Tag Archive: Isaiah 53


“You shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” Leviticus 20:23

Biblically speaking, Jesus’ resurrection occurred on the first Sunday after the Jewish Passover meal. So why is it that some years “Easter” occurs before the Passover?

In 325 AD, the Council of Nicaea voted to hold “Easter” on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal (Spring) equinox (the day when sunlight is equal on both hemispheres of the earth; aka the first day of spring. After this point, days get longer and nights shorter.)

Choosing this pattern for dating Jesus’ resurrection is curious at best. Why did those overseen by Constantine (the Roman Emperor) ignore the actual pattern (the Sunday after the Passover meal) established by the Lord? Why did they adopt a pattern practiced by paganism for centuries? And does it even matter?

It only matters if we first understand what paganism, witchcraft, occultism, etc. has wholeheartedly embraced for centuries prior to Jesus’ resurrection regarding Easter. A simple search online will reveal the many deceptive pagan connections between rabbits, eggs, the word and timing of Easter and false, fertility goddess worship.

One brief example-

“Dating Easter in conjunction with the vernal equinox and full moon had nothing to do with the biblical account of Christ’s resurrection or the Passover. It was pagan practices, such as the spring fertility goddess rituals that the Catholic Church “absorbed” and attempted to Christianize, that resulted in Easter’s being linked to the vernal equinox and the full moon. The only thing that is biblical regarding when Easter is now observed is the fact that Easter is always on a Sunday. However, this is not the case. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (March 21 in 2008, the first day of spring). (Got Questions)

Does it matter whether or not Christians embrace the world’s rituals? I believe the answer is yes. Jesus didn’t lay eggs (nor do rabbits for that matter). He did, however, tragically suffer His Heavenly Father’s spiritual and eternal wrath while He was upon the cross. He chose to obey His Father wholeheartedly, taking the penalty we deserve. “You [LORD] shall make His soul an offering for sin…” Isaiah 53:10. Jesus paid the price in full and then willingly laid down His life only to triumphantly raise to life again three days later just like He said He would. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophesies all to prove that He is the very Christ. He made the truth absolutely and abundantly clear so not to add to all the confusion surrounding Him. 

Am I saying we should boycott church on “Easter” Sunday?  That would be ridiculous! But should we “dress” and “dance” like the world just because it’s popular and pleasing to the eyes?  God forbid!

Resurrection Sunday is the exclamation point, the heart of God’s Gospel, yet too often the waters are muddied and lines blurred within the Church. We tell others to believe God’s Word, but then behave like world when practicing its high days. Sadly, adults are many times motivated to follow the world’s lead simply because it makes our children happy. But Jesus didn’t say do whatever makes our children temporarily excited. He said, “Let the children come to Me, and forbid them not” Matthew 19:14. This generation is confused enough as it is. They are literally inundated with the world’s Antichrist messages carefully, creatively, and intentionally force fed to them through videos, games, toys, TV, movies, music, books, school, friends… and more and more, even today’s Christianity.

Satan’s strategy hasn’t changed. Water down, confuse, and corrupt from the inside out. Why should we, the body of Christ, muddy the waters? Why blur the lines? Why add confusion to an already overly confused generation?

Why not present a different message? Why not lovingly speak the truth? Why not simply preach Christ and Him crucified? Why not be separate? Why not shine forth the pure light of Jesus? Why not offer the world the pure water of the Word?

Why not?

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JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON!

bigstock-Christmas-Cross-bright-Christ-25582868 JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

He is also the reason we can rejoice in every season! To think that God, the Father would be pleased to send His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world is truly unfathomable. But then to think that God the Son willingly and joyfully offered not only to come, but make His soul THE sacrifice for sin is gloriously amazing and humbling indeed! Isaiah 53:10.

The reality is that Jesus, willing to lovingly obey His Father’s will and wanting to rescue men from a horrible, Christless eternity, chose to not only allow the wrath of God to be poured down from Heaven upon Himself, but also to be separated from the Father He had been one with for eternity. Psalm 22:1. He also chose to literally change His appearance, now bearing the scars of Calvary for eternity! John 20:27-28. (I’m not sure I’d be willing to even change what I’m wearing for someone else, let alone my very appearance.)

