Friday, December 23, 2011
Set in the middle of Judges, most likely around the beginning of Judges 10, the Book of Ruth contains amazing prophecies for Christ and that his church would be larger than just Israel. The most obvious link to Jesus in this book is that Ruth is Jesus' great-grandmother several generations removed, and also a Gentile (Matthew 1:5). Her assimilation into not just Israel, but the salvation of God, looks forward to a time when Jesus would say, "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." (John 10:16)
Other important themes are the rigidness to the law (Ruth 4:4), the caring for the poor (Ruth 2:7), and the price paid for a bride who was in servitude (Ruth 4:10, 1 Corinthians 7:23).
But the main prophecy of Jesus in the book of Ruth is that of Kinsmen Redeemer. This person was able and compelled to purchase a family member out of slavery (Leviticus 25:47-49), to purchase land sold (Leviticus 25:25), and to perpetuate a lineage of a dead brother (Deuteronomy 25:5-6, Ruth 2:20). Boaz is a kinsmen redeemer of Naomi (Ruth's mother-in-law), and also Naomi's dead husband and dead sons, but he is honest that there is a nearer redeemer. In the book, the nearer redeemer waves his right in order for Boaz to be able to be both redeemer and husband to Ruth.
Jesus Christ is our Nearer Kinsmen Redeemer, a brother by our adoption (Romans 8:14-15,29), the God who created us (Colossians 1:15-16), and the one who paid the price for our ransom from slavery (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. – Psalm 31:5
For I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last he will stand upon the earth. – Job 19:25
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The book of Judges is ripe with prophecy for Jesus; he is clearly seen in the humble origins of Gideon (Judges 6:15, John 7:41), questions about the legitimacy of birth like Japheth (Judges 11:2, John 9:29), and, for the first time in this study, in an anti-type, that of Samson.
Jesus is seen most beautifully in this book in his role of turning people back to God. The book of Judges has a running theme, that where there is no king or judge acting for the people, they quickly run off into idolatry. This is seen over and over and over, then a judge is appointed and routes the enemy and turns hearts back to Heaven, and then dies, and it all starts over again, until in the later chapters where no judge is rising, until Samuel comes (but that's another study for another day). The book of Judges is a narrative of straying people being led back to God.
Jesus Christ fulfills this role emphatically perfectly, and even moreso, because he lives forever, there is no occasion for his church to look for, or need, another Saviour.
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:25
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. – Acts 5:31
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Joshua is an especially easy book to see Jesus in, since in Hebrew both are spelled, Jeshua. Joshua is an undeniable type for Jesus, leading his people into the promised land (John 14:6), Moses brought the people close, but the law does not lead to salvation, it only leads to Jesus (Galatians 3:24 KJV; The ESV terribly translates this verse). This is the primary prophecy for Christ in the book of Joshua, though it is certainly not the only prophecy. Jesus is seen in the scarlet cord which protected Rahab from wrath, in the leading of armies to accomplish God's purposes perfectly (Joshua 5:13-15), and once again in the new cities of refuge which provided salvation for lawbreakers.
Joshua as the leader of Israel to lead them into the promised land, both as military leader, and covenant maker (Joshua 24:25), is a beautiful look at Jesus who leads his church into Heaven, and the one who makes a perfect covenant with God for a rebellious people, so that they are saved in spite of their failure to keep the covenant.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. – Psalm 25:5
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. – Hebrews 8:6-7,13
Deuteronomy is a collection of three of Moses' sermons, giving a summary of the history, laws, and covenant of Exodus through Numbers. Jesus is seen in this book as the fulfilment of the law, as the city of refuge which the lawbreaker may flee to for salvation, and in the festivals which point towards atonement with God.
Jesus is most prevalent in Deuteronomy in regards to the blessings derived from keeping the law and the curses which are wrought by breaking the law, whereby he kept the law perfectly and yet faced the curse of lawlessness. Deuteronomy is especially concerned with the consequences of sin and the justice of God. A cursory look at Deuteronomy will crush the sinner under his sin and the enmity that is put between him and God for his transgression, indeed every person who reads Deuteronomy should see that he is under great condemnation for his sins against Heaven.
Jesus Christ came to see that his people will be blessed by obedience, not their obedience, but by his obedience. "The law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them shall live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." – Galatians 3:12-14 (Deuteronomy 21:23)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
Monday, December 19, 2011
Numbers tells of the wanderings of Israel in the desert for forty years; prophecy of Jesus is evident throughout, from Moses being a type of a mediator (Numbers 14:11-20), to salvation through faith (Numbers 21:9, John 3:14-15), to the promised Star and Scepter of Israel (Numbers 24:17).
Jesus Christ is most evident, however, in being an everpresent help to the people of Israel in their wanderings in the desert. He was their guide by day, their light by night, their protection in battle, and their daily provision.
"On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night." – Numbers 9:15-16
"Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." – Matthew 28:20
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The book of Leviticus is exceedingly detailed in giving the laws of God; this is especially important for us because it shows us how holy and righteous God is, that he is intimately concerned with matters of morality and ceremony. He is not a God who can be worshipped in any way, and he is not a God whom can be in fellowship with sin.
For this reason the book of Leviticus is one of the most crushing books of the Bible, it shows mankind how unrighteous they are, and how righteous God is; mankind's sin has made a separation between him and God. This book, while containing viable and useful means for understanding man's role in the Mosaic Covenant, is much more relevant in pointing us to Jesus Christ.
The New Testament tells us that we "have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth" and that Jesus Christ is the "end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 2:20, 10:4) He himself declared, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17)
The Bible tells us that sin is transgression against the law (1 John 3:4), this law is almost exclusively contained in the book of Leviticus, Jesus Christ was impeccable in keeping the law, as the Bible says that Jesus is, "one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) He was baptized for the reason that, "it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." (Matthew 3:15)
In the book of Leviticus we see our Saviour as the perfect fulfillment of the law, fulfilling the conditional parts of the Covenant so that we are found righteous in him, justified in our faith, for as it is written, "the righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)
Exodus picks up where Genesis ends, with Israel falling into slavery to the Egyptians for several hundred years. Their bondage is harsh and with no hope in sight. Exodus describes several events, the calling of Moses, Moses' glimpse of God, the Burning Bush, the Ten Plagues, the Passover Lamb, the Escape from Egypt, the Parting of the Red Sea, Manna from Heaven, Water from a Rock, the Giving of the Law, the Tabernacle details; all of these point at Jesus Christ, but none is the main point of the book.
Jesus Christ is the Redeemer who sets the captives free (Psalm 107:1-3, Luke 4:18-19), who says, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" and "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:32,36)
In Exodus we see a people completely in bondage, without hope without God, but led out of slavery by their God. Jesus Christ is the one who leads the captives free, who calls us out of darkness into his glorious light (1 Peter 2:9).
Genesis describes the Creation Event, the Fall, the Flood, and the Dispersion of mankind, and the calling of Israel. All of these are hugely important parts of the book, but Jesus is seen most clearly in fulfilling the following prophecy,
I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Eve),
__and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
__and you shall bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:15
Throughout Genesis we see this offspring anticipated. Cain is the first expected Messiah, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD", but hope in him is dashed when he murders his brother. Seth comes into the world with such a declaration, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him." Seth, in time, proved not to be the Messiah either (Genesis 5:8).
Throughout Genesis it continues:
Esau, Jacob? No and no.
Joseph? Nearly, but no.
Luke shows this expectation in his gospel by taking us straight up the lineage of Jesus to Adam (Luke 3:23-38); Jesus is the promised offspring, the perfect Son of Man, who crushed the head of Satan by the power of his Resurrection.
"Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the Accuser of our brothers has been thrown down..." – Revelation 12:10
Of himself, he gave this study, "he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:27)
An American POW during World-War II gave this testimony, "Chapter after chapter gripped my heart. In due time I came to the books of the prophets, and found that their every writing seemed focused on a divine Redeemer from sin, one who was to be sent from heaven to be born in the form of a human babe." - Jacob DeShazer
This series then will strive to give a brief summary of Christ from the 39 books of the Old Testament; my intention is not to find Jesus in every corner of every book, because in some books, like Zechariah, Jesus is priest, king, conqueror, shepherd, and temple; my intention will be to give the clearest and most definite prophecy for Jesus Christ from each book, in an easy and memorable way, that you, dear reader, will be able to see Christ in every book of the Old Testament.
This entry will be the table of context for these. I intend to post at least one a day, sometimes more. This table of contents will provide for a simple summary of each post:
1. Genesis - The Promised Offspring of Eve
2. Exodus - The Redeemer from Slavery
3. Leviticus - The Fulfillment of the Law
4. Numbers - God With Us
5. Deuteronomy - A Curse for Us
6. Joshua - Our Leader into the Promised Land
7. Judges - To Turn us to God
8. Ruth - A Nearer Kinsmen Redeemer
9. 1 Samuel - The King Chosen by God
Friday, December 16, 2011
Sinner, you know also (Psalm 94:8-9), take the expiration of Hitchens as your warning to stop suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18), it is NOT a matter of evidence, it never was and it never will be (Psalm 10:4), you cannot make your Creator go away by pretending he doesn't exist (Psalm 2:4-5).
