The Gospel Observer (April 8, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (8) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Dan7_13-14

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Bible Prophecy (8)
Tom Edwards

Last week we considered in prophecies and their fulfillments of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was by the power of that resurrection that He was “declared the Son of God” (Rom. 1:4).

In Acts 1:3, Luke speaks of that time between the Lord’s resurrection and His ascension, by saying, “To these [the apostles] He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”

The Greek word in this verse for “convincing proofs,” which Liddell & Scott defines as “a sure sign or token,” is worded in the King James Version as “infallible proofs.”

During that 40-day period, Jesus not only appeared to the apostles, but also to many others — even “to more than five hundred brethren at one time” — and “most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6).  So that means that when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus, about A.D. 55, there were still many of those witnesses who could testify toward having seen the resurrected Christ for themselves, about 22 years prior.

Following that 40-day period, Jesus then ascended back into heaven; and Luke goes on to write of this in Acts 1:9-11: “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.  They also said, ’Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’”

The ascension is also spoken of in the accounts of Mark and Luke.  Mark writes: “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).  Luke words it as follows: “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:50-53).

Christ also spoke of His ascension.  After He arose from the dead, He told Mary Magdalene, who was apparently overjoyed in seeing Him alive, to “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (Jn. 20:17).

Prophecy of the Lord’s ascension is also seen way back in the book of Daniel, who lived several centuries prior to that marvelous event. Daniel declares in Daniel 7:13-14:

“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.”

Notice the three things given to Him at that time: 1) dominion, 2) glory, and 3) a kingdom.  So all of this was received when Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven.

Many folks are still awaiting God’s kingdom. But it came in Acts 2 when the church was established.  So Christians are in that kingdom now, and which has been around for about 1,985 years!  This is also seen in Colossians 1:13, where Paul told the brethren that God “…delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”  The Colossian letter was written about A.D. 60 to 62.  And, of course, since Christ right now is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), how could that be so — if He had no kingdom to rule over?

Going  back to Daniel 7:13, we note, too, that Jesus was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom “That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him.”  So if He has not yet received that, then how could individuals of every nation serve Him?  Would we not then have to all wait until that kingdom comes?

But being in the kingdom is also what the apostle John acknowledged in Revelation 1:9: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus…”  And being a fellow partaker of the kingdom is also true of every Christian.  Therefore, as the Hebrew writer exhorts in Hebrew 12:28, “We should be grateful that we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect” (CEV).  Or as the English Standard Version words that last part, “…and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”

The psalmist also speaks of the Lord’s ascension in Psalm 66:18:

“You have ascended on high,
You have led captive Your captives;
You have received gifts among men…”

Where we find this cited in the New Testament, there is a slight change of the Lord giving gifts, rather than receiving them.   But in the NT context, the gifts Christ gave were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:7-12).  And wouldn’t all these also be “gifts” He had received from the Father to, in turn, give?  For of the apostles, Jesus says, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word” (Jn. 17:6).  And not only the apostles, but the Lord also speaks of His “sheep” as those whom His Father “has given” to Him (Jn. 10:29).

Jesus is now at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1).  Stephen, while being stoned to death by an angry mob, saw him there (Acts 7:55).  And from heaven, Jesus is not only ruling over the church, but over all, with the exception of God the Father (cf. Eph.  1:20-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:23-28).  Peter writes of Jesus as having “gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (1 Pet. 3:22).  And Paul shows that the Lord “ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10).

That the Lord ascended for this coronation is also seen in comparing certain Bible passages.  For instance:

“The LORD says to my Lord:
‘Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.
The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies’” (Psa. 110:1-2).

Then, in Hebrew 10:11-13: “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.”

Jesus also cited Psalm 110:1 when questioning the Pharisees.  He asked, “’What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’  They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call him “Lord,” saying, “THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET’”’? If David then calls Him, ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Matt. 22:42-45).

Though we read in Acts 1:11 of the angels who had said to the apostles that “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” yet Christ will not be setting foot on earth again.  Rather, when He returns, it will be to meet Him in the air, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.   For He will return on the “last day” (Jn. 6:39-40, 44, 54; Jn. 12:48).   After which the universe and time itself shall be no more (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12).

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

Shirley Davis continues to have pain in her knees — and especially her left knee.  The discomfort in her shoulder, from a fall she had about a year ago, is also still there.  She keeps up with her physical therapy at home, but it is difficult.  Surgery for her knee has still not been scheduled.  She will be seeing her doctor April 25, however, to determine if she is yet ready for it or not.

