In our previous discussion, we talked about what the apostles said about salvation to the Gentiles. God offers salvation to each one of us, if we accept His gift of grace and believe in Jesus Christ, that He took all of our sins to the cross and paid the full penalty. He died and rose again that we may be saved, the Jew and gentile alike. Jesus came to this world for that very purpose. Continue reading “Jesus and the Gentiles”
Long ago God had a plan to give salvation to the world. Israel was God’s chosen people. But He did not stop there. He promised Abraham not only would his descendants become a great nation, but that all people would be blessed through him. Jesus Christ came into this world, as a descendant of Abraham, fully human and fully God, to save the world. Time and time again, Israel rejected God. But in His mercy He still loved them and gave them hope. Many rejected Christ as well, but God in His grace offered salvation through Jesus Christ to Jews and non-Jews alike. The gospel was spread through the apostles and He chose Paul specifically to preach to the Gentiles to bring salvation to them. To us! What an honor to be part of God’s family. I am so grateful that He offered eternal life to me, a gentile, a sinner. But through Jesus blood, I am declared righteous.
In this post we will look at the words of the apostles of how salvation can be obtained by the “uncircumcised,” the gentiles. The next post we will see what Jesus said about it. Continue reading “Salvation to Gentiles”
Who is Melchizedek? Is there any way we can know for sure? I think in light of our discussions on the preincarnate Christ, when Jesus appeared to people in the Old Testament, that it would be interesting to talk about Melchizedek (I wish he had a shorter name…can we call him Mel?) Anyways, in all seriousness, Jesus was compared to Mel in a way. He is described as the King and Priest in the order of Mechizedek in Hebrews, quoting a prophecy in Psalm 110. But what do we really know about this king of Salem? We will look at all the scripture that talks about him beginning with the interaction between Abraham and Melchizedek after his battle to rescue Lot.
Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’— except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”
In the scripture where Melchizedek actually appears, he meets with Abraham after he rescues his nephew and those that were captured by the kings that attacked the land that Lot was living in at the time. He blesses Abram for his faithfulness. Abram, or Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, then gives a tithe to this king, who is also described as “the priest of the God Most High.” No other person had the dual role of priest and king. In Israel, the priests were from the tribe of Levi, while a king comes from the tribe of Judah. But Mel was neither…and both. Jesus also is both King and Priest, and much more. He is our God and Savior, Lord of all.
The author of Hebrews describes Melchizedek as a priest-king, who is “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God.” He is the forerunner of Jesus’ priesthood (or is he Jesus Himself? We do not know for sure). The author uses the analogy to show that the new covenant no longer requires a priest to be our intercessor, for Jesus is that intercessor. He is our Priest and King. Since He is God, He is perfect, and by sacrificing Himself, He is the Lamb without blemish, the perfect sacrifice made once for all who believe. Through His sacrifice, our sins are forgiven. We are declared righteous. There is no longer a need for sacrifice to cleanse us of our sins. Jesus did that for us. The only sacrifice needed is that we surrender to Him and become a living sacrifice as Paul says in Romans 12:2. We serve Him because of this great sacrifice, because He is Lord and Savior, because He redeemed us from condemnation, because we love Him.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT RELENT, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’ “), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
So who is Melchizedek? I don’t know. Possibly Jesus? Perhaps an angel? Maybe a man that God put on this earth to bless Abram and through Abraham, bless the world.
Before Samson was born, Israel turned from God so he allowed them to be at odds with the Philistines. But, God had plans to redeem His people and save them from the tyranny of the Philistines. Through Samson, they would begin to be free of the Philistines. Jesus would come as The Angel of the Lord to speak to Samson’s parents to let them know that they would have a child to be used by God and He gave them instructions on how to raise him.
Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ” Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!” So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?” And He said, “I am.” Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?” So the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.” Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You.” And the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the LORD.) Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, “What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?” And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on— it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.” So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
How do we know this was Jesus that appeared to them? No one knows for sure but some of the clues I have noticed was first that He accepted their offering. An angel of God would not accept any form of worship as the angel speaking with John would attest.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
I think The Angel of the Lord was also making a point when He said that you must offer an offering only to God. I think He was making a point that it was God that he was speaking to. Jesus did the same to one of the Teachers of the Law during His ministry.
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
When Manoa asks His name, He does not tell him, only that it is “wonderful.”
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
It is interesting that Manoa realized he was in the presence of God when He ascended to heaven. He was fearful that he would die because He saw God, but with Jesus, we can look upon God. Jesus came to this earth so that we would no longer be separated from God, that we can look upon Him and have direct access to the Father, to save us and redeem us from our sins. His wife was wise and reminded him that God had a purpose for them.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”
This also describes the parallels of Jesus in this story. He is the ultimate redeemer and savior of His people, not only the Israelites, but all who call on His name. He came to save us from our sins so that we can live in eternity with Him.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
The story of Gideon is an interesting one. Jesus came to him and the Bible called Him “The LORD,” “The Angel of the Lord,” and “The Angel of God.” God was going to save His people, the Israelites through this man, who was the least of the weakest clan. God chose him for that reason, so that people would see that it was God, not man, that saved them. Something we in this society need to remember. No man will save us. Only through Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, through His blood, are we saved; not through any good deeds or how good we are, but what He has done and how good He is. Same with our country. No president or no one in Congress will save us from the mess we are in. We need to pray to God for our leaders and our country and this country needs to repent and turn toward Him so that He will heal our land.
So, God called Gideon to trust Him and He would work through him. As Gideon steps forward, God uses him with 300 men to defeat the army of Midian. At first, Gideon had doubts. He had excuses. He asked for a sign…a couple times. God had patience and gave him the faith he needed. He reminded him that He would always be there for him and that He would do the work through him. So the story begins… Continue reading “The Angel of the Lord and Gideon”