Jesus Christ is your Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). The question then is, Is he your Lord and Saviour, or your Lord and Executioner? (John 10:27-28, Hebrews 10:31)
I bid you, as does Christopher Hitchens at this very moment, most likely from the very torment he warns against, "Flee from the wrath to come!" (Luke 16:27-28)
Far in the deep where darkness dwells,
The land of horror and despair,
Justice has built a dismal hell,
And laid her stores of vengeance there.
Tremble, my soul, and kiss the Son;
Sinners, obey the Saviour's call;
Else your damnation hastens on,
And hell gapes wide to wait your fall. - Isaac Watts
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Between Christians it is possible to have two entirely different views on a matter of conscience, especially concerning things that one believer may have a past in. The prime example in scripture is food which was prepared as an offering to a false god. Some believers believe this food is a sin to consume, while others see no sin. The law says it is not sin, and therefore neither the one who abstains nor the one who partakes are sinning. Scripture is clear that someone MUST not go against their conscience and be careful not to go against the conscience of their brother (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).
Christmas is a prime target for this sort of matter of conscience discussion. Some see Christmas as sinful, while others see no sin. The scripture calls for the one who abstains and the one who partakes to be fully convinced as to their position. As my last post addressed, some (most) who abstain do so from utterly fallacious arguments, and these should be addressed, as God absolutely forbade Peter from calling any food unclean since God had made them clean (Acts 10:14-16).
This post will address several parts of Christmas which are lawful and logical reasons for abstaining from Christmas altogether. As my previous post attests, I love Christmas, but I willfully and completely abstain from the following parts of Christmas.
On the shopping-day following Thanksgiving, commonly called “Black Friday”, we were blessed to hand out over 2,000 gospel tracts to people who willingly stayed up all night, or arose very early in the morning, to patronize various businesses. Several times throughout the eight hours we were active in evangelism, I looked on the crowd and was overwhelmed by the insatiability of it all; that the crowds were longer than last year, and that the same people would be in the line again next year, and were buying and selling only because of the season.
I find no way in this exercise in greed to honor Christ; this holiday should not be about things or shopping or debt. The Bible says that the borrower becomes slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), and that we ought not store up our treasures here on earth (Matthew 6:19-20, 32-33), since we can only serve materialism or Jesus, it is absolutely impossible to serve both (Matthew 6:24).
On Black-Friday a man asked what the card I gave him was, I said, “It’s a gospel tract.” He said, “I’d rather have a TV.” It provided the subject of my open air sermon for that store where I preached that our greatest need is not televisions, iPads, or money, it is salvation from sin; things of this world are transient, we must seek the one who is immutable.
But then one may say, “But the things I go into debt for are to make others happy.” The idea that you can justify one sin with its positive outcome is probably my least favorite part of the Christmas season. Many become Machiavellians (the ends justify the means, even if the means are deplorable) during the Christmas season; people were shot and pepper-sprayed this year during shopping, last year people were trampled to death; yet the long-lines and great deals justify the violence and greed in the minds of many.
But worse than the unlawful justification is the idea that the ends are good; is going into debt in order to shower someone with presents on one day the loving and good thing to do? Isn’t it more loving and affectionate to teach children the principles that will lead to a joyfilled, fulfilling, sustainable, responsible life?
If you love someone, show them that more than one day a year, and not because the traditions of that day expect you to. Christians ought to be celebrating the Advent of their King every day of the year, remembering and honoring his humility and lovingkindness daily by loving their neighbors daily as themselves. One day of gift-giving does not make up for a year of absent charity.
Exchanging of Gifts
Let me be absolutely clear, I am not against gift giving; it is a viable and often excellent means of telling someone that you care about them. Consider, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16), “Christ loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). We see in Matthew 2:11 that gifts were given to the Lord Christ as he entered human existence.
What I am against is the compulsive giving of ‘gifts’, which is why I am against the exchange of gifts.
Beloved, if you are only getting someone something because you know they are going to get you something, your tradition is one I despise. You’ve entered into a complicated and unrewarding system of barter, one that quenches love and cheapens the definition of love. Give out of your abundance, and do so for affection, not because you are paying someone back. Remember, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Depending on which tradition of Santa Claus you follow, there may be something redeemable in this character, but as he is celebrated by most today, I reject him totally. Santa Claus has become an antichrist, a false idol, with many of the attributes of God. He is omniscient, all knowing (he knows when you’ve been bad or good), he is omnipresent, present everywhere (he sees you when you’re sleeping), and he is set up as the judge of goodness, rewarding niceness with presents and naughtiness with disappointment.
Even his name is blasphemous, Santa, directly derived from the German “Sinter” which means “Saint”, or Christian. But if that weren’t bad enough, he even shares a name with Jesus. When Martin Luther was trying to wrestle the focus of Christmas from Saint Nicolaus, he pointed at the “Christkindle”, or Christ-Child, as the purpose of Christmas. Today if you ask most people who Kris Kringle is, you will be told that he is Santa Claus.
The Santa myth is one with absolutely no redeeming traits. He steals children’s affections from their parents, he takes the credit for presents he didn't give, he provides a convenient lie which sounds suspiciously like the truth of Christ, and his overemphasis during the Christmas season drags the affections away from the one they should be on, which is the Christ who gives the ultimate and everlasting gift of life.
Some of the all time best hymns were written for Christmas. The best hymns focus both on Christ’s humility in being born a baby, and his saving work on Calvary. Consider from “Joy Has Dawned”, which is an archetypal great Christmas song:
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story:
Gold—a King is born today,
Incense—God is with us,
Myrrh—His death will make a way,
And by His blood He'll win us.
Son of Adam, Son of Heaven,
Given as a ransom;
Reconciling God and man,
Christ, our mighty champion!
O What a Savior! O What a Friend!
What a glorious mystery!
Once a babe in Bethlehem,
Now the Lord of history.
But the part of Christmas music that I loathe are the ones that have absolutely nothing to do with Christ’s nativity or purpose of his advent, but rather focus on consumerism, joy without purpose, fleeting pleasure, and/or Santa Claus. I am utterly torn on heathens singing Christmas songs, because as we looked at earlier, the unbeliever cannot be pleasing to God (compare Isaiah 64:6), but I rejoice that they hear the gospel in the songs they are singing.
Granted, there is a place for secular music that is just fun, but when it claims to celebrate the birth of Christ I take an offense. I’ll sing “Winter Wonderland” or “Jingle Bell Rock” with you, provided we’re not doing so in church or listening to a “Christian” radio station, but we must keep it distinctly separate from any semblance of Christ worship, except to recognize that we are free to love life and fun and even silliness on occasion.
There is a call for every believer to be fully convinced why they are doing something or abstaining from something. I am fully convinced that most of Christmas is God glorifying and a valid means of honoring the Christ who is celebrated; I abstain from the consumerism, gift-bartering, Santa Claus myth, and bad music. But, I fully understand how someone could abstain completely from Christmas due to the debacle that it has been turned into by these traditions.
However you celebrate your Saviour, honoring him in your life, I pray that he will give to each of us a more tender conscience, one that is fully convinced we are living for eternity, one that hates sin and loves righteousness, that loves people and recognizes that stuff is perishable. Beloved, if you are convinced that any of these can be used to honor Christ, then by all means tell me, or if all of Christmas offends you, let us bear together, and may the God of endurance and encouragement grant us to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).
I feel that we can do so through Christmas, and so I once again echo the sentiments of the hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, that even though so many have defaced Christmas, it is still a viable and wonderful celebration of the Lord of History.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O Tidings of Comfort and Joy,
Comfort and Joy,
O Tidings of Comfort and Joy.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
First of all, we must recognize that we are not living in sixth century BC Babylon, or seventh century AD Saxony, or first century Corinth, or any other place and age where paganism is indigenous. We live in "Post-Christian America", the verse that sums up this country the best is that they, "have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power." (2 Timothy 3:5) Raised under a Judeo/Christian system of law, no-one this Christmas season in America will be bowing down to trees or expecting that their yule log is anything more than a log, and definitely not a means of grace. I've asked thousands of people why they think they are going to Heaven, and I've gotten some outrageous answers, but not a single wrong answer has remotely dealt with observing Christmas or anything to do with Christmas.
Second of all, my friend Willem pointed out that the antiChristmas sentiments are taking on a definitive KJVO feel, chasing after every manner of myth that remotely supports their position. Everytime I've logged onto Facebook over the past week it's like I'm reading a Gail Riplinger novel...Strawmen seem to be the order of the day, ridiculous caricatures of facts are presented that are easily knocked down, the truth stands against the arguments. I'll leave the name out, because I really respect this pastor, but one pastor set up "Yule" as a Babylonian infant son, only to knock it down with ridiculousness; it sounds legitimate and of course you have to say, "I reject the Yule Log altogether!" But the problem is that it's utterly untrue; Yule means winter in German, I could go deeper into its awesome origins, but I just want to point out that KJVO superstitions are outside of the KJVO controversies, and we must forever be on the lookout for strawmen. Now, I've saved the best superstition for last; did you know that Christmas ends in MASS? It is clearly a celebration of the recrucifixion of Jesus and the Romanists are trying to get us to participate! Ok, let's apply your logic, it ends in Mass, true, which meant festival before it meant recrucifixion, and Christmas was around a lot longer than its name (earlier, Navity, Noel, Advent), but look at what it starts with, "Christ". It doesn't start with Winter, it doesn't start with Babylon, it doesn't start with Solstice, it starts with Christ. Every Papist recrucifixion ceremony is centered around their wrong interpretation of Christ, so ALL masses should be called Christmas, but they're not. The term, Christmas, means "Celebration of Christ", we're loving that God became a man, and dwelt among us.
