Thursday, March 28, 2013

The kingdom of Daniel 2

One night, King Nebuchadnezzar had a cryptic dream which baffled his leading dream interpreters. The young man Daniel was the lone one who could unlock its mystery. After relating to Nebuchadnezzar the four world kingdoms which would rise and fall in the future, he concluded the prophecy by saying this: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).

This is a prophecy of the church, but I would like to go a bit farther and see its promise in Daniel and its fulfillment in the New Testament. The first part of the prophecy says it will occur “in the days of these kings,” meaning in the days of the last world empire. This was fulfilled in Roman times. Jesus declared that the “time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:14-15). The second part is “without hands.” This means it would be a spiritual kingdom, which is exactly how Jesus described it to Pilate in John 18:36. The third part is the declaration that it would break and consume kingdoms. John the Baptist illustrated this when he warned about the tree (the nation of Judah) being chopped down (Matthew 3:10). The fourth part boldly says that it will “stand for ever.” Hebrews 12:28 boldly answers that the kingdom of Christ “cannot be moved” (Hebrews 12:28). The fifth and final part was the promise that it would fill the earth (vs. 35). In Colossians 1:23, Paul said that the gospel was “preached to every creature which is under heaven,” fulfilling the prophecy of the dream.

Daniel 2 does not prophesy of a time in the future. It was fulfilled in the days of the Roman Empire, when Jesus walked the earth and taught, and when Peter preached the gospel in Acts 2, opening the doors of that eternal kingdom (Ephesians 3:8-11).

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The kingdom of Isaiah 2

One of the pivotal prophecies of the church in the Old Testament is Isaiah 2:2-4. It says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

I’d like to examine the fulfillment of the significant parts of this prophecy. The first part is the “last days.” This was fulfilled in Matthew 3:1-2 when in “those days” John the Baptist began preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus furthermore said in Mark 9:1 that the fulfillment of the kingdom prophecies was imminent. The second part is the “house” being established. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He would build His church or the “house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15). The third part is the mention of “all nations” The command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 shows that the church is the fulfillment of this part: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The fourth part of the prophecy is the mention of Jerusalem. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He said, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). The fifth and final part of the prophecy is the part about “swords into plowshares.” This was an indication of the peaceful nature of the kingdom to come, a nature which Jesus upheld before Pilate in John 18:36.

The prophecy of Isaiah 2 is not going to be fulfilled in the future. It was fulfilled when Peter preached the gospel in Acts 2 and sinful souls obeyed the pure gospel of Christ.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, March 18, 2013

Salt and pepper

About 50 percent of marriages in America today end in divorce. Broken promises, broken dreams, and broken homes result from this separation between man and woman. This is not what God intended (Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6). God intended that a man and a woman stay together for life through whatever may come their way. Too many give up, complaining about how they just can’t stand to live any longer with their spouse. They refuse to accept and deal with the differences that they have towards one another.

It is true that man and woman are different. Some of those differences people are pleased with, while other differences they are not. Consider for a moment salt and pepper. They are two very different things, yet you always see them together. Salt and pepper compliment one another and would not be the same without the other. So it is with man woman. Even though they have their differences, they must still learn to work together!

Two people, if they follow the Lord are destined for a good life and an even better one to come. If they decide to go their own way and end up in divorce, they will not only displease God, but will wear a scar that will last for a lifetime. Don’t separate the salt and pepper!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cleansed by the word

“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). The idea of being cleansed is connected to salvation because we are clean when our sins are forgiven. These dual ideas of cleansing and forgiveness is demonstrated in Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

As Jesus said, the word cleanses us. Jeremiah 10:23 says that it is not in man to direct his steps. Psalm 19:7 tells us that the word is perfect -- perfect for the process of cleansing and obedience. Therefore, the Bible provides the guide necessary to find cleansing and forgiveness (Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The scriptures also speak of forgiveness in terms of a birth. James 1:18 says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (cf. 1 Peter 1:23). As the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), the word of God possesses tremendous power. It has the power to pierce “even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). That piercing will cause someone to be “pricked in the heart” and realize that they need to wash their sins away (Acts 2:37; 22:16).

The saints who were with Christ were clean and therefore worthy (Revelation 19:8, 14). You can be cleansed and worthy by reading and obeying the precious word of God (Ephesians 5:26).

Kyle Campbell

Monday, March 11, 2013

Underestimating God

In 1 Kings 20:23-30, the Syrians, after having been beaten by the Israelites, thought that God was a God of the hills but not of the valleys. This was an insult to an omnipotent God. Thus, He allowed them to be defeated by a very small army.

Some have a similar view of God today. They say, “God cannot see at night,” so sin is committed under the cover of darkness as though God does not see. But both night and day are alike to God (Proverbs 7:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:7). “Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:12). Some also say, “God cannot distinguish one sinner from the other.” The theory is that God loves poor, helpless sinners so much that He will save them even if they do not repent. Paul said, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). Finally, some say, “God does not recognize the difference from one religion to the next.” If this is true, why so many warnings against following false religions (John 4:24; 2 John 9)? The Lord Himself said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of me” (Matthew 15:9).

We should never ascribe to God the weaknesses of men (Psalm 50:22). He is an omnipotent God who is to be honored and respected (Habakkuk 2:20; Revelation 19:6). He sees all and has a standard of truth by which we will all be judged (Matthew 10:28). Don’t rest your salvation on a false assumption.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why people reject Christ

In John 6:66, after Jesus had preached about the bread of life, many of His disciples went back and “walked no more with him.” To spiritually-minded people, the thought of rejecting Christ is very sad. To help the sorrow, and to give us insight on how to help, let’s consider why people reject Christ.

First, some care more about what people think than what God thinks. In John 12:42-43, the Jews refused to confess Christ because they feared man more than God (cf. Matthew 10:28). Second, some have too many riches. The rich young ruler thought more of his riches than his eternal destiny (Luke 12:16-21). Third, some have too many family ties. They love mom and dad more than they do Jesus (Matthew 10:37). Fourth, some love the world too much, like Demas (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. James 4:4). Fifth, some are ashamed of Christ, thinking that they will be branded as crazy (Acts 17:32; 26:24).

The rich man in Luke 16:27-31 wanted to send someone back to convert his family, but they were going to have to depend on the law and the prophets. The rich man would have given 10,000 worlds to have the advantage you have while still living (Luke 16:27-31), which is the opportunity to obey. You need to believe, repent of your sins, confess Christ before men, and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins.

Kyle Campbell