Deborah Medlock has not been feeling well.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Charles Crosby, Jim Lively, Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:1-2, NASB).
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (April 1, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (7) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Acts2_31d

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Bible Prophecy (7)
Tom Edwards

Last week’s installment centered around prophecies pertaining to the crucifixion and death of Christ.  Today’s article will focus on His resurrection.

David declares in Psalm 16:8-10 the following:

“I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

If you have read the book of Acts, then you probably find this previous passage familiar.  For it was cited by Peter on the day that the church was established.  Notice Acts 2:22-27: “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.”

Peter also shows that because David “was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY” (Acts 2:30-31; See also 2 Sam. 7:12-16 and Luke 1:30-33).  So Jesus was raised from the dead for that as well, and “exalted to the right hand of God.”  For “God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:29, 36).

That Jesus would be raised from the dead is also seen in Acts 13:34, but first let us see another prophecy concerning this in Psalm 2.  The psalmist writes:

“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain” (v. 6).
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ’You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You
.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession’” (vv. 7-8).

Going back to Acts 13, we now see that the thought of God begetting Jesus is actually referring to His resurrection — rather than being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary.  Luke writes: “And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ’YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ’I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ’YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY’” (Acts 13:23-35).

Numerous passages throughout the New Testament speak of the Lord’s resurrection.  In selecting an apostle to take Judas’ place, one of the qualifications was to have been a witness of the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 1:22).  Peter, in speaking of himself and the other apostles, testified that “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32).  That God raised Jesus from the dead is seen in Acts 3:5, 4:10; 10:40; and 13:30.  In doing a search for “resurrection” and “raised dead” in a computer Bible, I came across 31 passages in the New Testament that speak of the Lord having been resurrected — and that is not all of them.

The resurrection of Christ was a main theme in the preaching of the apostles.   For they were to be His witnesses of that (Acts 4:33; Acts 10:38-43).  Paul had also testified toward the Lord’s resurrection when in Athens (Acts 17:3, 18, 31), when before King Agrippa (Acts 26:23), in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:14), and elsewhere.

Jesus was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…” (Rom. 1:4).

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, those who are spiritually dead in sin can be raised to a spiritual life, after submitting to God’s plan of salvation.  As Paul explains, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).

From this passage, we see that it is  baptism — and not merely belief in Christ only, nor belief in Christ and repentance only — that is that last step by which we receive the “newness of life.” For baptism puts us “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).  As Paul writes in Colossians 2:12, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Baptism is the “in which” we are raised up from in order to be “raised up with Christ” (Col. 3:1).

Paul also wrote of that to the Ephesians: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-2,5).  Compare also Colossians 2:13.

Notice, too, that when we compare Romans 6:3-4, in which baptism is part of how one acquires the “newness of life,” with the above passage in Ephesians 2, we can conclude that even in being baptized, it is also still a part of God’s grace — rather than some type of meritorious work through which salvation could be deserved or earned.  For we are saved by grace — which certainly does not nullify the need to hear God’s word (Rom. 10:17), believe in Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

Consider also Colossians 3:1: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”  This, again, reminds us of Romans 6:3-4 which speaks of the new life we have in Christ when coming up out of the water of baptism.

But also because of the Lord’s resurrection, all the literal dead, down through the ages, will also be physically resurrected.  For “if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised… For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised” (1 Cor. 15:13,16). The implication is: since Christ was raised, the dead will also be raised.

This is also seen in John 5, where Jesus says, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (vv. 28-29).

This is talking of a physical resurrection. For the “Do not marvel at this” is pointing back to the spiritual resurrection spoken of in verses 24-25: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”  So when Jesus goes on to say, “Do not marvel at this,” He then continues with another type of resurrection that might require more faith to accept — and that is a physical resurrection.  Notice, too, that the physical resurrection is not limited to only the saved.  For the lost will be raised as well.  Everyone.  This is one of the reasons why it is so important to make our souls ready by accepting God’s way of salvation while we now have the time to do so.

