A beautiful hymn of worship and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. Majestic and awesome. I love it!
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Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!
A beautiful hymn of worship and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. Majestic and awesome. I love it!
Vodpod videos no longer available.
God is the original giver.
He so loved that He gave.
All giving is a love affair.
When people love the Master they will give to His cause.
When they love the message they will bear the burden of its Broadcasting.
No one has close fellowship with the Father who is not a giver.
The relation of giving to prayer is shown in Jn. 3:13-24. By closing up your heart to the needy you close Heaven to your prayers.
The reason for many unanswered prayers is explained in this scripture.
When we call for the doctor we expect to pay him; when we get medicine at the drug store we expect to pay.
We should share with the Lord when He answers our prayer as we share with the doctor and druggist.
His blessings will always match our giving.
I have found that the measure of my giving is the measure of my receiving.
If we give largely, we will receive largely.
Mal. 3:10, “Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, and there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
This is a warning to the careless giver.
It is a challenge to the earnest giver and it is a promise to the real givers. He says to us to bring the whole tithe into the store-house. Sometimes it is very hard to give the whole tithe.
I remember a man telling me that he was always a tither and had been greatly blessed because of it while he worked on a salary.
He had saved up money enough to go into business and his business was prosperous from the beginning. Instead of being able to give twenty-five or thirty dollars a month, he was now enabled to give several hundred and the temptation was strong to cut his giving down.
He was an honest man and he prayed much about it.
Finally he caught the vision and promised God he would give a tenth and then he began to give offerings beside the tenth. When I last saw him he had instead of one small store, three large stores.
The hand of God was upon him in a very rich way.
I knew of another that received several thousand dollars from his mother’s estate. He had tithed in his small way until this large amount came. He and his wife discussed it and prayed about it much until finally they decided that this was a gift and they dared to give God His share.
Then He became their partner in a sense they had never known.
He tells us that He wants us to bring the whole tithe into the store-house that there may be food for the poor, for the needy.
He says I want you to prove me if I will not pour you out a blessing that you are unable to receive.
In the next verse (Mal. 3:11): “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts.”
Most of God’s people put money in bags with holes. They often lose their investments because they will not share with the Lord.
It will be to the Lord’s interest to back you up, to protect you from losses if He is to be a sharer in the income.
Do not use your tithes for any other purpose; give it to the Lord.
You cannot pay bills with it. You cannot support your own children with it. It is to be given to the Lord and His work.
Many are concerned about the future and they wonder what will happen. Will darkness overtake, or will the light shine bright?
Yea, saith the Lord of hosts, remember that you’re in My hands. And remember that I know the future better than you know the past–and all is well!
I will alert you concerning that which will affect you. I will show you the way to go, and you’ll walk in it and be blessed. Above all the people of the world, upon the earth, you shall be blessed. For thou art My people, and My people shall rule and reign. And the blessings of God will fall upon them.
The latter rain shall be poured out. Yea, upon nations that are now barren and void. But the rain will be poured out. The seed will be planted. The harvest will come. The glory of God will shine upon the earth.
And they of the world will walk on in the way in which they’ve walked! And the darkness shall overtake them.
But ye shall walk in the light! The entrance of His Words giveth light! Walk according to the Word. Walk in the Word. Walk in the Spirit.
And the power shall rest upon you. And the glory of God shall be seen upon your face! Many shall turn to the Lord. Great days, great times, great blessings are ahead. So rejoice and be glad.
Many are concerned about things that have happened, the terror that has taken hold of the hearts of many. Many are concerned about war. Many are concerned about the future. Darkness seems to be developing. Dark clouds are on the horizon of time.
But, yea, saith the Lord of hosts, walk not by what you see with the physical eye. But walk according to what My Word says. Walk according to what the Holy Ghost is saying unto you!
For He’s speaking unto many hearts. And they walk on in the natural and pay no attention to their heart. He’s speaking to many spirits! They walk on in the realm of the mental, thinking their own thoughts, planning their own way.
But, yea, saith the Lord of hosts, listen to what the Spirit is saying to your heart, to your spirit. And what He said to you, act upon it! Act upon it! Act like it’s so!
Rejoice and be glad. In the face of adversity. In the face of seemingly natural defeat! Because you have inside information, information inside the Word, information given by the Spirit.
And it shall all come to pass. Amen.
