Grace Bible Church of Rolling Meadows

Highlights in John


Presented by Steve Walker

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Highlights in John

The Disciples Pt. 3

Jan 05, 2023

God's Eye View

We finished up getting our “God's Eye View” of who Jesus really is. We have been through the Prologue, the testimony of John the Baptist and the testimony of the disciples. As God answered Jacob's prayer for salvation some 2,000 years before by sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm His promises to the Fathers of Israel (Gen. 32), so too here in the earthly ministry of Christ God answers the prayer of the Believing Remnant for salvation by likewise sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm and partially fulfill God's promises to Israel's fathers (Lk. 1-2; Rom. 15:8). Once we have a this “God's Eye View” of who Jesus is, we can go on to watch what happens when Jesus--the eternal Word (Jn. 1:1), the Creator of all things (1:3), the Life and Light of men (1:4), the only-begotten Son of God (1:14, 18, 34, 49), the Messiah/Christ (1:17, 41), the Prophet like unto Moses (1:21, 30), the I AM Jehovah God of Israel (1:23), the Lamb of God (1:29, 36), the One who baptizes with the Spirit (1:33), the Fulfiller of all that Moses and the Prophets wrote about (1:45), the King of Israel (1:49), and the Son of Man (1:51)--interacts with ordinary everyday people engaged in ordinary everyday activities, beginning in John 2 with Jesus' Mother, Mary and the changing of the water into wine.

Throughout this message we also pointed out what we lose today when we confuse God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel with His Mystery Program for the Body of Christ.

Highlights in John

The Pattern For Jesus's Encounters

Jan 12, 2023

One thing anyone who reads the Gospel of John notices is that Jesus' responses don't always seem to correlate with the comments or questions characters say or ask in the story. The Jewish leaders in the Temple, for instance, ask Jesus for a sign, and He starts talking about destroying the Temple and raising it in three days (Jn. 2:14-20). Huh? Nicodemus comes talking about how good Jesus is, and Jesus responds with you must be born again (Jn. 3:3). Huh? The Samaritan woman is all concerned about natural well water, and Jesus talks about living spiritual water and how many husbands she has had (Jn. 4:9-14). Huh? The nobleman asks for his son to be healed, and Jesus responds by crying out: Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (Jn. 4:47-48). Huh, Huh?

Sometimes we have to just scratch our heads and wonder about what is really going on, and that's ok. That is exactly what the text is trying to get us to do. Rather than getting frustrated, we need to get inquisitive. To help with this problem, John gave us the master pattern that explains how Jesus interacts with others in John 1 where Jesus interacted with Peter and especially Nathaniel. Jesus didn't just “see” outward appearances. He “saw” the inner being of the person. He “saw” into Simon and knew who he was and who he would become and renamed him Cephas, Peter (Jn. 1:42). Jesus' encounter with Nathaniel begins with Nathaniel asking a rather ordinary everyday question: Can anything good come out of Nazareth (Jn. 1:46)? But Jesus sweeps that aside and ignores it, and instead “sees” into the core of Nathaniel's being, identifying him as an Israelite indeed a member of true Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 1:47). But that is not all. He also “saw” what Nathaniel was doing in the past under the Fig Tree (Jn. 1:48) and what he would be doing in his future ministry (Jn. 1:50-51).

So, here we have a pattern, that will help us better understand Jesus' responses when He encounters people. Jesus “sees” not only the person's past and future but also into the very core of their being. Therefore, Jesus won't be forced to respond directly to the external ordinary everyday concerns of people. Rather, He will respond to their deepest, most longed for needs and desires of their hearts and souls and spirits—concerns, desires, needs that they themselves may not even know they have.

Take Jesus' interaction with Mary, His Mother, at a wedding feast in Cana. Here we are at an ordinary everyday wedding feast in Israel (Jn. 2:1-11). Mary makes the rather mundane comment that the wine has run out. Seems plain, simple and ordinary enough. Then Jesus responds pointedly with: Woman, what have I to do with thee? And then rather mysteriously: My hour has not yet come (Jn. 2:4). This is a great first example because unlike other characters in the Gospel of John, WE ACTUALLY KNOW what is in Mary's mind, soul, spirit and heart!

