Sweet Sunday Sermon – The word “Redeem” as found in the New Testament

Submitted by Dr. GP

In the New Testament we see that all people need redemption, since they are all slaves, being all sold under sin and in spiritual bondage. Jesus made this abundantly clear to the Jewish leadership of his day (John 8:31-36).

The Coming of the Redeemer and the accomplishment of Redemption is recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in accordance to the teaching of Galatians 4:4 that in the fullness of time, God sent his son into the world to redeem a people for himself. The Fall of man established man’s desperate need for redemption, and God had carefully and thoroughly prepared the world for the coming of the Redeemer in the balance of the Old Testament.

The four gospels are the inspired eye-witness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of the Saviour. Christ came to reveal the glory of God in human flesh, “the image of the invisible God, pre-eminent over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). He came to proclaim the kingdom of God and teach us about the way of salvation (Matthew 3:2). He came to conquer Satan and to destroy his work (Col. 2:15; I John 3:8). But above all, he came to die for sins and to rise triumphantly from the grave to display his victory. He came to redeem us! (John 3:16,17).

Sweet Sunday Sermon – Gesture of Kindness (2 Samuel 9)

Submitted by Dr. GP

2 Samuel 9 records the most wonderful account of David’s magnificent gesture of kindness to Mephibosheth, the grandson of his enemy Saul, in which four times we are made aware that Mephibosheth was restored him to an exalted position and invited to eat at David’s table just like one of the king’s sons. 

This is a lovely type or foreshadowing of the doctrine of the adoption of sons as is declared in Galations 4: 4-7 thus” But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

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Sweet Sunday Sermon – Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?

Submitted by Dr. GP

All Christians will suffer affliction, trial, and tribulation in this world. It is a fact of life and it is a truth of Scripture.
• The Lord Jesus Christ said, “In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”

(John 16:33)

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Sweet Sunday Sermon – The Ritual of the “Scapegoat”

Submitted by Dr. GP
There are many words and phrases that we commonly use that originate in the Bible.
For example, the word “sincere” which is found in 1Peter 2:2 to describe “the milk of the word,” is a transliteration of two Latin words “sine” (without) and “cere” (wax.)
In days of old, when charlatan potters would gloss over their impaired pottery with wax before they tried to sell them, more honest potters who sold perfect pottery, advertised their ware as “sine cere”.
Today, we will state the etymology of the word “scapegoat” and exegete the passage in the Bible where this word occurs, and the passage where such a goat was used in a ceremony, and explain the significance of the passage, sincerely (“sine” (without) and cere (wax.)

Sweet Sunday Sermon – Do we have Apostles in our Church today?

  • The English word “apostle” is derived from the Greek apostello, “to
    send forth.”
  • The Greek word for “apostle” literally means “one who is sent” and
    can refer to an emissary or anyone sent on a mission.
  • While hardly used in the Old Testament, it is found at least 80
    times in the New Testament.
  • An apostle is one who is “sent” by God to preach the Gospel to the

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Sweet Sunday Sermon – Helpful Hints in REVELATION- Part 1

Submitted by Dr. GP


You will get much more from this booklet if you will prayerfully read the book of Revelation two or three times before starting it. The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the only book in the Bible that a special blessing is pro­nounced on those who read, on those who hear, and on those who keep the things that are writ­ten therein (Rev. 1:3). This promise does away with the notion that we cannot understand this book and that we should not waste our time studying it.

It is true that there are portions of the book that are difficult to understand, but if the stu­dent will keep in mind four principles he will receive much blessing and benefit from the study of the book. These four principles are (l) Christ is the key. This is not the book of “Revelations” (plural), but it is “the Revelation (singular) of Jesus Christ.” When we call this book “Rev­elations” we study it as a series of revelations, but when we understand that Christ is the key, we study it as the Revelation or unveiling of the ‘”King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”(2) The Holy Spirit is the great teacher of the Holy Scriptures (John 14:26, John 15:26, I Corinthians 2:10). In a special way He delights to reveal prophetic truth (John 16:14). (3) This is a book of prophecy. It has to do with future events. God wants the believer to know and understand what the future holds. (4) This book must be in­terpreted in the light of other Scriptures. The best commentary on the book of Rev­elation is the rest of the Bible.


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Sweet Sunday Sermon – The 7 “WITH CHRIST” Verses of the NT

Submitted by GP

Recently, I have been fascinated with seven NT verses in the Pauline epistles which contain  the phrase “with Christ”. Four of which are to be found in Colosians 

“With” in the Greek is “syn’ from which we get English words synergy  and synergistic  and the phrase “in synch!”

 Paul repetitively use of sun/syn  to make certain that we understand that we  are in a new and intimate relationship with Christ, and that Christ is all that we will ever need and that He is ours and that we are His and that this oneness or union should serve to stabilize us in the turbulent seas of false teachings, as here in Collosians, but also generally in all things.  

Being in union with Christ certainly seemed to be a thought that occupied Paul’s mind. Generally he teaches that in a past completed action at the moment of salvation we were made alive together with Him  in a  close, intimate union. He wants us to understand that  there is such a connection between Christ and those whom the Father hath given to him, that His resurrection from the grave involved their resurrection to spiritual life. It was like raising up the head and the members – the whole body together.

Whereas each of the verses containing the phrase “with Christ”, speaks of being in permanent union and identification with Christ, each verse seems to have a phrase which qualifies or expands on the phrase “with Christ,” by declaring some particular additional benefit or responsibility which the believer partakes of from being “with Christ”, or being “in synch“ or in permanent union with Christ”!”

E.g. In Colossians 2: 13 the outstanding additional truth is that God in addition to quickening or making us alive together with him, has also forgiven us of all our trespasses.

In Colossians 3: 1, Paul points out that we were raised with Christ.
In Colossians 3: 3 he stresses that we are hid in Christ.

Let us briefly survey these 7 verses before honing in on Colossians 3: 3.

1- Romans 6:8 says
Now if  (or since) we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him

Here the benefit is to live in union with Him, as promised in Psalm 23:6 and John 14:1-3 inter alia.

2.Galatians 2:20 says

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Having shared in  His crucifixion, the benefit is that now Christ (the Messiah) lives in me and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in ( i.e by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

3. Ephesians 2:5 point out that
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

While we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, Jesus, quickened or made us alive together in fellowship and in union with HIM. This means that He gave us the very quality of eternal life ——–i.e the same new life with which God resurrected Him.

In addition, He made us partakers of the salvation he gives and for which he died by grace (i.e His favor and mercy which we did not deserve), and He delivered us from judgment

The benefits mentioned in Ephesians are certainly stupendous!

4  Colossians 2:13 affirms

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

This verse repeats that even when we were dead in our sins, God brought us to life spiritually in union together with Christ, and has freely forgiven us of all our transgressions

Colossians 2:20 asserts
“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,”

This verse teaches that having died  with Christ we are to be oblivious to the material ways of looking at things because we have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, we are not to live as if we still belong to the world and subject our self to the world’s material ways.

The context of this statement is the difference between human-centered efforts, versus a Christ-centered reliance on God.

Paul’s point in the second half of this verse is clearly that if a person really believes that Christ, not the Law, is the focus of their lives, why would they continue to obsess over human rules and regulations? In other words, Paul questioned why the Colossian believers still acted like unbelievers in some areas. Instead of living by faith in their own ability, they were to walk by faith in Christ (Colossians 2:6). The ascetic teachings or rules of false teachers were not binding upon them and offered no advantage.

This verse confirms the teaching of 2 Peter 1;4, which proclaims ……..  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

6. Colossians 3:1
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

This injunction points out that since we have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], we should aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:3
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
This short statement is much deeper  than it seems, and is worthy of communal study!

Colossians 3 v 3 states For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

The first thing to say about this verse is this remarkable outline I got from Charles  George.

“your life”, the Treasure;

“is hid with Christ”, the Treasurer;

“in God”, the Treasury.

In my view, there are GENERAL CONSEQUENCES or BENEFITS to each of these “WITH CHRIST” verses, and there are also SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES or BENEFITS. 


Throughout the New Testament we find this intimate union of the believer with Christ affirmed –

We are crucified with Him (Gal 2:20).

We die with Him (Ro 6:3-4).

We rise with Him (Ro 6:4-5, Ep 2:6).

We live with Him (Ro 6:82Ti 2:11Col 3:4).

We reign with Him (2Ti 2:12Eph 2:6Re 20:4).

We are joint heirs with Him (Ro 8:17note).

We share His sufferings on earth (Acts 9:161Pe 2:212Co 1:51Pe 4:13) and

We share His glory with Him on His throne (Re 3:21). 

The specific consequence of Colossians 3:3 is that the life of the Christian is hidden with Christ in God for ever. Believers are permanently hidden, and securely locked together with Christ. The greek verb translated “hidden” is ’krupto’. It means to cover, to hide (as in hiding treasure), to conceal, to keep secret in a “vault” or “cellar,”(either for protective or for selfish reasons).

The word “with” is “sun/syn which conveys the picture of intimate union, and our oneness and identity with Christ, bringing out the truth that we are now in (new) covenant with Him. Because of our union with Christ we have a constant presence with Him.

We were hidden with Christ at the time of our salvation, and we remain hidden or concealed permanently and irrevocability. We are hidden in the sense that our new spiritual life is no longer in the sphere of the earthly and sensual, but is with the life of the risen Christ, who is unseen (by the world) with God. Our life “is hid from the world which cannot understand us, and hid from the devil who cannot steal it.

”Hidden” means that the life of the Christian now “remains intimately and

permanently linked or locked “together with” (sun) Christ, “in” (en) God, and no one or nothing can  break that combination, as is taught in Romans 8:35-39. Who shall ”separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39) i.e Our hidden life is eternally secure in Christ. Eternally Secure, held fast by His Nail Pierced Hands!

Believers are safe not just in the present but in eternity future! No caveats. No

disclaimers. God says it. That settles it.

“Hidden” or concealed conveys the ideas of a permanent and irrevocable union. It expresses the fellowship of the believer, and his identity with his risenLord, who is in the bosom of the Father (cf Jn 1:1810:27282930).

Why are we hidden?

There are several practical aspects of our new lives being raised and hidden with Christ in God. Since believers are hidden “safely” in God, we no longer have to  try unsuccessfully to hide from God, like our fore parents tried to do in Genesis 3:7-8. Nor will we be involved in the futile efforts of men to hide from the face and wrath of God when the Day of the Lord comes as John described  in (Revelation6:15,16). If we are truly in Christ, we are forever and ever in Christ, independent of our frequent failings in this present early existence.

1 We are hidden for God’s personal pleasure.

God gets pleasure when we live in the Spirit and are victorious in our daily lives living for him

2 We are hidden for  our safety, and security

The believer’s salvation is safe & secure with Christ : it is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. (Jn 10:28).

The security of our life is not in our experience, or our hands, but in Him. No one can take or destroy what is safely hidden with God.

When Christ said “It is Finished,” He put His irrevocable stamp on our eternal security.  No works we do can ever add to His finished work. No sins we commit, have not already been atoned for by His precious blood of the New Covenant. Our hidden life is eternally secure in Christ. May God grant us grace by His Spirit to fully rest in this incredible truth in Christ.

Our salvation is secure because God is doing the holding, and the hiding.

•Although we stumble every day,
The Lord is always there
To pick us up, forgive our sin,
And show His love and care.

All of us slip again and again as we walk the Christian pathway. But we are held securely by the Lord, and we can be restored to close fellowship with Him when we confess our sins (1 Jn. 1:9).

3 We are hidden for  to aid in our Submission.

To be hidden means that our own selfish desires are submitted to Christ.

Being “hid” suggests that we are to be invisible, so that Christ can become visible in our lives. As we all know, dying to self and living to God ( i.e Christ increasing, us decreasing as taught in John 3:30 is the essence of the heavenly minded “muchfruit” life (John 15:8) which our Father desires for all His children to experience so that their joy might be full.

We must spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to show us any areas where we are tempted to shine and promote your own identity. Sometimes we do this out of fear or in order to feel in control. We must ask the Lord to help us remember that being hidden in Christ, means that we are safe and fully loved.

4- We are hidden for  our protection

We are hidden so as to provide protection, and to prevent us from being harmed while we are being transformed to be more like Him, and as Christ becomes visible in our lives. Remember: the word hidden (Krupto) carries with it the idea of keeping something secret or protected. Because we are safely hidden in Christ, we can have the confidence that He will keep us and bring us to our final destinationas expressed in Jude 24.

While we are hidden or concealed, “where the world sees Him no more”,

cf. Jn 14:19). the believer’s life is nourished by secret springs and directed towardits source and away from the visible and carnal.

•Illustrate  with example   of big cats

5 We are hidden because we are precious

Because of our union with Christ we are considered to be valuable and precious. We are so precious to God that our new life, is “hidden with Christ in God”. 

In 1 Peter 2:4, it is noticeable that God compares us, as well as His Son, to living stones “chosen by God and precious to him.”  But we are not only precious  as building blocks in a spiritual house but we are also like precious stones or GEMS.

Precious stones are valued, displayed, treasured, and used as a tribute to one’s love when placed in an engagement or anniversary band. 

Just as valued, and treasured precious stones are and often hidden in a safe or

vault to protect them from theft or destruction, so too God has hidden us in

Christ. Just as rich persons hide their valuables in safes and vaults, so too our very rich God hides us, his precious expensive possessions who were purchased by the shedding of Christ’s blood on Calvary’s cross. 

6 We are hidden in preparation for our display or presentation c.f Jude 24

Ephesians 2:10 states For we are his workmanship or masterpiece, created in

Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we shouldwalk in them. God is working on us for our display in the heavenlies. Meanwhile he hides us just as an artist hides his work until it is exhibited.

While we are hidden in Christ, we are hidden from the world that is dying in

spiritual darkness (Mt 5:14). We can have our  lives hidden with Christ in God in the sense that they do not have to conform to the carnality of this present world (Romans 12:1-2). 

We read in 2 Peter 1:4, Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escapedthe corruption that is in the world through lust.

Our new life with Christ in God is concealed from the world and unbelievers are unable to grasp the full import of the believer’s new life (1Co 2:14). The world cannot recognize the Christian now; but the true manifestation of the sons of Godis yet to come in the next world, so that people cannot see what believers really are like (Ro 8:19Ga 5:5, Php 3:20, 211Jn 3:2). 

The day is coming when Christ will return in glory and then the Christian, whom no one recognized, will share that glory and it will be plain for all to see

In the meantime, while we are hidden in Christ each one of us precious gems are becoming transformed into something immensely valuable to our Creator as GOD SHINES US UP TO HIS DESIRED PERFECTION


As we live out our union hidden with Christ in God, may our way of life be really so hid with Christ in God that in the midst of the day’s business we continue to be inwardly lifting brief prayers, short sudden utterances of praise, whispers of adoration and of tender love to the CHRIST IN WHOM WE ARE  HIDDEN

We can surely then sing Safe in the arms of Jesus

•Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ’tis the voice of angels, borne in a song to me.
Over the fields of glory, over the jasper sea.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations, sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow, free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials, only a few more tears!

Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages, ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, wait till the night is over;
Wait till I see the morning break on the golden shore.


Sweet Sunday Sermon – PALM SUNDAY WHAT A DAY!

Submitted by Doc GP

Back ground to Palm Sunday message


To show that

1- God was working according to a plan,

2- that Jesus was fully aware of His Father’s plan and willingly compliant, and

3- to show how Palm Sunday fit into that plan. 


Today is the day that we celebrate Palm Sunday.

We call this Palm Sunday in commemoration of the time when, 6 days before His

crucifixion, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, and palm branches were placed

before Him  as a “red carpet” to worship and to invite him into Jerusalem as their


On Palm Sunday our Lord made His tearful and first triumphant entry into

Jerusalem, as he continued His faithful march to being crucified on the cross five

days later.




Sweet Sunday Sermon – Jesus the Well

Submitted by Dr. GP

Theme:  Jesus the well.

Text:  Our text is taken from John 4:5.— “Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey sat thus on the well .”

And “Now Jacob’s well was there” ( John 4:6).

We will proceed using the TYPOLOGICAL method of Bible study

The “well” of the Old Testament Scriptures definitely foreshadowed Christ and what is to be found in Him.

Let us observe how some of the Old Testament passages where the “well” is mentioned, and discover how they foreshadowed Jesus the “Well”,   the One who gave the water of life to the woman of Samaria, at Sychar’s well as recorded in John 4. May our eyes be enabled to behold “wondrous things” out of God’s word..

Not only is each typical picture perfect, but the order in which they are found demonstrates  Divine design.

 1 Jesus the “Well”  is the place of meeting between the Savior and the sinner.

The first time the word “well” is mentioned in Scripture, is in Genesis 16:6,7,13,14.

6But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

7And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

13And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

14Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

First, note that the “fountain of water” of verse 7 is termed the “well” in verse 14.

It was the place where the angel of the Lord found the poor outcast Hagar.

Similarly, Christ, the “well” of salvation, is where God meets the sinner, for “no man cometh unto the Father” but by Him. (John 6:44; John 14:6)

Second, this well was located in the wilderness.

The “wilderness” well is a good and fit symbol of this world, which perfectly. depicts the state of heart we were in when we first met Christ!

Third , the “well” was the place where God was revealed to Hagar, who called it, “the well of him that liveth and seeth me.” This reminds us that  Christ is the Revealer of God — “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)


2. Jesus the “Well is the place of spiritual discernment or understanding

In Genesis 21:14-19 we read, 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

Notice that again, we have before us Hagar, an outcast, whose water was spent, for she had only “a bottle”, and who like the prodigal son, “began to be in want.” As she sat weeping having cast away her child to die, she was a picture of the poor, desolate, despairing sinner! But the Lord “opened her eyes,” so that she might see the “well” that had been there all the time! And so it was with us. We would not have discovered the One of whom the “well” here speaks, unless, the Holy Spirit of God, had  opened our eyes to see Jesus as the One who alone could meet our desperate and deep need for salvation.  We read in Proverbs 20:12-— “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”

Also in John 5:20 we are told, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding , that (in order that) we may know Him that is true.”


3. Jesus  the “Well is the place of the “covenant” and “the oath”

In Genesis 21:27-31 the “well” is presented as the place of the “covenant” (verse 27), which was ratified by an “oath” (verse 31), as is corroborated by Hebrews 7:20-22.

 “And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place the well of the oath ; because there they sware both of them” .

We read in Hebrews 7:20-22? — “And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament [covenant ].”

The covenant and the oath speak of that which tells of the sure ground upon which our eternal preservation rests. From hereon, every reference to the “well” has that connected with it which is appropriate of believers only.

4. Jesus the “Well”   is the place of prayer, where the believer approaches the Father in the name of Christ, of whom the “well” speaks.

In Genesis 24:10-12 we read, “And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day.”

5. Jesus the “Well”   is the place of rest in Christ in the “green pastures” into which the good Shepherd leads His own c.f Psalm 23.

 In Genesis 29:1-3 we read, “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and beheld a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks.”

This is very beautiful and striking contrast between this typical scene and the first that we looked at in Genesis 16. There, where the sinner first meets Christ, the “well” is located in the wilderness — a picture of the barrenness and desolation of the sinner. But here, the “well” is found in the field with three flocks lying and resting by this “well.” This  suggests the “green pastures” into which the good Shepherd leads His own, and their position of  lying and resting by this “well,”denoting the rest which Christ gives His own. It is only in Christ that the believer finds rest.

6.  Jesus the “Well” is the place of refuge

In Exodus 2:5-17 we are told, “Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses.. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.”

In this marvelous type, we see Pharaoh the king of Egypt as he prefigures Satan as the god of this world, attacking and seeking to destroy the believer. Often times the great Enemy seeks to frighten us and gets us on the run. When Moses “fled” from Pharaoh to Midian, the next  thing that we read of Moses is, that  “he sat down by a well.” Thank God there is One to whom we can flee for refuge — the Lord Jesus Christ to whom the “well” pointed.

To this well the daughters of Jethro also came, for water.  But the shepherds came and drove them away. How many of the “under- shepherds” today are, by their infidelistic teachingdriving many away from Christ. Nevertheless, God still has a Moses here and there, who will “stand up and help ” those who really desire the Water of Life. But be it noted, before we can “help” others we must first be resting on the well for ourselves, as Moses was.

7. Jesus the “Well”  is the object of song and praise.

“And from thence they went to Be-er: that is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it” (Numbers 21: 16-17).

The well is here  personified, and  made the object of song. It evokes praise.  All believers ought to be “singing” unto the “Well.”

8. Jesus the “Well”  is the place of shelter and protection for believers cf Colossians 3:3

In  2 Samuel 17:17-1 we observe : “Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by Enrogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench went and told them; and they went and told king David. Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man’s house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court: whither they went down . And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known ”.

Here we find the “well” providing shelter and protection for God’s people. Notice there was a “covering” over its mouth, so that Jonathan and Ahimaaz were hidden in the well. So it is with the believer — Paul writes in Colossians 3:3 “your life is hid with Christ in God.

The last sentence quoted above is noteworthy, “And the thing was not known!” The world is in complete ignorance of the believer’s place and portion in Christ!

9. Jesus the “Well”  is the only source of satisfying water for the believer

“And David longed, and said, O that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” ( 2 Samuel 23:15). Nothing but water from the well of Bethlehem would satisfy David. Nothing but water from Jesus the “Well”  will satisfy the believer either.

10. Jesus the “Well”  is the personal source of satisfying water for each believer

Proverbs 5:15 asserts   “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.” What a blessed climax is this. The “well” is our own, and from its “running waters” we are invited to “drink.”

This study has been unspeakably blessed as it gives meaning to our text from John 4:6.— “Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey sat thus on the well .”

There are three things that we must consider, in connection with this particular “well” which speaks of the character of that Salvation which is found in Christ.

“Now Jacob’s well was there” ( John 4:6).

First , this well was purchased by Jacob, or more accurately speaking, the “field” in which the well was located was purchased by him. “And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-Aram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money” ( Genesis 33:18-19).

The word “Sychar” in John 4:6 means purchased . This well was  thus  a well-chosen and suited place for Christ to speak to that woman of the “gift of God,” which cost Him everything.

Second , the “parcel of ground” in which was this well, was afterwards taken by Joseph with “sword and bow;…. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow” ( Genesis 48:21,22) — that this is the same “parcel of ground” referred to in Genesis 33 is clear from John 4:5.

 The reference in Genesis 48 is apparently to a later date than what is in view in Genesis 33. The Amorites were seeking to rob Jacob of his well, and therefore an appeal to arms was necessary. This, we believe, fore shadowed the present interval, during which the Holy Spirit (while Satan is yet the “Prince of this world” and ever seeks to oppose and keep believers-God’s Jacobs away from the “well”) is bringing salvation to souls by means of the “sword” ( Hebrews 4:12).

Third, this portion purchased by Jacob, and later secured by means of the “sword and bow,” was given to Joseph (see Genesis 48:21-22). This became a part of Joseph’s “birthright,” for said Jacob “I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren.” This ought to have been given to Reuben, Jacob’s “firstborn,” but through his fall into grievous sin it was transferred to Joseph (see 1 Chronicles 5:1).

How marvelously accurate the type! Christ the second Man takes the inheritance which the first man Adam forfeited and lost through sin!

 Putting these three together, we have: the “well” purchased, the “well” possessed, the “well” enjoyed.


Sweet Sunday Sermon – A STUDY IN ROMANS 16

Submitted by Dr. GP

Relationships among servants of God in the early church.

