughout the prophetic writings:

Habakkuk 2:14 WEB
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.

Psalms 96:9-13 WEB
Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth.
96:10 Say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns.” The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.
96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and it’s fullness!
96:12 Let the field and all that is in it exult! Then all the trees of the woods shall sing for joy
96:13 Before Yahweh; for he comes, For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, The peoples with his truth.

Does Christ instruct us to be ready for his return to the earth?

Luke 21:34-36 NRSV
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly,
35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

For further evidence see also Joel 3:1-3, Obadiah 15-21, Micah 4:1-4, Isaiah 9, 11, 25, 35, 60, 61, 66, Daniel 2 and 7.

So it is evident that Christ returns to the earth and establishes the kingdom of God here on earth.

Let us now see who is involved in the kingdom of God that is to be set up and ruled over by Messiah Jesus.

WHO should we expect to be involved in the kingdom of God?

First of all, as we have seen it is the kingdom belonging to Yahweh God our Father, it is His rule and government that He administers through Jesus as Messiah king here on earth.

Daniel 7:13 WEB
I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-29 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials;
29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom,

Matthew 25:31 NRSV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

Luke 1:31-33 NRSV
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Will Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, together with all the prophets be in the kingdom?

Luke 13:28 NRSV
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out.

Can ‘flesh and blood’ inherit the kingdom of God?

John 3:5-6 NRSV
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:50 NRSV
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

But will we who are Christ’s at his return be changed so we can inherit the kingdom with him?

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 NRSV
Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Will the saints of the Most High receive the kingdom?

Daniel 7:18 WEB
But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Luke 12:32 NRSV
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

2 Peter 1:11 NRSV
For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Will we rule over the earth with Christ?

Revelation 2:26-27 NRSV
To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations;
27 to rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are shattered—

Revelation 3:21 NRSV
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Who will not inherit a part in the kingdom?

Galatians 5:19-21 NRSV
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5 NRSV
Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NRSV
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites,
10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

The goods news is that we don’t have to remain like that! Look at verse 11 if you wish to be an inheritor of the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 6:11 NRSV
And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering

Will Satan and his influence be taken out of the picture?

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

So we see that the kingdom belongs to the Father but He is delighted to place His dearly beloved son Jesus on the throne to rule over the earth as king.

It is also His good pleasure to grant us His children a part in the kingdom as our inheritance, ruling with and under Christ the king.

As many scriptures detail, this is a wonderful righteous and just government for the benefit of all the earth’s inhabitants, ushering in universal peace, abundance and joy – living the way our God planned it from the very beginning.

All will be free from the bondage of Satan that currently besets mankind

The Kingdom of God Pt 2

In Part 1 we looked at WHAT the kingdom of God is, and WHY it is coming, using two of Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’. In this study we will continue and examine what the bible teaches about WHEN this will take place and HOW it will be brought about.

WHEN is the awaited kingdom of God to be ushered in?

This is a question that the disciples were always eager to know the answer to.

Did Jesus say his return to set up the kingdom would be heralded with a loud trumpet blast?

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Did Paul also describe this event?

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
6 For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Notice in the scripture above who are granted rest and who are afflicted, particularly verse 8.

The kingdom of God was very real to the apostles and followers of Christ, and they keenly expected it’s arrival, but what were they told regarding timescales for this?

Acts 1:6-7 NRSV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.

Mark13:32-33 NRSV
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

Matthew 24:36 NRSV
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Were all the heros of faith still awaiting the promises, not yet having received their inheritance (the kingdom) – and still haven’t to this day?

Hebrews 11:39-40 NRSV
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

When Jesus was preaching about the kingdom the people expected it to immediately appear, to correct their misunderstanding he told a parable about a nobleman receiving a kingdom. This was a picture of himself going to heaven to receive the kingly power from the Father and to return subsequently to reign as king over that kingdom:

Luke 19:11-12 NRSV
As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.
12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return.

Luke 19:15 NRSV
When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.

Was this spelled out more clearly in Acts?

