The Gospel of Job

It is the classic work on the problem of suffering.  For all the efforts of modern writers to explain “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” or “When Bad Things Happen to God’s People,” nothing touches the book of Job for realistically dealing with these questions. No, Job doesn’t give “the answer,” if that is what you want.

In fact, if you are demanding an explanation for the problem of suffering, the lack of justice in it, why the relatively innocent suffer and the obviously wicked get away with it and prosper, Job will probably not satisfy you. Psalm 73 actually addresses those questions more directly, reminding us that the famous quote attributed to William Gladstone and others, “Justice delayed is justice denied,” is not ultimately true. Continue reading “The Gospel of Job”

The Gospel of Nehemiah

Where is the Gospel in the Book of Nehemiah?

A common saying is that the Gospel is “in the Old Testament concealed” and “in the New Testament revealed.” True, the full revelation of the Gospel doesn’t come until Christ, the fulfillment of the Gospel, yet as Jesus showed the Emmaus Road travelers,  it is clear in the Hebrew Scriptures. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.  Luke 24:27 In the case of Nehemiah, it is not as explicit as in Exodus or Leviticus, yet underlying Gospel themes are evident.

Continue reading “The Gospel of Nehemiah”

The Gospel of Ezra

God’s Rescue Plan for the World – That is my description of the unified story line of the Bible, brought to fulfillment in the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of Jesus, with the end result being the perfection of the new heaven(s) and the new earth Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1; the home of righteousness 2 Peter 3:13. 

The story of the Bible from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20 is the rescue plan – promised and illustrated throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and fulfilled in the New Testament.  Genesis 1, 2, the account of creation with Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden, predate what we call the “fall,” man’s rebellion and consequent alienation from God.  Revelation 21, 22 reveals the rescue completed with “a new heaven and a new earth” now fully experienced. The whole story, all of the stories combined together, is God’s Rescue, the Good News or Gospel.

Last March, when I purposed to resurrect my blog, I started a series, The Gospel in the Old Testament, focusing on the various elements of God’s Rescue. During 2013, I posted on each Old Testament book in order with the title, “The Gospel of Genesis…. Exodus… Leviticus…” and all the way through 2 Chronicles, the first fourteen books of the Bible.  At the outset, I stated that I did not expect to do “The Gospel of…”  for all 39 books, but have since changed my mind.  My intent in 2014, as I read from Ezra through Malachi is to complete this project and give evidence and support for the Gospel in every book of the Bible. So, let’s get started with Ezra.

Where is the Gospel in Ezra?  Continue reading “The Gospel of Ezra”

The Gospel of 2 Chronicles

For man of the year in the 7th Century BC, how about King Manasseh of Judah?

When I started reading 2 Chronicles this time, I expected to highlight one of the good kings of Judah, probably Hezekiah or Josiah, men of faith and obedience, as my example of The Gospel in the Old Testament.  But I contend there is a better choice, King Manasseh.

Manasseh?  If you know anything about King Manasseh, you may remember that he is the worst king in Judah’s history, the greatest blight on the Davidic dynasty.  The son of the good king, Hezekiah, served longer than any other king in Jerusalem, from age 12 to 67, a total of 55 years,

2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33 provide the report. The two accounts agree that Manasseh was the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad, in the same class as Ahab and Jezebel before him, or Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Milosevic, and other modern day killers. Continue reading “The Gospel of 2 Chronicles”

The Gospel of 2 Kings – the Purpose of Miracles

Do you believe in miracles?  More than the testimony of God’s glory witnessed in the vastness and order of the universe, but when God acts outside of the normal structures and constraints that He created.

For those who say we should expect miracles from God every day, I have to disagree.  We see God’s greatness and God’s glory every day if we are paying attention, and some refer to this as miracles, but a miracle by definition, is an act of God outside of that routine.

Great arguments are put forth between the Secessionists, who say miracles ended with the death of the apostles, and Continuationists, who argue that we should experience miracles as much today as any day because God can do anything and will, if we pray right and have faith.  There should be miracles in our day as much as any time in the past. I disagree with both views. Continue reading “The Gospel of 2 Kings – the Purpose of Miracles”

The Gospel of 2 Samuel – The Kingdom that Never Ends

The first book of Samuel ended with the failed kingdom of Saul and his suicide death on Mt. Gilboa to avoid torture by the approaching Philistines.  David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem, who many years before was anointed as king by Samuel as Saul’s successor and shortly after that killed the giant Goliath, had now consolidated his power, defeated Saul’s wannabe successors and was established as king over all Israel in Jerusalem.

It didn’t happen overnight. He was first crowned king of Judah in Hebron; seven years later crowned in Jerusalem as king over all Israel .  A time of relative stability ensued.  The Ark of God was brought to Jerusalem, where it awaited its home in the Temple later built by David’s son, Solomon.

2 Samuel 7 is clearly the pinnacle of David’s kingship. It is in this context that God delivered a remarkable message to David through the prophet, Nathan. After clarifying that David would not build the Temple, God gave this amazing promise to David through Nathan. Continue reading “The Gospel of 2 Samuel – The Kingdom that Never Ends”