Biblical Oxymoron – Beginning End

The year of the Lord 2009 has come to an end and the rising of the sun tomorrow will dawn a new year. While many (including myself) focus on the beginning of a new year,  we often forget the closure that needs to happen in the year that is ending. In order for the new year to commence, the current year needs to end first.

What are some of the things that we need to end with the ending year?
As I pondered over this question, I could think of two things that I should put an end to this year, so that the new me (creation) enters into the new year. These include Self and Sin. My prayer is that I start to think less of myself and more of Christ Jesus and others first and that I hide His edifying word in my heart that I may not sin against God or man, at least willfully. In order for the new creation [in Christ] to come, the old one [with self and sin] has to go (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Biblical oxymoron in this verse is that without an end, there is no beginning. There needs to be closure before commencement. The old has to go for the new to come as we cannot serve two masters.

What are the things in your life that need to end with the ending year? Think about it, make that list, act on it. Pray that the Lord God who begins the good work of conforming you to His image, putting an end to the old, will complete it according to His infallible Word (Philippians 1:6). In fact, do this before you start making your new year resolutions of the things you plan to begin, because it is better to end than to begin, as the Scripture so beautifully puts it in Ecclesiastes 7:8 which reads Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof..

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV)
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone [ended], the new has come [begun]!

Biblical Oxymoron – Sealed Free

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘oxymoron’ as a concept that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements (such as cruel kindness) and there are hidden concepts in the Bible, which is the infallible word of God.

Ephesians 1:13-14 states that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God, sent from God the Father for the redemption of mankind and acknowledge his Sovereignty, we are sealed by God the Holy Spirit.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

While it may seem that to be sealed would imply being subjected to or under captive hold (Paul introduces himself to be a bond servant in majority of his epistles to the Churches), it is interesting to recognize the oxymoron  in these verses  i.e., Only those who are sealed in this world by the Holy Spirit are the ones who will be free in the world to come. Think about it.
Are you sealed now so we can be free to reign with God in the world to come or are will you be under bondage in the world to come because you choose to be free from being sealed by the Holy Spirit, by not accepting Jesus Christ in this world, while life lasts ephemerally? This is a serious question and needs to be answered now because it has eternal consequences.

What is it – Sealed now, Free later or Free now and Sealed (in bondage) later?

God’s property

Pastor Robin Paul at the Austin Christian Fellowship of India (ACFI) spoke on the blessings of a believer and expressed that one of the blessings, a believer has is that Believers are inherited by God and they inherit what is God’s, expanding on the passage from Ephesians 1:11-18. In other words, Whatever God owns, belongs to us as well as an inheritance.

From this text, there are two hidden treasures that come to surface.
First, God is love (1 John 4:8) and love gives (John 3:16)  and secondly, Whatever God owns, we own and whatever we own, God owns.

But what is really important is not what we are heirs to, but our state of inheritance by God.
If all that we own, God owns as well since we inherit each other, The real matter of fact is not what belongs to us, but what belongs to God.
Does ALL that we own, belong to God or are there aspects and elements of what we possess (including our life) that do not belong to God. If we love God, shouldn’t it be expressed by giving our ALL to God, just as He expressed it for us? When we sing the song, All to Jesus, I surrender, do we truly and truthfully mean it or are we merely lying?
In simple terms, Are we God’s property? (one that he is proud of owning!)

Ephesians 1:11-18 (KJV)
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Unfamiliar Biblical Verses for Christmas

During the Christmas season, we hear umpteen number of verses that talk about the birth of Jesus and the most familiar accounts in the Scriptures is what is often heard of.
Some of these include

Matthew 1:21:-23
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Luke 2:11
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

As I wondered as to whether there other verses in the Bible, that we are not so intimately familiar with, which also signify the birth of the Lord Jesus Chirst, the following few verses came to mind.

Genesis 3:15
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed [Jesus]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This is referred to be the first messianic prophecy recorded in the Bible.

Song of Solomon 3:6
6 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense [two of the gifts presented to Jesus at his birth], with all powders of the merchant?