When Jesus says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:30), He is not talking about a spiritual resurrection; but, rather, a physical one. For He was answering the question the Sadducees had asked concerning a woman who had become a widow 7 times by 7 brothers.  Since they had each died, the question was, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be?” (v. 28).  The Sadducees, of course, “say there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit” (Acts 23:8); so they were simply trying to entrap the Lord with their question.  But the point I want to emphasize from this is that there will be a physical resurrection.  For if Matthew 22:30 is speaking of just a spiritual resurrection (in which the sinner has become a saint by being born again and having that new life as a Christian in Christ), then it is while on earth that Christians “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  But who would think that — especially in view of all the Bible passages, such as Ephesians 5:22-33, that give instruction for husbands and wives.

Martha, whose brother had been physically dead for four days, knew that he would “rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (Jn. 11:24).   And Jesus, who referred to Himself as “the resurrection and the life” (v. 35), merely gave the command, “Lazarus, come forth” (v. 43) — and it was so!

To be ready for that physical resurrection in the last day, we must first undergo that spiritual resurrection by submitting to the gospel plan of salvation, which includes the need to hear the gospel, to believe in the Deity of Christ, to repent of sins, to acknowledge faith in Christ, and to be baptized for the remission of sins.  We are then to also follow through in maintaining that new life in Christ.  For Jesus died for us that we might live for Him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15).

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated; and all underlining for emphasis mine.)
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News & Notes

Jim Lively was able to have a small growth on the top of his head “frozen” with liquid nitrogen instead of having any more cut away. He will now not have to return for about six months for a checkup on it.

Deborah Medlock has not been well lately.

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Charles Crosby, Doyle Rittenhouse, Shirley Davis, Frankie Hadley, Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 
7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: 
Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (March 25, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (6) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Psa22_18

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Bible Prophecy (6)
Tom Edwards

In thinking more of Jesus and prophecies concerning Him, Psalm 34:20 declares,

“He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.”

The apostle John cites this passage with regard to the Lord in John 19:36: “For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture,

‘NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.’”

That not a bone of the Lord was broken is also an indication that He had died on the cross — and not merely passed out. John records: “Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (vv. 31-34).

Dr. C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S., wrote an article entitled, The Passion of Christ From A Medical Point of View. In an excerpt from that, he speaks of the need to raise oneself from the hanging position on a cross in order to breathe. He states: “At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded.”

So this helps us to better understand the connection of breaking the legs with crucifixion. For it would hinder the victim from being able to raise himself in order to breathe and, thus, speed up his death.

But for Jesus, after six hours of enduring the agony of the cross, along with the pain from the intense scourging that had preceded it, He cried out “with a loud voice,” … ’Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.’ Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:46).

In the same context of John 19:36, John also shows of another prophecy fulfilled at Calvary, as he mentions in verse 37: “And again another Scripture says, ‘THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.’” Where we find that back in the Old Testament is in Zechariah 12:10: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a first-born.”

Not only did the Lord have His side pierced in His death, as we saw above, but also, as David writes in the Messianic Psalm 22:

“For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me” (vv. 16-17).

Also in the next verse of Psalm 22,

“They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots” (v. 18).

This we also see in the New Testament recordings: “And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots” (Matt. 27:35).

John brings out a little more on that: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS’” (John 19:23-24).

The phrase “this was to fulfill the Scripture” does not mean that the Roman guards did what they did with the intent of fulfilling God’s word. For they probably had no idea they were doing so. The same can also be said in what we saw earlier, that “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” For that was also preceded with, “for these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture” (Jn. 19:36).

I would think there were many poor people living in and around Judea during the time that Jesus dwelt on earth; but it was a rich man who would take care of the Lord’s departed body, as prophesied in Isaiah 53:9:

“His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”

The New Testament shows that rich man to have been Joseph of Arimathea. Matthew writes: “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away” (Matt. 27:57-60).

Mark’s account gives the additional information that Joseph was “a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:42-43).

It was also then, while Joseph was there, that Pilate had wondered if Jesus was dead by that time. So he summoned the centurion to inquire. On finding out that it was so, Pilate then “granted the body to Joseph” (vv. 44-45).

John speaks of Joseph as being a “secret” disciple of the Lord, due to the “fear of the Jews” (Jn. 19:38).

Luke refers to Joseph as being “a good and righteous man” (Luke 23:50), and one who had “not consented” to the plan and action of the Council (v. 51) who had “all condemned” Jesus “to be deserving of death” (Mark 14:64). So Joseph showed courage in his opposition toward the Council and in His requesting for the body of Jesus.