•We will begin with a few outlines to REVIEW THE BOOK OF ROMANS section by section in order to fix the message of this epistle in our minds.
•Followed by a few GENERAL THOUGHTS ON THE CHAPTER…..leading into
(1) Condemnation (Romans 1-2).
(2) Justification (Romans 3-5).
(3) Sanctification (Romans-6-8).
(4) Dispensation (Romans 9-11).
(5) Application (Romans 12-15).
•The first eleven chapters are a revelation of the grace of God.
•Then from chapter 12 we are instructed on the responsibility that man has because of this grace.
(6) Conclusion (Romans 16).
•We began in the first week of June by establishing that “The righteousness of God is the major theme of Romans.
•We would agree that the term “righteousness” covers all that is necessary to reinstate a sinner as right with God, and therefore includes his position, his character, his privileges, and his prospects.
•It embraces the past, present, and future, and it means “the state of being right.”
•On this basis we can reasonably outline the epistle thus:
•(a) Righteousness needed by sinful men (Rom 1:173:20)
(b) Righteousness provided by God (Rom 3:21-26)
(c) Righteousness received through faith (Rom 3:274:25)
(d) Righteousness experienced in the soul (Rom 5:18:17)
(e) Righteousness guaranteed as permanent blessing (Rom 8:18-39)
(f) Righteousness rejected by the Jewish nation (Rom 911)
(g) Righteousness manifested in practical life (Rom 1216)
•R-      Ruin  (Romans 1:17 – 3:20) – The utter sinfulness of humanity
O      Offer  (Romans 3:21-31) – God’s offer of justification by grace
M      Model  (Romans 4:1-25) – Abraham as a model for saving faith
A      Access  (Romans 5:1-11) – The benefits of justification
N      New Adam (Romans 5:12-21) – We are children of two “Adams”
S      Struggle w/ Sin  (Romans 6-8) Struggle, sanctification, and victory
•Galatians 3:27-28 King James Version (KJV)
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
•There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
•This seems to be the major lesson to be gleaned from vv1-16.
•Many people ignore Romans 16, because they see in it nothing but a list of names of people.
•Verses 3-15 and verses 21-23 contain a long list of greetings to personal friends of Paul in Rome, to whom he was writing, or greetings from persons who were with him in the city of Corinth, from which he wrote, and who never knew that they were going to be famous.
•In some ways the names in these verses are incidental because we really don’t know very much about any of them.
•However, we must remember when we come to a section of Scripture like  the lists of genealogies in the Bible or the long list of names  in this chapter, to keep in mind 2 Timothy 2:19b  which teaches that “The Lord knoweth them that are his.”
•We need also to remember  2 Timothy 3:16-17,which teaches that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
•These saints whom Paul greets have long since died, and their names and the information Paul supplies may seem irrelevant. But the Holy Spirit has both inspired and preserved these words for our edification. Our task is to determine why these words have been preserved for us and what they have to teach us. It is a task well worth the effort.
•Romans 16 is by far the most extensive, intimate and particular of all the words of loving greeting in Paul’s marvelous letters. We can not afford to miss this wonderful outpouring of Paul’s heart toward the saints whom he so loved in all the Church of God!
•Although Paul isn’t deliberately teaching here, and is just greeting his friends in Rome and sending greetings from some who were with him in Corinth, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these greetings which gives us a snapshot of these two churches, to teach us much about what our church ought to be like, and how the individuals greeted here can motivate and encourage each of us to be all that God wants us to be.
•So rather than skip over this chapter quickly, we need to think about, “What food for my soul ishere for me?” We have to dig a bit, but when we do we  come up with some nuggets that make the search worthwhile. Let us look to Him who inspired these words to open our eyes to their meaning.
•In many ways Romans 16 is one of the most exciting chapters in the Bible, a proper study of which yields the following general nuggets of truth.
•1. The local church family is made up of ordinary, diverse people who have come to faith in Christ through the gospel; they are “in the Lord,”  and are seeking to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord through sound study of the scriptures.
•2. The local church family is made up several families, and because the members are part of a family who love one another, they are thus hospitable and helpful toward one another, as they seek to deepen their relationships with one another in the Lord.
•3. The local church family is made up of men and women who serve the Lord, in different roles and capacities , and who work hard together for the Lord.
•As we saw in chapter 12, every believer has been given at least one spiritual gift that he or she is to use in serving the Lord, so there should be no benchwarmers in the body of Christ.  The believers mentioned in this chapter  seem to have been workers rather than shirkers, as required by the teaching  of 1 Peter 4:10-11
•As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
•Romans  Chapter 16 consists largely of Paul’s salutations to saints that Paul knew who were dwelling in Rome, and from others who were with him in Corinth as he wrote.
•Paul concludes his excellent epistle, with a great deal of affection, in which, his  great love for his fellow believers is revealed. He talks about relationships that tell us a lot about his accountability, his love and his dependence on fellow believers .
We may outline it thus:-
1. Commendation of Phoebe to the Roman Christians- v1-2 – PHOEBE                                
2. Cordial greetings to several of his friends at Rome – v3-16 THOSE WHO WOULD HELP THE CHURCH or PRISCILLA &THE PILLAR PEOPLE
3. Caution to take heed of the phony Christians who were seeking  to cause divisions in the church  – v17-20 i.e  THOSE WHO WOULD HARM OR HINDER THE CHURCH or THE PROBLEM PEOPLE
•4. Complimentary greetings from his companions who were with him in Corinth as he wrote v 21-24  OTHER PILLAR PEOPLE-                       
5.Concluding Doxology or solemn celebration of God’s glory v 25-27 PRAISE                                                                                   
•As we read Romans 16, we notice that Paul speaks of  two different types of folk that may be found  in a local church .
•HELPERS  or PILLAR PEOPLE  vv1-16 and
•Paul points out in vv1-16that we need to celebrate and commend the builders and helpers of the church, and that we need to rejoice over those who encourage us in the faith and call us to follow Christ more fully.
•We  are to  mark and avoid the destroyers or hinderers or the problem people in the church because they cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned. v17.
•We must  not only teach what to believe, we must also teach what NOT to believe” and who not to believe.
•There is so much to be gleaned from studying Romans 16:17-20, about the PROBLEM PEOPLE, but because of lack of time today, we will only give an outline for this section, and confine most of our remarks to parts 1, 2 & 4 of our outline and discuss what I call the PILLAR PEOPLE.
1- Commendationof Phoebe to the Roman Christians- v1-2
2- His cordial greetings to several of his Christians friends at Rome- 16:3-16


•4- Complimentary greetings from his companions who were with him as he wrote 16:21-24
•Churches that grow in a God-glorifying way are churches that have a core of Godly, dedicated pillar people.
•These are the people who undergird and support the weight of the ministry of a church and give it a strong foundation.
•Without quality pillar people committed for the long haul, it is only a matter of time before a ministry collapses.
•In verses 1-15 Paul acknowledges, cheers on, and thanks 26 different PILLAR people in the church at Rome, because Paul knew the vital importance of Pillar people when it came to the establishment and growth of a God-glorifying church.
•Bylooking closely at this list in Paul’s P.S. we can see at least two characteristics that are found in true pillar people—qualities we must embrace if we want to be the kind of people our church needs in order for it to grow and do more for God. PILLAR PEOPLE in a local church are believers who demonstrate  two main characteristics.
•The first is SERVANT-HOOD,
•the second is SACRIFICE.
•In our study of the named believers in Romans 16:1-15 & 21-23 today, we will give
•the name of the mentioned saint,
•the outstanding characteristic for which that saint was  known,
•a discussion of the Greek word that explains this characteristic.
•We want to show the relationship that Paul enjoyed with these pillar people and stress their character, with the hope that Paul’s words to these saints will be an encouragement and a challenge to each of our hearts as we see traits in these people that we would want to emulate in our own lives.
•I hope you will find this approach to be interesting and as fascinating as I have.
•V 1-2 PhoebeServant (diakonon)
•I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
•Phebe is recommended with three endearing names
•(a) As a sister to Paul: in the faith of Christ
•(b) As a servant to the church at Cenchrea: in acts of charity and hospitality,
•(c) As a succourer of many, and particularly of Paul
SHE IS CALLED A SISTER to Paul: in the faith of Christ.
•The word sister indicates that Phebe was in a father/daughter relationship with God. She was a sister because she knew the Father.
•She was also in a relationship with other redeemed children of God.
•Note that Paul “identifies” her a “Sister” in Christ not in the flesh, cf 1 Cor 7:15; Phm 2)
•In Christ, we belong to God not only as “fellow citizens with the saints” in His divine kingdom but also are brothers and sisters in His divine “household” (Ephesians 2:19).
•To refer to Phoebe as “our sister” meant that she was a devoted member of a church family made up of redeemed people from all kinds of races and backgrounds.
•When a person comes to Jesus, all the barriers of life are broken down according to Galatians 3:28. In Jesus there are no racial barriers, no social barriers and no sexual barriers. We are all made one in Jesus!
•This is perhaps the most significant thing we should grasp from this list of names.
•“A servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:“
• SHE IS CALLED A SERVANT to the church at Cenchrea, in acts of charity and hospitality
•Paul says that Phebe is a “servant“- diakonon.
•Because diakonon is the same word that is translated “deacon” elsewhere, this has resulted in some controversy  in many church groups who believe  in female leadership in the church, and therefore teach  that she was a deaconess at the local church in Cenchrea.
•We are not going to discuss the controversy over  the word “diakonos” today, instead we will note that Paul stressed her service, rather than her office.
•The use of diakonon  here means only that she carried out the spirit of that office in her work for the Lord, as a servant to the church because diakonon  means one who executes the commands of another.
•You see, the word translated “deacon“, say in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, and here “servant” means “a table waiter, or one who waits on orders from his master.” At times it referred to one who kicked up dust.The idea being that the servant was a person  who was so busy carrying out his duties that he left a trail of dust behind him.
•diakonosis used of the household servants who drew the water that Jesus turned into wine (John 2:59), and Paul has used the term earlier in this letter twice: to refer to secular government as “a minister of God to you for good” (Ro 13:4 ], and even of Christ as “a servant to the circumcision,” that is, to Jews (Ro 15:8).
•The phrase “of the church“ indicates that Phebe was under the authority of a local church. Whatever kind of service she rendered, her  place in the church, was a servant.
•Phebe was connected to, and respected  for her work with a local church and not just doing her own thing as an independent Christian.
•Note that the same is true about preachers, teachers, leaders and all officers of the church. We are all servants and are to be in submission to the local church.
•for she hath been a succourer of many,
•Succourer means “to come to another’s assistance.” It comes from an old word that means “to run under”.
•Succourer(from Latin suc-currereto run to help) is defined  as someone who is proactive in their service, and furnishes relief by running to the aid of another.
•Phoebe was apparently a businesswoman of considerable wealth and of high esteem and integrity, who used her influence and financial means, as well as her personal time and effort, as a tremendous help to many fellow believers and of Paul also.
•So Phoebe’s gift was to be a patroness, a protectress, a succourer, running to care for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources.
A. She Gave Of Her Talent & Treasure – Whatever it was that Phebe was good at, she dedicated that to the Lord and used it to be a blessing to the church.
•She helped Paul and she helped others. She was unselfish and not self-centered. She placed the needs of others first and made a difference in their lives for the glory of God.
•She took her life and placed it all on the altar for Jesus. She did what she could. Phebe didn’t try to do everything, she just did what she could!
•Here is what the church needs today! We need women, and men, who will do what they can do, with their Talent & Treasure!
•Not every one can teach or preach. Not everyone can sing, or write, or lead, or whatever. But, everyone can do something! That something that you can do is what you should do for the Lord and for His church. Do what you can for Him and He will bless it in a great way!
•B. She Gave Of Her Time – A ministry like that takes a lot of time! She was willing to spend her life on behalf of the church and for the glory of her redeemer.
•Have you ever thought that your time may just be the most valuable asset you have?
•However, in the light of eternity, what is the investment of time for the glory of God?
•Lets thank and praise the Lord for those people in the church who are willing to give of their time……to pray for others, to visit a sick one, to minister to the bereaved, to make that phone call, to prepare that meal, to do what needs to be done so that others might be blessed.
ROMANS 16:1-2  summary
•The Church Should Commend & Assist Fellow-Christians Who Are Ministering to Others (:1-2)
•a. The church’s business is to minister to others
•b. The church should commend  and assist and thank fellow-Christians who are committed to helping and serving others
•c. The church should HELP THE HELPERS
•In these first two verses we are introduced to the concept of letters of commendation orrecommendation from “friends” and “team members” in one church to “friends” and “team members’ in another church  as taught also  in Acts 18:24-27.
•The word “commend” comes from two words, sun, together with, and histemi, which means to stand. Paul is saying , “I take my stand with Phebe.” I stand along side her.”
•It appears that in the early church era, there were no hotels, so typically when you traveled, you needed to stay with friends. Also. when a person left one church to go to another,it was a common practice for them to carry  with them a letter of commendation from the home church to let people know that this person could be trusted. We still do this today, to a certain degree.
•A letter of commendation was a very practical solution to identify true saints, introducegood Christian workers,  and distinguish them from false teachers.
•The purpose of such references is to spare the church many problems which are the result of indiscriminate acceptance of strangers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
•So in the first two verses of chapter 16 Paul introduced Phebe to the believers in Rome, and identified her  as a true and faithful believer who should be welcomed into the church there.
•He wanted them to know that she was pretty special and that she would be a blessing to them.
•You cannot read Romans  16  without being impressed by the highly visible place of women in Paul’s ministry, and the number of women he mentions who were being used for Christ.
•Women  actually occupy a prominent place in the New Testament, and much  more so than in any other literature of that day.
•Women were essential to the ministry and handled very important tasks in the ministry of the early church, according to the gifts they had, as they labored for the Lord.
•Contrary to what is supposed by some today, Paul was not a “woman-hater,” and saw it okay to have women involved in ministry.
•He greatly valued women and appreciated the significance of the important roles in  their ministry, and in the list of twenty-seven persons in this chapter he mentions nine prominent women who are all said to have worked for the Lord, and to be used for Christ.
•These women include  Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Tryphena, Thyphosa, Persis, Rufus’ mother, Julia, and Nereus’ sister.
•There are still many women of this sort in the church today…….and in this church also.
•From what we see in this list in Romans 16, women were essential to the ministry and labored for the Lord. Women can and must be active in the ministry. The Bible only states that women should not rule over or teach men in the local church (I Tim. 2:9-15). (1Tim. 2:12).
•They are not to be preachers, pastors, elders or deacons and are not to be put into positions of authority, or infringe  upon the order of the assembly of God.
•Their labor in the church is, however,  not just getting chicken dinners or making flower arrangements or planning parties; they are to have spiritual activity in prayer groups,  witnessing, Bible studies, missionary groups, etc.
•Consider that for every one man who offers himself to the mission field, approximately twenty women have offered themselves!
•What a remarkable place women have in the spreading of the Christian faith.
3-5aPriscilla and Aquila -Fellow workers-  (sunergos)
• Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
•”also the church in their house.“
•Notice three things that Paul said about the precious tent-makers Priscilla and Aquila.
First of all, in verse 3 he says that they were fellow workers.
•When Paul calls Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…he uses the Greek word  sunergos, which  is used 13 times in the NT(predominantly by Paul).
•Paul used it also in this chapter of Timothy in v 21, and in v 9 of Urbanus  (“refined or polite“), who seems to have been a Roman citizen, since his name was a  common Roman name.
•Note that Urbane was “in the top drawer”  like Timothy and Prisca and Aquila!”
•Note also that Paultwice specifically includes godly women among his fellow workers: Priscilla, here,  and in Philippians 4:3  with respect to Euodia and Syntyche, two godly but quarreling members of the church at Philippi who had shared Paul’s “struggle in the cause of the gospel,”as “fellowlabourers”.
•Fellow workers  (sunergos from sun/syn = together with, speaks of an intimate relationship + érgon = work).
•The word sunergos is worth pondering especially in light of Paul’s repeated use of it in this chapter with specific reference to other believers, and the fact that in 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to all believers as God’s fellow workers (1Cor 3:9).
•Sunergos which gives us our English word “synergy, “literally means working together intimately with”,  to help share the load in something, and thus refers to a companion in work, a colleague, a co-laborer, a fellow laborer or fellow helper.
•Synergy is defined as the interaction or cooperation working together of two or more agents, forces, organizations, substances, or other agents which produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their individual or separate effects.
•This word refers to someone who is a team player, who labors with another in furthering the cause of Christ, and who does not seek to run or control things on his own, nor serve for selfish or personal agendas.
•In the NT, sunergos is used only of a co–worker or helper in Christian work. In each instance sunergos conveys the idea of an affectionate partnership and not merely that of an impersonal, official relationship.
•We are reminded by the word sunergos that believers are to work together on the same team, having the same ambition (to please Christ–2 Cor. 5:9) and having the same goal (the glory of God–1 Cor. 10:31). Just as the members of our human body help one another, so it is with the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12, 20-27).
•Fellow workers tend to get involved in the focus of their local church, evangelism, discipling new converts, missions, Bible teaching, giving, praying for others   etc
The second thing Paul  says about this couple is “who for my life risked their own necks,”
•Now, we don’t know much about this as the scriptures are silent as what it is he’s talking about exactly.
•The phrase “risked their own necks” seem to indicate that many times this courageous couple rendered selfless service by putting themselves in extreme danger and risked their lives many times for the sake of protecting Paul or other believers who were in the churches there in the area.
•So not only does Paul thank them, but so did all of the churches who benefited. They all give thanks for the precious lives of these two people.
•Their sacrifice brings to mind John’s exhortation of 1 John 3:16 “ We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Thirdly, their home was one of the places where a church met in Rome. Verse 5 says, “Also greet the church that is in their house.”
•Meeting in homes was part of the norm of that day , and their house was a place, a gathering, where many of the believers could come. Their home was open to the believers there.
•Wherever they went, this couple soon had a church meeting in their house. In Ephesus the house of Prisca and Aquila was a meeting place for the saints (1Cor 16:19;Acts 18) as it was here in Rome.
•Lightfoot says there is no clear example of a separate building set apart for Christian worship within the limits of the Roman Empire before the third century. Early congregations met in homes (1Cor 16:19Col 4:15Philemon 2)
•The Christian congregations were therefore dependent upon the hospitality of prominent church members like Prisca, and Gaius(v23) who furnished their homes for this purpose..”
• These facts provide a clue to the organization of the early church — in a city with a Christian community of any size, there appear to be several “congregations” meeting in different houses (c.f vv14&15), since there were no “church” buildings at this time.
•This is all we can say about HOUSE CHURCHES TODAY except that at least 5 house churches are mentioned in this chapter in vv. 5, 10-11,14, 15.
•“Likewise greet the church that is in their house”
•This phrase The church that is in their house gives us a clue to the organization of the early church. For at least the first two centuries, churches had to meet in homes due to persecution.
•Here we see also that there was an assembly in the house of Priscilla and Aquila .This was  not the only one in Rome, for we see indication of four others also (vv. 10, 11, 14, 15).
•In the early days of the Church believers gathered in private houses in great simplicity, according to our Lord’s word: “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
•In a city with a Christian community of any size, there would be several “congregations” meeting in different houses (very probably houses of a large size). Each house church probably had its own “pastor.”
•Meeting in homes facilitated people-to-people ministry  and helped spread the gospel throughout the whole of then known  world. There is no better environment for person-to-person ministry than in the home.
•Christians then , did not try to get people to come out to church but instead invited them into their homes. There they talked to them about Christ, and there they won their friends and neighbors to the Lord.
•There is no  evidence that there were special “church” buildings until the third century.
•After that the custom grew like wildfire. It was when believers no longer had their church meetings in their homes that organized religion began to take over. Leaving the informal setting of meeting  in the home changed the whole atmosphere and it became formal.
•There were probably half a dozen churches meeting in the city of Rome in private houses.
•Paul  referred to at least three house churches (vv. 5, 14, 15), and at least two households (vv. 10-11) which  might also be house churches.
•In verse 5 there is the church that met at Priscilla and Aquila (cf. v. 23)
•Prisca and Aquila opened their home to host the gatherings of the church
•Wherever Priscilla and Aquila went they started a local church by opening up their home, as they did also in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:19).
•In verse 14 we have five brethren greeted by name, and also the brethren who apparently met  with them are also greeted.
•In verse 15 we have another such house church assembly in Rome, apparently led by Philologus.
•Philologus means “a lover of the word,” and this was probably a nickname given to him, just as Barnabas was called “the son of consolation,” even though that was not his name.
•Here was a man who loved the Word of God, and gathered with him some men and women including Julia, Nereus and his sister.
•There is a renewed interest in house churches in our day.
•In many places today, many humble saints, finding themselves unfed and very often unwanted in the great “establishments,” are gathering more and more as the early Christians did,–in homes, in Bible Conferences–wherever Christ and His Word and real fellowship in the Spirit are the only drawing powers.
•These gatherings have the advantage of forming close relationships, allowing for closer shepherding, and involving every member in ministry. They have the disadvantages of lacking solid teaching and getting off track doctrinally if they lack trained leaders.
•They can also spawn relational conflicts that come from being overly involved in one another’s personal affairs.
•Also, if they don’t maintain an emphasis on outreach and healthy growth by division, they can become ingrown.
•Such home fellowships provide all of these advantages and disadvantages!
•v5 Epaenetus-beloved -(agapetos)
V 8 Amplias -beloved- (agapetos)
V 9 Stachys-beloved- (agapetos)
•It is noteworthy that all three of these brethren were considered to be Paul’s dearly beloved brothers in Christ.
•The word for “beloved” is agapetos- the same word God the Father uses to describe Jesus
•Agapetos could be translated beloved, dear, very much loved, “divinely loved ones,” and is a term of endearment used only in the context of the New Testament of Christians united with God or with each other in love, according to the truth of Romans 5:5.
•Agapetos is love called out of one’s heart by preciousness of the object loved.
•It is a term that means somebody who you know well and have great respect for and who is especially dear to you…. someone that you love, and someone you are deeply devoted to.
•My beloved in the Lord is a wonderful way to characterize an individual, since that is who we are in the Father’s eyes!
•Believers have a wonderful bond in Christ regardless of their station in life or their position in society.
•The gospel puts every believer on the same level, for we are all bond slaves serving our Master, the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:23-24).
•Remember also : “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
•v6 Mary -the “toiler” – (kopiao)
• Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us ………………..”Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.”
•Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much  in the Lord.
•Paul gives Mary a very high compliment when he calls this industrious woman something like “Mary the toiler” because she worked hard and toiled laboriously even to the point of weariness and exhaustion.
•The phrase, “worked hard” comes from two different words. One word means “much” and the other word, kopiao, means “ fatigue”. In other words, she had labored to the point of much fatigue.
•The work described by the Greek term kopiao speaks of exhibiting intense toil and physical tiredness  which follows the straining of all one’s powers to the utmost. It was used to describe  great effort and exertion, and  weariness to the point of exhaustion.
•The idea is that the work left one so weary and worn out, or faint as if the person had taken a beating.
•This is the same word that is used in John 4:6 when it says of the Lord Jesus, “being wearied from His journey, He sat down by the well.” It’s the same word for the disciples in Luke 5:5, when it says, “They toiled all night long and caught nothing.“
•It is fascinating that without email, telephones, etc, that Paul knew that Mary had exerted effort to the point of exhaustion for the believers in Rome!
•Would Paul call you, or I  “_______ the toiler?“
•Note that Paul also places emphasis on the strenuous labor to the point of exhaustion of 3 other women, Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis in verse 12
•It is noteworthy that, as he goes through this letter, all the women he greets he characterizes as hard workers. I think this is very significant. What would we do without the ministry of women in the church?
•V 7Andronicus and Junia-Outstanding -(episemos)
•Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note  (or outstanding ) among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
•Paul tells us four interesting facts about these two believers, who might possibly be husband and wife.
They were Paul’s “kinsmen.” Although “kinsman” normally refers to blood relatives, it can be extended to include fellow countrymen and in the context of this epistle probably refers to fellow Jews who are in Christ, as Paul explained in Romans 9:3.
•In Romans 16, Paul uses this term three times (see verses 7,11,21) and names six people as his kinsmen.
They were Paul’s “fellowprisoners.” These two believers were at some time, perhaps even then, his fellow prisoners and may have shared imprisonment with him in a number of places because of their faith.
They were “in Christ” before Paul. They came to Christ before Paul did, prior to Acts chapter 9. “In Christ” has the technical meaning that is found in Galatians 3:27-28 of being baptized into Christ, and becoming part of the church.
They were “of note among the apostles.” These two believers were probably known by the apostles and had an excellent testimony before them.
•“Of note”  (or Outstanding (episemos) literally means “having a mark upon” and was used literally to describe money that had been stamped or coined (with a raised mark).
•In this verse Paul uses episemos  to indicate that Andronicus and Junias had an excellent or splendid, or outstanding, or distinguished, or eminent or illustrious reputation.  It seems that the meaning here is that Andronicus and Junias performed outstanding service in the Lord’s work while working among, and with and possibly under the guidance of some of the ordained apostles, such as Paul and Peter, and were well–thought–of.  They were thus outstanding ..or “raised” and in “the top drawer.”
•V 10 Apelles – Approved-  (dokimos)
•Salute Apelles approved in Christ.
The significant thing Paul says, and all we know about Apelles is that he was approved in Christ.
•Approved  (dokimos) is a remarkable word which  means tested and thus reliable or acceptable, and was used to describe precious metals such as gold or silver that were refined by fire and proven genuine, having passed the test for purity.
•Gold or silver would be put  into a pot, and heated  until it became a liquid and all the dross would begin to come to the top. Then they would take a ladle and scrape off all the dross. When the silversmith could look in it and see his reflection, then he would cool the fire. That’s what it means to go through the fire. That’s what it means to be tested and to be approved and to be proven genuine in the midst of adversity.
•It seems that Apelles was a believer who must have suffered terribly when tested by the trials and afflictions and adverse circumstances of persecution in the context of this era of the early church, but had responded well to the fires and pressures with integrity, and came through the testing, proving his faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
•Apelles trusted the Lord, remained true to Christ, and came out proven to be pure and proven to be genuine.
•Paul says to greet Apelles because he is  “approved”.
•Approved (dokimos) is what we all desire to hear from our Lord “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:2123Lk 19:17). You are Approved!
•Like Apelles many have suffered for Christ who are not recorded in Scripture, but God will reward each one for his or her faithfulness.
•v10 Aristobulus’ household
Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