Coming to grips with who Jesus really is and what He has done should cause us to respond to Him with such resounding thanks and heartfelt praise! This knowledge is too wonderful for us, yet the glimmers we receive this side of eternity ought to produce rejoicing which cannot be contained in these temporal bodies, neither constrained by the god of this world!

God’s ways and thoughts are so far above our own, yet He desires to reveal Himself to all who would come to Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6), teaching us of His heart and mind through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:6-9. He demonstrated and continues to demonstrate His love day in and day out, showing Himself faithful and true from generation to generation (Psalm 100:5) and nothing this world throws at Jesus will ever change Him! Hebrews 13:8.

May this day in which we remember the ultimate gift- the One who is the Living Word, yet became flesh and dwelt among us; the One full of grace and truth (John 1:14); the One who became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21); may this day in which we remember the wonders of His love propel our hearts and minds to rejoice unto Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory, declaring His truth and His love to all those we meet now and for eternity!

TRULY, JESUS IS THE REASON!  

“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Boy Reading the holy bible“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

As parents and teachers, we have so many balls in the air at any given time, losing track of what’s most important can happen quickly. With all the business of our days, it’s easy to let too many opportunities slip by. With the eternal destinies of this next generation at stake, it’s this author’s opinion that we, as Christians, should not only make good use of the many teachable moments, but we should also be THE most intentional in actually making opportunities to biblically train those we’ve been entrusted with by the Lord.  Before entering their land, the Lord through Joshua commanded the priests to set up stones. Why? These stones would be used as an opportunity to generate discussion and training for the next generation of Israel. “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?” Joshua 4:6.  If the Lord can use stones to remind Israel’s children and fathers of His greatness and glory, how much more so His Word!

With this in mind and Resurrection Sunday literally right around the corner, there are several activity ideas included below that might serve as intentional and biblical teaching opportunities for years to come. Perhaps some of these family ideas could even replace those traditional “Easter” children’s activities, too many of which have really nothing to do with Resurrection Day.

1. Clue Hunt- Choose several key Resurrection prophecies, print them out, fold and place them in little plastic tupperware containers and hide them around the house or yard. Have children search for them, then put the verses in Bible book order. Later look them up and even find the New Testament fulfillment verses. Talk about why true clues (prophecies) are so important in trusting God’s Word.

The following link serves as a great resource containing many of Jesus’ Old Testament prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment — https://unityinthetruth.com/2017/04/22/old-testament-prophecies-of-jesus-christ-prophecy-as-proof/.

2. Find the Lamb- Purchase a small stuffed lamb or print a picture of a lamb. Look up several of the main Old Testament and New Testament verses referring to The Lamb. Starting on Palm Sunday, put the Lamb in different rooms of your house. Do not hide it. Remember, starting on what we call Palm Sunday (Nisan 10), the Jewish people were bringing lambs to Jerusalem to be observed until they were killed on the 14th. Jesus was coming not to hide, but to be observed and found sinless.Lamb on Rock

For each location you move the lamb, include one of the Lamb verses. Once someone finds the Lamb, he/she will get to read the verse at breakfast or dinner, then discuss it further as the Lord leads. (Some of the main “Lamb” verses in the Bible- John 1:36, Genesis 3:21( Possibly a lamb was killed to cloth Adam and Eve), Genesis 22:7-8, Exodus 12:5-6, Psalm 23:1-6, Isaiah 53:7, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 5:11-13, Revelation 7:10, Revelation 12:11, Revelation 15:3, Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:22-23,27, Revelation 22:3, John 3:16)

Also consider playing the following song- “You are My All in All“. It’s a great reminder of  Jesus being the Lamb of God and our All in All.

Author’s Note: When showing cartoon or live action movies portraying Bible accounts, please use wisdom and discernment. Many Bible movies claim to be about Jesus, however actors of Jesus are not Jesus. We do not know what Jesus looked like, plus He no longer looks like He did while He was here. We definitely don’t want to unintentionally put a false image in place of the true Jesus revealed to us by His Holy Spirit as we read His Word. Also, we must be careful to explain to children that there are always subjective dialog and events in Bible movies that are additions to Scripture in order to make a Bible account make sense as a film. Ultimately, make sure your children understand what is actually in God’s Word.

