Menu +

Tag: Millennium

Blessed are the centenarians

If she were alive, my paternal grandmother, who went to be with Christ in 2003, would turn one hundred years old today.  Being of a historical cast of mind, this set me to thinking about all of the changes she saw in her comparatively long lifespan: society moving from horse-drawn conveyance to the dominance of […]

The Comforter Cometh

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and
devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Luke 2:25
In this world of sorrow people yearn for deliverance from life‘s problems and stresses. If only
someone could give them relief from the things that oppress their spirits and make their lives
drudgery, they reason, then their lives would be ideal. First-century Israel was no different, for
the Jews of that day longed for liberation from the onerous yolk of Rome as well as a restoration
of the glories of their independent past. Against this backdrop, a devout man named Simeon
walked into the Temple precincts one day in order to see the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. His
aspirations went far beyond nationalistic sentiments or personal desires for an easier life. Rather,
he awaited the coming of ―the Consolation of Israel‖ – the advent of the Messiah, a person
whose life and actions would have cosmic and eternal effect for Israel and the nations.
Thou Wilt Command Thy Servant’s Consolationi
The translators of The New King James Version rightly capitalize ―Consolation‖ in Luke 2:25,
recognizing that it is a messianic title, and not merely a description of an activity towards Israel.
It is true that the nation will one day be consoled – in addition to many other nations that will
share in the blessing of Christ‘s millennial reign – yet one must remember that this comfort is
bound up in one person: the Messiah Jesus.ii The phrase ―the Consolation of Israel‖ certainly had
technical messianic overtones in other contemporary Jewish sourcesiii, and later Rabbinic
Judaism frequently employed it to refer to the Messiah.iv As one historian notes: ―In Rab.
Judaism the ‘consolation of Israel’ is a blanket term for the fulfillment of Messianic
expectation…‖v Another author agrees: ―…’the consolation of Israel,’ is rooted in the consolation
language which in Isaiah is connected with God‘s eschatological restoration of his people (Isa
40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 52:9; 57:18; 66:10–11).‖vi David Gooding further elucidates the origins of this
expression, saying:
The delightful term ‘consolation of Israel’ suggests that his expectation was based on the
programme enunciated in such passages as Isaiah 40ff. He was looking for the day when
Israel’s warfare and chastisement would be over, and God would ‘comfort his people’.
Nor was Simeon narrowly concerned simply for the future of Israel. Basing himself again
on Isaiah’s predictions (e.g. 42:6; 49:6 etc.) he foresaw the time when the light of God’s
salvation would spread to the very ends of the earth (see 2:31-32).vii
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

The High Cost Of Liberty

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18-19

The author of the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson once penned the following regarding armed revolution:
We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s [sic] liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s [sic] natural manure.
Despite this incendiary rhetoric and all of his contributions to the founding of the United States of America, Jefferson never shed a drop of his own blood to create or defend liberty.
You Say You Want A Revolution?
The recent unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, and other despotically ruled nations once more shows the innate human desire for freedom from tyranny. It remains to be seen whether these protests will produce political situations where freedom may flourish. Yet on a higher level the Lord Jesus Christ “preached freedom for the prisoners…to release the oppressed” through the shedding of His own blood (Luke 4:18; Eph. 1:7.) He was willing to suffer the heinous torture of crucifixion in order to free repentant sinners. Rather than sending others to die for spiritual liberty, Christ Himself gave His life on the cross. By pouring out His blood He paid the redemption price to liberate people from the tyranny of sin, Satan, the grave, and hell. His resurrection shows that the rescue has been accomplished. Only the Lord Jesus can grant true eternal freedom to lost sinners.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Of Excuses & Autocrats

