Archive for the 'The Gospel' Category

The Promises To Abraham

Abraham is called the “Father of them that believe” in Paul’s writing about him in Romans and Galatians. His life was a pivotal point in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation. The first eleven chapters of Genesis span a period of roughly 2,000 years, from creation through Noah and his descendants. Then the next fourteen chapters focus on the life of this one remarkable man. Of all the people in the Bible, Abraham is the only one who is called the friend of God (James 2:23).

This was my message on podcast at Midwest Family Camp last summer.  It’s entitled, “I Believe, therefore I Speak.”  (or maybe a better title would have been “How NOT to be a Chicken when Sharing Your Faith”) 🙂

I would like to encourage anyone interested in enjoying some fellowship with other believers of the faith, to join us in Indiana this summer, June 20th – 25th for “Midwest Family Camp.”  It will encourage you and deepen your faith in the one true God, His only begotten Son Jesus, (our Lord Messiah and soon coming King!); and make you look forward with great hope and anticipation to the day of Christ’s return and His coming Kingdom!

This week I’m beginning another series from my website.  The foundation for our understanding of the Kingdom of God is found in the Old Testament.  Throughout its pages we see the purpose of God unfolded from creation, through Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets.  In part 1 we will see that from the beginning God has always wanted man to dwell on the earth that He created.

In The Beginning

Man was designed to live on this planet. The earth was designed to be the home for man. This was the plan God had from the very beginning. He began by creating the heavens and the earth, and He spent six days preparing it for His man. When it was finished, he put Adam and Eve in the garden and gave them dominion over the earth.

This Sunday, most churches spread across the land, will be celebrating Easter Sunday, with perhaps a Sunrise service, or a traditional breakfast, and most definitely a sermon that centers around the fact that Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead. But, what they say they are celebrating, does it really jive with their theology that they profess?

In Luke 1:32-33, the angels give us the tip off that it’s all about Jesus being the Christ, the King of an everlasting Kingdom, who will be anointed by the Spirit of God: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the LORD God will give him the throne of his father David; and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and his kingdom will have no end.”

Some have downplayed the significance of the Kingdom because it isn’t mentioned by name as much in the rest of the New Testament, outside of the Synoptic Gospels. But it is mentioned in certain significant passages and tied in with other concepts, using other terminology. The epistles are addressed to people who have already accepted the Gospel of the Kingdom, and now see it from the point of view of “heirs” – a word mentioned quite frequently in the epistles. The promise that Abraham and his seed should be “the heir of the world” (not of “heaven”) is referred to in Romans 4:13-14. And Christians are called heirs in Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29; 4:1,7; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 1:14; James 2:5; I Peter 3:7.

Since the Reformation, it has been taught more and more among Protestants that Jesus declared the Kingdom to have arrived, but that he taught his disciples the “true” understanding of the Kingdom, namely that of God’s reign in one’s heart.  In addition, another common misunderstanding that leads to the belief that the Kingdom must have been redefined is the question of when Jesus expected it to take place. If Jesus had indeed meant a political kingdom that would overthrow Israel’s oppressors, he would seem to have been wrong about it being “at hand.” Much is made of Jesus’ supposed belief that his return would be in the lifetime of his disciples, but he told them he did not know when he was going to return (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).

Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was near, but that there would be an interim period before it was fully inaugurated. The Kingdom, to him, was primarily the eschatological (end-times) reign and judgment of Messiah on earth. It is in this sense that it would fulfill the promises to Abraham and David, and the many prophecies of the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Son of Man.

In Part 1, we saw that the words for “generation” (Hebrew, dowr; Greek, genea) can have more than one meaning, and one of the meanings is a group of people with like characteristics, especially a group characterized by negative traits, as in “this crooked and perverse generation.”  We saw examples in the Old Testament, and we saw that this sense was in fact used more often than the literal sense in the Gospels.

One of the main reasons that other viewpoints don’t like the idea of a futurist interpretation of prophecy is that certain sections of Scripture appear to have Jesus say that the end would come before that generation passed away.  There has been much speculation about whether Jesus was mistaken or misunderstood, since the Kingdom apparently did not come to pass in the lifetime of his disciples.  C. S. Lewis wrote in his essay, “The World’s Last Night” (in 1960),

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