A Messianic Hebraism: How to Know that which “No Man Knoweth”

Two short videos (3 minutes each) to see with your eyes, hear with your ears; and know “of that Day and Hour”.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Video 1

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Video 2

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Do the math, children of the light.

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Quoted scripture
Extended Discussion
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Save Our Souls

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

From John F. Walvoord

If God has provided a wonderful salvation through Christ as revealed in the Bible, how can anyone be sure that he has received Christ and is the beneficiary of this marvelous grace of God?

The question of what one must do to be saved was asked long ago by the Philippian jailor in Acts 16:30. Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into prison in Philippi, with their feet fastened in the stocks. In this painful condition they could not sleep, so they sang praises to God. Scripture records that at midnight, as they were praying, there was an earthquake that broke them loose from their bonds and opened the prison doors. The jailor, rushing out and seeing the doors opened, assumed that the prisoners had fled. Because the law demanded that a jailor who lost prisoners should be put to death, he was about to commit suicide when Paul called out to him to do himself no harm because they were still all there. In response to this information, Scripture records that the jailor, after calling for some lights, fell down before Paul, trembling and pleading, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul and Silas both immediately responded as recorded in Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” As a result of the jailor’s conversion, his entire house also believed and was saved, and he took Paul out of the jail, washed his wounds and had fellowship with him. But how can one living today be assured that he is saved?

In discussing God’s wonderful plan of salvation in Ephesians 2:8-10, the apostle Paul sums it up in three verses, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

By Grace

The most important aspect of salvation is mentioned in the first part of Ephesians 2:8 where it states that we are saved “by grace.” The word grace has various meanings, but as it relates to salvation it speaks of kindness bestowed on one who does not deserve it. In other words, grace pours favor on those who do not deserve favor. In grace, the question is not whether or not a person deserves favor or blessing, but only whether he has been judged to qualify for such favor.

An examination of scriptural texts brings out how prominent this is in our Christian faith. In Romans 3:24 Paul says that Christians “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” In other words, because Christ paid the price and provided redemption, it is now possible for a Christian to receive grace, or favor, that he does not deserve. In Ephesians 1:7-8 the apostle speaks of the riches of grace in Christ when he says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding.” In every instance where grace is mentioned, it is entirely due to God’s favor, not human works.

Through Faith

According to Ephesians 2:8, grace is received by those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ. This introduces, however, a very practical question as to what is meant by faith. It is rather obvious for any careful observer of the church today that there are many who have made some outward profession of faith in Christ who never have been born again and show no evidence that they are saved. How then can one know whether he has put his faith in Christ or not? According to James 2:19, “Even the devils believe that-and shudder.” From these passages it is clear that there is saving faith and faith that does not save.

Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit

True faith in Christ is preceded by the work of the Spirit as Jesus Himself described in John 16:7-11:

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Before a person can intelligently believe in Christ, he has to be aware of the guilt of his sin. He also must face the fact that God is righteous and that He judges sin. This is further defined in verse 9, “in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” An unsaved person needs to realize that while he is a sinner, as all men are sinners, this constitutes only a part of his condemnation before God. The one sin that prevents him from entering into grace and favor with God is the sin of unbelief. Accordingly, he must realize that salvation is by faith alone. He also needs instruction on the matter of righteousness. Scriptures reveal various kinds of righteousness, for instance, the false righteousness of human works. Scripture makes clear that any human works that we offer, even if they are good, do not qualify us for salvation. Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” What the sinner needs to learn is that nothing short of the righteousness of God will allow him to be saved.

Judgment is also defined as referring to the fact that sin was judged when Christ died on the cross, and Satan was condemned and now awaits the execution of God’s judgment. Obviously, many who are saved do not completely understand this doctrine, but, nevertheless, under compulsion of the Holy Spirit, turn to Christ in faith in order to be saved. The three aspects of the Spirit’s convicting the unsaved are (1) that a person seeking salvation must understand the nature of sin in contrast to the righteousness of God, (2) that God provides a righteousness which is by faith and is not earned or deserved, and (3) that God has judged sin in Christ on the cross, including the condemnation of Satan. As we enter into salvation through faith in Christ, Christ becomes our sin-bearer. As John the Baptist expressed it, Jesus Christ is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Salvation is from the Lord

When one considers all the facts relating to salvation and the preparatory work of the Spirit before one can be saved, it becomes obvious that simply assenting to the fact of the gospel and believing mentally that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world does not result in salvation and is not really what can be called “saving faith.”

In the nature of faith, it is also important to realize that it must come from the whole man, that is, from his intellect, sensibility, and will. There has to be some mental understanding of what the gospel is in order to be saved, and the sinner coming to Christ should enter into the fact that it requires more than assent—it requires an act of the whole person. This may involve not only the mind but the feelings, or sensibility, and, most of all, it involves the will, for faith is actually a step authorized by our will. The English word belief comes somewhat short of what is anticipated in the Bible, which is more accurately expressed as trust, or committing oneself to faith in Christ.

