God’s Map to success

All 66 books of the Bible are essential to understand God’s plan.  Broadly taken the Old Testament revolves around the kingdom of Israel.  It serves as a teaching lesson for us about what works and what does not work in God’s Kingdom. 

‘Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.’ 1 Corinthians 10:6

God is very clear in the Old Testament that He wants holy lives.  Yet the failure of the Old Covenant is very obvious.  

That is the beauty of the New Testament.  It reveals the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood.  He circumcises our hearts and gives us the precious Holy Spirit to lead us in the holiness process — which God wanted from the beginning.  

Conclusion

The Old Covenant and New Covenant together lead to the success of God’s Kingdom.

One Gospel, one Book

The Bible is the most precious book of all time.  Why?  It reveals the hope of eternal life,  

‘…This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.’  2 Timothy 1:9b-10 

The Gospel testifies that eternal life came through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  We might think that the ‘Gospel’ is only the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Amazingly the ‘Gospel’ includes the Old Testament.

‘Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God — the Gospel He promised beforehand in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His Resurrection from the dead….’  Romans 1:1-4

Therefore Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us that the Old Testament is also the Gospel.   Jesus Christ, the omniscient Son of God, agreed,

“He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?’  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

‘Moses and all the Prophets’ was a direct reference to the ‘Scriptures.’  That is the Old Testament.  At the time Jesus spoke, the New Testament was not yet written.  The Epistles also form part of the Gospel, 

‘His [Paul’s] letters also contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.’  2 Peter 3:16    

Thus the Old and New Testament are the Scriptures, the Gospel.  We have 66 books that together reveal God’s plan for man through Jesus.  Which ends in immortality for the elect, chosen, loyal followers of Jesus.  Revelation 17:14b  

What about violence in the New Testament?

Some people think that the Old Testament God is very aggressive and violent, while the New Testament God and Jesus are peaceful, loving and kind.  

#  Superficially it looks like it.  

  • The fourth chapter of Genesis began with a murder and from there it deteriorated to such an extent that, ‘The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.’ 1 
  • Contrary to that, in the New Testament we meet a host of angels that sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.’ 2  That was when the Messiah, Jesus our Lord was born in Bethlehem.  However, initial observations can be misleading. 

#  Incidents of violence in the New Testament 

  • Herod killed the boys under two in Bethlehem and vicinity. 3
  • Pilate mixed the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices. 4  It refers to Passover pilgrims who were butchered by Roman troops in the temple while they sacrificed. 
  • Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul, the apostle) persecuted and killed Christians. 5

#  Death by crucifixion in the New Testament 

The treatment Jesus received before He was crucified typifies the violent times.  

  • He was cruelly subjected to flogging. 6  A crown of thorns was put on His head and struck into His skull with a staff. 7   They pulled out His beard and spit in His face, 8  mocked Him, 9 blindfolded and hit Him. 10  
  • Isaiah 53:14 explains, ‘Just as there were many who were appalled at Him [Jesus on the Cross] – His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness….’   

#  The slave revolt under Spartacus 11

  • It is an incident that is not recorded in the Bible.  By the time Jesus was born, the Roman Empire ran almost on slave labor.  The Romans did not always treat their slaves with the respect a human being deserves.  Because of all the wars, the captives were used to construct buildings and other projects.  Most families had many slaves to serve them.  
  • Spartacus was a gladiator and escaped with others.  They had quite a few victories against the Roman armies, but were eventually defeated.  Although the whereabouts of Spartacus remains shrouded in mystery – whether he died in battle or not – 6,000 of the captured slaves were crucified.  
  • That explains why Jesus did not organise a revolt against the Roman Empire to free the slaves.  Thousand would have been killed.  Jesus came to save, not to destroy. 

#  The book of Revelation describes violence never seen before in human history.  

  • Jesus warned about the signs at the end of the age.  There will be wars, famines, earthquakes, blazing stars that fall on earth and destroy man and beast.  The book of Revelation graphically describes that destruction.  One can even call it, ‘The Book of Blood.’  
  • Although the calamities will be on an unprecedented scale, God will still desire to see men saved.  His mercy and grace to sinners is available to the very end: ‘Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people.’ 12

Conclusion

Will peace ever come?  Yes, when this age ends the eternal age will finally come.  Then the reign of the devil will end.  He will go in to his eternal jail.  All unbelievers and people who hated God will be removed and peace will ensue.  For the first time in human history there will be peace – for eternity.  God will have achieved His goal.

References

  1. Genesis 6:5  
  2. Luke 2:14  
  3. Matthew 2:16-18  
  4. Luke 13:1  
  5. Acts 22:4-5  
  6. Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15  
  7. Mark 15:17-19  
  8. Isaiah 50:6  
  9. Psalm 22:1-21  
  10. Mathew 26:67
  11. Spartacus, Wikipedia  
  12. Revelation 14:6
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