YAHSHUA affirmed to the disciples that if they were willing to receive and accept it, John was Elijah. After the wonderful experience the three disciples had at the Mount of Transfiguration, on their way down they asked YAHSHUA an interesting question: Why do the Scribes say that it is necessary for Elijah to come first? YAHSHUA then answered: Elijah, it is true, does come first to restore all things and set them to rights. And how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be utterly despised and be treated with contempt and rejected? But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and (people) did to him whatever they desired, as it is written of him (Mark 9:11-13). What did He mean by that? Was John the incarnated Elijah? It is natural for us to think that for lack of scriptural knowledge related to the subject. But as it is, Isaiah specifically prophesized about John saying: Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will make ready your way. A voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make His beaten tracks straight (Mark 1:2-3) prophecy from the Isaiah chapter 40:3).
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in our image, after our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them; then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the flesh; and the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Then Adam said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of a man (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7,21-23). When God created men, He perfected them with intelligence and wisdom. No one can comprehend the complicated manifold of His work. The human body, the heavens, all nature and every created living thing, have God’s signature on them. His, and His alone matches the manifold of wisdom manifested in all He created. “OH, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen (Rom.1:33a,36).
When created man and woman, God performed an act of perfect and wonderful creation. He focused on every detail of the body, visible and invisible. When He said, Let Us make mankind in our image, after our likeness… His words carried a very important meaning, not applied to the rest of His creation. Man was made to carry God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:27). In that, man was set apart from the animal world. King David in his psalm 139 says, … You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb; I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well; my frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depts of the earth; Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them; how precious and weighty also are Your thought to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! “Intricately and curiously wrought,” he could be referring to the DNA, the hereditary part of humans. It is there that information is stored as a code. It transmits genetic information. It determines each cell’s structure and function; located in the center of the cell, it is responsible for the control of the cells’ activities. We are truly “God’s intelligent design!” Amazingly, scientists have found proof of God in the DNA code. As Paul said, man is without excuses concerning the existence of God (Rom. 1). DNA expresses information from intelligence, and one like no one else’s “It is an instructional script.” The DNA’s code is very complex, compost of 3 billion letters, which are four chemicals called, adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. It is mind boggling; It is hard for men to grasp the complexity of God’s creation, for they are limited in their understanding concerning the deep wisdom and knowledge of God, since they are created and are not the Creator. DNA’S code is the evidence of God’s signature in every cell proving that He is the Creator of all living things. Paul asks the question: Who has known the mind of God and who has understood His thoughts, or who has been His counselor? (Rom. 11:34) All God’s creations – animal and plants alike have DNA, which is a long molecule containing their entire genetic code. Although the animals have will, emotion and intelligence, showing how smart they are in many things, they do not reflect the image of God. God does not require accountability from them, as Paul said, Creation was subjected to frailty, not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will off Him Who so subjected it- with the hope that nature itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children (Rom. 8: 20-21).
This word has a strong connotation with consequences for all who live in that state of mind. Its meaning according to Webster’s dictionary is failure to adhere to an oath, failure in devotion to someone or something that has a moral claim to one’s support. It is not keeping faith, dishonest, disloyal, unreliable, etc., etc.
Israel showed to be a faithless nation under many gods from the start of being a nation, because Israel lived in Egypt for many years and Egypt had many gods. Without a doubt, these gods were engraved in the minds and hearts of the sons of Jacob, resulting in their faithlessness to God. However, in spite of that, God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants, stood. His covenant had a divine purpose beyond Israel’s understanding and time. It had its beginning at the Garden of Eden when God promised a Redeemer. He said, And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel (Gen. 3:15). That was fulfilled almost two thousand years ago when YAHSHUA treaded Satan’s head underfoot by His death on the cross. Therefore, Satan stands condemned, judged and sentenced. To Abraham’s obedience God rendered his blessing upon his descendants. In his faithfulness, when he did not spare his son, but would have offered him as a sacrifice to God as he was told, God confirmed Abraham the covenant with blessings: In blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed (YAHSHUA) will possess the gate of His enemies. And in your Seed [YAHSHUA] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed and bless themselves, because you have heard and obeyed My voice (Gen. 22: 17-18). So on that region of Moriah, where Abraham was tested, many years later YAHSHUA laid His life as a sacrifice to save the world through death on the cross.