V 12 household of Narcissus

Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

•In verses 10 and 12 where Paul sends greetings to the believers who were, “in the household of Aristobulus” and “the household of Narcisuss.”
•Neither Aristobulus nor Narcisuss were Christians—but some of their servants
•J.B. Lightfoot says that there was a man namedAristobuluswho was the brother of Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great. Now, if this was the same one that Paul is talking about, he would have been a close associate to Claudius, the evil Emperor ruler of Rome who drove all the Jews out of Rome.
•If that’s the case, when Aristobulus died, his whole household which included his servants, became the property of NERO, the cruel emperor at the time. This would explain the presence of this family of believers who were actually slaves in the household of Caesar.
•Narcissus was the personal secretary of the Emperor Claudius. When Nero succeeded Claudius, Narcissus was put to death shortly after Nero assumed the throne,  and Narcissus’ servants, who are described in verse 12 as “in the Lord”also became Nero’s property.
•So it seems that there were in these two “inherited” households, within the palace, a large Christian witness in the very corridors of Roman power—working for Nero, the monster.
•These two possibilities give us some help in understanding Philippians 4:22 about “the saints that are of Caesar’s household”.
•God had believers like this even in the higher ups of the government of Rome in that day.
•Since Paul made no distinction between slaves and aristocrats, when they were believers, he says to greet this family of believers.
•They are tremendously significant in the kingdom of God and they are of the household of Caesar, if that theory is correct.
•The gospel was permeating the society of that day!
•11 Herodion – kinsman,
•Salute Herodion my kinsman.
•Recall that in verse 7, he also similarly referred to Andronicus and Junias, as his “kinsmen.”
•In verse 21, Lucius, Jason and Sosipater are similarly referred to as his “kinsmen.”
•He is saying that these six believers were Jews who had come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and so were thus both Israelites and brothers in Christ.
•We know of only two relatives of the Apostle Paul. His sister and her son (Acts 23:16.).
•V 12Tryphaena, Tryphosa and Persis—three female laborers!-  three “toilers” (kopiao)
•Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much  in the Lord.
•One cannot fail to be slightly amused by the allusion to these workers in the Lord, Tryphosa – ‘Dainty’ andTryphaena – ‘Delicate’.
•“Delicate” and “dainty” may have characterized their lives before salvation, but spiritually they were active and faithful workers in the Lord
•These three women labored “in the Lord“.  They probably knew that our labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58), and that our labor is to be “in the Lord” and it is also to be for His great Name’s sake (Rev. 2:3), because of WHO HE IS, and that the One we labor for is worthy of our utmost energy and effort. He deserves nothing less than our best
•V 12 Persis both beloved and a toiler
•Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
•Persis was beloved,  and a  toiler — she was another lady who had worked hard in the Lord.
13Rufus-chosen in the Lord-eklekto
•”Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.“…….. Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord
•Rufus, (choice) literally means chosen, or elected.
•Thayer says  that the word eklektos translated “choice” means select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellent, preeminent.”
•Some believe that this term is here used in a special sense, meaning that Rufus was a “choice” or  an exceptional or extraordinary believer — “a choice man in the Lord”, known for his love and work for the Lord and for the Lord’s people.
•Rufus might have been a beloved, dear, precious man, to Paul, but  everybody Paul talks about is chosen, because ALL believers are “chosen in the Lord.”
•We all are God’s elect (see Col. 3:12; Rom. 8:33; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2:9 where this same word is used).
•Let us remember that Ephesians 1:4 says  that “ he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
•V 13 Rufus’s mother
•and his mother and mine.
•This doesn’t mean that Paul was a brother of Rufus, it means that he considered Rufus’ mother to be like a mother to him.
•It seems that Rufus’ mother had the gift of hospitality, and that at some time and in some way during Paul’s years of ministry, used her gift faithfully for the Lord Jesus, in caring for the Apostle Paul as one of her own children, and that Paul received from her the empathy and tenderness that only a mother can give.
•When we are saved and become members of the family of God (John 1:12) we soon discover that we have many brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and that God’s blood-bought children have a unique relationship one with another, as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
•”Let Christian mothers find here a great field for that wonderful heart of instinctive loving care given by God to mothers,—that they extend their maternal care beyond their own family circle, to all Christians, and especially to all laborers for Christ. The Lord will remember it at His coming!” (W.Newell)
•V 14 & 15
• Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
• Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
•Five believers are greeted by name in verse 14 and mention is made of the “brethren that are with them.” Five believers are also mentioned in verse 15 as well as “all the saints who are with them.”
•It seems that Paul is here greeting two  groups of men who were part of  house churches that existed in the city of Rome like the one that met  in the home of Priscilla and Aquila.
•He distinguishes five people out of each of these churches.
•We know nothing about these men, but by studying history and the times and the names and what they were associated with, it appears that you’ve  got two groups of five men who were, or had been slaves at that time and had come to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
•Paul distinguishes, lifts up, and pays tribute to these men. Nobody else would have paid tribute to them except God Himself, but God is doing that through Paul.
•Philologus  is an interesting Greek name that means “lover of the word.” I don’t know anything else about him, but I love his name. You certainly can not have a Bible teaching church without a few Philologi!
•There’s an inscription of a slave freed by Augustus by the name of Asyncritus. We don’t know if it’s the same one.
•The name, Nereus, is found in an inscription of the imperial household.
•So we have in these two verses  ten believers  who had somehow been distinguished by their faithfulness to God in little house churches  there in Rome, and Paul was led to put them into his list of greetings in Romans chapter 16.
•V 21Timothy  fellow-worker,(sunergos)
•”Timothy my fellow worker greets you.“
• We have already discussed the implications of sunergos.
•Timothy (Timotheus meaning “honoring God”) was one of Paul’s closest and most trusted associates, and his dear beloved son in the faith who had stayed with him long, and remained faithful from the beginning to the end because of the servant heart Timothy had.
•Of all the companions of Paul, we know more about Timothy than we do anybody else in the list that Paul mentions. He’s mentioned in twenty-four verses in the New Testament.
Acts 16:2  reports that “he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.“
•From the very first meeting Timothy had alongside Paul , Timothy’s loyalty began to spread and people began to find out about him  and by the time that Paul wrote the book of Philippians everybody knew about Timothy.
•Everywhere Paul went Timothy appeared. Paul would assign him here and assign him there or leave him here as needed.
•Paul spoke of him in the highest terms always; especially in (Philippians 2:19-22), “I have no man likeminded, who will truly care for your state. Ye know that as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in the furtherance of the Gospel.”
•Another version says in Philippians 2:22, “But you know of his proven worth that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.”
•Paul had a warm place in his heart for Timothy even to the end of his life. The very last letter Paul wrote from his prison cell in Rome was to Timothy. Among his last recorded words, Paul twice asked to see Timothy again (2 Tim. 4:9,21).
•The relationship with Timothy had become very precious. It says in 2 Timothy 1:4, “longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” Then down in the last part of the book, in 2 Timothy 4:9, he says, “Make every effort to come to me soon.“
•There is no more beautiful picture than that of a man who is a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, a man loyal to a man like the Apostle Paul. It didn’t matter the credit that came to him. He was willing to serve him like a child would serve a father. People knew this about Timothy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could say that about you and me? There was a loyalty there.
•** v 21 Lucius.
•Lucius was probably the Lucius of Cyrene mentioned in Acts 13:1, as one of the teachers in the city of Antioch, and as one of the persons who commissioned Paul and Barnabas to the mission field.
•”Lucius” may also have been Luke, the writer of Luke and Acts, and who was present in the “we” portions of Acts.
•** v 21 Jason
•Jason was most likely the Jason who entertained and hosted Paul in his home in the city of Thessalonica, for a short while after a riot broke out in the city before the believers there sent Paul and Silas to Berea for their safety (Acts 17:5-10).
•** v 21 Sopater….Sosipater
•Sosipater is in all likelihood Sosipater, the son of Pyrrhus, of Berea, mentioned in Acts 20:4-6 as “Sopater,” who was among the companions of Paul who met him at Troas after he left Ephesus.
•Sopaterdoubtless was among the Jews in Berea who “were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, who received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things [that Paul preached] were so,” and was among the “many of them [who] therefore believed”(Acts 17: 10-12).
•Must have been very difficult to be more noble than those in Thessalonica C.f  1Thessalonians 2:13
•V22 Tertius
• I Tertius, who wrote down this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
•The name “Tertius” (v. 22) indicates that he, was a slave, because his name means “Third.”  (His brother, Quartus, Fourth, is mentioned in Verse 23.)
•In the ancient world in slave families they had a very simple way of solving the problem of naming children. They did not bother to think up names; they just numbered them. The first born was called Primus, the second Secundus, the third, Tertius; & the fourth, Quartus, etc.
•Here are Third and Fourth of a family of slaves.
•They are educated slaves who have become Christians. They can read and write, and are part of this group in Corinth.
•Paul’s normal practice in writing letters to churches was to use an amanuensis, (from Latin  servus a manu = slave with secretarial duties  ie a copyist/secretary; scribe, assistant who took  dictation) when writing his letters, but frequently added a greeting with his own hand (1Co16:212Th 3:17 Phile 1:19). Paul spoke as he was moved and carried along by the Holy Spirit (compare 2 Peter 1:21) and Tertius transcribed with precision what he said.
•But this is the only letter where Paul’s secretary Tertiusis mentioned by name.
•GAIUS –Host-  (xenos)
•Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you.
•Gaius, in whose home the letter was written, is presumably the person mentioned in  1 Corinthians 1:14 whom Paul had himself baptized. Gaius has the distinction of being one of the few people who Paul himself ever baptized, as Paul didn’t baptize many people. Paul preach the gospel and others took care of the baptizing.
•The word (xenos) first means stranger, foreign or not of one’s family and in this context refers to one who hosts strangers.
•Gaius was apparently a wealthy, prominent , gracious and generous hearted believer and well known brother for his  hospitality in opening  his house to the entire Christian community that Paul could say that he was not only his host , but also host  to the entire church at Corinth.
•He  had a spacious house suitable for the gathering of the saints for worship; so he welcomed and entertained all the saints at  his house which was probably the meeting place of the church.
•Fiends, if you have a longing to be helpful to God’s saints, be a Gaius!
•V 23 Erastus  -Treasurer (steward, manager)-(oikonomos)
•Erastus was apparently  a high ranking official as the chamberlain, or city treasurer,  or director of public works in the city of Corinth. This was a very high important office in that time. This shows how the Gospel proclaimed by Paul for some 18 months in Corinth had penetrated even the higher echelons of the society and government. Such is the power of the Gospel!
•The word “oikonomos” (compare the English word “economy”) which means to manage, distribute, dispense, literally the manager or superintendent of a household or estate and in the context of the city of Corinth, “superintendent of the city’s finances.”
•We get the term “dispensation” from this word
•Erastus was a dispensationalist in more ways than one. He was entrusted with dispensing the city’s finances and more importantly, as a believer, he was entrusted with the responsibility to manifest and exhibit God’s grace (Eph. 3:2).
•Erastus was a man of high station and political influence, and as such had the opportunity to be an excellent testimony before the leaders of the city.
•May we shine for Christ wherever God has put us, whether high or low (Phil. 2:15), and be reminded of 1 Corinthians 4:2 which teaches that “ it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
•V 23 Quartusa brother
•and Quartus a brother.
•Quartus means “the fourth.“ Like Tertius, his brother, mentioned in Verse 23, he was possibly a slave………….. but he was a dear brother in Christ.
•How thankful we should be that Christ is not ashamed to call us “brothers” (Heb. 2:11).
•The interesting thing about the names in verse 23 is that they span the full spectrum of the social order.
•On one side was Gaius who was wealthy enough to be host to the entire church at Corinth.
• Along with him was Erastus, the city treasurer.  These two men reflected the higher end of social strata in Corinth.
•At the other end of the spectrum were the slaves Tertius and Quartus. Yet they are mentioned here alongside the leaders and nobility of the city
•You can see how the gospel penetrated all levels of society, with slaves, public officials, consuls, leaders of the empire, all sharing an equal ground of fellowship in the church of Jesus Christ.
•All class distinctions disappeared within the church and that is what happens whenever the church works as per the thesis of Galatians 3:27-28 .
•You can picture them gathered in the home of Gaius , this gracious, genial, generous host of the city, mentioned in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
•Which of these phrases would Paul, or the Lord use to describe our church members?
•succourer of many
•helpers in Christ Jesus
•laid down their own necksfor my life
•bestowed much labouron us.
•of note/outstanding
•beloved in the Lord.
•helper in Christ,
•my beloved.
•approved in Christ..
•in the Lord.
•labouredmuch in the Lord/toiler.
•lover of the word
•chosen in the Lord
•workfellow or fellow worker,
•faithful steward
•3. Caution to take heed of the phony “Christians” who were seeking  to cause divisions in the church v17-20
•In this section of the chapter, Paul  tells us…….
•He tells us that there are two things we are to do. Let us observe…..
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Examine and exclude
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  Motives and methods of these menaces
•He encourages us to WISE UP
•For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
•In verse 20, he gives  FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT THAT TELLS US WHAT GOD IS GOING TO  DO ……i.e God will vanquish Satan and make the Saints Victorious.
•And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
•Romans 16:17-20 is a sermon on its own –c.fMatthew 7:15-20; Acts 20:28-30; Philipians  1:15-17: Philipians  3:2&18  for completion.
ROMANS 16:17-20 – a summary
•1. CAUTION– Keep Your Distance… Keep away from those who divide us from fellow Christians and cause us to stumble from fundamental Christianity V 17
•2. DISCERNMENT — What You See Is Not Always What You Get An uncorrupted heart can be deceived by the sound of something good V 18
•3. CAREFUL OBEDIENCE — Look Carefully Before You Leap Discern first, obey second (rather than blind obedience) V 19
•4. PERSEVERANCE IN HOPE — Hang in There, Satan’s Party Will Soon Be Over Though Satan’s aim is to divide and destroy our Christianity, God’s aim is to soon destroy Satan to bring us peaceV 20
•5.Concluding Doxology or solemn celebration of God’s glory – V 25-27                                                                                     
•24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
•25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
•26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
•27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
•Let me here share this cute outline for verses 17-27 that I found online, and dressed up a bit.
•1. Watch out (16:17-18). mark them & avoid them.
•2. Wise up (16:19-20) be discerning & encouraged
•3. Welcome in (16:21-23), like Gaius, Paul’s host did.
•4. Witness on (16:24-27), with the precepts of the wonderful doxology which enjoins us to use the gospel to present  God’s GRACE,GOSPEL & GLORY
•In this complex and profound doxology, the apostle brought together words and ideas from his earlier epistles, in  HIGH NOTES OF PRAISE in which he sounds off on GOD’S GRACE, GOSPEL & GLORY as summarized in the outline below
•1.GRACE v24
•A. It Is SovereignGrace
•B. It Is SavingGrace
•C It Is  Satisfying Grace
•2.GOSPEL v25
•A  The Message Of The Gospel
•B. The Ministry Of The Gospel
•C The  Mystery Of The Gospel
•3. GLORY v26
•A The Glory Of God’sWill
•B. The Glory Of God’s Wisdom
•C. The Glory Of God’s Work
•This concluding doxology sums up all the great ideas of the Epistle, by reminding us of the power of the Gospel which Paul was commissioned to preach;  we see
•its revelation: the eternal purpose of God;
•its contents: is based on faith;
•its sphere: all the nations of the earth;
•its author:  the one wise God, whose wisdom is thus vindicated.
•All these thoughts are continually dwelt on in the body of the epistle.
•In these last three verses, the apostle summarizes the major themes of the epistle.
•(1) The Wisdom of God. We are reminded in these verses of the infinite wisdom of God.
•In the wisdom of God, He devised a plan whereby He would take rebellious and sinful men and give to them eternal salvation, yet without blemish to His attributes of justice and holiness.
•This He accomplished by the substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
•He further planned to save both Jews and Gentiles. The rebellion and unbelief of the Jews has made possible the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles.
•And the salvation of the Gentiles will provoke the Jews to jealousy, so that they will finally turn again to their Messiah.
•The wisdom of God in saving Jews and Gentiles was not fully disclosed in the Old Testament.
•Though this mystery was spoken of by the prophets, their meaning was not made known until the coming of Messiah and the preaching of the apostle, whose calling was to make known the mystery of God’s plan to save men from every nation and to join them into one body.
•(2) The Sovereignty of God.
•God is not only wise, but He is all powerful, and able to accomplish what His wisdom has planned.
•Paul says in verse 25, “Now to Him who is able to establish you …” If we have learned anything from the Book of Romans, it is that God alone is able to save and sanctify men.
•Our steadfastness is certain because our God is sovereign.
•(3) The Grace of God. Perhaps the word which captures the theme of this epistle more than any other is the word grace. Grace, as we all know, refers to the unmerited favor of God whereby He has showered upon us blessings which we could never earn or merit.
•We need grace to make it day by day! If we are going to take our stand for Jesus against the troublemakers and Satan, the ultimate troublemaker, then we need grace.
•If we are to enjoy God’s victory as we fight the battles of life, then we need grace because as Romans 5:20 teaches that gracesupercedessin—it  goes far and above in counteracting sin .
•Grace is not superficial or superfluous it is sufficient!
•Thank God for grace sufficient from a supply that will never diminish, 2 Cor. 12:9.
•“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with” us is certainly a great contrast to the disgrace of division-makers mentioned in v17 as we fight the battle to fight against the assaults of error.
•In the meantime. May  “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” in the strife.” Amen.
•This passage in which Paul saluted his friends in Rome contains a word for all of us as Christians.
•If he were alive today, could he greet you and I as a true Christian, a saint, one chosen in the Lord?
•If your answer is yes, then do as those in Rome did — labor for the Lord.
•We are challenged to give everything we have to the service of the Lord and to the service of His church.
•We are challenged to look at our lives and our hearts, and ask “Am I giving everything I can to God, His church and His people? If not, then now is the time to pledge our all to Him afresh and anew.
•If your answer is no, then you need to be converted, saved, born again?
•You need to trust and commit yourself to Jesus Christ as your King and Savior.
•You need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!
•If you are not  yet  in the family of God and if you do not know the Father, or the Son, let me tell you that He loves you and wants to save you and take you into His family.
•If you need to meet Him, then come and discuss it with the leadership.
•Paul’s words to these saints should thus be an encouragement and a challenge to each of our hearts as we see traits in these people that we would want to emulate in our own lives.
•Before we get into our message fully  today, I just want to say to any who are here today and have not trusted Jesus as your Saviour, that there is very special list of names that is being written up in heaven upon which you want to have your name!
•Regardless of where your name is recorded down here, be sure it is written up there, in the Lamb’s Book Of Life (Rev. 20:11-15).
•If you miss that list, you have missed out on everything. So be sure to have your name on Heaven’s list.
•If you have trusted Jesus as your Saviour, your name is on Heaven’s list!  If not, it can be!
•And friend, having your name on that list makes all the serving, all the sacrificing and all the steadfast living worthwhile!


Monday Sermon – Do This and Live



Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Jesus engaged a lawyer, who wanted to know the answer to perhaps the most important question.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  He [Jesus] said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

And He [Jesus] said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”  (Luke 10:25-28)

So, we are to love God and others.  Love is a verb, and requires action to be demonstrated.  Jesus said that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.  What does this mean?

Jesus did not elaborate, but demonstrated this love in His life.  He chose to believe what God said and accept it as truth.  He chose to obey whatever God instructed Him to do, regardless of the consequences.  He chose to cultivate a relationship with God as His Father.

In loving your neighbour, Jesus gave the example of the Samaritan, who used his resources to help someone in desperate need who did not ask for help.  We may describe this as unsolicited kindness.

Jesus has already paid for our access to God, through His sacrificial action.  We should not scorn God’s invitation to know Him.  Yet many do.  It seems absurd to live a life disconnected from our Creator, when the way to Him is so easy.  Hear Jesus once again.

“do this and you will live.”  (Luke 10:28b)

Be blessed on your journey.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – The Cities of REFUGE – a picture of Jesus Part 1

Submitted by Dr. GP








God commanded Moses on three different occasions to have Israel set up cities of refuge when they came into the promised land in……

Exodus 21:12-14,

Numbers 35:9-34,

Deuteronomy 4:41-43, Deuteronomy 19:1-13,

And in Joshua 20, we read of Joshua establishing the six cities of refuge.

In my view, the fact that the cities of refuge, which remind us of Christ Jesus our hiding place, are described in no fewer than four Old Testament books, denotes their significance, and demonstrates that the concept of Christ our Refuge is important to the mind of God.

The Cities of Refuge were six of the forty eight Levitical  towns  that were appointed  by God to which accidental manslayers  could flee to claim the right of asylum.

This new legal concept was unique to Israel’s judicial system and reveals the fairness and justice of  God.

It is noteworthy that there were cities in Israel that were larger and more prominent, than these cities of refuge,  but none of them could shelter the sinner, because they were not designated for this purpose.

Similarly there are many “religions” today, but there is only one designated way of salvation as announced in God’s Word—faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

In our study today, we hope to show some of the many ways in which allotment of these six  cities of refuge illustrate the salvation we enjoy in the Lord Jesus Christ.

These cities of refuge would not have been so often mentioned in the law of Moses, if they were not designed to be a symbol of the refuge and relief provided for penitent sinners in our Lord Jesus Christ, and a manifest type of Christ as He is presented in the gospel.

