Back in the Saddle Again

Friends,
Life can be so crazy and overwhelming sometimes, we know the secret of contentment comes from God alone through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Holy and Appointed One of God. Philippians 4:13 reveals that secret, “I”, Paul says, “can do all things through Him (Jesus) who gives me strength.”
I am praying for strength right now, going through the holidays, working both my full-time job, part-time substitute teaching, both volunteer ministry and occasional pulpit supply preaching plus of course, famil; in the meantime, neglecting to post and write.
I apologize once again for my negligence.
Getting back on the ball, so please like, share, follow, recommend on Facebook  and godswordislife.com
God’s Word is Life and we can have peace and contentment through Him who gives us strength!
Thanks!

You Cannot Serve Both God and Theology

Excellent and balanced article. Knowing God better and loving him more. So often, knowledge gets stuck in our heads but never travels to our hearts.

I have known people that could quote chapter and verse, talk about relationship, prayer, and grace; and yet miss the heart of God… Then, others who couldn’t even quote John 3:16, yet had a more profound faith and understanding of mercy, grace, forgiveness and love, than one with a PhD in Theology.

God promised to write his Word on our hearts, not just on the pages we can read.

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/247944-cannot-serve-god-theology.html

Quick Update

First, an apology, I have not been posting much for the last couple months nor writing much, for those who are following God’s Word Is Life, I’m sorry. Just really busy with work and family.
Second, I promise to get back on the ball sharing encouragement, perspective, and biblical truth regarding life and recovery.
Third, a request. Please like, share, follow, and recommend both the Facebook page and the website godswordislife.com
Let’s get the message of renewal, hope, joy, and contentment to the world through the mercy and grace offered to us ALL through a relationship with our Creator Father through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Thank you all for your support!

The Best Defense 05/26/19

Sermon delivered at Second Church of God, Decatur on 5/26/19.

Part four in the series, On Mission, On Purpose: Carry the Message.

Answering the questions of:

How was the canon assembled?

How can we believe a book written over 2,000 years ago is the divinely inspired Word of God and authoritative for our lives today?

10 evidences for the authenticity and authority of the Word of God.

See also the attached article by Charlie Campbell, 10 Evidences for the Bible.

10 evidences

 

The Basics of Bible Study

The Basics of Bible Study

By

Joe Hooten

 

The Bible was not written to be a complicated book. It is meant to be a basic guidebook written from God to man, to guide man back to God. It is the story of God’s glory. We should address it as such. It is God’s Word, divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and written by men carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). It is not written to confuse us. It is written to help us understand.

 

There are many methods different people have touted over the years to study the Bible. We want to use the OICA method (Observation, Interpretation, Correlation, Application method) when we are studying the Scriptures. This means in an inductive Bible study, we should be looking into the text to pull out what God wants us to know. To do so, we use a literal, grammatical, historical method of interpreting the Bible.

 

We want to first Observe the text, what does it actually say? We should always exegete, pull out of the text the meaning; never eisegete, read into the text what we want it to say. As we observe the text, not everyone is going to study the text in the original languages, but there are many good Bible study tools that can be used to help get to the intent of the writer.

 

When using a literal, grammatical, historical method of observation, we must be diligent in our study. To study the text literally means: we first take the text for what it says. We are not looking for hidden allegorical or symbolic meanings in the words on the page. What does it say? Whether in our language or the original language, what does it say? If it says, one thousand years (Rev. 20:1-6), our first assumption should be that the author meant one thousand years and nothing else.

 

Grammatical observation means we look at what the text actually says in light of how the grammar is being used.Grammatically, how were the words used in the original language? We must follow the same rules of grammar in our interpretation. So far, this is kind of stating the obvious, as it should be…

 

Historically, how were the words that the writer used being used in other contexts?

 

In addition, we may want to dive deeper in our observation of the text. Are there textual variants we can study? Are there specific words we want to study? Why did the authors use the words that they did to express the thoughts they are trying to get across? Remember, the people writing the Bible were being verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit in the text that they were writing and all of what they wrote was God-breathed, the words are important.

 

After we have thoroughly observed the text, we will then work on our Interpretation of what the text means. I do not care what the text means to you! That is not what we are studying the Bible for… All I care about is, what did the authors mean when they wrote to their audience? What did their audience understand the text to mean? That is the meaning we should be taking out of the text. Again, it is what the Scripture says that should drive how we understand what it means. All the time, it means exactly what it says!

 

In the Correlation step, we look at what other reliable commentaries and authors say about the text we are studying, we also compare context in this step as well. We read within the grammatical context of the passage. What do the surrounding verses say? What does the chapter say? What about previous and subsequent chapters? What does it say in light of the entire book? Scripture never contradicts Scripture, so how does the passage you are studying mix with the rest of the Bible? Historically, the writers of Scripture lived in a different time, and faced different challenges. So, we must study in the historical context of when the passage was written. Was it a time of war? Peace? Slavery? Conquest? Reform? These things all play into what was written and why. So, when doing an inductive Bible study, we must ask all these questions. If our interpretation says one thing and reliable sources say something different, we need to check our steps and see if we went wrong somewhere. One of my professors once said, “If you think you have discovered something completely new about the Scriptures, check your heresy first.”

 

Finally, after all the other steps, we can finally look at Application. However, before we can look at how we can apply the principles we find in a passage (secondary application). We must first ask, how would the original audience have applied this to their lives? Not every passage applies to all people in the same way! Some things were written, for instance, specifically to the nation of Israel during a time of exile… It does not apply to you and me, or even to our country at this time in history. It applied to them and only to them. That is the primary application of the passage.

 

Other things, however, do apply to us today. For example, grace is still grace and sin is still sin. We can still count on our Lord Jesus for salvation and the Holy Spirit to guide us into all the knowledge we need for life and godliness. We are still expected to be holy as He is holy.

 

I hope this little guide helps you get more out of your study of the Scriptures. More important, I hope it helps you to know God better and love him more.

 

Happy studying!

 

Formational Era of the Old Testament

THE FORMATIONAL ERA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

BY

JOE HOOTEN

 

The Formational Era of the Old Testament is time when God is forming the nation of Israel. The Formation of Israel begins in Genesis chapter 12 with the calling of Abram. The story is carried through in the remainder of the book of Genesis, then on through the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Joshua up until the death of Joshua is Joshua chapter 24, covering a time period of about 715 years[1]. The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy augment the story and include Israel’s constitution. In the remainder of this paper, I want to explore what the Scriptures have to teach us about this key time in the history of Israel.

