Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sheol vs. Hell

 

Hades / Sheol vs. Hell

Throughout the Old Testament, both the believer and the unbeliever were said to go to "Hades" (Greek) or "Sheol" (Hebrew). While the sacrificial system covered the sins of the Old Testament saints, it did not remove them. Only the death of the Messiah could remove sins permanently.

Heb 10:4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

So while the Old Testament sacrificial system was sufficient to keep the believers from hell, it could not get them into heaven. Luke explains this place, Hades, and we see that in this place there were two compartments, a place of torment, and a place called Abraham's bosom.

Luk 16:19-31 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. (20) At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores (21) and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. (22) "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. (23) In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. (24) So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' (25) "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. (26) And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' (27) "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, (28) for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' (29) "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' (30) "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' (31) "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

The unbeliever was destined for the Hellish portion of Hades, which was indeed a place of torment (Luk 16:23-25, Luk 16:28).

The believer was destined for the Heavenly portion of Hades, which was known as Abraham's Bosom", and was a place of comfort, but was not Heaven itself. In Luk 23:43 this place is called "Paradise".

Luk 23:43 Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

When Jesus died to remove sin, He did so for all the Old Testament saints that they committed in the past. When Jesus died on the cross, He removed the sin for the Old Testament saints who were in Paradise.

Rom 3:25 (NIrV) God gave him as a sacrifice to pay for sins. So he forgives the sins of those who have faith in his blood. God did all of that to prove that he is fair. Because of his mercy he did not punish people for the sins they had committed before Jesus died for them.

Heb 9:15 (NIrV)That's why Christ is the go-between of a new covenant. Now those God calls to himself will receive the eternal gift he promised. They will receive it now that Christ has died to save them. He died to set them free from the sins they committed under the first covenant.

What happened next is that the Old Testament saints had their sins removed, and they were led from Paradise to Heaven.

Eph 4:8-10 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people." (9) (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? (10) He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

While the body of Jesus remained in the tomb for 3 days and nights, His soul went down to the Paradise side of Hades where He told the people there that their sins had been removed. He subsequently bought all the souls of the people in Paradise up to heaven with Him at the time of His Ascension.

So today, Paradise, the comfort side of Hades does not exist any longer, for New Testament saints do not go to Hades, but to Heaven.

2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Php 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Heb 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (23) to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (24) to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Following the Great White Throne Judgment, the Hell side of Hades will no longer exist, since all the judged will be in the Lake of Fire.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 4:12-25 - Start of Jesus's Ministry

Matthew 4:12-17 - The Start of Jesus's Ministry

Another Prophecy - Matthew provides us with another prophecy in vs. 14, connecting Mat 4:15 to Isa 9:1-2. Isaiah spoke of Jesus's coming as a "great light" to a "land of deep darkness", and “a light has dawned as a “new thing”. Gentiles are a party to receive this "great light" as well. Jesus is that light (Mal 1:11, Act 15:14). Jesus once again shows that He is going to the “common man”, Capernaum was a city rejected by Pharisees, and yet, this is where the "dawn" of the "great light" takes place.

Capernaum the City

Capernaum, along with a 2nd century synagogue have also been unearthed by archaeologist.

Peter lived here, as did Andrew, John and James (Mar 1:21-22, Mar 1:29).

Jesus Taught With Authority

What does "he taught them as one who had authority" mean? (exousia - From G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, …. etc.

A New Course is Set

The term "From that time on" indicates a course change in the making, I.E. “a new dawn”. Jesus's message of the gospel of the Kingdom is the heralding of Himself as King and His coming Messianic Kingdom, following John the Baptist. The call was to the Jewish people to align themselves with the coming of the Messianic Kingdom.

Matthew 4:18-22 - The First Disciples Called

Events Leading to The Calling of the Disciples

The adoption of the 12 into the discipleship of Christ took place gradually. Matthew shows Peter and Andrew following Jesus "at once", however, this is not Peter and Andrew's first encounter with Jesus. Andrew was in the presence of Jesus when John called out to Him as "the Lamb of God" (Joh 1:35-42). Andrew and another of the disciples went with Him for a day, and Andrew determined that John was right. He called Peter and told him that this Jesus was the Messiah. Other disciples had experience with Jesus and they also were familiar with Him (Luk 5:1-11).

