Build On The ROCK


imagesMatthew 16:17-19 Jesus answered and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Johan (son of Johan), for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus said, “Upon this rock.” What rock?

  • Some say that the Church was built upon Peter and he was the rock Jesus was referring to.
  • The more popular understanding of the rock is the words of Peter or upon acknowledgment of Jesus being the Son of God in verse 16.
  • I submit to you that the second answer is on the right track but that it goes much deeper than that.

To understand it allow me to use the “Law of First Mention.” This means that often times you can find a more simplistic understanding when you discover where it was first mentioned in scripture.

First, the more obvious answer would be that Jesus is the rock. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:4 that the rock that Moses struck was Jesus. But, let’s go to the first mention.

The first mentioned rock in the old Testament was Exodus 17:6 where Moses struck the rock. But there is a mention of something earlier than that using the word stone – Genesis 28:18. There Jacob poured oil upon the stone that he had slept on. It became a marker of what he called, “God’s House” or “Bethel.”

On several occassions stones were used as markers to mark something extraordinary that took place.

What about the first mention in the New Testament, something used metaphorically by Jesus? That would be Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon the rock:”

In Jesus’ conclusion for His great sermon on the mount He declares that to not only hear but practice His teachings is like building your life upon a rock. The rock here represents His teachings, His revelation.

That would make more sense in understanding what the rock was that His Church would be build upon and would give reason for binding and loosing.

Binding and loosing was a rabbinical term. The rabbis had the authority to bind and to loose or to accept or reject certain teachings. God said to honor the Sabbath day and the rabbis defined it by what could and could not be done on the Sabbath in order to keep it holy. The things that could not be done was binding. The things that could be done was loosing.

The Church is to be built upon understanding the Word of God, binding what is not acceptable and loosing what we are free to do. The problem is that the flesh gets involved in the process and we end up back to what Jesus had to deal with, the traditions of man. We end up making up our own stuff.

Jesus contradicted many of the traditions that had been bound and loosed. That is why the people said in Matthew 7:28-29 … that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

For this reason James says in James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. The Church has to be built upon the Word and to be careful how we throw around our authority in our teachings. Binding and loosing is serious business. Too many burdens have been placed upon people because of teachings that have may have grown out of truth but now only slightly resemble what is scriptural.

The rock, I submit to you, is Jesus and His Word upon which we build up. It is our foundation. It is the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness. It is a marker and testimony of man’s experience with an Almighty God. It is Jesus, the Word.

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The Mark You Want


Tav

Tav

Ezekiel 9:4 and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

This is an action which God describes upon those who remained pure in the heart of a time where people lived in abomination. Judgement always comes when sin is great. But, God always protects those who are faithful.

What is interesting is that the word for mark is “Tav,” the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In ancient script, unlike the modern script, it looked much like our “t” and is thought to represent the cross.

Just think about it for a moment. How awesome for God to choose a Hebrew letter that looked like a cross to place upon the foreheads of those who remained true to Him. This mark was their salvation, their protection from judgment.

For hundreds of years before Christ the priest would anoint with oil using the sign of the “Tav” or the cross. The Hebrew word for law, Torah, begins with the Tav.

Looking back 2,000 years, the cross is still our mark of protection from the judgment of sin.

Could something be said about it being the last letter of the alphabet and the last thing that was done before judgement came? Maybe. What do you think?

John Huss


Jan Hus

Jan Hus

John Huss, (Jan Hus) born around 1372, was a religious leader in the area we know today as Czech Republic. When King Richard II married Anne of Bohemia they made a trip to Bohemia where they carried the ideas of a preacher by the name of John Wycliffe. After adopting these ideas he proposed to reform the church in Bohemia just as Wycliffe did in England.

While many of his followers were called Hussites, the more radical followers were called Taborites. The Taborites formed the Bohemian Brethren which later became the Moravian Church. As far as we can tell they were one of the first organized charismatic churches and sent out more missionaries than any other denomination in history.

Because of John Huss’ teachings the church at large excommunicated him in 1411 and condemned him to burn at the stake. On July 6, 1415, they lit the fire around John Huss and as he burnt he prophesied, “In 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform can not be suppressed.” 102 years later Martin Luther tacked up the 95 theses that began another reformation that still exist today.

Daniel Boone Associated with Revival


When thinking of the great frontier, who associates Daniel Boone with a great move of God. It is reported that in the late 1700’s Daniel Boone invited a Presbyterian preacher Barton Stone to the Cane Ridge Meeting House in Bourbon County, Kentucky. It was here that the Red River revival was experienced. This revival involved Methodist and Baptist who only knew their love for Jesus.

The climax with what happened in August of 1801. It is estimated by military personnel that between 20,000 to 30,000 came to the outdoor camp meeting where multiple preachers stood on stumps throughout the camp, preaching at the same time. The meetings lasted day and night.