We know from Luke 1:26-35 that Mary's MIND was concerned with the words of the angel Gabriel, who explained to her about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Her Son would be named Jesus, Jehovah Our (Israel's) Salvation, the fulfiller of all God's promises to Israel. He is the Son of the Highest, the Son of God. He is the One to whom God has given the everlasting throne of David to reign in Israel and through Israel the world in the everlasting earthly Kingdom of peace, prosperity and joy. Mary, we are told, thought diligently about these things in her MIND!

And we know from Luke 2:46-55 what was in Mary's SOUL and SPIRIT. Her soul magnified the Lord and her Spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because God had blessed her. Through her son Jesus, God would deliver Israel, destroying all enemies and delivering them into the long-prophesied Kingdom to receive His everlasting mercy in fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. Mary, we are told, filled her SOUL and SPIRIT with these things!

Finally, we know from Luke 2:8-19 and 2:46-51 what Mary held most deeply and dearly in her HEART. Mary's son would be the Davidic Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah/Christ Deliverer, the LORD God of Israel, who will work on her behalf to establish the earthly Kingdom of righteousness, peace and prosperity, which would become good news and great joy to the whole world. Mary, we are told, kept thinking about these things and pondered them deeply in her HEART!

With all this in mind we can return to John 2 with some fresh insight. With this information, we can “see” into Mary the way Jesus “saw” into Mary. Like Jesus, we actually know what she cherished in her MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT and HEART! And with this insight, we recognize that while it appeared that Jesus was refusing Mary's comment, He was, in fact, just responding to it on a whole different level, a higher plane. Rather than limiting His response to her outer, ordinary, everyday concern—they ran out of wine--He plunged down to the inner, deepest and dearest concerns of her HEART and SOUL!. He didn't just address her ordinary concern about wedding wine. He displayed the glory of God and gave her a foretaste of the overflowing, super-abundant joy of Kingdom blessings that will come to her and Israel at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth!

Now, as we come to additional encounters in John, we have a “leg up on the horse” in understanding them. Even if we don't know other characters deepest and most longed for and dearly held thoughts, concerns, needs and desires, we know that Jesus does.

Highlights in John


Jan 19, 2023

If the purpose of the “signs” John includes were written that believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name (Jn. 20:31), then it would probably be a good idea to have an idea of what those “signs” are right up front in our study (Jn. 2:11).

Using three basic criteria:

  1. Something performed by Jesus in His public ministry;
  2. Something that is identified as a “sign” in the text; and
  3. Something that displays the Glory of God in Christ;

We end up with 6 signs that virtually everyone agrees upon:

  1. Water to Wine (Jn. 2:1-11; identified as a sign in 2:11)
  2. Healing of the Nobleman's Son (Jn. 4:46-54; identified as a sign in 4:54)
  3. Healing of the Lame Man (5:1-15; identified as a sign in 7:21-31)
  4. Feeding of the Multitude (6:1-15; identified as a sign in 6:26)
  5. Healing of the Man Born Blind (Jn. 9:1-10; identified as a sign in 9:16)
  6. Raising of Lazarus (Jn. 11; identified as a sign in 11:47 and 12:18)

If we don't limit ourselves strictly to these criteria, other possible “signs” in John are:

  1. Cleansing of the Temple (Jn. 2:13-23; Meets criteria #1 and #3 and might include criterion #2 as well if we take into consideration Jn. 2:18 in comparison with Jn. 6:30 for a potential pattern (also Jn. 2:23). Of course, this would be a “sign” not in the sense of a miraculous display of supernatural power (miracle) but in the sense of a prophetic sign (ex. Is. 20:3; Ezek. 4:3).
  2. Walking on the Water (Jn. 6:15-21; Meets criteria #1 and #3 but the text does not identify it as a sign, therefore, failing criterion #2).
  3. Death and Resurrection of Christ (Jn. 19-20; Meets criterion #3 but probably fails criterion #1 (although that depends on how one takes “something performed by Jesus in His public ministry”). As far as criterion #2 it be identified as a “sign” indirectly in Jn. 2:18-23 and is actually called a “sign” in Mat. 12:38-40.
  4. The Surplus of Fishes (Jn. 21:6-8; Meets criterion #3 but probably not criteria #1 or #2).