The Calling

The disciples road to full time discipleship took some time has well. At first joining Jesus as he went on His ministry trips to other cities and returning back to their fishing. Becoming full time ministers in discipleship occurred gradually and naturally. 1) They knew the Hebrew Scriptures, 2) They had the witness of John the Baptist, 3) There were visible signs, such as the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit coming over Him like a dove, and the voice from heaven, 4) They had time spent with Jesus Himself before He called them.

Matthew 4:23-25 - Jesus's Ministry to Crowds

Jesus in Nazareth Reading Isaiah 61:1-2

According to Jewish law, any man could read the scriptures in a synagogue and exhort the people. Jesus left Capernaum and went to Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61. (Luk 4:16-21). Jesus was quoting a Messianic Prophecy (Isa 61:1-3). This of course would have riled up the religious leaders, who eventually drove Him out of town back to Capernaum (Luk 4:28-30).

Jesus Proclaims the "good news of the kingdom"

Everywhere Jesus went, he told the people that the Kingdom was at hand. This was a proclamation rather than a teaching. Jesus was simply telling them it was near.

Jesus Heals the Sick

A characteristic of the Messianic Kingdom is healing (Isa 35:5-10). Jesus was demonstrating the healing characteristics accompanying the Messianic Kingdom. This highlighted 3 points. 1) They confirmed them message that Jesus was bringing (Joh 14:11), 2) They showed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah Isa 53:4-5, Isa 61:1, Mat 11:2-5) and 3) They showed just how near the kingdom was, that it had even arrived in the person of Jesus.

A Study of Matthew - Chapter 4 - The Temptation and Start of Ministry

At this time in our chronology, Jesus was about 30 years old (Luk 3:23). Up until now, there had not been any mention of either Jesus performing any miracles nor having any discussion with the religious leaders. The Baptism of Jesus was His entrance to public ministry. This event identified Him as Messiah, and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. The next step was the temptation of Jesus by Satan.

Matthew 4:1 - The Temptation

Mat 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit right after the Holy Spirit had descended upon Him and anointed Him. Note the similarities between the temptation of Adam and the temptation of the "second Adam".

Adam was tempted through Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden in a perfect environment, and still could not sin.

Jesus was tempted by Satan in a fallen world.

There are two terms that need to be clarified. That of "enticing" one to sin and that of "testing" one through sin.

Testing

Testing means to prove the genuineness or sincerity of someone or something. We are commanded not to test Christ.

Tempted in this sense means "to put to the test".

Act 5:9 Peter said to her, "How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."

1Co 10:9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes.

Mat 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

Mat 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

Enticement

Enticement means to make something sound attractive so as to entice someone into sinning. Scripture has this in mind when when we are warned not to be enticed ourselves when are in a position to restore someone else from their sin.

Gal 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

This idea of "enticement" is also used to warn spouses from withholding physical intimacy because this lack will cause others to be more enticing.

1Co 7:5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Testing of Faith vs. Enticement to Sin

People may be tested by God. Testing is intended to demonstrate God's power and calling in a person, proving to those watching a high level of spiritual maturity by their resistance.

Jas 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (4) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

People will not be enticed by God. The only purpose of enticement in this context is to tempt one into sinning, and that is not of God.

Jas 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (14) but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

What Was Jesus Going Through?

Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit to be "tempted". Was He Tested, or was He Enticed?

As Jesus was enticed by Satan, God would use this to show that Jesus was indeed righteous and trustworthy. What Satan intended as enticement, God used to prove the righteous character of Jesus. He was the pure and spotless Lamb of God who was qualified to by the sacrifice for sin. Testing demonstrated His authenticity.

The Two-Fold Purpose in Testing Jesus

The first purpose was to demonstrate Jesus's genuine character, and the second purpose was to allow Jesus, as God, to experience the intensity of physical and emotional need. He went through and felt as a true man what His creation feels, and because of that He is able to empathize with us.