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, it was “the condemnation of his Lord [that] awakened the courage and revealed the true faith of Joseph.”

Luke also mentions that this new tomb, which Joseph provided for Jesus, had never been used by any other (v. 53).

Charles Dickens begins his historical novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” by describing, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Perhaps that also reminds us of when we think of the cross — but even more so. For what could man ever have done that would be more terrible than putting to death the innocent and perfect Son of God — our Creator! Yet, at the same time, what could ever be more of a benefit for mankind than that wonderful atonement that Jesus made by His death for every sinner — an atonement that can save us from an eternal separation from God and make possible, instead, an everlasting blissfulness in heaven!

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Mildred McCullers who recently passed away at 101 years of age.  Let us be remembering all of her family and friends in prayer.

Jim Lively had a small growth removed from the top of his head recently and will be seeing his doctor again this Tuesday about it. Let us pray that all will go well for him. [For an update on that, they were able on Tuesday to “freeze” that spot with liquid nitrogen — instead of having to cut out any more. He will now not have to return for about six months for a checkup on it.]

Others to also continue to remember in prayer: Charles Crosby, Doyle Rittenhouse, Shirley Davis, Frankie Hadley, Jim Lively, Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.

The ladies’ Tuesday afternoon Bible class, which recently switched from 7 p.m. to 2 p.m., will not be meeting for the next couple weeks.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (March 18, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (5) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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Psalm22_16

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Bible Prophecy (5)
Tom Edwards

Thinking more on the sacrifice of Christ in prophecy, Psalm 69:21 states,

“They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

This “gall,” which was first offered, is from a Hebrew word that means “…a poisonous plant, probably the poppy (from its conspicuous head); generally poison (even of serpents)…” (James Strong).  In the New American Standard Bible, the Hebrew word is rendered as “bitterness” (2), “gall” (1), “poison” (4), “poisoned” (2), “poisonous” (3), and “weeds” (1).  Some Bible versions translate it as “poison” in Psalm 69:21, such as the Bible in Basic English, the English Standard Version, and the Revised Standard Version.  Matthew 27:34 shows that the “gall” had been added to wine; but, Jesus, “after tasting it…was unwilling to drink.”  For He would not  numb His senses with that, which is made even clearer in the Contemporary English Version: “There they gave him some wine mixed with a drug to ease the pain. But when Jesus tasted what it was, he refused to drink it” (Mark 15:23).  Many translations refer to that drug in this passage as being “myrrh.”  According to Alfred Edersheim, “It was a merciful Jewish practice to give to those led to execution a draught of strong wine mixed with myrrh so as to deaden consciousness” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book 5, Chapter 15, par. 11).  So Jesus went to that cross fully experiencing the torture of it.  And isn’t that amazing, too, that He remained on that cross for the full six hours of intense agony!  He did not deliver Himself from that torment, nor did He call on twelve legions of angels to do so for Him (cf. Matt. 26:51-54).  Instead, He went through with it all!

The second “drink,” the vinegar, is spoken of as being “sour wine” that was in a sponge placed on a reed (cf. Mark 15:36; Matt. 27:48).  This “reed” is referred to as “a branch of hyssop” in John’s account, where he also points out that it was given to Jesus immediately prior to His death.  Notice the passage: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’  A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.  Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (Jn. 19:28-30).

One of the Messianic psalms is Psalm 22.  It foretells of the suffering of Christ at Calvary.  Notice how it begins: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1).  From the cross, Jesus made seven statements.  Toward the end of that period, about the 9th hour, which would be around our 3 p.m., “…Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?'” (Matt. 27:46).  It is thought that in saying this, Jesus was also directing the hearers to that psalm that was foretelling  various things that were now taking place on that crucifixion day.  Of course, God even knew, prior to the creation of the universe, of these things that would occur on that day!

Psalm 31:5 foretells of the last of the seven sayings that Jesus made from the cross.  It declares, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit…”  The fulfillment of that is seen in Luke 23:46: “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.”  (The all caps signify in the New American Standard Bible that that part is a quote from the Old Testament.)

How needful it was for Jesus to make an atonement for every sinner by His death at Calvary.  Without it, sins could never be forgiven; and we would all remain lost and separated from God forever.  But it had been God’s plan before the beginning of time to provide Jesus as a Savior who would come to our rescue.  Isaiah, who prophesied about 700 years prior to Jesus’ sacrifice, writes of this future event in the past tense:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

“All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

Some of this was also fulfilled prior to His crucifixion.  As Matthew writes, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES” (Matt. 8:16-17).