Highlights in John

The Two Heart Extremes in Israel

Feb 09, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we saw that John gives us right up front in Jn. 2 an understanding of the two extremes of what's in the hearts of Israel in Jesus's day. At one end of the spectrum, we have Mary, who represents the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 2:1-12). What Mary treasured in her heart was generally what the Believing Remnant of Israel treasured in its heart, and we know what Mary is treasuring in her heart because Lk. 1-2 tells us. She was treasuring in her heart all the promises God made to her about her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He would be the fulfiller of all the promises God made to Israel. He would be Israel's Redeemer and Deliverer. Her Son would save Israel from all its enemies. He would be the one to establish Israel in her long-prophesied Kingdom on earth. And He would be the source of the righteousness, peace and prosperity that would reign in the Kingdom. In short, Mary longed for God to fulfill all His promises to Israel THROUGH HER SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, was the group of Israel's religious leaders, who represented the unbelieving apostate Nation of Israel. We know what was in their heart (as a group) as well because passages like Mat. 3:7-9, 15:3, 23:27-33; Lk. 7:30, 11:39; Jn. 8:37-44 tell us. They were a generation of vipers, the spiritual progeny of the devil, who were corrupt on the inside with unrepentant hearts while thinking everything was okay just because they were the natural progeny of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob. They thought that they automatically were in a right relationship with God. They thought they were automatically excused from God's wrath. They thought that they would automatically see and enter the Kingdom with privileged positions of rulership. No wonder that in the verses that follow, Jesus tells a representative of this group (Nicodemus) that they all needed to be born again (Jn. 3:3)! In short, the religious leaders as a group (not necessarily every single individual) longed for God to fulfill His promises to Israel, not through Mary's Son but THROUGH THEM!

Every character Jesus encounters in the rest of John's Gospel will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Jesus will try to encourage and strengthen the former (come to Mary's Son) and correct and alleviate the latter (leave the Vain Religious System).

Highlights in John


Mar 02, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we used the Passover context of Jn. 2 (Jn. 2:13 and 2:23) to start a short overview of God's Prophetic Calendar for the Nation of Israel. Israel's Feast days gave believing Israelites an opportunity to annually partake in a display (prophetic sign act) that showed how God will accomplish Israel's NATIONAL salvation in the future. We noted that it is important to understand that Israel's Prophetic Calendar pictured Israel's NATIONAL salvation and NATIONAL forgiveness of sins before Christ at His 2nd Coming—Israel's NATIONAL restoration. If we don't appreciate this and think they picture individual personal spiritual salvation, justification before God and His Tribunal, we might erroneously conclude that Old Testament saints were individually/personally saved before God by Faith PLUS Works. But that would be a very great error. Salvation before God--justification unto eternal life, a right-standing before God—ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS IS AND AWAYS WILL BE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, believing God's Word to them. Abraham believed God and God counted His faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6--WITHOUT WORKS!). Then once Abraham was personally saved and all his individual sins forgiven and in a right-standing before God, God could go on and do other things for Abraham and ask Abraham to do things for Him, giving him opportunities to participate in His Prophetic Program with Israel. While participating in these things (like the Abrahamic Cov., circumcision, offering his son Isaac, etc.) had no bearing on his personal individual justification before God unto eternal life, they could have a bearing on how he participated in Israel's national salvation before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into Israel's Millennial Kingdom on earth and having a privileged place there.


When we overview Israel's ancient history, one remarkable thing of note is how rarely Israel actually observed the Passover. We tend to think that they observed the Passover every year (religiously), like they were supposed to. But let's look at the biblical record.

Of course, the Passover was given and fully observed when Israel was in Egypt—blood smeared on the door's cross-posts and all (Ex. 12). Then it was again the next year at Sinai in the wilderness in tents (Num. 9:1-5). Then, it was NOT observed again for some 40 years when they entered the Promised Land under Joshua, again in the wilderness in tents (Josh. 5:10-11). The latter two observances, however, didn't have cross-posts (they carried tents), and they probably didn't have enough lambs (there were 2 to 3 million Israelites). Therefore, these observances, as complete as they were, were not carried out exactly as they were in Egypt.

Then, the Passover was not observed again for some 300 years later during the “revival” under David and Solomon. While not stated explicitly, David and Solomon most likely observed the Passover at the establishment of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem and in the new Temple (see below for further explanation).

Then it isn't mentioned again in the Scriptures until Hezekiah's “revival” some 300 years later! Only in this case, it is not observed properly because it had to be observed in the 2nd month rather than the 1st month of the year. While Moses did give an exception whereby “certain men,” who for various reasons were unable to keep the Passover in the prescribed 1st month, could observe it in the 2nd month (Num. 9:6-7—ie., handling a dead body, travelling, etc.), it must be admitted that the intent of the exception was for individual people not the WHOLE NATION! So, even though Hezekiah observed it with the nation, it is not really done properly because the whole nation wasn't ready.