Heb 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. (16) Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 4:2-4 - The Temptation of Hunger

Mat 4:2-4 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (3) The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (4) Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

The Fast

When Jesus arrived in the wilderness, some time went by and Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights.

There are two types of fast, a partial and a total fast. Jews in general practiced a partial fast, allowing themselves snacks and water. Daniel participated in a partial fast. The idea was that distractions could be ignored and focus could be given to prayer and meditation.

Dan 10:3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

Total fasting was done without any food or drink and was usually done for 1 day. Some Jews did a total fast two days out of every week.

Luk 18:11-12 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

It appears from Luke's account of the Temptation that Jesus's fast was a total fast.

Luk 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Moses and Elijah each participated in 40 day total fasts.

Exo 34:28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.

Deu 9:9 When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.

1Ki 19:7-8 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." (8) So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

The Temptation of Hunger

Satan called Jesus "the Son of God", a sure indication that Satan knew who Jesus was. Satan would have known that as the Son of God, Jesus was the creator of the universe, let alone Satan's creator.

The test then would have involved determining if Jesus was going to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit and God for His needs, or would He resolve His needs Himself. Satan was trying to prove that Jesus would act independently of the Father and the Holy Spirit to achieve selfish ends.

We are blessed that Jesus passed the test, for he was also enticed to come down off the cross, and He did not.

Mat 27:39-40 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads (40) and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

The Response of Jesus

Jesus responded with the Word of God, specifically from Deu 8:3,

Deu 8:3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

The point of this passage to the Israelites to who it was spoken was to teach them that life was more that food, in fact, primarily, it was about God's provisions. As Ed Glasscock states:

"mankind is not to view human existence as dependent upon the physical sustenance of life but upon God's provisions".

Jesus was telling Satan that the Father would take care of His needs and he did not need to do it Himself. Acting Himself would be denial of God's authority over His life. In His dependence upon the Father, Jesus was living out Mat 6:31-33.

Mat 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Jesus was also demonstrating the truth that the Word of God was better food than food to eat.

Joh 4:31-34 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." (32) But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." (33) Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" (34) "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

The lesson we learn from the interaction between Jesus and Satan in this passage is that our sustenance for life itself comes from God. When our primary focus is inward, on our physical need for food, clothing and shelter, then we are dependent on what we ourselves can do to provide.

When our primary focus is outward to God, then we are dependent upon Him to provide. This is an act of faith on our part. It is seeking God with all we have, all the time, and looking for His provision for our needs.

Jesus did not fall into temptation and eat, He continued to seek the Father's will.

Matthew 4:5-7 - The Temptation of Divine Protection

Mat 4:5-7 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. (6) "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (7) Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

It is said here that Satan "took Him". There is no indication in scripture how Satan took Jesus to the holy city. In any case, there is no reason to spiritualize the passage and we can read the passages as Jesus being physically taken to the holy city.

The "holy city" in this passage is Jerusalem. Jesus was taken to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem. The challenge in this temptation is whether or not the Father would supernaturally protect Jesus from such a fall.

Satan's Misuse of Scripture

Note that Satan uses scripture in this passage, saying "For it is written". Satan quotes Psa 91:11-12.

Psa 91:11-12 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (12) they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Satan committed the classic error of taking scripture out of context, something that is prevalent today by immature bible interpreters. Psa 91 is talking about divine protection from harm that seeks us. Satan is tempting Jesus to test God. Psa 91 cannot be used within the context of the passage to conclude that God will divinely protect us if we do something to test Him.

2Chronicles 7:14

It is a common practice today to select individual verses in the Bible and apply them to people or events that have nothing to do with the text. One that is used a lot is 2Ch 7:14.

The timeframe for this passages is when Solomon dedicated the temple. At that time, God comes to Solomon and gives him some warnings and assurances. The 2Ch 7:14 passage is tied up with Israel and the temple, and the fact that Israel may experience judgments from time to time.

2Ch 7:12-14 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. (13) "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, (14) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

A few verses later, God warns Solomon what will happen if the people do not turn from their wicked ways. This, as you can see, is speaking of specific judgment on the nation of Israel. (It is important to realize that national Israel meant the nation, both believers and unbelievers.) Solomon would have recognized the connection between what God was saying here and the blessings for keeping or curses for not keeping the Mosaic Covenant in Deuteronomy 28.