The account of  the cities of refuge would not have been so often repeated, if they were not designed to teach us about the protection from the curse of the law and from the wrath of God that believers  have in our Lord Jesus, to whom believers flee for refuge (Heb. 6:18 ), and in whom they are found (Phil. 3:9 ) as in a sanctuary, where they are privileged from arrest by the “avenger of blood”, and where there is now no condemnation to them (Romans 8:1), or any separation (Romans 8:35-39) from Him.

Now we know that the Holy Spirit has purposefully shadowed forth the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament, in type and figure, and it is indeed striking to observe the fascinating similarities that can be drawn between the cities of refuge and Christ, our refuge, and how the believer’s redemption that he procured was prefigured in this many sided type.

Even though no analogy or type is absolutely perfect, it is clear that the cities of refuge are In many ways beautiful types of Christ, to whom we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18), and they demonstrate to us pictorially how Jesus (and the salvation He provides us) is our refuge from sin, death, hell, and the grave.

When we closely compare the various things said of the cities of refuge to what is said about the Savior in the NT, we must conclude that these four Scripture passages were Divinely designed to enlighten us about our CITY OF REFUGE.

The Bible applies the picture of the cities of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God on more than one occasion: e.g. Psalm 46:1, says God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as being our refuge.

 Hebrews 6:18 points out “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us”  clearly speaks of Christ, in whom sinners find a refuge from the destroyer of our souls.

Some points of similarity between the cities of refuge and our refuge in Jesus.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless someone could get to the place of refuge.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live; you didn’t come to a city of refuge in time of need just to look around.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be lost.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.

With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.


The safe shelter and security provided for us in Christ is because we are all GUILTY!

As we proceed,  let us remember that we must not seek to build doctrines on types; rather we interpret types on the basis of doctrine.

Let us also remember also, that no type or analogy in the scripture is absolutely perfect or has every detail concerning it that fits in exactly with its function as a type, and so we will find that there are some dissimilarities between the cities of refuge and the refuge that we as God’s people find in Jesus Christ.

There are two particular points of contrast between the cities of refuge and Jesus Christ our refuge  that we must grasp.

The first particular points of contrast between the cities of refuge and Jesus Christ our refuge  that we must grasp is that whereas persons who fled to the cities of refuge had to prove their innocence to get the protection of the cities, ( Joshua 20:6, Num. 35:12), we who have fled to Jesus for refuge do not have to go to trial to defend our innocence.

There is no trial or  investigation of our sins for us, when we come to Christ our Refuge  as the elders of the city of refuge had to  investigate the alleged crime committed by the one who fled there,  because we are all guilty before God for breaking His law, and thus are deserving of death, and thus there is no need for an investigation.

 As sinners we were rightly condemned and sentenced deservedly to death. BUT our sentence has already been executed because  Christ bore the penalty for us on the Christ. Because He died in our  place, we are free, and  have been delivered from the penalty of sin. Never do we have to answer for it again. We are free now to go out and serve Him, because we now have a High Priest, a resurrected Savior, to whom we can go.

John 3:18  says “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 8:1-4 reminds us that There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.Forwhat the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:Thatthe righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The second amazing difference that we must grasp, is that whereas a merciful God appointed and  set up these temporal cities of refuge to provide shelter and security for the benefit of the innocent only  – so that the innocent might not suffer with the guilty, the eternal safe shelter and security provided for us in Christ our Refuge is essentially because we are all GUILTY!

The cities of refuge were only for the innocent – the elders of the cities of refuge only protected  and helped someone who was innocent of murder because these cities were only for the man who killed by mistake.

Our innocence is, however, not in question,  when we come to Jesus, because  we are all guilty before God and deserving of His just wrath.

Jesus  our city of  refuge  is for the guilty. It is the guilty who come to Jesus and find refuge. . It is the guilty who are invited to come to Jesus and confess their sins (I John 1:9).

The city of refuge provided protection from the avenger of blood only for the  innocent manslayer. There was no reprieve for deliberate or presumptuous murder.

The deliberate or guilty murderer was excludedto teach us that there is no salvation in Christ for presumptuous sinners who still go on deliberately in their trespasses. Those who persist in willful sin, and continue to defy and trample upon God’s law, bar themselves from His mercy, and should be aware of the warning of Hebrews10:28-29 which emphatically states our need to accept Christ as our Refuge thus : “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

There is no shelter in a holy Christ for those who are in love with sin, but unto those that flee to Him from their sins there is “plenteous redemption.” (Psalm 130:7)

In Christ the guilty, penitent and believing sinner is secure from the curse of the broken law and the wrath of God, for the Lord Jesus endured  them in his stead.

In Christ he is safe also from the fury of a raging Devil and is delivered from the accusations of a guilty conscience.

It is very important to realize that whereas the cities of refuge only helped the innocent; the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.

Remember, Jesus said he that is not sick does not need a physician (Matt 9:12, Mk 2:17, Lk 5:31) but that he  came to seek and save the lost.

Because Christ died for and receives guilty sinners, the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge- even the deliberate sinner.

How is it possible that the holy God would accept those that are guilty?

It is not by giving up His holiness, because He can not and does not devalue that.

Rather, the reason Christ is able to be our Redeemer is that He is a high priest and the sacrifice He gave was His own death.

Another important thing we should point out in this introduction is that these cities anticipated an urgent situation, and were provided ahead of time!

The Lord did not wait until an Israelite or a stranger had accidentally slain one of his fellows, to then arrange for his deliverance from the sword of justice, for the Lord is ever beforehand in supplying what we lack.

Just as these cities were available before they were made use of, in like manner, God’s appointing of Christ to be the Savior of  sinners  was no afterthought to meet an unexpected emergency for in the Divine purpose and plan, Christ was the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

The surprising thing when we look through the scriptures is that we can find no actual example recorded of someone actually using the cities of refuge, just as we will find no example of a father bringing a rebellious son to the city gate for the prescribed punishment according to the rules cited in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 & Leviticus 20:9 .

But God in His wisdom provided both for our learning of the way of salvation.

Although no father is reported to  bringing a rebellious son to the city gate for the prescribed punishment we know as we are told in Romans 8:32, that God, the Father “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all”, even though the Lord Jesus was innocent of all sin.

Though we have no example of anyone actually using the cities of refuge, we must all appreciate God’s provision, and  in the symbolic application of the Cities of Refuge be wise and dwell in the provisions of our City of Refuge, as outlined in the OT scriptures, and as enunciated in the provision of John 3:16, and other related NT scriptures.

For it is only in Christ, our City of Refuge that we live in safety both now and in the future.

Although we can not find any recorded examples in the Bible of persons who availed themselves of the provision of any of the cities of refuge, there is one clear example of a man who was killed because he did not enter such a city.

In 2 Samuel 2:18-24, we read about Abner, Saul’s Commander-in-chief, being pursued by a man named Asahel. Abner tried to reason with Asahel, but Asahel continued to pursue Abner, and Abner eventually killed Asahel.

Later, Joab, the older brother of Asahel  and David’s Commander-in-chief. caught Abner at the gate of the city  of Hebron, which was one of the 6 cities of refuge, and killed him, to avenge the death of Asahel, 2 Sam. 3:27.

What is most striking are the comments made by king David as he mourned the death of Abner, 2 Sam. 3:32-34.

It is as if David were saying, “Abner, you died like a fool! You were right there at the gates of the city of refuge. All you had to do was walk right in. Nobody had you tied up! You could have been saved, but you died like a fool!”

Friend, don’t let that same thing happen to you! Nobody has you tied down this morning. All you have to do is walk into the refuge that God has provided and be saved. Our Refuge, Jesus, is waiting for you! Don’t die like a fool!

Just as God’s Word promised that there would be cities of refuge in Joshua 20:7–8, and they were duly established; so did the promise of salvation first given in Genesis 3:15-19, became a reality through the death of Christ on the cross.

God’s promise of salvation through Jesus is given to all who will come, (Rev. 22:17.) He has not promised what he can not deliver, and he has promised not to turn any away, (John 6:37)!

Let us now further consider some of the several truths concerning the cities of refuge and  observe the grand picture  they present of the “so great salvation” that can be found in Jesus Christ alone, and how they uniquely reflect the mercy of God toward us sinners.



Joshua 20

The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,

2Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:

3That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

4And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

5And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.

6And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

7And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.

8And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.

9These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

In Joshua 20 we are essentially given a shortened version of what was ordered of Moses by God, when he was still alive,  and  told to Joshua in the plains of Moab as the wilderness journey was nearing its end as recorded  in Numbers 35.

Joshua 20 indicates that now that the tribes of Israel had come into the land of Canaan and had possessed,  subdued, inhabited anddivided up the land, and had all received their inheritance and things were starting to wind down as far as the conquest of the land was concerned, the time had come for Joshua to carrying out the commands and instructions that had been given previously in in  Exodus 21:12-14, Numbers 35:1-34 & Deuteronomy 19:1-13, about appointing out of the 48 Levitical cities the six special cities of asylum or refuge for those who accidentally kill another.

The first thing we will note from the Biblical accounts of The Cities of Refuge is that they were appointed by  God  Himself.

These cities and the Christ they picture were both gifts from the loving heart of God, who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)

They were not of man’s devising. Just as the gospel is no human invention, man did not come up with the idea for these cities.

Christianity and salvation through the shed blood of Jesus did not originate in the heart of man either. This was a notion that was birthed in the heart and mind of God from start to finish.

Moses did not choose the cities, to remind us that the Law cannot save anyone.

It was not an earthly priest who appointed them, to remind us that religion in any form can’t save anyone.

When man creates a religion, he fixes it in such a way that he is in control of it. He sets it up as a system of works and makes himself responsible for getting himself to whatever Heaven he is striving for.

God, on the other hand, set up salvation in such a way that all man must do is trust Jesus as his Savior by faith. And, even that faith is given to him by the Lord, (Eph. 2:8-9).

Salvation is all God or it isn’t real at all! (Psalm 3:8,Psalm 62:1, Jonah 2:9)

Next we note that the  Cities of Refuge  were provided by grace.

God could have allowed the manslayer to die for his carelessness like any other person who had taken a life.

However, in His grace He made a way that those folks who had accidentally taken the life of another might find refuge and help.

By the same token, God could have allowed sinners to all go to hell, since we are guilty in His sight and we deserve nothing but damnation in the fires of hell!

But God sent His Son to take our sins upon Himself on the cross, (Isa. 53:6, I John 3:16, I John 4:9, I Corinthians 15:3 etc) .

Jesus paid the price that sinners might live through Him!

The Word of God tells us that salvation is only through grace from start to finish!

1. He initiated the process – John 6:44; Eph. 2:1.

2. He provided the means – Rom. 3:25; Acts 4:12

3. He saves those who believe – Acts 16:31

4. He keeps those He saves – 1 Pet. 1:5

They  cities of refuge were an expression of the Divine mercy,  and an act of grace, for all men are sinners and deserve to die.

These cities by their very natures spoke of the grace of God and of His love for the needy. They were there because God cares!

And how rich the grace is thus evidenced, for it provided not merely one, but six of these cities!

This reminds us of Romans 5:20. Where sin did abound….grace did much more abound!

The same is true about Jesus! He is there for our salvation simply because God cares about us! He did not want us  to die and go to Hell, 2 Pet. 3:9. Because He wants so much that we be saved , He proved His love for us  when He allowed the Lord Jesus, to suffer on the cross in our place.

Rom. 5:6 teaches that  “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” and Rom. 5:8 asserts that “ God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus is our refuge and we can enter into the refuge  he provides and find a dwelling place, because he has promised a place for all who would believe by grace through faith! Just as these cities  were placed where a man could flee in a time of desperate need, so Jesus is a place of safety this morning.

In order to be fair, in order to be just, God had Israel establish six cities of refuge that he had allocated (three on either side of the Jordan River) for those who had committed manslaughter accidentally against persons  to whom they had no hatred or malice to  flee and be safe from the avenger of blood

In studying these instructions, I could not help thinking of Romans chapter 3, where we read about God’s plan for our need…….


Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Here God is saying “I have been FAIR and JUST and I have allocated and provided an effective City of refuge for everyone!”

The intricacies of the prescribed laws in relation to the cities of refuge are described under the NEED OF THE CITIES

 A person who was accused of committing  murder had to “flee” immediately to one of the cities  of refuge, where He would be safe from the avenger—the family member charged with avenging the victim’s death (Numbers 35:19)—until the case could go to trial.

 Such a person could not afford to delay! If he procrastinated and waited too long to flee, he could be caught by the avenger and killed.

Fleeing for refuge implied earnestness, and unwearied diligence The manslayer dared not dawdle or saunter or loiter as he ran for his life until shelter and safety were reached.

In the same way the scriptures tell us to be wise and take full advantage of what is being offered to us and be saved today while we still have the opportunity to be saved, for we will not always have opportunity. 2 Cor. 6:2  teaches that “today is the day of salvation.”

If the manslayer  did not flee to a city of refuge when sought by the avenger of blood  who was determined to execute judgment upon him, there was no hope, as there was no other alternative to these cities but death.

Similarly  lost sinners today can not afford to delay in fleeing to the only refuge, Jesus Christ, as there is no help or hope for us, if we do not flee to the refuge which God has given to us at such a great price.

Just as a city of refuge was the only  place of safety  for the manslayer in need; without the specific protection of the Lord, our Refuge, all  sinners would be lost. Both Jesus and the cities of refuge were provided as a place where the one in need could live in safety.

This reminds of Acts 4:12 which states “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,  whereby we must be saved”

Hebrews10:28-29 emphatically states our need to accept Christ as our Refuge thus : “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

We have heard the gospel; if in the Old Testament ignoring God’s law brought death, what about us if we should despise the work of Christ and the grace which He showers upon us?  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;(Hebrews 2:3)

Just as the persons sought refuge in the cities set up for that purpose, we flee to Christ, the one appointed by God for refuge from sin (Hebrews 6:18).

We run to Christ to escape the danger we are in from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from the wrath of God, and from an eternity in hell.

Only Christ provides refuge from these things, and it is to Him alone that we must run.

Just as the cities were open to all who fled to them for safety, Christ who provides safety to all who come to Him for refuge from sin and its punishment.

The cities of refuge were completely adequate for the needs of all the endangered ones who fled to them, and they were sufficient for their need.

The cities of refuge did not only provide  legal protection, but were also stocked  with  a supply of food, so that they were  a completely sufficient refuge,  as they met all of  a man’s needs once he was inside..

Even the suburbs or borders of the city were a sufficient security to the offender, v. 26, 27, just as there  is virtue even in the hem of Christ’s garment for the healing and saving of poor sinners.

In like manner, Jesus Christ is a completely sufficient refuge  for the need of any and every soul! Christ not only makes a Christian legally safe through His propitiatory death, but He supplies the believer with great riches.  Christ’s death is completely adequate to meet our need for refuge from the true moral guilt which we have.

Christ’s is work on the cross is completely adequate to meet our need for refuge from any moral guilt which we have.  It is  a final and complete work  because of who He is.

Once the manslayer had been received safely into the city of refuge, the avenger of blood was kept at bay and could not set-upon the killer again, and act as his executioner . He could now act only as prosecutor (Numbers 35:19).

However, there are consequences to every act! Even though the man was protected, there still was a price to be paid for his actions. Once he had claimed asylum, a perpetrator had to be put on trial, and his case was determined by the rules God had specified concerning the cities of refuge.

When the slayer came to one of the cities of refuge, upon arriving at the gate-  the place where the elders sat and administered justice – before he was admitted, he received a preliminary hearing  from the local city elders, at which he had to explain, to them what happened (Joshua 20:4) to see if he was worthy of being protected.

This initial trial by the elders of the city prevented a person from taking advantage of this provision for the innocent. The accused  was then given a place to live within the city until a fuller and more formal trial or investigation of his case in a court of justice  could be conducted (Numbers 35:12: Joshua 20:6).

Eventually, the accused had to “stand before the congregation in judgment” ( Joshua 20:6, Num. 35:12), where he was given a fair trial, at which full and formal investigation was made, so that the accused had every opportunity to prove his innocence.

The  elders of the city would  call witnesses and the congregation determined from the evidence if the death was deliberate (first-degree murder) or if the attacker acted unintentionally  (manslaughter) (Numbers 35:24 et secq).

As pointed out earlier in slide 11, persons who fled to the cities of refuge had to prove their innocence to get the protection of the cities, but we who have fled to Jesus for refuge do not have to go to trial to defend our innocence.

Note that we are not here disavowing our appearance at the “Bema” which is not really a trial per se, but more a tribunal to determine which of the five heavenly crowns that believers can receive in Heaven, will be awarded to us?”

Those who killed, either accidently or with malice, were not allowed to pay a ransom in the cities of refuge in order to avoid the consequences of their behavior (Numbers 35:31 – 32). Jesus is the only ransom.

Because deliberate killing is first-degree murder, but inadvertent killing is manslaughter, God distinguished the two. God indicated that death caused by a pre-meditated act is murder.

For deliberate,premeditated murder there was no escape or refuge. Apre-meditated act was punishable by death. Death had to be pronounced and executed.

If a person truly had committed a pre-meditated murder against someone else, then the person was to be killed and if necessary he was even to be dragged from the very altar of God where he was seeking refuge in order to be put to death for the murder.

If the accused was convicted of murder, i.ekilling someone in anger, malice, by premeditation, the elders of the city of refuge were to turn the guilty one over to the avenger of blood. The avenger was then to carry out the death penalty  (Numbers 35:19, 21, Deuteronomy 19:12).

It should be realized that the cities of refuge were not for the guilty, because there was no sacrifice for high-handed, defiant, premeditated, or known sin (e.g., Ps. 51:17).

Deaths caused by accidental acts, which we would today call ‘manslaugter’, were not a cause for the death penalty.

If in a particular city of refuge it was determined that the offense was accidental, or second-degree murder,  and that death had ensued where no malicious attempt upon life had been made, but, instead, the injury had been inflicted unintentionally or “unawares,” then the accused was  found not guilty of first-degree murder, and  the death penalty was not visited upon him

In fleeing to the city of refuge, it was only  the person who had acted unintentionally in committing the act that resulted in the death of a person who would be given refuge.

In the same way it is the repentant person who  has inadvertently sinned as a result of the weakness of the flesh, not one  hardened in sin and unrepentant, that is given salvation in coming to refuge in Christ by saving faith in Him

For unintentional deaths, or accidental manslaying where there was no malice before thought, God set aside the six cities of refuge to which the murderer could flee for refuge.

When one unintentionally killed a neighbor, there must usually have been in such cases a culpable degree of carelessness, and though his life was spared, his freedom was curtailed.

The legal and civil consequences for his acts, and for his safety, the manslayer was wasseparated from his own tribal allocation and required to leave his home, his wife, his children, and family, and everything  and flee to and take up residence in the city of refuge, and there remain where he could live in safety protected, from the “avenger of blood,” but only if he stayed in that location until the death of the High Priest (cf. Num. 35:25).

That is just what a man does when he resolves to be saved by grace: he must leave everything he calls his own, renounces all the rights and privileges which he thought he possessed by nature; and confesses to having lost his own natural right to live, and he flees for life to the grace of  God in Christ Jesus.

The manslayer had no right to live until he was in the city of refuge, no right to anything except that he was God’s guest within those enclosing walls.

And so we too relinquish, heartily and thoroughly, once and forever, all ideas arising out of our supposed merits; we hasten away from self that Christ may be all in all to us. Fleeing for refuge implies that a man flees from his sin, confesses and repents of it.

There has to be a complete break from the old self-pleasing life. Sin must be made bitter before Christ will be sweet.

This symbolizes that in the salvation that Jesus procured for mankind on the cross, a person has to also be willing leave the influence of his family and friends, and even his own life, and come to Jesus and abide in and follow Him.

We see this taught by Jesus in a few places in the gospels, including:  John 15:1-6, Matt. 16:24-25, Luke 9:57-62 etc.

Just as it was his duty to flee into it, the manslayer who had fled to a city of refuge, was obliged to remain within the city of refuge and could live there in safety until the death of the current high priest at which time he would be free to leave the city and  could return to his own home in safety, without fear of retribution.

There is as much emphasis placed upon our abiding in Christ as there is upon our coming to Him ( John 8:31Colossians 1:23Hebrews 3:6,14; 1 John 2:28).

These verses point to the responsibility of the believer to abide in Christ not only at the time of his conversion, but all through his life.

A  person was only safe from harm as long as he remained within the walls of the city.

As long as the slayer remained in the city, he was safe, and he would be freed  and be exonerated of his crime  when the high priest died, and be allowed to return to his own city and the manslayer would not be able to harm him.

The manslayer could only safely return to their home after the death of the High Priest (Joshua 20:6).

If he was foolish enough at any time to forsake the  boundaries of that cityof refuge, and try to return home before the high priest died, he forfeited legal protection, and risked being killed by the avenger of blood, if the avenger should then find him without its borders.

Under such circumstances the avenger had the right to kill him outside of the city of refuge, without penalty (Numbers 35:26 – 28).

Similarly, as long as we abide in Christ, we are safe.

Jesus said, in John 15:4,6, “If any man abides not in Me, he is cut off, the branches withered. Men gather them and cast them into the fire.”

So the importance of abiding in Jesus Christ, our refuge is paramount.

Though the true Christian can never perish,  by failing to “abide in Christ” he or she opens the door to spiritual and physical dangers.

Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries

All the days that the high priest lived and the manslayer abode within the city, no condemnation could come upon him.

In like manner, since our High Priest Christ is “alive for evermore,” we are eternally secure; because He lives, we live also.

So though we are legally guilty before God, when we cast ourselves upon Him we are free forever.

It was only upon the death of  the high priest who was in office at the time of the trial, that the manslayer was exonerated of the crime and free to leave the city without fear, and return to his own city and home and reside there unmolested (verse 28) for  the death of the high priest formed an atonement.

The manslayer was allowed to leave the city of refuge and return to his own town and home, upon the death of the high priest because the high priest’s death symbolically terminates the guilt incurred.

 When the high priest died, all of those who were taking refuge in all of the cities of refuge were exonerated from committing any acts of manslaughter and thus free to go home safely, being free from fear of attack or reprisal from the manslayer.

The avenger of blood could no longer hunt down or harm the  manslayer once the high priest  had died, because the high priest’s death serves as payment, a form of substitute, for the offended party.

For the Christian, this picture is a depiction of Christ, whose death andsacrifice took away the guilt of our sin. Because of the death of Jesus, our high priest, we Christians no longer need to fear the death which comes about because of sin, for He died in our place.

Only the death of the high priest  secured full and final deliverance for the manslayer  ( Joshua 20:6).Similarly, it is only through the death of  our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ that our victory over sin and death is  secured!

We owe our emancipation to the death of Christ.

Just as full freedom came  with the death of the High Priest  so too did our freedom come with the death of Jesus.

This speaks beautifully of our salvation—for not only do we have refuge in Christ, but we’re also free because our High Priest died for us on the Cross of Calvary.

It is noteworthy  therefore that not only were the cities of refuge symbolic of Christ, but that the high priest himself was also symbolic of Christ.

 The double figure of the city (safety) and the high priest’s death (propitiation) was necessary to set forth both aspects, as were the two goats of Leviticus 16:7,8.

There may also be a designed dispensational hint here: saints were saved of old, but not until the death of Christ was the full liberty of son-ship enjoyed ( Galatians 4:1-7).



If you look at a map of the Holy Land, you find that the six cities of refuge were well spaced throughout the country, and  all strategically and conveniently situated in the land, so that no matter where you were in Israel, you were not very far from a city of refuge.

This was because of express instructions given by God as to the precise situations of those cities. The land was to be divided into three parts, one city of refuge in each so that the cities were to be “in the midst of the land” (Deuteronomy 19:2,3), and not in remote corners which were difficult to approach.

Those cities were so situated that when anyone living in Israel, including strangers (Joshua 20:9), had need of such, one of them was near at hand,and could be reached within a single day’s journey, from any corner of the country no matter where the manslayer resided.