3. Set it Straight- Choose small sections of the last few weeks of Jesus’ life prior to His crucifixion. Print them out and cut each part, then put them in a bag. Shake the bag to mix them up and then dump out the verses. Have one person or a group put the events in order. Time each group to see how quickly they can do it.(Possible reference chapters to choose events from: Matthew 19-28, Mark 13-16, Luke 18-24, John 12, 18-21.)

4. Match ‘Em Up- To keep from getting lost we need to know our addresses. Print out several New Testament fulfillment verses and their addresses surrounding Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. See the link for Activity 1- Clue Hunt.  Print and then cut out each of the verses and addresses separately. Mix them up in a shoe box or bag. Work in groups to match up the verses and addresses. Time each person or group to see who can do it the fastest.

5. Focusing on Passover– Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was paralleled with the Jewish Passover. He entered Jerusalem on the same day as the lambs for Passover, Nisan 10. He was crucified on the same day as the sacrifices on Nisan 14. (For one audio article touching on some of this information, go to: Was Palm Sunday a Fulfillment of Prophecy?)

6. Greatest Prophecies! With older kids, take time to explore two of the Bible’s most amazing prophecies- Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9. To begin further study on these two chapters, go to- The Doctrine of Salvation in the Book of Isaiah and Daniel 9:25 Q & A

7. The Last Adam Video by: Answers in Genesis/The Creation Museum. This excellent 15 minute video focuses on Jesus being the Last Adam. It is definitely worth watching as a family.  It is both tastefully and biblically done. You may want to watch ahead of time to determine if it’s appropriate for your younger children.  Go to: The Last Adam video OldRuggedCross_B&W(15:00)

Interestingly, the children involved in these activities won’t be the only ones growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we, as adults, read through the Scriptures, prayerfully planning the activities in hopes of training young people, it is inevitable that we will grow as well.

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 


A couple other articles on biblical prophecy to encourage and bolster our own understanding: 

 

 

This video, courtesy of  Once Lost Ministries, is based on a previous post entitled “Christ Esteem or Esteeming Christ“.  

 

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

 

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Bible Light Bulb ImageLovers of Self- A Sign of the End: We live in an era that is literally saturated with pop-psychological jargon.  From the news stands to the TV to America’s school curricula, Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, etc. philosophies have inundated the human perspective at every turn. Although men have always been lovers of self, there has never been a time in history where the solution for all men’s ills has been so falsely sold as simply having high self-esteem.

Yes, worldly thinking will continue to get worse and worse, but having it flow so pervasively throughout the body of Christ is truly a sign of the last days!  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-2a. 3, 7

The Holy Spirit’s warning here isn’t for the world, but for the church and one of the men who has arguably most  infected the body of Christ with the false doctrine of self-esteem is Dr. James Dobson. Dobson has authored or coauthored 36 books and sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide. The Focus on the Family radio broadcast reportedly reaches 200 millions listeners in 164 countries each day.  His grandfatherly demeanor perhaps gives the impression that his advice can only bring healing, but sadly the seeds of deceit planted by his worldly philosophies will continue producing unrighteous fruit until the Lord returns with His saints.

Dr. Dobson has unashamedly expressed innumerable times that the biggest problem in all humanity is low self-esteem. Therefore it would stand to reason that his number one solution for mankind is not the Gospel, but a good self-esteem.  In his book Hide or Seek he says,

  • “… whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in twentieth-century America, then widespread ‘mental illness,’ neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur. Personal worth is not something human beings are free to take or leave. We must have it, and when it is unattainable, everybody suffers. … a sizable proportion of all human activity is devoted to the task of shielding us from the inner pain of inferiority. I believe this is to be the most dominant force in life” (Hide or Seek, pp. 20-21, 152). (Emphasis added.)