In Genesis Chapter 12, in approximately the year 2090 B.C.[2], God called Abram out of the land of Ur for the second time (Acts 7:2-4 record the first call of Abram) and into the land that God would show him. In Genesis 12:2, God promises to make Abram into a great nation. In order to become a nation, three things are required: land, laws, and people. The remainder of the book of Genesis is the story of how God began making Abram’s family into a great nation. The first step for God was to multiply Abram’s descendants.

Throughout Genesis 12-23, the adventures and misadventures of Abram (renamed Abraham in chapter 17:5) are recorded for us. Hebrews 11:8 tells us that Abraham didn’t know exactly where God was leading him, but in faith, Abraham followed after God. The story begins with Abraham leaving Ur with several family members and traveling to Haran. After several years there and after his after died, Abraham traveled to Canaan, where he confirmed his covenant with the Lord. The records of Abraham’s covenant with the Lord are recorded in Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; and 22:15-18.

In the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham was made several everlasting and unconditional promises by God. Abraham was promised personal blessings from the Lord. He would be made into a great nation, have a huge multitude of descendants, and prosper materially. All of these promises have been literally fulfilled. Abraham was also promised blessings to his descendants through the lines of Isaac and Jacob. These descendants were promised greatness as a nation and a land of their own (the Promised Land, see map below). Not all of this promise has been fulfilled, though as with all of God’s promises, we can trust that they will certainly be fulfilled. The last aspect of the covenant was a blessing made to all the families of the earth. This has been fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16).

After reconfirming his covenant with the Lord, Abraham’s journey continues. He traveled through Canaan and down to Egypt, eventually returning to Canaan. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael (born of the concubine, Hagar), and the child of promise, Isaac, and then other sons with his new wife after his wife, Sarah, passed away. Through Isaac God continued to fulfill his promises to Abraham. Isaac’s story is relatively brief and is contained in chapters 24-26.

Isaac had twin sons, born to his wife, Rebekah, named Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:24). God selected Jacob to be the child through who the covenant promises would be fulfilled. In Genesis 32:28, the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel and blessed him. Twelve sons and one daughter were born to Jacob, they would become the twelve tribes of Israel. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin; and the daughter, Dinah.

The grand story of the Old Testament shifts in Genesis chapter 37 to Jacob’s son, Joseph. Joseph, the spoiled second youngest son, was hated by his ten older brothers. They conspired against Joseph and sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:2). Joseph became a slave in Egypt and eventually became the second ruler in Egypt (Genesis 41:46). When a famine struck all the lands of the Middle East, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. They did not recognize their brother, whether because he was twenty years older now, or because he looked so much like an Egyptian at that point, we don’t know. After messing with his brothers a little bit, Joseph reconciled with them and the entire family of Israel ended up moving down into Egypt.

In Egypt, God continued to work out his plan and fulfill his covenant with Abraham. When the Israelites moved down to Egypt in Genesis 46, there were approximately 75 of them. By Exodus chapter 1, the population of the Israelites had grown into a nation of around 2.5 million people. It was now time for God to continue the fulfillment of his promise to make them into a great nation by moving them out of the land of Egypt and into the Promised Land. He began this process through the man, Moses in the book of Exodus, eventually finishing it through Moses assistant, Joshua in the book of Joshua.

The book of Exodus records how God supernaturally delivered Israel from the bonds of slavery in Egypt and the giving of the law. The story begins with the birth of Moses and his growing up in the palace of Pharaoh. After the murder of an Egyptian, Moses runs away into the wilderness of Midian and lives there for 40 years. Finally, Moses receiveed a call from God (Exodus 3:2-4:23) and instructions to go to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. Moses returned to Egypt and confronts Pharaoh, and eventually after ten supernatural plagues are exacted upon Egypt, the Israelites are allowed to leave. Pharaoh’s heart was then hardened once again against Israel and he pursued them to the Red Sea. There God delivered the people again by parting the sea to allow them to cross and then released the waters upon Pharaoh’s army, killing them.

Exodus 20 begins the record of the giving of the law. God had already fulfilled the first requirement of a nation by multiplying Abraham’s descendants into a nation. Next, the nation needed laws to live by. Through the end of Exodus, the book of Leviticus, and the book of Deuteronomy, God lays out Israel’s 613 commandments, all the laws by which the people were to live.

The book of Numbers carries the story forward as the nation of Israel is forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. God’s plan had been for them to travel straight into the Promised Land after the giving of the law to begin its conquest. However, the people disobeyed God and grumbled against him after 10 of the      12 spies sent into the land brought back a bad report, claiming that Israel could never defeat the inhabitants of the land (Numbers 13-14). The people conspired against Moses and intended to return to the land of Egypt. God punished them for their unbelief and sent them to wander in the wilderness until all of that generation had perished save Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who had believed God and told the rest that they should obey God and move into the land.

At the end of the wandering, Moses passed the mantel of leadership, with God’s blessing, to his assistant, Joshua. Moses died never having set foot in the Promised Land because of his own disobedience toward God (Deuteronomy 34).

Joshua, then, prepared the people to enter the Promised Land and begin its conquest. The book of Joshua was the record of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land and the dividing up of the land among the twelve tribes. However, it should be noted that because of Israel’s disobedience, they never did conquer all the land (see map below) that God promised to them. To this day, that part of the covenant has remained unfulfilled. However, in the coming Kingdom, Israel will have all God has promised them.

At the end of the book of Joshua, and with the death of Joshua, Israel’s formative years were finished.

The Promised Land[3]

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Benware, Paul N. Survey of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1993.

Click to access Promisedlandmap.pdf

[1] Paul N. Benware, Survey of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1993), 23.

[2] Benware, pg. 23.

[3] http://www.godseverlastingcovenant.com/docs/Promisedlandmap.pdf

God’s Covenants with Israel

 

GOD’S COVENANTS WITH ISRAEL

 

BY

JOE HOOTEN

 

 

God’s covenants with the nation of Israel influence the entire story of the Old Testament and impact all of human history. There are a total of eight covenants that are discussed in the Old Testament. However, the first three, the Edenic Covenant, the Adamic Covenant (though there is debate among theologians as to whether these first two are actually covenants or rather laws or commands), and the Noahic Covenant, though they affect Israel, are not made with Israel and therefore will not be discussed in this paper.