Revelation 12:5
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

If you are familiar with other verses that signify the birth of Christ Jesus, please share.

Christmas in a Sentence

A friend of mine was sharing with me as to how he responded when some of his peers asked him about Christmas. He said, On Christmas, Christ-mas be told.
It’s Christmas day in the year of the Lord 2009 AD and as I ponder over what Christmas means and if one was given just 30 seconds to share to someone about Christmas, what would that be?

Christmas is God with us a.k.a. Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23);

Christmas is the fulfillment of a Prophecy (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9:6-7)
in the Persona of Jesus Christ  (Matthew 1:21, Philippians 2:6-7)
who joyfully endured the Cross in His Passion (Hebrews 12:2)
subduing all including death and the grave through His resurrection Power (John 11:25; Philippians 3:21)
becoming THE Provision of a Savior (John 19:20)
for the Problem of sin (Romans 6:23).

What other one-liners can be used to describe Christmas? Think about it. Time is short, opportunities are little and we must be prepared to share about Jesus, especially on Christmas where Christ must (mas) be told.

The gifts at and the Gift of Christmas

For the past couple of nights, we have been as a Church going home to home, caroling and proclaiming the good news of God’s presence with man (Emmanuel) by being born into this world in the form of a baby, who is named Jesus, which means Savior a.k.a. He shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21-23). One of the songs we sang was ‘We three kings of Orient are’ which narrates the event of the wise men from the east that sought the king of the Jews who fell down and worshipped Jesus, when they came into the house and saw Jesus the child with his mother, Mary and in their act of worship, opened their treasures and presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

While the presentation of gifts may be considered customary and happenstance, there is more to learn from this portion of the Scripture, just as any other narrative in the Christmas account.

Let us at first we look at the givers and then we shall look at the gifts.
The givers first and foremost fell down and worshipped Jesus, then they opened their treasures and presented him with their gifts. We must do likewise as well. We must first fall down and worship Jesus for He is King of kings, then we must open up our heart (for out of it is the wellspring [treasures] of life) and present ourselves to Him.  In other words, our act of worship must include wholeheartedly surrendering all we have and are to Him, the King over all.

Now looking at the gifts. The gifts that were given were gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Gold signifies royalty and divinity. It is the gift given to kings. Here we see that Jesus is the King given the gift of gold.
Frankincense signifies the prayers of the saints. Jesus is given Frankincense to symbolize that He is indeed a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, the High Priest of the Most High God who is the intercessor on our behalf to God.
Myrrh signifies aroma/perfume which was used when preparing someone for burial. By the presenting of myrrh to Jesus, it symbolizes the preparation for his death on the cross of Calvary as the final and acceptable sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. The cross overshadowed the cradle in the manger on the First Noel, the first Christmas, when the Son of God became the Son of Man, so that the sons and daughters of man could become the sons and daughters of God.

Additionally, we must not forget that the greatest giver was none other than God, Jehovah Jireh, The Provider of a provision for reconciling God with man (Emmanuel), through the greatest gift which was His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, THE GIFT.

What is the gift you/I are/am going to give Jesus?

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

John 3:16  (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus in the OT :: Hosea

The book of Hosea gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

Hosea is the story of a PROPHET commissioned to marry a PROSTITUTE, a symbolic reference to God being faithful in the marriage relationship He has with his people, the Church that has an adulterous relationship with the world. It is an account that visualizes God’s heartache (BROKEN HEART) over his unfaithful people (symbolized by Israel).

 In the article “A physician testifies about the Crucifixion [of Jesus]”, Dr. David writes “Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John reports: “And immediately there came out blood and water.” That is, there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart, giving postmortem evidence that Our Lord died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.”  You can otherwise say that Jesus died of a Broken Heart.

Hosea 13:14 talks about someone who will ransom his people from death and redeem them from the power of the grave.
14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction:

Who is this person referred to as ‘I’ in that prophecy? To find the answer, we need to look at 1 Corinthians 15:55,57 which answers that question that this ‘I’ is the Lord Jesus Christ who gives victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Hosea, Jesus is the faithful one who ransoms us from death and redeems us from the grave, in spite of our unfaithfulness.