2Ch 7:19-22 "But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, (20) then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. (21) This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?' (22) People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them--that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'"

So the context of 2Ch 7:14 is with regards to the covenant promise that God will rescue them if they repent, and curse them if they don't, according to the Mosaic Covenant. This event is God reminding Solomon of that covenant.

So properly in context, 2Ch 7:14 only applies to Israel, as the church was never in a covenant with God. Yet Christians in the church today use this verse as a rallying cry of sorts for America calling for political, moral and economic healing.

So while Christians today may object to reading this passage in context, stating that the principles are the same. But they are not all the same. As previously mentioned, when Moses recorded the term "my people", those people were all of national Israel, unbelievers and believers. The whole nation was to repent. Today the church reads this as "my people" being just the believers repenting, which in an incorrect understanding of the passage. If God originally gave this to the whole believing and unbelieving nation of Israel, then it has not changed so that today it is just the believing church that needs to repent. We can't quote passages incorrectly and expect God to honor our quotation of the passage.

Having said all that, should we as Christians pray and turn from our wicked ways? Absolutely. It is just not on the basis of 2Ch 7:14. 1Ti 2:1-2 correctly indicates how a Christian should pray for our nation.

1Ti 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-- (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

The point of this sidebar is to point out Satan's misuse of Psalm 91, and how even we as Christians get fooled into doing the same thing. People can become disillusioned when thinking they are following biblical principle, they misquote passages, taking them out of context, and then nothing happens. Frequently, they are asking God for something he never promised.

2Ti 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

The Response of Jesus to the Temptation

Jesus addressed this misuse of scripture on Satan's part by partially quoting another passage.

Deu 6:16 Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Satan was tempting Jesus to put a test before God. As we previously discussed, temptations take one of two forms, that of enticement to sin, and that of testing. As we have also discussed, while God will test His saints to prove their righteous character, we are told not to put God to the test. God is faithful and needs no test and we should take Him at His word. What Satan was doing here is enticing Jesus to put God to the test by putting Himself in a precarious position to see if God would save Him. The response of Jesus was to remind Satan that we are not to put God to the test.

Matthew 4:8-10 - The Temptation of the Kingdoms of Earth

Mat 4:8-11 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. (9) "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." (10) Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (11) Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Kingdoms Offered

Satan once again seeks to entice Jesus into acting independently of God the Father. All the kingdoms of the world are offered to Jesus. The fact that Satan is offering all the kingdoms of earth to Jesus leads us to ask, does Satan actually have the authority to do that? Let's take a look at that.

Satan's Reign vs. Jesus' Reign

Ruler of the Kingdom of the Air

Scripture clearly indicates that Satan is the present "ruler of the Kingdom of the air", and is the motivating spirit in those who are disobedient. Now it should be noted that this is not due to any limitation on the part of Jesus, but is according to His will.

Eph 2:1-2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

We should not think it strange that God would permit Satan limited authority and rulership on the planet. This principle is illustrated in the story of Job (Job 1:6-12).

Job 1:6-12 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. (7) The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it." (8) Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (9) "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. (10) "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. (11) But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." (12) The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

The Control of the Evil One

Here we have a quite explicit statement declaring that Satan is in fact in control of the whole world.

1Jn 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Jesus States that Satan is the Prince of This World

The context of "is coming" in this passage is the imminent arrival of Satan to fulfill the crucifixion of Christ. It is not saying that Satan is only then coming to the world, for that would conflict with the preceding passages.

The point of this passage is that even at this time, Jesus recognized Satan reigning as the prince of the world.

Joh 14:30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,

Authority of the Beast

This passage is speaking of the authority of the Antichrist and the False Prophet. It is explicitly stated that the False Prophet exercises authority such that he "made the earth and its inhabitants worship the beast" (Antichrist). These two could only have this power if Satan delegated it to them out of the authority that he had. This shows Satan's authority as the prince of the power of the air, reigning on earth and influencing people, again, within the confines that Almighty God permits.