When our first parents sinned, God showed His grace directly to them by making them long coats of skin to clothe them. Under the mercy of God, Adam and Eve found themselves forgiven and provided for, in spite of their sinning against Him. This was an act of mercy of God toward Adam and Eve. He did not let them suffer the shame of nudity for long, although they deserved it, but He covered them in mercy and by His grace. If a coat of skin was used to cover their nudity, perhaps an animal had to be killed. We see in this, a picture of YAHSHUA’S death as the Lamb of God, covering our sins with His blood by forgiving us. That was a demonstration of love and an act of grace applied to men when they were crucifying Him. For every hammered nail in His hand and feet, for the crown of thorns, for the spear that penetrate His side, a prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Those Roman soldiers, together with their centurion seeing how nature responded to their Creator’s death by thunder, lightning, darkness, earthquake, they acknowledged the fact that YAHSHUA was the Son of God. Matthew reports: When the centurion and those who were with him keeping watch over YAHSHUA observed the earthquake and all that was happening, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe, and said, Truly, this was God’s Son! (Matt. 27:54). That was God’s love covering men’s act of hatred for Him with His grace. He did not retaliate the evil done to Him, but for them He prayed. God’s grace steps over every difficult obstacle to save us. Only men’s rejection of God will hinder grace to be applied to them. God so loved the world- every human being, to the extent to offer His only Son as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin do to them. It was God’s grace that acted fueled by His love. Where God’s love abounds, God’s grace superabounds. John Baptist’s testimony of Him, was that out of His fullness we have all received one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift upon gift (John 1:16).
In their distress, men find a way to call on God, even if he does not believe in His existence. An Atheist found himself at the mercy of a bear, one day while walking in the forest; his first reaction was Oh my God! A minute earlier, his belief was, “I don’t believe in God.” How convenient it is for some people to use the name of God to release their stress, as if by magic God would come to them right at that moment. I am sure that happens sometimes to those who trust in Him. For He is ever so near to us. Nothing separates us from His love and care for us. But even for those of who love the Lord, we must understand that the Lord’s timing for all things is beyond our reasoning of space in time. All Knowing, our God knows the right time to answer our prayers.
When YAHSHUA was hanging on the cross, performing the work of redemption for the world, in His last hour on that cross, He left a cry to His Father that has been registered for us to grasp the meaning of: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Do you suppose He did not know why He had been rejected by the Father in those hours? Have you ever thought why He would cry that way? That, my friend, would be men’s cry in hell, where the presence of God is void. That happened when God made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all; that was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; to put Him to grief and to make Him sick; God made His life an offering for sin; in time to come He shall see His [spiritual] offspring (Isa. 53: 6b,10).
He travailed for our salvation in order to present us to His Father a blameless church, pure and sanctified by His Spirit. So, when He cried to His Father the separation between them, it was so that we would not be. However, He did not promise a perfect life on this earth; He promised to be with us to the end of time. He said, In the world you will have tribulation; be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33b). You and I well know when it happened. He deprived the world of its power over us; He conquered it for evermore so that would not hurt us. At Lazarus death, YAHSHUA suffered for us, when He wept at the circumstance; not that He could not bring life to Lazarus, but for the hopelessness of man confronting death at their cry. He saw then what He had to go through to redeem us from the power of death.
The Samaritan story begins with rumors that YAHSHUA was baptizing more disciples than John. However, John denies that in verse two: Though YAHSHUA Himself did not baptize, but His disciples. We know for a fact that YAHSHUA had the authority to do so, being the Messiah, and the Prophet. But when He heard the rumor, He left Judea, and went back to Galilee. On the way to Galilee, it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria, about 30 miles distance. (v.4). There is a strong connotation of the word necessary, God’s hidden plan for the salvation of the Samaritans. Samaritans were Jewish people who intermarried with foreigners and adopted their religion. They were considered half-breed and were despised by the Jews and the world. They were the result of the time when Assyria carried the ten tribe captive and replaced them with people from several other places. They then intermarried with the Israelite’s population, resulting in a mix of all sorts of idolatrous religions. They were a rejected race, but still had knowledge of the Law and some history background of their ancestors. The Samaritans were visible to the Jews and vice-versa, perhaps in their way of dressing, etc. YAHSHUA, aware of that enmity between the two people, did not consider to isolate them from the plan of salvation, but proceeded to go through Samaria on His way to Galilee to fulfill God’s purpose.
