Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #28

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #28
Description
The Spiritual Rock of Israel
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 17:6
Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
New Testament Fullfillment
1 Cor 10:4
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 24 – Part 2

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book. Lets read it before we consider the message the psalmist is communicating

Psalm 24:1-10

1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

Such a rich psalm. Our last post touched on the first verse and the ownership of the LORD, His extent of ownership, His far reaching possessions.

As I mentioned in that post, my original intention was to address verses 3 – 6, which I will attempt with this post. So lets take a few minutes to consider.

I settled (eventually) on these verses since one of my favorite psalms is Psalm 15, and the similarities between these verses and Psalm 15 are so obvious. (If you recently found this blog, consider reading Psalms for Psome – 15)

The psalmist is questioning the believers ability to “ascend the hill of the LORD”. He is speaking to the populace and stating – You people of God – there are requirements to meet if you seek to enter the temple, to share in His company.

Clean Hands

The believer, in order to approach the LORD, is to have clean hands. His actions are to be right, observing the moral standards set down by the King. Not simply performance to the standards set by the culture, or by legal precedence of a population, but by the moral standards of the King who gave His law.

The King has given us “the law” to live by. This law is the outworking of the commandments, and is described in the beatitudes. Check it out.

Consider 2 Timothy 2:19

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Clean hands – Departing from iniquity.

A Pure Heart

Again, my mind takes me to the apostle Paul when he wrote to the young Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:5

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Sometimes it is truly amazing that the New Testament is so dependent on the Old Testament, that the faith described in the Old is so in line with the New.

To be in possession of a pure heart, a clean heart, is a gift of God through our faith, that is to be maintained in fellowship with the Savior. Confession of sins to the Lord, and to those we offend or sin against, seeking restitution with our brothers, pursuing peace with all and exercising love towards them that breathe. A pure heart is a gift, and it is also a responsibility.

Who does not lift up his soul to what is false

To lift up, in the hebrew is the term nāśā’, and refers to directing our mind or soul to something or someone. The one who would ascend the hill of the Lord, will direct his mind and soul to the true and righteous God, the only One who is worthy of our attention.

To the false, the one who ascends will not direct his mind or soul. It is an affront to consider a falsehood for the believer.

Does not swear deceitfully

The topic of truth comes to the fore front again, yet this time it is not referring to our object of worship, but of the message that pours from our mouth, even our faithfulness in keeping oaths and our word to others. It is the believers responsibility to keep his word to his neighbor if he is to ascend the hill of the Lord.

As believers, we are to consider approaching God, through our Lord Jesus, as a high privilege that is granted to those who consider it so, acting on the requirements of the King. True He has opened the veil for us to enter, but the cost was His blood, His very life.

When I ponder this, it is a sobering thought, and the psalmist reminds me that there is a price to pay to ascend that hill.


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Christian Security, Conditional Security, Doctrinal, Interpretation, OSAS

Conditional Security – 1 John 2:19

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

I was driving home from helping my son install some ceiling fans, and as I was listening to Free Bird, it occurred to me that some within the Christian faith claim the Bible teaches “perseverance of the saints”. I know – an errant thought, but stick with me for a minute.

But first, let’s look at the verse that stirred my thinking during the middle of Free Bird, and then we can delve into the dark crevices of my thoughts.

1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Perseverance of the saints is not a troubling teaching in my mind, but to be practical, we have to admit that it is a time dependent truth for each of us. Some believers will use this verse to claim that only true Christians remain faithful, and with that I have no argument. True believers continue to believe.

The time component is what sticks in my craw, when I hear that some believers that are living today, claim that they are in a contract with the God of the universe that is iron clad, and without conditions. That initial faith is their ticket to heaven. They will end up in heaven no matter what happens, no matter what they do, or no matter what occurs in their faith.

Let me try to explain it as I heard it in my head as I was conversing with myself on the way home – Don’t worry – I turned Free Bird off during my self conversation!! Carl – admit it – You were talking to yourself!

Carl – 1 John 2:19 teaches that true believers continue in the faith

Anti-Carl – Yes that is true, and those that left the faith were either never a believer, or that they abandoned the faith.

Carl – Oh I am sure the author intends the reader to see those who did not continue in the faith to have never been a believer

Anti-Carl – So you say, but lets get practical. Are you a believer?