Rev 13:11-12 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. (12) It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

Satan's Power Removed

The timing of this event is quite explicit, it is when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet heralding the seven bowl judgments. This verse states that it is at this time that the "kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord". This clearly indicates that "the kingdom of the world" was Satan's prior to this event, and is removed after this event. As we have previously read in 1Jn 5:19 "the whole world is under the control of the evil one." This is clearly no longer the case.

Rev 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Jesus's Reign Begins

Two verses later, in verse 17, it is clearly and explicitly stated again that it is at this time that Jesus has "taken your great power and ... begun to reign". This clearly indicates that Jesus does not reign on earth until after this event occurs.

Rev 11:17 saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.

Satan Offers His Kingdom to Jesus

If Satan did not possess authority over the kingdoms of the world, then he would not have been able to use this as a temptation. The offer of the kingdoms to Jesus would have been a false offer, and the lesson the passage is teaching would have been invalid. Satan did have the authority as permitted and limited by Almighty God to offer Jesus the kingdoms of earth.

Luk 4:5-6 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. (6) And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.

Jesus's Response to the Temptation

At this point, Jesus tells Satan He has had enough of this, and commands Satan to depart with another quotation from scripture. This shows that while the whole world is under the power of Satan allowed by the permissive will of Christ, Jesus is and always will be the highest authority. Nothing happens unless it is within His will.

Deu 6:13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.

In this response, Jesus directly addresses Satan, perhaps in keeping with the growing intensity of emotions.

Mat 4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

In Luke's record, it indicates that Satan was not done, and would return at an opportune time. This is probably indicative of the behind the scenes work of Satan that influenced those Jesus was working with, and perhaps the indwelling of Judas Iscariot, etc.

Luk 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

The Angels Minister to Jesus

Following the temptation, Jesus continues to show dependence on the Father. He did not conjure up food for Himself, but received God's supernatural care in the form of the angels that came to minister to Him.

It should be noted that the angels while ministering to Jesus before and after the temptation were not present during the temptation, and Jesus would have felt need as a human. This is a good lesson for us. As Dr. Ed Glasscock states:

"This reminds us that at times we may not be aware of God's care for us but that He can and will provide, even if for a little while we must endure our testing in apparent lone vigil."

Matthew 4:12-17 - The Start of Jesus's Ministry

Mat 4:12-17 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. (13) Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- (14) to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: (15) "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- (16) the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (17) From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Another Prophecy

Matthew provides us with another prophecy in vs. 14. He was connecting Mat 4:15 to Isa 9:1-2.

Isa 9:1-2 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan-- (2) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah was prophesying about a "great light" coming to a "land of deep darkness". This of course is Jesus, the light of the world. The passage speaks of the beginning of Jesus's ministry.

The term "dawn" in vs. 16 means "a beginning of something that didn't previously exist". The arrival of Jesus was bringing about a new thing.

Jesus once again shows that He is going to the common man first, and not the religious leaders or magistrates. Capernaum was a city rejected by Pharisees, and yet, this is where the "dawn" of the "great light" takes place.

Capernaum the City

Capernaum has been uncovered in archaeological excavations on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, on the border of Naphtali and Zebulun. A large 2nd century synagogue has also been unearthed.

Peter lived here, as did Andrew, John and James.

Mar 1:21-22 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. (22) The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Mar 1:29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.

Note that Capernaum had a reputation among the Jews as a despicable city due to it's commercial success and predominant Gentile population. The prophecy in Matthew mentions these Gentiles specifically, and indicates that they are a party to receive this "great light". Jesus is that light.

Mal 1:11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.

Act 15:14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.

Jesus Taught With Authority

What does "he taught them as one who had authority" mean?

exousia - From G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: - authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

A New Course is Set

Jesus starts His ministry with the term "From that time on", which indicates that a course change was in the making.

Jesus message is the same as that of John the Baptist. The gospel of the Kingdom is the heralding of Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom, as discussed previously in Chapter 3 where we discussed John's message. The call was to the Jewish people to align themselves with the coming of the Messianic Kingdom.