So what of the date? I'm utterly convinced that my Saviour was born on the Winter Solstice (December 25th on the Roman Calendar, December 21st on the Gregorian Calendar); what better way for the King of Light to explode into the darkness rather than on the darkest day of the year? It's almost like he created it to be so. Were other pagan deities supposedly born on Christmas? Yes, but imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Jesus was born on Christmas. But if he wasn't, then you MUST be celebrating his birth somewhere else, because, beloved, you lose so much doctrine if you refuse to celebrate the Advent of your King. The coming of Christ is spoken of repeatedly in the scriptures, your assignment is to read: John 12:46, Luke 19:10, John 18:37-38, Galatians 4:4-5, Luke 5:32, John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 8:9, and especially Philippians 2:1-11; this list is not exhaustive, but it will give you a good start; your King is your example, he is King and Creator, yet he HUMBLED himself to pass into the world through his own creation, born in abject poverty in a stable.
The early church labeled Mary the "Theotokos", it's a word that really makes Protestants squirm, but it's not a term that venerates Mary, it's a term that defines Christ, it means, "God-Carrier", it's directly against the Eusebian heresy which said Jesus was born a man and only later became God at his baptism; the church invented the word Theotokos to say that Jesus is God now, was God in the womb, and forever will be God; it's a glorious term and I love it, even if it makes you squirm. This Christmas, you'd better remember that your Saviour is the Eternal God, even if you don't celebrate Christmas. Your God came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45; another Christmas verse).
Christmas really became popular when a terrible heresy was beginning, one we deal with today under the name, "Jehovah's Witnesses", they were originally called Aryans, and they denied the divinity of Christ; they were a major enemy of Christ in the 4th century. In Nicaea, in Turkey, in AD325, it was overwhelmingly agreed upon by the scriptures that Jesus is God the Son; so much so that Santa Claus (Nicolas of Myra, a great saint) punched Arius, the leader of the heretics, in the head. Christmas, or more accurately, the Feast of the Nativity, was a desperately needed festival to combat Aryanism, and another great saint, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, wrote several great hymns to preach Christ in song. The KJVO people in his day were radically against his music, but it's beautiful.
O come, Redeemer of the earth,Speaking of music, it's this time of year that people remember that Calvin advocated the "Regulatory Principle", that if it's not in scripture, we're not doing it. They forget that for the rest of the year they follow Luther's "Normative Principle", if it's not prohibited in scripture and it's useful, we're doing it (do you drive a car or use a computer?).
and manifest thy virgin-birth.
Let every age in wonder fall:
such birth befits the God of all.
Begotten of no human will
but of the Spirit, Thou art still
the Word of God in flesh arrayed,
the promised fruit to man displayed.
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee,
whose advent sets Thy people free,
whom, with the Father, we adore,
and Holy Ghost, for evermore.
Very few of us are, like Calvin, Psalm only singers. The greatest hymns of the Christian faith are Christmas hymns, and the only gospel that most unbelievers are going to get this year are in the hymns. I wish I could make every unbeliever sit down and seriously contemplate the lyrics of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and I rejoice that they are so thoroughly immersed in a gospel presence through song during this season.
Unbelievers undoubtedly associate this season as Christian; for a Christian to attack it is both confusing and destructive. We love that our Saviour put on flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14; another Christmas verse!), and we love that a whole nation is confronted with a God who so loved the world that he gave, as a gift, his only begotten Son (John 3:16, Romans 6:23), so I propose, neigh, demand, that we shine the light of Christ during this season, doing our best to ensure that people do not just honor Christ with their lips, but that they actually participate in his grace and are given a new heart which strives to obey his commands.
But is that what the regulatory principle calls for? Are you still holding to it? Then read John 1 and Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1 and Isaiah 9 and Genesis 3 and see that the birth narrative is a VERY real part of scripture, that Jesus having a birthday is hugely important. Like I said, if you reject the December 21st, 25th, or January 6th birthdates, then just make sure you're preaching that the Messiah came into the world in the most humblest way possible, that he held the universe together even as he was being held as a baby.
Do you celebrate birthdays? Did you know that in a PAGAN culture, they thought that birthdays were arrogant and that only kings were arrogant enough to celebrate their birthdays? Do you live in that culture? I don't. I celebrate the birthdays of the ones I love; a dear sweet lady I know and love is celebrating her birthday right now, and I have such affection in my heart towards her and her family that I am telling you that I love her; later this month, and over the whole of the year, I will do the same for my Bethlehem born Nazarene King. Something major happened 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, it was only important because of what happened thirty-three years later when the King of Glory gave his life as a ransom then defeated death; as John Calvin said, "If the gospel be not preached, Christ is, as it were, buried. Let us stand therefore as witnesses, and do him this honor." Let us celebrate and preach the great events of our Saviour, and their theological implications. There are some hugely important events in scripture which we ought celebrate, but they aren't commanded in scripture.
In the Old Testament there is a command to raise ebenezers, or commemoration stones, to great events. Truly, Christians are only commanded to keep Passover (in the month of Easter), but has the regulatory principle so damaged you that you refuse to raise ebenezers? Jesus went to Hanukkah (John 10), which is not in scripture, and therefore I love to stand by ebenezers and preach the great events that happened there: Christmas, Easter (Passover), Reformation Day, John Calvin's birthday (I love birthdays), Columbus Day, etc. etc. My King breached human history on December 25th, 6BC; I'm going to tell you about it, here I raise my ebenezer.
I love Christmas, I hope you will also.
Messiah born so small, asleep in cattle stall
Come to redeem our fall, nailed to a tree
This tiny, helpless child
Through death would reconcile
The holy God and vile, His grace so free
O come, let us adore. - Sovereign Grace Music
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Click for Article 1 and Article 2
There are a lot of people in this world who are not happy, who are not fulfilled, and who see very little reason to live or purpose for being here. There is one major reason that these things happen, because sin is an affection stealer, it breaks things, it breaks people, relationships, nations, worlds, universes. It is reprehensible and something we should all hate. But we don't; Andrew Fuller put it this way:
Though you be what is called a sinner, yet, if sin were your misfortune, rather than your fault, you might fly for refuge.Our pride blinds our eyes to the effects of sin, because we feel we deserve the pleasure derived from sin, and that after all, when I'm doing it, it's really not that bad. We have no difficulty rationalizing sin, and unfortunately we pay the consequences afterwards.
As a pastor, I am always on the look-out for people who are feeling down and need a kind word, or an encouragement, or intervention. As I watch, I hear comments that really get me down, things like, "I hate drama," or, "I don't like people," or "I wish somebody loved me." It should be no secret to you, dear reader, that I love drama, I love people, and I am so thankful for so many people to love and be loved by, and in all of that, there is only one person to thank, the God and man Christ Jesus, who gives life, and an overabundance of it.
God is using all things for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). All things? Even drama? Even broken relationships? Even, as this article is about to transition into, abortion? All things. Not all things are good, but all things are used for good for the saint. Drama allows us to know each other better, to break our undue trust in mankind, and place it in God. Drama builds character and, thankfully, crushes pride.
Abortion is being used for good, because it is a constant reminder to the saint that the world is evil, and that life is precious, and that sin is abhorrent but the Saviour from sin is magnificent. This year I am thankful for people who love life, who love people, and who love Jesus. I am thankful that they will be ministers of reconciliation tonight to thousands who are crushed under the burden of materialism and the American Dream. I am thankful that God has called so many out of the darkness of hatred and indifference, quickening them in the love of Christ, and that he is using them to reconcile sinners to himself.
I pray that this Thanksgiving you will awake from slumber to hate sin and love life, to abhor the evil but hold fast to the good. 3300 babies lost their lives yesterday, those babies are held safe in the arms of God, for God saves little ones out of pagan places, "Blessed shall he be, [O Babylon], who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!" (Psalm 137:9) But, 3300 mommies and 3300 daddies, 6600 sinners from one sin yesterday, remain dead in their sins and trespasses, the wrath of God abides on them for their sin.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 women have had an abortion in this country, that's 1 out of every 8 people you meet. Abortion is not a victimless crime, it murders the baby and wounds the mother, it robs a nation of citizens, and it blasphemes the name of the one who gives life. But even while we were a nation of murders and accomplices, while sin was utterly our fault, and the wages of sin were ready to be paid out, Jesus Christ in his great love gave himself to save us from this present evil age; while we had an surplus of death, he gave life, and an overabundance of it. In his resurrection he has secured a place in Heaven for everyone who trusts in him, whose faith becomes like a little child.
So, beloved, this thanksgiving, give thanks to the one who gave the free gift of life, then take his saving message out into a dying world who refuse to give thanks for even the breath they steal from their Despot. Show them their danger, show them the anger they have kindled in the Lifegiver, and then show them the cross where love and mercy met, where sin was atoned for and death was crushed by death.
