What to do to be saved

KEY Lesson 26. What to do to be saved
In this lesson, we will be reviewing much of what you have studied in the previous lessons. There is a point to all this study. God wants you to become a follower of His son. He wants you to be part of the covenants and promises He has for us. Please read through this very important lesson carefully and thoughtfully…
If it is true that God created this world in 6 days. If its true that all people have descended from one set of common human parents, if its true that Jesus of Nazareth is the Anointed one, the Messiah, the Christ, and the Son of God and he is coming to rule the earth, what then must we do to  prepare?.
If it is true that the end of the world is coming soon, and that would mean then end of our job, the end of our country, the end of our schools, families, friends, sports and community, maybe we need to stop for a minute and think, what can we do to prepare?
If its true that God has a plan for the earth and for anyone who believe his plan, and there is information readily available in great detail about this plan, then should we be asking questions about getting ready for that time when the last day will arrive?
I have to tell you today, all of the “ifs” that I mentioned are true.  And how can I be so certain these things are true? Because I decided to read the Bible, only the Bible, see what it had to say, and decide for myself whether it was true or not.  Here is what I learned, there are many predictions and promises in the Bible.  Most of these predictions are about one particular nation – the nation consisting of both the people and the actual country of Israel.  Now it is true that strange words and weird imagery cloud many of the predictions and it is difficult to understand right away exactly what is being said. But, many of those predictions are clear enough and plain enough to understand, and many of those predictions written thousands of years ago have come true.  The most amazing is the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948.  A second prophecy come true is the regaining of the city of Jerusalem in 1967 by the Jews.  The city being fought over and divided is another prop
hecy come true. And, if most of the easily understandable predictions have come true already then isn’t logical that the other things are true too? Coincidence?  Do you really think so?  Isn’t it worth a few hours of your time for a closer look? Couldn’t you just think for a moment that there is a greater purpose and a greater being that we will call “God” and then, just for the purpose of investigation, ask the question, “What is it that God wants from me?”
What is it that God wants?
We will try to provide an answer to that question in 8 parts.

The parts are as follows

1. Learn and Believe what it is that God Wants from People
2. Learn and Believe God’s Plan for Rewarding those who Seek Him
3. Learn and Believe that the man Jesus the Messiah Did Not Fail
4. Decide that You Will Follow God’s Requirements.
5. Decide to start a new life, giving it to God.
6. Admit that you have failed to obey God’s Laws
7. Seal that Decision: Get Baptized into God’s Name
8. Live your New Life by Obeying the Teachings of Jesus