If you read Matthew 17 where the disciples ask Jesus why they couldn’t heal the boy his response isn’t “Because of my divine will” or “it simply isn’t the right time” or “we need to bind the demonic strongholds over the town for several days” or “the gifts passed away with Elijah” or “you never know what God is going to do.” His response to the question “why couldn’t we heal” is “because of your unbelief”.
The contemporary church cannot deal with that answer. Psychological and new age ideas have convinced us that we should never take responsibility for anything. Calvinism has taught us erroneously that our destiny is simply the tapestry of God’s will being played out and we are helpless pawns in the game of life.
However there is a rise of people who realize that the reason the church is not doing the works of Jesus is because it does not believe in Him according to the Word. A people who are pulling down the strongholds not over their city but between their ears so that their minds are renewed to the Word of God. A people who will do signs and wonders and preach the gospel to the nations. A people who will obey the Lord no matter the cost, no matter the persecution. A people who will deal with their unbelief and through faith will subdue kingdoms, work righteousness and win nations.
Kenneth Hagin is a phenomenal Bible teacher. His ministry was Scriptural, faith-filled and balanced. Although he knew that Jesus was not poor and that we are redeemed from poverty, Kenneth Hagin did not agree with some practices making the rounds today. This article by J. Lee Grady explains exactly what:
Before he died in 2003, the revered father of the Word-Faith movement corrected his spiritual sons for going to extremes with their message of prosperity. Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others—all of whom teach that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven. Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting. Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again. Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch: 1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.” 2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.” 3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature.” 4. The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate. 5. Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.” (Many evangelists who appear on Christian television today use this bogus claim. Usually they insist that the miraculous debt cancellation will occur only if a person “gives right now,” as if the anointing for this miracle suddenly evaporates after the prime time viewing hour. This manipulative claim is more akin to witchcraft than Christian belief.) Hagin condemned other hairbrained gimmicks designed to trick audiences into emptying their wallets. He was especially incensed when a preacher told his radio listeners that he would take their prayer requests to Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem and pray over them there—if donors included a special love gift. “What that radio preacher really wanted was more people to send in offerings,” Hagin wrote. Thanks to the recent resurgence in bizarre donation schemes promoted by American charismatics, the prosperity gospel is back under the nation’s microscope. It’s time to revisit Hagin’s concerns and find a biblical balance. Hagin told his followers: “Overemphasizing or adding to what the Bible actually teaches invariably does more harm than good.” If the man who pioneered the modern concept of biblical prosperity blew the whistle on his own movement, wouldn’t it make sense for us to listen to his admonition?
The Midas Touch is available from Tree of Life Bookshop.
I have included the text of Romans 1.18-32 below. The Bible text is in red, and my comments are interspersed with the text. At the end of the Bible text, I will talk about the problem with unrighteousness.
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
This verse tells us the problem of humanity: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. The phrase “wrath of God” is only used 4 times in the Bible (Romans 1.18, John 3.36, Ephesians 5.6, Col. 3.6) and it does not mean that God is having a temper tantrum. It means that God is going to punish all unrighteousness. This has happened once before in the world-wide flood of Noah (Genesis 6) and will happen again when the world is destroyed by fire.
As we shall shortly see in the remainder of this chapter, everyone in the world is unrighteous on the basis of their actions. Therefore everyone must be punished by God. God is a good, just God and must punish all unrighteousness.
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
This verse explains why God is going to punish everyone that is unrighteous. They should know the laws of God – God has shown everyone what is known of God. Or put more simply: God has created everyone with the ability to know right from wrong. We call this the conscience. No one who acts in an unrighteous way can ever say that they did not know how to act right. Every time they act unrighteous, they know they have done wrong. The voice that tells them right or wrong might be silenced by continual wrong-doing, but no-one can ever claim it was not there or that they did not know they have done wrong.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
The second reason that no-one can be excused for acting unrighteously is the creation of the world. The creation of the world proves that God is all powerful and that He is Lord. People might claim they think this world began in an explosion of nothing and that life came from non-living material, but itis scientifically impossible and is simply a denial of what the Bible says can be clearly seen. If you see a building, you have proof there is a builder. If you see a creation, you have proof there is a creator.
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So although every single human born has both a conscience and creation to prove to them there is a God and that they should live a righteous life, every human has done 4 things wrong:
1. They failed to glorify God
2. They were not thankful to God
3. They became vain in their imaginations
4. Their foolish hearts were darkened
Every person should know there is a God and that they should live right. Every person has violated their own conscience and done things they know to be wrong.