He stops at a town called Sychar, which held historical meaning, for it was the tract of land Jacob gave to his son, Joseph and his well was there. Tired, as He was from His journey, He sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour (about noon). When He sat by their well, He was expressing to the Samaritans that He was the Living Water, the Living Water that satisfies their spiritual thirst. That divine appointment had to happen in space of history with the purpose to unite the two people as one in and through YAHSHUA also their Messiah. The point of contact was YAHSHUA’S thirst. He acknowledged to the Samaritan woman, when she came to fetch water, that He was thirsty and asked her for some water. There stood a woman who was also thirsty, spiritually thirsty and ready to drink the water YAHSHUA offered her. YAHSHUA was also thirsty physically thirsty. She could not satisfy His thirst due to the wall of enmity that separated the two of them, when she said, How is it that You being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman for a drink? – For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans- (v. 7,9).
But YAHSHUA stood there offering her life apart from the wall that divided them. He was the Messiah that came to redeem them from their idolatry to satisfy their spiritual thirst. He did not respond to her remark, but contrary to that, He said, If you only had known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (v.10). From this point on the conversation changed its physical tune to the spiritual tune, when YAHSHUA revealed Who He was to the Samaritan woman.
The water the woman could give YAHSHUA was good to satisfy His physical thirst only for a while. The sixth hour when that event took place was of great significance in God’s plan for that day in the lives of the Samaritans. Later, in YAHSHUA’S ministry, it would be at the sixth hour that Jerusalem would experience total darkness for three hours, as YAHSHUA would hang crucified from nine in the morning until His death at three o’clock. For six hours He hung on the cross to liberate the Samaritans from their idolatrous ways to bring them to the true and only God, the One Who stood there asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. The Light of the world had reached the place where the people had been rejected; where darkness abounds. But God came for them, too. In an hour just right He touched the hearts of many of that community that was thirsty for the Truth. The Samaritans were also waiting for the Messiah. They had knowledge of that fact as the woman expressed to YAHSHUA: I know when Messiah is coming. He Who is called the Christ and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. YAHSHUA then answered her: I Who now speak with you am He (vs. 25-26).
Now, after this, the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit) (verse 1). Seventy others disciples YAHSHUA chose for a specific task- that of preparing the way ahead of Him. He warned them of danger ahead by saying, I send you like lambs in the midst of wolves. He specifically told them the manner in which they were to behave on their way: Carry no provisions bag, no sandals; refrain from saluting and whishing anyone well along the way (redeem the time), whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this household! Stay on in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, do not keep moving from house to house; heal the sick and say to them, The kingdom of God has come close to you (verses 3-5,7, 9). That was the beginning of the church era. These are what were they to say and do: Shalom- a salutation that brings calmness to the heart of people. So, they brought peace, they healed the sick and announced that the kingdom had come near them. When YAHSHUA sent them away, He provided them with everything needed to accomplish the task. They did not need money, extra clothes or sandals, shelter and food were provided. Their physical needs were met; and for the spiritual battle field they were to enter, YAHSHUA provided them with authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions over all the power that the enemy possesses and nothing shall in any way harm them (verse 18). When YAHSHUA sent them out, He knew what they were going to encounter, even though they did not. He sent them dressed with God’s full armor, for they were not going to wrestle with flesh and blood (human), but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly sphere (Eph. 6:12).
When they returned, they were excited and joyous with all they had accomplished in the way of victory over demons. They said, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name! YAHSHUA then answered them, I saw Satan falling like a lightning from heaven. (Verses 17-18). Satan couldn’t withstand the power given to those disciples. That was a good beginning of the ministry of YAHSHUA’S church. Powerful, courageous, determined against the evil one. That’s how we His church should be. So powerful that Satan will flee from us, since YAHSHUA is the cornerstone, the foundation of His church. As Paul said, His church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Messiah YAHSHUA the chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole structure is joined together harmoniously into a holy temple in the Lord. (Eph. 2:20-21). In another day, when YAHSHUA entered the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples a question, a very important question: Who do you say that I am? He had only forty days left on earth before His departure from this world and wanted them to know Whom He was. Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered, You are the Messiah, the Son of living God. To Peter YAHSHUA said, And I tell to you, you are Peter- [Greek, Petros which is a large piece of rock] and on this rock [Greek petra, which is a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it (Matt. 16:18). We see here that the difference between petros and petra indicated that YAHSHUA was talking about Himself as the rock where His church was to be built, not Peter, as many think. When Satan could not withstand the power coming from the seventy disciples, that was the prophetic picture of the power YAHSHUA was giving to His church.