Carl – Of course.

Anti-Carl – How do you know you will continue? Can you foresee the future?

Carl – Of course I cannot see into the future, but God will keep me. He has promised.

Anti-Carl – Many folks have claimed a promise from God and yet have walked away. What makes you better than them?

Carl – They were liars, even self deceived.

Anti-Carl – Again, the only assurance you have of eternal life is that you have faith at the point of death. Until that time, you cannot guarantee anyone of your continuance, since it is expressed in action (continuing with believers) as opposed to simply a feeling or a belief. It seems the security you boast in is highly time dependent and somewhat fragile until the end.

Carl – I refuse to hear you anymore!

Remember, dear reader, that the Lord’s promises are many times conditional on our heart response, our obedience, our listening and doing. Our faith is not to be based on head knowledge alone, but on a willing heart that seeks to follow Him.

Your thoughts?

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Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #27

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #27
Description
His Character-Holiness
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 15:11
“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 1:35
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.
 Acts 4:27
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Calvinism, Doctrinal, Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 1 – Ezekiel 36:26

As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the first portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

You are always using Human reasoning instead of scripture. God can change and has to change a person’s will to be saved. Ezekiel 36:26 John 3:3-8 Romans 3:10-12 Psalms 14:1-3 even though you think he can’t interfere with natural man’s will and someone will have to tell me how one person believes the Gospel the true gospel that is and another doesn’t. No freewill advocate can give me an answer. They ignore that question.

I suppose the first issue to address is the reason for his comment above. I had asked a question regarding God’s will as my friend understands God’s will. If I understand him correctly, God has absolute control over every decision made by every human, and that God’s will can never be resisted.

So my original question was……

How do you explain the Lord’s frustration with Jerusalem as He entered the city before His passion? He was willing but the people of Israel were not willing.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 23:37 ESV

Seems the people got their way.

Nevertheless, lets consider the first portion of my friends comment. His initial comment is followed by four Scripture references. I have supplied these passages below, and will attempt to understand his reason for providing to support his statement.

Ezekiel 36:26

Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

What a great verse, speaking of the sinful nature and the darkness and hardness of the sinners heart. Ezekiel was specifically speaking to the sons of Israel, and of their restoration to the land. From verse 22 through verse 32, Ezekiel records the phrase “I will” 13 times referring to God’s intent with the children of Israel.

This passage speaks of God’s overarching care, protection and provision to His wayward, sinful people. Upon getting to verse 26, it is clear that the Lord Himself gives the new heart, gives the new spirit, removes the heart of stone, and gives a heart of flesh. There is no debate upon these gracious gifts of God to His people.

One item that is not addressed in this passage is the responsibility of the sinner. Of course, my friend assumes the sinner has no responsibility in receiving the new heart, but I don’t see Ezekiel expressly stating that. Nowhere does Ezekiel come out and state – You sinners are unable to respond to the grace of God. You are completely without any responsibility in God’s work with your nation. You have to be completely passive!! As a matter of fact, you couldn’t respond if you wanted to.

Shucks, I don’t see Ezekiel stating that!

Ezekiel continues with verse 32, telling of the reason for the gracious gifts of God toward His people in the future. These future promises were provided through the prophet Ezekiel, in order for the people to know of His future actions. Then Ezekiel caps off the message with the intended response that is expected.

 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

The Lord will act – Be ashamed now. There is a response expected prior to the Lord’s acting out His promises. There is a responsibility on the part of the Israelites.

But that is not all, regarding the will of God that Ezekiel teaches us. Let us look at verse 37 of the same chapter.

 “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock.

The Lord allows the people of Israel to ask of Him for a particular request. This seems odd if the Lord’s will is determined from time eternal, before creation. The entire issue of prayer is a difficult topic to understand if the Lord’s will has been locked down prior to creation. (Dang it is difficult to understand no matter what!)

It is obvious that Ezekiel emphasizes God’s will towards His people in this passage. There is no doubt. Yet with this emphasis, God seems to invite the will of men (in praying to God) to participate in the work of God. This is surely a mystery and yet He invites us.

For prayer does change things!