Notice that these involve certain activities on your part. Learning, believing, deciding, following, giving, admitting and obeying.
We’ll look at each of these 8 steps in detail today, showing that the Bible teaches that each of these 8 steps are important, and together define what it is that God wants from you.
1. Learn and Believe what it is that God Wants from People
Our first Bible reference for this step is “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Anything worthwhile takes hard work in the form of lots of thought, study and diligence to achieve. It usually takes some hard studying, learning, and finally believing what you learn. Many people recognize this and readily apply it to things like their jobs, their education, their health, their diet, their physique and all the other goals and wants that people pursue.  The one thing though, and its something that matters most, they don’t apply diligence to, and that is to religion. Many people do not apply diligence to seeking God.
There is a popular misconception throughout churches that God just gives eternal life like some type of party favor to anyone who asks. That is not what the Bible teaches. The gift of God, eternal life, will only be given to those become the people that God wants. God says: “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
God wants us to seek Him with diligence, with all of our heart. We must give ourselves wholeheartedly to that task. It can1t be for a few minutes a week, or one weekend per year. It has to be all the time, everyday, in a manner that shows that we truly want to find God. This is demonstrated in the most important commandment of God, from Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Diligence, seeking with all our heart, giving ourselves wholly to Him is what God wants.
Christ taught this clearly. Not only did he reiterate that this is indeed the most important of all commandments, but he said other things along these lines too.
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Knowing what God wants is the most important first step. You can1t settle for just searching for this Truth with all your heart. You must search until you find the Truth. You must make it your main goal in life, more important than all your other goals. When you do this, you will find God. Until you are ready to do that, you will not be doing what God wants.
You not only have to learn what He wants, once you find it; you have to believe it. The beauty of the Truth that concerns Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is that it makes sense. It’s not like other religions where you have to make gigantic leaps far past logic. Its not like superstition where you keep guessing and hoping its right. The Bible, the Word of the God of Israel, contains teachings that can be validated by looking at history.  History gives a great deal of proof that the Bible is True. In the first reference we quoted from Hebrews, we also find a reference in the same chapter that tells us faith involves evidence of things that can’t be seen.  God offers us lots of evidence of His reality. We live in a time where this evidence becomes more apparent each day. But again, it involves diligence and thought, it involves opening our eyes and minds so that we won1t be blind to all the evidence that the Bible offers.
The importance of believing what we learn cannot be stressed enough.  This is so even in everyday things. How often I have looked for some lost item, and merely continued to overlook it in a certain location such as a drawer, because I didn’t really believe it was there. This even happens with large items like the car in a parking lot, or looking right at someone and not recognizing them because we didn’t believe it might be them. How true this is with Bible things. Once we begin to understand what God is teaching us, we must believe it in order to build on that belief and add more. We must proceed carefully and make sure we understand what we read.
I would advise you all today, if you have not yet begun, from this moment forward, learn and believe what it is that God Wants from People. You can only learn this in the Bible, which is the Word of God, and the only source of Truth extant on the Earth today. Any one of us who has been baptized can help you with that goal, but its important to start right away because soon it may be too late.
2. Learn and Believe God’s Plan for Rewarding those who Seek Him
Remember God said: “You will find me in the day you seek me with all your heart.” (Deu 4:29)
God created everything we can see. He didn’t create it without a reason or purpose. He made the Earth for a reason and he made people for a reason. He has a plan, which involves filling the Earth with people forever. But, this plan involves a number of steps, and we must learn what those steps are.
Abraham was a man who lived around 4,000 years ago. We are told in the book of Galatians that the gospel was preached to Abraham. Jesus Christ was born only about 2,000 years ago, 2,000 years after his ancestor Abraham lived.  The fact that the gospel had been preached 2,000 years before Christ was born may come as a surprise to those not familiar with Abraham himself.  Most churches teach that the gospel was never taught or preached until Jesus Christ started preaching. But, the Bible teaches the promises of God to Abraham are what comprise the gospel, especially the promise of a “seed” or descendant of his who would bring blessings to the nations of the world. We can tell you now that as it says in Galatians, the seed refers to a person – Jesus Christ. It is critical that each person learns these very kinds of things from the Bible in order to understand God’s plan for rewarding those who seek him. 
The fact that God will reward people is a critical piece of the learning God wants you to gain. We have to believe that God will reward those who serve Him. This is faith; this is what we must each do as a step to pleasing God.  The rewards God will bestow on His children include the following.  Immortality in His kingdom, the right to become a king or a priest in that Kingdom, the right to rule and judge the whole earth in that Kingdom, the right to become part of God Himself in a way that you must study the Bible to really understand. Super-human powers await those who serve him.  Wonderful other blessings that we can’t imagine await also. Best of all, the opportunity to fix the earth’s problems, the opportunity to make earth into the Paradise God set out to establish at Creation, and other wonderful things are the kind of rewards that await those who server God now. We must not only learn about these things, but we must believe them and base our lives on them.
God has fully demonstrated this plan in the Bible. He has revealed it all to his various servants, the prophets, and they wrote it down and we have it today. He started right in the Garden of Eden, revealing pieces of his Plan to Eve and Adam. He added more pieces of it with events involving Adam and Eve’s children, and then Noah and his family. He called Abraham and revealed much more of His plan in great detail, giving him promises involving Land, eternal life, and a special descendant who would bring it all to pass.  He went on to expand his plan and promises to Abraham’s descendants and Moses, and other prophets. Many pieces were laid out and can be studied throughout what we call the Old Testament in the Bible. Finally, God revealed Himself fully and his plan in the Man Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled the details of this plan and explained them to his disciples. You and every person here can read and study all about this plan. Everybody can understand the purpose of God. I
n this plan you will see that there is a place for you in it. You can begin today to learn the rewards that can be yours. I have to tell you, that it is foolish to ignore this study, its more important than anything else you can learn. You can start today; you can begin right now. The bottom line of this point number 2 is Learn and Believe God’s Plan for Rewarding those who Seek Him.
3. Learn and Believe that the Man Jesus the Messiah Did Not Fail
It is obvious to most people that central to being a follower of Christ is belief in Jesus Christ. The problems start when we forget that he isn’t just some idea or name, but that he is a real person. Just because we live 2,000 years after he was born, doesn’t make him any less real. The things they believed in the first century to get baptized were “the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”. It would seem obvious to me and I hope to you, that Jesus Christ himself is a very important part of being able to claim to be a “Christian”, but we know that so many people don’t believe in Jesus Christ at all. This is nothing new. We are told in the Bible that even in the first century, within mere decades of Jesus preaching, didn’t believe that Jesus Christ ever came in the flesh – in other words, they did not believe that Jesus Christ had been a real man. It is the same today. Churches teach that Jesus Christ was not a real man but rather some kind of God
, not a real person. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is a man. It teaches that he was a man on earth, just like you and I, but that he obeyed the Law of God perfectly. He did not sin when he was tempted. He succeeded in obeying God and fulfilling God’s righteous requirements.
But there is more to it too. There are other things about Jesus we must believe if we are to obey God. We have to believe that Jesus is the seed or descendant that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Eve. We have to believe that he is the promised Jewish Messiah. The things I am mentioning here are facts that must be learned, understood, and believed in.  Jesus Christ is the “Hope of Israel”. He is the only means by which a person, Jew or non-Jew can be saved. Without Him, God’s purpose would not continue because he is central to God’s plan and purpose. What God wants > from you is to Learn about Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, and to believe in him.
We have many examples of this in the Bible. The apostle Paul said, “For the hope of Israel am I bound with this chain.” Paul said this when being cross-examined. The hope of Israel is Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah who would save them, and save all that come to him. The apostle Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Others throughout the New Testament times believed in Jesus.
We have to learn about Jesus and the various facts pertaining to him.  The gospel believed in the first century were “The things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ”. We need to learn what is so important about Jesus and believe the facts concerning his accomplishment. He was born to fulfill a requirement designed for him from the beginning of God’s plan.  We need to learn what the requirement is and believe with all our heart that he met that requirement completely. Because he fully met that requirement of God, he lives today, resurrected and now sitting at the right hand of God.
Jesus was spoken of in the following manner in the writings of the New Testament:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”
“Tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin”
“Son of God”
“Son of Man”
We have to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a man like we are men and women. He had the same needs, the same flesh, the same temptations and desires. But, he did not sin. Instead, he obeyed God each day of his life, and whenever he was tempted, he chose the correct way to proceed instead of sinning. 
“Second Adam”
Jesus is likened by Paul to being a kind of Second Adam. We see that the first Adam, and the rest of mankind with him before Christ, all failed at meeting the righteous requirements of God. Jesus came along, 4000 years after the first Adam, and he did fulfill the righteous requirements of God. Jesus, unlike Adam, obeyed. He obeyed all his life and obeyed right up into death. He conquered sin and overcame it and won the battle over it, in his own body, obeying into death. Therefore, God resurrected him, brought him back to life and he now has become an immortal being and went up to heaven working with God, as a high priest for his followers, and preparing to return soon to earth to established the Kingdom of God for a thousand years.
The Bible also speaks of Jesus in these terms:
“Sits at the right hand of God”
“The grave could not hold him”
4. Decide that You Will Now Follow God’s Requirements for you
Making a decision of any kind is difficult for many people. Some people can’t decide what they want to eat. Some people can’t decide between two girlfriends or boyfriends. Some people can’t decide whether to accept a job offer or go to college. People can’t decide what clothes to wear in the morning. There are lots of decisions to make every moment of our lives.  Some people let others make all their decisions for them. They can’t stand or understand commitment. Some people make decisions by flipping a coin or asking for advice. Making a decision to become a disciple of Jesus Christ involves all the things we mentioned and the following:
“Repent and be baptized”. When we study the activities of our original parents, Adam and Eve, we see that their actions caused Sin to enter the world. God set up a law, and the punishment for disobeying it would be death. So, of course they disobeyed, and sin and death entered the world. At that time, God also began to reveal his plan to still fill the earth with people who would be part of Himself. That plan involved what it is that God wants from you today. It is very important, as we have mentioned already, to learn with lots of diligence what that Plan of God’s is. We have to study the Bible carefully to learn what he wants from us. But, then, we must decide that whatever God wants from us, we will do. It is the decision that is very important in this step. It means that you understand what God requires of you, and that you are willing to alter your lifestyle in order to obey Him.
We all sin, we all disobey God’s law. God requires each of us to realize, understand and admit that we want to follow God’s requirements of us.  We are talking about those requirements tonight. The things God wants from us could be outlined in great detail at this point. After realizing God’s plan for earth and wanting to be part of it, many times a conscious decision can be made at this point in your studies that you want to be part of it. This decision means deciding that you buy into the things that Jesus taught.  Things like loving your neighbor, things like forgiveness and mercy, things like teaching people the ways of peace, love, and kindness. They are good things, and if we truly believe in those things, then we can decide something like “Yes Jesus Christ, I believe in the things you demonstrated and taught, and I have decided that I want to be part of those things”.
