Mark 15

In continuity with Mark 14, Jesus is turned over to Pilate, who is amazed at his silence. Pilate delivers him to be crucified. Jesus is beaten and mocked. He is crucified. He dies, by giving up his spirit. A centurion says that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Joseph of Arimathea asks permission from Pilate to bury Jesus, and Pilate is amazed that the crucified one is dead already. Mary Magdalene and Mary (the mother of James and Joses [Joseph]) and Salome are following and observe from a distance. See the table of events during Passion Week at the end of this post.

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Mark 14

The Passion Narrative begins. (See the table at the end for the events in Passion Week.) Jesus is anointed at Bethany. Judas betrays Jesus. Jesus institutes the Last Supper and New Covenant. He foretells Peter’s and the other apostles’ denial. Jesus prays in Gethsemane. He is arrested, a young man flees, and Jesus is brought before the Council. At the same time, Peter denies Jesus.

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Mark 13

In verses 5-31, Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which will happen before his generation passes away (v. 30). He saw the near future and accurately predicted it. In verses 32-37 he talks about the day or hour of his Second Coming, which has not yet happened for the past two thousand years (and counting).

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Mark 12

Jesus tells the Parable of the Vineyard Owner and Wicked Tenants. He brilliantly replies to a challenge about paying taxes to Caesar. He answers the Sadducees’ question about the resurrection. He tells a teacher of the law what the Greatest Commandment is. He clarifies who the Son of David is. He says to beware of the teachers of the law who devour widows’ houses yet say long prayers. He observes a poor widow giving all she had.

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Mark 11

Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey in an action parable. He tells a fig tree not to bear fruit ever again, in another symbolic action parable. He clears out an area of the temple in yet another symbolic action parable. The chief priests, the teachers of the law (scribes), and elders fight back and challenge him. Who authorized you to do this? See table of the events during Passion Week, at the end of this post.

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Mark 10

Jesus teaches on divorce and marriage. He blesses the children. He tells a rich young man to sell all he has and follow him. Jesus predicts his death and resurrection a third time. Right after Jesus makes this prediction, James and John request to sit next to Jesus in his glory, and the other ten become indignant. Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus.

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Mark 9

Jesus goes up the Mount of Transfiguration. He heals a boy with severe demonic possession; he again predicts his death and suffering and resurrection, and the disciples don’t understand. Ironically, they argue over who is greatest. John tried to prevent a man who expelled demons, but Jesus replies that the man is doing good. Jesus teaches about removing hand, foot or eye, if it “causes” you to sin.

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4. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Took the Form of a Servant

What does Paul mean that Jesus “emptied himself” by taking the form of a servant and was found in the likeness of men and appearance as a man (Phil. 2:6-8)? Did some attributes get trimmed off (e.g. omniscience, omnipresence, and invisibility) to become a semi-deity, a lesser god (of sorts), or did he keep all of them? Let’s explore this doctrine further.

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Mark 8

Jesus feeds the four thousand. Pharisees demand a sign. He tells the disciples to beware of the leaven of Pharisees and Herod. The disciples are confused about his meaning. He heals a blind man at Bethsaida in an unusual way. Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection and has to rebuke Peter. He tells the crowds about the cost of following him.

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Mark 7

Jesus talks about washed and unwashed hands, clean and unclean foods and the command of God taking priority over the traditions of the elders. He goes up north to retreat, but he is spotted. He heals a Syro-Phoenician Greek woman—a Gentile and a woman!—who “defeats” his challenge to her, in his role as a reluctant teacher who is testing his “student” to answer correctly. Finally, in the Decapolis, east of the Lake of Galilee, he heals a deaf and mute man, in an unusual manner.

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Mark 6

Jesus is unable to work many miracles in his hometown because of their unbelief. Jesus sends out the twelve. John the Baptizer is beheaded after a girl’s dance and a foolish promise. Jesus feeds the five thousand. He walks on water. He heals many sick people, when he walks by in the marketplaces, and they merely touch his garment. This post briefly discusses his divine attributes, his miracles, and his human nature.

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Mark 3

Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. He teaches and heals the multitudes by the lakeside. He chooses the Twelve. His family intends to take custody of him. The teachers of the law claim that he expels demons by Satan’s mastery. He warns them not to blaspheme the Spirit. He tells the crowd that the one who does the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.

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Mark 1

In this Gospel in the very beginning of Jesus’s ministry: John the Baptist is introduced; Jesus is baptized by John. Satan tempts Jesus. Jesus begins his Galilean ministry. He calls four fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James, and John. He expels an unclean spirit from a man. He heals Peter’s mother-in-law and many others and expels many demons. He goes on a preaching tour. He cleanses a leper with a command.