Acts 3:17-22 NRSV
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.
19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,
20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus,
21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.
22 Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you.

Notice that Christ will be in heaven UNTIL God’s time to establish all that the prophets foretold. Also that in the mean time we are to listen to all that he told us – to repent, believe and be made ready.

Although we are told that we cannot know the time of Christ’s return, we are given certain signs which will indicate to us that this event is close and imminent:

Luke 21:25-28 NRSV
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

So we do not know exactly when to expect Christ’s return, however there are indicators we can look out for, but how will it happen when it does take place?

HOW will the kingdom of God be ushered in?

We are told that at the sound of a loud trumpet call (the signal for war) Christ will return in power and glory:

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Will he over throw the wicked with power when he comes the second time?

Isaiah 11:1-4 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.

Will he arrive on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, to fight the nations assembled in that area?

Zechariah 14:1-4 WEB
Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Were the apostles told that Christ (Yahweh’s anointed agent through whom he carries out His plan) would return in the same way as he had gone (into the clouds on the Mount of Olives, out of the clouds arriving on the Mount of Olives)?

Acts 1:11-12 NRSV
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

Will he destroy those who oppose God?

2 Thessalonians 2:8 NRSV
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.

Will all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ when this trumpet is blown?

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

We have seen that God’s kingdom will be ushered in, with Christ as king, when he returns from heaven with all the power and glory given he by the Father.

He will overthrow the wicked and destroy those who fight against God’s government with overwhelming power, setting people free from Satan’s bondage and instituting the right conditions for the loving and righteous rule of God to deliver universal peace, prosperity and joy for all remaining mankind.

In the next study we will look at WHERE this will take place and WHO will be involved.

The Kingdom of God Pt 1

Some people believe the church is the kingdom of God, others that it is the ethical rule of God set up in ones heart. Some that it will come gradually by growth and development, whilst other’s believe it is waiting for us up in heaven. But what did Jesus and the apostles teach, and what does the bible say about the kingdom of God?

Those familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s writings may remember his ‘six honest serving men’:

“I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew,
Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who,”

In this study we will utilize these ‘six serving men’ to find out what the scriptures say about the kingdom of God.

WHAT is the kingdom of God?

The first thing to recognise is that after almost six weeks of teaching about the kingdom of God by Jesus (between his resurrection and his ascension to heaven), the kingdom of God was very real to the apostles and they fully expected it’s arrival – Jesus did not correct them in this but only commented on the timescale involved:

Acts 1:3-6 NRSV
After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The second thing to notice is that it is God himself (Yahweh) who gives kingdoms and rulership where He wills:

Daniel 2:37 WEB
You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory;

We see from the interpretation and explanation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the second chapter of Daniel, that it concerns a succession of world governments or kingdoms:

Daniel 2:38-39 WEB
and wherever the children of men dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of the sky has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold.
2:39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Eventually the final world ruling system is brought down and replaced by a kingdom set up by God himself, which will never be destroyed – the kingdom of God:

Daniel 2:44 WEB
In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty of it be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Is this interpretation from Yahweh God, and is it certain and sure to happen?

Daniel 2:45 WEB
Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation of it sure.

Sometime later Daniel has a dream and visions, and again is given the meaning of it:

Daniel 7:2 WEB
Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the sky broke forth on the great sea.

Daniel 7:16 WEB
I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

This is also concerning these world ruling governments:

Daniel 7:17 WEB
These great animals, which are four, are four kings, who shall arise out of the earth.

Did it depict one like ‘the son of man’ (Jesus Messiah – this was his favourite term to refer to himself) receiving authority and a commission from Yahweh to rule as king of the kingdom of God over all the earth:

Daniel 7:13-14 WEB
I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
7:14 There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Did John the Baptist look forward to the coming of this kingdom and preach concerning it?

Matthew 3:1-3 NRSV
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ “

Is this also what Jesus himself preached about?

Matthew 4:17 NRSV
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

When questioned did Jesus tell Pilate that he was to become a king, but not of this present age/world, implying that it will be in the age/world to come later?