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #26

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #26
Description
His exaltation predicted as Yeshua
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
New Testament Fullfillment
Acts 7:55-56
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 24 – Part 1

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book. Lets read it before we consider the message the psalmist is communicating

Psalm 24:1-10

1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

Such a rich psalm.

This psalm speaks of the Lord’s ownership the earth/land, of all things on/in the earth/land , and all that dwell in the world.

I start off with these either/or statements since it is not clear (at least to me) what exactly the psalmist is referring to in the first verse.

The hebrew word (‘ereṣ) translated earth could be translated two different ways, that is “earth” or “land”. As a matter of fact, ereṣ is translated as “land” twice as many times as “earth” in the Old Testament. I know that proves nothing, but it was surprising when I first found this out.

If the term is to be understood as land, does that imply that the Lord only owns the “land” of Israel, which would be understood by the ancients? Not at all, since the psalmist, within the very first verse qualifies the extent of the LORD’s ownership, by stating He owns “the world” and all that dwell therein.

So, if my understanding is correct, the psalmist is telling me…

The land of Israel is the LORD’s, and all that is therein, but not only that, He owns the entire world, and every body/soul on it!

He is not a simple or tiny god that oversees a nation, or a people group, but He is the LORD who owns His people, and even those who know him not.

This psalm is so rich, that when I first sat down to consider this passage, my eyes were drawn to verses 3 – 6 to discuss. Alas, this portion will have to await for my next blog, since I have found a blessing in the first verse that I would like to dwell on for the day.

Hope you also, in considering this passage, experience a fleeting glimpse of the LORD and the extent of His possessions. The implications can be life changing!


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Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #25

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #25
Description
Not a bone of the Lamb to be broken
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 12:46
It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
New Testament Fullfillment
John 19:31-36
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

He who saw it has borne witness–his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth–that you also may believe.

For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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New Testament, Parables, Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Unmerciful Servant

This parable has caused me many hours of concern and confusion, once I let it speak to me without a set of doctrinal lenses attached to my reading eyes. May only those who are brave enter!

Let’s take a look at

Matthew 18:23-35

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Peter asked for it. Oh not directly, but Peter wasn’t the quiet one, and we can be thankful for his impetuousness, since this parable is so instrumental, so foundational for a believer. But I am getting ahead of myself.

When did the Lord give this parable?

This parable was given near the end of a period of withdrawal from Galilee, aprox. 6 months prior to entering into Jerusalem for the last time

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee

Why did the Lord give this message?

Peter was trying to justify himself. Peter, I believe was intending to impress the Lord, you know, he was going to offer up the effort of forgiving his brother seven whole times! Very impressive!!!

What was the message for the original audience?

Jesus responds to this “impressive” claim of Peter’s with a very surprising requirement. Forgive 490 times. 490 times, and this begs the questions, that I have to keep count? At the 491st I can withhold forgiveness? Don’t be foolish Carl!

Let’s look at how the original audience may have heard this parable.

Jesus speaks of forgiving a brother 490 times and then gives this parable. And remember, He is speaking to a disciple!

Servant #1 is bankrupt and owes a trillion bucks to his master. Servant #1 begs for patience from the master, and claims he will pay everything. There is no way the man can pay the debt! Here we see servant #1 in his ignorance.

The Master forgives servant #1 of all his debt. Note that not only did the master forgive him of his debt, he released him. To release may be referring to simply dismissing the servant. The term may also refer to setting a servant free, as in releasing a servant or slave from ownership. This is not expressly stated, but the generosity of the master is such that this may entirely be the intent of the term. The master released servant #1 of his financial debt, his legal obligation of servanthood, his family’s impending sale into slavery. Imagine this unbounding generosity!

Servant #1 went out. He went out and expressed an unchanged character. Prior to his time before the master, he had fallen into massive debt, which implies to me that he was a greedy man, seeking to cut business deals to have an easy life, a life of luxury and excess, and it all backfired. (Totally my imagination running wild here!)

Servant #1 went out and continued in his life of greed. This greed brought him to servant #2. Servant #2 owed servant #1 owed him 0.000000014th of the amount he had been forgiven. He had a legal right to demand payment, and was seriously looking for the buck. He actually started choking servant #2. What is with this guy?

Servant #2 spoke the very same words to servant #1 that servant #1 had spoke to the master. The very same words! Servant #2 ended up in prison. How dense is servant #1?