No tribe was too far from the place of safety,  as they were distributed in central places on both sides of the Jordan roughly equidistantly so that each one could be reasonably accessed to the manslayer from any part of Israel; they were of no use unless someone could get to the place of refuge QUICKLY.

The cities of refuge were chosen so that they were never more than a half day’s run from one of these cities, always easy to reach from any place in the country, and  easily accessible at short notice in any particular section of the country, to those who might have need of them.

Three cities on each side of the Jordan River- were provided for a man-slayer guilty of second-degree murder.

Three of the cities of refuge were located on the west side of the Jordan River and three were east of it.

One in the middle of the country, one in the northern part, one in the southern part.

This was intended so that a person could pick out the city that was closest to them, and get there in a hurry.

To be of any use, a city of refuge had to be accessible, and so, they were close to everyone no matter where they were or who they were!

Whether the manslayer was a son or a stranger, there was a city of refuge near to him.

The application is obvious.

These facts teach us that just like the cities of refuge, Jesus is always very near, and  accessible to all and within easy reach of the needy person whether Jew or Gentile

Christ is Better Than Any of the Cities of Refuge because He is nearer than any city of refuge, and we may cast ourselves upon Christ at any time, in any place ( I Peter 5:8) because the Saviourhas placed Himself within the reach of all.

A runner could fall and not be able to get to a refuge in time to shelter him within the walls of safety, but a man who looks to Christ can never fall.  This concept is clearly taught in scriptures such as Phil 1: 6;  Jude 24; I Peter 5: 10 etc

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart” ( Psalm 34:18).

Unto such He says, “My righteousness is near” ( Isaiah 51:5).

The way to Christ is straight, and short: it is but a simple renunciation of self and a laying hold of Him to be our all in all.

Certainly in the Gospel, God has fully and plainly made known the way of salvation, so that “wayfaring men , though fools, shall not err therein”(Isaiah 35:8). See also Romans 10:6-8.

The Bible makes a specific promise: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

In fact, Jesus Himself seeks us.He says in Rev 3:20 , “I stand at the door and knock.”.

So Christ is easy to reach, His arms are open to all, His entrance is never locked, He is a completely sufficient refuge, and He is the only hope.

Just as the cities were near to all—so is JESUS, our REFUGE NEAR TO ALL, AT ALL TIMES

Monday Sermon – Count The Cost


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

People may be tempted to negatively pre-judge persons.  Before Jesus gave His followers His commandments, He seemed to address what others saw, as opposed to what He saw.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3-10)

He then explained what they would likely experience if they followed Him.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:11-12)

Jesus then called His followers to be visible, so that God may be glorified by their responsible behaviour.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 13-16)

Jesus then explained the importance of His commandments.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:17-20)

The scribes and the pharisees knew the scriptures.  Jesus explained to His followers that they should be better than those who knew, but did not obey the scriptures.  Hear Jesus.

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”  (Matthew 23:1-3)

Jesus then explained His challenge with those who have knowledge, but lead others away from God because of their bad behaviour.  Hear Jesus.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.   Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte [convert], and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”  (Matthew 23:13-15)

It is very dangerous for knowledgeable persons to practise behaving badly.  Soon, they are simply unable to change course.  Hear Jesus speak of their likely end.

“Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”  (Matthew 23:32-33)

Since Jesus will judge us at the end of the age, it is much better to choose the sure path of following Jesus’ commandments, and bear the reviling that Jesus said to expect.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – The Second Coming of Christ

Submitted by Dr. GP

The New Testament uses three different words to describe the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

(i) The commonest is parousia, a word which has come into English as it stands. It is used in Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:39; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 John 2:28; 2 Peter 1:16; 2 Peter 3:4. In secular Greek this is the ordinary word for someone’s presence or arrival. But it has two other usages, one of which became quite technical. It is used of the invasion of a country by an army and specially it is used of the visit of a king or a governor to a province of his empire. So, then, when this word is used of Jesus, it means that his Second Coming is the final invasion of earth by heaven and the coming of the King to receive the final submission and adoration of his subjects.

(ii) The New Testament also uses the word epiphaneia (Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). In ordinary Greek this word has two special usages. It is used of the appearance of a god to his worshipper; and it is used of the accession of an emperor to the imperial power of Rome. So, then, when this word is used of Jesus, it means that his Second Coming is God appearing to his people, both to those who are waiting for him and to those who are disregarding him.

(iii) Finally the New Testament uses the word apokalupsis (1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:13). Apokalupsis in ordinary Greek means an unveiling or a laying bare; and when it is used of Jesus, it means that his Second Coming is the laying bare of the power and glory of God come upon men.

Here, then, we have a series of great pictures. The Second Coming of Jesus is the arrival of the King; it is God appearing to his people and mounting his eternal throne; it is God directing on the world the full blaze of his heavenly glory.

We may now gather up briefly the teaching of the New Testament about the Second Coming and the various uses it makes of the idea.

(i) The New Testament is clear that no man knows the day or the hour when Christ comes again. So secret, in fact, is that time that Jesus himself does not know it; it is known to God alone (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32). From this basic fact one thing is clear. Human speculation about the time of the Second Coming is not only useless, it is blasphemous; for surely no man should seek to gain a knowledge which is hidden from Jesus Christ himself and resides only in the mind of God.

(ii) The one thing that the New Testament does say about the Second Coming is that it will be as sudden as the lightning and as unexpected as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). We cannot wait to get ready when it comes; we must be ready for its coming.

So, the New Testament urges certain duties upon men.

(i) They must be for ever on the watch (1 Peter 4:7). They are like servants whose master has gone away and who, not knowing when he will return, must have everything ready for his return, whether it be at morning, at midday, or at evening (Matthew 24:36-51).

(ii) Long delay must not produce despair or forgetfulness (2 Peter 3:4). God does not see time as men do. To him a thousand years are as a watch in the night and even if the years pass on, it does not mean that he has either changed or abandoned his design.

(iii) Men must use the time given them to prepare for the coming of the King. They must be sober (1 Peter 4:7). They must get to themselves holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:13). By the grace of God they must become blameless in body and in spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). They must put off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light now that the day is far spent (Romans 13:11-14). Men must use the time given them to make themselves such that they can greet the coming of the King with joy and without shame.

(iv) When that time comes, they must be found in fellowship. Peter uses the thought of the Second Coming to urge men to love and mutual hospitality (1 Peter 4:8-9). Paul commands that all things be done in love — Maran-atha — the Lord is at hand (1 Corinthians 16:14; 1 Corinthians 16:22). He says that our forbearance must be known to all men because the Lord is at hand (Philippians 4:5). The word translated “forbearance” is epieikes which means the spirit that is more ready to offer forgiveness than to demand justice.

The writer to the Hebrews demands mutual help, mutual Christian fellowship, mutual encouragement because the day is coming near (Hebrews 10:24-25). The New Testament is sure that in view of the Coming of Christ we must have our personal relationships right with our fellowmen. The New Testament would urge that no man ought to end a day with an unhealed breach between himself and a fellowman, lest in the night Christ should come.

(v) John uses the Second Coming as a reason for urging men to abide in Christ (1 John 2:28). Surely the best preparation for meeting Christ is to live close to him every day.

Much of the imagery attached to the Second Coming is Jewish, part of the traditional apparatus of the last things in the ancient Jewish mind. There are many things which we are not meant to take literally. But the great truth behind all the temporary pictures of the Second Coming is that this world is not purposeless but going somewhere, that there is one divine far-off event to which the whole creation moves.’

Monday Sermon – Keep Reading


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

It is important for followers of Jesus to keep reading the Bible.  You can never read enough.

I have found that as you read, you may not understand everything.  But you will understand what you need to understand at your individual stage of development.  This removes the pressure of having to be an expert to read the Bible.

If you do not read the Bible, and only read other’s opinions of it, then you risk being led astray.  To reduce this risk, Moses commanded that the Law should be read in the presence of everyone in Israel, every seven years.  Hear the commandment.

“So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.  Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for cancelling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing.”

“Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.  Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”  (Deuteronomy 31:9-13)

They appeared to do this for one generation, and then stopped.  Israel then served the false gods of the people whom they had displaced, and suffered the consequences.

Is there a place for intensive study beyond what we initially understand?  Of course.  However, when studying like that, we must be careful to check that our results, including any resultant religious traditions, are consistent with Jesus’ words.  Why?  Hear God Himself.

“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5)

This reassuring message from God, of Jesus’ words being the standard, was critical, because Jesus was saying things that scriptural experts were challenging.  Hear Jesus on a challenge of what defiles a person.

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:  ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

“When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

“Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

“But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.  Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

“Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

“So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”  (Matthew 15:7-20)

The Gospels are full of Jesus’ wonderful simple teachings.  We are to convey the same simple and self-explanatory messages to others.  Hear Jesus’s instruction to those who wished to follow Him.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Be encouraged to keep reading and sharing Jesus’ simple message.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com


Submitted by Dr. GP

1-7  SOLICITOR   advocate  lawyer mediator c.f I John 2:2

SUPREME JUDGE acquits Joshua


v 8 SPROUT        SCION



He is revealed here as

V 1-7  SOLICITOR   advocate  lawyer mediator  (c.f I John 2:2)

IN Zechariah chapter Joshua the high priest IS standing before the Angel of the LORD. because he is conducting his priestly duties representing the nation Israel (Deut. 10:8; 2 Chron. 29:11).

This is  not Joshua, the son of Nunn, whom we encounter in the book of Joshua. This Joshua is a type of the high priest of Israel who is to come because he and his priestly companions are said to be men symbolic of things to come (v. 8).

Satan is seen standing at the right hand of Joshua accusing him before the Angel of the LORD.

The presence of Satan changes the scene from a priestly one to a judicial one.Because of God’s gracious love and choice of Israel the Angel of the LORD acquits Joshua. The acquittal took the form of removing the filthy garments (vv. 3-5) and clothing Joshua with a clean garment.

The basis of the rebuke is God’s choice of Israel. Walvoord and Zuck notes that in the figure before us just as the high priest represented the entire nation on the Day of atonement, so here Joshua the high priest was accused and acquitted on behalf of the nation Israel.

The Angel of the LORD is to be identified as the preincarnate Christ. He speaks as LORD and yet distinguishes Himself from the LORD when He addresses Satan. Moreover, He virtually forgives sins. The LORD said to Satan . . . The LORD rebuke you, Satan! (v. 2). In verse four the Angel of the LORD says, See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.


8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

  • As the Servant of GOD , we know from the prophet Isaiah that Jesus Christ would come to  do the Father’s will
  • He is the Lord’s Servant because of His willing, patient and perfect obedience to His Father as exprssd in several scriptures  (Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 42:1ff; 49:1-5; 52:13ff; 53:1f). (Isa. 42:1; 49:3-4; 50:10; 52:13; 53:11; Ezek. 34:23-24).
  • Zechariah probably has in mind Isaiah 52-53 because he says in verse nine the Messiah will remove the iniquity of the land.
  • In John 5:30 Jesus said, I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.


    V 9 STONE

9For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

  • Jesus is also called “the Stone.” The Stone Engraved
  • He is predicted in Daniel 2:44-45 as the stone that the crushing stone that will destroy the statue made of various metals.
  • This foretells the Lord Jesus Christ rolling over the armies of the Gentiles at Armageddon at the end of the age and bringing God’s judgment  to bring the times of the gentiles to and end
  • When Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to him, he said,
  • Dan. 2:34 “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them.
    Dan. 2:35 “…the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. ”
    Again, this refers to the return of Christ, destroying the rebellious nations, and establishing His rule and reign upon the earth.
  • Jesus is the Stone that the builders rejected , Who will become the chief cornerstone (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; 1 Peter 2:5-7).
  • He is also a stone of stumbling for unbelieving Israel (Rom. 9:31-33). Cf. Psalm 118:22; Matt. 21:42; 1 Peter 2:5-6.
  • He is the Stone of stumbling for unbelieving Israel and the Rock of offense (Rom 9:32-33).
  • He is the Rock that poured forth water in the wilderness (1Cor. 10:4).
    The Stone is here described as having seven eyes – complete vision to see all that happens. Jesus is all-seeing, all-knowing. He knows our sins, yet desires to remove our iniquity from us. He said,
    Luke 20:18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
    We can choose to fall on Him – allowing our hearts to be broken by sin – or we can reject His call and the Rock will fall on us. 
  • The seven eyes on one stone is probably the wisdom and intelligence of the Messiah or the Holy Spirit upon Him (Isa. 11:2; Rev. 5:6). The seven eyes indicate perfect insight and perfect knowledge and powers of the all-knowing omniscient King.
  • In Revelation 5:6 the seven eyes of the Lamb are the seven Spirits of God, and with the sevenfold eyes of Yahweh, they are the sevenfold radiations of the Spirit of Yahweh (Isa. 11:2)
  • V 9 SIN REMOVER   remover of iniquity
  • The deliverance from the exile shows that Joshua and his friends were smoking sticks plucked by the omnipotence of grace from the fire of merited judgment.
  • Verse 9 predicts points beyond this to an incomparably greater and better act of the sin-absolving grace of God, that was fulfilled at the first coming of the Branch when Jesus Christ died once and for all to take away sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 9:12; 10:14; 9:26; Ps. 103:12; Rev. 5:6; Acts 10:43).
  • Was “the sin of this land” removed in one day. Yes! The removal of the iniquity of the land in one day was accomplished at Calvary, when the Branch, the Stone, died in our place The wiping away of sin was effected by the Messiah and will not have to be continually repeated, but was finished all at once. The day of completion was at Calvary.
  • The removal of iniquity is the exclusive work of the Messiah.

Monday Sermon – Expect Opposition



Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Jesus repeatedly explained that those who follow Him will have trouble.  Hear Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

Jesus provided a reason for the opposition.

“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!”  (Matthew 10:24-25)

Jesus then explained what our response should be to those who try to offend us – we are not to fear them.  Hear Jesus.

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  (Matthew 10:26-28)

Some think that trying to offend others is a game.  They are correct.  However, it is a very dangerous game – for them.  While Jesus instructs His followers to persist in sharing His message without fear, He explains the end of the offenders.  Hear Jesus again.

“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”  (Luke 17:1-2)

The scriptures note that Jesus, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”  (Hebrews 5:8)  As followers of Jesus, we can expect to be trained in a similar manner.

So, welcome the offenses, since they can only benefit your growth.  What should your response be to the offender?   Paul gave a recommendation.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (Romans 12:17-19)

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – Why Would You Want to LOVE or CARE About  Someone You Had NOT Seen?

Submitted by Dr. GP

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: I Peter 1;8 





3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:


3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


3 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.


I Peter 2.7

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious:   

Monday Sermon – Counting The Cost


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

Sometimes Jesus taught His disciples, by contrasting His commandments with those taught by Moses.  Hear Jesus.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  (Matthew 5:27-28)

Jesus set the standard of adultery for his followers as purposeful lust.  He then continued.

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”  (Matthew 5:29-30)

This information can help us to count the cost of following Jesus.  Are we ready to surrender all and follow?  Hear Jesus on counting the cost.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?  Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.  So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”  (Luke 14:28-33)

Letting go of your way, and pursuing God’s way, is a very wise decision.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com


Submitted by Dr. GP


Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.


Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.


Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.

It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.


Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)

Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.


Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.


Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.7


Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement. He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ (although it is quoted in the Book of Jude in the New Testament):

Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against.”
Jude 14, 15


Enoch was the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.8 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came.

Enoch, of course, never died: he was translated  (or, if you’ll excuse the expression, raptured ). That’s how Methuselah can be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father!


Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.

(This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.)


Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nachamto bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.

The Composite List

Now let’s put it all together:

Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow;
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The Despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.

That’s rather remarkable:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!

Monday Sermon – God Cares


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

Sometimes we may be tempted to think that God is very far from us, and is disinterested in our concerns.  That is what satan wants us to believe, so that we can get discouraged and do something reckless.

Jesus frequently taught that God cares about us, by comparing us with other things.  Hear Jesus.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  (Matthew 6:26)

Jesus also compared God to responsible fathers.

“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  (Matthew 7:9-11)

He also compared God to persons in authority.

“There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying,  ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’  And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

“Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”  (Luke 18:2b-7)

We are to develop our trust in God’s love for us, so that we can boldly follow Jesus’ instructions.  Hear Jesus once more.

“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  (Matthew 10:27-31)

It is encouraging to know that we are not responsible for the results.  We are responsible for proclaiming the words of Jesus, regardless of the consequences. We are responsible for trying.

Those who accept Jesus’ advice can only benefit.  Those who reject His advice will only have themselves to blame.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com


Submitted by Dr. GP

General Introduction

You will get the most of your study of the book of Ruth if you follow the instructions below faithfully.

1- Since familiarity with the text is the first rule of proper Bible study, read through the four chapters at one sitting if possible aloud. Have pencil in hand to make your own notes as you go.

2- List key words and phrases or those that are repeated.

3-Note the role of God and the place he has in the lives of the main characters and record all the references to God in the book.

4-Note the many important questions asked in the book and record these.

5- Decide what is the main subject in each of the four chapters and give each chapter a heading.

6- Since Ruth is set in the period of the Judges, compare the story and its tone with Judges.

7- Read the book repeatedly until you can tell the story well, and tell it from the view point of all the major characters.

8- Study the introduction below thoroughly. Download or otherwise copy it so that you can  make additions to it when you do further research  and collateral reading on the book later in commentaries and other sources.

9- Read the text again and answer the simple study questions assigned in chapter two of this study guide and submit your answers to your group leader or teacher. Refer to the notes at the end of the chapter only after you have completed your first attempt at these questions.

10- Study the notes thoroughly and read other books and commentaries on the book of Ruth. These notes are not meant to be exhaustive, but are given to provide some background to the text, and to stimulate the reader/student to think more on the contents of this exciting short Bible book. The notes are also given with the knowledge that some are unable to easily access proper books and commentaries. For those seeking a text book for Bible classes on Ruth, the author recommends whole heartedly Warren Wiersbe’s Put Your Life Together- Studies in the Book of Ruth. Back To The Bible, Lincoln,NE.1985. For this reason, we have quoted sparingly from this work.



In studying any book of the Bible it is generally a good thing to prepare an introduction in which certain features about the book are addressed. In carrying out this exercise for the Book of Ruth, I have added all the snippets of interesting or thought provoking information that I found in my research to add more spice to this study. The student/reader is urged to add to these notes all that will make the appreciation of this important little Bible book to those to whom he presents it.

“Even though the events in Ruth occur during the dismal period of Judges it is in stark contrast to that depressing and depraved era. It is in fact like a pure lily floating on a stagnant pond. Instead of bloody battlefields, we read of blooming harvest fields. In place of the soldier’s shout there is the farmer’s song. The story progresses from a famine, to a funeral, to a field, and finally to a firstborn.” (1) “The calm poetry of those harvest fields of Bethlehem, the eager gleaner among the maidens, the reapers, the lord of the harvest—have all lived in golden sunshine in our imagination from our childhood.” (2) 

Ruth is the first of two biblical books named after a woman, and the third of four non-Israelite women to be mentioned in the Lord’s genealogy in Matthew 1:5. The others are Tamar (Matthew 1:3), Rahab (Matthew 1:6), and Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6). She is also the third of three Old Testament women who foreshadow Christ and His church in the New Testament. The other two being Eve (Genesis 2), and Rebekah (Genesis 24).

The three books Joshua, Judges,  Ruth tell the story of God’s establishing his people in the land while Israel was still a theocracy. Joshua is the story of their entering in to possess the land. Judges records 332 years of victories and defeats with cycles of sin, apostasy, unrest wars, judgments and sometimes repentance. But there were some temporary periods of deliverance and peace from the affliction and harassment from their enemies. The book of Ruth (the only Bible book that is devoted wholly to the domestic history of a woman) relates the story of one of the brighter periods which reminds us that there was a godly remnant living in this period, just as God has promised. Ruth tells the story of one family which was significant because it was in the Messianic line. “This account of a godly family from Bethlehem reveals something of God’s mysterious and wonderful ways of sovereign grace in fulfilling His divine purposes through a believing remnant.” (3) This reminds us that the promises of God affects families and individuals. It reminds us that God designed that communities and nations and civilizations should revolve around the family with good leadership at the head of each family (Genesis 2). This lovely story is a perfect picture of redemption and the clearest example of Christ as our kinsman redeemer in the Bible.

The book of Ruth though set in the gloomy period of the judges (Ruth 1:1), is in stark contrast to that depressing and depraved era  and the two awful stories  with  which Judges ends, in that it is

a “story of loyalty in a day of anarchy, an example of purity in a time of immorality. In Ruth the narrative moves from the battlefield to the harvest field and from the warrior’s cry to the gleaner’s song. Ruth is a lily in the mud pond of Judges.” (4) “The book was written from a prophetic point of view as is indicated by its moral tone. The standard by which Israel is measured is their relation to God’s law.” (5)

Jensen writes “The story of Ruth is not only a literary gem of matchless beauty but a spiritual reservoir of living water on a bleak desert. Its beauty magnifies the godly traits of its main human characters, but of deeper significance to the reader are its pictures of Christ the Redeemer, as seen in its types, symbols and shadows, not to mention the grand fact of Christ’s ancestry in the Moabitess Ruth.” (6) “This short book is in sweet contrast to the two closing stories [of Judges], but it is clear from the first verse that it belongs to this period.” (7).

Deep study of the little book of Ruth will reveal that there are very many spiritual truths to be gleaned and that there are several vantage points from which this book of great diversity can be approached. 


 The author is unknown, but it is thought by some scholars that Samuel the prophet or some of his prophetic students wrote both Judges and Ruth some time after 1381 BC.


Geisler posits that Ruth, like Judges, was written to the newly formed nation of Israel to remind them of the situation when “there was no king in Israel” and to engender in them the attitude of “See how thankful you can be now that God has given us stability under the Davidic kingdom and that we are not living in those near anarchy conditions of the days of the judges when everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (8


Geisler suggests that Ruth must have been written after 1043 BC, when Saul was crowned, and before 1004 BC when David captured Jerusalem. (9)


The purposes of the book of Ruth are 1) to set forth the godliness of the remnant during the period of the judges, and 2) to illustrate the law of the kinsman-redeemer.

Jensen suggests that “The chief purpose of the book is to be found in the genealogical table at the end………God was soon to allow Israel to have kings, and so by way of preparation, the book of Ruth introduces the kingly line, Boaz and Ruth being the ancestors of King David through whom came the Savior-King.” (10) “The book introduces a few ancestors of David, the royal lineage of Christ the Messiah. Prominent is the inclusion of a non-Israelite (Moabitess Ruth ) in this line.” Theologically, Jensen teaches that “Underlying the entire book is its relevance of the character and ways of God: His providence, sovereignty, grace, holiness, and His invitation of salvation to all peoples.” Jensen notes that historically “the book describes a few intimate experiences of a godly family of Bethlehem in the period of the judges”, and typologically, he states that “The kinsman-redeemer (Boaz) is the prominent Messianic type. Ruth is then a type of the church, the bride of Christ. Some scholars view Naomi as a prominent type of Israel, [and] other types may be seen in the book.” (11)  

Geisler points out with respect to the historical purpose that “The Book of Ruth has an important function in Israel’s history. It supplies an important link in the ancestry of king David and shows how the birth of David into the messianic and monarchial line was providentially guided by God. As such it indicates the divine origin of the Davidic dynasty.” With respect to the doctrinal purpose Geisler asserts that “One very significant doctrinal emphasis of the Book of Ruth is its demonstration of the function of the law concerning the Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 4; cf. Deut 25:5f). Ruth also presents the doctrine of the divine origin of the kingdom of David and contains one of the finest examples of filial love and piety in literature. Concerning the Christological purpose of Ruth, Geisler teaches that “The Book of Ruth beautifully portrays several messianic purposes. It shows how Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer, purchases us for Himself. It also illustrates the grace of God as Ruth the Gentile is brought into the line of messianic blessing (see Matt 1:5).” (12)


The nature of God is brought out in Ruth in greater detail than first appears from a casual reading of this romance story. Note that God is seen to be the Lord of the forces of nature as well as the Ruler of all the peoples and nations. Note too, that the famine ended when the Lord “visited His people in giving them food”(1:6b). The deaths in Naomi’s family and all the tragic experiences she suffered were directly attributed to the Lord (1:13,21). When Naomi heard the good news that Ruth had gleaned in the field of their close relative Boaz, her response was “May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and the dead” (2:20a).  A strong monotheism is evident in the narrative, and all that happened came from the hand of God. The reader is urged to read the Book of Ruth again with the sole purpose of seeing the hand of God in this book.  Some suggestions of attributes to look for include God as the Holy One, as Judge, as the Worshipped One, as the Gracious Lord, as the Rewarder. The fact that God honored a Moabitish woman and bring her into fellowship in Israel, and making her an ancestress of Christ indicates the grace of God. Ephesians 2 indicates that He has done the same for us.