John 18:36 NRSV
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Did Jesus also tell his disciples that he would rule in the new world or new age (referring to himself as the son of man)?

Matthew 19:27-28 NRSV
Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Does Paul also speak about this ‘world to come’?

Hebrews 2:5 NRSV
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.

Does Isaiah prophecy of this reign of Yahweh through His Messiah Jesus?

Isaiah 52:7 WEB
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!

Does the book of Revelation refer to the time when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and of His Christ (Messiah)?

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

Does Jesus say that he has been given power from the Father to rule over the nations?

Revelation 2:26-27 NRSV
To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations;
27 to rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are shattered—
28 even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star.

So we can now see that the kingdom of God is nothing less than the new world government of God (Yahweh, our Father) ruling over all the nations and peoples of the earth under the kingship of Jesus his Messiah.

In order to understand what makes this is necessary let’s use our next ‘serving man’ WHY.

WHY is the kingdom of God coming?

In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve effectively rejected God’s rule over them through unbelief and disobedience, instigated by Satan. They, and all mankind thereafter unwittingly came under the rule of Satan.

Is this confirmed in Ephesians, referring to Satan as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (an unseen spirit being influencing all mankind without our knowing it)?

Ephesians 2:1-3 NRSV
You were dead through the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.

Does Paul in the book of Romans say we are either slaves of sin (Satan) or of righteousness (God & Christ)?

Romans 6:16-19 NRSV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted,
18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

What does Jesus say about it?

John 8: 34 NRSV
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Does Jesus identify who (generally) mankind’s current ‘father’ is, and that he influences them to carry out his desires?

John 8:44 NRSV
You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Satan claimed to be able to give Christ all the kingdoms of the world, which he could not do unless he owned them – Christ did not deny this. In fact Satan holds the whole world in bondage, though few realise it.

Matthew 4:8-9 NRSV
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;
9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Is the whole creation awaiting the kingdom of God and the children of God?

Romans 8:18-23 NRSV
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Moses, sent by Yahweh to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt freeing them from bondage to Pharaoh, was a type of Christ being sent by the Father to free mankind from Satan’s bondage (you may like to look at Acts 7:35-37 and John 8:31-38).

This will happen dramatically and universally with the inauguration of the kingdom of God.

This has resulted in horrendous sufferings for all mankind – wars, famines, diseases, pestilences, death, to name but a few – and these will increase dramatically as the return of Christ approaches:

Matthew 24:6-8 NRSV
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places:
8 all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

People are lied to and led astray, and wickedness will increase:

Matthew 24:11-12 NRSV
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

It will get so bad that all of mankind is in danger of be wiped out unless God intervenes to put an end to it:

Matthew 24:22 NRSV
And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

But thankfully Yahweh God is merciful:

Ephesians 2:4 NRSV
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us

Our God sends His Messiah son Jesus to put an end to Satan’s rule and man’s disobedience, and to usher in a new world government run according to Yahweh’s laws and love nature, to save mankind and to release us from Satan’s bondage and deception:

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

The wicked will be subdued, and righteousness and peace will abound:

Isaiah 11:1-10 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.
11:5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
11:6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
11:7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
11:8 The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.
11:10 It shall happen in that day, that the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the peoples, to him shall the nations seek; and his resting-place shall be glorious.

All will learn to worship the one true God, Yahweh:

Zechariah 14:16 WEB
It will happen that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tents.

Micah 4:1-4 WEB
But in the latter days, It will happen that the mountain of Yahweh’s temple will be established on the top of the mountains, And it will be exalted above the hills; And peoples will stream to it.
4:2 Many nations will go and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, And to the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion will go forth the law, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem;
4:3 And he will judge between many peoples, And will decide concerning strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Neither will they learn war any more.
4:4 But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; And no one will make them afraid: For the mouth of Yahweh of Hosts has spoken.

There will be universal peace, prosperity and blessings:

Isaiah 2:4 WEB
He will judge between the nations, And will decide concerning many peoples; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more.