There are four Biblical covenants that Lightner references in regard to national Israel; the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3), and classified under the Abrahamic Covenant, are the Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10), the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) and the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34)[1]. To this list, I would add the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 20:1-31:18) as a covenant with national Israel, as does Chafer in his work Major Bible Themes[2]. These five covenants were made with various persons or else the nation of Israel as a whole, yet have had an influence on the entire world. The first four covenants mentioned above are the unconditional covenants. This means that God would honor these covenants regardless of human obedience or interference. The last covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, is a conditional covenant, meaning that should the people involved not hold up their end of the bargain, God is under no obligation to fulfill his promises. It is the five covenants with Israel that will remain the focus of the rest of this paper.

The Abrahamic Covenant is the foundation of the other four covenants made with the nation of Israel. Genesis 12:1-3 lays out the primary details of this covenant. It says,

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (NASB)

 

Within this covenant, there are three major divisions that can be observed. They are the land, the great nation, and the blessings. Various details of this covenant are repeated and expounded upon throughout the book of Genesis (12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-7, 18-21; 17:1-8; 24:34-35).

The promise of land is the first part of the covenant. This area of the covenant is later clarified in the Palestinian Covenant or the Land Covenant, as it is sometimes called (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The second part of the covenant, that Abraham would become a great nation can be broken into three sub-points, for every nation requires three things: land, laws, and people. The land part is detailed out in the Palestinian Covenant referenced above. The laws are detailed out in the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 20:1-31:18). Finally, the people would be the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:16). The promises to national Israel are continued through the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:4-16) where an everlasting kingdom, throne, and heir are promised to Israel through David. Finally, the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33 continues the promises of blessings to the nation of Israel and the whole world.

The Palestinian Covenant affirms that the land of promise (see map below) will ultimately be in the possession of Israel and the nation will receive blessing and safety there. God in his sovereignty and foresight includes provisions for Israel’s penchant for unbelief and disobedience, times of repentance and restoration and the regathering of the nation to the land. It also includes provision for Israel’s spiritual conversion, their ultimate prosperity and divine judgment upon their oppressors. In modern times, it is significant that Israel has been restored as a sovereign nation, because this is necessary for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s prophetic revelation when Christ returns and sets up his kingdom (Ezekiel 39:25-29).

The Mosaic Covenant was given to the children of Israel through Moses and emerges as part of God’s promise to make Israel into a great nation. Every nation needs laws. In this conditional covenant that God made with Israel, he detailed out 613 specific commands that would govern the nation. These laws can be divided into three major divisions: the commandments, the judgments, and the ordinances. The conditions of the covenant were fairly simple. If Israel obeyed, they would be blessed. However, if they were disobedient, God would curse and discipline them. The Mosaic Covenant was broken time and again by the nation of Israel. This may be part of the reason why God intended for the Mosaic Covenant to be a temporary covenant and terminated with the death of Christ and the institution of the New Covenant.

The Davidic Covenant is the unconditional covenant God made with David, the man after God’s own heart. God’s covenant with David promises David an everlasting royal dynasty, an eternal throne on which his heir would sit, and an unending kingdom over which his heir would rule. The Abrahamic Covenant is also perpetuated through the Davidic Covenant because it promises a kingdom to rule over (land and people) and through Christ, as the eternal Son of God and Son of David, an eternal blessing is guaranteed.

The New Covenant is the most important of all to not only the nation of Israel but to the world. Jeremiah 31:31-34 details out the New Covenant for Israel:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (NASB)

 

This is the covenant prophesied in the Old Testament and will have its ultimate fulfillment in the millennial kingdom. The passage anticipates the ideal circumstances that will exist in the millennial kingdom where Christ will reign on the planet and all will know him.

The New Covenant is also a subset of the Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abraham that all the families of the Earth would be blessed because of him. The New covenant is the universal blessing that God promised presented in the form of his son, Jesus Christ.

Chafer says, “Actually the New Covenant, whether for Israel or for the church, stems from the death of Christ and His shed blood.”[3] Upon the grounds of his son’s sacrifice, God guarantees to work out his purposes and this can be seen in two aspects. First, that he will save, preserve, and present in heaven conformed to the image of his son, all who have believed in Christ. Second, the future salvation of Israel is promised under this unconditional New Covenant. This salvation of Israel is also based on the shed blood of Christ.

The New Covenant is also the reason the Mosaic Covenant is a temporary covenant. The law was fulfilled with Christ and therefore the covenant is no longer in force. Galatians 3 explains that the law was in place to demonstrate to mankind that they cannot fit the bill alone. It also proves that, since it came after the covenant was made, it really has nothing to do with the former covenant. The redeeming work of Christ at the cross was necessary to save man.

Robert Lightner says this of the New Covenant, “Most important of all, the New Covenant assures those to whom it was given of a new heart. God’s law will be written in the hearts of the people. Their iniquity will be removed, and their sin will be remembered no more. The Holy Spirit of God will teach the people and will find their hearts obedient and responsive.”[4]

Lightner goes on to point out that there is some debate in theological circles just who the New Covenant was made with. Some hold the view that this covenant was made with Israel and is still to be fulfilled in the millennium. Those that hold this view are typically premillennial, dispensationalists. Those who hold to a literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of the Scriptures agree that the covenants of the Old Testament, including the New Covenant, are made with Israel, not the church. On the other side of the coin, are the amillennialists and postmillennialists. They typically believe that this covenant, unlike all the others, is made with “spiritual Israel”, that is the church. They also believe in a replacement theology, where the church has adopted all of Israel’s blessings from the Old Testament. Yet, oddly enough, the church doesn’t adopt any of the curses that go along with those blessings.

The covenants of the Old Testament are a key to understanding the entire story of not only the Old Testament but also the New Testament. God made a covenant with Abraham that has affected all of human history. He promised Abraham land, a nation, and blessings. That land is the area of the Middle East we refer to as Israel and Palestine and at least parts of several neighboring nations today (see map below). That nation is the nation of Israel. And those blessings can be realized by all of us as the person of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Benware, Paul N. Survey of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1993.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry Major Bible Themes. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House,

1974.

Click to access Promisedlandmap.pdf

Lightner, Robert P. Handbook of Evangelical Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

1995.

[1] Robert P. Lightner, Handbook of Evangelical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. 1995), 258-264.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974), 144.

[3]Chafer, 147.

[4]Lightner, 261.

[5] http://www.godseverlastingcovenant.com/docs/Promisedlandmap.pdf

Rev. 20:1-6 An Exegetical Study

AN EXEGETICAL STUDY OF REVELATION 20:1-6

 

AN EXEGETICAL PAPER

 

BY

JOE HOOTEN

 

 

Revelation 20:1-6

Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.