Then it isn't mentioned again in the Scriptures until Josiah's “revival” some 100 years later with these words: And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah (2 Kgs. 23:21-22). That's shocking! This passage sums up Israel's whole embarrassing Passover history and supports what we have said so far. According to this passage, the Passover was not held (at least properly) throughout all the days of the Judges (from Joshua to David)! Nor was it observed in all the days of the kings of Israel (from Solomon to that time with Josiah)! In between the days of the Judges and the days of the Kings, reside the golden reigns of David and Solomon when most likely the Passover was kept. Another interesting note of this passage, is that Josiah did not consider Hezekiah's observance of the Passover as countable, probably for the reasons mentioned above. Unfortunately for Josiah, however, it was too little too late. The wrath and judgment the Passover was supposed to protect Israel from was going to come anyway. Josiah's near perfect Passover observance was not enough to steer God's wrath away. Israel would enter the 5th Course of Punishment and be carried into exile by the Babylonians (2 Kgs. 23:26).

Then it is not observed again until the remnant of Israel returns to the land under Ezra's “revival” when the Temple is restored (Ezra 6:21-22). During the next 400 years Israel will develop into the pharisaical, Vain Religious System, that is present in Jesus's day. By then, they had stolen the Passover away from the LORD (Ex. 12:11) and made it the Passover of the Jews, degrading it to just another empty ritual in their Vain Religious System (Jn. 2:13). Thus like Hezekiah and Josiah, Jesus's “revival” begins with the cleansing of the Temple (Jn. 2:14-15).

This history of Israel's Passover observance or more properly NON-observance shocks us. How can this be? If it was God's Word to them, why didn't they do it? How could they be so foolish? Well, I will answer those questions by asking other questions. Why has most of historical Christianity totally disregarded God's Word to us today for the last 2,000 years? Why has it for the most part thrown away Pauline Grace Mystery Truth? Why is it that we could go into almost any so called “Christian church” in the world and while finding a whole lot of things going on, very little if any of it actually having anything to do with God and His Word? The answer, of course, is the same for us today as it was for Israel in the past. Just as most of Israel's history was spent in apostasy, so too, most of “Christianity's” history has been spent in apostasy. We are all cut from the same cloth: Sinners with rebellious hearts, who In our idolatry replace God and His Word with man and his traditions, leading to our detriment, loss and destruction.

Fortunately, this can all be alleviated by clinging to God's Truth for today: Pauline Grace Mystery Truth!

Highlights in John

The Leaven Principle

Mar 09, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we continued to look at the first of Israel's annual feasts, and specifically the role of leaven in them. Leaven is often automatically equated with sin. Leaven = Sin/s. But we saw things are not really that simple. When God commanded Israel to remove all leaven from their households, it wasn't so much that He wanted to remove all sin/s from their household (although that is certainly true as well!!) but that He wanted them to remove all reliance on anything associated with Egypt and her gods and idolatries (which, of course, is a form of sin). Where we just go to the symptoms—SIN/S—God, however, goes down to the underlying disease—RELYING AND TRUSTING IN SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD. God wanted them to leave Egypt as unleavened dough (NOT bread) so that He could knead His Own things into them during the trip from Goshen in Egypt to Sinai, teaching them along the way that if they were going to be the great nation he created them to be, they must rely solely on Him and the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name. Removal of leaven had more to do with sanctification/separation than redemption/forgiveness. While Israel's national forgiveness of sins was provided for at the death of Jesus Christ (Passover) it will not be dispensed until the Fall Feasts (Atonement) in fulfillment of the New Covenant at His 2nd Coming with Israel's national forgiveness of sins. In this light, Israel's Spring Festivals progress something like this: The LORD redeemed Israel out of Egypt (Passover through blood and power), which the Israelites were to participate in by sweeping away all reliance upon Egypt, her gods and her idolatries so that they could learn to rely solely on the one true God of Israel (Unleavened Bread) (Ex. 12-13), whereby God would permeate, inflate and raise them up during their trip through the wilderness (bear them along--Ex. 19:4), kneading His Own things into them through testing and trials (Ex. 14-17), so that once they got to Sinai, the nation that started out as the deflated slaves of Egypt would be raised up as God's great nation, who were already beginning to fulfill His purpose by proclaiming His Name to the Gentiles (Firstfruits and Pentecost) (Ex. 18).