It will be important soon after this to state this decision to other people, but first you must state it to yourself, and to Christ. If you truly want to become a disciple of Jesus, and a child of God, then you will have learned about the Truth, and therefore will be fully aware that Jesus is alive right now. So, you will have no problem admitting to him that he is right in what he has taught. You will readily admit to yourself, to Jesus and to God that the ways taught by God in the Bible are better than any ways that mankind has offered and that you want to be part of it.  It is important to understand that it is a decision that you make in your mind first, and with your body and actions later. We are told in Romans 7 and 8 that it is with our mind that we serve the Law of God. The Bible, the Word of God works on our minds, and changes our minds in time. Making a decision, a conscious decision, is the changing of our mind and thinking that must take place in order for us to
turn to God.
5. Decide to Start a New Life, giving it to God
Once we decide that we want the things that God offers us through Christ, be next must decide to start a New Life, one that we give in Service as an offering to God. This would seem obvious, but is neglected by millions of people. Most people on earth are born into some religion that they will follow until the day they die. They go to a church meeting on Saturday or Sunday, or maybe on a Friday. They might follow a couple of holidays.  Nothing ever really changes in their life, they believe they always were in their religion and just stick with it, kind of like a sometimes hobby that is fun for socializing and meeting people.
That is just hypocrisy.
We realize that Jesus wants all of us. He will not settle for just little bits and pieces. Let’s face the reality that a disciple of Christ is being trained to be a ruler in the Kingdom of God. They are being chosen to become warriors in God’s Army. This can’t be a sometimes effort. Training to rule the World is a full-time job. Jesus wants us completely, just like a spouse wants his or her spouse completely, not to be shared with anybody else.  The relationship between a follower of Christ and God and Christ, is one that is complete and very satisfying. But, God, like a husband or wife, gets very jealous if we have allegiances elsewhere. We are told this in Exodus 20:5 and Exodus 34:14. He even says that his Name is jealous. Some people think they avoid his jealousy by avoiding idolatry. True, avoiding idolatry is essential. But it’s more than that. God wants your total devotion, love and allegiance. This means starting a new life, one where you decide that God is to become
your chief pursuit and joy. A careful study of the Bible will show you that this does not mean excluding all people and activities from your life, it means that you mind begins putting God first of all in every future move you make.
We will talk about baptism in a minute, but let’s just think for a minute about what baptism demonstrates. When a person is baptized, they are put under water. Their whole body goes under the water. They are not merely sprinkled, they are not merely anointed. Water Baptism is Scriptural Baptism and its the only way to become a brother or sister in Christ. It demonstrates literally, in a physical and spiritual way that we die and start a new life. The Greek word “baptizo” means “to dye a cloth by dipping it under water in a dye”. The cloth goes down one color and comes up another.  It is as if we die to our old life and are raised to a new one. We become something new when we are baptized into Christ. God is building a new creation and you are part of that process when you give you life to Christ.  There is a hymn that says: “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee”.
In different parts of the Bible you will read about how Jesus Christ himself demonstrated how we can fulfil righteousness, by getting baptized, how various people got baptized at different times, and how we too must be baptized if we ever want to be saved. Matthew 3:13-17 tells of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and that God said that Christ did the right thing when he got baptized. Notice in verse 16, that Christ was down in the water because it says that immediately he came up “out of the water”. Mark 1:9-11 speaks of the same incident, giving us two separate witnesses to this baptism of Christ, as an adult, in water. Mark 16:16 tells us that Christ says that only the baptized can be saved. Finally, in Luke 3:21 we read again about Jesus being baptized. How awful it is when churches teach that we should ignore, change or disobey Christ’s example! We must follow his example and get baptized, once we believe the Truth and repent of our sins. Acts 2:38, 2:41, 8:12, 8:16,
  8:38, and Acts 16:33 all show people continuously got baptized to become Christians. Gal 3:27 says if we are baptized into Christ, then we are in Christ.
Romans chapter 6 explains baptism even more fully. Please read that chapter. In it we see that we die with Christ when we are baptized, and that once we come up, OUT OF the water, we start a new life, showing that as Christ was resurrected, we too believe that we shall be resurrected and judged one day. Romans 6:5-10 clearly shows that the only way for us to be dead to our sins we committed is by being baptized in water, believing the Truth concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
On a personal note, I’ll tell you here and now, there is no better decision you can make than to start a new Life with Jesus Christ. You can leave behind mistakes, sins, and all the ideas that didn’t work out. You can begin again and have a real solid goal, the coming Kingdom of God.
6. Admit that you have failed to obey God’s Laws
We are told of mankind that they “have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Repenting is to gain a new perception, a new understanding and knowledge. Repenting is to change our way of thinking. God wants each one of you, each one of us, to reach a point into our lives where we admit our abject failure in the matter of obeying what God has demanded of us. In other words, we have to admit that we are sinners. Until we can admit that, we are continuing to block ourselves from the journey to the Kingdom of God that God has prepared for us.
We are told that “the soul that sinneth it must die.” The Bible clearly teaches that God’s Law is strict. If a person sins then they must die.  Fortunately a way has been provided for us to be saved from that punishment.  But, we have to completely understand, believe and admit that we are worthy of death. There is no other way to admit that we failed to obey God’s Laws.  Admitting that we must die, and really believing it and understanding why, is the step for coming to God we all have to make.
We are told in the Word of God that “whoever says he does not sin is a liar.” It is not easy to admit such a thing. Many people believe that they are very good because the compare themselves with others who they see as very bad. I have to tell you, if you cannot admit that you sin, then you are lying to yourself, to others and to God. Those who say they do not sin are liars. The mark of a person who is doing what God wants of them readily admits that he or she sins and can only survive by God forgiving them.  Then they must ask God to forgive them, and they must change their way of thinking, resolving to try to put that sin into the past and get beyond it.
7. Seal that Decision: Get Baptized into God’s Name
It says Israel “were all baptized into Moses.” Long ago, God entered into a covenant with Abram. It was a type of Contract between God and Abram, God sealed that covenant with an ancient ritual involving the killing of certain animals, laying the pieces of the animals in two lines opposite each other, and then passing through those pieces in the shape of a burning furnace. The pieces were on each side and great darkness was over and all around.  Later, we are told that all of Israel entered into a covenant with God when the passed through the Red Sea with Moses. The walls of water were high up on each side of them and the cloud was over them. They passed through that and became the nation of God. We are told in the Bible and in history that many people entered into covenants with each other in the way described concerning Abraham and the animals. Likewise we must enter into that same exact Abrahamic covenant through baptism.
It’s like this. When Abraham was called out of his home by God, God had said to him, Lek Lek, the Hebrew verb which in English means, “Get thee out”. It means, “get going”, it means “get up and go.” We have that same call from God made to us. We are told to get thee out. We have to get out of the world in a sense of leaving behind the evils that we may have been involved in. We have to get up and move towards a new place. That new place is a spiritual life that begins right now, and ends up in the destination of the Kingdom of God. We pass through the waters of baptism. Romans chapter 6 explains that we are baptized into Christ’s death when we get baptized. We are buried with him in baptism so that we can be raised again to have a new life with him forever. It’s a covenant that we enter into at baptism. We know this from Galatians 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There
  is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. We take on the Name when we get baptized. Its not just the name of Jesus, its the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus got baptized “to fulfill all righteousness”
We are told how important baptism is when it says “whereas Baptism does now save us.”
Under the old Law established at the Time of Moses, there were numerous washing instituted to cleanse people who sinned. But, the washings never really accomplished it completely. Because, in their minds and hearts they still were not cleansed. It’s different now. The way to change our mind is to do these things we have mentioned here to prepare and then to get baptized. This baptism changes us, but not by washing away any filth or uncleanness. Instead it’s the answer of a good conscience.  Baptism saves us because we enter into covenant relationship with God.  We are prepared at that point by having studied the Bible, and having come to understand and accept its Truths. These are mental activities that take place in our mind. We at that point have become conscious of our sins, we become conscious of God’s requirements for us, we become conscious that there is a world much larger than the one we can see, we become conscious of what God is offering us. What we do with all that
  consciousness we achieve is to answer it by getting baptized. 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
8. Live your New Life by Obeying the Teachings of Jesus
The life in Jesus Christ involves obeying special commandments such as “walk in the Light.” We live by a code of spiritual growth, always moving forward.  God forgives us because He can be depended on to do so, we are told this in 1 John 1 where it says “faithful and just to forgive us.”
This final part of what God wants from you are really when the true excitement begins. There is a place that tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. I think it would also be fair to translate this passage as “fear and excitement”. 
Jesus Christ said he came so that people might have life and have it more abundantly. This idea of abundant life should fill our thoughts all the time once we have been baptized into Christ. There are so many paths we might each follow in life. There are so many variations on our walk to the Kingdom of God. Each of us works out our own salvation – our life in Christ, in different ways. Some of us get married whereas some were already married.  Some get various jobs, maybe move away, others stay put. What I would like to point to through is a method of living our new life by obeying the teachings of Christ – a method that will apply to everybody.
We all realize that a day is coming when Jesus will return and will judge his followers. A very good way to live our life by obeying the teachings of Christ is to learn about what he will judge us for and always focus on those things as much as possible. So viewing our lifestyle in Christ lets think about that judgment. It’s spoken of in several places. I want to keep it simple today and look at Matthew. Jesus begins in Matthew 19:27-30 to promise all who forsake their old life and follow him properly will be rewarded. A few chapters later. See Matthew 24:42 to Matthew 25:46. We see what type of things we will be judged for. 
Things that are important to God, with the notation of what is rewarded and what is condemned:
Watching the house.
A.Give fellow servants meat in due season – rewarded.
B.Smiting fellow servants – condemned.
C.Eating and drinking with drunkards – condemned.
Example of Ten Virgins with Oil and Lamps
A. 5 Wise – keep extra oil ready, rewarded.
B. 5 Foolish – no extra oil, condemned
Note: Both groups, the wise and the foolish, fell asleep.  But one group was prepared BEFORE falling asleep, the other was not prepared.  It is not the falling asleep that is condemned, rather it is the lack of preparedness by the foolish women that condemned them.
Talents – entrusted with the Lord’s “Money”
A. Get out and do work – take risks – no fear, rather trust in the Lord.
B. Don’t sit on it.
C. Don’t Hide it.
Tasks We Should Do
A. Believe God and be baptized
B. Feed the hungry and give drinks to the thirsty – actual food and drink and spiritual food and drink
C. Clothe the naked
D. Visit the sick
E. Visit Prisoners
We do all these things for Christ, or to Christ, for good or bad, when we do it to the people around us.
Are you helping other believers in Christ, or are you abusing and hurting them? Are you keeping your personal faith strong, or are you letting it slip and get weaker.
We will be judged in all these categories. We need to look at our lives and determine how each area applies to us. But we are very fortunate that Christ has given us these categories beforehand. 
Friends, this eight-point lesson briefly describes what God wants from you.  You can begin now. Open your Bible, read your Bible, and let it have the effect in you that God wants. We will be glad to help you in this journey, just ask. 