Rev 20:2  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Rev 20:3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Rev 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

 

Section #1. Preliminary Passage Overview

  1. Variants
Verse NASB NET NLT KJV
vs 1 abyss abyss bottomless pit bottomless pit
vs 1 great chain huge chain heavy chain great chain
vs 2 serpent of old ancient serpent that old serpent that old serpent
vs 3 shut it and sealed it locked and sealed it shut and locked shut him up and set a seal upon him
vs 3 would not could not could not should…no more
vs 3 were completed were finished were finished should be fulfilled
vs 3 must be released must be released would be released again must be loosed
vs 4 and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them
vs 4 because of the word of God because of the word of God for proclaiming the word of God. for the word of God
vs 4 had not received refused to receive nor accepted neither had received
vs 5 come to life…were completed. come to life…were finished come back to life…had ended lived not again…were finished.
vs 6 the one who has a part the one who takes part those who share in is he that hath part

 

  1. Summary

The passage states that an angel will bind and seal away Satan for one thousand years. During this time Satan will no longer be able to deceive the nations nor us as individuals. The passage tells us that at the end of the thousand years that Satan will be released again for a short time. Those who were beheaded for their testimony in Christ and the Word of God will be resurrected and will be given the authority to judge. This is the first resurrection and we are told the second death will not be in effect for them. They are given the right to reign during this thousand years because they refused to worship neither the antichrist nor his image; they also refused to receive his mark upon their neither foreheads nor hands. The passage tells us that the rest of the dead are not resurrected until the thousand years are completed. The passage also tells us that Christ himself will reign over the earth for one thousand years and that those who have been resurrected will be his priests.

  1. Theological implications

This passage is a key passage forecasting the millennial reign and kingdom of Christ. It is also a key passage on the resurrection of the dead. It addresses the doctrine of Christology in that it predicts the millennial reign of Christ on earth. The passage also deals with the doctrine of angelology where it speaks of an angel binding Satan and sealing him away from the world. Anthropology is also present in this passage predicting the future of men after their resurrection. Theology proper is also in this passage because the resurrected dead will be priests of God. Bibliology is mentioned in the passage because it speaks of those beheaded for the word of God. Of course, being predictive prophecy and speaking of things yet to come makes this a passage of eschatology.

  1. Presuppositions

The biggest doctrinal presupposition I have in this passage is I believe in predictive prophecy. I believe that the Bible is God’s word and entirely accurate and reliable in all to which it speaks. I believe that the passage speaks of a literal thousand year period of time. I believe that Christ will return to the earth in physical form and reign over the earth. I believe in a literal resurrection of the dead and that there is more to death than nothingness and that everyone will spend eternity either with God or apart from God. I believe in the existence of a real Satan who deceives people and works against God here on the earth. I also believe in the existence of angels who are the messengers of God and do his good work.

 

Section #2. Background/Context Summary

The apostle John claims to write this book in chapter 1 verse 1. In verse 3, he specifically tells us that this is a work of prophecy. It is written in the form of a letter to the seven churches in the province of Asia (1:4). At the time of the writing of the Revelation, John is exiled on the island of Patmos having been sent there for his testimony in Christ (1:9) most likely by the Roman government.

John was one of Jesus closest friends. He is referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). We know that he and his brother James were among the first to follow Jesus. Jesus gave them the nickname the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). John wrote five books of the New Testament including: the Gospel of John; the letters 1, 2, and 3 John; and the book of the Revelation. John’s story can be found throughout the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the Revelation.

The fact that this is a prophetic letter written to the churches is extremely important when considering how to interpret the book. First, the book being prophecy will most likely have both an immediate and a future application. Second, there is symbolism that must be taken into consideration. Thirdly, this letter had meaning to the contemporaries of John to whom it was written, we should be quick to look for this meaning. It is also important to note that the letter was written by one of Jesus’ closest friends. John would have taken great care to communicate Jesus’ message clearly out of respect for his dear friend, reverence for his God, and knowing that it would hold particular importance to those who read it. We should be careful not to look too deeply for some kind of hidden meaning within the book of the Revelation and within this passage.

 

Section #3. Outline/Structural Summary

Key to structural summary/outline: Rev. 1:19 “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”

  1. What You Have Seen (the past): Rev. 1:1 – Rev. 1:20, Rev. 22:6-21
    1. The Glorified Christ: Rev. 1:12 – Rev. 1:16
    2. The Seven Stars: Rev. 1:12 and Rev. 1:20
    3. The Seven Lamp stands: Rev. 1:16 and Rev. 1:20
    4. Jesus’ Final Words to Believers: Rev. 22:6-21
  2. Things Which Are (the present): Rev. 2:1 – Rev.3:22
    1. Letter to the Church at Ephesus: Rev. 2:1-7
    2. Letter to the Church at Smyrna: Rev. 2:8-11
    3. Letter to the Church at Pergamum: Rev. 2:12-17
    4. Letter to the Church at Thyatira: Rev. 2:18-29
    5. Letter to the Church at Sardis: Rev. 3:1-6
    6. Letter to the Church at Philadelphia: Rev. 3:7-13
    7. Letter to the Church at Laodicea: Rev. 3:8-22
  3. Things Which Will Take Place After These Things (the future): Rev. 4:1 – Rev. 22:5
    1. In Heaven
  1. Worship: Rev. 4:1 – Rev. 5:14
  2. Behind the Scenes: Rev. 7:9-17, Rev. 10, Rev. 19:1-10
    1. On Earth
  1. The Seals: Rev. 6:1-17, Rev. 8:1-5
  2. The 144,000: Rev. 7:1-8, Rev. 14:1-5
  3. The Trumpets: Rev. 8:6 – Rev. 9:21, Rev. 11:15-19
  4. The Two Witnesses: Rev. 11:1-14
  5. The Announcement of Judgment: Rev. 14:6-13
  6. The Bowls: Rev. 15:1 – Rev. 16:21
  7. Satan At Work On the Earth: 12:1 – Rev 13:18, Rev. 17:1 – Rev.18:24
  8. The Second Coming: Rev. 14:14-20
  9. Satan Bound/Millennial Reign of Christ: Rev. 20:1-6
    1. Final Judgment
  1. Man: Rev. 20:5-6, Rev. 20:11-15
  2. Satan and His Crew: Rev. 19:11-21, Rev. 20:7-10
    1. New Heavens/Earth/Jerusalem: Rev. 21:1 – Rev. 22:5

 

Six times in seven verses John tells us that there will be a thousand year period. Five of those six are within this passage. There must be some importance and significance to this reiteration and that should be considered during the interpretation of this passage. The passage’s placement within the book of the Revelation could also hold some bearing to the interpretation of the passage. It is wedged between the defeat of the antichrist and his armies and the final defeat of Satan. Then, the eternal abode that God has in store for his people is created. This passage offers the fulfillment of the prophecies predicting Christ’s reign as king on the earth.