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Matthew 27

In this chapter, Jesus is brought before Pilate. Judas hangs himself. Pilate questions Jesus. He is sentenced to die. Soldiers mock Jesus. He is crucified and dies. Holy people rise from their graves and visit Jerusalem. Jesus is buried. Jewish authorities place a guard at the tomb. Please see a table of events during Passion Week, at the end of this post.

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Matthew 26

The Jerusalem authorities plot to kill Jesus. He is anointed at Bethany. Judas agrees to betray Jesus. The disciples prepare the Passover for them and him. He institutes the Last Supper and the New Covenant. He foretells Peter’s denial. He prays in Gethsemane. He is betrayed and arrested. He stands before the high priest and council. Peter denies Jesus. See the Table on Passion Week at the end of this post.

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Matthew 24

This chapter contains the famous Olivet discourse (1) about the destruction of the temple which Jesus said would happen in this (his) generation, and it did in A.D. 70; (2) and then the discourse is about the close out or wrap up of the entire age. Jesus refers to the flood of Noah to illustrate unprepared people. Also, two men are in a field, and one taken, the other left. Two women grind grain at a millstone; one taken, the other left. He also tells the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant.

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Matthew 22

Jesus tells the polemical Parable of the Wedding Feast. Next, he answers the question: Should we pay taxes to Caesar? The Sadducees ask him about the resurrection. He affirms the final resurrection, and it is explored here. An expert in the law asks him which commandment is greatest. He straightens out the Pharisees on the greatness of the Son of David, because David, inspired by the Spirit, called him Lord. A table of the events during Passion Week is presented at the end.

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Matthew 21

This chapter is very important (see table of events during Passion Week, at the end). The Messiah enters Jerusalem triumphantly; the crowds shout that he’s the son of David; Jesus cleanses the temple. He heals the lame and the blind; the children call him the son of David. In an action parable he curses a fig tree. The establishment fights back by questioning his authority. He tells two parables: Parable of the Two Sons and the Parable of the Tenants.

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Matthew 19

Jesus again teaches on divorce. He places his hands on little children and blesses them. A rich man approaches him and asks about inheriting eternal life. He walks away, and Jesus says it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He tells the twelve that they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If a follower gives up all, then he will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life. His teaching on the end times is also looked at here.

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Matthew 18

The disciples ask who the greatest is. The passage about cutting off hand or gouging out eye (so to speak) is included. The Parable of the Lost Sheep is told. If your brother sins against you seven times, forgive him seventy times (or seventy times seventy). Church discipline is taught in restoring someone. Binding and loosing is repeated here. Finally the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is told.

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Matthew 16

Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign from heaven. Jesus warns of the leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and Jesus says Peter is blessed and grants him the keys of the kingdom. He seems to have the power to bind and loose. Jesus foretells his death and resurrection and urges disciples to pick up their cross and follow him. Another discussion of the end times, too.

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Matthew 15

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees criticize the disciples for not washing before eating. Jesus sets them straight on the difference between tradition of the elders and the Word of God. It is what come out of the mouth, words—which are expressions of the heart—that defile a person. Jesus turns a Canaanite woman’s desperation into faith. Jesus then heals many. And he feeds four thousand men plus women and children.

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Matthew 13

In this chapter: Parables of Sower (and its explanation), Weeds (Tares), Mustard Seed, and Leaven; parables are only for the crowds, to separate the discerning from the dull; Parables of Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, the Net, treasures old and new; finally, Jesus is rejected at Nazareth. A long discussion of the end times is also included here.

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Matthew 12

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. He is God’s Chosen Servant. He warns against blasphemy of the Spirit. He says a tree is known by its fruit. He promises an evil generation the sign of his burial and resurrection. He explains how Satan counterattacks with seven more spirits. Finally, he declares that the ones who do his Father’s will are his mother and brothers.

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Matthew 10

Jesus sends out the twelve on a short-term mission trip, in preparation for life-long mission. Persecution will come because Jesus did not come to bring only peace, but he came to ply a (metaphorical) sword. In tense times, don’t fear the man who kills only the body but God who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. Don’t deny him but acknowledge him in public. People who welcome one of Jesus’s emissaries will receive a reward.

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Luke 17:22-37: Taken Away = Rapture?

What do those verses about being taken away and left behind really teach? The answer may shock many people who have been taught only one viewpoint. I also briefly look at Matthew’s version.