QUESTIONS

1. Who will be given the gift of eternal life?
2. Who is the promised Messiah?
3. After “learning” about the Bible what then must we do?
4. What is the most important first step in learning what God wants from us?
5. Describe what happens at a biblical baptism.
6. What is the punishment for disobedience to God’s law?
7. What must “admit” after we have decided to live the way God wishes us to live?
8. Are there proofs to what the Bible says?  If so, name one or two.
9. Did the Messiah fail in his first mission?
10. What is the only true and trustworthy source of learning what it is God wants from us?
11. How do you “seal” the decision to begin a new life and be forgiven for you disobedience?

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God’s Purposes with the Jews

KEY Lesson 25. God’s Purposes with the Jews

“The salvation of mankind is directly dependent upon the future of the Jewish people.”

“They which were scattered abroad …travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to NONE BUT UNTO THE JEWS ONLY.” (Acts 11:19)
“FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28:20)
“For if the casting away of them (the Jews) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:15)

The idea that the gospel hope is inseparably linked to the modern Jewish people and the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine is completely foreign to the thinking of traditional Christianity. Nevertheless, the Bible is clear that such a connection does exist, and it is up to us to carefully heed the words of scripture and understand why this is so and what it means to us.

The interest taken by “Christians,” as a body, in the Jews, is usually purely sentimental in character. It relates more to historical rather than future significance. It arises from the history of the Jews. It is from their national relation to the Deity in former times. Also it is from God’s use of them as the channel of Divine revelation. It is from their flesh-and-blood connection with the Messiah in that Jesus was himself a Jew. For those who follow various church teachings, their hope does not involve them except in the form of professed concern for the spiritual interests of the Jews, in common with those of mankind in general. Popular beliefs do not recognise that the salvation of mankind is directly dependent upon the future of the Jewish people.