Those who hate God love death; it doesn't take much looking to find people to prove that fact, so take the message of love of life and righteousness to them. One method to do this is by first letting them condemn the actions of Nazi Germany, then showing them they are as guilty as those soldiers, for failing to stand up for the helpless and oppressed. Living Waters has a great movie describing this method, and I hope you'll take time this long weekend to watch it, and send it into the world, for the message of love, hope, and life that it contains is sure to change hearts and minds, and save lives both in this world and the world to come.
Visit their website, and the Pro-Life section of their website
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Click for Article 1 and Article 3
In the 8th century a missionary named Wynfred Boniface breached the darkness of Germany and converted a nation to Christianity. His adventures and exploits, recorded by his biographer, are quite entertaining and edifying.
In one story a young boy runs to Boniface and implores him for help, “Boniface! Boniface! They are going to sacrifice my sister!” Boniface and the boy make haste to the place of sacrifice just in time for Boniface to stop the sacrifice of the fifteen year old vestal virgin by shoving the pagan priest into the nearest tree.
Now, I’m all about choice, I think you should have the choice to be a missionary to America or Germany, you have a choice this Thanksgiving of turkey or ham, the choice is yours to eat apple or pumpkin pie, you have the choice to imbibe in alcoholic beverages or not. But I will not advocate choice in all situations, you DO NOT have the legal choice to drink and drive this Thanksgiving. If you do, I hope you get caught and it costs you $20K in legal fees and cab fare over several years.
Because, like Boniface, I am against your choice to put someone in harm’s way because of what you want to do. It’s illegal to drink and drive, but not all dangerous choices are against mans' law. In this country, it is legal to kill someone before they are 9 months old; in pagan Saxony, where Boniface ministered, it was legal to kill someone in their teens if they were specifically prepared for the purpose; I hope you at least cringe at the thought of a girl having her youth cut short because of some pagan tradition. But in Saxon law it was perfectly legal, which is why we should always defer to the higher and more perfect law of God, which is what Boniface did.
I pray you cringe when you think about babies during gestation cut short because of some pagan tradition. God’s law says so clearly, “Thou shalt NOT murder.” When I think of Boniface’s action, I applaud, thankful that he moved quickly and saved a life; and I pray that if I were in a similar situation I would do likewise. But, beloved, Boniface stopped one immoral killing, today in America over 3300 will be immorally ended. We cannot, and even should not (Romans 12:19), shove every pagan priest of convenience into a tree.
So how do we act? After Boniface helped the girl from the altar, he stood atop it and proclaimed Christ to the crowd; he implored them to flee from idols, to recognize that a sacrifice has been made once for all that saves from death, that Jesus Christ is the righteous given for the unrighteous. When that town was converted, not a single other sacrifice needed to be stopped, because a converted person will not offer their children on the altar of any god, but will love and cherish them (Psalm 127).
We must act by ensuring we preach Christ, that we strive to turn a child-sacrificing nation from idols to the Living God. One way (among many) that you can do this is by watching the 180 Movie and sharing it with everyone you know. Take the world's idols, not their priests, and crush those idols with the truth, and implore them to love the one who gave his life as a ransom for every manner of sin, even the sin of murdering a child. Beloved, be bold, don't worry about what the crowd thinks, think of the little girl on the altar, and act in her behalf while she doesn't have a choice.
Visit their website and the Pro-Choice section of their website
Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us neither be dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers, nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead, where the battle rages, let us find ourselves. Run towards the roar of the lion! Run towards the roar of battle! That is where Christ’s most glorious victories shall be won.
– Boniface, Missionary to the Germanic tribes AD672-754
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Click for Article 2 and Article 3
Anyone who has made anything more than a cursory study of the Old Testament has noticed that there are markers for how bad sin has gotten in Israel. For example, when the king has set up altars for strange gods (1 Kings 3:3), or when false prophets beat the true prophets (Jeremiah 20:2), or both (1 Kings 22:24), you know it has to be bad in Israel. Another marker that cannot be missed is when things get bad in Israel, the children suffer mightily (2 Kings 6:28-29, Deuteronomy 28:53).
But without a doubt, the worst marker of rebellion in the Old Testament is a nation that sacrifices its children to false gods. During the Babylonian exile, an exile in which God is punishing Israel’s heinous sins, here is one indictment against them,
And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? - Ezekiel 16:20-21In the history of the world, there are no lack of cultures that have practiced child sacrifice for cheap reasons. The Aztecs sacrificed children in hopes that their tears would bring rain, the Moabites sacrificed sons to earn favor in battle, the Inca sacrificed children to end famines, the Pawnee sacrificed girls to appease one of their god’s anger, and the Phoenicians sacrificed babies in return for monetary blessings. This is only a smattering of examples from all over the globe, and in places like China and Uganda child sacrifice is still a horrifying and real means of infant mortality.
It is a tremendous indictment on a nation when God gives them over to child sacrifice. No reason is legitimate, but the worst reason for murdering a baby is for convenience. Are sexual sins such a prize that a child should be offered in order to ensure they can continue? Is the death of a child a means for covering the sin of rape? In a nation that thinks it has evolved past the barbarism of the past, the blood of fifty-million cries out in witness to the stolid nature of mankind’s love of sin and self-interest, and indicts to the hatred of life and willingness to murder others to perpetuate contemptible crimes against God and humanity for the fleeting pleasure of sexual deviance.
Child sacrifice is the marker of a reprobate nation. The souls of its inhabitants are the cost, for God punishes nations in time, but individuals in eternity. Heaven and earth bear witness to our sins, therefore repent towards God, life and death are set before you, therefore choose life that you AND your offspring may have life (Deuteronomy 30). There is no fortune in sacrificing your children (for they cannot cover their own sins, let alone yours), but if you return to the Lord your God, he has made an atonement in the WILLING sacrifice of his Son for sin, then he promises to restore fortunes and give mercy.
But, America, if you continue in the curse, your sacrificed children will see Heaven, but you will face the wrath of a God who hates baby-sacrificers and who will ensure they be adequately punished for offering his sons and daughters as sacrifice. They cry out today against you, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10) As of now, God says, “Wait a little longer.” But today is the day of repentance, turn from sexual sin to the Living God, repent of idols and self-interest, and worship the God who gives life and mercy, his Son is your only hope.
Visit their website and read an amazing story of a near abortion
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Evangelist: What do you think happens when someone dies?
Person: (potential answers) Heaven or Hell / Reincarnation / Nothing / Whatever you believe.
Evangelist: If Heaven is real, do you think you're going?
Person: I hope so / Yes / Maybe. (Proverbs 20:6)
Evangelist: Ok, imagine you die tonight, (crazy unlikely scenario, ie. This building falls on us; you get hit in the head by an errant football; you get run over by a bus; etc.) and you stand before God at the gates of Heaven and he asks, "Why should I let you in?" How are you going to answer?
Note: This is not at all a scenario found in the Bible, God will never ask this, but it gets the person thinking about their own righteousness (Romans 3:19).
Person: Because I've done more good than bad / because I'm a good person / because I love God / Because I do things (church, charity) / because I'm saved
Evangelist: The Bible says in order to go to Heaven you have to keep the law (Galatians 5:3, Matthew 5:48), which is found in the first five books of the Bible, in fact there are 613 of them, and they can be summed up in 10 Commandments, and even further, Jesus says they can be summed up in two: Love God, and Love Your Neighbor (Matthew 22:38-40); have you loved God and people?
Alternate: even further, Jesus says the law is summed up in one sentence, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12) Have you done that?
Person: (confidently) Yes.
Evangelist: Ok, I'm going to give you a short test to see how loving you've been. First question, have you ever lied to anyone?
Evangelist: Is it loving to lie to people? Would you like it people lied to you?
Note: I do my best not to argue discretion here, if the person wants to say the loving thing was to lie, I ask if they've ever purposefully told a lie that lifted them up and put someone else down. Almost always the person will say yes.
Evangelist: Have you ever stolen from someone? Regardless of value: music on the internet, something from a brother or sister?
Evangelist: Is it loving to steal from someone who worked hard for something?
Note: At this point their countenance almost always starts to change as they are convicted, do your best to not accuse, but continue asking questions.
Evangelist: Have you ever murdered anyone?
Person: (Laughingly/Relieved) No!
Evangelist: Would you agree it's not at all loving to murder someone?
Evangelist: Listen to what Jesus said: If you hate someone or call them an idiot or a curse word, you're in danger of judgment as a murderer. (Matthew 5:21-22) Have you ever done that?
Alternate: Use Matthew 5:27-28.
Evangelist: So that's three questions regarding people, and just like me, you haven't done very well. Let's look at a question about the love God part: Have you ever taken God's name in vain?
Evangelist: That is pretty serious, it's called blasphemy. The Bible says the reason we do that is to set our mouths against Heaven (Psalm 73:9), to declare war on the God who made us (Psalm 139:20). The Bible says we are at war with God in our minds (Colossians 1:21), so we take his blessed name and turn it into a curse word (Psalm 102:8). I've done that too. So we haven't done very well in either the love God or love people categories, have we?
Evangelist: So, if that is the requirement for Heaven, keeping in mind that we've only gone over four of 613 laws, do you think God will let you into Heaven?
Person: No / Probably not by that standard.
Evangelist: Actually the Bible says some really harsh things, it says that all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8), it says no thief, no blasphemer, no murderer (and/or adulterer) will have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Most people set their hope on their love, but in fact we've all sinned and fallen far short of the glory of God. Does it concern you that if you died tonight you'd be judged guilty as a lawbreaker?