All this will fulfil the promises Yahweh made to Abraham – keeping His word perfectly:

Genesis 22:15-18 WEB
The angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of the sky,
22:16 and said, “I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
22:17 that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.
22:18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Galatians 3:16-18 NRSV
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ.
17 My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.
18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

So we start to see WHY it is necessary for Christ (Messiah) to return and introduce the government of Yahweh in the kingdom of God.

In the next study we will continue to use the ‘six serving men’ to examine the kingdom of God by looking at WHEN it will happen and HOW it will be brought about. The third study in the series will consider WHERE these things will take place and WHO will be involved.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Pt 4

Previously we have seen that God created us in his image. Christ is the perfect image. Messiah has the fulness of God as we also are to have that fulness. Through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we are to be in him and in Christ and that he will bear much fruit through us.

In this study we will discover that we will be perfected through many trials and temptations.

Yahweh God pictures himself as a potter and we as the clay

Isaiah 64:8 WEB
But now, Yahweh, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.

Isaiah 45:9 WEB
Woe to him who strives with his Maker — a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, “What are you making?” or your work, “He has no hands?”

The end result of Yahweh’s workmanship is that Christ is formed in us.

Galatians 4:19 NRSV
My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Galatians 2:20 RSV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We are to be purified

Titus 2:14 NRSV
14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Whatever happens to us, will it work out for our good?

Romans 8:28 NRSV
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:35-39 NRSV
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From the above scripture, it can be seen that nothing will be able to separate us from God.

Are we promised that trials and tests will come our way and indeed, we should not be surprised at these fiery ordeals?

Acts 14:22 NRSV
There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”

As it says in the above verse, it is through many persecutions that we enter the kingdom of God.
Are the ordeals we experience designed to test us?

1 Peter 4:12-13 NRSV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.

James 1:2-4 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1:6-7 HCSB
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1-5 HCSB
1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:3-7 NRSV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed

Are we even admonished to be joyful, rejoice and even leap for joy? See above and below.

Romans 12:12 NCV
Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.

Matthew 5:12 NRSV
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:20-23 NRSV
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22″Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.
23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Acts 5:41-42 NRSV
and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

Colossians 1:24 CEB
Now I’m happy to be suffering for you. I’m completing what is missing from Christ’s sufferings with my own body. I’m doing this for the sake of his body, which is the church.

It’s through God’s power via Messiah that we are able to accomplish whatever the Father desires do through us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NRSV
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Ephesians 3:18-20 NRSV
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,

Colossians 1:8-13 NRSV
8 and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,

2 Timothy 4:7 NRSV
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

Romans 15:13 NRSV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 6:4-11 NRSV
but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you

2 Corinthians 13:4 NRSV
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

No one can snatch us out of the hand of God

John 10:28-30 NRSV
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Messiah has firsthand experience of being tempted and tested and is able to help us.

Hebrews 5:8 NRSV
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;

Hebrews 2:18 NRSV
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Messiah Jesus was tempted in all points

Hebrews 4:15 NIV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 5:7
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

As a result Messiah was made perfect.

Hebrews 5:9 NRSV
and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Being made perfect, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation.

Does all this testing result in us becoming blameless in holiness before God?

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NRSV
Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.

Summary

In part one of this series the question was asked “What does it mean to be created in the image of God?” We saw that Messiah Jesus is that perfect image of God.

In part two we saw that Messiah Jesus has the fulness of the Father and we are also to have the fulness of the Father and Messiah.

In part three we saw that we are to be in the Father and in Jesus. This is pictured for us in the analogy of the vine and the branches and that through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we bear fruit.

In this final part we have seen that we must experience many trials. The net result of all the testing and the temptations we experience is that we will be perfected and have the fulness of Yahweh God and messiah. We will become the exact representation of our Father just as our gold standard perfect example Christ is.

The testing of our faith produces perseverance – the end result of which is maturity and completeness in Christ. Enduring the trials and tests produce proven character which produces hope – this hope will not disappoint.

The end result of our life in Christ is to become the perfect image of God.