GOSPEL MESSAGE HAS NATIONAL RESTRICTIONS!

The salvation of the world is bound up in the destiny of the Jews. In this lesson we will learn that without the literal national glorification of the Jews, there will be no salvation for individuals or nations in any shape or form. Anyone who is either ignorant or skeptical of this coming future development with regard to the Jews, is lacking one of the major and essential features of Bible teaching. Consider the evidence. Jesus said to his disciples – “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24)

That the phrase “lost sheep” refers to the Jews specifically is evident from another similar statement which excludes all but the Jews – “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5,6)

Jesus further declared to the woman of Samaria, at Jacob’s well – “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

These passages show that the salvation proclaimed by Jesus and his apostles had a national restriction. Jesus was a Jew, born to the house of David as the God – appointed heir of David’s throne. The apostles who laboured with him were also Jews. They proclaimed a message which came from the God of the Jews, and which according to the original instructions of Christ was only intended for the Jews. Therefore, Paul could emphatically characterize the gospel as “THE HOPE OF ISRAEL,” which he did when he declared – “FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28:20)

He also made the following statement with very pointed emphasis, in defending himself before king Agrippa – “And now I stand and am judged for THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, HOPE TO COME; FOR WHICH HOPE’S SAKE KING AGRIPPA, I AM ACCUSED OF THE JEWS” (Acts 26:6,7)

He could also say with a truthfulness not generally appreciated: “My kinsmen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the ADOPTION, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, AND THE PROMISES” (Romans 9:3-4)

Thus it is evident that the gospel of salvation proclaimed for acceptance is intensely Jewish in its origin, its application, and its future bearing. It is equally evident that this was the context in which it was regarded by the disciples immediately after the day of Pentecost     – “They which were scattered abroad … travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to NONE BUT UNTO THE JEWS ONLY.” (Acts 11:19)

GENTILES NOT ORIGINALLY CALLED TO THE GOSPEL

Peter required a special revelation to convince him as to God’s proposed admission of the Gentiles into the blessings of Israel, and even then he threw the onus of it upon God. He did not attempt to justify it himself, but apologised to his brethren for preaching to the Gentiles, saying, – “What was I, that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:17)

The fact is, the admission of the Gentiles to the hope of the gospel was one of the “mysteries” of the gospel referred to by Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians: “Ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be FELLOW – HEIRS, and of the SAME BODY, and PARTAKERS of his promise in Christ by the Gospel.” (Ephesians 3:4-6)

But this opening of the way for the admission of the Gentiles did not destroy the Israelitish character of “THE HOPE.” In fact, the effect was just the other way. Instead of the Gentiles converting the hope into Gentilism by their reception of it, the hope converted Gentiles into Jews, conforming them to its essentially Israelitish character. Hence the statements of Paul to Gentile believers – “Ye [Gentiles] were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise… Now therefore ye are NO MORE STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS, but fellow – citizens with the saints and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:12,19)

It says, “HE IS A JEW which is one inwardly” (Romans 2:29). That is, any person who is not a Jew by birth, but who understands and accepts the Jewish character of the hope (i.e., that redemption and salvation is linked to the promises that God made to Abraham the father of the Jews) is more a real Jew than the natural descendant of Abraham who is without understanding. Referring to the admission of the Gentiles, he speaks of it as a cutting out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and a grafting contrary to nature, into the good olive tree (Romans 11:24). Hence the Gentiles are “wild olive branches,” without hope – without birthright – without promises – without a future portion of any kind; and if they would become heirs of the inheritance to come, they must cast off “the old man” of their Gentilism, and put on “the new man” of true Jewism – “…which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Colossians 3:10)

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL

Paul states that he was bound “for the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20), which is equivalent to saying that he preached “the hope of Israel”, seeing that it was for his preaching that he was put in bonds. In what sense can the set of ideas Paul preached be termed “the hope of Israel”? There is very little if anything taught by traditional Christianity that would cause it to be termed “the hope of Israel”. How did Paul’s preaching differ?

The essential feature of Paul’s preaching recognized a Jewish national hope, based upon certain promises made by God to the fathers of the nation. Those promises on which that hope was based, constitute “glad tidings”, or the “gospel” proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles; and those who believed it derived from it a very specific hope of redemption and salvation. From this it becomes readily apparent that there is an intimate connection between the Christian hope and the hope of Israel, because they are both based upon a reception of the doctrine of the Gospel. It is the purpose of this lesson to explore that connection.

ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE JEWS

The origin and history of the Jews is well documented in the Bible. Abraham, the member of a Chaldean family, was commanded to separate himself from his people, and go into a land “which he should after receive for an inheritance” (Hebrews 11:8). He obeyed, and went out, “not knowing whither he went.” He was afterwards informed that his descendants would become a great nation, with whom God should have special dealings, and who should be the special objects of His care. In due time Abraham’s household went down into Egypt, and settled in that country as a friendly colony. In the course of events, the Pharaohs enslaved them, and subjected them to a bitter rule for more than two centuries. At the end of that time, they were delivered through divine intervention by the hand of Moses; and after various wanderings and experiences, they settled in the land of promise as a kingdom under a divine constitution, i.e., the first and original Kingdom of God on the earth. This Divine cons
titution provided that so long as the nation was obedient to its requirements, they would remain in the land in prosperity, but that so soon as they departed from the statutes of God who had called and constituted them, adversity would overtake them. The subsequent part of their history is summed up in a sentence; they failed to observe the conditions of this national covenant, became divided into two kingdoms in the land (Israel and Judah), and thereafter were expelled from the national territory in disgrace, and scattered among the nations as fugitives, where they remain through the centuries until their recent re – establishment in the land of Palestine. Traditional Christian teaching does not go much beyond this general outline of the history of the Jews. That the Jews have any kind of a special future in the Divine plan is not a popular concept. Jewish national history is regarded as consummated, and the national destiny irrevocably sealed.

God, however, thinks differently, and the Bible, His word, speaks differently. Consider the following testimonies regarding the national standing of the Jews before God: “I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be MINE” (Leviticus 20:26) “Thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God. The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a SPECIAL PEOPLE UNTO HIMSELF, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

“Thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God; and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a PECULIAR PEOPLE UNTO HIMSELF, above all nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2) “The Lord hath avouched thee this day to be HIS PECULIAR PEOPLE, as He hath promised thee; and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments, and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour: and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 26:18,19)

It would be difficult to give more emphatic expression to the idea of a special, deliberate, and unconditional selection by God of the Jews as a people to Himself. Who are we to question it? “Hath not the potter power over the clay?” Hath not the Eternal Creator, in His infinite wisdom, the right to develop His own plans in His own way? The selection of the Jews is one feature of the great master plan which He has conceived in relation to this world. This is incontestably proved by scripture testimony.