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Matthew 9

Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic and then heals him as proof that he has authority to forgive sins. Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple. John’s disciples ask questions about fasting. A girl is restored to life, and a woman touches the tassels of his garment, to receive her healing. Jesus heals two blind men and delivers a mute man who was demonized. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.

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Matthew 7

In this chapter, Jesus teaches us not to judge / condemn another person—no judgmentalism. He encourages kingdom citizens to ask, seek and knock. He teaches the Golden Rule. He tells his listeners to travel the restrictive path and enter through the narrow gate. He says to be fruit inspectors, because false prophets are coming. He announces that some will claim him to be Lord and do charismatic gifts, but he will tell them to depart from him, for he never knew them. He talks about two houses, one built on a strong foundation, and another built on sand.

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Matthew 5

The first chapter in the Sermon on the Mount; the Beatitudes; we are salt and light. Christ came to fulfill the law. Avoid anger; avoid lust; divorce should be rare and only for one exception. Don’t swear oaths. Don’t follow ‘eye for an eye,’ but live a surrendered life. Love your enemies. Through most of those passages, Jesus presents his six antitheses: “You have heard it said … but I say to you.”

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Matthew 4

In this chapter, Satan tempts Jesus, and the Lord passes the tests and tells him to go. Jesus leaves Nazareth behind and moves to Capernaum, where he begins his ministry. He calls his first disciples. In a summary passage, he is shown to speak to large crowds, heal all their diseases, and expel demons. His basic message is, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

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Matthew 2

In this chapter, the Magi or wise men visit the newborn king; Herod is alarmed and is told that the child was born in Bethlehem. The wise men find Jesus and offer him gifts. Then they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. Joseph is warned in a dream to leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt. Herod kills the children in and around Bethlehem. After Herod died, Joseph is instructed in a dream to return to Israel. The family settles in Nazareth.

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“You Will Not Complete Towns of Israel until Son of Man Comes”

That’s a puzzling verse, spoken when Jesus commissioned his twelve disciples to go out on a short-term mission trip and then come back. It seems as though the Second Coming will happen before they preach in all the towns of Israel. How do we solve this problem?

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“Some Shall Not Experience Death until They See Son of Man Coming”

Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 say that some standing there with Jesus would not experience death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. How can that be true, when the Second Coming has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? The answer will surprise you because it goes beyond the “standard” one.

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What Jesus Told High Priest and Sanhedrin Now Makes Sense

At his “hearing” or “trial,” Jesus said that Caiaphas (the high priest) and the Sanhedrin (the highest council and court in Judaism) would see him coming in the clouds of heaven. How could they see his Second Coming, which has not happened in the past two thousand years (and counting)? Or does it refer to some other kind of coming?

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Did 12 or 120 Speak in ‘Spirit-Inspired Languages’ (‘Tongues’) at Pentecost?

A teaching on Acts 2 has been circulating among certain (restrictive) Bible interpreters, which says that only the twelve apostles received the fullness or the baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost with the gift of speaking in Spirit-inspired languages (commonly called ‘tongues’). True?

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Jesus Turns a Gentile Mother’s Desperation into Faith

Jesus seemed to be “rude” to a Gentile (pagan, non-Jew, or foreign) woman, someone outside his outreach to Israel. Here’s an exegesis (close reading) that explains his reasons, in a little more detail, in his own cultural context.

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Reconciling Matthew’s and Luke’s Genealogies: Mission: Impossible?

Some scholars say they are irreconcilable, while others say reconciling them is not so difficult. I favor plausible harmonization. It’s all in the family. Bonus: see the American family “the Roosevelts” in a chart for parallels.

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What Happens between Your Death and Final Resurrection?

This is called the intermediate state. What happens to you during the in-between time, between your death and going to heaven and then your being reunited with your transformed, resurrected body?

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One Decisive Difference Between Sinai Covenant and New Covenant

Hebrew Roots Movement must be cautious and discerning and rightly interpret Scripture. This difference is what Jesus established and the New Testament authors laid out in the Scriptures. It’s really very simple.

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Matt 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 and 17 in Parallel Columns Are Finally Clear

These chapters are on Jesus’s discourse about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (AD 70) and then the Second Coming, which has not happened yet, 2000 years later (and counting). Looking at the chapters side by side clarifies what he really taught.

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Everyone Shall Be Judged by Their Works and Words

Out of his great love for people, God in his mercy is forewarning everyone, whether the redeemed or unredeemed, that this judgment SHALL happen, based on their good or bad deeds and good or bad words. The Scriptures are unambiguous about it. How do we prepare for it? God offers solutions before we all face it.

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Quick Reference to Jewish Groups in Gospels and Acts

This is quick reference guide to religious and political Jewish groups who appear in the Gospels and the Book of Acts.