Person: Yes / Definitely / A little bit.
Evangelist: It concerns me too, which is why I'm talking to you, the Bible says the loving thing to do is to go out and compel others to flee from the wrath to come (Jude 22-23, 2 Corinthians 5:11-15). The bad news is that we've failed miserably at keeping the law, even in its most basic summation of loving God and loving people, but the good news is that we have a loving God who has done the most amazing thing to provide a way of escape from his judgment. Do you know what he did?
Person: Sent his Son / Gave his Son / Died for us / I don't know.
Evangelist: God, in the great love by which he loved us, gave his Son, Jesus Christ, who is God the Son. He was born of the Virgin Mary, he became God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He lived a perfect sinless life, tempted in every way we've been tempted, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He reacted perfectly in every situation, always doing the most loving thing for people, which sometimes is correction, he said, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline." (Revelation 3:19) He also said, "Love hath no greater man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) In the most amazing act of love, Jesus Christ gave up his life to die on a cross bearing the wrath of God for you (Isaiah 53:10). It was the great exchange, he who knew no sin became sin for us, so that may become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus lived the most perfect loving life, but died as though he had lived our self-centered life, so that we can inherit his righteousness.
Three days later Jesus defeated death, for he had said that one reason his Father loved him was for his obedience, because he would lay down his life and take it back up again (John 10:17). His resurrection proved he was exactly who he said he was: God in the flesh, he proved his payment was accepted by his Father, and he proved that he in no wise will cast out anyone who draws near to God through him (Romans 4:24-25).
It was not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be the propitiation, the atonement, the satisfaction, for our sins (1 John 4:10). What is required of you to partake in the love of God in Jesus Christ is to repent of your sins, turn away from selfishness to God, and then put your full trust in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
The way that this all works out is if we're all in Heaven someday, and somebody, maybe an angel, asks, "How did you get in here?" We're not going to have the faintest inclination to say, "Because I was so amazingly loving!" No, we'll be compelled to say, "Because Jesus Christ is amazingly loving, and he sought me, and he bought me, and to him belongs the honor and power and glory forever and ever." and everyone there will say? Amen. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Do you have a Bible at home?
Person: (Almost always yes; make sure they have a Bible or have access to one on the internet: http://www.biblegateway.com/ or http://www.esvbible.org/)
Evangelist: Good, don't take my word for any of this, though everything I've told you is true. Always trust the Word of God over a man. Open up that Bible and read it for yourself. A great place to start is the Gospel of John, it's been called the "Love Gospel" because it was written to fix a church (Ephesus) that was having some serious love problems (Revelation 2:4). It will really show you how much God loved the world, what he did about it, and what it means for you.
So in conclusion, in order to get to Heaven, you have to be perfectly loving; you won't make it that way. Fortunately, we have a perfectly loving God who gave his life for his church. You must repent and put your trust in Jesus, and in his love he will save you.
Make sense / any questions?
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Good morning, isn’t it a beautiful Wednesday October 31st, Anno Domini 1517? My name, for today, is Reverend Scherer, Augustinian Monk in Wittenburg, electorate of Saxony, Confederation of the Rhine, which is in Deutchland. Something is going to happen today, I fear, for Brother Martin has been complaining of the validity of some of the practices within the Papacy. I share some of his concerns, but he has written 95 charges against the Church and the Pope, surely this will bring great dissension and maybe even cost Brother Martin his life! I mean, a few may start a dialogue, but 95 will start a war!
Let me give you some background. The year is 1517, Anno Domini, which means 1,517 years after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, as estimated by a Scythian Monk named Dennis the Short in AD 525. Throughout this time the Lord has had a church on earth, a representative of his kingdom, an ambassador to the heathen.
This church has had such great saints in it as Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp bishop of Smyrna who remained true to Christ in such great persecution, Augustine of Hippo who wrote that great systematic theology, Nicholas bishop of Myra who stood up to that antichrist Arius who denied Christ as God, Patrick who converted Ireland, Boniface who converted our beloved Germany, Francis who preached directly out of God’s Word in the open air and called men to repent and trust in Jesus Christ, Savonarola who fought corruption within the Church, and Christopher Columbus who has just recently taken the gospel to previously undiscovered heathen lands; time would fail me to tell of all of the great men and women who stood and even died for the one true faith delivered once for all.
But alas, there is great corruption within the Church, just last year John Tetzel came to Wittenberg to sell men tickets to sin, called indulgences! Only a hundred years ago there were two Popes operating in Christendom…at the same time! It is said that there is a prostitute in Rome for every ten men, and some of them even dress as nuns! It is a sad day in the Church, surely something must be done.
I have here a Bible authorized by the Papacy, translated by that godly man Jerome of Stridonium. Beloved, I would that you could read this book, but it is in Latin, and you speak German, and most of you cannot even read that language. I could read it to you, but I am untrained in how to interpret it for you, and the true meaning seems to be veiled to my eyes; from Rome comes the message of which I will preach to you on Sunday, and even then I will deliver this message to you in Latin, a language I hold a masters degree in from Erfurt, but still find difficult to understand.
This Book is God’s Word to us, and the German language is too harsh for us to dare translate it into, lest we blaspheme our Creator. Two men whom the Church leaders hate, Jon Hus and John Wycliffe, did presume to translate this Book into the vernacular, the common language, of the people. Wycliffe into the English language, and though sentenced to death by burning escaped only by natural death, a stroke most likely. Hus into the Bohemian language, and he was burned at the stake for it. Aha, Wycliffe did not escape the fire though, for they burned his bones along with Hus’. Oh how the Church hates these men!!! But…I am not so sure they were in the wrong, for I have been reading this Book in a new light ever since I have been talking to Professor Luther.
Brother Martin asked me to read Romans 1:17, which was strange because my Bible does not have numbers in it, which won’t be added until 1558, but he asked me to read this verse.
Romans 1:17 Iustitia enim Dei in eo revelatur ex fide in fidem sicut scriptum est iustus autem ex fide vivit.
Isn’t that beautiful! How have we missed that until now? It means things that we have not been taught by the Church, it says that our greatest fears are relieved by our amazing God, it sets my heart at ease! It attacks those who say we can buy our way into Heaven, it rejects our Prince’s relics which we look upon to hope for Heaven, and it rejects that wolf Tetzel who comes and steals from our widows and orphans by selling them a license to sin. Oh how I hate that extortioner Tetzel, who uses religious ignorance and our sinners’ heart to deprive us of us sustenance and sends the money to Rome to build that worthless Basilica of St. Peter.
Oh beloved, this verse in Romans is so beautiful; Brother Martin says when he read it a light broke forth over him! He felt that he was instantly born again, and that he entered into the kingdom of paradise through open gates! Oh the beauty of this verse, don’t you agree? What? You don’t understand it! Oh, forgive me, I forgot that you do not speak Latin.
Oh beloved, in order to translate this for you I put my own ordination at risk, I break Roman law not to preach the Word of God in the vernacular of the people! Oh, but is it wise to obey men or God? I must speak that what I have seen and heard of this Christ!
Romans 1:17 Sintemal darin offenbart wird die Gerechtigkeit, die vor Gott gilt, welche kommt aus Glauben in Glauben; wie denn geschrieben steht: "Der Gerechte wird seines Glaubens leben."
Now you must see it! Surely you see it?! No? Oh, we’re not German, we’re only pretending, let us try one more time!
Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."
The righteous shall live by faith! We are not saved by indulgences, or prayers, or offices, or relics, or Sabbaths, or priests, or baptisms, or Church membership, or communion, we are saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, received through faith, for, righteousness is revealed from faith for faith! Beloved, you have no idea how this puts my soul at rest, I had tried so hard to keep the laws of God, but in my body I feel that I am slave to sin, that I have no ability to choose good nor God, and that my sin had utterly separated me from Heaven! But thanks be to Jesus Christ who paid for my sins, who bore my condemnation, who indeed paid it all, and now beloved, all to him I owe.
And now Brother Martin is going to start a theological war with the Papacy, he has detailed how Rome has failed to adhere to the Bible, he has placed the Bible as his sole authority. I would like to take some credit for this, for Brother Martin was once an amazing priest of the Roman Church, a better priest could not be found. He took his ordinances seriously, he spent hours in confession boring the confessional priests with peccadillo, or petty sins, and he became exceedingly angry on that day when he heard me joke in my duties. For you see, when we Roman priests take the bread for communion and lift it in thanks, we are required to say, “Hoc Est Corpus Meum” and declare the bread to be the very body of Jesus Christ, but beloved, in my boredom and God feeling so distant, once I said, “Panis es, et panis manebis,” which is certainly the truth, that “Bread thou is, and bread thou shalt remain.” Dear Brother Martin overhead and became irate, but ever since then he has diligently studied the scriptures and has genuinely become a new man! I wish that I could take credit for his conversion, but I know that all honor and power belong to the Holy Spirit of God.
At this very moment Brother Martin is on his way to nail his list of grievances to the door of the Cathedral where all public announcements are made. Ninety-five grievances, no more, no less, all vehemently attacking the corruption of the Church. Are these Theses perfect? No, by no means, I see a great many errors even in my early reading of the Holy Scriptures, but I have no doubt that Brother Luther will grow much in the following years, that is, if he survives this war he is about to declare. I have no doubt that he will grow greatly in his understanding of the Word, especially as he has confided that he would like to translate the Bible into the German language. But as for these Theses, some are quite good and accurate, I have here a few of his theses which I would like to read,
#1 When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
#21 Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved.