Servant #3 and his buddies saw this going on and ratted servant #1 out. How could they not?

So the master called in servant #1 to his office, reminded him of the forgiveness shown to him, and threw him in jail.

His forgiveness was repealed! WHAT????

By the way, those that oversaw the jail were sometimes called torturers, so this is turning out some bad for servant #1.

What is the message for us today?

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.



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Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Two Kings and Two Women

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

Well it happened again. It jumped out at me. At least I though it did.

I was listening to the Word on my way to work, with distractions buzzing around my head, and the passage landed on 2 Kings 6.

You know, the chapter where King Solomon uses his wisdom to determine the rightful mother. Ya – that chapter where he threatens to kill the one child and offer half to each of the arguing women in order to solve their dispute. What genius.

But Carl – You are way wrong about the King and the child in 2 Kings 6.. Let’s read the passage I was slightly listening to.

2 Kings 6:25-31

And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.
Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”
And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?”
And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’
So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.”
When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes–now he was passing by on the wall–and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body–
and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

Okay, but as is obvious to all concerned, this is a passage about a king and a child, but for the life of me I don’t see any other similarities.

Consider the passage about Solomon and the sword, and once you read it, I thought it would be interesting to compare the differences and see if there may be a lesson for us.

1 Kings 3:16 – 27

Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.
And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him.
And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.
When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.”
But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.
Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'”
And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king.
And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.”
Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.”

Ok, we have two similarities, in that the story speaks of a King (Ahab and Solomon) and of children Let’s consider the differences.

The Nation

The nation of Israel was so different in these stories.

Under Ahab, the nation was in starvation mode, with the Syrians on the doorstep, and annihilation eminent. The nation was suffering under the curse of ungodly kings, with Ahab, a very evil little king, ruling over the nation, being led about by that woman Jezebel.

Under Solomon, the nation was in the golden age of prosperity and power. The nation was, more than at any time in it’s history, enjoying the benefits of a godly King, and now his son, reigning on the throne, was reaping the benefits of this history. It was a time of tremendous luxury and national strength, where all the nations bowed to the nation of Israel.

The Mommas

The children’s mothers were of different stock.

In the Ahab account, the women appear to be “average mothers”, under the extreme duress of starvation. Nothing appears to be mentioned about their moral character (under normal circumstances). I know – they ate a child! That is horrendous. And to offer your own child up to satisfy your hunger – that is an incredible statement about the human condition. But without any moral identifier, as in the next pair of women, could we not assume these women were average mommas?

In the time of Solomon, the women in the story were hookers, ladies of the night that used and abused men, selling their bodies for the bread of supper. Though they were prostitutes, at least one of these women still had a beating heart for thier youngin.

The Solution

Both kings were addressed by one woman to provide help.

With Ahab, the women wanted justice in order to continue finding sustenance. (I tend to think the hidden child would be sacrificed eventually). Ahab’s solution – Curse Elisha, promise his death and seek to blameshift the problem to someone other than the self.

With Solomon, both women wanted to care for a child. At least one of them truly did. One momma would give anything for her child. Even give the child up, to ensure its survival.

Solomon’s solution. Look for love. The love of a mother that can not be held back.

You know, I listened to this passage a few days ago, and last night, my daughter was asking about purchasing life insurance, since she has an itty bitty baby. We chatted for a bit, talking of term life and whole life and premiums and such. (BTW, I am not a life insurance salesman, just a dad telling what he know!) Eventually she asked about life insurance for the baby. I informed her rather casually that children’s life insurance is intended to cover burial expenses if the child passed.

A second passed , and she blurted out that she experienced actual pain in her heart when I said that, just to think of her ittly bitty one passing. A mother’s love. It is truly astounding. I have seen my wife break down sobbing over her children, broken hearted over decisions they have made, or that have been made for them.

The love of a mother is a pale reflection of the love of God towards His people. God’s love is a heartbreaking, give anything you can type of love. And yet there are limits that restrict love from being shared, enjoyed and benefitted from. A heart that refuses to receive love, in the end only hates itself.

So Carl what is the lesson from this short post?

Devotion to God

Solomon and Ahab were different, not due to circumstances, but because of who they were devoted to.

True, Solomon was slipping away from the true and living God, but Ahab was as far away as he could get. Their devotion to the living God was exhibited in their reaction to the problem.