WHY THE JEW?

The Bible is very clear that the selection of the Jew as the chosen nation is not really about the Jew. It has nothing to do with their worthiness or unworthiness. If it were, they would long ago have been destroyed – not only as a nation, but as a race. The selection of the Jew, and everything that happens to the Jew, is really about God. God has elected to select them irrespective of their moral condition, FOR HIS SAKE AND FOR HIS GLORY…  “I do not this for YOUR SAKES, O house of Israel, but FOR MINE HOLY NAME’S SAKE, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” (Ezekiel 36:22)

Nothing can undo the divine selection. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance (i.e. change).” The Jews themselves cannot nullify the decree. They may bring upon themselves, as they have done, the divine displeasure and the divine affliction by their sins, but they cannot alter their position before God as His chosen nation. The very punishments which they have endured for many generations are proof of the divine speciality of their national character. The language of God toward them is specific…  “You [Israel] only have I known of all the families of the earth; THEREFORE I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

Likewise, the calamities which have befallen them are proofs of divine supervision and control. They were scattered because of their iniquities, but not for ever cast off, as the common idea is: – “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.” (Romans 11:2)

The Divine message through Jeremiah is even more to the point – “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee [Israel], yet will I not make a full end of thee; but I will CORRECT thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jeremiah 30:11)

The national sufferings of Israel are but the measured correction to which God is subjecting them; but nowhere does God indicate that He has finally rejected them. The Divine language of Jeremiah 33:24-26 would imply that some, in ancient times, took a contrary view, and contended, as many now do, that God had for ever disowned His people, and intended their destruction. The answer is emphatic and without doubt – “Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen He hath even cast them off. Thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord, if my covenant be NOT with day and night, and if I have NOT appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, THEN will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant.” (Jeremiah 33:24-26)

JEWISH RESTORATION

Currently, the Jews are suffering as a consequence of their spiritual stubbornness. This was foretold by all the prophets. The predictions are well documented. The evidence of their truthfulness is before our eyes. We see it in the wide – spread dispersion of the nation which was once the sovereign people of the word; we behold it in the manner by which they have been treated by their host nations (i.e. the holocaust). But all this is to change: – “Thus saith the Lord, like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people so will 1 bring upon them ALL THE GOOD THAT I HAVE PROMISED THEM” – 9Jeremiah 32:42)

Here is a complete answer to the question. Its affirmation is that good will succeed the evil which has been their experience. This implies that the present time of national adversity will come to an end. Note carefully, that the good predicted is declared to have been “promised”: What good has been promised them?

“Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform THAT GOOD THING which I have PROMISED unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David: and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely.” (Jeremiah 33:14,16)

Here the “good thing promised” is briefly summarised. Its two main features are: (1) a king to execute judgment and righteousness in the land and (2) the salvation of Judah and Jerusalem in his day. This is neither more nor less than a promise of the Messiah to rescue them from their enemies, and to recover them from the oppressions to which they have been subject for ages, a promise which is repeated in the following words: – “I will make them [Israel] one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations.” (Ezekiel 37:22)

Furthermore, the message of scripture is that not only will the Jews be restored, but that they are destined to subdue all kingdoms under heaven. Even powerful nations like the USA and Britain, with all their national sensitiveness and pride, will have to submit to them or be crushed by the stone which shall then be made the head of the corner: – “Thou art my battle – axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” (Jeremiah 51:20)

It is important to note the second element in the good thing promised: “In these days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely.” Obviously these days are yet to come; for, at present there is no Messiah executing judgment in the promised land, and no dwelling safely of Judah and Jerusalem, and never has there been such a state of things. Yet the promise is that this “good thing” shall “come to pass,” with all the certainty of the evil which has overtaken the nation…  “It shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them [Israel], to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build and to plant, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:28)

This is to be in the days of the “Righteous Branch”, i.e., the kingdom age, when “he shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth”. Consider the following statements: “At that time, they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it; to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. IN THOSE DAYS, the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel; and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jeremiah 3:17,18)

“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, AND BRING THEM INTO THEIR OWN LAND.” (Ezekiel 37:21) “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will BRING YOU INTO YOUR OWN LAND.” (Ezekiel 34:24) There is no evading this language. It is too definitely worded to be vaguely spiritualised or misunderstood: – “Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off. He that scattered Israel will GATHER him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10)

As surely as the fact that the Jews were scattered, they are to be gathered again. On this the Bible message is clear; and when that happens, the Jews will be supremely honoured in like proportion as they are now despised – “Behold, at that time…will I bring you [Israel] again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” (Zephaniah 3:19,20)

“Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:23 )

JEWS TO BE THE “FIRST NATION” IN THE WORLD

This honour is connected with political supremacy. The Jews are to become the most powerful and renowned among the nations, having all people in subjection…  “The Gentiles shall come to thy [Israel’s] light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising: … and the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore, thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee SHALL PERISH; yea, those nations SHALL BE UTTERLY WASTED The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, s
o that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations” (Isaiah 60:3,10-12,14-15.)

When this shall come to pass, the enemies of Israel will be confounded. Those who now deride them, and mock at their national hope, will be overtaken by the retribution to which they are rendering themselves liable. The approaching noontide of Jewish prosperity will be the catalyst to their destruction. The preliminary symptoms of the change will fill them with panic. This is the message of the following Scripture…  “The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth; their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee [Israel]” (Micah 7:16,17)

The dreaded fate will overtake them…  “I will contend with him that contendeth with thee [Israel], and I will save thy children: and I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh, and they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:25-26)

“Behold all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded. THEY SHALL BE AS NOTHING; and they that strive with thee SHALL PERISH. Thou shalt seek them and shall not find them, even them that contended with thee. They that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.” (Isaiah 41:11,12)

Here, then, is certain doom for all who now take part against Israel; but there is a blessing in store for those who befriend them. “Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” This was the decree pronounced by Balaam under the influence of the spirit, and declared to Abraham centuries before. It is both individual and national in its application.