Jesus in the OT :: Daniel

The book of Daniel gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

The book can be divided into two major sections. The first half is about the Personal life of Daniel (Chapter 1-6) while the second half  is about the Prophetic life of Daniel (Chapter 7-12), about the visions/revelation to Daniel. Rightfully so, Daniel can be said to be the Revelation of the end times in the O.T.

From the first half of the book, you can see how God is with Daniel and his friends who are faithful, in the midst of fire and fierce lions. God is their judge and the justice of God prevails. The very name Daniel means God is my Judge and you see this character of God being evident in the life of Daniel and his faithful friends. In the story of the 3 Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, whom we commonly known by their Babylonian names as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, when these boys were thrown into the consuming fire, not only was God’s PROTECTION with them because they came out unscathed, but God’s PRESENCE was with them as well.

The fascinating account is recorded in Daniel 3 and the synopsis of that account is as follows

  1. The boys were cast into the fire bound by the mighty men of the land; They however came out of the fire loosed by the Almighty God of all men
  2. The king saw someone else in the fire whom he identified as the Son of God (Jesus Christ – the Only begotten and beloved Son of God)

Today, irrespective of what your situation is, if you earnestly seek to be free of bondage and the fire around you to be quenched, all you have to do is just open the eyes of your heart and look to Jesus, the Son of God, in the midst of the fire, protecting and freeing you. Pay attention and heed to what He is telling you, for He is the beloved Son of God, in whom God is well pleased.

From the second half of the book, as we continue to explore Christ in the scriptures, lets look at Daniel 7:9 which is recorded as

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: [on] his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

Remember Jesus said , Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58). He indeed is the Ancient of days, from before the time of Abraham or even creation (Psalm 90:2).
Jesus also said that He saw Satan [star] fall from heaven  (Luke 10:18; Rev 9:1). The throne of Satan cast down.

In Daniel, Jesus is the Ancient of days and He is not only the protecting Son of God but He is also the PRESENT Son of God, in the midst of the fire.

Jesus in the OT :: Ezekiel

The book of Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

An excellent book, which on the onset may seem extreme. Ezekiel is a prophet who was asked not to cry when his wife died to symbolize absolutely no sympathy for Israel, a book in which even the dry dead bones come alive.  A beautifully written book in which the fall of the proud one and the means of redemption from the clutches of the fallen are recorded. Ezekiel 28 records the fall of God’s angel Lucifer and Ezekiel 34 avers Jesus to be the True Shepherd with a covenant of peace (Ezekiel 34:23-25) and showers of blessings (Ezekiel 34:26).

Ezekiel 1 records the vision, the prophet Ezekiel has wherein he witnesses the visages of the heavenly creatures. Each had four faces, one face was like that of a lion, one face was like that of an ox, one of a man, and one of an eagle. This beautifully ties into the new  testament wherein in
Matthew – Jesus is portrayed as the Lion of Judah (Face of Lion)
Mark – Jesus is portrayed as the servant (Diligent service as an Ox)
Luke – Jesus is portrayed as the the son of man (face of a man) and in
John – Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God (Eagle symbolizing a divine bird, soaring the heavens).

In Ezekiel, Jesus is the True Shepherd, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the diligent Servant, Son of Man, and the Son of God with a new covenant.

Jesus in the OT :: Lamentations

The book of Lamentations gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).

The book of Lamentations has 5 chapters, each with 22 verses except Chapter 3 that has 66 verses and the statement Great is thy faithfulness is in the epicenter of the book (Lamentations 3:23).

Rev 19:11 records the name of Jesus will be Faithful and True;
Faithfulness is the epicenter of Jesus’ character.

We can read in Lamentations, Great is His Faithfulness, because GREAT is THE FAITHFUL ONE. We can sing Great is thy Faithfulness, by replacing faithfulness with Faithful One. And what is even more is that even if we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Tim 2:11-14)

In Lamentations, Jesus is the Faithful One, the ever Faithful one.