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How could someone who is spirit, having lived for all eternity in the past, become human? Was Jesus a human being just like us? And when He was a human being, was He still God? Jesus was prophesied to be “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was a human being and He was also God. There was never a time when He ceased to be who He always was. His identity did not change. When He was in the womb of Mary, He was God. When He was a baby boy lying in the manger, He was God. When He was a youngster growing up in Nazareth, He was God. And when He was dying, He was God. As a spirit being, prior to His human birth, He was infinite in knowledge, power and presence. As God He would know everything and have unlimited power to act on any object, anywhere. But if He was human, He could not do everything. He would be limited to the normal abilities any normal human being would have. He could not have been both infinite and finite simultaneously.
A physical body with physical limitations When Jesus became flesh He was still God in terms of His identity, but He was nevertheless a human being in every sense of the word. Jesus had a physical body. His closest disciple attests that He was a physical person: “That which was from
Jesus performed miracles and signs. He healed the sick, raised the
dead, quelled storms of nature, fed the multitudes and exercised
absolute authority over the spirit world—yet He wasn’t accepted as Israel’s Messiah. One might think that with those credentials, He would be automatically proclaimed Messiah. We are told, however, that “He came to His own [people], and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). After a 3 1⁄2-year ministry, only 120 followers were there for the miraculous beginning of His Church (Acts 1:15).
One of the prophecies about the Messiah foretold that He would be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3). The great works Jesus did that brought about His popularity in the country were not enough to overcome the disfavor He incurred from the religious authorities—or enough to secure loyalty from the fickle hearts of the common man. His mission and His teachings were at cross purposes to those who held high positions in the nation, and His purpose was also misunderstood by most of those who saw and heard Him. What were the Jews looking for? The Jews were acquainted with many of the prophecies about the Messiah, the chosen or “anointed one”
THIS IS WHAT WE WILL BE TALKING ABOUT!
Word from the Lord about ignite Wilmington: I want to move here in Wilmington. During the Reverse the Curse prayer March in 2013 the gate of the enemy was closed. Now, in 2015, I want you to RE-OPEN the port so that I can walk in! For 10 days & nights I want you to gather leaders and people to worship me! To seek my face! Over those 10 days, I will break the cycles of sin and spiritual slavery over Wilmington. This is the year I will come through the open port. As you gather the fathers of the city I will gather the sons. Through this gathering I will redeem Wilmington in 3 ways: I will redeem her people, land, and destiny. Therefore, the Lord has given us a mandate break-open the historic port over Wilmington by ushering in 10 days of 24/7 united worship & prayer. He also desires to merge worship teams from the north with teams here in the south during these 10 days. By lifting up “Just Jesus” throughout the 10 days, we believe that HE will come and break down every dividing wall in Wilmington while breaking open deep revival wells within the city. Therefore, we are calling for young adults, students, every generation as well as every nation to gather under the Jesus tent in front of Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C. to worship, contend, pray, and love Wilmington with us. Prophetic Swirls About Ignite Wilmington
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus began His ministry with these words announcing the Kingdom of God. The time He had in mind to be “fulfilled” was probably a reference to the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-25, where it is said that the Messiah would come 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. The year A.D. 27 was when the 483 years specified in the prophecy would end (see “The Bible Prophesied the Exact Year the Messiah Would Appear,” page 19). The year 27 is significant because that is the year Jesus began His ministry. He began preaching the message of the Kingdom of God in Galilee. As we saw in the last chapter, the people and even Christ’s own disciples had many misconceptions about the Messiah and His mission.
