The last 5 Psalms, Psalms 146 to 150, are called the Halal Psalms. The Hebrew Word Halal is the English word Hallelujah. Thus Praise, Halal, means, “to be bright; to shine forth; to celebrate and to glorify.” Each of the first and last verses of Psalms 146 through 150 starts and ends with the word Halal, or Praise the LORD. King David is supposed to have written Psalm 146 through Psalm 150. These ending Psalms are like a musical “crescendo,” providing a “building up” through a powerful literary thrust demonstrating the transcendent Creator, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and sovereign, LORD God. The closing of the Book of Psalms, the Halal Psalms, starting with Psalm 146, draws the reader into a Praise to the LORD for being a believer’s living Hope, Creator, Savior, Protector, Helper and giver of Eternal Life to His people.
Psalm 23 is a very familiar Psalm to most people. It is a testimony by King David to the Lord’s faithfulness throughout his life. Psalm 23 is a hymn of confidence; it pictures the LORD as a disciple’s Shepherd-King-Host. David uses the euphemism of the LORD as the Great Shepherd to illustrate that it is the LORD who cares for His sheep by leading, providing, protecting, nurturing, feeding, guiding and healing the sheep of His flock. David used the euphemism of the Shepherd as the LORD God, but in essence he was prophesying about the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) who was going to come after him who would sacrificially “lay down His life for His sheep,” John 10:11, this of course was Jesus Christ.
In 1 John 5:1-12, the apostle John introduces the subject of the victorious life. John highlights one particular word in chapter 5 that emphasizes the victorious life; the word “overcome.” The foundation of a believer’s victorious life that overcomes the world is saving faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Because of a believer’s union with Christ, authentic believers partake in Jesus’ victory. The genuineness of such saving faith is authenticated by the evidence of the “Overcomer’s” daily walk; loving God and loving others, obedient living, and victory over sin and the world which culminates in the ultimate victory of their faith–eternal life.
As John writes to his brothers and sisters in Christ in Ephesus, you can hear in his heart a desire to build up rather than beat up these friends in the faith. There have developed a group of pseudo-believers who have left the church and are now claiming to have a superior knowledge and experience with Christ. John wants to further press into those who remain that their faith is genuine. Their master is no longer sin, their master is Jesus.
In the beginning of our 5 week journey studying the First Advent of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, we’ve reflected on the prophecies concerning His coming; the declaration from an angelic messenger of the Forerunner to the anticipated arrival of the Messiah; the selection of the Blessed Virgin who would give birth to the Messiah; and the first worshippers at the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem; the angels and shepherds. From the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 1 to the end of Matthew 28, the message is crystal clear; Immanuel–“God with us,” is still with us, He will always be with us, and He is coming back again for us!
God, to fulfill His sovereign will, and to fulfill the prophecies He gave to His prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6, chose certain people to be a part of the preparation for the coming of His Son, the Messiah, to make his divine entrance upon the earth. In Luke chapter 1, we read Luke’s narrative about God’s sovereign selection of “key” individuals He wanted to use to fulfill His Master plan in the anticipation of the Messiah’s birth—an Angel, a Priest & his wife, a Messenger and a Virgin.
The time is 735 B.C., the place Judah, the situation is the Southern Kingdom of Judah is in the midst of warfare, intrigue, fear, perverted sinfulness and failed leadership. The King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah is evil King Ahaz. Ahaz has a dilemma, he must chose to trust God to help Judah against 2 kingdoms attempting to conquer Judah, or He can chose to ignore God and trust an evil, foreign enemy of Judah’s, Assyria, to help his nation against 2 foreign enemies that are planning on attacking Judah, Israel and the kingdom of Aram. Unfortunately, evil King Ahaz of Judah defies the Sovereign LORD and he decides NOT to trust God’s prophet Isaiah or the sign God promised He’d give to King Ahaz. God decides to give King Ahaz a sign to His prophet, Isaiah to give to Ahaz anyway. Perhaps the greatest prophecy ever written in God’s Holy Word is Isaiah 7:14 & Isaiah 9:6; it is the prophecy by God, through the Prophet Isaiah, that a prophesied virgin would give birth to the Messiah, Immanuel, “God with us,” (Cf. Matt. 1:21-23; “Yeshua; Savior”). The prophecy declares that the Light of God,
Knowing that he was about to die at the hands of the Romans, the apostle Paul sent a final letter to his friend Timothy. Timothy and Paul had traveled together, ministered together, planted churches together, lived life together. As Paul was looking forward to heaven, he wanted Timothy to live the legacy he had received from Paul. Like Paul, Timothy would go on to live a legacy worth following. Like Paul, he wanted to live in such a way that those who followed would know, love and serve Jesus. In 2 Timothy 2, we see the pattern that has developed of entrusting faithful men and women with the faith you have received that more and more might know Jesus. Today’s study reminds us that living a legacy we want to leave is the best way to live.
The Apostle John wrote his first epistle, known as the book of 1 John around 90 to 95 A.D. John is the last living apostle who had intimate, eyewitness association with His Master, Jesus Christ. He is writing 1 John from the city of Ephesus overseeing many churches (the 7 churches represented in Revelation chapters 2 & 3). The Christian Church is growing in numbers, but the number of FALSE-Christian heresies are growing also; false teachers who were preaching and teaching lies about Jesus Christ. These heretics were called Gnostics. Gnosticism was a growing cult that had 2 differing thoughts about the Person of Jesus Christ. John is defending the reputation of Jesus Christ and deliberately laying the defense of His deity—Jesus Christ is the LIGHT of God to a very “dark” world. Those genuine believers who truly trust Jesus Christ as Savior will be imitating their role model, Jesus Christ by allowing the light of Christ shine brightly through their lives to a very “dark” sin filled world!
Before the foundation of the world God knew He would have to be the ultimate final sacrifice for man’s sin. The Passover Lamb in Exodus freed the Hebrews from their slavery to the Egyptians. The coming of the Messiah was for the sole purpose of becoming the Passover Lamb who would ultimately free man from their slavery to sin, Satan and eternal death. Jesus Christ is the final Passover Lamb who voluntarily died for the sins of mankind. But, the most important fact of God’s plan of victory over sin, Satan and eternal death was His resurrection! The Body of Christ, the Church has its firm foundation and victory of hope through the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4). Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ Christians are still in their sins and as the Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
The Prophet Isaiah prophesied over 700 years before Jesus’ birth that the Messiah, the God-Man who was predicted to come clothed in flesh and bring salvation to mankind, would be a suffering Servant that would not be welcomed by Israel because He came as a humble servant, not a conquering hero. The prediction was that the Messiah would be hated, despised, loathed, afflicted, stricken, beaten, oppressed, tortured and killed. Why would God allow His Son to be abused, afflicted and killed? Because the Lamb of God had to bear the sins of the world on His shoulders. The Lamb must be sacrificed to redeem fallen man back to God! This required a submissive, voluntary substitute who was sinless—Jesus Christ our LORD!
Jesus claimed in the book of John that He had equality with God and that He was God by saying He could resurrect the dead and He gave people eternal life. Is Jesus Christ really the Messiah? Is He truly the LORD; the Son of God?” People around the world can only draw three conclusions regarding the Person, Jesus Christ: (1) He was a Liar; (2) He was a mad man, a lunatic; or (3) He really is the Messiah, the LORD God!