The unregenerate human heart recoils from taking responsibility for its evil actions and moral failings. A recent book review unintentionally noted a practical example of this problematic but common attitude, citing many former officials from Saddam Hussein’s regime as examples. Like the Nazis who were put on trial at Nuremberg after the Second World War, the men interviewed by Wendell Steavenson tried to excuse their actions by shifting the blame to their superiors. In the words of the reviewer:
Perhaps most dispiriting of all, virtually none of those interviewed acknowledges responsibility for what was done. Most of their explanations are variations on ‘we were only obeying orders.’ ‘What could I do?’ ‘But I helped people, many people!’ ‘I suffered also, you know.’ ‘This was usual then.’ The gassing of 5,000 Kurds in Halabja was, concedes a seemingly upright general, ‘a political mistake.’
Steavenson comments: “I liked them. I joked with them. I sympathized with them. But not one ever looked me straight in the eye and admitted responsibility for the crimes of the government which they had served.” At this point, the reviewer interjects: “Even after the depredations of Saddam Hussein, many of those Ms. Steavenson talked to still hankered after someone like him. Iraqis, says one, are ‘an unruly mass of shirugi – slang for thickheaded Marsh Arabs – who need the rule of the rod, a strongman, to control them.’ ”i Indeed, if people are able to transfer the guilt of their actions to another, then they will cede total power to such a one in order to sin with impunity.
To read the entire article, click on the title.

Of Excuses & Autocrats

The unregenerate human heart recoils from taking responsibility for its evil actions and moral failings. A recent book review unintentionally noted a practical example of this problematic but common attitude, citing many former officials from Saddam Hussein’s regime as examples. Like the Nazis who were put on trial at Nuremberg after the Second World War, the men interviewed by Wendell Steavenson tried to excuse their actions by shifting the blame to their superiors. In the words of the reviewer:
Perhaps most dispiriting of all, virtually none of those interviewed acknowledges responsibility for what was done. Most of their explanations are variations on ‘we were only obeying orders.’ ‘What could I do?’ ‘But I helped people, many people!’ ‘I suffered also, you know.’ ‘This was usual then.’ The gassing of 5,000 Kurds in Halabja was, concedes a seemingly upright general, ‘a political mistake.’
Steavenson comments: “I liked them. I joked with them. I sympathized with them. But not one ever looked me straight in the eye and admitted responsibility for the crimes of the government which they had served.” At this point, the reviewer interjects: “Even after the depredations of Saddam Hussein, many of those Ms. Steavenson talked to still hankered after someone like him. Iraqis, says one, are ‘an unruly mass of shirugi – slang for thickheaded Marsh Arabs – who need the rule of the rod, a strongman, to control them.’ ”i Indeed, if people are able to transfer the guilt of their actions to another, then they will cede total power to such a one in order to sin with impunity.

To read the entire article, click on the title.

The Future of Israel: An Assurance of God's Faithfulness

Israel continues to dominate the headlines on an almost daily basis. For a small nation with a population of just over seven million, whose land area is about the same size as New Jersey, it holds a remarkable position in world affairs. Some of the brightest minds of Europe and North America have spent the better part of the past sixty years trying to devise a solution to the problems of this tiny democracy. At first glance, all of this attention seems unwarranted. Why is this country so important? Of course, God’s promises to biblical Israel do not justify everything going on in the modern state of Israel or its policies; nevertheless, it is clear that God has a plan for the Land and the Hebrew people.1 This future design has great implications, which extend far beyond the borders of that nation. Furthermore, the Almighty’s will for the Jews is tremendously important for the Gentile world as well. It may be safely (and biblically) said that if the Lord does not carry out His plans for Israel, then there is no assurance of the fulfillment of anything else that He promised in the Bible. Thus, upon the fate of the Jews hinges the credibility of the sovereign God of the Universe. Moreover, His usage of the Gentiles in connection with the Jews displays His incomparable wisdom and mercy.
To read the entire article, click on the title.

The Future of Israel: An Assurance of God’s Faithfulness

Israel continues to dominate the headlines on an almost daily basis. For a small nation with a population of just over seven million, whose land area is about the same size as New Jersey, it holds a remarkable position in world affairs. Some of the brightest minds of Europe and North America have spent the better part of the past sixty years trying to devise a solution to the problems of this tiny democracy. At first glance, all of this attention seems unwarranted. Why is this country so important? Of course, God’s promises to biblical Israel do not justify everything going on in the modern state of Israel or its policies; nevertheless, it is clear that God has a plan for the Land and the Hebrew people.1 This future design has great implications, which extend far beyond the borders of that nation. Furthermore, the Almighty’s will for the Jews is tremendously important for the Gentile world as well. It may be safely (and biblically) said that if the Lord does not carry out His plans for Israel, then there is no assurance of the fulfillment of anything else that He promised in the Bible. Thus, upon the fate of the Jews hinges the credibility of the sovereign God of the Universe. Moreover, His usage of the Gentiles in connection with the Jews displays His incomparable wisdom and mercy.

To read the entire article, click on the title.