There are several excellent resources (posted below) on the subject of James Dobson and the problems with self-esteem.  The purpose of this post, however, is to expose a layer beneath this, examining a repackaged version of self-esteem that may be less easily detected.

Two Techniques: In every industry there are those talented enough to sell.  Whether it’s an idea or product, to get ahead in the business world, it is important that one understands the nature of sales. For some this comes quite naturally and for others it takes study and practice.  Two basic techniques of selling might be called “Problem/Solution” and “Repackaging”.  The first is what Dr. Dobson is famous for.  He presents the problem as being low self-esteem.  He does this by telling many stories, the kind that tug on your heart strings and before you know it your feelings end up trumping your intellect. You begin developing an emotional connection with the misinformation.  Given enough time, the listener also develops an atrophied ability to reason.  Then, after you are so emotionally invested, Dr. Dobson triumphantly declares the sole solution being a healthy self-esteem. Although this technique is worth an in depth examination, the second sales technique will be the focus for the remainder of this post.

“Repackaging” has been around since almost the beginning of time.  Satan repackaged the fruit of knowledge of good and evil as a product that would bring wisdom, not death.  After all, wisdom is a good, godly thing, right?  Yes, if it’s from the Creator.  Creation, however,can never bring men true, everlasting, and godly wisdom!  “Repackaging” can also be thought of as the Trojan Horse approach.  The whole purpose to this technique, of course, is to make whatever you’re selling seem more appealing to the person you’re selling it to.

When it comes to the idea of self-esteem, there’s most assuredly been a “repackaging” over the last several decades in hopes of making it more palatable, even to  many fundamental Christians.  The history of this modern day “repackaging” really goes back to Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. (For more, see The Berean Call’s newsletter articles “Toward the Prize” and “Psychology in Prophecy”)

Too many of today’s professing Bible teachers have continued offering millions of followers this destructive fruit as the ultimate form of wisdom, carefully keeping their teachings hidden in biblical jargon.  They talk of Jesus and godliness, yet carefully woven into their messages is the idea that Christ has come to heal us of all our negative self-concepts, that Christ has come to bring about a “healthy” self-esteem within us.  They say, “Let’s focus on Jesus”, but too often Jesus is not their ultimate goal. What many of them really mean to say is, “Let’s focus on Jesus so we can finally feel good about ourselves.”  To illustrate this better, consider this brief illustration.

  • A boy goes to school sad because he’s picked on every day and never first in line.  He’s never chosen first to be on anyone’s team at recess and at lunch he has trouble finding a place to sit.  He comes home every day feeling bad because he just isn’t popular at school.  Then one day the boy discovers a beautiful rock as he explores his backyard, a rock like no other.  It’s full of colors. Parts are shiny while other sections are clear.  When held up to the light the rock shimmers and glistens, sending the sun’s rays bouncing in every direction.  He decides to bring it to school for show and tell and immediately everyone wants to see the rock.  Suddenly the boy is the most popular kid in school.  Everyone wants to be his friend.  Then one day he loses the rock.  He looks everywhere, but can’t find it.  He reluctantly goes to school, but once the other kids find out he no longer has the rock, the boy goes back to being ordinary and quickly loses his popularity.  His sadness comes knocking and he’s quick to let it in.  A few weeks later, the boy begins digging, but this time not in the dirt, but in his Bible.  He finds another Rock, but this time it is Christ.  He finds the Savior and calls out to Jesus, asking Him to forgive his selfishness, to forgive his sinfulness against the Creator.  The boy gladly receives God’s full and free pardon and adoption into God’s family.  As the boy begins searching and studying the Word, he quickly realizes that his selfish pursuits were simply that, selfish.  He finds Galatians 2:20, Luke 9:23, and Luke 14:26 and soon begins to understand that life is not about feeling good about himself, but simply turning from self to God, serving Jesus, not the flesh.

In this little story, the boy first used a rock to make him feel good about himself. Then he found the true Rock, Jesus Christ, who taught him that Jesus isn’t here to make him feel good about himself, rather to free him from self so that he could finally begin learning about the God who is eternally good.  This story sums up what much of Christianity has become.