Firstly, everyone has failed to glorify God. To glorify God means to acknowledge that God is great, to think highly of God. We have not done that – we have blamed God for our problems, we have thought that He is like us that He does not mind our sin, that He is not holy. Every depiction of God in the media reduces Him from His true greatness. We all have doubted that God would come through for us, we all have doubted His Word, doubted His love, doubted His holiness and His greatness.
Secondly, everyone has failed to be grateful. In particular this is a Western problem. We are panicking that we cannot buy the same amount of food we used to be able to in the credit crunch, but we forget how blessed we are to live where we live. All of us have spent time moaning about the negative and ignoring the positive.
Thirdly, we have all become vain in our imaginations. We have imagined ourselves committing sins of violence and sins of sexual immorality in our minds, we have imagined and worried about things that God promised to protect us from. Our imaginations run wild, and we fill them up with junk from the TV just to make it worse.
Fourthly, we have all had darkened hearts. God has tried to speak to us but we could not hear Him. We failed to notice Him ministering to us again and agani.
Every human being has done these things in every single nation. Every human is unrighteous in God’s eyes and therefore must be punished. This is the problem of humanity – God’s goodness means He must punish unrighteousnes (the wrath of God) and every human is unrighteous.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
As an aside on v. 22, I noticed recently that Richard Dawkin’s new atheist club is called the Brights. Immediately I thought of Romans 1.22. However, we are all guilty of this. We all think we know best, and that God’s ways are archaic, out-of-touch, unrealistic, or whatever. Whenever we reject God’s ways, we are foolish.
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Verses 23-32 show how unrighteousness caused by thanklessness and not glorifying God degenerates. We have all been guilty of vv. 18-22, but not all nations have spiralled into what happens next. However, all nations without a strong Christian witness – or if they ignore that Christian witness – will spiral into this downward fall into unrighteousness.
After ungratefulness, comes an honouring of the creation. This takes many forms from the totem poles of tribal animism to the mother Earth philosophy infecting many facets of our society. Creation is given respect and God is ignored.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Following ignoring God over the creation comes sexual immorality. People have sex before and outside of marriage.
25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Next the idolatry becomes more pronounced and people openly worship things that have been created.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Next the sexual immorality becomes more pronounced leading to a society which openly accepts homosexuality. If this happens to a society it is deeply in this spiral of unrighteousness.
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
At this stage, what happens is that the people in that society will develop reprobate minds. The Greek word used for reprobate is adokimos which is used for counterfeit coins. It means to have no value at all – to not be fit for purpose. This is what is happening in large sections of Western society – people cannot use their minds at all. They cannot think, they cannot show initiative, they cannot create. All of society dumbs down. People then fail to notice any sin, any wickedness and simply let everything pass. Crime rates sht up, poverty and injustice increases and the society becomes a hard place to live in.
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
I could go through each of these words and show you what they mean exactly and you would realize that we are here people. However, most of them are self explanatory. When a society or a nation exhibits all these qualities it is simply showing the fruit of the fact that everyone fails to glorify God and fails to thank Him. It has just spiraled out of control.
Ultimately without the gospel, this will happen to every nation on the planet. Even with the gospel being present in a nation it still happens if people make unrighteous choices.
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Then, not only will people do all these unrighteous acts they will take pleasure in those that do them. The word take pleasure could also be translated applaud. Think about this: the Bible describes an unrighteous society at its apex as one where people worship the creation, treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, disobey parents, invent evil things, hate God, hate people, and then finally clap and applaud people who do wicked things.
Our society has TV chat shows where you can clap and applaud people who divorce, comedy shows where you can clap and applaud people who hate and slander the government of our countries, romantic shows where you can clap and applaud people committing fornication and reality shows where you can clap and applaud people in all manner of wickedness.
Our society is unrighteous. Our planet is unrighteous. But before we judge the world and the nations and are smugly condeming of them, remember: I have failed to thank God and so have you. I have failed to glorify God and so have you. I have had vain imaginations and so have you. I have had a dark heart and so have you. On our next post we will show that we cannot judge anyone in a smug self-righteous way as we look at Romans 2.
We have to find out how a person like you and like me can be righteous. Otherwise we are condemned to hell on earth and hell after earth. Stay with us as we run through Romans, the journey will be worth it.
The text of Romans 1 can be found here. Please read it in its entirety before reading through my run through. If you want to read in a paraphrase so you can get a feel for the whole chapter, use this link.
Romans 1 has a very simple theme: the nations are not righteous. For a definition of the term righteousness, read our post What is Righteousness?