Solomon relied on God for his wisdom, having prayed to God in humility for wisdom to lead his people. God provided wisdom, and this story of the child and the sword is one of many stories exhibiting Solomon’s gift from God. Solomon resorted to the love of a mother to solve his problem. Unconventional – yes. Effective – very much so!

Ahab was just a weak little evil king. Led about by an evil woman. No conviction of soul, no humility or willingness to admit to sin, (at least not yet!). No – Ahab was a bad one! And all he did was blame a good one, and ultimatley the Good One!

1 Kings 21:25

There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.

What type of person are you?

Do you see the love of God, even just a flicker, in the people around you? Do you look to be a blessing to those around you, and seek God’s wisdom for the benefit of others? Solomon did, and his status grew, and God blessed his life (as much as He could, and for as long as possible).

Or do you blame others for your problems and see others as enemies and impediments to your happiness? Ahab did, and it didn’t end well for him.

Where is your devotion now. It will be evident tomorrow. Something to consider the next time you face a difficult situation. (Hopefully not involving two women and an argument! That is just too much for me!!!!)

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Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #24

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #24
Description
Christ is our Passover
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 12:21-27
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever.
And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service.
And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’
you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
New Testament Fullfillment
1 Cor 5:7
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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Interpretation, Doctrinal, Calvinism

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response – Intro

As this blog has proceeded through a multiple of topics, I have received numerous comments and non more interesting than from a fellow blogger that finds my responses to his comments lacking in Scriptural support.

The topic of concern is the sovereignty of God and the Calvinist debate. He has denied the moniker of “Calvinist” but as some have said – A rose by any other name is still a rose.

This seems to be a common thread in the discussions, since his understanding of key terms in the topic seems to carry a different definition than mine. He also tends to “drop” Bible verses after his claims, intending to prove his point. This is a common method of argument that I have used too often, that is of peppering the discussion with proof texts.

Lately the following comment from my friend was provided and in response I wrote back “Job 1:1”. Figgered I would proof text him – it was an attempt to be a bit funny, but alas, even as I posted the response, I realized I needed to do better. (And responding in the comment section is sooo difficult.) Hence this side bar of posts to a comment within this topic.

Below is the comment I will be responding to through a series of posts in the following weeks.

You are always using Human reasoning instead of scripture. God can change and has to change a person’s will to be saved. Ezekiel 36:26 John 3:3-8 Romans 3:10-12 Psalms 14:1-3 even though you think he can’t interfere with natural man’s will and someone will have to tell me how one person believes the Gospel the true gospel that is and another doesn’t. No freewill advocate can give me an answer. They ignore that question. Scripture says God is sovereign in his decision to whom he will have mercy which is in accordance with Romans 9:16 and other scripture Romans 9:15,18 The natural man doesn’t come and can’t come 1 Corinthians 2:14 John 6:44 John 6:65 He doesn’t have the ability because he lacks spiritual discernment because he doesn’t have the spirit. God gave to the man Jesus the spirit without limit. God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to according to Romans 9:16 John 1:12-13. He told the Pharisees you don’t believe because you aren’t my sheep John 10:26 He didn’t say you aren’t my sheep because you don’t believe That should kill the idea of free will on the spot. If you analyze the Garden of Eden account with Eve you will see the serpent was baiting Eve with free Will through the delusion of gaining the knowledge of good and evil which was a stone cold lie. Natural man can’t tell the difference between good and evil and Jesus said none are good except for God. They are responsible because God is Sovereign. He has the right to do with His creation as he sees fit His righteousness isn’t to be judged by fallen man’s sense of righteousness imputed from the Garden of Eden. Belief is the work of God John 6:29 If Adam and Eve weren’t able to get it right, how can you put such faith in a fallen nature that loves darkness instead of light. God is saving a people unconditionally Romans 9:11 according to election God promises to save a people and He can’t wait around for someone who has no desire or the ability to come. I will rely on scripture that he shows mercy unconditionally to whom he chooses.

In each of the following posts, I will be addressing a set of verses he refers to within a portion of his comment. I will attempt to supply context to his comments when required, and look forward to a hearty discussion as we venture through his concerns.

