The Person of the Year

Monday, December 31, 2012

“Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 KJV).

Behold, 2012’s “Person of the Year!”

At every year’s end, society selects a “person of the year,” someone who, either for better or for worse, influenced the past year’s events the most. While often considered an honor, some of the candidates are less than commendable. This is never the case for the true “Person of the Year!”

As intelligent creatures, we (should) realize that we have an intelligent Creator God. As Christians, we (should) value that which God honors. As Pauline dispensationalists, we (should) know what God’s Word teaches about Himself and His purpose and plan for us and for creation as a whole. Who is this Creator? What (or whom) does God esteem? Why did God create the heaven and the earth? The answer to all three questions is… JESUS CHRIST!

Sinful man does not like it, but Jesus Christ will be praised forever. The atheists, religionists, skeptics, non-Christians, agnostics, and all the other naysayers will be disappointed, for “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” is supreme. In fact, just before they are cast into the lake of fire, banished from His presence forever, they will bow before Jesus Christ, and admit His authority!

This past year, Jesus Christ was faithful, accomplishing amazing things in our lives. Some of us He saved this past year; He saved us from death, sin, hell, and ourselves. He saved us from false teaching: He gave us spiritual nourishment, daily renewing our minds as we studied and believed His Word, the King James Bible. He brought us joy, peace, and comfort in the midst of our trials and heartaches. Indeed, like He does every year, the Lord Jesus Christ has impacted the world the most… and to Him alone be the glory! 🙂

Dear saints, as we now close another year in the writing ministry, we have some fascinating daily Bible studies planned for next year. If you have any Bible questions or suggestions that you would like me to write about in a devotional or full-length Bible study, send the comments to me at arcministries@gmail.com. Thank you.

The End of the World? #4

Sunday, December 30, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

When the Bible speaks of “the end of the world” such as in Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; and Hebrews 9:26, it refers to the future destruction of the underlying (satanic) world system that governs earth and its realms. The rebellious, anti-God attitude that operates in Satan is quite evident in the spheres of education, politics, society, religion, and economics: hence, “this present evil world(Galatians 1:4), to which world we Christians should not be conformed (Romans 12:2). Remember, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world(John 19:36).

After our Dispensation of Grace closes (rapture), our planet will experience seven years of Tribulation, which Christ will end with His Second Coming. Jesus Christ will then bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, removing him from earth, so that God’s earthly kingdom can be established and accomplished throughout that millennium (Revelation 20:1-7). It will be the end of this present world—Satan’s evil world system—and the beginning of God’s authority and righteousness reigning on earth, which is called “the world to come” in Matthew 12:32, Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30, Hebrews 2:5, and Hebrews 6:5. However, that world to come—Christ’s reign on earth—will be interrupted.

In Matthew 28:20, our Lord told His eleven disciples, “…Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” That world is the world to come, which will one day replace this present evil world. That “end of the world”—compare verse 19 to Daniel 7:13,14 and 1 Corinthians 15:24,25—is the end of Christ’s earthly reign (the conclusion of the aforementioned 1,000 years). The world that Christ will establish will exist for 1,000 years, ending when God makes a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20:1-21:1). Then, Christ will again reign, this time forever (Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15).

Indeed, the definition of the term “world” in “end of the world” makes a “world” of difference in Scripture! 🙂

The End of the World? #3

Saturday, December 29, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

The King James Bible uses the expression “the end of the world” seven times. We want to focus on the latter five instances—Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20; and Hebrews 9:26.

In Matthew 13:39,49, our Lord spoke of the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, when He will send His angels to sort believers from unbelievers: “the harvest is the end of the world… so shall it be at the end of the world.” Later, His disciples ask about “the sign of [His] coming, and of the end of the world(Matthew 24:3). Christ’s Second Coming here is contemporary with the harvest of Matthew chapter 13 (above). But, exactly what is “the end of the world in these instances?

Ever since Lucifer/Satan was cast out of heaven, he has tainted every region of creation with sin. In fact, on earth, he encouraged mankind to join him in rebelling against God. Ever since man’s fall into sin, Satan and sin have ruled planet earth. Hence, the Bible calls Satan, “the god [ruler] of this world(2 Corinthians 4:4; cf. Matthew 4:8,9); Satan’s fallen angels are called, “the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12). Galatians 1:4 mentions, “this present evil world.” This is the “world” of Matthew 13:39,49 and Matthew 24:3 (previous paragraph).

One day, the evil, anti-God system that governs society will be abolished—that is “the end of the world.” Earth’s wicked social, economic, religious, and political systems will pass away. Satan’s reign on earth will come to a violent end, for the glorified Lord Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, militarily defeat Satan and his minions, and then usher in everlasting peace and righteousness on earth (Christ’s Second Coming; see today’s Scripture). This victory over Satan’s evil world system is accomplished through Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary: hence, Calvary’s crosswork is termed to have occurred, “in the end of the world” (Hebrews 9:26).

The End of the World? #2

Friday, December 28, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

When people discuss the “end of the world,” they need to explain what they mean by the term “world.” “World” means different things in diverse contexts. For instance, the first time the term “the end of the world” appears in Scripture is Psalm 19:4. This passage is beyond the scope of this study; suffice it to say that the testimony of the heavens regarding God’s glory and handiwork reaches to the farthest parts of mankind’s habitation on earth (verse 3). This usage of “the end of the world” has nothing to do with end times (prophecy), nor does “world” refer to the physical earth.