But the ultimate — and even more important than the physical healings — is the great atonement that Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross that sets us free from the bondage of sin and puts us on a road to eternal glory in heaven.

After exhorting the brethren to “be holy yourselves also in all  your behavior” because God, who will judge us impartially, is holy and instructs us to be that way also, Peter then goes on to say, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:15-20).  Peter also says of Christ that “…He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).  And the Hebrew writer declares, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb. 9:28).  Because of Christ’s death, every Christian has much to look forward to.  For regardless of how well-blessed one is now, the best is still yet to come for the faithful child of God!

Going back to Isaiah 53, notice verse 12:

“Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the  transgressors.”

Yes, Christ was  numbered with the transgressors.  He was crucified between two thieves who were also being put to death that day.  As Mark records, “They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors.’]” (Mk. 15:28).   Though both of these were initially insulting Christ (cf. Mk. 15:32), yet one of them later had a change of heart and said, “…’Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:42-43).

Crucifixion did not originate with the Jews.  Stoning was one of the ways that capital punishment was carried out under the Law of Moses.  Crucifixion had begun in the ancient near East and was practiced by the Medes, the Persians, the Carthaginians, the Egyptians, later the Greeks, and finally the Romans in the first century, yet we see reference to it in Psalm 22:16 in foretelling Christ’s sacrifice:

“For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.”

Zechariah writes: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zech 12:10).  See also Matthew 27:35 and  John 20:25-27.

Though Jesus knew what coming to the earth to dwell among us would result in,  yet He came anyway!  And how thankful we should be that He did!

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

Misty Thornton can use our prayers for her health.  She writes: “My body seems to be turning on itself here lately. One day I am ok, the next day I cannot depend on my own body to do basic tasks.”

Let us also remember in prayer Charles Crosby, Doyle Rittenhouse, Shirley Davis, Frankie Hadley, Jim Lively, Pat Joyner, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 
7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor:
 Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (March 11, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (4) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

Isaiah50_5-6

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Bible Prophecy (4)
Tom Edwards

Knowing that it was His Father’s will to make an atonement for sin by death, Jesus did not try to defend Himself when before the authorities in the three Jewish and three Roman “trials.”  This, of course, had also been prophesied seven centuries prior, when Isaiah foretold the following about the Christ in Isaiah 53:7:

“He was oppressed and he was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So he did not open His mouth.”

Jesus remained silent even when many corrupt witnesses had come forward to falsely accuse Him with malicious charges that might lead to His death.

For instance, Matthew’s account of Jesus before Pilate says, “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer.  Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against you?’ And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed” (Matt. 27:12-14).

Isaiah 53 is clearly prophetic about the Christ, and which is also made evident by Philip in Acts 8.  For Isaiah 53:7-8 is the very passage that the Ethiopian eunuch had been reading, on his way home from Jerusalem, when the Spirit told Philip to “go up and join the chariot” (Acts 8:29).

Philip did so.  And when he asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading, he answered, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” (v. 31).  He then invited Philip into the chariot, and Luke shows the passage the eunuch wanted to know more about:

“HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER;
AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT,
SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.
IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY;
WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION?
FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH” (vv. 32-33).

When the eunuch asked Philip for the explanation of this passage, Luke then records that Philip, “beginning from this Scripture… preached Jesus to him” (v. 35).

It is also interesting to note that in preaching Jesus, it must have also included preaching of the need for baptism.  For after hearing Philip and seeing some water along the way, the eunuch then said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (v. 36).

That Jesus would be mocked and insulted was also prophesied.  Notice, for example, Psalm 22, in which David is foretelling of the crucifixion:

“All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
‘Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him’” (vv. 7-8).

Matthew’s account also brings out the fulfillment of this. For it speaks of those who as they passed by the cross of Christ “were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, “I am the Son of God”’” (Matt. 27:39-43).  (See also Luke 22:63-64.)

Isaiah also speaks in Isaiah 50:5-7 of more of the humiliating treatment Jesus would go through — and willingly so:

“The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not disobedient
Nor did I turn back.
I gave My back to those who strike me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
For the Lord GOD helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.”