This is illustrated by the use of an elevator. A person may believe that the elevator is in good working order and would take him to the top floor of the building if he chose to get on board; but as long as he is outside the elevator, his belief that the elevator would take him to the top floor does not do him any good. Faith would mean that he stepped in the elevator and put his weight into it and committed himself to its mechanical perfections. Likewise, there is more than mere assent in the matter of believing in Christ. Saving faith involves the work of the Spirit as well as the whole person—intellect, sensibility, and will. Because a person is dead spiritually, it also requires a work of God to draw him to Christ. Christ expressed it this way: “No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:65).

Accordingly, in Scripture faith in Christ is an act of the whole person. It involves the work of the Spirit in the conviction of sin and righteousness and judgment, and it involves God’s providing special enablement to one who is spiritually dead to believe in Christ. This is what the Bible defines as “saving faith.”

While in our limitations it is not possible to understand completely what happens when a person trusts in Christ, the Scriptures are clear that it requires not only our action, but an act of God to bring it to consummation. Yet, the Scriptures make it plain that it is not faith plus works but faith that produces works that results in the salvation of an individual. The Father must draw the seeking sinner to Him for Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). Accordingly, on the divine side there must be an activity of God in drawing the sinner to Himself; there must be the convicting work of the Spirit; and then the individual, empowered by God, must respond by an act of his will to put his trust in Christ as his Savior.

In Ephesians 2:8 Paul goes on to say, “This [is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Theologians have argued about what the word “this” refers to, and some have taken the position that “this” refers to faith. In other words, God must give faith or a person will not believe. But the Bible is not saying that faith is the gift of God in the sense of God doing the believing, but that the whole plan of salvation is the gift of God. Though some have tried to make “this” refer to faith, the word “this” is in the neuter gender, and faith is in the feminine gender. If “this” referred to faith, it would also have to be feminine. God does not believe for us. Instead, God enables a person who is spiritually dead to believe. The result is that faith is an act of the will of people made possible by the work of God.

Therefore, the whole work of salvation—by grace through faith and all the other elements that enter into salvation—is a work of God. Jonah 2:9 states, “Salvation comes from the LORD.” A similar thought is provided in Revelation 7:10 where the multitude of the saved in heaven cry out with the song, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Not by Works

In an effort to distinguish true faith from mere assent, some have found it necessary to add requirements to the single requirement of faith for salvation. In keeping with this goal, they have required a person who wants to be saved to accept the lordship of Christ and to promise to serve the Lord from then on. This has been made a prerequisite to faith. This view is contradicted in Scripture where works follow faith but do not precede it. That is why in Ephesians 2:9 the apostle Paul makes it very explicit when he says, “Not by works so that no one can boast.” He goes on to say that we have to be renewed to do good works, “for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

If it is difficult for Christians always to be fully yielded to the Lord and acknowledge Christ as the Master and Lord of our lives, how much more difficult and impossible is it for a person who is unsaved to take such a step before he is born again and before he is saved. The scriptural approach is rather to recognize that there is superficial faith—mere assent—which does not bring salvation, and even Satan recognizes the facts about Jesus Christ and believes them but is not saved. On the other hand, where salvation is dealt with in Scripture, faith is the sole requirement for salvation, but it is faith in which all the elements combine, that is, it is an act of the human will and the human mind and the human capacity for emotion. It also includes a work of the Father who draws the sinner to Himself, and a work of the Holy Spirit in bringing conviction of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. In other words, it is faith alone, but it is the kind of faith that saves. It is real faith and real commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior.

Once a person is saved and has recognized the deity of Christ, then, as his Christian life unfolds, he is confronted with the task of living as a Christian ought to live. This, of course, is exactly what the Bible indicates. As stated in Ephesians 2:8-10, salvation is not by works, but salvation produces works; and when the individual is a new creature in Christ, he then is able to do things that are well pleasing to God in time and eternity. Therefore, one should not minimize the necessity for real faith as compared to mere mental assent; salvation requires real faith. Nor should one require works as a condition for salvation or as a requirement for faith before faith is exercised. Rather, once a person is saved, or born again, he then has the capacity to serve the Lord and, as stated in Romans 12:1-2, he is urged to present his body as a living sacrifice to fulfill the perfect will of God.

Featured Image: SOS, Carlos Rosas, flickr

Two Minutes to Midnight

When the secular world and biblical prophecy collide, it’s time to sit up and take note

2018: The failure of world leaders to address the largest threats to humanity’s future is lamentable—but that failure can be reversed. It is two minutes to midnight, but the Doomsday Clock has ticked away from midnight in the past, and during the next year, the world can again move it further from apocalypse. The warning the Science and Security Board now sends is clear, the danger obvious and imminent. The opportunity to reduce the danger is equally clear. The world has seen the threat posed by the misuse of information technology and witnessed the vulnerability of democracies to disinformation. But there is a flip side to the abuse of social media. Leaders react when citizens insist they do so, and citizens around the world can use the power of the internet to improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand action to reduce the existential threat of nuclear war and unchecked climate change. They can seize the opportunity to make a safer and saner world. See the full statement from the Science and Security Board on the 2018 time of the Doomsday Clock.


Excellent articles

Featured Image: Members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock’s hands to two minutes until midnight at a news conference in Washington on January 25, 2018. Photo: Reuters [South China Morning Post]



The Olivet Discourse

24 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25 Behold, I have told you before.

26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

25 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.