I do hope you will join me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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John 6:65 – And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

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As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the third portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

God gave to the man Jesus the spirit without limit. God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to according to Romans 9:16 John 1:12-13.

Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the fourth portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

He told the Pharisees you don’t believe because you aren’t my sheep John 10:26 He didn’t say you aren’t my sheep because you don’t believe That should kill the idea of free will on the spot. If you analyze the Garden of Eden account with Eve you will see the serpent was baiting Eve with free Will through the delusion of gaining the knowledge of good and evil which was a stone cold lie.

John 10:26 – but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the fifth portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

Natural man can’t tell the difference between good and evil and Jesus said none are good except for God. They are responsible because God is Sovereign. He has the right to do with His creation as he sees fit His righteousness isn’t to be judged by fallen man’s sense of righteousness imputed from the Garden of Eden. Belief is the work of God John 6:29

John 6:29 – Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the sixth (and final) portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

God is saving a people unconditionally Romans 9:11 according to election God promises to save a people and He can’t wait around for someone who has no desire or the ability to come. I will rely on scripture that he shows mercy unconditionally to whom he chooses.

Romans 9:11 – though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls–

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #23

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #23
Description
The blood of the Lamb saves from wrath
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 12:13
The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
New Testament Fullfillment
Rom 5:8
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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Bible, Christianity, Devotional

Simple Thoughts – Job 42

Occasionally I will be dwelling on a verse or passage, ruminating on the message, (or to be honest, wandering off into some undisciplined daydreaming), and the Lord will bless me with a truth that is so obvious, so fresh and such a blessing that I just want to share it with you.

Such is the following passage

Job 42:7-9

After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.
Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

I suppose I need to give the reader some background to the passage.

Job had spent the last 40 some odd chapters suffering under the hand of God, asking questions of God and receiving, not answers from God, but difficult questions that Job could not answer.

It occurs to me that the questions Job was asking of God were not too hard for Him to answer, but it was not the place for the King to respond to His subject’s demands at this time.

Job 42, opens with Jobs repentance of the bitter heart he had nurtured, and his response of repentance (Job 42:6) brought about a self despising that would not be considered healthy in some parts of the church nowadays. (I’m thinking specifically of the prosperity gospel, and it’s sister, the self esteem movement, but that is for a different blog post!)

So the Lord had dealt with Job, and moved onto Eliphaz and his two buddies. These guys had been “counselling” Job about the nature of God for the better part of the ordeal, and it had ticked the Lord off.

His anger burned against them.

The solution? Offer up a burnt sacrifice of seven bulls and seven rams. But notice that the text says for these counsellors to go to Job and offer up the burnt sacrifices. Did Job represent the Lord in this sacrificial offering? Was Job acting as the one receiving the sacrifice?

Let’s move on – The second part of the solution was that Job would pray for the counsellors.

Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had to look Job in the eye and ask for his prayers to the Lord for forgiveness. As many of my readers may know, this is a difficult act to carry out. Pride keeps us from admitting our wrongs to those we inflict. Pride keeps us from restoration of relationship!

But there is one other aspect that occurred to me this morning.

Job suffered under the hand of God, and he had corrected his attitude by way of repentance. But Job had also suffered under the accusations of his counsellors, where they would argue against Job’s position, his faith and his convictions.

And Job had to pray for his counsellors.

He couldn’t hold this over their heads, speak of his superiority, boast that he won the contest, or nurture an arrogance in his heart. His prayers for his counsellors also brought him to a reconciliation with his fellow sinners.

My friends, do you have a Bildad in your life? Do you hang out with a Zophar or an Eliphaz?

I know I have had a few in my life and though they take different positions than I do in my faith, I am thankful for their counsel for a number of reasons.

  • First off, opposing views of God’s nature motivates me to find truth in the Word, to sharpen my convictions, and to determine foundational issues for my faith.
  • Secondly, it broadens my view of the Word, for many times a brother’s thoughts have challenged me in my faith by considering a verse or set of verses that may be understood differently than I did.
  • Thirdly, and quite possibly the more important reason, I am stretched to love a brother who may be of a different opinion, who is passionate about the topic and seeks my best, but in the end, we cannot find similar ground. This happens often, and I believe the Word allows for this to happen, in order to give us the opportunity to love the one who is different.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Love one another.