#27 There is no divine authority for preaching that as soon as the coin in the coffer clings, a soul from purgatory springs.
#32 All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
#52 It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.
#62 The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
#82 To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."
These are the statements which Brother Martin has taken to the church. I tried to stop him, asking him if his life and the unity of the Church were worth him making his statement. He replied to me that he sought peace if possible, but truth at all costs.
Today, I see that Martin Luther is birthing a veritable Reformation of the Church! I see that unless God does a mighty work in the hearts of the Papists, we must split and become two churches, one following the truth, and the other a lie. Oh that this division would not have to happen, for many of my friends are loyal to the Papist cause, and it is my fervent hope and prayer to God that they may be saved. But see that there are great distinctions which will grow out of Martin Luther’s call for truth, something which some day may be called the Solas of the Reformation.
Sola Fide – Faith Alone, we see this preached oh so clearly in Romans 1:17, that we are saved not by works plus faith, but by faith alone. We trust in Christ, and it is counted to us as righteousness.
Solo Christo – Christ Alone, that our salvation was accomplished totally by our great God and Saviour on the cross and in his resurrection, not that he opened a way or made it possible for us to be saved, but that he has forever secured for us salvation, if we trust in him. Would someone please read for us Hebrews 10:14, in English, please,
Hebrews 10:14 by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Sola Gracia – Grace Alone, of course we see now that it is not Christ plus our good deeds, but Christ alone that has saved us. Beloved, I have thought on this long and hard, and it seems that we must view grace in light of justice. For justice is when we get what we deserve, and having transgressed the laws of Heaven, what we deserve is the punishment of God. If God were to merely commute our sentence and give us mercy, we would be freed from punishment, but we would still miss Heaven. Here is grace, that what we did not deserve, entrance into the very kingdom of Heaven, God has given us as a free gift, purchased at so great a cost on Calvary’s cross.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone, no-one can or should speak for God apart from his Word, it is how he speaks, it is what he intends for us to know about him. The Archbishop of the Roman Church, known as the Pope, has claimed to be able to speak for God, but we have seen him fail time and time again, and it has become clear to those of us reading our Bibles that the Word is how God speaks to us, not through prayers, not through funny feelings, not through hunches, not through dreams, not (dare I say it) through Popes; but by the very Word of God.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria – Brother Martin has put it so well, The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God. The purpose of our salvation is not primarily for our benefit, it is to exalt our Sovereign Lord, demonstrating the extent of his justice by punishing sin so violently on the cross, and magnifying his grace by giving us the righteousness of his Son freely; truly this is a gospel worthy of all acceptation.
1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
Sola Sacerdos – One of the reasons I became an Augustinian Friar is because of the things which the Papists believe the priest, the Sacerdote, is able to do. For example, you saw earlier that it is believed that I have the power to turn bread into the very body of Christ. The priest in the confessional is able to forgive sins, it is believed, and a priest can turn your money into a pardon for sin in paper form.
The Church, and I myself, have become guilty of Sacerdotalism, of worshipping the priesthood instead of God! It is tragic, beloved, and if what Brother Martin has deduced from the Bible is true, it is just a matter of time before this separation of priests and laity fails and we become a church of Sola Sacerdos, of one priesthood, where there is no distinction in God’s eyes between male and female, slave and free, Jew and Greek, and priest and parishioner.
In a Sacerdotal religion, only priests can approach God to receive grace, but in a religion of priests, everyone can enter into the holiest of places, for Christ has made us a congregation of priests, and now we all can enter into his holiest of places.
Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
This has huge implications for me beloved, for I stand before you in this priests’ frock, a manner for separating me from you and identifying myself as having more grace and favor than you. But if this Christ esteems us all the same and gives to us all of the same privileges, then this outfit means nothing.
These things, beloved, that I have said to you are radical to the Church at Rome, truly I could be defrocked just for saying them, that is ejected from their priesthood, but to reject the tradition of men and be welcomed into the priesthood of Christ is gain, for though it took so long and so much effort to earn this frock, I count it as rubbish compared to the gain I have in Christ, being found in him with a righteousness not my own, but one received through faith, knowing the power of his resurrection. This may mean that I must suffer many things for his name’s sake, but I know that I will be made like him in his death, with a full assurance of partaking in his resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-9)
Beloved, I perceive that in the future as this Reformation of the church continues, the wearing of vestments, of robes, will become a matter of greater and greater contention. Men ordained to the gospel ministry, having read their Bible, will refuse to put on a robe, and some of them will even die for it. Others will attempt to redefine the purpose of this robe, stating that it is to take the emphasis off of the pastor and put the emphasis on the Word. Those that redefine this robe will begin to refer to it as a Geneva Gown, named in honor of the Geneva Reformation which will be sparked in only a few years. Two-hundred years in the future George Whitefield will preach in a robe very similar to this one for 18,000 sermons, calling two entire nations, England and America, to repentance in the Living Christ.
But as for me, beloved, I will be reminded that this Reformation is born in Sola Fide, and it is growing in Sola Scriptura, and these two are vitally important, as are the rest, but if this Reformation survives until Christ returns, it will be sustained in Sola Sacerdos, with every believer knowing that they are a priest of the most high God, Christ our overseer of the church, and these priests will take their duties seriously, knowing the scriptures, and carrying the gospel of grace to all peoples. For beloved, there is great darkness in the world today, even in the Church, but this Reformation will preach under a banner of “Post Tenebras Lux”, that after darkness comes light. This world is set to explode in light, for the Word of God has been revealed. Within fifty years, a man burned in Britain will say to his companion, “Play the man, Ridley, for we this day shall light such a candle in England as I trust shall never be put out.”
In just a few years a new believer, William Tyndale, will translate the Bible into English, and he will say of the Roman priesthood, “A boy behind a plow will know more scripture than you.” He will lose his life, burnt at the stake, for his belief in the priesthood of believers, but his prediction will come true. Brother Martin, starting this war, will spend years in seclusion hidden in a castle as he translates the Old and New Testaments into German, and God will mercifully spare his life and bless his efforts. The printing press, invented less than 100 years ago, will ensure that these Bibles are disseminated, and that gospel tracts containing the glorious gospel of Christ will flood throughout the continent and the British isles.
I represent any number of reformed believers, my name is lost to history, but my labor in the Lord was not in vain. I will remove this robe and preach no longer in Latin, but in the vernacular of the people, for faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of Christ. I will not submit to a man acting vicariously in the place of Christ, but my affections and loyalties will only be to the King of kings. Many whom I represent will be hunted and killed by the Papal Church, but this gospel of Christ will not fail before it accomplishes its purpose, that someone from every nation and tongue will praise the name of Christ for his grace and sacrificial death on the cross.
Beloved, as you hear this message, I implore you first and foremost to be reconciled to God through faith in Christ and Christ alone. Then know your Bible, for it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its content. Men have bled and died so that you can own this Book and read it in English. They have given their lives in the gospel ministry, knowing that any gain apart from Christ is utter rubbish, and that each of us has only one life, and it will soon be past, and only what is done for Christ will last.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The world hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. – Jesus (John 7:7, 15:18)Tuesday was an amazing day in America. Nearly 200,000 copies of the new documentary, 180, were distributed on over 100 campuses in the United States and Canada. Most of these were college campuses, some were high schools. There was not as much opposition as I expected, but there was definitely much. Several police reports were filed, four citations were given, and many people were detained while police checked the legality of the hand-out.
Elsewhere, prayer is banned from public schools and football games, and evangelism is non-existent. As we evangelize at local high-school football games, police make up laws to seek to stop us.
Students were successfully protected from the message of Eternal Life. While we were prohibited from our free-speech rights, students were being taught evolution, homosexual agendas, communism, sports idolatry, sexual lascivious and irresponsibility, a blurring of the judicial/executive branches as police make up laws on the spot, and Islam is lauded as a religion of peace. I regularly preempt fights at football games and seek to witness to both parties involved. The world does its best to protect your children from Jesus Christ. He makes radical demands, so the world is quick to promise freedom, but they don’t admit to you that they are themselves slaves of corruption. They cry out, “Let us throw his laws off of us, ignoring his commands.” But in rejecting the freedom of Christ, they sink into the bondage of sin, and ensure that all around them fall headlong into the mire.
Martin Luther ominously said,
I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.This isn’t just happening in schools, this is happening in churches. Within every denomination, even the orthodox ones, you’ll find people protecting children from Jesus. Within several denominations, the hymnals have been rewritten to remove references to the cross, and especially to blood. Blood is clearly offensive not just to children, but to everyone who should recognize that blood is offensive for a reason, that something is wrong in the universe and death is a constant reality. These denominations (PCUSA, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, etc.) have successfully protected their children from Jesus and forgiveness, for there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, as Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:22, Matthew 26:28)
To be fair, the United Methodist Church has come out against this editing, and I want to applaud them in that regard. They write,
In Wesley hymns, the blood “pleads,” “avails,” “washes,” “purifies,” “saves,” “cleanses” and is “applied.” In the 80 Wesley hymns originally considered for inclusion in the 1989 hymnal, the word “blood” appears 31 times. Twenty-five of the hymns have a clear reference to the atonement. Whether or not blood atonement is taught in the seminaries or preached in the pulpit, it is still sung in the pews.Elsewhere, practically all denominations protect their children from Jesus by retelling Bible stories. The story of Noah’s Ark has become a story of fuzzy animals, not the wrath of God against millions of reprobates or the salvation of a relative few through means provided and prescripted by God. The anathema Veggie Tales have removed death, destruction, wrath, and judgment from the biblical accounts, and have turned sin into a mild inconvenience that might result in you being covered in pie. They do a fantastic job of protecting kids from Jesus by not even mentioning him.