Submitted by Dr. GP

Prior to beginning one’s  adventure in seeking the promises of God in Genesis, we need to appreciate the concept of “types”. First it is noteworthy that the word type does not occur in the Bible.  A Bible type is a divinely purposed illustration of some Old Testament scriptural truth that is used to picture or illustrate a New Testament truth in addition to its literal meaning. The picture used may be an Old Testament :

1] person, as Adam, Solomon, Jonah, Aaron, Moses (Matthew 12:42, 12:40, Hebrews. 3:5-6, 7-11),

2] event, as the crossing of the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:11), lifting up the brazen serpent

(Numbers 21; John 3:14),

3] thing, or object as the veil of the temple (Hebrews 10:19-20),

4] institution, as the tabernacle, priesthood and the offerings (Hebrews. 9:11-12),

5] ceremony, as the passover (I Corinthians 5:7),

6] historical event, as the offering of Isaac ( Genesis 22),

7] ritual, as the act of circumcision (Genesis 17),

8] place, as Canaan.

A type is something like a symbol with some very important differences. Whereas a symbol usually refers to something either past, present or future, a type is a special sort of prophecy that always refers only to something in the future.  A type is rather like a picture in the Old Testament that is intended to tell us about something which will happen in the New Testament.  It is like a shadow of something not yet seen.

The object or event or person used in the Old Testament as a picture of what is to come is called the “type,” and the object or event or person in the New Testament that is being foretold is called the ” antitype.”  There must be some easily identified similarity between the type and the antitype.  Many feel that the Old Testament type (be it person, event or object) was actually appointed by God to have the particular similarity to the antitype.

Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch, but are found more sparingly elsewhere. The antitype, or fulfillment of the type, is found generally in the New Testament. For example, in Genesis 2:23, the woman is a type of the Church, the bride of Christ (Ephesians. 5:25-321,2 Corinthians. 11:2-3; cp. John. 3:28-29; Revelation 19:7-8).

A type always bears an unmistakable likeness to the truth which it illustrates. Just as an inventor makes a working model of the machine he has invented as a more definite and accurate depiction of any word description, so does a type picture its antitype. Whereas the type is merely a picture, symbol or example of the real thing, the antitype is the real thing which the type or picture pointed to or prefigured. e.g. Aaron the High Priest in Tabernacle days is a type of Christ our High Priest as is taught in Hebrews 7. Christ is the fulfillment (or antitype of Aaron’s picture).  All the tabernacle furnishings are a type of the Person or work of the Lord Jesus Christ or of great truths connected with Him.

A type is an incident or occurrence that is historically true, but points to another person, incident or occurrence in the future ( the antitype). The type is a shadow of something to come. Often we cannot identify the object that casts the shadow by the shadow alone, but when the object to whom the figure or shadow points all becomes clear  For example, we know that Adam is a type of Christ when he was put to sleep (often used in the Bible as a picture for death) and from-his wounded side the Lord God fashioned from him a woman to be an helpmeet for him. Without the record of the New Testament we could never have known the meaning of that first surgical operation performed in the Garden of Eden, and that it speaks of Christ dying to procure His bride, the Church.

Note that in Scripture (as in other literature) words may convey a truth or idea and yet not express a literal fact. For example, when Christ said “I am the door”, he expressed a fundamental truth but not a fact-,” for Christ was not a door.  However, the use of the word “door” does express the essential truth that He was “the means” of entry to the Father.  In other words, a type is a mode of expressing an idea by the use of words that suggests pictures or images of the idea.

A good example of a type is the incident recorded in Numbers when the children of Israel had been bitten by poisonous snakes and were instructed to look at a bronze serpent on a pole. God had promised that those who did so would be healed.  The entire experience is a type.  It was an actual, historical event that portrayed a New Testament truth.  Here is what Jesus said about this incident in John 3:14-16: “And, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.”

At first it might seem strange that of all things, a serpent should be a type of Christ and His saving work on the cross.  But it makes sense when we read what Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, which reads “Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we beg you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians. 5:20-21).

We identify a serpent with sin, and brass or bronze in the Bible speaks of some aspect of God’s judgment.  The bronze serpent, therefore, was a fitting portrayal of the Lord Jesus being made sin for us (bearing God’s wrath to pay the price for our iniquity).  He made it possible for us to be saved by simple looking to Him in faith. That Old Testament incident was therefore an outstanding type of the redemptive work of Christ.

Jonah’s experience in the belly of the fish was also a type.  Jesus said: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”-Matthew 12.40.

Hebrews, Chapter 9, makes reference to the tabernacle, its furnishings, and its sacrifices-replete with types. The sacrificed animals portrayed Christ as He gave His life for us.  The furnishings of the tabernacle and, temple, along with their related rituals, prefigured the Lord Jesus and His redemptive work.  And the veil in the tabernacle and temple separating the holy place from the Holy of Holies was a type of the physical body of Christ. At the very moment, Jesus died “the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51). Through the Savior’s death in the flesh, a new and living way has been opened into the very presence of God for all who believe in Christ (see Hebrews 10:19, 20).

When interpreting types we must be sure to have a Bible warrant for the supposed type.  Nothing may be insisted upon as a type without explicit New Testament authority. Only things or persons etc. recorded in the Old Testament which are used in the New Testament in a typical or spiritual sense can be used without question”. All “types” not so authenticated must be recognized as having only the authority of analogy or spiritual congruity.  The Old Testament is very difficult to comprehend without the New Testament explanation and vice versa. The “shadow” of the Old Testament demands the substance of the New Testament (Hebrews 10:1).  There cannot be one without the other. We use types in the Old Testament as examples to illustrate New Testament truth.

When interpreting types we must be on guard against the fanciful and overstrained, and be careful not to minimize the historical facts or miss the primary meaning of Old Testament passages. We must not let our imagination run away with us, as the church has suffered enough already from the over spiritualization of the Word of God. We must be careful also not to build doctrines upon types that are not confirmed by the rest of Scripture, and we must bear in mind that no doctrine can be built upon a type. Types, may and do illustrate doctrinal truth beautifully, but they must be kept in their God appointed place to illustrate doctrine only. We should never base a doctrine solely on a type.  The information given by the type may be part of the overall information used to form the doctrine, but there must be more than just the type on which to base the doctrine.  If the type is clearly explained in the New Testament, then, of course, the explanation may be depended upon and used with more confidence in the forming of doctrine.

Often the types had symbolic meaning to the people of the Old Testament themselves.  Their understanding of the symbol often gives some clue as to the New Testament meaning of the type.  What was the moral or spiritual truth that came to the mind of the Old Testament person when he thought of the person or event or object that is later (in the New Testament) identified as a type?  The point of similarity that the type is trying to foreshadow will not be contrary to its symbolism.

Usually types have only one major teaching.  There may be some secondary teachings as well, but there is one main lesson to be learned in each type.  When studying a type, it is easy to look back from our point in time and fill the Old Testament type with meaning that it did not have. Although the antitype will always be clearer than the type, we should not start with the antitype and go back to the type, inserting meanings the type did not have.  If a type is a “shadow” of something to come, it is not right to look back at the shadow, once the real object is seen, and imagine that you can see all the detail of the real object in the shadow.

We must always realize also that the antitype is always a much higher form of truth than the type.  The sacrificial lamb was the type of Christ.  But there is really no comparison between a lamb and Christ.  Even though the lamb was a shadow of His obedient death, Christ is much higher than the lamb.  The types were earthly pictures that were foretelling heavenly, spiritual, wonderful, much higher truths yet to come.

Types must be differentiated from illustrations. Although generous use of the Old Testament ought to be made in making application and in illustrating Scriptural truths, care and caution must at all times be exercised. The Old Testament tabernacle is clearly stated to be a type in Hebrews 8:5.  A student with a fertile imagination however, may easily find many things in the tabernacle that he might want to include in the typology of the tabernacle, whereas there may be only one main teaching to be gleaned from the typology of the tabernacle.  The main teaching probably relates to the fact that the people of God were separated from the presence of God until Christ “tore the veil” and opened up the way to the Holy of Holies. This does not mean we are to ignore other interesting parallels that we see in the tabernacle, but we ought to call these other parallels “illustrations,” rather than call them “types.” Since a type is a God-appointed similarity through which He wants to teach a specific truth, these other similarities that we see may not be part of God’s intended type; although they may still be used as illustrations of truths taught elsewhere.  For instance, you will find that the boards that make up the walls of the tabernacle were held together by a silver rod that went through the boards but was invisible from the outside.  Let us not call that a type, but when teaching about the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who indwells each believer and who binds all believers into the “building” of God (Ephesians 2:21), we can certainly use the rods and boards of the tabernacle as an illustration.  There are some who would feel that the similarity is so striking that it must be a type.  It seems to me that we can refrain from calling it a type and still use it as an illustration.

When interpreting types once we look up all Scripture references that apply, and study the meaning of the name of persons and places mentioned, we will be able to identify types correctly and thus greatly enrich our spiritual life.

Monday Sermon – Starting Right But Ending Wrong

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

This week, let me let God speak for Himself.  His message is clear enough.

“Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you.

“If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, then he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death.  If you do warn an evil person and he doesn’t stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.”

“The Lord spoke to me [Ezekiel].  “Mortal man,” he said, “repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: ‘We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?’

“Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?

“Now, mortal man, tell the Israelites that when someone good sins, the good he has done will not save him.  If an evil person stops doing evil, he won’t be punished, and if a good man starts sinning, his life will not be spared.

“I may promise life to someone good, but if he starts thinking that his past goodness is enough and begins to sin, I will not remember any of the good he did. He will die because of his sins.

“I may warn someone evil that he is going to die, but if he stops sinning and does what is right and good — for example, if he returns the security he took for a loan or gives back what he stole—if he stops sinning and follows the laws that give life, he will not die, but live.  I will forgive the sins he has committed, and he will live because he has done what is right and good.

“And your people say that what I do isn’t right!  No, it’s their way that isn’t right.  When someone righteous stops doing good and starts doing evil, he will die for it.  When someone evil quits sinning and does what is right and good, he has saved his life.  But Israel, you say that what I do isn’t right.  I am going to judge you by what you do.”  (Ezekiel 33:7-20)

Some seem to think that measurement scales will be used to judge the weight of their righteousness and wickedness, and the net amount will determine their fate.  While that may be desired for those who want to justify doing wrong later in their lives, they will only deceive themselves.

It seems that those who choose to turn from their former righteous ways, to pursue wickedness, will be judged by their last choices, not their first.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – Christ in the Book of Daniel

Submitted by Doc GP


The prophecy of Daniel is one of the most important books in the entire Word of God, because it marks out the exact course the nations of the world will take. It tells how the kingdoms of this earth shall become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ (see Revelation 11:15).

It is important also because the Savior referred to this book when He spoke of the signs of His return to earth.

The Lord Jesus quoted from this book of Daniel (Mat 24:14,15,30Luke 21:24-27Mat 26:63,64). He used the prophecy of Daniel, about the coming of the Son of man in clouds of heaven, as proof of His messiahship and deity.

STONE CUT WITHOUT HANDS (Daniel 2:34-35, 44)

We cannot consider the prophetic Scriptures without coming eventually to the One who is the Spirit of prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Smiting Stone of Daniel 2:44,45. The Stone ”cut out of the mountain without hands”  i.e the stone is cut without human help This depicts Jesus Christ and His glorious appearing (v.45). His return will spell the destruction of Gentile dominion, and He will be exalted to world rulership.

God’s Son is the One who shall come to destroy Gentile dominion. It is He whose kingdom ”shall stand forever.” His messianic rule is a sovereign supernatural power (Cf. Dan. 4:3; Jn. 18:36; Lk. 1:33; Ps. 2:9;

Son of GodChap 3-

When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fiery furnace and said, ”Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” ” (Daniel 3:25). Although Nebuchadnezzar did not know of whom he spoke,  this is no doubt was a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus.
According to His promise (Isa 43:2), the Lord was with them in the fire, ”and the form of the fourth was like the Son of God.” and He is still with His own when they pass through the fire, and many a saint has proved since then, as they did, that the only effect of the fire is to burn the bonds.

SON OF MAN (Daniel 7:13-14)

The term identifies Christ with humanity, lowliness, humility, patience, suffering and triumphant victory. Jesus used this title as a substitute for the pronoun “I” (Lk. 9:58; Matt. 11:19; 16:13; Mk. 8:27);

when speaking of His future glory (Matt. 19:28; 24:30; Mk. 13:26; Lk. 17:26, 30); His coming again (Matt. 24-25; Mk. 13; Lk. 17; Matt. 26:64);

When the High Priest said to our Lord, ”I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell me whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God,” Jesus saith unto him, ”Thou hast said: nevertheless, I say unto thee, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, ”He hath spoken blasphemy.” Our Lord applied these words of Daniel to Himself, and the High Priest immediately recognized in them His claim to deity. [Mat 26:63-65]

His coming judgment (Matt. 13:41; 25:31, 32; Lk. 21:36l);

His suffering, death and resurrection (Matt. 17:12, 22; 16:21; 26:2, 24; Lk. 9:44; 18:31, 32;22:22, 48), etc.

What a majestic scene in Dan 7:9-14 ! With the close of the vision of the four beasts, we have a further revelation of Christ in Daniel. The Ancient of days, God the Father, is seated upon His throne sitting there in judgment.

The time setting is immediately before the return of Christ to establish His kingdom. We read, ”I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days… and everlasting dominion and glory given to Him ” (Dan 7:13). The verses that follow are paralleled by the description of Christ in Revelation 5:1-7. ”And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan 7:14,15).

This scene also depicts in act what was said in words in David’s Psalm, which Jesus quoted as written of Himself, ”The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” [Psa 110].


Like a thread of gold, the assurance of the ultimate triumph of our Lord runs through the prophecy of Daniel. Indeed, He is Lord of lords, and King of kings.
Daniel 9 foretells the death of Messiah, the Prince.
Verses 24-27 refer plainly to the manifestation of Jesus Christ to fulfil all righteousness and to make full atonement for the sins of His people (compare 1John 3:8 and 2Cor 5:19).

”The language of the prophecy is clear: ‘From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks.’ ”And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.” [Dan 9:26].

The Messiah, the Prince, would be ”cut off” 434 years (62 x 7) after the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This was fulfilled when Christ was crucified. .-After the 483 years were over, Messiah was cut off.

The seventy weeks began with the edict of Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, in the Jewish month Nisan of the year 445 B.C. [Neh 2:1-8]. ” Sir Robert Anderson, with the assistance of astronomical calculations supplied by the Astronomer-Royal, Sir G. B. Airy, has calculated that this interval (seventy times sixty-nine prophetic years of 360 days) brings us to the very day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the climax of His ministry, when the prophecy of Zechariah was fulfilled, ”Behold thy King cometh unto thee” [Zech 9:9], and the day of Zion’s irrevocable choice. The correct translation of our Lord’s words is: ”If thou hadst known, even on this day, the things that belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes” [Luke 19:42].

The prophetic clock stopped. The death of Christ broke the chain for the weeks; for that event sundered the relation then existing between God and the chosen people.

God’s dealings today do not center fully upon Israel; rather, He is taking out of the Gentiles ”a people for His name” (Acts 15:14).

Messiah comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to smear, to anoint, to spread a liquid.” Prophets, priests and kings were “anointed,” smeared with oil of anointing. Jesus is the Anointed of the Lord, or Messiah. He is the agent of God through whom Israel’s destiny was fulfilled (Lk. 4:16-21; 23:35; 24:26-27, 46).

”The Time of the End.”Daniel Chapters 11 and 12 point to the ”Time of the end,”2The 2Rev 19), prophesy of predicts the mighty scenes and events of the Great Tribulation – a time of unparalleled trouble and Our Lord speaks of the same (Mat 24:21). They severally declare that the great adversary will be destroyed by the coming of Jesus Christ Himself. Our Lord’s own testimony is identical with theirs (Mat 24 and 25Mark 13 and Luke 21). Our Lord quotes the words of Daniel about the daily sacrifice being taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate being set up.

Here the resurrection of the dead is more plainly foretold than anywhere else in the Old Testament: ”Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The future joy of those that turn many to righteousness is revealed.

Monday Sermon – Peace and Goodwill


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  (Luke 2:13-14)

This declaration is similar to Jesus’ response to the lawyer, who asked Him about the greatest commandment in the law.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Since these things appear to be consistently linked, perhaps the love that we show each-other is a measure of the love we have towards God, and not the other way around.  We show that we love the Creator by demonstrating love to His creation.  John seems to support this view.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.  (1 John 4:20-21)

At this Christmas time, may we commit to treating each-other better, for we are all the creation of God.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – The Day of the Lord

Submitted by Dr. GP

Many of the Old Testament prophets make reference to this momentous period of time. Some use the terms “the day” or “the great day” or “that day”, but all by this expression strongly relate to God’s rule of the earth and therefore to His sovereign purpose for world history and specific events within that history.

The Day of the Lord refers to God’s special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate that He is the sovereign God of the universe. Diligent perusal of the pages of the Promises of God reveal that references to the Day of the Lord occur seventy-five times in the Old Testament. This phrase became such an understandable subject of the Old Testament that by the time of Zechariah, one of the last of the prophets, he could use the term “in that day” and it was understood that he meant the Day of the Lord.

This phrase had definite connotations and was the great theme of the writings of the Old Testament prophets, who related it to the future kingdom promised in the Old Testament, and connected it with the coming of Christ as it relates to the setting up of this kingdom. The expression “the day of the Lord” clearly has an end-time (eschatological) meaning.

Full ArticleThe Day of Our Lord

Monday Sermon – The Family Business


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

God is the source of life.  We became separated from God, but Jesus provided the only way to reconnect.  It is offered as a free gift that cannot be earned.  For various reasons, some accept this gift and reconnected in their youth, while others accept it later in their lives.

After we have reconnected, we become adopted into God’s family, and we can cultivate a relationship with Him as our Father.  Jesus taught that we are also invited to work in the Family business.  Once we are productive, we will receive the same reward, regardless of how long we were in the Family business.

Shortly before Jesus was crucified, He gave His disciples some final encouragements about the Family business.  They are found in John 14.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  (v.2-3)

The analytical mind will justifiable wonder how ‘mansions’ could be in a ‘house’.  Whenever we read something that appears unclear, it is useful to examine the Greek or Hebrew, which was translated into English.

The Greek word translated to “house” is “oika”, which can mean ‘household’.

The Greek word translated to “mansion” is “mone”, which can mean the act of doing something in a ‘place’.

The Greek word translated to “place” is “topos”, which can mean ‘position’, or figuratively, an opportunity.

Therefore, Jesus’ encouragement appeared to be that His Father’s household had many responsibilities, and that He was going to prepare a position for His disciples.  Applying it to the Family business, the Father’s business has many employment opportunities.  Jesus was going to secure some of those positions for His Disciples.

What supports this view is Jesus’ next words, that He will return for His Disciples, so that “where I am, there you may be also.”  Jesus explained to His parents that He must be about His Father’s business (where I am).  He wants the same for His followers (there you may be also).

Jesus then repeatedly instructed them how to prepare.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  (V. 15a)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  V.21

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”  V.23-24)

This training is to essentially try to be a better person today than you were yesterday; to love God and demonstrably (including sacrificially) love others. No one is perfect, so you will stumble.  But repent, get back up, and keep improving.  We keep improving regardless of the trouble that must come.  Hear John and James.

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.  (Revelation 2:10)

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (James 1:12)

Crowns are symbols of authority, suggesting that we will have responsibilities after our time of training on Earth has ended.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Sweet Sunday Sermon – COVENANTS

Submitted by GP

To properly understand the Old Testament (or the Bible as a whole) and discover its promises, it is necessary to understand and discuss the basic facts about the covenants of God, and a little about the dispensations. In addition one must have a firm grasp of the fundamental principles used to interpret prophecy, since at least 25% of the Old Testament is presented in the 16 prophetic books. Since this study involves a relatively minute portion of the prophetic Scriptures, (even though major prophesies are addressed) we will not spend much time on the principles of prophetic interpretation. We have included a note on types, however, because of the importance of these pictures in Genesis.

Consideration and tracing of the Old Testament promises throughout the Bible reveals that the major Old Testament promises that are as yet unfulfilled, and many of those that are fulfilled, are associated with the eight major covenants which explain the outworking of God’s purposes with man. The promises of the Covenants of God are thus a major focus that must be addressed in this study. It is therefore necessary to state some principles about covenants. The Covenants of God will be a major thrust of our study since it is in these grand promises given to Israel that we ascertain the outline of God’s dealing with Israel (and man in general) throughout the ages.

According to C.I Scofield, “A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which he establishes a relationship (1) between himself and an individual (e.g. Adam in the Edenic
Covenant, Genesis 2:16ff.) (2) between Himself and mankind in general (e.g. in the promise of the Noahic Covenant never again to destroy all flesh with a flood Genesis 9: 9 ff.) , (3) between
Himself and a nation (e.g. Israel in the Mosaic Covenant, Exodus 19:3ff.), or (4) between Himself and a specific human family (e.g. the house of David in the promise of a kingly line in perpetuity through the Davidic covenant, 2 Samuel 7: 16ff).

The following important principles about covenants must be firmly grasped. Biblical Covenants are either conditional or unconditional. The Mosaic Covenant or Sinaitic covenant or the Covenant of the Law, that God made in Exodus 19:5 is the only conditional Covenant in the Bible. It was a conditional one, because the fulfillment of all the promises God made to Israel at this time were on the condition that they obeyed his voice and keep his covenant commandments, as implied by the words, “if ye will obey, then ye will be” followed by “all the people answering “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do (Exodus 19:5, 8).  The key wording in a conditional covenant is thus “If you will… Then I will”. The outcome of the promises contained in a conditional covenant is therefore based upon man’s faithfulness. “If you will do (such and such) then I will do (whatever I promised). This is clearly exemplified in Exodus19:5 ff., or Deuteronomy 28 especially verses 1 and 5 where this covenant is stated

All of the other covenants are unconditional, because in each of them, God Himself is responsible for keeping the terms of the covenant. They are “unconditional in the sense that God obligates
himself in grace by the unrestricted declaration, “I will,” to accomplish certain announced purposes despite any failure on the part of the person or people with whom he covenants. The human response to the divinely announced purpose is always important, leading as it does to blessings for obedience and discipline for disobedience.” (2)

 It is noteworthy that the phrase “I will” occurs seven times in the wording of the Abrahamic Covenant, twelve times in the Palestinian Covenant, seven in the Davidic Covenant, and seven times in the Noahic Covenant. This clearly marks them as unconditional covenants. Consequently their fulfillment is not conditional on human faithfulness, but on God’s faithfulness.