The Leaven Principle

Leaven is one of those words that ignites an automatic knee-jerk reaction with many Bible commentators: Leaven = Sin. Period. End of story. It's an established fact of the universe. We know it. Absolutely, 100%! Next topic. But a professor in college once told me that when something becomes so certain that it is beyond discussion, that's probably a good time to re-evaluate everything you think you know about it.

So, let's do just that and see if it increases our understanding and enjoyment of the Bible. Let's run a little thought experiment with regard to the word “leaven,” starting with its literal meaning and common use. According to the Oxford, Merriam-Webster and Collins dictionaries, leaven is defined as a substance that is used in dough to make it rise; then, a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it for the better. We use leaven everyday to raise dough to make bread, for instance. We use the leaven of humor to lighten a boring speech. And it gives us the word levity—Let's add a little levity to the argument.

The Hebrew definition of leaven (se'or) comes from the root word that means “what remains, what is left over; a remnant.” It was used of Noah's family after the flood (Gen. 7:23) and, of the Believing Remnant of Israel (1 Kgs. 19:18; Is. 4:3; et al.). It is something small that has the power to affect something large, permeating the whole thing, causing it to rise up. The most common literal use for this is in breadmaking whereby a small amount of left-over leavened dough is held back and used in a future batch of dough as a raising additive, causing it to rise and when baked produce a loaf of bread.

These meanings converged into the general idea that leaven is something that when added to something else, even in extremely small amounts, gradually and powerfully affects the whole thing. I call this the “leaven Principle.” This principle is neutral on its own and requires something explicit in the context to indicate it is something positive or negative. Take the proverbial saying: A little leaven leavens the whole lump, for instance. On its own with no context it is neutral. It can be either positive or negative. When Paul used this proverb to the Corinthians it was in the context of how one person's sexual immorality affected the whole church (1 Cor. 5:6). Here, of course, the proverb is used negatively but that isn't inherent in the proverb's itself. It is derived from the context in which it is used.

Now, let's get back to the Bible. Commentators almost always insist that the word leaven always carries a negative connotation in the Bible. Leaven = Sin! They are virtually synonyms. Usually, they try to justify this by suggesting that the reason for this is that leaven causes fermentation, and fermentation always corrupts. No doubt, most of the world would be very shocked to hear such a thing. The Middle East and Israel had innumerable treasured and life-giving fermented foods—fermented milk and cheese and vegetables and grains—that saw them through the vagaries of war and weather. It is doubtful that the Nordic nations could have survived without their innumerable cherished, health-giving, life-sustaining fermented foods that have preserved them through long, cold, dark winters. Fermenting food makes them healthier with much longer shelf-lives.

And then there is wine. While bread may ferment a day or two, wine ferments for months and years. Yet God commanded it be used in the Temple Worship service even in offerings God took part in, offerings of fire. So, if leaven is always used negatively in the Bible, it is not because it is fermented and, therefore, causes corruption.

It might be worthwhile to ask if the Bible does always use the word leaven negatively? It is true that God commanded leaven could not be used in some offerings and the Passover (Lev. 2:11; Ex. 12). But it is also true that God commanded it be used in others (Lev. 7:12; Amos 4:5; Pentecost--Lev. 23:17). Yes, Jesus did warn about the negative leaven of the teachings of the Pharisees (Mat. 16:6), but in the same Gospel He also described the Kingdom of God as being like leaven, surely something good (Mat. 13:13). So, perhaps the answer to how the Bible uses the word leaven is not as definitive as commentators suggest.

But setting all that aside, let's concede for the sake of argument that whenever the Bible uses the word “leaven,” it is always with negative connotations. Doing this, we must likewise concede that when God powerfully works, He does positively what leaven does negatively. Let's see how this plays out by reading some passages not just taking note of when the specific word “leaven” is used, but also taking note of when the “leaven principle” (something small added to something big that permeates the whole, powerfully effecting it-) is used.