Matthew 4:18-22 - The First Disciples Called

Mat 4:18-22 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. (19) "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." (20) At once they left their nets and followed him. (21) Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, (22) and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Events Leading to The Calling of the Disciples

The adoption of the 12 into the discipleship of Christ took place gradually over some period of time, and not as we might supposed the very first time they encountered Jesus. This passage from Matthew shows Peter and Andrew following Jesus "at once". However, as we will see in John's gospel, this is not Peter and Andrew's first encounter with Jesus.

Note first of all, that John the Baptist had disciples himself. Note in this passage that Andrew was in the presence of Jesus when John called out to Him as "the Lamb of God". Andrew and another of the disciples wanted to go with Him, and so spent the day with Him. This was enough for Andrew to determine within himself that John was right, and he called his brother Peter and told him that this Jesus was the Messiah.

Joh 1:35-42 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. (36) When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" (37) When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. (38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?" (39) "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. (40) Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. (41) The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). (42) And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).

Luke also provides insight into the times prior to the calling of the disciples. These disciples had experience with Jesus, so that when He called them, they were familiar with Jesus.

Luk 5:1-11 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. (2) He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. (3) He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. (4) When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." (5) Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." (6) When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. (7) So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. (8) When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (9) For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, (10) and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will fish for people." (11) So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

The Calling

When Jesus called the disciples, He called them to "follow Him". This of course meant that Jesus was calling them to discipleship. It was fairly common in those days for young men to be under the discipleship of the great teachers of the time. As we have seen previously, John the Baptist had disciples. Jesus calling the 12 to be His disciples was not a new concept.

As seen previously, we should not make too much of the disciples joining Jesus "immediately". It was immediately at that time, but not as if it were the first time they had encountered Jesus. They had spent some time with him.

Also, it should be noted that their road to full time discipleship took some time has well. At first the disciples would join Jesus as he went on His ministry trips to other cities, but then returned back to their fishing. Becoming full time ministers in discipleship occurred gradually.

The gradual nature of their transition from one "job" to the other should give us sound instruction as well. We should not be hasty, but do things in an orderly fashion. There were several witnesses the disciples had as to the Messiah-ship of Jesus. First they knew the Word, the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old Testament to us. Second they had the witness of John the Baptist, who was declaring Jesus as the Messiah. Third there were visible signs, such as the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit coming over Him like a dove, and the voice from heaven. Fourth they had time spent with Jesus Himself before He called them. Finally, when the disciples were called by Jesus, they had all this background before they made their determination to follow Him.

Matthew 4:23-25 - Jesus's Ministry to Crowds

Mat 4:23-25 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (24) News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. (25) Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

According to Jewish law, any man was able to read the scriptures in a synagogue and exort the people. This is how Jesus was able to teach in the synagogue. One would think with the message He was teaching, that He was the Messiah, He would have been banned. But He was allowed to speak.

Jesus in Nazareth Reading Isaiah 61:1-2

As Luke points out, Jesus left Capernaum and went to Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61.

Luk 4:16-21 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, (17) and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: (18) "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (20) Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. (21) He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus was quoting a Messianic Prophecy.

Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (3) and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

This of course would have riled up the religious leaders. After some additional discussion with Jesus, the religious leaders drove Him out of town, and He returned to Capernaum.

Luk 4:28-30 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. (29) They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. (30) But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Jesus Proclaims the "good news of the kingdom"

Everywhere Jesus went, he told the people that the Kingdom was at hand. This was a proclamation rather than a teaching. Jesus was simply telling them it was near.

Jesus Heals the Sick

One of the characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom is healing.

Isa 35:5-10 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. (6) Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. (7) The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. (8) And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. (9) No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, (10) and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Jesus has always had the ability to bring healing to humans. He is demonstrating the healing characteristics that will be present in the Messianic Kingdom. Imagine living in such a time, when our ailments are healed by a word in Jesus's name.

The healing ministry and miracles of Jesus at this time highlighted 3 points. First, they confirmed them message that Jesus was bringing.

Joh 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

Second, they showed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah the Hebrew Scriptures spoke of.

Isa 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. (5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

Mat 11:2-5 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples (3) to ask him, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" (4) Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: (5) The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Thirdly, they showed just how near the kingdom was, that it had even arrived in the person of Jesus and had only for the kingdom to be established.