Archive for October, 2008

The Curse of Jeconiah and Jesus’ Royal Lineage

October 23, 2008 Leave a comment

My daily Bible reading from FreeBibleEmail for today includes Jeremiah chapter 22, a passage I’ve read many times before, though I hadn’t thought of its connection to Jesus and the New Testament. But a few days ago I heard the radio version of John MacArthur’s sermon “The Marvelous Birth of the King,” in which MacArthur points out some interesting things about Jesus’ royal lineage. Jeremiah 22:30, referring to Jeconiah (Jehoiachin in my NIV Bible), prophecies: “This is what the LORD says: “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.”

Yet Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, was a direct descendant of this man — and thus cursed, unable to sit on David’s throne.

An excerpt from MacArthur:
“Now God said no son of Jeconiah will ever reign in Palestine in Israel. No son will ever bear the throne of David. And yet, Jeconiah is in the Messianic line. How then can Jesus be the King if He does not come through the royal line of Jeconiah? And how can He be the King if the line of Jeconiah is cursed? That seemingly hopeless dilemma is resolved in the virgin birth. Through that line Jesus received the legal right to the throne, but He was no blood child of Jeconiah for that line was cursed and there could never be a child of Jeconiah on the throne of David. Therefore Christ was born of a virgin, there was no taint of the blood of Jeconiah in Him because He had no blood from Joseph in Him either. So in a marvelous working of God, the curse of Jeconiah is bypassed by bypassing Joseph and having Jesus born of a virgin.”

By googling a little I found this more detailed article “The Genealogy of the Messiah,” which agrees and adds further commentary regarding the Biblical genealogies, pointing out the amazing details God worked out in establishing Jesus as the Messiah from the Old Testament prophecies and royal lineage. Just another “little thing,” some seemingly trivial detail, and yet God cares and arranges things according to such very specific things, to show such wondrous proofs that glorify and exalt His son. Another layer of richness brought out from all the texts of the Bible, how all passages (including this text in Jeremiah about the last of Judah’s Kings, the time of the Babylonian exile) point to Christ — and proof that every day I can find something new in God’s word. What a contrast to those who, especially after years of being a Christian, tire of “the same old thing” and think they’ve learned all they need to know about God and Christ, and get caught up in the cares of the world, having lost their first love. (Revelation 2:4)

O Lord, renew us daily, giving grace for each day, that we would desire to know You and to study your Word more and more each day. (Philippians 3:10, Psalm 119:105)


Ezekiel’s Temple and OT Millenial Passages

October 16, 2008 1 comment

Still doing a lot of reading and studying, not much time for writing. Here are some of my thoughts for today…

I listened to John MacArthur’s answer regarding Ezekiel’s temple in the light of the finished work of the cross (from the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference, General Conference 5) and transcribed it for my future reference:

“How does the Lord’s table relate to the fact that Christ’s sacrifice is a once for all sacrifice? The Old Testament sacrifices were not a substitute for Christ, they were a depiction, they were a picture, they were a picture, a type, prior to the cross, pointing to the cross. The Lord’s table is a picture of the cross, past the Cross, pointing back, and the best understanding that I have of the millennial temple in Ezekiel 40 to 48 and the millenial sacrifices is that in the kingdom, which is for Israel in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant and Davidic covenant and new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36 and 37, Israel is featured. The apostles, Jesus said from His own lips, will sit on 12 thrones ruling the 12 tribes of Israel. And so it is uniquely Jewish and it is uniquely for them and I think the Lord will reinstitute the Old Testament symbols that pointed to the cross and they will carry out some of those symbols which will then be infused with a full understanding of what they meant in the light of the cross, and they will by then have come to look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as an only son, have had the fountain of cleansing opened to them, they will be in the kingdom, Christ will be present and it will all become clear to them. It will be a complete unveiling of all of those sacrifices which were so richly symbolic to Israel in the past.”

It sounds similar to a few things I’ve come across elsewhere, and the most complete answer so far. I know the standard amill answer, about how all of those chapters in Ezekiel are symbolic of what the ideal temple could have been, if the Jews had been faithful — sorry, I don’t buy that one anymore, as I become increasingly dissatisfied with the pastor that over-spiritualizes and over-allegorizes difficult texts without really looking at what they actually say. Allegory and spiritualization doesn’t account for the very specific measurements and details. Considering MacArthur’s answer (among many other things I’ve already studies), I conclude that, though the great promises of God are fulfilled in Christ’s atoning work on the cross and His promises for the Church, that does not mean God is limited to only redeeming Gentiles; He could very well have an even greater plan than anything we can imagine, including a special redemptive plan in the future for His elect of the Jewish nation. Nothing in the fulfillment of the New Testament promises means that God is completely through with Israel, and so what must we do with the words of Jesus and Paul, saying “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled?” So as I understand the pre-mill position, at the end times God will bring in more of His elect, only in this case the elect will be individuals of Jewish descent.

Now I’m beginning to see the greater picture, the full meaning of some Old Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 66. Last night, my amill pastor mentioned this text in passing, one of many passages as he jumped around on a lot of different thoughts, but cited this passage (Isaiah 66:19-20) as referring to the church and the gospel going out to all the lands. Yet in the context, a few verses later it describes the New Heavens and the New Earth, and the people looking at all the dead bodies — a direct tie-in with the battle of Armageddon. Instead, Isaiah 66:18-20 seems a lot like what is prophecied in Zechariah 14.

Like the fuller understanding of the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, of course this is talking about something far greater than anything done by the Church in this age. There are plenty of New Testament passages talking about that, but this passage has nothing to do with the Church.

Interpretation of Matthew 24:14

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting look at a scripture verse, an understanding I hadn’t realized before.
Matthew 24:14 — “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV) So many Christians understand that verse in terms of modern-day evangelism, that as a pre-condition, before Christ can return, we must preach the gospel to all nations. Much mission work is tied up in that verse, and along with that for some the idea that the sooner we spread the gospel news around the world, the sooner Christ will return. I’ve even heard the ludicrous Preterist variation, that this was somehow fulfilled by 70 A.D. –because Paul wrote (in Colossians 1:6) about how the gospel was working “all over the world” (i.e., the known Roman world of his day).

Instead, the actual fulfillment of that verse is one of the signs of Christ’s return, and will be accomplished supernaturally by God, as described in Revelation 14:6:
“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

John MacArthur describes this in his sermon covering these verses in Matthew 24 (near the end of the text):

Or listen to it at the beginning of this:

This passage comes right before the final judgment, a final proclamation of the gospel to literally everyone alive on earth at that time. It’s so amazing to contemplate — God is the one who is going to accomplish everything, and He indeed has the full work in His hands, to do everything in His time, and He’s going to do it literally and completely by the supernatural work of an angel, not by man’s fallible efforts. This isn’t to belittle the work of missions and evangelism, as God gives us plenty of instruction to continue in our tasks of spreading the gospel … but this bring the full focus back to our Sovereign God.

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