The second time God’s Word uses the expression “the end of the world” is Isaiah 62:11: “Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world,….” This is the same sense as Psalm 19:4 (above).

However, when we come to Matthew 13:39,49, the Bible uses “the end of the world” another way. These verses involve end times (prophecy): “…the harvest is the end of the world…. so shall it be at the end of the world.” Jesus Christ is describing the day—His Second Coming—when He will send angels to gather His believers and collect the unbelievers.

In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples inquired, “And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Here, “world” is in the same sense as in Matthew 13:39,49 above. Like Matthew chapter 13, Matthew chapter 24 is prophetic.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus Christ told His eleven apostles, “…And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is very similar to the sense of Matthew chapters 13 and 24, but referring to a different “world.” Lastly, Hebrews 9:26 says, “now once in the end of the world hath [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

We will proceed to discuss these usages in depth….

The End of the World? #1

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

Last year, May 21 was heralded as the “end of the world.” When that failed to come to pass, it was changed to October 21. December 21, 2012 was the latest “apocalyptic” hoax. The serious Bible student does not know the next date that the sensationalists will set regarding the “end of the world.” Nonetheless, he or she does know that much of that prophecy preaching and teaching—both in the secular world and the professing church—is grossly in error. Doctrinal integrity is of little to no importance when there is much to gain: record book sales, large television and radio audiences, a following, a name, and… an early retirement!

In common English, “world” can mean several things, such as the universe, the planet earth, this present life, a time period, society and its practices and customs, a system of related things, and the nations of the earth. The King James Bible uses the term “world” 289 times, in various different senses (the meaning being dependent upon the context).

Oftentimes, when people speak of and think of the “end of the world,” the classic imagery is—the planet earth blown to smithereens, and the human race and all other life forms on earth entirely wiped out, usually by a meteorite, biological or chemical warfare, a global natural disaster, and so on. While the Bible does speak of God’s future destruction of the present universe—the heavens and the earth (2 Peter 3:10-13)—it also anticipates a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1), the latter verse (understandably) ignored by the “doom and gloom” sensationalists.

Our King James Bible uses the term “end of the world” seven times. We will examine these instances, to understand how God’s Word utilizes this expression and what it means in light of God’s purpose and plan for heaven and earth. We will also briefly discuss other ways in which the Bible uses “world.”

Be Not of the “So What!” Persuasion

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21 KJV).

As the Christmas Season winds down, we remind ourselves to be thankful saints, not spoiled brats.

Having recently witnessed ungrateful children unwrap their numerous Christmas presents, and then whine in dissatisfaction, I could not help but think of today’s Scripture. Most of mankind shares this unthankful attitude when it concerns God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. They willfully trample the energy, time, and funds used to purchase the gifts!

Before God gave up the Gentile nations of Genesis chapters 1-11, and before He began to form the nation Israel in Genesis chapter 12, He had given Gentiles 2,000 years to approach Him by faith and to accomplish His purpose on earth. Nevertheless, the Gentiles (nations) wanted nothing to do with God. Hence, God chose Abraham to be His servant, to be the father of a new nation, Israel, a people He could use to fulfill His will on earth. Today’s Scripture describes the Gentiles while God dealt with Abraham and his seed—they had empty, worthless thoughts and callous, unbelieving hearts (today’s Scripture). This spiritual darkness plagues much of mankind even today!

Sadly, Israel was just as unthankful and unbelieving toward God as the Gentiles were! They worshipped and served the same silly idols, they wallowed in the same spiritual ignorance, and they too were content in leading vain, godless lives. They had a chance to know the God of heaven and earth, but they spurned that opportunity to worship and serve everything else. Let us not be as foolish, dear readers.

Let us always be thankful that God was gracious enough to “love the unlovely,” to “give heaven’s best to save earth’s worst,” to “offer heaven to those who deserve hell,” and to “give life to the dead.” Let us not treat lightly the high price of eternal life—the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. God offers eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. Let us open that gift by simple faith, avoiding the “So what!” persuasion.

The Word Was Made Flesh

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

On this Christmas Day, we reflect on the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The candidate who could solve man’s sin problem had to meet two requirements. He had to be God, and He had to be man—a “God-Man.” It had to be God, because God’s righteousness had to be satisfied, but it also had to be man, for it was man who had sinned. God’s righteousness was offended, since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). But, it was also a man who had sinned, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Consider Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In short, heaven’s best—Jesus Christ—came to save earth’s worst—us! In summary, Jesus Christ was born to die for us.

Brethren, the salvation that we enjoy today in Christ could not be possible without the shed blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross, and the shed blood of Christ could not be possible without the incarnation of Christ! God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and in order for Him to shed sinless blood, He had to first have blood. Thus, it behooved Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the form of a man. It was at this time of year that God the Son entered the virgin Mary’s womb, possessing a body that was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Remember, “The Word was made flesh” (today’s Scripture) so we could have an opportunity to be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Merry Christmas!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. It can be read here or watched here.