 

Section #4. Grammatical Summary

In this section, I will be exploring the grammatical keys that make up this passage. First off, there are several historical/cultural references with which the readers of the passage should be familiar.

  1. “angel”
  2. “the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan”
  3. “I saw thrones”
  4. “testimony of Jesus”
  5. “the word of God”
  6. “the first resurrection”
  7. “the second death”
  8. “priests of God and of Christ”

This passage, being a work of prophecy, must also be handled carefully as we look for figurative language. John is describing for us as best he can what he saw. There are a few things he describes that we should look at as figurative or should we look upon them as the only way John could put into words what he was witnessing or they could be taken entirely literally.

  1. ”an angel coming down from heaven”
  2. “holding the key to the abyss and a great chain”
  3. “laid hold of the dragon…and bound him”
  4. “threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him”
  5. “thrones, and they that sat on them”
  6. “the souls of  those who had been beheaded”
  7. And repeatedly, “thousand years”

There are also several key phrases used in this passage that I have not already pointed out among the historical/cultural references and the figurative language.

  1. “would not deceive the nations any longer”
  2. twice, “until the thousand years were completed
  3. “judgment was given to them”
  4. “those who had not worshiped the beast or his image”
  5. “had not received the mark…”
  6. “came to life” and “come to life”
  7. “will reign” and “reigned”

All of these references and how God leads us to handle the “figurative” language in this passage will have a profound impact on the interpretation of this passage. Within a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, this passage should be taken literally as to its meaning and context, even though it has figurative and poetic language within it.

 

Section #5. Lexical Summary

            Within the passage there are many key words at which we should look.

  1. “angel”
  2. “abyss”
  3. “dragon”
  4. “deceive”
  5. “nations”
  6. five times, “years”
  7. “judgment”
  8. “testimony”
  9. two times, “reign” or “reigned”
  10. two times, “resurrection”
  11. death

The one word that I would like to take a closer look at is the word “years”. This one word appears five times in these six verses. What does the word mean?  In English, a year means a period of 365 or 366 days, in the Gregorian calendar, divided into 12 calendar months, a period of approximately the same length in other calendars,  a full round of the seasons.[1]  The Hebrew calendar is made up of twelve months, 360 days, which is what John would have known.

The word in Greek that John used was etos. The word simply meant a year. The word is apparently a primary word, meaning it has its root in the Greek and no where else. It is a neuter noun.[2]  Robertson’s Word Pictures tells us that etos is an accusative of extent of time as used in this context.[3]

The word years is used in the NASB New Testament 55 times. John used the word himself a total of 9 times. Six of those times are found in the book of the Revelation, all within Rev. 20:1-7. The other three times are in the Gospel of John, John 2:20, 5:5, and 8:57. In John’s gospel, the word is used to describe a person’s age two times and the number of years it took to build the temple in the third instance. John had a firm command of the meaning of a year. He also used other measures of time in writing the Revelation. He speaks of months in chapter 11 verse 2 and days in chapter 11 verse 3 and days again in a couple of other places. John gives us no indication whatever that he is not speaking of literal days, months, and years, quite the opposite. So when we read this passage, we should accept that John is describing a literal thousand year period and not look for some other meaning that stretches our understanding of the meaning of a year into something that John never intended that it be.

 

Section #6. Biblical Context Summary

            The theme of the Revelation is the future of the human race. It contains within it Christ’s final instructions to believers on how to relate to him in the best way possible. Then it contains a dynamic vision of the future that he holds for us and the rest of the world. The Revelation is a book of hope, justice, and above all, demonstrates the glory and power of God almighty. The letter also tells us that its purpose is to be a blessing to those who read it. Chapter 1 verse 3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!”

Immediately before we come to chapter 20, chapter 19 verses 11-21, Christ returns to the earth in power and glory. He destroys all those that stand to oppose him. The armies of the world that are gathered against him are slaughtered. He captures the beast and the false prophet and casts them into the lake of fire.

Then, starting in verse 7 of chapter 20, the devil is allowed to deceive the people of the world once more. The devil gathers together a new army that stands to oppose God. Fire comes down from heaven and consumes the gathering armies. The devil is then thrown into the same lake of fire occupied by the beast and the false prophet. There they stay for eternity.

In the end of chapter 20, verses 11-15, the dead are judged before the great white throne. Those whose names are not found within the Book of Life are judged according to their deeds and then thrown into the lake of fire, which constitutes the second death. The final two chapters of the book of the Revelation describe the eternal abode God sets up for those who have believed in Christ.

Chapter 20 verses 1-6 are an aside between the end of the old world ruled by evil and the final judgment to come and the eternal residence created for us by God. The power of God is demonstrated as Satan is bound and powerless. We see the hope of the resurrection we are promised in Christ fulfilled. We are given an opportunity to see a world ruled by Christ in perfect justice in fulfillment of God’s promises of a literal kingdom on earth where Christ sits as king. This passage is a preview of the eternal promises of God fulfilled.

 


Section #7. Theological Context Summary

            There are many theological principles contained within this small passage of Scripture. The doctrines of Theology proper, Christology, angelology, anthropology, and eschatology are all represented in this passage.

It says that the souls were beheaded for the word of God (vs 4). These same souls were beheaded for their testimony in Christ. That along with the reign of Christ mentioned in verse 4 and verse 6 and that they (those taking part in the first resurrection) will be priest of Christ (verse 6) make this a passage of Christology. We can look at Mark 13:13 for one of our principles, persecution for belief in Christ. Another principle here is that Christ will return to rule over the earth.

Theology proper is mentioned in verse 6, saying that they will be priests of God. The principle being that those represented in the first resurrection will be members of a royal priesthood as also mentioned in 1 Peter 2:9.

This is a passage of anthropology also. Man is represented in several ways. The nations no longer being deceived are made up of men (verse 3), those sitting upon the thrones are the souls of men (verse 4), these men were resurrected (verses 4, 5, and 6), and became priests (verse 6). The principles here are several. Men are deceived by Satan. Those martyred will have a special place as judges and rulers in the new kingdom to come. And, man has his hope in his resurrection in Christ. Men will be the priests of God and Christ in the kingdom to come.