Any means of teaching that removes offense is necessarily against God. False prophets in the Old Testament protected people from Jesus by declaring PEACE, PEACE, when there really was no peace. They appeased the offense, they settled consciences, and the people faced the severe consequences of the wrath of God against their sin.
Undoubtedly one of the people Jesus hates the most are those who preclude the little ones from coming to him. He threatens them explicitly in Matthew 18:6. The danger is great for protecting a child from Jesus. Both the child and the protector will face God as his enemy. The one who stands between men and God will be judged with greater strictness. Jesus cries out to those protecting people from him, “Woe to you! You shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces! You neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in!”
So, reader, wherever you stand in relation to this blog, repent of protecting kids from Jesus. Preach the entire message of the entire Bible, which is that mankind is fallen, God is angry, and something radically drastic was required to appease the wrath of God and reconcile men. The Son of God himself put on a body, because heretofore Jesus was a spirit, and spirits don't have blood, so Jesus put on a body, he lived a perfect life, and he poured out his blood on a cross. He was beaten beyond human recognition, the hatred of men against God was demonstrated on a cross, and the hatred of God against sin was demonstrated on a cross, and Christ bore the indignation of both men and God, giving his life as a ransom, glorifying God in his obedience. Three days later he defeated death, he will deliver everyone who trusts in him from their bodies of death into perfected bodies in Heaven. In Heaven he will wipe away every tear of his saints as death, suffering, and sin become a thing of the past.
You can only protect yourself and others from Christ for so long, for we all have an appointment to meet him. I pray that on that day you meet him as a friend and a Saviour, and not as an enemy and Executioner. If you refuse to come, then stand aside and let evangelists preach the message to those who will, do not stand in the way of the salvation of some-one else.
Come then, ye little children, come to Christ; the Lord Christ shall be your righteousness. Do not stay for other people! If your fathers and mothers will not come to Christ, come without them! Let children lead them, and show them how the Lord may be their righteousness. – George Whitefield
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
But verses 20-21 speak of a Redeemer, a glorious Covenant Maker and Keeper, who saves his people perfectly. The first 19 verses seem so radically contradictory to the last two verses, but that is where grace enters. I want to focus on a single line from Isaiah 59 to make this point:
Their feet run to evil. – Isaiah 59:7One line from one verse, but it is the beginning of an utterly amazing gospel truth. This verse applies to every sinner, it applies to me, it applies to you dear reader, and because of our sinful flight to sin, we are indicted with the rest of mankind for our rebellion against God. If you don’t believe me, turn to Romans 3:15 where this verse is used by the Apostle Paul to demonstrate that you and I are locked under the law.
As if it couldn’t get worse, Proverbs 6:16-19 mirrors this verse,
…the LORD hates…feet that make haste to run to evil…O! Reader! These implications are serious, for our sins we have earned the hatred of God, the wrath of God abides on us. He has declared an utmost hatred for the things our feet have taken us to do. What then, should we blame our appendages for our sins? Jesus says,
If your foot causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. – Matthew 18:8We cannot blame our hands, feet, eyes, or bodies for our sins, for these are but highly complex machines that are operated by our souls. We cannot blame our feet for taking us to sin, because our soul is the culprit for its destinations and its actions, and we will be held accountable. I hope that you see just from this one line in one verse in Isaiah 59 that you fall completely indicted with all of mankind and stand in danger of judgment. To quote Al Mohler, “Everything the Father has against you is true.”
But, beloved, I told you this is the beginning of an amazing gospel truth. Follow me to John 13, the night of the Last Supper, the night before Jesus Christ made his payment on a cross to prove himself the Redeemer spoken of in Isaiah 59:20-21. He gathered a basin of water, knelt down before his disciples, and began to wash their feet; an act of abject humility, of doing the work of a slave, of not being served, but serving, for within a day he would give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” – John 13:6-8O Beloved! Do you see it? Your king has in one act of love atoned for your sins, appeased the wrath of God, and cleansed you from all iniquity. Take a moment to think on your own sins, where have your feet taken you and what have you done there that would have equaled your eternal ruin had it not been for the obedience of your Redeemer to seek and save you? Beloved, now think on your Saviour, think on his feet, at this very moment he is in Heaven making intercession for you, he will stand to welcome you home (Acts 17:55-56), and when he stands, he will stand on feet with the scars of crucifixion forever emblazed as reminders of his faithfulness. Saint, you have heard the lyric, “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King should die for me?” I can scarce hold back tears to add, “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King should wash my feet?”
This is an amazing gospel truth, but let me make it utterly amazing for you,
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!Your Lord and your King looks on your feet, feet that heretofore had been covered in filth and had made haste to fly to sin, and he declares them to be beautiful. Not by anything we’ve done, but because we have a Redeemer who came and walked among us, who washed not only our feet but our hands, head, and soul as well (1 Corinthians 6:11), who took every indictment of Isaiah 59 and declared himself guilty of every charge while declaring us innocent. His hands, his side, and his feet were pierced for our iniquities, but his is the chastisement that has brought us peace in his glorious gospel. His prophet Nahum proclaimed the gospel of the beautiful feet of Jesus this way,
– Romans 10:15
Behold! Upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! – Nahum 1:15Now beloved, with your cleansed, holy, beautiful feet, imitate your Saviour who loved you, humbled himself, and gave himself for you. Walk in the paths of righteousness he has prepared before time for you to walk (Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 23:3), for shoes for your feet put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and stand proclaiming to the nations, “Your God, though he was dead, yet he lives! He reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10:14-16Amazing love, how can it be, that my King would wash my feet?
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This will be a topical look at Christopher Columbus. His day is the 12th of this month and his life has been so ignored and misrepresented that I think it will benefit us all to look into his life.
What is Christopher Columbus famous for? The world will tell you it is for discovering the New World, and that's true, but what he is famous for in Heaven is his devotion to Jesus Christ and desire to see the gospel spread.
Columbus was born in Genoa Italy in 1451, his father was a wool-worker, which Columbus trained to follow, but Columbus wanted to be a sailor. His education is fairly spotty in detail, we do know that he learned Latin because all of the best nautical books were in Latin. Which other great book was in Latin at this time? The Bible. Columbus was put in an interesting privileged position to read the book that most people at his time could not read, and he took it very seriously. On one of his first trips he was in Greece, here was all sorts of political and religious unrest and if I had to put my finger on where Columbus got saved, I'd say it was either in Greece, or because of Greece that he would have looked deeper into his Catholic faith.
Ironically, his first voyage, which was to Greece, was the closest he would ever get to India.
His profession of faith is, "I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous Presence."
He took his name, Christopher, exceedingly literally; this name means "The Christ Bearer" and he made it his life's goal to see Jesus Christ glorified through his life. His last name seems to have some Jewish roots, albeit we're not really sure what it means. Columbus claimed to be able to trace his lineage all the way up to King David. This may seem strange, but it is totally plausible, conservative Jews take lineage very seriously, and while David, Jesus, and subsequently Christopher would have been from the line of Judah, if you ever meet someone from the line of Levi, they can take you straight up the list of their genealogy to Aaron. Paul said don't get caught up in this, but it's neat that people are able to do it.
Columbus shares a similar last name with Columba who was a missionary to Scotland in the sixth century who converted the Picts. I wanted to mention him because with Columbus we're going to be discussing lots of science and the Bible, and Columba has writings about him that he encountered huge lizards, aka dragons, in Scotland. One of them almost ate his friend. Today we call them dinosaurs, and they certainly didn't live millions of years ago, but only recently vanished from the earth.
So, back to Columbus, the Italian. He was a Catholic, but his letters and journals are very biblical and I have very little doubt that he was saved. On the other hand, he went to Spain to try to get funding for a Western expedition to the Indies. The king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, were thoroughly Catholic and almost guaranteed not to be saved. One evidence is that they hated Jews, and they kicked all of the Jews out of Spain, which is ironic because Columbus was a Jew, albeit a Christian Jew.
If you research this, and I always encourage you to look into these things, you'll find some very flattering language to a "Queen" who many Catholics will want you to believe was Mary, but you'll find if you search it in context, that it was about Queen Isabella and her support of Columbus. One reason I feel that Columbus was actually saved is because even though he was a Catholic, he only worshipped and prayed to Jesus Christ and his Father. One of the ships they gave him was the Santa Maria, Saint Mary, but he didn't name her, she was named after her home port, which was called El Puerto de Santa Maria. Various crew members named her various things, the devout Catholics called her Elegant Mary, the heathens called her Dirty Mary, and others called her by the city she was made in, La Gallega. Interestingly, the name of the Santa Clara was changed to the Niña, which means little girl; the captain of this ship's name was Juan Niño, so it was a play on words.