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John 14 Does Not Teach Second Coming or Separate Rapture

Many interpreters believe that John 14:2-3 teaches the Second Coming or rapture before the Second Coming, but 14:23 decisively argues against this interpretation.

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Luke 21:5-33 Predicts Destruction of Jerusalem and Temple

By far, Luke 21:5-33 clearly demonstrate that these verses, which parallel Matt. 24:4-35 and Mark 13:5-31, are an extended prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and not the Second Coming. It is best to read those verses in their own context and in light of Old Testament apocalyptic passages. Then we can have clarity. Please view the photos of the Arch of Titus and the Jewish Menorah, at the end.

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Mark 13:5-31 Predicts Destruction of Jerusalem and Temple

We must look at these verses in their textual and historical contexts. And we must not skip over the most stubborn verse in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke); then we can interpret this Scripture more clearly. Please view the photos at the end.

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Rapture = Second Coming and Happens at Same Time, on Last Day

Have you been taught all your life that the rapture and Second Coming are distinct events, years apart? Is it difficult to change your cherished belief? The teaching about the Second Coming in the earliest apostolic community was unified and without complications. Here’s the plentiful biblical and nonsymbolic and direct evidence. In the Second Addendum, I tell you my recent decision.

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Warning to Evolving, Progressive Churches: Danger Signs

You may not see it, but Progressive Christianity is not the right path for you. This is God’s Son’s church, not yours. Here are signs that you are putting yourself at risk of going past what is written in Scripture. Solutions are also offered here.

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New Testament Restricts Authority of Modern Prophets

Yes, prophets of a certain sort rightly exist today, biblically speaking. However, errors are committed in many churches today, usually by “youtube” and “facebook” prophets. They are unscripturally concentrating too much authority in themselves. A closer reading of the New Testament, however, restricts them, their authority, and their ministry.

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The Church Fulfills and Replaces Old Testament Temple

Let’s allow the clarity of Scripture to overturn needlessly complicated and convoluted interpretations that have dominated American Christianity for many decades. Further, is this replacement the same as the church replacing Israel? Read the post to find out. And look at the photos, too!

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The Son of Man Claims God’s Authority to Forgive Sins on Earth

Mark 2:1-12 says that the son of Man–Jesus–forgave a paralytic’s sins. Does this mean that Jesus claimed authority that only God has, thus making himself equal to God? Did he use a Hebrew word for “forgiveness” which only God can offer?

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Cosmic Disasters = Apocalyptic Imagery for Judgment and Major Change

“Four blood moons!” said popular books. If we interpret the following passages literally, then the cosmos (earth, sky, heavens, stars, worlds, seas, planets, sun, moon, and so on) would not exist as we observe it today. Instead, let’s use wisdom to interpret the Bible in its context.

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Matt. 27:52-53 and Appearance of Holy People: Pious Fiction or Fact?

Those two verses say that “many” bodies of holy people who had “fallen asleep” (i.e. died) were raised from their tombs and entered Jerusalem and appeared to many. Is this fact or pious fiction?

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1. Hell and Punishment: Eternal, Conscious Torment

This theory is the standard one. However, one of the most stunning outcomes of my study of this theory is how little support it receives from Scripture, or the Scriptures can be interpreted differently than I first expected. Don’t believe it? Read every word of this post.

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2. Hell and Punishment: Terminal Punishment

What will happen to your kind and generous but unredeemed grandmother after she is judged? Will she burn in hell-fires in eternal torment? Terminalists or conditionalists or annihilationists (all three terms mean the same doctrine) say no. There is another and better Scriptural option.

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3. Hell and Punishment: Universalism

What will happen to your generous and gracious but unredeemed grandmother after judgment? Eternal, conscious punishment in the lake of fire next to Hitler, Stalin and Mao? Universalists say no. They claim to have a better and Scriptural option.

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What Do Words ‘Eternity,’ ‘Eternal’ Fully Mean in the Bible?

This is an old-fashioned look at a Hebrew lexicon and two Greek lexicons, but in an easy-to-read format for nontechnical readers of the Bible. The definitions are wide-ranging and unexpected.

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2. Gifts of the Spirit: Word of Knowledge

This manifestation of the Spirit can reveal who Christ is more fully and give you information that you could not have without the Spirit revealing it. It does not come by study and research. It is a gift of the Spirit, not of your own mental faculties.

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7. Gifts of the Spirit: Discernings of Spirits

It is a broad enough to help you distinguish between the false and the true, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits, deceived and true humans.