This is where the thought experiment comes in. Let's look at the Book of Exodus. Exodus opens with a very small Israel (just 70 souls—Ex. 1:5) being added to a very large Egypt (est. 3-5 million Egyptians). Israel was fruitful, AND increased abundantly AND multiplied AND GREW EXCEEDINGLY MIGHTY AND THE LAND WAS FILLED WITH THEM (Ex. 1:7). Does that remind you of anything? Perhaps the “leaven principle?” This grieved Pharoah, and he decided he needed to purge the Israelites out by killing their infant sons. One could say that Pharoah considered the Israelites leaven that needed to be purged out.

With this in mind, doesn't it make you smile to next see God instructing Israel to remove all of Egypt's leaven—all reliance on the Egypt's gods and idolatries—from their households—purge it all out! Oh, the irony's delightful! What Pharaoh wanted to do with the LORD's Israel (purge them out), the LORD's Israel was supposed to do with Pharaoh's Egypt! And the Passover week was given to memorialize their national salvation. They were to purge out all reliance on Egypt and her gods and rely solely on the LORD, the one true God of Israel. Something similar only far greater will happen at Christ's 2nd Coming when He calls the Believing Remnant out from the nations, causing Satan's whole world system to collapse.

But let's keep going in Exodus. While Israel leaves Exodus as unleavened dough (Ex. 12:34), after being with the LORD for a short time (40-50 days), God raised them up as a nation. When they got to Sinai, they were already fulfilling God's plan for them to be the proclaimer of His Name to the Gentiles (Ex. 18:8-12). Here's how the LORD describes what He did with them: He bare them along (lifted them up, raised them, carried them along) on eagles wings, bringing them to Himself (Ex. 19:4). Those who started as slaves in Egypt were raised-up to become the Nation God designed her to be. The “leaven principle” is at work here as well.

But that's not all. A little later in Exodus there is the Golden Calf Incident. In response the LORD said to Moses: Let me alone that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation (Ex. 32:10). God would use little old Moses to raise up a whole new great nation. Once again, we see the “leaven principle.”

What a fun Bible study this makes! Once we start looking for it, we find it everywhere in the Bible. One might go so far to say that this little “leaven principle” permeates the whole Bible (yes, pun intended!). For instance, Jesus said, Verily, Verily, I say unto you: Except a seed of wheat falls into the ground and die, it abides alone. But if it die, it brings forth MUCH fruit (Jn. 12:24). One little buried seed results in a huge harvest of seeds. The “leaven principle.”

Let's look at an example from Paul:

In Rom. 5:12-14, Paul states that it was through one man's one transgression (Adam) that the whole old humanity was permeated and raised-up with sin and death. One commentator even entitles this passage as: The Leaven of Sin. But in the very next verses, Paul states that likewise it was through one man's one act of Righteousness (Jesus Christ and His Cross) that the whole new humanity was permeated and raised-up with righteousness and life (Rom. 5:15-18). If the commentator called the former the Leaven of Sin, why didn't he call the latter the Leaven of Righteousness? No doubt, because he thought leaven = sin and could not be applied to the work of God and Christ. But we do see the “leaven principle” displayed here.

But this passage doesn't stop here. Paul goes on to explain that when the little Law (something good—Rom. 7:12) entered the nation of Israel, it caused the nation to rise-up with abounding iniquities. And then, when iniquities abounded God's Grace super-inflated, massively rose-up and SUPER-ABOUNDED. Once again, the “leaven principle” is seen at work.

In conclusion, perhaps we can say that in the Bible, the negative application of the “leaven principle” refers to those things that permeate a person or group, affecting the whole by powerfully leading them away from God and causing them to rise-up in rebellion against God. The key words here being “iniquity” and “idolatry.” The positive application of the “leaven principle” in the Bible, however, refers to those things that permeate a person or group, affecting the whole by leading them to God and causing them to rise-up in faith and reliance on Him. Perhaps the key word for this is firstfruits, which, by the way, is the feast that occurs after the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread! The Feast of First-Fruits.

Highlights in John

The Correctly Operating Church

Mar 16, 2023

Because many people asked, on Thursday we looked at our Apostle Paul's use of Passover terminology in 1 Cor. 5. If we remember that the Passover was not a sacrifice for sin/s but a sacrifice for separation that removed believing Israel from Satan's outside realm of sin and death, wrath and judgment, and brought them into the Lord's realm of safety and peace; and that it was to be carried out with great haste (Ex. 12:11), we will understand why Paul uses the Passover as an analogy in dealing with the Corinthian problem in 1 Cor. 5. While the man engaged in ongoing sexual immorality was horrible (1 Cor. 5:1), what was even more horrible for Paul was that the Corinthian church hadn't done anything about it yet (1 Cor. 5:2)!