Were the words I heard right after I woke up from an afternoon nap. I tried remembering the dream I had that afternoon, to understand what were the words the Lord was telling me to read every day. But I did not remember the dream. However, a few minutes later the phrase, “As it was on Noah’s day” and its reference came to me. My husband and I have been reading this passage of Mathews 24: 37-46 together every day since a week ago. From the amplified Bible it reads: As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and be given in marriage, until the day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away – so will be the coming of the Son of Man. At that time two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left; two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Watch therefore for you do not know in what kind of a day your Lord is coming. But understand this: had the householder known what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have allowed his house to be undermined and broken into. You also must be ready therefore, for the son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing.
In another passage, the Lord YAHSHUA again warned the disciples about the things that are coming to the entire world and told them to “keep awake and watch at all times, praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man” (Luke 21: 36).
Listen to my prayer, O God
Hide not Yourself from my supplication
Attend to me and answer me
I am restless and distraught at the noise of the enemy
My heart is grievously pained within me
And the terror of death has fallen upon me
Fear and trembling have come upon me;
Horror and fright have overwhelmed me.
(Ps. 55: 1-5)
A prayer in the form of a psalm from the depth of the of David’s heart, speaks to us and comforts us in some way, knowing that we too can go to the heavenly Father with all our cares and troubles. This psalm is an expression of what David was going through in that time of his life. This shepherd boy, who killed a bear and a lion to save his sheep, finds himself in a crossroads where no help was in sight, only faith and a prayer to deliver him from the rebellion of his son, Absalom and the betrayal of his close friend, Ahithophel and many of his servants. (II Sam. 15-18). Betrayal is like cancer; it eats up the emotion and robs the peace from within. It takes a while for the results to fade away, and meanwhile, the soul is tormented with bitterness. In writing this psalm, David did not express forgiveness, but asked for God to avenge those who had offended him. We can taste his hurt feelings in verses 12-15: For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me- then I might bear it; nor is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me- then I might hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company. (Psalm 55:12-14). The memory of his past friendship with Ahithophel was like the taste of bitter herb going down to the stomach. That was a heavy burden on the soul. David and his family had to flee from his son, who tried to take the kingdom from him by stealing the hearts of the men of Israel. His rebellion was also a betrayal and vengeance.
David’s prayer was of urgent timing. His supplication came to God in restlessness of his heart, in grievous pain. Desiring peace, David wanted to fly away from all his troubles. He said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hasten to escape and to find a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest (Vs. 6-9). A temporary relieve, was David’s desire to have. A place where he would not hear the noises of confusion and anger against him. He just wished wings of a dove, a symbol of freedom. However, a physical presence elsewhere would not accomplish much in the way of inner peace; but a calm and undisturbed mind and heart. Circumstances we face in our everyday life can lead us either to peace or disturbances of the mind. The secret of consistency in achieving victory through it all however, is not in our self, but in the trust and faith in God, our Provider, our Shelter and refuge in our troubles. David well knew it, as he expressed it in several of his psalms. But it was necessary for him to express his inner feeling of fear and uncertainty in face of his circumstances, for they were of great proportion, beyond his ability to cope alone.
For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace; of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his book the Footstep of the Messiah, clearly explains to us the meaning of this prophecy: The eternity of the Davidic dynasty throne, and kingdom is assured; it rests in the God-Man. As to His humanity, He is descendant of David; as to His deity, He is eternal and so is His throne. His government will be characterized by justice and righteousness forever. In Jeremiah’s prophecy similar to that of Isaiah, he says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, and He will reign as King and do wisely and will execute justice and righteousness in the land (Jer. 23:5). YAHSHUA’S throne will be established in Jerusalem, but His reign will extend over the entire earth. YAHSHUA will be considered as one God by the entire earth. The beginning of His reign will be marked by a procession of the King into the millennial Jerusalem described in Psalm 24:7-8: Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you age-abiding doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
There will be a Gentile branch in His millennium kingdom consistent of His church. Revelation 20:4 John writes, Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes for their witnessing to YAHSHUA and for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived again and ruled with Messiah a thousand years. The chain of command will be from Messiah to the church and the tribulation saints to the kings of the Gentile nations. In the millennium time there will be earthly kings, but YAHSHUA will be over all of them. He will be King of kings and Lord of lords. The Jewish branch will be through David, as Jeremiah and Ezekiel so described: But they will serve their God and David’s their King, whom I will raise up for them (Jer. 30:9); and I will raise up over them one Shepherd and He shall feed them, even My Servant David; He shall feed them and He shall be their Shepherd and the Lord will be their God and My Servant David a Prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it (Eze. 34: 23-24). (Fruchtenbaum- The Footsteps of the Messiah)