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9. Gifts of the Spirit: Interpretation of Spirit-Inspired Languages

This gift depends on Spirit-inspired languages (‘tongues’). Without them, interpretation would not be needed. This post gives a basic teaching of this gift.

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1 Introducing the Kingdom of God

So begins a ten-part series. Though difficult to believe at first, our truly understanding the kingdom of God can just about clarify all of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. So then, what is the kingdom? Can we define it biblically, or is the topic just too complicated? What does it mean for us today?

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2 Kingdom and Kingship in the Old Testament

The cultures surrounding Israel valued kings. Thus, monarchy worked its way into Israel’s government, but only with God’s permission. This post provides background material for the kingdom Jesus proclaimed.

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4 The Kingdom Is Right Now

Yes, the kingdom is partly manifested right now, but it is seen with the eyes of faith and in visible signs like salvation of souls and bodily healings and demon expulsions and harmony in the household–all done by the power of the Spirit.

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The Burnt Offering from a NT Perspective

So begins my nontechnical journey through Leviticus. I am learning a lot. The New Testament authors give us permission to use typology to fully explain the elements of the burnt sacrifice in the New Covenant believer’s life. (References: Lev. 1, 6:8-13, and Num 15:1-16)

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The Grain Offering from a NT Perspective

Let’s learn to love the life lessons in Leviticus by finding out what it is and how Jesus fulfills this food or grain or meal offering, which was motivated by gratitude for the Lord. (References: Lev. 2 and 6:14-23; Num. 15:1-16)

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The Fellowship Offering from a NT Perspective

It is also known as the peace offering and even the communion offering (n the sense of community). The wave offering is included here. Christ’s fulfillment of this offering has many parts, and they are all wonderful. (References: Lev. 3; 7:11-34)

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The Sin Offering from a NT Perspective

If we want to fully understand Jesus’s sacrifice, we have to look into Leviticus. The substitutionary theory of the atonement is particularly clear in this offering. The New Testament even teaches that Christ became our sin offering. (References: Leviticus 4:1-5:13 and 6:24-30 and Num. 15:1-16)

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The Guilt Offering from a NT Perspective

It is also called the Reparations offering or Trespass offering. Someone breaks the boundaries of the holy and becomes aware of it later, or he does some dishonest things; then the guilt offering is for him. Of course the New Testament (NT) streamlines and fulfills it in Christ (References: Leviticus 5:14-6:7; 7:1-7)

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Ordination of Aaron and Sons in Leviticus 8 from a NT Perspective

I’m on a journey through Leviticus, and it is very enjoyable. Yes, their ordination is significant in its own right, but how do New Testament themes enlarge and fulfill priestly consecration?

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First Worship and Inauguration of Tabernacle in Leviticus 9 from a NT Perspective

After Aaron and his sons were ordained (Lev. 8), they performed their first ritual for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. This is the inauguration of the new tabernacle. How does the New Covenant improve on these old rituals?

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Death of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 from a NT Perspective

Those were Aaron the high priest’s eldest sons, and they mixed strange fire against the law, and God judged them instantly. Why? Is God a petty tyrant? Most of this post is concerned with this issue, while the rest of Leviticus 10 gives further instructions for the priests generally.

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Childbirth, Bodily Discharges in Leviticus 12, 15 from a NT Perspective

These Levitical laws in those two chapters are about reproduction and childbirth, in other words, male and female body parts. The laws, seemingly primitive by our standards, reveal the heart of the God who looks out for his people by promoting cleanliness and health. What does the New Testament teach about ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness?

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Skin Disease, Mold in Leviticus 13, 14 from a NT Perspective

The laws in those two chapters about quarantine or isolation benefit humanity. They come from God’s heart of love for people. Yet, there is a ceremonial uncleanness that the New Testament rises above even for disease, but how?

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Rules for Priests in Leviticus 21-22 from a NT Perspective

This post is a quick summary of those two chapters in Leviticus. I am learning a lot in my journey through this infallible and inspired book, when it is properly interpreted through the filter of the New Covenant or New Testament.

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Death Penalty in Leviticus 24 from a NT Perspective

Chapter 24 of Leviticus starts off with the command to supply olive oil for the lamp in the tabernacle and bread there. Then in the second half of the chapter a man was stoned to death for blasphemy. And other verses demand the death penalty for taking a life. What does the New Testament say about all of this?

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Vows and Redemption in Leviticus 27 from a NT Perspective

How could a devout Israelite express his commitment to the Lord? His gratitude? His promise to give to the Lord for a future blessing? By vowing to him, with some property and other possessions–some “skin” in the game. How does the New Testament transform and streamline these laws?

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