“The three universal and general covenants are the Adamic, the Noahic and the Edenic in that the whole race is represented as present in Adam in his failure. All the other covenants are made with Israel or Israelites and apply primarily to them although with ultimate blessing to the whole world.” (3)  

When studying the great Covenants of the Bible, one must keep firmly fixed in mind that they were generally made directly to Israel, or men like Adam and Noah who existed before the formation of this nation. With the exception of the aspect of the New Covenant that affects the Church, they were not made to the members of the Body of Christ during this present age. Ephesians 2:12-13 helps us to appreciate this. It reads thus “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh; who are called Uncircumcision (Gentiles) by what is called the Circumcision (Jews) made in the flesh by hands; that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

Another very important point to ponder when studying the covenants is to recognize their foundational importance in our understanding the Scriptures, and our comprehension of God’s agenda for the future. Without a firm, intellectual grasp of the data supplied to us from studying the promises in the Covenants, we will drift aimlessly in our study of the Word and will get caught in the trap of “devotionalizing” the Old Testament to oblivion.  Without the collective data of the covenants, any “theories” concerning Biblical Eschatology will be just that-theory.  But when the covenants are thoroughly studied, it will become clear that they lay the foundation for the Pre-millennial teaching, although they do not give any definitive information on the Rapture.  That is a truth never really alluded to in the Old Testament, the translation of Enoch and Elijah being the exception.

Most beginning students of Prophecy and Eschatology mistakenly commence their study in Revelation, failing to realize that all prophecy must be understood in the light of the Covenants and major Old Testament promises such as that of Genesis 3:15. Otherwise our efforts will lead to all types of fanciful, fanatical and subjective interpretations. It is imperative to see that there are major long ranging prophesies in the book of Genesis, and that these are mirrored in the Psalms.

Once confirmed a Biblical covenant cannot be annulled or added to, because a Biblical covenant is fixed. One may well ask the question “Why is a covenant fixed?”  Perhaps the best way to answer this question would be to refer to Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:15, where Paul takes an illustration from everyday human transactions. Paul states that even man made contracts or covenants, which are of much less importance than a covenant of God, when once confirmed or ratified cannot be set aside or annulled even by the author himself, much less any second party. Similarly when the righteous God makes contracts or covenants with man they are similarly binding or fixed. Just as one can not add new conditions or delete portions from a ratified contract, no one can make any alteration in the fundamental relations between God and man, which are already established by His promises. Covenants are thus in this way fixed.

“Human failure is never permitted to abrogate any of God’s covenants or block their fulfillment.” David’s sin or those of his predecessors will not block the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. Despite the wickedness of Israel’s leaders and their rejection of Jesus as their king at his first coming, Jesus will still rule on David’s throne, both literally and personally when He returns the second time at the end of the great tribulation. Despite Israel failing to keep the term of the Palestinian covenant and despite two cycles of dispersal from the land, God will still give a repentant and re-gathered people the land in the millennial kingdom. Despite the failure of Abraham’s seed, many of the blessings promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic covenant are yet being fulfilled today (those to his spiritual seed.) The Abrahamic covenant will yet see its complete fulfillment in the millennium. Thus it is clear that human failure is never permitted to abrogate any of God’s covenants or block their fulfillment. 

All the covenants direct us toward what God willed for mankind all along from the beginning.  For Isaiah 42:6 reads, “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the nations.”  This is obvious in all the covenants cited in this discussion.

“A covenant of one category may overlap with others.”(5)This is exemplified in the “Davidic covenant, where a continuing kingly house is promised with ultimate blessing, not only to David but also to the whole world in the reign of Jesus Christ. (6) This principle is also demonstrated by the fact that there is in the Abrahamic Covenant a threefold provision to the descendants of Abraham.  God promised to Abraham (and to his physical posterity); Land, Seed  (i.e. A great Nation of the world), and that through his seed, there will be a blessing to all the nations of the world. Each of these three aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant are later amplified in the other three unconditional covenants. The Land promised in the context of the Abrahamic Covenant is amplified in the Palestinian Covenant.  The “Seed” (i.e. great Nation) aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant is amplified in the Davidic Covenant, and lastly the “Blessing” aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant  is amplified in the New Covenant.

As part of the Abrahamic covenant of Genesis 12:1‑3, God had promised inter alia to make of Abraham a great nation. This was partially fulfilled under the terms of the Davidic covenant. History confirms that the nation was indeed a great nation as it reached its zenith under the rule of David and Solomon.

In the Palestinian covenant of Deuteronomy 30:1‑9 the promise concerning the possession of the land of Israel given in the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17:8) is stressed; here the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise is at this point in time the most important thing God wants to get through to His people.

In the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7:12‑17, upon which the future kingdom of Christ was to be founded (Romans 1:3), the everlasting covenant term or condition of the Abrahamic covenant is stressed because the promise to David was to establish the kingdom (the great nation of the Abrahamic covenant—Israel was its zenith in the period of the monarchy) and to establish his house and kingdom for evermore.

Verification of the principles of the covenants are inevitable, since all the aspects of the principles depend on God’s immutability and ability to keep his promises. This is confirmed by Scripture passages such as Joshua 21:45 which reads “There failed nothing of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”  Similarly in Joshua 23:14b we read “and ye know in your hearts, and in your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”  Again in 1 Kings 8:56 “Blessed be the Lord, who hath given rest unto his people, Israel, according to all that he promised; there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses, his servant.” 

In the New Testament, Hebrews 13-19 suggests a verification of the principles of the Covenant in

my view. The above discussion makes it very clear that a basic understanding of the principles concerning the promises contained in the Covenants of God is fundamental to an appreciation of the promises of God. It is important to realize that the covenants referred to in the first six chapters of this study are the Edenic, the Adamic, the Noahic and the Abrahamic Covenant.

In an effort to enhance our understanding of Genesis, the Old Testament in general and the entire Bible, we must examine the concept of ‘covenant’ very fully. This is necessary, because careful study and analysis of the lives of major Bible characters like the Patriarchs, Joseph, Moses Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and even our Lord in His Incarnation reveal that the common strand which marks the success of their earthly sojourn revolved around their faith which emanated from their understanding of the promises of God set forth in the covenants. All these men prayed and depended on God and their walk of faith with Him because as Psalm 25:14 teaches, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” We must realize that this is also true for us today. We too can know and employ their “secret” and live victoriously as they did. 

Psalm 103:7 teaches that God “made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.”  God took Moses into His confidence and told Moses ‘why’ He was doing certain things. In contrast, the people only saw what God did, but did not know why He did it. They did not know where it was all leading. The people received God’s blessings, but Moses knew why they were there and Moses knew why he could approach God and make requests. Contemporary Christians are in a much better position than any of the heroes of faith cited above or the wandering Israelites in the wilderness, simply because we today have God’s complete revelation, the Bible. We have the Bible, God’s book of promises, a covenant book that declares God’s covenant purposes. No other religion has the idea that a god, of his own free will and initiative, would enter into covenant with a people. The Covenants of God are therefore not just another subject in Scripture, but they are the very foundation upon which everything in Scripture is sustained, and that which couples and relates the Old Testament with the New Testament.

Generally, when two nations (or two persons) desired to enter into covenant, each would select a representative, and the representatives would meet, and exchange weapons to indicate that their strengths would be swapped.  Cloaks would also be exchanged, since the cloak was the ‘selfhood’ of each man and thus each nation. Finally covenant sacrifices were brought. Two animals would be split down the middle, and the representatives would walk through the pool of blood thus formed.  The representatives would walk through the blood and around the drawn carcasses in a figure of eight-the symbol for infinity, and would finish their promenade standing in the blood, facing each other.  The statement made by this ritual was that such a covenant was for life, and that if broken, the representative who defaulted was willing to die even as the animal had died.  

Just as the Old Testament teaches that the life of the animal is in its blood, blood represented life in this ceremony to indicate that loyalty to the point of death was expected, and that only death could discharge the obligation of the covenant. The treaty would then be written such that the representatives would declare the terms of the covenant, before signing and sealing it before all the witnesses.  The representatives would then be cut. In some instances the palm would be cut and the two representatives would clasp hands, intermingling their blood.  This is the picture presented in Isaiah 49:16, where we read “See, I (God) have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”  In other cases, the wrists of the representatives would be cut, and the arms (the symbol of strength) raised to God as the blood ran down the arm, and the oath of efficacy would be taken, before the wrists would be brought together. This method is seen in Isaiah 62:8, where we read “The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm.”  Here, then, is God taking oath by his Omnipotence.

The scars of the two representatives were the living seals of the covenant, and a living reminder of a covenant to death.  The representatives would then exchange names, i.e., each would add to their reputation the other’s reputation.  This exchange of names meant “blood brothers” and that the two were now closer than blood brothers, closer than family. The covenant implied that all actions would be based upon loving kindness and that the covenant would always be in the forefront of each other’s mind. The covenant meal would next be celebrated.  The eating was a statement of covenant.  The two representatives would sit down to a meal with their hands upon the table.  Each would eat bread, signifying ‘all that I am is yours,’ and each would drink from the same cup, signifying ‘I will shed my blood for you.’ The great significance of this process is that God Himself has entered into covenant with mankind from the beginning. 

The concept of “covenants” is not very common in modern societies, but in ancient times, a Covenant was essentially a blood pact for life or death between two participants, which always involved the shedding of blood and the swearing of an oath, in a life and death relationship that could never be disregarded or abrogated. In the Bible, God has taken the initiative and made covenants with mankind that are pacts for life or for death between two parties, attended by a sacred oath, inaugurated and administered by our Sovereign God. They must not therefore, be taken lightly, disregarded or abrogated. 

Since ancient covenants had no ‘escape clause,’ they were never entered into haphazardly, for they superceded even family ties.  It was said that  “Blood is thicker than milk,” meaning that even though the participants were ‘milk brothers,’ and had the same mother, the blood covenant was more important than the familial bond. Although the concept of covenant is not typical to rational human beings, and foreign to Western philosophy, undying loyalty and absolute faithfulness is typical of God. We see from our study of Amos 1:9 that when covenant is abrogated, even between human parties, it was as if God was slapped in the face. Tyre was thus punished by God, because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, and thus disregarded and abrogated the covenant of brotherhood made between David and Solomon and their kingas recorded in Amos 1:9.

The concept of covenant was so important in Israel that even when the Gibeonites, who had deceived Joshua and entered into covenant with him requested his aid when attacked by other Canaanite tribes, Joshua honored his covenant (Joshua 9). That God agreed with Joshua, is attested by the miracle He performed in making the sun to stand still as this counterfeit covenant was honored. This is because from God’s viewpoint, a covenant is immutable, and should not be invalidated regardless of the circumstances.

A very good example of a covenant is seen in the covenant of David and Jonathan recorded in I Samuel 18 and 19. These men who were both the representatives for all their descendants, their houses, and their tribes vowed never to leave, or forsake the other even though Jonathan was the son of King Saul, who hated and despised David, and although Jonathan knew that God had decreed that David, and not he, would succeed Saul as King of Israel. Jonathan later had a son, Mephibosheth, who was raised in the royal palace of Saul, where passionate hatred of David existed. Following the deaths of Saul and Jonathan in battle against the Philistines the family of Saul fled, taking Mephibosheth with them, supposing that as soon as David became king he would murder them all. In their haste, Mephibosheth was dropped by his nurse and became a paralytic for the rest of his life. However, David searched relentlessly for some relative of Jonathan to whom he might fulfill the covenant until he eventually located Mephibosheth, and sent troops to secure him.  When Mephibosheth crawled in before David, the King of Israel, he expected to be murdered, but David appointed him as a prince, and accepted him as if he were Jonathan, because of the covenant he had made with Jonathan prior to Mephibosheth’s birth.

Mephibosheth had now to make a decision to change his mind about David in the knowledge that he was accepted before he was born.  And he did. It is very important to see that he changed his mind because he was accepted, and that he was not accepted because he changed his mind, and that he was accepted before he was born. Like Mephibosheth, mankind is very suspicious and wary of God. We generally regard Him as one who is out to punish and destroy us because of our sins. However, just as David was faithful to his covenant to Jonathan in his dealings with Mephibosheth, when we change our minds about God, He is faithful to His Son, because of the promises and covenants He has made.  Mephibosheth is a good example of the believer today. When we realized that while we were yet enemies of God that God reconciled us to Himself by sending his Son to die for us, we changed our minds about God. When we fully comprehended that the representative of God, God Himself as Man, Jesus the God-Man came as our covenant representative, because mankind was accepted before being born, we changed our minds about God. As is aptly portrayed in the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 15, Christ walked through His shed blood and rose from the dead in Resurrection as the sign that the covenant was sealed. When He presented Himself to the disciples in His resurrection body, He showed them the scars on His wrists that he bears where the nails went in.

The Bible reveals that loving kindness and remembrance are the foundation of God’s present actions toward mankind. Contemporary believers must therefore boast, brag and rejoice because God has entered into covenant with mankind, like the Psalmist who said  “Because your [steadfast] love is better than life (Psalm 63:3).” And like Moses who exclaimed in Exodus 15:11, “Who among all the gods is like you, O Lord?  Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

The Bible teaches that God’s relationship with mankind is based on His love, and that God has chosen to love us simply because He is love (See John 3:16;Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:7,8,10,16), and that whereas mankind discards the objects of his love capriciously, God is faithful in the love with which he loves us. In fact Hebrews 6:17 asserts that “God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” Because of His promises, grace, mercy and loving kindness God’s love continues to reach out and down to us, in contrast to what the devil and his agents would have us to believe. This, then, is the God who enters into covenant with mankind.

It is noteworthy that when mankind enters into a covenant, that he negotiates and engages in elaborate rituals:  blood, vows, the death of animals.  Mankind begins with the covenant and the ritual, and hopes that the covenant can be fulfilled, and that loving kindness will be a result. However, when God initiates a covenant, He does not negotiate but enters into covenant on the basis of grace, and because of his loving kindness. He does it because He wants to, not because we have asked him to. Our role is simply to enter or not, to obey or not. However, because God knows that mankind is suspicious of His word alone, he instituted the ritual of a sacred oath so that mankind might understand what is taking place (see Genesis 15; Hebrews 6:17).

God’s loving kindness is a tenacious love-a love that will not let go. It is the love of a mother for her child.  It is a love that “pursues”, as set forth in Psalm 23:6. God’s loving kindness is an action word that denotes his loyalty to us even when we have been failures. This is seen for example in Exodus 34:6,7, where God revealed himself to Moses. We read thus “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.  Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”  Here God states unreservedly that He is “loving kindness,” and that He punishes only those who abrogate His covenant, i.e., those who commit the sin of their fathers, by acting in self-sufficiency, or cutting themselves off from the life and love of God.  In other words, mankind must fight his way through the love of God to receive punishment! Thus it is that in Psalm 63:3, the Psalmist states that he will “boast” of the “loving kindness” of his God.  Hebrews 13: 5-6 reminds us that the Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us, and that since He helps us, we ought not to be afraid of what people can do to us. Because God sought to bestow His loving kindness toward us, He entered into covenant with mankind.

Sweet Sunday Sermon – DISPENSATIONS

Submitted by Dr. Georgie Porgie

In the study of Scripture, it is most important to understand that scriptural revelation falls into well defined periods, which are clearly separated stages in the progressive revelation of God which constitute a distinctive stewardship or rule of life. Recognition of these divisions and their divine purposes constitutes one of the most important factors in facilitating right division and interpretation of the Scriptures, and probably shed more light on the whole message of the Bible than any other aspect of Biblical study. These different divisions or “dispensations” may be observed in successive periods of time.

Scofield defines a “dispensation” as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Three important concepts are implied in this definition;(1) a deposit of divine revelation concerning God’s will, embodying what God requires of man as to his conduct; (2) man’s stewardship of this divine revelation, in which he is responsible to obey it; and (3) a time period, often called “an age”, during which this divine revelation is dominant in the testing of man’s obedience to God.

The dispensations are a progressive and connected revelation of God’s dealings with man, given sometimes to the whole race and at other times to a particular people, Israel. These different dispensations are not separate ways of salvation. During each of them man is reconciled to God in only one way, i.e. by God’s grace through the work of Christ that was accomplished on the cross and vindicated in His resurrection. Before the cross man was saved in prospect of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, through believing the revelation thus far given him. Since the cross man has been saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ in whom revelation and redemption are consummated.

On man’s part the continuing requirement is obedience to the revelation of God. This obedience is a stewardship of faith. Although the divine revelation unfolds progressively, the deposit of truth in the earlier time-periods is not discarded; rather it is cumulative. Thus conscience (moral responsibility) is an abiding truth in human life (Romans 2:15; 9:1; 2 Corinthians1:12;4:2), although it does not constitute as a dispensation. Similarly the saved of this present dispensation are “not under law” as a specific test of obedience to divine revelation (Galatians 5:18 cp. Galatians 2:16; 3:11), yet the law remains an integral part of the Holy Scriptures which, to the redeemed, are profitable for “ instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16-17; cp. Romans 15:4).

The purpose of each dispensation, then, is to place man under a specific rule of conduct, but such stewardship is not a condition of salvation. In every pass dispensation unregenerate man has failed, and he has failed in this present dispensation and will fail in the future. But salvation has been and will continue to be available to him by God’s grace through faith.”  (7)

“The different dispensations are essential if all men are to be proven truly guilty before God. The various testing periods are necessary in order to “stop every mouth.”  Man’s relationship to God is not the same in every age. It has been necessary to bring fallen man into divine testing. This, in part, is God’s purpose in the ages, and the result of the testings is in every case an unquestionable demonstration of the utter failure and sinfulness of man. In the end, every mouth will be stopped because every assumption of the human heart will be revealed as foolish and wicked by centuries of experience. Each dispensation, therefore, begins with man being divinely placed in a new position of privilege and responsibility, and each closes with the failure of man resulting in righteous judgments from God. While there are certain abiding facts, such as the holy character of God, which are of necessity the same in every age, there are varying instructions and responsibilities which are, as to their application, limited to a given period. In the dispensations God has demonstrated every possible means of dealing with man. In every dispensation man fails and only God’s grace is sufficient. God’s purpose is fulfilled in the dispensations to manifest His glory, both in the natural world and human history. Throughout eternity no one can raise a question as to whether God could have given man another chance to attain salvation or holiness on his own ability. A knowledge of the dispensations is accordingly, the key to understanding God’s purpose in history and the unfolding of the Scripture which records God’s dealing with man and His divine revelation concerning Himself.” (8)

Paul shows that all men, without exception, are guilty before God (Rom 1:18-3:19) without any references to or need of dispensations. Someone in the second or third dispensation can not plead at the judgment as the rich man in Luke 16:27-31 sought to do on the premise that he did not have as much of an opportunity as someone with the added revelation of the fifth or sixth dispensation. This is because in each dispensation man is responsible, and therefore judged on the deposit of revelation available to him at that time.

“In studying the seven dispensations, certain principles are essential to understanding this teaching. Dispensationalism is derived from natural, or literal, interpretation of the Bible. It is impossible to interpret the Bible in its normal, literal sense without realizing that there are different ages and different dispensations. A second principle is that of progressive revelation, that is, the fact recognized by nearly all students of Scripture, that revelation is given by stages. Third, all expositors of the Bible will need to recognize that later revelation to some extent supersedes earlier revelation with a resulting change in rules of life in which earlier requirements may be changed or withdrawn and new requirements added. For instance, while God commanded Moses to kill a man for gathering sticks on Saturday (Numbers 15:32-36), no one would apply this command today because we live in a different dispensation.” (9)

Most, not all, dispensationalists generally hold to the seven dispensations outlined below:

“1. Dispensation of innocence-Age of Liberty. This begins at Genesis 1:26,27 and ends at Genesis 3:6.

2. Dispensation of conscience-Age of Human Determination. This begins at Genesis 3:7 and ends at Genesis 8:19.

3. Dispensation of human government-Covenant With Noah. This begins at Genesis 8:20 and ends at Genesis 11:9.

4. Dispensation of promise- Covenant With Abraham. This begins at Genesis 11:10 and ends at Exodus 19:3.

5. Dispensation of law (The Nation of Israel). This begins at Exodus 19:4 and ends at Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.

In one sense the dispensation of the law ended at the cross (Romans 10:4, 2 Corinthians 3:11-14; Galatians 3: 19, 25). But in another sense it was not concluded until the day of Pentecost, when the dispensation of Grace began. Although the law ended as a specific rule of life, it continues to be a revelation of the righteousness of God and can be studied with profit by Christians in determining the holy character of God. The moral principles underlying the law continue, since God does not change; but believers today are not obliged today to keep the details of the law, as the dispensation has changed and the rule of life given Israel is not the rule of life for the church. Although many applications of the law may be made, a strict interpretation relates the Mosaic law to Israel only.

6. Dispensation of grace (The Church): This begins at Acts 2 and ends at the Rapture of the Church. The dispensation of grace was directed to the church alone. Under grace, however, failure also is evident as grace has produced neither worldwide acceptance of Christ nor a triumphant church. The dispensation of grace ends with the rapture of the church, which will be followed by the judgment of the professing church (Revelation 17:16). The age of grace is a different dispensation in that it concerns the church comprising Jewish and Gentile believers. By contrast, the law of Israel was for Israel only, human government was for the entire world, and conscience extends to all people. In the present dispensation, the Mosaic law is completely canceled as to its immediate application, but continues to testify to the holiness of God and provides many spiritual lessons by application. Although all dispensations contain a gracious element, the dispensation of grace is the supreme manifestation both in the fullness of salvation received and in the rule of life.” (10)

7.To the above C I Scofield adds the Dispensation of the Kingdom (Revelation 20:4). “This is the last of the ordered ages which condition human life on the earth. It is the kingdom covenanted to David (2 Samuel 7:8-17) [when] David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will rule over the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords for 1000 years.” (11). In this classification of dispensations the Dispensation of the Kingdom or the Millennium is the only future dispensation. From the foregoing, it is obvious that the following dispensations can be classified as past; The Dispensation of innocence/Age of Liberty, which ended at the fall of man, and resulted in man’s expulsion from the Garden inter alia, the Dispensation of conscience/Age of Human Determination, which ended at the judgment of the flood, the Dispensation of human government, which ended at the judgment of the confusion of tongues occasioned by the folly at Babel, the Dispensation of promise/ Covenant with Abraham, which ended with the giving of the law at Sinai (Exodus 19:3), when the Dispensation of law was ushered in. This dispensation began at Exodus 19:4 and ended at Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.

As stated above we are still regulated by our consciences to some extent (if they are not seared), and by Human Government (Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1-7), and we are blessed especially by the promise of the Covenant with Abraham which results from Christ being Abraham’s seed. Whereas the Dispensation of law is passed, the majority of the world’s civilizations are ruled by

civil laws, which are based largely on those set out in the Mosaic Covenant. Man has thereby conceded that there are no better laws than those prescribed by God-even though he chooses to disobey them.

The current or present dispensation is the Dispensation of grace or the Church Age which is scheduled to end at the Rapture of the Church- the next major event on God’s prophetic calendar. The dispensations involved in the Genesis portion of this study are those of innocence, conscience, human government, and promise.

Jesus’ Assignment

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

Jesus had an important assignment from His Father.  That was to train a set of people to train others.  Jesus described this assignment when He was speaking with His Father.  We are privileged to read the intimate conversation in John 17.  It starts with Jesus’ request to return to His former place.

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” (v.1-2)

Jesus then explained how eternal life was to be obtained.

 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (V.3)

Jesus then reported that He had finished His assignment.

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  (v.4-5)

Note that this assignment was finished BEFORE He was crucified for all of humanity.  What was this work that God gave Him to do?  We do not need to speculate.  Jesus explained it Himself.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”  (V.6-8)

To ensure that this assignment would be sustained, Jesus would later instruct his followers exactly what they should do.  They were to train others (make disciples).  He also instructed them on the training manual, namely Jesus’ own commandments – which He had received from His Father.  Hear Jesus.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  (Matthew 28:18-20)

If we want to follow Jesus, then we should submit to the discipline of Jesus’ training, while we cultivate a relationship with “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”.