Angelology is strongly represented in verses 1, 2, and 3. An angel comes down, binds Satan (who is also a part of angelology), and allows him to deceive the nations no more for a thousand years. One principle is that Satan is only allowed to work on earth as long as God allows him. Also, God’s angel is more powerful that Satan. Lastly, Satan is a deceiver. The passage says that the souls were beheaded for the word of God and their testimony in Christ (vs 4). So, another theological principle is that Satan has always tried to destroy those who follow God and will continue to do so in the future. This principle can also be categorized under eschatology.

Finally, eschatology is clearly represented in this passage. The reason being, that the entire passage, as with most of the Revelation, has to do with things to come in the last days. The predictive prophecy of the millennial reign of Christ is the focus of this passage of Scripture. The principle being that God is the author of history and knows not only what was and is, but also what will be.

The context of the Revelation is the future of man, most of the book is predictive prophecy of the things to come in the end times (eschatology). Angels play a key part in the unfolding of what is to come in the end times (angelology). The end of Satan and his minions comes about during the end times (angelology). Most of what we know about God is contained with the pages of God’s word (Bibliology) and the Revelation is the final chapter in God’s plan for man’s eternal destiny (Theology proper and anthropology). The central character in God’s story is his son Jesus the Christ (Christology).

 

Section #8. Correlation Summary

I reviewed five commentaries while researching Revelation 20:1-6.

  • Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation by Charles Ryrie[4]
  • The Book of the Revelation by Lehman Strauss[5]
  • Lectures on the Book of Revelation by H.A. Ironside[6]
  • Commentary on the Bible by Adam Clarke[7]
  • The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck[8]

All the authors that I read with the exception of Clarke used a literal grammatical historical method of interpretation. Adam Clarke seems to use a spiritualized interpretation.

Those using a literal hermeneutic agree with me that the events in the first six verses of chapter 20 of the Revelation should be taken literally. They agree in a literal binding of Satan, though there is disagreement whether a literal chain, spiritual or not, is used in the binding of the Deceiver. I think the passage is speaking of the spiritual type of chains used elsewhere in Scripture for the binding of spirits and angels (Jude 6).

There is question whether or not the angel spoken of in verse one is Christ or a created angel. I think that since Christ has returned to the earth at this point (19:11-16) and since I could find no where in the New Testament I was satisfied Christ is referred to as an angel the angel in the passage is probably a created angel.

Most of the authors agree with me that the passage speaks of a literal thousand year period of time. Clarke does not agree however. Clarke believes that the thousand years are a figurative period of time. Most of the authors summarize the postmillennial, premillennial, and amillennial views of when the thousand years take place. Those who believe in the literal thousand years agree, as do I, that this time must come after the second coming of Christ (premillennial).

There is disagreement as to who is included in the first resurrection. The views are widely varied. Clarke doesn’t seem to believe in the first resurrection at all. Other authors disagree as to how many groups are mentioned in verse four. One suggests one group, another two groups, another three separate groups and yet another, a total of four groups. I did not really consider these different views when I made my initial interpretation of the passage. Reading over my own initial interpretation, I assumed only one group within the verse mentioned. However, upon reading these others, I agree with Ryrie, that there are three distinct groups mentioned those on the thrones, those beheaded, and those who refused the mark. I agree, also, with Ironside that the first group, those on the thrones, includes three groups in itself, the Old Testament saints, the New Testament saints, and the tribulation saints.

All the writers agree that the second death is that of eternal punishment. That those who did not believe in God and in Christ will be resurrected to be judged at the end of time and then sentenced to the second death which is separation from God for eternity. I agree with this view.

This concludes my correlation summary. Those who used a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, as I did, were largely in agreement on all major points. However, he who used a non literal hermeneutic was in disagreement on almost every point made in this passage.

 


Section #9. Analysis and Impact

            Revelation 20:1-6 is a passage rich with meaning and promise. These verses are a source of hope and strength for believers in Christ. They provide security and assurance of the rewards to come for all those who choose to live and die for the Word of God and for Jesus. These verses predict a period of time on the Earth when Satan has been bound and no longer has the power to deceive the peoples of the Earth and the saints will reign all over the Earth with Christ as the supreme ruler. This period of time is commonly been referred to as the Millennium. As I interpret this passage, I will be using a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic.

As we look into the passage and pull out the meaning that the Lord has for us here, let us start at the beginning. In the NASB, verses 1-3 read like this:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”

Most English translations, including the KJV[9], NET[10], NKJV[11], and NLT[12], include the words, and or then, to begin verse one. In the Greek, the word kai, Strong’s tells us kai is:

apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.[13]

This suggests that verse one of chapter 20 is the continuation of the progression starting in chapter 19. In chapter 19, the Lord has returned to Earth in the form of the rider on the white horse (vss 11-16). He has conquered the beast-the antichrist, the false prophet, and all the armies of the Earth that stood against him (vss 20-21). This progression supports the premillennialist view that Christ will return to Earth prior to the start of the Millennial kingdom.  The other two views, postmillennialism and amillennialism, require the use of a non-literal hermeneutic. Postmillennialism states that Christ will not return to the earth until after the end of the Millennium. The amillennialist view denies the existence of a literal Millennial kingdom.  I believe that this passage specifically teaches us that Christ will return before the Millennial kingdom begins.

As verse one continues, we are told that John sees an angel descending from heaven. There is debate whether this angel is our Lord Jesus or a created angel. Since Christ has already returned to the Earth at this point, having returned in verses 11-16 of chapter 19, and I could find no where in the New Testament where Christ is referred to as an angel[14], this must be a created angel.

The angel is holding in his hands the key to the Abyss and a great chain. This chain which will soon be used to bind Satan could be a literal spiritual chain. In Jude 6, chains are used to bind evil angels. This chain is referred to as a great chain, a great chain to bind the great dragon (Rev. 12:3, 9).

Whether this is a literal chain, as I believe that context supports, or a figurative chain, in verse two, it is used to bind the devil, that serpent of old, Satan. He is bound and sealed away in the abyss. Satan is only allowed to work on the Earth as long as God permits it. The Lord’s angel is more powerful than the greatest source of evil the world has ever known. As believers, we can take strength and comfort in the fact that God and his angels are stronger than the devil and his minions. This means that, as in the book of Job and is stated in Romans 8:28, the things that we go through are allowed by God, and work for our own good according to his purpose.

The end of verse two, and verses three, four, five, and six, all refer to a thousand years. This is where the term millennium stems from. The word millennium is actually Latin[15], and though it actually occurs nowhere in Scripture, simply means a thousand years. The Apostle John, writer of the book of Revelation, used the Greek term, chilioi etos, simply put, a thousand years. The question becomes did the apostle mean a literal thousand years or is this some figurative number. Throughout the book of Revelation, John has used literal amounts of time. In his Gospel, he also used literal years to describe peoples’ ages in a couple places. He has spoken of days (Rev. 11:3, 11), months (Rev. 9:5, 10; 11:2; 13:5), and now in this passage years. There is no reason to suggest that John has used some figurative or spiritualized amount of time here. As believers, we can look forward to a thousand years while Satan has been bound and has no power over us.