While God can use pagans (Catholics and others) to do amazing things, I'm certain that Columbus disagreed with much of the Catholic faith and held to a more orthodox Christianity, albeit not perfectly orthodox.
In the 1400's, practically no-one believed the world was flat. Text books lie to us, because they hate God and the truth. We're going to talk about that more later. Columbus started to research a different route to China and Indonesia, a straight shot rather than going around Africa; few people believed it was impossible, but most felt that it was way too far to sail. And, if there was no land-mass between Spain and China, it would have been way too far to sail.
Columbus heard of a land possibly to the West so he decided to research it, and he did so both from the Bible, and from secular history. It started off when he heard of a body that was found in Ireland floating across the Atlantic Ocean that was neither black nor white but seemed oriental. At this point, he realized that winds around the equator blew West, and winds farther north blew East, and he felt he could sail West on one and home on the other, no-one purportedly had thought of that before.
In his research he discovered a writing by Diodorus Siculus, a first century BC Greek historian, who recorded that he had heard of a very great island many days journey from Africa. A great scientist and a Catholic named Dr. Mirabilis in the 1200's believed that the sea between Spain and India would be navigable if the winds were right, albeit he never tried it.
Columbus started to search the Bible to see what it said on the matter. He had absolute authority that the world was round,
Isaiah 40:22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in...
Job 26:10 He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.
A circle of light would require a sphere, and so there was no doubt in Columbus', or most people of his day, that the world was round.
I'm fairly certain Columbus' favorite book was Isaiah, he loved and held to the frequent mention of all types of people in all different locations following after the Living God. Columbus felt like he was divinely guided by God to sail West to fulfill a prophecy in Isaiah 60. I don't know exactly how he picked this prophecy, because looking back, I don't know if I would ascribe him to it, but it's very interesting and it very well may be a direct prophecy of Columbus.
Isaiah 60:9 Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.
Where is Tarshish? Tarshish is in Southwestern Spain. Where did Columbus sail from? Spain, specifically Palos, which is very near to where Tarshish was in Jonah's day, albeit they are not exactly the same place so it is dangerous to force this prophecy.
Columbus had seen enough islands in his travels; Ireland, Iceland, the Aegeans, the Azores, the Canaries to believe that there would be islands across the whole ocean until he reached India. He wasn't looking for the land mass that is the Americas, but he fully expected to find islands across the ocean. He also believed that along with the winds, he would have help by ocean currents which were largely unknown of at the time, and this would keep the distance from being too long because the speed of the ships would be faster.
Psalm 8:8 ...passes along the paths of the seas.
Similarly, in the 1800's, a sailor named Matthew Fontaine Maury read this verse and started to map the ocean currents and do more research on them. He is known today as the Father of Oceanography.
No one could accuse Columbus of lack of research, he would write, "I have met and I have had discussions with wise people, ecclesiastics and laymen, Latins and Greeks, Jews and Moors and with many others of other sects. To this I found our Lord very favorable to my desire and I received from Him the spirit of intelligence: in seamanship he made me abundant, of astrology he gave what was needed, and so of geometry and arithmetic and ingeniousness in the soul and hands to draw the sphere..."
Columbus approached the King of Portugal first, and after hearing his proposal, the king turned him down. People thought he was crazy for wanting to try. Columbus would later write/pray, "At this time I both read and studied all kinds of literature: cosmography, histories, chronicles, and philosophy and other arts, to which our Lord opened my mind unmistakably to the fact that it was possible to navigate from here to the Indies, and He evoked in me the will for the execution of it; and with this fire I came to Your Highnesses. All those who heard of my plan disregarded it mockingly and with laughter. All the sciences of which I spoke were of no profit to me nor the authorities in them; only in Your Highness is my faith, and my stay. Who would doubt that this light did not come from the Holy Spirit, anyway as far as I am concerned, which comforted with rays of marvelous clarity and with its Holy and Sacred Scriptures."
So he went to Spain and they were all for his voyage, mainly for evangelization purposes, but also they wanted whichever islands that Columbus might discover. Queen Isabella sought monetary help from the Vatican, stating the purpose of the voyage "To bear the light of Christ west to the heathen undiscovered lands." There was also a lot of money to be made, and certainly that is why some people were all for the expedition.
But, the king and queen couldn't pay for it because Spain was broke fighting a war against Muslim invaders. Columbus was going to head for France to seek financing there, which would mean whichever lands he discovered would belong to France, and also Portugal seemed to be changing their minds and were going to finance Columbus, but before that happened three wealthy Spanish men, all nominally Christian Jews, decided to fund Columbus' exploration for Spain. Ironically, it seems that one of their purposes was to seek a new land in which to evade the Catholic church. It is not clear whether they were born-again Christians, non-Messianic Jews, or atheists, however it happened, their goal was to get away from the Roman church.
So Columbus sailed West to go East. They found no islands for a long time and the crew wanted to give up. Columbus told them three more days and if they hadn't spotted land, they would turn-around; land birds at this time appeared in the distance and spirits were raised. At the end of the second day, October 12th, 1492, they spotted land, an island in the Bahamas. They named it San Salvador, the Sacred Saviour. When they landed they met, after a brief search, a people that looked quite oriental, and so Columbus decided they were in India and named the people Indians. I don't understand how he thought he had sailed all the way, when he was less than half way.
Columbus instantly set out to making friends with the natives, giving them gifts and learning to communicate with them. His first journal entries after landing on October 12th were how important it was for Spain to send missionaries to these people. By November his journaling had changed slightly, he stated that he had begun to try to convert them, and he persuaded six Indians to return to Spain with him to learn Spanish, and possibly to return to their people as missionaries.
I can't sum it up better than Columbus the joy and monumental event that took place when the gospel was introduced to the new world, "Let Christ rejoice upon earth as he does in heaven, to witness the coming salvation of so many people, heretofore given over to perdition."
Columbus is the exact opposite of religious tolerance, he sought a direct route to send missionaries to a people who very much needed Christ. And while much evil came about to the American Indians because of the discovery, many have been saved by Christ and went to Heaven, which they never would have if the New World wasn't discovered. And America wasn't a utopia where everything was peachy. The people that Columbus first met, the Arawak, were in imminent danger from cannibals, the Carib, who were systematically working their way around the Bahamas causing the extinction of whole people groups by eating them.
Likewise, later the Spaniards were able to conquer the Mayans and the Aztecs with very little manpower and violence, even though they were outnumbered by ridiculously huge armies. The reason was because many of the Mayans and Aztecs wouldn't fight for their leaders because their leaders were wicked and violent and made human sacrifices. Columbus did infinite good for the kingdom of God and for souls.
But in terms of tolerance, people hate him. One Indian Chief said of him in 1992, "Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent." So the Columbus they teach about in school, who loved wealth and titles more than anything, is not the Columbus of history who loved Jesus Christ and sought to see souls saved from perdition, Hell, for eternity. Columbus did like money, and sometimes he would go on mini-expeditions just in search of gold and spices. However, he used a great deal of his wealth to fund missionaries not to the New World, but to Jerusalem, and at the end of his life he had very little wealth remaining, but that is how he intended it. On money he would say, "He who has gold makes and accomplishes whatever he wishes in the world, and finally uses it to send souls to paradise."
So what do we learn?
First of all, the Bible is all about science. It is not science versus the Bible, it is science and the Bible versus enemies of God.
Second of all, education is great if you are putting it to action for glorifying God. Trigonometry was reasonably new in Columbus' day, yet without it there is no way he would have been able to find the same islands on his return voyage. Magellan would also use Trigonometry when he sailed around the world.
Third, Columbus used what he was good at to glorify God. He was a great seaman and navigator. It is said that his handwriting was fantastic, so much so that he was offered jobs to be a scribe. He also could have become a wool-worker like his father, but he took what God had made him best at and used it for eternity and the glory of God.
Forth of all, Columbus was a great Christian whose main goal was the evangelization of new people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. He took verses likeMatthew 24:24, 28:19-20, andMark 16:15 literally and seriously.
Fifth of all, tolerance is stupid. Lest people repent and turn to Jesus Christ, they will perish, and we need to be doing the same as Columbus did, seeking to convert everyone we run into, and refusing to compromise on the absolute truth of the scriptures.
Sixth of all, you can do pretty much whatever you want to with your money. The best place to invest it is in the kingdom of Heaven, where you use it to win souls into paradise. This is a running theme in the Bible, that we only have one life, and it will soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last.
Seventh of all, and probably most important, I'll let Columbus sum up, "No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His service."
In conclusion, after it became apparent that what Columbus had discovered was not India or China, but was indeed something quite different, he would sum up his whole life in one pithy statement, "God made me the messenger of the New Heaven and the New Earth."
God has likewise made you a messenger of the New Heaven and the New Earth, for without Christ, souls will perish. Find what you are best at and use it to glorify God in your body and your speech. Preach Christ at every opportunity, and trust in his sovereignty that the works you are walking in were prepared before time began so we rightly represent Christ to all the world, for until the gospel is preached to every nation, the end will not come. We want 1 Peter 2:10 to be true for all people groups.
1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Finally, challenge teachers when they try to teach that Columbus was only in it for wealth, and that people thought he would sail over the edge of the world and die, tell them that is stupid and is willfully being ignorant of the truth.