Perhaps the most widespread controversies about the teachings of Jesus concern His attitude toward the laws of God recorded in the Old Testament. The approach of most churches and denominations regarding Jesus is that He brought a new teaching differing considerably from the instructions of the Old Testament. The common view is that the teachings of Christ in the New Testament annulled and replaced the teachings of the Old Testament. But do they? The idea that Jesus departed from the Old Testament is also a common assumption within Judaism. Rabbis explains why Jews as a whole do not follow Jesus and reject any possibility that He could be the Messiah. “Jews believe in the Torah of Moses,” he explains, “… and that belief requires faithful Jews to enter a dissent at the teachings of Jesus, on the grounds that those teachings at important points contradict the Torah”. Here is a serious mistake both Christianity and Judaism make about the teachings of Jesus. Both hold the erroneous view that Jesus departed from the teachings of the Old Testament, especially with regard to law. As we will see, the record shows that while Jesus disagreed with the religious leaders, He didn’t disagree with Old Testament Scriptures.
“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6, NIV). The death of Jesus Christ is the most famous in history. The state-sanctioned murder that took place almost 2,000 years ago is still in today’s news. No other crime against the innocent has remained so widespread in the consciousness of humanity for so long. This one lives on as a story that is told again and again. The injustice of the arrest, trial and death of Jesus Christ is profound in that no person was ever so innocent, so sinless, so blameless, so undeserving of such punishment. Peter testifies that He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). He was the most virtuous man who ever lived. Jesus challenged His enemies, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). The centurion, the officer in charge of His execution, was convinced that He had executed a righteous man (Luke 23:47). One of the thieves crucified with Him understood that Jesus had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to die (Luke 23:41).
We’ve seen the facts, now we need to understand the implications behind them. We need to comprehend the significance of Christ’s crucifixion. If Jesus is exactly who He said He was, then everything He said is truth. Our entire future depends on whether we believe that. And whether we are going to believe what He taught, whether we are going to obey Him and follow in His steps in every respect, will depend on whether we are convicted on this issue. The real story of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and future return is too momentous for us to dismiss. Of course, it was planned this way so that we would sit up and take notice! No matter how long after the event, it was meant to have an impact on every one of us.
Misunderstanding Jesus’ expectations of His followers is one of the biggest tragedies of all. Mistakenly assuming that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we can now do whatever we want, many have a mental picture of Jesus as a quiet, docile, loving Being handing out eternal life to anyone who will simply acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. Many believe there are many roads to God and a joyful afterlife. The Bible reveals that we each have a date with destiny when we will face Jesus and give account of our actions. Surprisingly, the way Jesus will appear when He returns and the criteria He will use in determining who will be in His Kingdom are quite different from what most people have been led to believe. Similar to the confusion surrounding Jesus’ first coming, misunderstanding is rampant regarding His return. What is the truth—the real story—about His return? Why will Christ come a second time? Jesus is pictured in the book of Revelation as the resurrected Savior, the Messiah who is preparing to return to earth a second time. “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore”(Revelation 1:18).
Many people are surprised to learn that God, in His Word, reveals seven annual festivals (Leviticus 23). These special times of the year have been set aside by the Creator God as “holy convocations” (verses 2-4), sacred meetings or gatherings at which God’s people are to assemble together. Like the weekly Sabbath, God set apart these festivals as sacred to Him. God shows us in His Word that these holy festivals are times dedicated for group worship and abstention from normal work. They serve to enlighten God’s people regarding His marvelous plan of salvation for all mankind.
Yes, in the sense that everyone who honors God by obeying His instructions does so on a voluntary basis. God never forces anyone to act against his or her will. At the same time, however, He expects us to tithe and equates failure to tithe with robbing Him, explaining that not tithing will bring a curse (Malachi 3:8). So tithing is not voluntary in the sense of something that is optional. Nor does God allow us to arbitrarily decide the minimum amount we should give Him. Through His tithing system He reveals the minimum amount we should return to Him from all He gives us.
Jesus Christ, in His Olivet Prophecy recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, foretold several major trends that would increase and intensify before His return. The trends He emphasized were religious deception, wars, famines, disease epidemics, earthquakes and devastating storms. This is especially apparent in response to His disciples’ inquiry concerning what signs would precede His return and the end of this age. “Take heed that no one deceives you,” He warned. Many would come claiming to represent Him, “and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
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