Now, in verse three, we are told that Satan has been sealed in the abyss. It is said that he will be able to deceive the nations no longer until the thousand years are completed, and then he will be released again for a short time. The fact is that the devil is a deceiver. He twists the minds of people to make them doubt and turn against God. He is our enemy and is given this title throughout the Scriptures. He is also the enemy of God. However, he only has power so long as God allows it. He is still under the dominion of God as we all are. Though he is a deceiver, we can find solace in that God will only allow him to deceive the nations for so long. And then the Earth will experience a time when man will no longer be deceived and no longer has an excuse for his behavior other than his own desires.

The next section of this passage is one that is full of promise for those who have believed upon Christ. It reads:

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4-6 NASB)

 

This passage, like the one before it, begins with that same word kai. It is the continuation of a progression. Immediately after the capture of Satan, John saw these things yet to come.

He saw those sitting upon the thrones. This word, for us today, brings to mind a king. However, in John’s time, this throne would have signified a seat upon which a potentate or governor would have sat, one who could judge over the affairs of those beneath them[16]. Someone with authority, yet with a role of deference to someone higher up as well, in this case, we find out that those sitting upon these thrones is governors under Jesus as sovereign king. Those sitting upon these thrones are quite probably the believers of the ages (19:7-8, 14, 19; cf. 2:26-28; 3:12, 21). This would be those of us today who believe in Christ, one of our rewards for faithful service.  Verse 4 of chapter four says that there are twenty-four elders sitting upon thrones. It could also be these to whom John is referring.

John also saw those who had been martyred for their testimony in Christ and for their belief in the Word of God. And, those who had refused to take the mark of the beast on their foreheads and hands. Satan, as long as he is allowed power on the Earth, will always persecute those who believe in God. Compare verse 4 to Mark 13:13, we will be hated for our allegiance to Him.

All these are said to be brought back to life[17] and reign with Christ for the thousand years. This will be a time of great peace upon the Earth, the time spoken of when the Earth will be returned to a state much akin to the Garden of Eden. A time long forecast by prophets and promised by God (see, Ps. 110:3; Isa. 2:1-4; 11; 19:23-25; 35; 65:17-25; Jer. 23:5; Ezek. 40-48; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:23-27; Amos 9:11-15; Mic. 4:1-4; Zech. 14:3-12; Matt. 19:28; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:6; Rom. 11:26-27, among many others).

We are told that this is the first resurrection. This is understood to be a physical, bodily resurrection. Those who take place in it will be blessed and made priests of God and of Christ. This resurrection is the promise made to all those who believe in Christ, who persevere in their faith. Our belief in the resurrection is the hope we have in our salvation through Christ Jesus. Those who do not believe we are told do not get to take part in this resurrection and do not get to enjoy the benefits of living in paradise on Earth. Their resurrection is reserved for a later time (Rev. 20:12-15), they will suffer the second death (v. 14), the eternal separation from God that we are told that those who believe in Christ will never experience for the second death has no power over them.

Those reading this letter, John’s contemporaries, would have taken away hope from this passage. They believed because of it, that Christ would return soon. They believed they would have justice for their mistreatment at the hands of their persecutors. They would have seen this passage as the fulfillment of all the Messianic promises of God. This passage, says John Walvoord, are more crucial than any others in the Bible to the interpretation of the Scriptures as a whole.[18]  For those of us today, we can take away this same hope. Whether Christ returns in our lifetimes or in 2000 more years, we have the promise of his return. We have the promise of a kingdom in which Christ is Lord of all. Where we will suffer no more persecution, entertain no more doubts, be deceived no longer.

Studying this passage has given me a richer appreciation for the Word of God. It has given me a deeper understanding of the promises to come. It has given me even more hope and renewed my fervor that Christ will return. This passage has demonstrated to me once again the wonder of the Scriptures. The amazing power God demonstrates to us in the prophetic words that both have already been fulfilled and those yet to be fulfilled. How awesome is the Lord?  Indescribable. How wonderful are his words? Indescribable. How deserving of our love and respect?  Indescribable. I pray that these words serve as a meager offering of my love and devotion to the God of all, the Lord most high. May the beauty of the Word of God saturate your heart and mind.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Constable, Thomas L. Notes on Revelation. http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/revelation.pdf. 2010. (Accessed: March 2, 2011).

 

Ironside, H.A. Lectures on the Book of Revelation Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1930.

 

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Ryrie, Charles C. Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996.

 

Strauss, Lehman. The Book of the Revelation. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965.

 

Strong, James. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries. 1890. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Etos”.  “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. 1999. (accessed: February 06, 2011).

 

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Walvoord, John F. “The Theological Significance of Revelation 20:1-6.” In Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, pp. 227-38. Edited by Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

 

years. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/years (accessed: February 06, 2011).

 

 

[1] years. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/years (accessed: February 06, 2011).

[2] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Etos”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon“. . 1999.

[3] Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[4] Charles C. Ryrie, Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 131-133.

[5] Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965), 329-337.

[6] H.A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1930), 333-342.

[7] Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[8] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[9] King James Version

[10] New English Translation

[11] New King James Version

[12] New Living Translation

[13] James Strong, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, 1890, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[14] Some people believe that the strong angel of Revelation chapter 10 is Christ. I do not agree with this view.

[15] from New Latin, from Latin mille  thousand + annus  year

[16] Strauss, 334.

[17] This resurrection must be differentiated from the rapture and resurrection of the saints in 1 Cor. 15:51-52 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17. Those of the rapture return with Christ at the second coming (Rev. 19:14) after having taken part in the marriage supper of the Lamb.

[18] John F. Walvoord, “The Theological Significance of Revelation 20:1-6,” in Essays in Honor of J.

Dwight Pentecost, p. 227.

The Final Days of Jesus Christ

​TYNDALE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AND BIBLICAL INSTITUTE

THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST

A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT

SUBMITTED TO COURSEWORK@TYNDALE.EDU

SURVEY OF NEW TESTAMENT BIBL3302
BY

JOE HOOTEN
SOUTH BEND, IN 
MAY 20, 2012
THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST

My goal is to briefly recount and address the final week of Christ’s life on Earth. In order to do so I will be referring frequently to the chart below. 