THE JEWISH NATION TO BE PURGED

National restoration as a purpose of God is not conditional upon national reformation. Thus there will be an initial indiscriminate national restoration resulting in thousands of Jews being gathered from the countries of their dispersion who will never enter the land. Yet this will not destroy their national relationship. Being Jews, whom God has specially chosen as a nation, with a view to the development of His ultimate purpose, they will every one be gathered in the preliminary restoration.  “He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble THE OUTCASTS of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12.)

However, although they will be gathered from the countries irrespectively of moral condition, admission to the land will be based upon the faith and moral integrity of every individual of the nation: – “I will bring you [Israel] out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with stretched – out arm, and with fury poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God, And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant, and I WILL PURGE OUT FROM AMONG YOU THE REBELS AND THEM THAT TRANSGRESS AGAINST ME. I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall NOT enter into the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 20:34-38)

In this we recognise a parallel to what occurred to them after leaving Egypt under Moses. They were then a rabble of untutored, unbelieving slaves; and a whole generation, with the exception of two persons – Caleb and Joshua – perished in the wilderness. They “entered not in because of unbelief,” says Paul (Hebrews 4:6). Likewise most of the Jews contemporary with the return of Christ will also be unfit to enter the land; and the Bible informs us that a similar purging will take place in the wilderness, as in the days of Moses, and may occupy the same period and / or be of the same character for its accomplishment: – “According to the days of thy [Israel’s] coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.” (Micah 8:15)

“Thy people also shall be ALL RIGHTEOUS [after the purging]; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified” (Isaiah 60: 21.)

Thus, even in the future national restoration of the Jews, the same conditions of Divine acceptance apply to the Jew as to the Gentile; but the hope of the Gentiles is pivotal upon Jewish national restoration. “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel SHALL BE SAVED … If the fall of them be the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more THEIR FULNESS? If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, WHAT SHALL THE RECEIVING OF THEM BE, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:25,26,28,12,15.)

QUESTIONS

1. What do the traditional beliefs and concepts of Christians in general not recognize concerning the Jewish nations?
2. What was the national restriction of the original message of salvation preached by Christ and the apostles?
3. What was one of the “mysteries” of the Gospel?
4. What effect does the admission of the Gentiles into the hope of Israel have upon the Gentiles?
5. What is it that makes a person more of a real Jew than the natural descendant of Abraham?
6. What is the connection between the Christian hope and the hope of Israel?
7. Why has God selected the Jewish nation to be His chosen people?
8. The calamities and punishments that the Jewish people have endured are proof of what?
9. Has God rejected the Jews as His chosen nation?
10. When is the restoration of the Jewish nation to take place?
11. Will all Jews enter the promised land during the period of their restoration?
12. Will a different standard be applied to Jews for salvation than to Gentiles?
13. On what is the salvation of Gentiles based?

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 5:05 am  Leave a Comment  

The promises to David

KEY Lesson 23. The promises to David

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” (Acts 2:29-32)

The above passage records the words of the apostle Peter speaking to a large assembly of Jews gathered in Jerusalem from all parts of the world as it was known at that time, for the observance of Pentecost. The date was about A.D. 33. This was just after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Peter used the opportunity to remind the Jews about a promise made to one of the most popular and well-known kings that had ever existed in their 2000 year history; King David.

This passage of scripture is highly significant. Why? It is a New Testament passage expounding upon an Old Testament occurrence that relates directly to the gospel message about the work and position of Jesus Christ. This reinforces the value of the Old Testament as it relates to our salvation.

Who was King David? To what was Peter referring? Where in the Old Testament did God make a promise to King David about Jesus Christ? What did it mean?  The purpose of this lesson is to provide answers to these questions and show the value of the Old Testament Davidic promises as one more key to the true understanding of the Divine plan as revealed in the Gospel message.

WHO WAS KING DAVID AND WHEN DID HE EXIST?

David was a descendant of Abraham. He was born about 600 years after the death of Abraham, and about 370 years after the exodus of Israel from Egypt. He became the second king (succeeding King Saul) to reign over the nation of Israel. David ruled during a very fragile and volatile time in Israel’s history, and succeeded in uniting the tribal factions into a relatively cohesive whole as one nation in the land of Palestine. David’s was a troubled existence, but through it all he placed implicit reliance on God and was regarded by God as “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22). The Kingdom of Israel as it existed under King David’s monarchy was the first instance of the Kingdom of God on earth, a shadowy glimpse of the promised but yet future Kingdom of God on earth on a much grandeur and glorified scale.

THE RECORD OF THE PROMISE TO DAVID

There is only one recorded instance in scripture about God making a promise to King David, and it appears in 2 Samuel 7 as follows. “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?  Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.  In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?  Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the
earth.  Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.  And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be establi
shed for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (2 Samuel 7:5-16)

DETAILS AND FEATURES OF THE PROMISE

1) Israel to become a permanent and established nation upon the earth “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime.” (2 Samuel 7:10)

Never in the volatile history of the nation of Israel has this ever been the situation. This is a sign to students of the Bible that this promise is yet future. To confirm this fact, the prophet Ezekiel some 600 years later received similar assurances regarding the nation “And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.  And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.” (Ezekiel 34:28-29)

Indeed, this message of the restoration of Israel as an integral part of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and to David is a common theme throughout the prophets.

2) Promised seed to be a descendant of David “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.” (2 Samuel 7:12)

A question should naturally arises from this. To whom does the term “thy seed” refer?  Was it Solomon, David’s son? In many ways, Solomon fulfilled the requirements of the prophecy. He was David’s son. He sat upon David’s throne. He built a house of worship. Solomon regarded himself as the fulfillment of the promise.  “And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.” (1 Kings 8:20)

His father David also referred to Solomon on occasion in the context of at least a preliminary fulfillment of the promise. “And also thus said the king (David), Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one (Solomon) to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.” (1 Kings 1:48)

It is characteristic for Divine predictions and promises to often have a preliminary fulfillment which acts as a microcosm of the ultimate and final application. To some extent, Solomon could be regarded in this context of a preliminary or incipient fulfillment.  However, there are several characteristics of Solomon and of Solomon’s kingdom that do not fit all the parameters of the divine promise in the ultimate and fullest sense of its application.  The Spirit-guided writings of David point forward to a period when the divine promise to him would find its ultimate fulfillment in the rule of one who should rise upon the world like a morning without clouds; and when “all David’s salvation and all his desire” would be accomplished in connection with that great event.