Romans 1.1-6 are Paul introducing himself to the church in Rome. It is beautiful to read. Paul uses fifteen words to describe himself, and then uses 82 words to describe the Lord. Even when introducing himself Paul cannot stop talking about the wonder of the Lord. Paul was completely God-focused. Verse 3-4 are important verses because they declare that Jesus is fully human and fully God. Most heresies originate because of misunderstanding that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Most people fail to move in the power of the Holy Spirit and see the miracles they should because they fail to understand Jesus ministered as a human under the anointing.
Romans 1.7-12 Paul announces who he is addressing: the Romans. He tells them that he wants to meet them to impart a gift to them, and he praises them for their faith. That must be fairly wonderful to have the apostle Paul praise your church for its faith!
In verse 13 -15, Paul has now got his introductions out of the way and tells the Romans he wants to preach the gospel to them. Now think about that for a minute – Paul is not writing a letter to a bunch of heathen or a group of people from another religion. He is writing the letter to people whose faith is spoken of around the known world (v. 8). Paul is writing to Christians, but he says to them: I want to preach the gospel to you.
If you ask the average Christian what the gospel is they would tell you that it is the new birth. It is the message that if you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ then you will be born again and you will go to heaven when you die. Now I am not against that message – it is the most important message you can preach to a sinner. If I was standing in front of a crowd of sinners, my message would be the new birth. But preaching the new birth to a group of Christians is foolish – I believe the phrase is teaching Granny to suck eggs.
But if Paul’s desire was to stand in front of a group of people who were Christians – and not just any Christians, people who were world famous for their faith in Christ – and preach the gospel then I would have to conclude one of two things:
1. Paul was foolish. He enjoyed wasting his time.
2. What Paul meant by the phrase “the gospel” was not what we mean when we say “the gospel”.
Guess which one I choose. So the question is what does Paul mean by the gospel. Thankfully, Paul tells us what he means and defines it. In verses 16-17, Paul sums up the whole message of the book of Romans, and the gospel of Jesus Christ:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Here are the same verses from the New Living Translation:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
The gospel has two elements and it is vital we know and preach both elements. The first element is that the gospel is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes. Now this includes the new birth, but is so much more than the new birth.
The Greek word salvation is soteria. If you look it up in Strong’s it says this:
1) deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation
a) deliverance from the molestation of enemies
b) in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation
1) of Messianic salvation
2) salvation as the present possession of all true Christians
3) future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.
Salvation includes: deliverance, preservation and safety. The word is used in the gospels repeatedly to refer to physical healings. Strong’s tells us that it is the sum of benefits and blessings which Christians will enjoy after the return of Christ. I disagree with that: I believe we can enjoy the benefits of salvation now. He heals now, He protects us now, He preserves us now. He provides our every need now. Paul tells us the power is available to those who believe, not those who die!
Christians know about the new birth (some don’t – they have had the experience but could not explain it or share what happened to another, and they need to be taught the new birth), but many Christians are not aware of the power of the gospel. The good news is that Jesus Christ has not just covered up our sins and let us enter heaven one day some time when we die, but that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3.13) and that the blessing of Abraham is now on us. We are redeemed from sin, from sickness and from poverty. The gospel includes the new birth, but it also includes healing, prosperity, deliverance, protection and soundness.
We often think that God heals the sick because of some sort of divine fiat. He looks down from heaven at all the sick people, holds a giant heavenly lottery and someone wins the healing. We would never use those words, but we use phrases like “You never know what God is going to do”. It is the same sentiment, just wrapped up in religious language.
Now we find out from Paul that healing is in the gospel. It is the power of God for all who believe. No wonder Paul wanted to get in front of the church in Rome, he wanted to tell them that Jesus bore their sicknesses, that Jesus redeemed them from the curse of poverty, that Jesus will never leave them, that the blessing of Abraham is theirs, that they can hear the voice of the Lord speak to them, that they are priests and kings before the Lord Jehovah.
Paul wanted to see the miracles of healing, of provision, of emotional deliverance that would happen when the Roman church realizes the power of the gospel.
I could spent several posts dealing with the nature of the gospel – one of the key things about the gospel is that it is good news. It is news. If you watch the news on the TV or read it in a paper you will realize that it is always events that have happened in the past. The news does not predict the future. The weather forecast predicts the future and can be – and often is – completely wrong. The gospel is not the good forecast, it is the good news. You need to know that your salvation, your healing, your prosperity have aleady been accomplished. And the power is available to you as soon as you believe it. It is an event that has past – the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your healing is not a forecast of what might happen it is a revelation of what has happened – by His stripes, you WERE healed (1 Peter 2.24). If you were healed, then you are healed – so don’t doubt and do without, believe and receive!