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Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #22

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #22
Description
A Lamb without blemish
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 12:5
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,
New Testament Fullfillment
Heb 9:14
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
 1 Pet 1:19
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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Interpretation, Doctrinal, Calvinism

Calvin’s Concerns – Not Enough Gift(s)?

Most of my readers know I have 5 children. Occasionally, I would come back from a work related trip and bring them a gift.

It goes without saying that I would bring 5 gifts. (And a gift for my favorite wife, of course.)

Coming in the door, at least in the early days of the family, the kids would greet me and I would ask if they wanted a little surprise.

Of course, they all responded in the positive, and they would ask to reach in my pocket to get the gift. Fun times for them and me. (Wifey got her gift a bit later!)

As they got older, one or two of the older children would consider it childish to huddle around and ask for the gift, but I always bought 5 gifts to bring home. (And a gift for my favorite wifey – don’t forget her Carl!)

The gifts represented, in a very small way, my love for each child, (and my wifey!) When I got home I would ask all the children if they wanted a gift, even as they got older. And when I brought gifts home, it was for all the kids, even if I feared that one or two of them would ignore the offer.

Should I have saved my pennies when I figgered one or two of my kids might not have wanted a gift? If so, could I offer a gift to all my kids, or at least maintain that understanding within the family?

This is the very problem a Calvinist must address when he evangelizes. How can the Calvinist offer the gift of salvation to a lost person for whom Jesus did not die? For you see, a Calvinist believes in a limited atonement, or that Jesus died only for the elect, that specific group of humans that will believe.

As believers, we don’t know who the elect are, so Calvinists may seem duplicitous in providing an invitation of salvation to one for whom Christ did NOT die for.

The following 5 minute clip addresses this question and I found it helpful. I hope you do too. Take a few moments to consider the question with Dr. Flowers.

Thanks for joining me in this series on Calvinism.

Years back I came out of this system of thought. I am grateful for the blessings of a loving God that has expressed His love lavishly, beyond human comprehension.


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 23

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

This is the big one. This psalm has been studied, meditated on, inspected, investigated, perused, researched, examined, analyzed, sung, recited, and memorized more than any other psalm I can think of. At least in my lifetime.

But you know, I can’t find any verse of Psalm 23 in the New Testament. It is such a beautiful heartfelt psalm, I can’t think of the Lord and His apostles not dwelling on the intimacy the psalmist was expressing about His Lord.

Yet it isn’t in the New Testament – Amazing.

Nevertheless, although it is so wildly popular in our day and time, it would be good to consider it one more time. Read with me as we consider Psalm 23

Psalm 23:

1 – A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 – He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I will not spend more than a few moments with you in this blog, and if you see fit to read the psalm one more time instead of my ruminations, I think you may have made the better decision.

Yet the last verse is where I want to settle.

You see, mercy and goodness have followed me all the days of my life. I have a life of unbounded blessings, and it is in spite of me and my pride, my obstinance and my stubborn will.

He has dealt bountifully toward me.

The goodness and mercy that follows me, could be understood as actually pursuing me, chasing me, actively running after me, almost to the point of harassment. The old Hebrew word translated as “follow” can be understood such.

And yet I seek out the bad, the sorry, the sad, and am unthankful, disrespectful and hating. My friends, the grace of God is seeking you and I. He is pursuing us, and we so often flee from the goodness and mercy of God Himself.

Oh for the day when our obstinate nature is released.

Brothers and sisters, be thankful. Turn around and pay attention to the good things that God provides. Do not dwell on the fears, dangers, suspicions, and lies that swirl about our feet. Look up and praise the One who is always seeking our best.

Surely goodness and mercy is chasing us. Let Him catch you!


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Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #21

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #21
Description
The Great “I AM”
Old Testament Prophecy
 Exodus 3:13-15
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”[fn] And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD,[fn] the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
New Testament Fullfillment
John 4:26
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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Calvinism, Doctrinal, Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Was Jesus a Bigot? How would you Respond?

This 5 minute teaching starts out with a somewhat surprising statement about Jesus being a bigot. I came close to going on to some other topic until Dr. Flowers brought it together

Check it out.


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Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #20

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #20
Description
 and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Old Testament Prophecy
 Genesis 49:10
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him
New Testament Fullfillment
John 10:16
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

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