“The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” (2 Samuel 23:2-5)

This predicted state of affairs did not occur in David’s lifetime, nor was it expected to occur. The spirit-inspired words leave no doubt that David’s house was not at that time in the position guaranteed by the promise: “Although my house BE NOT SO WITH GOD, yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” (2 Samuel 23:5)

Solomon’s reign was doubtless the meridian of Israel’s glory; but it was not a morning without cloud – it was not the realization of the covenant.  God presented Solomon with a choice; he was given a wonderful opportunity to be a very powerful preliminary fulfillment of the promised “seed” – “And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast
out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:” (1 Kings 9:4-7)

Solomon, however, did not choose wisely, and the Bible documents the sad consequences of that choice. He started well, gaining a reputation for great wisdom; but the final verdict of scripture is that Solomon sinned and led Israel astray, and ultimately dealt injustice to the nation. David’s salvation was not in any sense secured in Solomon’s achievements. Contrariwise, his crown was tarnished and his kingdom rent, through the perversion of a son who departed from God, multiplied wives, and turned aside to the worship of heathen gods. His very name was brought into abhorrence with the bulk of the nation, through the oppressions of one who falsified the expectations created by the commencement of his royal career as the wisest of men.

The words of the promise had reference, not to the time of Solomon, but to a time in the dim distance, far beyond the days of Solomon, the form of one whose name should endure for ever; who should descend like the gentle rain upon the new mown grass, diffusing life and fragrance, in whom men should be blest all the world over – “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also > from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: a
ll nations shall call him blessed.” (Psalm 72:6-17)

The prophet Isaiah also refers to the qualities of the promised seed – “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.” (Isaiah 32:1-3)

Study carefully the characteristics of the promised seed in the above passages. None of them can be applied to Solomon or any other king that reigned on that throne at that time.

But the most convincing testimony comes from the New Testament, which directly links Jesus Christ to the “seed” promised to King David – “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;” (Romans 1:3)

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” (Acts 2:29,30)

Note that the last phrase of the above verse is a direct quote from Psalm 132:11 in the Old Testament, thereby emphasizing the linkage and application of the promise to David with the person of Jesus Christ…  “The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” (Psalm 132:11)

Finally, Jesus himself understood that HE was the “seed” who had the “right” to the throne of David…  “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world…” (John 18:36-37)

3) Promised seed “shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” (2 Samuel 7:13)

Again, we do not want to be confused about this. Firstly, we know that David’s son Solomon did build a temple of worship. Solomon thought he was the one indicated in the promise to do this work – “And, behold, I (Solomon) purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.” (1 Kings 5:5)

The question is – was Solomon’s temple the “house” God was referring to in this part of the promise, or is it something yet future?

The Bible gives two applications to this term “house” and other related terms such as “temple”, “building”, etc.

a) A “spiritual” house – referring to the collection of individuals who choose to obey God and glorify His name…  But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:6)

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)

In no sense did Solomon build for God a “house” of worshippers to glorify His name. Rather, the Bible record narrates how he deviated > from the Divine standard and led people away from God. Again, this feature of the promise – that of building a house of worship for the glorification of God’s name – belongs to Jesus Christ.

b) A literal building – having reference to a physical grand structure yet to be erected, similar to nothing this world has ever yet seen…  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)

“And he (Jesus) taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17)

“Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12,13)

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)

The message of scripture is obvious; a literal building is to be established as the center of Divine administration AND worship. This has never been done in the history of this world as we know it. Therefore, it is yet future. Solomon’s temple is currently in ruins as is David’s throne. As with Abraham, David rests in the grave, awaiting the fulfillment of the promise God made to him.

4) The seed would be David’s. But God would be his Father.  “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” (2 Samuel 7:14)

There can be no doubt as to the meaning of this part of the promise. At no time was Solomon ever referred to as the son of God. The Bible establishes beyond doubt that this refers to none other than Jesus Christ. While Joseph was the “official” father of record, and the “seed” connection to David was provided through his mother Mary, the REAL father of Jesus was God…  “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

“Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-35)

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

“Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” (John 1:49)

5) David’s seed to remain in God’s favor. “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.” (2 Samuel 7:15)

“My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.” (Psalm 89:28-33)

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:7)

The covenant made with David expressly guarantees the perpetual continuance of David’s throne and kingdom, under that son of his who was to be the firstborn of God. The words of the prophets are unequivocal, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:27-28)

The angel that spoke to Mary confirmed this application of the promise, and indicated that her yet unborn son, Jesus Christ, was to be the specific person indicated in the Old Testament prophecies: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God…And he (Jesus) shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:30,33)

Jesus must return at some future time, and reestablish the kingdom of David, and preside therein for God, as David did. Even Christ’s disciples finally understood his mission, after he had been resurrected. Their question was not IF, WHERE, WHAT or WHOM. They knew that. The only question in their minds was WHEN…  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)

When Jesus Christ returns and reestablishes the throne of David in the earth, it will be secure and unassailable by the greed and corruption and selfishness of human nature, which has been the root cause of the fall of every monarchy and empire documented in history. It is to be righteous in its foundation and righteous in its administration and will not end until its mission is accomplished and is phased into the next order of things – “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

6) All features of the promise are to be accomplished in David’s presence.  “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” 2 Samuel 7:13,16)

We come now to what may be regarded as the most significant part of the promise. God said that all these features of the promise were to be accomplished in David’s presence! We saw in the previous lesson that the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham required the resurrection of Abraham; likewise the fulfillment of the promises to David require the resurrection of David. Therefore, the doctrine of the resurrection is clearly established and taught in the Old Testament! The writers of the New Testament recognized this fact and commented upon it in several passages.

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day… David is not ascended into the heavens.” (Acts 2:29,34)

What applied to Abraham also applies to David and all the faithful. These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them.” (Hebrews 11:13)

The Bible invites everyone to share in this wonderful Divine plan by allowing its message to transform natural self-centered characters into reflections of the Divine character, and thereby become eligible candidates for resurrection along with all the faithful worthies of old, such as Abraham and David – “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 11:39-12:1)

QUESTIONS

1. What is it about the words and meaning of Acts 2:29-30 that makes it a highly significant passage of scripture?
2. What comment did God make regarding David that tells us much about David’s relationship with God?
3. What passage of scripture contains the full narrative of God’s promise to David?
4. What are the six features of God’s promise to David?
5. What is the theme of the prophets?
6. How do we know that the seed promised to David was Christ, and not his son Solomon?
7. What are the 2 applications that the Bible gives to the term “house” as it occurs in 2 Samuel 7:13?
8. What does the covenant made with David guarantee concerning the existence of Israel as a nation?
9. What does the promises to David tell us regarding the mission of Christ in the future?
10. After the resurrection of Christ, what was the only question in the disciples minds about this mission?
11. What does the Bible say about the current status of David’s existence?
12. How do the promises to David preach to us about the gospel (good news) of the resurrection?

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 5:04 am  Leave a Comment