Again, we turn to the New Testament and read of the Lord’s determination to do His Father’s will — regardless of how difficult it would be, such as concerning the cross: “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matt. 26:42).

How many of us can say as Jesus did of God, “for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (Jn. 8:29).  The ultimate of that obedience is seen in Christ’s willingness to leave His blissful existence in heaven to dwell on earth in human flesh and eventually suffer a most torturous death on the cross.  As Paul cites the Lord’s humility and obedience as an example for us, he goes on to say of Jesus, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).

That Jesus would be spat upon, as foretold in Isaiah 50:6, can be seen in fulfillment in Matthew 26:67-68: “Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, ’Prophesy to us, You Christ, who is the one who hit You?’”

The spitting is also seen when Jesus was taken by the soldiers of the governor into the Praetorium with all the Roman cohort around Him. There, they “stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. After twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.  After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him” (Matt. 27:27-31).

Giving His back to those who struck Him (cf. Isa. 50:6) must have been quite an ordeal in itself. It is said that the preliminary scourging, prior to the crucifixion, was so severe that the one receiving it would sometimes die prior to being nailed to the cross.  After the people had chosen the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus, Pilate had “Jesus scourged and  then “handed him over to be crucified” (Matt. 27:26).

That the Lord also had His beard plucked (Isa. 50:6) is not mentioned in the New Testament, but this prophecy shows it was done.   To the Oriental, it is said that the beard is “a symbol of dignity“ and, therefore, “an extreme insult” to have it plucked (Cambridge Bible).

One such example is that of David’s men who had half of their beards cut by Hanun, who had been deceived into thinking that David’s kind gesture in sending his servants to Hanun to console him in the loss of his father was supposedly a means to spy out the city and overthrow it (see 2 Sam. 10:1-4).   As a result, David’s men “were greatly humiliated.” So David instructed them to “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow, and then return” (v. 5).  According to the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, “D’Arvieux gives a remarkable instance of an Arab, who, having received a wound in his jaw, chose to hazard his life rather than suffer the surgeon to cut off his beard.”

May we never forget all that the Lord was willing to go through in order to make salvation possible for us and for every lost soul.  And these prophecies indicate that the Lord had a clear knowledge of what He would have to endure in order to become our Savior — and, in spite of that, He still willingly and fully went through with it all!

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.
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News & Notes

There will be a gospel meeting at the North Valdosta church of Christ March 11-16. Jonathon Reeders (of Tallahassee, FL) will be the guest speaker. The church meets at 4313 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA, about 1 mile east of I-75.  Week nights will begin at 7:30.  The sermons and other times will be as follows:

Sunday:

9 a.m.  …….Your Place in God’s Story
10 a.m. ……The Battle Between Two Giants
11 a.m. ……A Village Believes

Mon:………..Who is the Lord?
Tue:………….The Altar, the Prophet, and the Lion
Wed: ………..Elijah on Two Mountains
Thu: …………Miracles of Jesus
Fri: …………..Follow Me

The above sermons have also been made available at the following website: https://sites.google.com/view/northvaldostacoc/gospel-meeting-2018

Let us continue to remember in prayer Jim Lively,  A.J. & Pat Joyner, Charles Crosby, Shirley Davis, Cedell Fletcher, Frankie Hadley, Judy Daugherty, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (March 4, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (3) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
——————–

zech11_12-13

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Bible Prophecy (3)
Tom Edwards

As we consider more on the prophecies concerning Jesus, hear what Moses foretold about Him in Deuteronomy 18: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (v. 15).   God then said to Moses:  “…and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.  It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him” (vv. 18-19).

Moses was of the nation of Israel. The human flesh of Jesus also descended from that nation.  For Moses had declared to his people that this prophet would be “from among you, from your countrymen.”

That Christ would speak all of His Father’s words is what He also emphasized numerous times.  For instance, John 12:49: “for I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”

That Jesus fulfilled this prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 is seen in Acts 3.  For here, Peter speaks about the second coming of Christ; and points out that He is the One “whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, ’THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days” (vv. 20-24).

Though we normally think of Christ as being mildly mannered in His dealings with others, yet there was that time prophesied of His righteous indignation toward those who were corrupting the house of God.  Psalm 69:9 reads, “For zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.”

This was the very passage the Lord’s disciples recalled when Jesus “found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.’ His disciples remembered it was written, ‘ZEAL FOR YOUR  HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME’” (John 2:14-17).