The final days of Jesus Christ on Earth were the culmination of everything he came to the planet to accomplish. Knowing what was to come it is my impression that everything he did during this week had certain significance above and beyond the rest of his actions and teachings. While everything he did that was recorded for us in Scripture certainly had significance and his words and actions should be heeded, this week in particular, is supremely important. I believe the gospel writers must have felt something similar. Approximately 25% of the gospels are dedicated to this final week of Christ’s life. This leads me to the conclusion that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John must have seen significance in this time period beyond the ordinary. 

Some traditions hold the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem as being on Sunday and the day of the crucifixion on Thursday. The reasons for this are many and varied. Most of the conjecture comes down to tradition that was passed down in the early church and written into the dogma of Catholicism. However, after reading and rereading the gospel accounts, I agree with Daniel Goepfrich and others that the entry into Jerusalem had to have been on Monday. The reason for this is actually a reversal of the traditional line of thought. If Christ was crucified on “the day of preparation” for the high Sabbath, then that would have been Friday before 6pm. The reason for this is that the Sabbath begins on Friday at 6pm and ends on Saturday at 6pm. Therefore, Christ had to have been buried by 6pm on Friday evening or the Jews would have been violating the Sabbath in order to bury Christ. If the crucifixion was on Friday and not Thursday, working back through the gospel accounts the entry into Jerusalem had to be on Monday. Otherwise, with the entry on Sunday, there is a day missing in the gospel accounts of Christ’s final week, namely Wednesday. If the gospel writers dedicated so much time into giving an account of Jesus’s final days, why would they all leave out an entire day? I do not believe that they would! Instead, I believe that some of our traditions may be wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. 

Our record of Christ’s final days begins on Sunday, March 29th, A.D. 33. This is the day that Christ our Lord healed a couple blind men in Jericho. He had a meal with a man named Zacchaeus. He told the parable of the ten minas. In the parable, the nobleman gave ten of his slaves ten minas each (Luke 19:13). The first made sound investments and his ten minas earned him ten more, he was rewarded and made ruler over ten cities. The second also made good investments and his ten minas earned him five more, he was rewarded and made ruler over five cities. Another slave did nothing with his mina. He hid it and kept it safe. This one had his mina taken from him and given to the first slave. What I have always wondered when reading this parable is what happened to the other seven slaves and the minas given to them? Scripture does not tell us.

On the same day, later that evening, Jesus had dinner in Bethany. It was at this time that Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed his feet with expensive aromatic oil, Judas states that it was worth three hundred silver coins (John 12:5). John tells us in chapter 12 verse 1 that this was six days before the Passover. Another reason why I am saying the triumphal entry happened on Monday, this anointing marked Jesus before his entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion. 

The next day, John tells us (12:12), March 30th, A.D. 33, all four gospels record Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and just like it was written in Zechariah 9:9, the Lord rode into the city on the back of a donkey (John 12:15). Luke 19:47, 21:37; Mark 11:11; Matthew 21:14-16 each give us a small glimpse into what Jesus was doing each day he spent in Jerusalem and then where he spent the night in Bethany at the Mount of Olives. He spent his time teaching and healing in the temple courts telling parables and preparing his disciples for what was to come.

Tuesday, the 31st, on his way into the city, early in the morning, Jesus went to the fig tree looking for fruit. When he found none, he cursed the tree causing it to wither and die. I have often wondered why Jesus was looking for figs there, when we are told in Mark 11:13 that it was not the season for figs. Jesus cleansed the temple for the second time. And again, he spent his time teaching and healing in the Temple courts. And again, he spent the night in Bethany.

Wednesday, April 1st, A.D. 33, is the day Jesus did a large amount the teaching recorded for us during this week. He answered the question of his authority, he told several parables, he answered the Pharisees’ questions on taxes and the greatest commandment, the Sadducees’ questions on marriage and resurrection. He himself asked and answered the question of Messiah’s identity. He also issued his woes and warnings, pointed out the widow’s offering, and gave the Olivet discourse. It was also on this day that Judas the betrayer met with the chief priests for the first time. And again, Jesus spent the night in Bethany.

Thursday, the 2nd, is the day that the Last Supper was held. Recorded for us in the gospels that day is the preparation for the meal. The meal itself along with Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet is also recorded. The New Covenant was announced at this time. Then, after the meal, Jesus gives the Upper Room and Garden discourse. And, Jesus prayer is the Garden is recorded in all four gospels. Late Thursday evening Jesus is betrayed and arrested.
Overnight, Jesus stands trial before the Sanhedrin. Judas meets with the chief priests again and later commits suicide. Early Friday morning, Jesus’ accusers drag Pilate out of bed and Jesus appears before him. A short time later, Jesus appears before Herod and is beat and mocked for the first time. Then, he is taken before Pilate once again. Pilate offers the people their choice, Jesus or Barabbas, Barabbas is released and Pilate washes his hands of Jesus. It is at this time that the scourging began. Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion, was likely tame compared to the true scourging that Jesus took as punishment for our sins. I shudder to think of what my Savior went through on his way to the cross to pay for my sins.

It was then Friday, April 3rd, A.D. 33, between 9 am and 3 pm that our Lord was crucified. It was one of the most brutal forms of execution that mankind has ever come up with. As he hung on the cross, the gospels record for us the final words of Jesus Christ. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34) Said as a plea to God on the behalf of those crucifying him. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”(Luke 23:43) Said to the believing criminal on the cross next to him. “Woman, look, here is your son!”(John 19:26) Said to his mother, Mary. “Look, here is your mother!”(John 19:27) Said to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”(Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) His desperate cry to God as the sun went dark. “I am thirsty.”(John 19:28) “It is finished.”(John 19:30) “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”(Luke 23:46) Said as Jesus voluntarily laid down his life for the sake of all humanity.

Then, sometime between the hours of 3pm and 6pm, Jesus’ body is prepared for burial and he is laid in the tomb, just in time for the Sabbath to begin at 6pm Friday evening. Saturday, the tomb is sealed and guarded by the Romans at the request of the Sanhedrin.

Sunday, April 5th, A.D. 33, sometime before the break of day, Jesus was resurrected! Praise the Lord! He is risen! 

PASSION WEEK

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Late Th/Early Fri
Friday, 6:00am-6:00pm

Saturday
Sunday
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Benware, Paul N. Survey of the New Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1990. 

Cone, Christopher The Promises of God. Ft. Worth, TX: Exegetica Publishing & Biblical

Resources, 2005.

Goepfrich, Daniel Passion Week. Unpublished class notes, 2012.