You see, too often the popular teachings of self-esteem have been carefully repacked to appear biblical so they will more readily be acceptable to those in the church.  For example, people will say that Jesus came to make us feel good about ourselves.  Another goes something like this, “Once Jesus is in your life, you can now have a healthy self-image, realizing how worth it you are. After all Jesus died for you.  He paid the ultimate price proving how valuable you are.”

On her website, in a section entitled Everyday Answers, Joyce Meyer says, “We all need to accept ourselves, embrace our personalities and even our imperfections, knowing that although we are not where we need to be, we are making progress. Jesus died for us because we have weaknesses and imperfections, and we don’t have to reject ourselves because of them. God wants us to love ourselves and enjoy how He’s made us!” (Emphasis added.)

Rick Warren, arguably today’s most popular teacher of self wrapped in Christian garb, has for years focused on having a good self image.  An interesting side note: Rick Warren was trained for years at Robert Schuller’s Institute at The Crystal Cathedral.  A quote from Pastor Warren’s Daily Hope devotional posted May 12, 2013, says,  “For years psychologists have told us that our self-esteem comes from what you think the most important person in your life thinks about you. Make Jesus the most important person in your life, and it’ll change everything. God’s Word says you’re lovable (John 3:16), capable (2 Peter 1:3), valuable (Luke 12:6), forgivable (Psalm 103:12), and usable (Ephesians 4:12). Let that tape become the soundtrack of your life, and you will never be the same.”

Jesus dying on the cross doesn’t prove my worth, rather the price of my sin.  Yes, He paid it all, but it’s not like Jesus went to Jostens Jewelry to buy a diamond ring.  It’s more suitable and biblical to say He went to the judge to pay off in full mankind’s penalty, a fine that was infinite in cost.  Such a high-priced penalty doesn’t denote value, but the extent and severity of my crime.  His death reveals the extent of my sinfulness and the depth of His love.  Jesus didn’t die for creatures that were worth something, but for creatures that were so not worth it!  I don’t deserve His forgiveness, nor does God somehow see a diamond in the rough, some glimmer of hope.  I am hopeless and rebellious to the core.  God’s love  is not based on me, rather solely upon His own infinite character!  After all God is love.  In other words, it is the love God is that motivates His actions, not my loveliness!

Christ-Esteem: In recent years, the phrase “Christ-esteem” has begun circulating the pulpit as a way of replacing self-esteem.  And while I agree that our focus must be on Christ, it seems to this believer that the phrase “Christ-Esteem” still lends a bit of credibility to today’s psychologized Christianity, saying we must focus on Christ in hopes of realizing how lovely we really are.  Loved, yes!  Lovely, no!   Paul said it this way, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing…” Romans 7:18.  The only good in me is Christ!  He is my hope of glory.  Being that we’re in such a psychologically defined society, it’s every believer’s responsibility to be extra cautious in the language chosen when teaching the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

Esteeming Christ:  Instead of saying I have Christ-esteem, I’d rather declare that I esteem Christ.  Webster’s online dictionary defines Esteem as “to set a high value on : regard highly and prize accordingly.”  Jesus is not simply in my life. He is my Life!  Jesus does not simply enter my heart and mind to make me a better man.  He comes to transform and renew me into His image, living His Life in me and through me.  John the baptist said it best, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.John 3:30.  He should be my all in all! Clearly, my highest aim is not to esteem self, but to esteem Christ and Christ alone.  My pursuit to do so should be pure and careful.  It should be thoughtful and bold.

Our love for Christ should go beyond all men’s opinions and teaching, no matter how popular and kind the man may be.  God is not a respecter of persons, nor should His children.  Using the phrase “Christ-esteem” might be a little thing, but again, due to the psychologically redefined language flooding our world today, I choose to speak clearly and carefully, not desiring to confuse the Gospel to its hearers.  Reflecting the heart of every sinner, Isaiah wrote, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”  Isaiah 53:3.  As an enemy of God, I esteemed Him not.  As a blood-bought sinner, I can truly and whole heartily declare my sole desire is to esteem Jesus Christ above all!

“[May] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23

For the You Tube video discussing this article, go to: “Christ Esteem or Esteeming Christ”.

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