And though where this selling was going on was “not  in the holy of holies, nor in the holy place, nor in the court of the priests, nor in the court of the Israelites, but in the court of the Gentiles” (John Gill), it was still considered part of the temple.

The Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem is prophesied in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The New Testament shows that Jesus had sent two of His disciples to bring to Him the donkey they would find there, along with a colt (Matt. 21:1-3). Matthew then says, “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, “BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN”’” (vv. 4-5).

Judas’ betrayal of the Lord was also prophesied.  Psalm 41:9 declares,

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.”

In turning to the New Testament, we see the fulfillment of this in John 13:18.  The setting is during the time that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and had washed the disciples’ feet.  He then says in the previous passage: “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ’HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’”

Zechariah mentions the exact amount that Judas had accepted to betray Jesus in Zechariah 11:12-13: “I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.”

The fulfillment of this is seen in Matthew 27. After betraying the Lord, Judas “felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself! And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it the price of blood.’ And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME” (vv. 3-7).

Several explanations are given for why Matthew refers to this prophecy in the Old Testament as having been spoken by Jeremiah.  One such reason is that “In ancient times, according to Jewish writers, ‘Jeremiah’ was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the ‘Book of the Prophets,’ thus: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor  prophets. Some have thought that Matthew, quoting this place, quoted the Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the ‘first’ place in the book, that is, Jeremiah; and though the words are those of Zechariah, yet they are quoted correctly as the words of the Book of the Prophets, the first of which was Jeremiah” (Albert Barnes on Matthew 27:9).

It is amazing that the precise number of “thirty pieces” of silver was prophesied — and not 25, 28, 35, 46, etc.  Judas, the chief priests, and the elders acted and made decisions of their own accord. Yet the Lord has proven through prophecy His ability to know of future choices and decisions that others would make.

Zechariah also prophesied of the apostles’ desertion of Jesus in Zechariah 13:7:

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,’
Declares the LORD of hosts.
‘Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.”

It was when the Roman soldiers, who were accompanied by Judas the betrayer, came out to arrest Jesus on the night of His last supper and after His praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, when this prophecy was fulfilled: “At that time Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.’  Then all the disciples left Him and fled” (Matt. 26:55-56).

Seeing these Old Testament prophecies cited, explained, and fulfilled in the New Testament should help all to believe in the Bible’s Divine inspiration.   God truly is all-knowing!

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)
——————–

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News & Notes

There will be a gospel meeting at the North Valdosta church of Christ March 11-16. Jonathan Reeder (of Tallahassee, FL) will be the guest speaker. The church meets at 4313 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA, about 1 mile east of I-75.  Weeknights will begin at 7:30.  All the sermons will also be made available at the following website: https://sites.google.com/view/northvaldostacoc/gospel-meeting-2018

Sunday:

9 a.m.    Your Place in God’s Story
10 a.m.     The Battle Between Two Giants
11 a.m.     A Village Believes

Mon:  Who is the Lord?
Tue:   The Altar, the Prophet, and the Lion
Wed:  Elijah on Two Mountains
Thu:   Miracles of Jesus
Fri:     Follow Me

Let us also continue to remember in prayer the family and friends of Alice Jean Corbitt Young who had recently passed away.

Let us also remember in prayer Jim Lively,  A.J. & Pat Joyner, Charles Crosby, Shirley Davis, Cedell Fletcher, Frankie Hadley, Judy Daugherty, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class) (New Time)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (February 25, 2018)

Contents:

1) Bible Prophecy (2) (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
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zech6_12-13

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Bible Prophecy (2)
Tom Edwards

Last week, we began considering some Old Testament prophecies that were primarily of events that were to happen around the time of Jesus’ birth. Let us now continue with more on the foretelling of Him and His kingdom that was to come.

About seven centuries prior to the Lord’s coming to dwell among us, Isaiah was already informed by God (Isaiah 9:1-2) of the Galilean ministry that Jesus would later have: “But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

“The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.”

The fulfillment of this is recorded in Matthew 4:12-16: “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

‘THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI,
BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT,
AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH,
UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.’”

The passage then goes on to point out one of the things that the Lord started preaching at that time; and it was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 17). John the Baptist was preaching this, too, as seen in Matthew 3:1-2.