If this was all the gospel was that would be enough: the power of God for your soundness, deliverance, prosperity, healing and preservation and for the soundness and salvation of all who believe.
But it is more! Paul tells us that in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. And this is the theme of the book of Romans: the righteousness of God is revealed.
Now if you look at the armour of God as outlined in Ephesians 6, you will find that we have a helmet of salvation. Helmets cover your head. Knowing about salvation affects your mind – it affects how you think. But many, many Christians know they are born again, know they are healed by the stripes of Jesus, know that God supplies their every need. But even with this knowledge, they still feel defeated, feel guilty, feel ashamed. But the Bible also tells us we have a breastplate of righteousness. Breastplates cover the heart. If we truly understand the message of righteousness, our heart will be protected and our feelings will be protected. Knowing the message of righteousness makes it easy to live by faith. That is why the message is so important.
I have penned a great deal so far. I wanted to run through Romans, but maybe I will be walking through at a slower speed than I first imagined. In the next post I will cover Romans 1.18-32 and explain the key message of Romans 1: the nations are unrighteous and they have no excuse for their unrighteousness. As we run or walk through Romans, we will find how righteousness is obtained, and the benefits it offers us. If you follow us through, your heart will be protected from every attack and you will walk in a new level of peace, joy, health, wealth and soundness.
We frequently use the familiar term, gospel, or good news. Where is the first place it appears in the Bible? The answer may surprise you.
An Integrated Message
The great discovery is that the Bible is a message system: it’s not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years, the Bible is an integrated whole which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail.
The Jewish rabbis have a quaint way of expressing this very idea: they say that they will not understand the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. But when He comes, He will not only interpret each of the passages for us, He will interpret the very words; He will even interpret the very letters themselves; in fact, He will even interpret the spaces between the letters!
When I first heard this, I simply dismissed this as a colorful exaggeration. Until I reread Matthew 5:17 and 18:
“Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah and the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
(A jot and tittle are the Hebrew equivalent of our dotting an i and the crossing of a t.)
A remarkable example of this can be glimpsed in Genesis Chapter 5, where we have the genealogy of Adam through Noah. This is one of those chapters which we often tend to skim over quickly as we pass through Genesis it’s simply a genealogy from Adam to Noah.
But God always rewards the diligent student. Let’s examine this chapter more closely.
In our Bible, we read the Hebrew names. What do these names mean in English?
A Study of Original Roots
The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since a direct translation is often not readily available. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.
(A caveat: many study aids, such as a conventional lexicon, can prove rather superficial when dealing with proper nouns. Furthermore, views concerning the meanings of original roots are not free of controversy and variant readings.)
Let’s take an example.
The Flood Judgment
Methuselah comes from muth, a root that means “death”;1 and from shalach, which means to bring, or to send forth. The name Methuselah means, “his death shall bring”.2
Methuselah’s father was given a prophecy of the coming Great Flood, and was apparently told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be brought or sent forth.
(Can you imagine raising a kid like that? Every time the boy caught a cold, the entire neighborhood must have panicked!)
And, indeed, the year that Methuselah died, the flood came.3
It is interesting that Methuselah’s life, in effect, was a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood.
Therefore, it is fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, speaking of the extensiveness of God’s mercy.
The Other Names
If there is such significance in Methuselah’s name, let’s examine the other names to see what may lie behind them.
Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.
Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”4
Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.5
Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)
Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.6
We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.
Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.
Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.7
Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement. He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ (although it is quoted in the Book of Jude in the New Testament):
Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against.”
Jude 14, 15
Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.8 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came.
Enoch, of course, never died: he was translated 9 (or, if you’ll excuse the expression, raptured ). That’s how Methuselah can be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father!
Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.
(This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.10)
Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham, to bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.
The Composite List
Now let’s put it all together:
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The Despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.
That’s rather remarkable:
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.
Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!
(You will never convince me that a group of Jewish rabbis conspired to hide the Christian Gospel right here in a genealogy within their venerated Torah!)
Evidence of Design
The implications of this discovery are more wide spread than is evident at first glance.
It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is a love story, written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.
The Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. Every number, every place name, every detail every jot and tittle is there for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement. Truly, our God is an awesome God.
It is astonishing to discover how many Biblical controversies seem to evaporate if one simply recognized the unity the integrity of these 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years.