Among the multitudes who were saved was James B. Finley. Later he became a Methodist circuit rider. He wrote the following describing the meetings:

picture-142“The noise was like the roar of Niagra. The vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time, some on stumps, others in wagons and one standing on a tree which in falling, lodged against another .

Some of the people were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy in the most piteous accents, while others were shouting most vociferously. While witnessing these scenes, a peculiarly-strange sensation such as I had never felt before came over me. My heart beat tumultously, my kneees trembled, my lips quivered and I felt as though I must fall to the ground. A strange supernatural power seemed to pervade the entire mass of mind there collected.

I stepped up on a log where I could nave a better view of the surging sea of humanity. The scene that then presented itself to my mind was indescribable. At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon then and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens.” (Mendel Taylor, Exploring Evangelism, p. 142)

It is said that this camp meeting continued through the week until the food totally ran out for man and animal.

From this movement several pastors determined not to call themselves anything but Christians. There are several groups today who trace their roots back to this event: The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), and the Christian Churches (independent).

The Zayin


picture-141Malachi 4:4 Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

In this verse is an oddity. The first letter for the word “remember” is enlarged, standing above the other letters. The letter is “Zayin,” the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

First, the letter represents and looks like a sword. But is derived from the root word which means bread. Nourishment always takes war. The farmer works hard over the field to produce. The parents fight hard to provide for their child against enemies that would lead them wrong. What is interesting is that the word for bread is in the middle of the word for war in the Hebrew.

The Hebrew words for “time” and “remembrance” begin with the Zayin. In the verse above the Zayin, or sword, is enlarged to emphasize the need to remember the Law of Moses and that it is the Word of God. It is from God’s Word that we receive nourishment, the Bread of Life,  and it is by this Sword of the Spirit that we fight against the enemy.

It is from this that we could then explain how that Jesus was the fulfillment of this Law of Moses and that rather than being under the Law we are under the promise of Abraham. That will be for another Word Nugget.

The Principle of Asking


images-13Matthew 6:8 . . . For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

There is a very important principle in God’s word that is tightly threaded throughout the whole Bible. It is the principle of asking before you receive.

There is a key word in this verse that can not be overlooked. Jesus said that God knows our need. Not only does He know it, but he was aware of it long before you were. Yet, because Jesus said that the Father knows the need before we “ask,” it implies that we will be asking.

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will given to you . . .” Matthew 7:7

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name . . .” John 14:13

Jesus said, “If you ask anything in My name . . .” John 14:14

Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire . . .” John 15:7

Jesus said, “. . . that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16

Jesus said, “Until now you have asked me nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24

Although God said that He would send the much needed rain (1 Kings 18:1), Elijah still had to ask for it (1 Kings 18:41-45).

Although Jeremiah had prophesied that God would deliver Judah from the Babylonian captivity within 70 years, Daniel still prayed in order for it to happen (Daniel 9).

The principle still remains. If you are in need, just ask Him and let God take care of you.

Is Jesus God?


images4John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

There are not many who will disagree that John was writing about Jesus, referring to Him as the Word. But, there is a group of people who will disagree with the translation. According to the Jehovah’s Witness and their translation, it should read “and the Word was a god.”

It is upon their translation of this verse that they have established that Jesus was one of many gods, of which they can be too.

This may go a little deep, but hold on. It works.

I received a paper from a Jehovah’s Witness which gave other bible translations which I had never heard of who translated “a god” in John 1:1. The authors of Should You Believe in the Trinity? on page 28 explained that in the Greek, given the grammatical circumstance, the translator has the freedom to use the article “a” if they feel that it fits with Theos (the greek word for God), even when the article “a” is not written.

Therefore, by their own argument, this verse can not be used to prove whether Jesus was God or a god.  It’s up to the translators!

What about John 1:18 where the sentence begins with Theos with no definite article, just like John 1:1.  Why did your translators choose to change their rules?

If they translate “a god” in John 1:1 why did they not translate it the same way in John 1:6 or John 1:12 or John 1:13?  Not only are these verses in the same book, written by the same author, but they are also in the same chapter.  Should we pick-and-choose with God’s Word which rule we use?

Again, let’s see how scripture explains itself. In John 20:28 Thomas makes this declaration, “My Lord and My God!”

Here is where it gets really crazy. Although most of the New Testament was written in Greek with the word Theos used for God, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone through and picked out which ones they want to translate as Jehovah and which ones they translate as god. Of course it was John 1:1 and John 20:288 they chose not to translate the word Theos as Jehovah. Something screwy going on here!

In Isaiah 9:6, a verse which most every accepts is about Jesus, He is called the “Mighty God”.  The answer they gave me is that this is not Jehovah, just a god.  But what about Jeremiah 32:8 where Jehovah is also called the “Might God”?  If both Jesus and Jehovah are “Mighty God” what separates them?

And, I can not forget about Matthew 1:23 which says “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” This is a quote from Isaiah 7:14. Immanuel does not mean “a god with us.”

Let’s stay in the Word!