Isaiah had also foretold of that kingdom (Isaiah 2:2-4), when referring to the future “last days,” in which

“The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.’
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem…”

The “mountain” represents God’s rule, His government. It is actually the primary meaning of “kingdom,” which is defined as “1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule 1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom. 1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah. 1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom 2) a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king. 3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah” (Thayer).

So in seeking after the kingdom first, as the Lord has commanded (cf. Matt. 6:33), one is putting God before all else and submitting to His rule; and those who do so will then become a part of His kingdom, which is the church.

Notice in Isaiah’s prophecy that the LORD’S “mountain“ would be “the chief of the mountains,” which indicates God’s government, His rule, being far superior to any earthly rule that had ever been or ever would be. This is also inferred from the apostles who taught that we must obey the civil authorities (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17), for it is what God commanded. Yet, they also knew where to draw the line when particular laws of civil governments or man-made rules would be in conflict with the word of God. It was then that Peter and the other apostles declared, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Yes, God must always be first!

As Isaiah shows, on this “mountain” is “the house of the Lord”; for it would be established by Him. Perhaps this also reminds you of Jesus’ promise that “…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not over power it” (Matt. 16:18). Similarly to Isaiah’s writing, the church is also called “the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:15 and 1 Pet. 4:17, KJV); and as “the house of the Lord” was on the “mountain” in Isaiah 2, the church today has Jesus for the foundation (1 Cor. 3:11). He, therefore, is the “rock” in Matthew 16:18 that the church would be built upon — that “rock” that Peter had just confessed, by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16); and it is by submitting to God’s rule that one today becomes a part of that church and is being built upon the foundation of Christ (cf. Matt. 7:24-27).

As we saw earlier, the Lord, while on earth, had informed some that they would “not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mk. 9:1). It was then in Acts 2 when the kingdom came, for that term is used to also refer to the church. In writing to the Colossians, Paul says, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:12-13). The apostle John also testified toward being in the kingdom (Rev. 1:9) and told the seven churches in Asia Minor that God “has made us to be a kingdom” (v. 6).

So everyone who becomes a Christian is not only put into Christ (cf. Gal. 3:26-27) and into the universal church at that same time (cf. Acts 2:47, KJV), but also into the kingdom, since it is also used in referring to the church. For there are not two different plans of admittance – one for the church and another for God’s kingdom of the Gospel Age. Nor are there two different sets of laws of God for these; but, rather, it is the same gospel, the same rules of God, that are to be submitted to by, whether we say, those in the kingdom or those in the church.

We have also seen that when Christ returns, it is not to then set up a kingdom; but, instead, it is to deliver the kingdom, which has already been established, up to the Father in heaven (cf. 1 Cor. 15:24-26).

It was also prophesied about the Lord’s priesthood in Psalm 110:4. The psalmist writes,

“The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’

The Lord’s priesthood is also foretold in Zechariah 6:12-13, in which the Lord had instructed Zechariah to declare,

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. Yes, it is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”

And where do we find the fulfiller of that spoken of? Hebrews 5:5-6: “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.’” Consider also Hebrews 7:11-28.

So, again, we see Jesus being the One who would “build the temple of the LORD” and rule over it, as also seen in the prophecy in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, which had a dual fulfillment involving Solomon (in building the temple made with hands and ruling over God’s people) and ultimately with Jesus (who built the spiritual temple of God’s house, the church, and not only rules over it, but also over all else, as well, with the exception of the Father (cf. Acts 2:29-31; Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23).

(All Scripture from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.)
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News & Notes

It was announced Wednesday that Frankie Hadley had another mini stroke and was readmitted to the hospital, but she is now back home.

Let us also continue to remember in prayer the loved ones of Alice Jean Corbitt Young who had recently passed away.

Let us also remember in prayer Jim Lively, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Charles Crosby, Shirley Davis, Deborah Medlock, Cedell Fletcher, Meadern Anderson, Mary Rogers, Belinda Medlock, James Green, Bennie Medlock, Judy Daugherty, Misty & Jason Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rachael Gerbing, Jarvis Williams, and Mary Vandevander.

There will be a gospel meeting at the Hoboken church of Christ March 1-4. Larry Rouse (from Auburn, Alabama) will be the guest speaker. Thursday through Saturday services will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday services will be at 9:30, 10:30, and 5 p.m. The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia. Their Gospel Meeting Sermons are also made available at the following website: https://hobokenchurchofchrist.net/sermons/gospel-meetings/
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)