It is remarkable how many subtle discoveries lie behind the little details of the text. Some of these become immediately obvious with a little study; some are more technical and require special helps.
As we Run through Romans in the next few weeks, one of the key questions that we will be examining in detail is: how can someone be righteous before God?
However, this question immediately brings a question: what is righteousness?
The Greek word generally translated righteousness is dikaiosynē (pronounced die-kai-o-soon-ey) and Strong’s dictionary tells us it means:
“the condition of being acceptable to God”
This is a brilliant definition of righteousness: if you are righteous, then you are in a condition acceptable to God. You could say it like this: if you are righteous then God accepts you. God only accepts righteous people. He rejects unrighteous people. Righteous people enjoy heaven on earth and go to heaven when they die. Unrighteous people endure hell on earth and go to hell when they die.
The word righteous is a religious cliche in many churches. A cliche is simply a word or phrase that people use without thinking, that does not make an impact on someone’s thinking or emotions. Sometimes it is good to use synonyms for cliches to help us appreciate their meaning.
The word righteous means right with God. It means you are totally accepted by God. It means you are treated by God as if you have never sinned, as if you are totally innocent. It means you can stand in the presence of God without fear or without shame, it means you can stand in the presence of Jesus without any sense of inferiority or lack. It means you can stand in the presence of the devil and every demon without any fear, without any sense of defeat or despair. It means God accepts you.
A righteous person prays and it happens (James 5), a righteous person is as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28.1), the righteous are blessed by God (Psalm 5.12), the Lord looks on the righteous and He listens to their prayers (Psalm 34.15), righteous people are glad (Psalm 64.10), the righteous flourish (Psalm 72.7), his work leads to life and fruitfulness (Proverbs 10.16), the righteous shall never be removed (Proverbs 10.30), the righteous are delivered out of trouble (Proverbs 11.18), in the house of the righteous is much treasure (Proverbs 15.6).
The righteous enjoy heaven on earth and when they leave the earth will go to heaven. The unrighteous endure hell on earth and when they leave the earth will go to hell.
Now you realize how important righteousness is – unless you are righteous you will not enjoy heaven on earth or ever enter heaven – now you will hopefully want to pay careful attention as we run through Romans and answer the most important question that can be asked: how can a person be made righteous? The answer is not what religion claims it is.
A couple of people have been asking my opinion of a seeker friendly church. Here are a couple of thoughts:
1. The church is the body of Jesus Christ. It should be Spirit friendly. If the Holy Spirit is not welcome, and manifestations of the Spirit such as tongues, prophecy, words of knowledge, healings and miracles are not allowed in a church there is a serious problem with that church. There is no New Testament church service that was not supernatural. If we as Christians actually renewed our mind with the Word of God, and had great faith, we would see so many signs and wonders we would not need to limit our sermons to 8 minutes, talk about everything but the Bible, and have a play to keep people’s attention.
2. I am not sure what a seeker is. The Word of God is clear: “there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3.11). Everyone on planet earth is either a sinner or a saint. A sinner is someone who is not born again, a saint is someone who is born again.
A church meeting should be saint friendly – it should have powerful worship that lifts and energizes their spirits and causes them to focus on God. Songs should be to Jesus and about Jesus. (I think so many contemporary worship songs have the word “I” in them so many times they are simply not worship.) A church meeting should have a clear and accurate sermon based on the Word that produces and grows faith. And a church meeting should have the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit.
A Christian in the meeting should leave knowing they are stronger, more faithful and more glorious than when they went in.
The church service should not necessarily be sinner “friendly” – a sinner should not necessary feel comfortable in church. They should feel conviction!
However, Christians should be sinner friendly. Jesus was a friend of sinners – a man full of love and joy and peace who showed unconditional grace to everyone and anyone and sinners loved him. And they hung around him. And they didn’t stay sinners for long! They repented, they put their faith in God and they joined the saint crowd. As a Christian that is what your life should be like – love people and preach the good news to them and watch them become Christians. And you need to be in a church that pushes and pulls you in that direction not one that is a drama and a 8 minute homily!
The church service should build up the church (see Eph. 4.11ff) and the saints should then go into all the world and preach the gospel to sinners.
There is no such thing as a seeker, so Biblically seeker-friendly is an inappropriate phrase. I am always cautious if everything in a church is lukewarm and if there are no manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
I hope this helps anyone who is thinking about this topic. Any questions or comments please leave below. I will answer all comments,