Be encouraged on your training journey, and please do not be distracted by those who choose not to grow.



While reading the Gospels, we  often  encounter passages which puzzle us. One such passage concerns a statement made by Jesus in response to questions on the part of his disciples in the Olivet Discourse concerning the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the end of the age (Luke 21:5-7). The Lord Jesus, in Luke 21:22-24 prophesied that “Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
•For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
•Many today are asking “Have we seen the actual accomplishment of that prediction?” 
•Does the takeover of the old city and the temple site in Jerusalem mean that the times of the Gentiles have indeed been fulfilled? 
•I would like to discuss that question today because I know many are asking it and I have been asking it myself and I found it necessary to do some intensive searching of the Scriptures in attempting to answer that most fascinating question. 
•Most understand Jesus’ words here in Luke as predicting the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. at the hands of Rome. As part of his answer, Jesus’ mentions the phrase, “the times of the Gentiles,” in association with the idea of the trampling of Jerusalem and the dispersion of Jews into all nations.
•Many questions spring to our minds: What makes these times particularly Gentile in nature? What does it mean for Jerusalem to be trampled? Does this time period begin at the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome as the passage seems to imply? If the times are to be fulfilled, what brings about the fulfillment? Why doesn’t Jesus elaborate further about what He meant?
•Let us try to answer the last of the above questions: Why doesn’t Jesus elaborate further about what He meant?, holds the key to unlocking the meaning of the passage.
•One reason that Jesus doesn’t provide additional explanation is simply this: much of what Jesus says in the Gospels is anchored by revelation previously given in the Old Testament.
•Where Jesus is teaching concepts which find their origin in the Old Testament, He expects His listeners to be familiar with the basis of His teachings (Mat. 21:2422:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 24:27; John 5:39). And so it is with this passage and its parallel passages in Matthew and Mark. In fact, both Matthew and Mark make mention of additional information provided by Jesus in the context of this same teaching which establish part of the Old Testament context for understanding all three passages in the synoptics:
•“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Mat. 24:15-16 cf. Mark 13:14).
•Without launching  into the details of the above statement let us note one very important point: It is clear  that Jesus is underscoring the importance of Old Testament revelation given in relation to the book of Daniel for understanding much of what He has to say in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21
•Thus, it is reasonable for us to expect we might gain a greater understanding of the mysterious phrase “times of the Gentiles” by considering the events of the book of Daniel—and especially the situation which led to Daniel’s captivity in Babylon and the fall of Israel to Nebuchadnezzar during the dominion of the Neo-Babylonian empire.
•When we do this, we find that the key to understanding the times of the Gentiles is found in promises and expectations which God established for the Davidic throne which was to rule righteously on earth in the midst of the nations. This mysterious time, which Jesus mentions in Luke, relates to a period of judgment concerning occupation of the Davidic throne which began in the days of Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Nebuchadnezzar hundreds of years before Jesus was born. 
The Significance of the Fall of Judah to the   Davidic Throne. The final king to reign over Jerusalem prior to its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was Zedekiah, who reigned for 11 years as a vassal king subject to Babylon. Like all the kings following Josiah’s reign, he was evil. When a new Egyptian Pharaoh (Hophra) came to the throne in 588 B.C., Zedekiah took the occasion to rebel against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar responded by the siege which led to the final downfall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the city and temple, and the deportation of the majority who were left. The siege began in the 9th year, 10th month, and 10th day of Zedekiah’s reign and lasted 18 months. The wall of Jerusalem being penetrated in the 11th year on the 4th month, on the 9th day of the month.2 In fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies that Zedekiah would be taken to Babylon but never see it, his sons were killed before him, his eyes were put out, and he was taken to Babylon where he died (Jer. 39:6-752:9-11; 2K. 25:6-7 cf. Eze. 12:1317:16). After capturing Jerusalem, the Babylonians burned the leader’s houses and the temple and broke down the city walls.
•It is an immensely significant event whenever the temple is destroyed because the temple is “God’s house” where the manifestation of his glory resides. It would be impossible to destroy the temple if it were not for the fact that God was “not home.” Because of Israel’s idolatry, Ezekiel records that God’s glory had previously vacated the temple. To the Gentile enemies of Israel, the destruction of the city and temple would make it appear as if the God of Israel were impotent in the face of the superior Gods of the Gentiles, “When they leveled Yahweh’s temple to the ground and burned its ruins, the Babylonian troops served notice to all the world that their gods were mightier than Yahweh, no matter what titles the Hebrews gave him.” Thus, one of the Themes of the Book of Daniel is to show that Israel’s God is sovereignly in control over all history, be it Jewish or Gentile. He only allowed this shocking event to occur because of the serious and persistent sin of Israel.
•From the perspective of the Jews, the unthinkable had happened, “Some, in a sense of superstition, and others, in a sense of belief in the providence of God, had held that such a calamity as the overthrow of God’s city and God’s Temple could never take place. Now the unexpected had happened.”6 In the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, it seemed as if the kingdom of Israel had come to a close. After beginning with the struggles of Saul and David and reaching its apex under David’s son Solomon, the divided kingdom had initiated a protracted period of decline culminating in the fall of both the northern kingdom of Israel (after 200 years) and the southern kingdom of Judah (after over 300 years). Most significantly, no longer could anyone point to a throne in Jerusalem from which a Davidic king ruled. Jeremiah’s words to Jehoiachin had come to pass, “Say to the king and to the queen mother, ‘Humble yourselves; Sit down, For your rule shall collapse, the crown of your glory.’ ” (Jeremiah 13:18). 
Davidic Rule Judged
•  God was duty bound by His own Word to Solomon to discipline any Davidic son who’s rule abused the throne (2Chr. 7:17-22). An important passage in the prophet Ezekiel predicted God’s judgment against the ruling scepter of David (Eze. 21:10-27) from which several key verses appear below:
•Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD!’ Say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished! Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter (שֵׁבֶט [šēḇeṭ]) of My son, As it does all wood. (Ezekiel 21:9-10).
•‘Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,’ says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 21:13).
•Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, ‘thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, And I will give it to Him.”’ (Ezekiel 21:25-27).
•The passage concerns God’s sword of judgment which is poised to strike. This sword of judgment despises the scepter of My son. The passage calls the ruler of Israel at that time, Zedekiah, profane and wicked and teaches that the Davidic rule, whose righteous scepter he was supposed to uphold (Jer. 22:3), would be terminated, “It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.” This is a clear reference to the promised ruler in the line of Judah as predicted in Genesis 49:10.
•The scepter ( [šēḇeṭ]) shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
•Rabbinic interpretation associated the title “Shiloh” with the Messiah: a Midrash takes “Shiloh” to refer to “King Messiah” (Genesis R. 98.13), the Babylonian Talmud lists “Shi’loh” as one of the names of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b), and Medieval Jewish Biblical expositor Rashi makes the following comment: “Shiloh – i.e. King Messiah whose is the Kingdom.” The term “Shiloh” denotes, “to whom it belongs/pertains.”9.
•Ezekiel is telling us that in the judgment of the Davidic throne, Zedekiah will be the last ruler to sit on the Davidic throne until it is occupied by Messiah. This same message concerning judgment of the ruling scepter occurs in another of Ezekiel’s warnings given to Zedekiah (Eze. 19:4-14), which concludes:
•‘Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, Planted by the waters, Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. She had strong branches for scepters of rulers. She towered in stature above the thick branches, And was seen in her height amid the dense foliage. But she was plucked up in fury, She was cast down to the ground, And the east wind dried her fruit. Her strong branches were broken and withered; The fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit, So that she has no strong branch-a scepter for ruling.’ This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation. (Ezekiel 19:10-14) [emphasis added].
•Judgment of the Davidic throne is also the subject in Psalm 89 where very strong promises to uphold the throne are followed by a passage speaking of the throne being cast to the ground (Ps. 89:44ff).
•This is a most important point to understand when considering the implications of the prophetic dreams and visions which are the subject of the book of Daniel because the sequence of Gentile kingdoms which are predicted therein begin with Babylon (Dan. 2:32387:4) and continue until the reign of Messiah (Dan. 2:44-45; Dan. 7:142227).
•From the fall of Zedekiah to the enthronement of Messiah is a time which is characterized by Gentile dominion and especially by the lack of a Davidic ruler in Israel seated on the throne of David.
•This is the period which Jesus referred to as the “Times of the Gentiles” which will not come to an end until the second coming of Christ:“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. ” (Luke 21:24).
• During this period when the throne of David is unoccupied, the glory of God is also absent from His “house,” the temple.
Gentile Influence over Jerusalem
• In the meantime, the Times of the Gentiles must be viewed as a temporary situation during which the ruling authority which was to be invested in the midst of Israel has been transferred into Gentile hands. This can be seen in the predicted termination of Gentile rule at the initiation of God’s kingdom at the end of the age.
•Moreover, the question, “What became of the promise concerning the Davidic throne?” is answered in the restoration of the throne yet future:
•This is a promise that the Davidic covenant has not been annulled. The kingship that was taken away from Jehoiachin (Jer. 22:24-30) will be restored “in that day” (Hag. 2:23), i.e., at the return of Christ when the times of the Gentiles are brought to a close (cf. Ps. 2:7-989:19-29; Luke 1:32-33).
•the times of the Gentiles begins when the Davidic throne was empty, which would begin in 586 B.C. . . . [and] goes all the way up until the throne of David is reoccupied by a Davidic descendant, which would be the Second Advent, not the rapture. So the times of the Gentiles began in 586 B.C. when the throne was empty, we’re still in the times of the Gentiles, [to be] continued after the rapture, [and through] the tribulation period, because there is no . . . Davidic descendant on the throne in the tribulation period, not until the Second Advent will the times of the Gentiles end.
•Hosea’s prophecy, found in the third chapter of his remarkable book, has had its fulfilment. Israel still abides without a king, without a prince, without a priest, and so shall it abide until Messiah Himself appears the second time to take His great power and reign.
•During this period, God continues to set up, depose, and turn the hearts of kings—as He always has. But the period is characterized by no direct or immediate government by God upon the earth. This temporary shift in God’s concerns away from the theocracy and Davidic throne toward Gentile rule can be seen in the fact that the first and most comprehensive prophecy in the book of Daniel is neither given to Israel nor concerns Israel, but reveals matters of Gentile concerns to a Gentile king.
•This is much like the Day of Pentecost when God used the tongues of foreign nations to proclaim His glory while purposefully avoiding the native tongue of the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2:5-13). The unthinkable had happened: the Holy One of Israel was shifting His emphasis away from Israel and toward Gentile concerns. This could only be cause for great alarm among any Jew who understood the subtleties of what was transpiring. Moreover, the dispersion of Israel into the Babylonian Captivity was essentially the reverse of the Exodus. Israel had been birthed out of captivity in Egypt to serve God in the wilderness. Now, she was being given up, back into bondage in captivity at the hand of the new regional superpower, Babylon.
•after the Exodus all the nations in that part of the world were terrified at the name of the God of Israel, because they had seen what God did to deliver His people from Egypt, and they had seen what Israel’s God had done to the gods of Egypt and the armies of Egypt, so that Israel’s conduct was a testimony to the power of their God. Now what’s happened? Israel has so discredited their God that their God is no longer feared by the nations that border on the land of Israel . . .
•It is in the midst of these momentous developments that God chose to speak through Daniel providing the overview of the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 2710-11) and the related judgment and restoration of Israel (Dan. 9;12).
Question: “So What are the times of the Gentiles?”
•We can define The “Times of the Gentiles” as the indefinite period of time on earth when the visible theocratic kingdom on earth is absent, and which will one day end when the Lord comes back to earth to reestablish his rule and authority on the earth, when “the nations will be broken with a rod of iron and shattered like earthenware” (Ps 2:9 with Rev 2:26-27Rev 12:5, and Rev 19:15).
•Scripture points to the literal establishment of the theocratic kingdom on earth at some point in the future, which will be centered on the Temple described by Ezekiel (and which translates into the eternal Zionic Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:10-27, where the measuring rod appears again suggesting literal events and objects).
A similar phrase is found in Romans 11:25, which says, “A partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (ESV). Does the Bible tell us what the phrase “times of the Gentiles” means?

The Old Testament does not contain this exact phrase, but there are references that seem to match up.
Ezekiel 30:3 points to “a time of doom for the nations” in connection with the Day of the Lord. Daniel’s series of visions deals with Gentile world powers and their role in God’s plan for the earth.
•Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay (Daniel 2:31–45) represents successive Gentile kingdoms that will dominate until Christ returns and establishes His reign. Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (Daniel 7:1–27) likewise speaks of four kings, or nations, which will dominate for a time until Christ comes to rule forever.
•The vision of the ram and the goat (Daniel 8:1–26) gives more detail about these Gentile rulers and the time involved in their dominion.
•In each of these passages, the Gentiles have dominion over the world, including the Jewish people, for a time, but God will ultimately subdue them all and establish His own kingdom once and for all.
•Each prophecy culminates with a reference to Christ’s kingdom, so the “times” of these Gentile rulers would be all the years between the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar and the glorious return of Christ to establish His kingdom. We are now living in “the times of the Gentiles,” that is, in the era of Gentile domination.

When we examine the book of Revelation, we find similar references to the time of Gentile dominion ending with the return of Christ. In Revelation 11:2, John indicates that Jerusalem will be under Gentile rule, even though the temple has been restored. The armies of the Beast are destroyed by the Lord in Revelation 19:17–19, just before the millennial reign of Christ is initiated.

Looking again at Luke 21:24, we see that Jesus mentions a time in which Jerusalem is under the dominion of Gentile authority. Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 588 BC began that period, and it has continued through the present time.

•When Jesus spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem, he placed a time on its desolation. In Luke 21:24, He said, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
•From 70 AD until today, Jerusalem has continued to be under Gentile control.
• When Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 War, many Bible students thought the times of the Gentiles were over. However, Israel’s secular government returned control of the Temple Mount to the Muslims.
•Revelation 11:1-2 explains when the times of the Gentiles will come to an end:
•And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
•Remember, Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. This passage tells us that the Gentiles will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two Jerusalem months. Forty-two months here refers to the three and one half year period known as the great tribulation, which immediately precedes the battle of Armageddon.
• In Revelation 13:5, we are told that power was given to the beast (the Antichrist) to continue forty two months. This is the same forty two months that will conclude the times of the Gentiles.
• When Jesus comes back to earth, destroys the Antichrist, and establishes His kingdom, the times of the Gentiles will be completed, and all of Israel that has survived the great tribulation will turn to Jesus when He descends onto the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem is the most disputed piece of real estate on earth today.
•The nation of Israel is now reborn after almost 2,000 years of exile. A peace treaty that will settle the control of the Temple Mount is being crafted by representatives of the world community. All of these factors speak loud and clear to us. The times of the Gentiles are almost over and the second coming of our Lord and Savior is very near! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
•The “Times of the Gentiles” do not come to an end whenever Israel enjoys a period of relative autonomy and self-rule. The key factor which determines the period of this time is that the throne of David remains unoccupied by a legitimate ruler in the line of David.
•Thus, the nation may be reconstituted and the city or temple restored (as in the return from the Babylonian Captivity), but this would not end the “Times of the Gentiles” because no legitimate Davidic monarch seated on the Davidic throne has ruled since the Babylonian overthrow of Judah.
•During the return from Babylonian captivity, although Zerubbabel was of Davidic descent, Scripture never describes him as occupying the throne of David as a true king. This is not a mere accident of history, but is a direct result of Ezekiel’s prophecy which specified that the Davidic scepter would not be restored until “He comes Whose right it is” (Eze. 21:27)—that is, King Messiah.
•The continuation of the Times of the Gentiles provides additional proof that Jesus does not presently occupy the throne of David.
•What is the purpose of  “the times of the Gentiles.” 
•The Apostle James spoke to the leaders of the early church as they were attempting to understand how God would turn to the Gentiles.
•In Acts 15:14 he said, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.”
•Because Israel was too proud of her role as God’s chosen people, she was unable to receive a meek and lowly Messiah. In His wisdom, God turned to the lowly Gentiles who were humble enough to receive a salvation that they did not deserve. God was looking for a people He could have mercy upon—not one who felt it deserved His divine favor. Thus the “times of the Gentiles” began.
•The Apostle Paul attempted to explain this truth to the Gentiles in Romans 11:25 27:
•For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Romans 11:25 gives us a hint as to God’s purpose in the times of the Gentiles: the spread of the gospel throughout the whole world.
•The organization and inventions of the pagan world powers have actually aided the evangelism of the world. For example, in the first century, it was the widespread use of the Greek language and the network of Roman roads that allowed many people in far-off lands to hear the gospel.

One theme of Romans 11 is that, when the Jewish people rejected Christ, they were temporarily cut off from the blessings of a relationship with God.

• As a result, the gospel was given to the Gentiles, and they gladly received it. This partial hardening of heart for Israel doesn’t preclude individual Jews from being saved, but it prevents the nation from accepting Christ as Messiah until His plans are finished.
•When the time is right, God will restore the entire nation, and they will come to faith in Him once again, ending “the times of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 17:762:11–12Romans 11:26).
•Paul in making reference to the fulfillment of the Times of the Gentiles, which will inaugurate the Zionic era, warned the Romans against being lifted up in pride because they had been favored by God with salvation. He explained the mystery that the blindness of Israel would not last forever. He told them that this condition would only last until “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Then he explained that all of Israel, that existed when the fullness of the Gentiles was completed, would be saved.
•He went on in the chapter to explain that God first concluded the Gentiles in unbelief so that He might have mercy on the Gentiles. He then explained that the Jews are now consigned to unbelief, so that He might have mercy on the Jews. He summarizes his discourse in Romans 11:32 – For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
•As I have read through books on the prophetic books by Bible students and prophetic authors over many years, I think almost invariably all of them have associated this phrase, “the times of the Gentiles”with the great vision recorded in the second chapter of the book of Daniel.  I myself have done this also.  Nebuchadnezzar the king had a vision of a great image with a head of gold, shoulders of silver, thighs of brass and legs of iron with feet of iron mingled with clay.  In the interpretation of that vision, Daniel the prophet said to the king that this would be the predicted course of the history of the world following Nebuchadnezzar’s day.  Beginning with him and following, there would be four great world empires that would run their course upon the pages of history.  These have been literally fulfilled exactly as Daniel had predicted. 
•In the interpretation of that vision the king was told that in the dream he had seen a stone cut out of a mountain without hands which would fall from heaven and hit the image at its feet and would break the whole image and all these empires would come crumbling down to the ground.  The stone would then grow into a great mountain that would fill the whole earth.  The king was told by Daniel that this was a kingdom that God would set up in the days of the kings represented by the ten toes on the image – the ten kingdom confederacy of the last days.  This kingdom would be a kingdom which God would erect among the nations, headed, as we know from the New Testament, by Christ himself.  His kingdom will fill the whole earth and accomplish God’s purpose. 
•Most prophetic students have linked the phrase,“the times of the Gentiles” with the course of that image. 
•It began with Nebuchadnezzar, the great Gentile king, who was first given the right to have sovereignty and supremacy over the people of Israel.  It was Nebuchadnezzar who, in 586 B.C., came in and captured Jerusalem and took Israel into its first captivity.  For seventy years they were held captive in the nation of Babylon, until the time when they returned to Jerusalem after a seventy-year captivity. 
•They first returned as little straggling remnant headed by Ezra, then another group headed by Nehemiah, and others came back in other little groups until the city was at last reoccupied.  The walls were rebuilt, the Temple was rebuilt and Jerusalem again was made to be a livable city.  However, it was still under the sovereignty of a Gentile power and it never came out from under the sovereignty of those Gentile powers until June 7, 1967.  For the first time, in well over 2000 years, (almost 2500 years of history) the nation of Israel had undisputed sovereignty over the old city of Jerusalem.  Now that is a very significant event.  If nothing else were ever to occur in our day other than that, we could say we had seen a most interesting and a most significant, singular development in the taking over of the Old City for the first time by the Jews as a sovereign nation. 
•Now does this mean that the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled by that event?  If we link the phrase “the times of the Gentiles” with the great image that Daniel saw then the answer is no. According to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar as interpreted by Daniel, the times of the Gentiles or the season of the Gentile empires would end by the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, by the second return of Jesus Christ.  That is why today many Bible students are quite reluctant to say that the times of the Gentiles have indeed ended by the taking over of the city of Jerusalem, despite the fact that it was the Lord Jesus himself who said, “Jerusalem shall trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Monday Sermon – Encourage Others To Growth


Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Last week, we learnt that Jesus instructed those who wanted to follow Him, that they should obey His commandments.  These commandments or instructions train the follower for future responsibilities.  As we train, we grow.

Those who choose not to pursue this training will not lose their salvation.  However, they do themselves a grave disservice.  If they happen to be influential, then they can cause others to remain spiritually infantile.

If people remain spiritually infantile, then they will likely never learn to overcome temptations.  There are consequences for irresponsibly influencing others to remain vulnerable to temptations.  Hear Jesus.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  (Matthew 18:6)

We must be very careful not to dissuade others from growing.  As we train, we will inevitably stumble.  However, through practice, we get progressively better.

Sweet Sunday Sermon – Thoughts on Psalm 22 – part 1

Submitted by Dr. GP

Psalm 22 describes the sufferings of the Lord Jesus on the cross under three headings




These are followed by a Praise section in this Psalm

The emotional or Psychological suffering of Jesus is described in the first 16 verse of Psalm 22, and  mirrors the reports of Matthew 26:39; Matthew. 27:39-44; Mark 15:29, 30; Luke 22:40-41 Luke 23:35.

The passion or suffering of Christ  began in Gethsemane on the night just before  He was crucified. Knowing that the time of his death was near, as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane He suffered great mental anguish in an agony with such great emphasis and earnestness, that Hebrews 5:7 describes it as ‘’ with strong crying and tears.’’

Of the many aspects of His initial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological and psychological interest is the very rare phenomenon of  bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis.

The Physiological suffering of Jesus is described in John 10: 17-18;  John 19:28 inter alia

Psalm 22:14 reads….. “I am poured out like water, “

V 15 states  “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.”

V 17 states “I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.”

The phrases “my tongue cleaveth to my jaws” and; “I may tell all my bones” suggests that Jesus experienced THIRST secondary to DEHYDRATION.

The phrase I am poured out like water, very vividly explains how His thirst and dehydration occurred.

Today, medical science allows as to understand and explain the phenomena described in these verses. This is the substance of the lecture.

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Monday Sermon – Who WE are from the Inside

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Today, it seems useful to hear Jesus on who we are on the inside.  This is who we really are, and whom Jesus will ultimately judge at the end of the age.

“When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”  (Matthew 15:10-11)

What does this mean.  Once again, we should not speculate when reading the Bible.  Rather, we should let Jesus explain exactly what He means.

“Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

“So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”  (Matthew 15:15-20)

Suppose you could put on a mask and change your identity for one day.  Suppose further that you could do whatever you wanted without any consequences, and without anyone finding out.  What would you do during that day?  Whatever you would do would describe the real you.

Making anonymous comments on the Internet is a double-edged sword.  You get to practise being the real you with a fake identity, while all readers get a front row seat to the window of your soul.

Hear Jesus explain the real you.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  (Matthew 23: 25-28).

It is possible for us to appear to be a faithful Church member and a loyal employee on the outside, but a hateful person on the inside.  The longer a person practises hate, the less likely that person will be able to hide their hate.  Their pretend character becomes the one they show their friends and family.

Jesus repeatedly warned haters, who normally deceive themselves that they are their pretend characters, of their end.  Hear Jesus.

“then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.”  (Luke 13:26-28)

Some haters may have a choice.  They can either repent and behave properly now, or prepare to weep and gnash teeth with their fellow haters later.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com