The Correctly Operating Church

We all know that Paul gave complete and lengthy instructions for how assemblies of believers are to operate today in the Dispensation of grace in the Pastoral Epistles. But that is not the only place we find such instructions, and here in 1 Cor. 5:3-5 Paul gives us about the shortest and most concise explanation of a correctly running church possible! Because it is so short, perhaps the best way might be to look at 1 Cor. 5:3-5 all at once like this:

A correctly functioning church begins with recognition and appreciation of the fact that we, as members of the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace, are under Paul's apostolic authority (1 Cor. 5:3). This is important because it is through Paul's distinct apostleship that God is now revealing the Glory of His Name to the world, especially the Gentiles (1 Cor. 5:4a; Rom. 1:5). Then, once we are going to our apostle, the Apostle Paul, and are enjoying all that is true of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in his Scriptures, then he invites us to come together with him as an assembly (1 Cor. 5:4b), which releases the power of Christ in our lives (1 Cor. 5:4c) so that we can be obedient to his authoritative apostolic instructions (5:5), which, in this specific case, meant kicking the man out of the assembly ASAP! Of course, the corollary of this is that if your church is not operating in this way, it is NOT operating correctly!

Highlights in John

The Spectrum of Believing

Mar 23, 2023

On Thursday we continued our look at Jesus's encounters with various people and representatives of people in the Gospel of John. Jn. 2 gives us the spectrum of belief and unbelief that ranges from the unbelieving hearts of the Vain Religious System (VRS) as represented by the Temple leaders in Jn. 2:13-23, who think God is going to fulfill His promises to Israel through them, and goes on to the believing hearts of the Believing Remnant of Israel as represented by Mary in Jn. 2:1-11, who thought God was going to fulfill all His promises to Israel through her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone else we encounter in the Book of John will fall somewhere between these two extremes on their journey of faith or lack thereof.

What is the Spectrum of believing and not believing? Here is a slide that illustrates:

Highlights in John

Jesus and Nicodemus

Apr 06, 2023

On Thursday we continued our look at Jesus's encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus. The discussion opens with Nicodemus claiming “to know” something (Jn. 3:1), but it closes with Jesus saying Nicodemus (as the representative of the religious leaders), you all don't know anything at all (Jn. 1:10)! So, Jesus mercifully plunges to the depths of Nicodemus's truest needs in his inner man, the deepest longings of his heart of hearts, and takes him by the hand, leading him step-by-step through God's whole salvation plan for the Nation of Israel that results in the long-prophesied earthly Kingdom. To do this, John doesn't read Paul into Jesus's words to Nicodemus. He reads the Psalms and Ezekiel into His words to Nicodemus. And that is the way Nicodemus would have understood it as well.

Highlights in John


Apr 20, 2023

We continued our look at Jesus's encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus. Rather than reading Paul into this passage, and personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace, we looked at John's ties to the Old Testament, especially the Book of Ezekiel. When we do that, we get a better understanding of what being “born again” and being “born of water and flesh” mean as we watch Jesus lead Nicodemus step-by-step through Israel's national salvation plan that will bring the nation of Israel into their long-prophesied Kingdom on earth.


When Israel entered the 5th Course of Punishment because of her rebelliousness against God, she went into Gentile captivity, and she died as a nation (Ezek. 33:7-11). Her country was desolate, her cities forsaken, her beloved Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed, and the people carried away into the graves among the Gentiles (Ezek. 36:4). Israel's fall profaned the Name of the Lord among the Gentiles because it caused them to think that their gods were greater and more powerful than Israel's God (Ezek. 36:20-23)! Of course, we know that this isn't true. We know that God was just using Babylon as His tool to chastise the Israelites, and once the 70 years captivity was over, God used the Medo-Persians to destroy the Babylon Empire, which freed the Israelites to return to the land. But their return to the land did not restore the nation. Only a small number of Israelites returned, there were no more Israelite Kings, and the nation remained under Gentile control. By the time Jesus arrived in His earthly ministry some 400 years later, the Nation of Israel was ruled by a Vain Religious System, that was ruled by the Gentile nations, that were ruled by Satan and his devils.

Israel was born the first time when the LORD brought her out of Egypt. But that birth fizzled out because she didn't learn the lesson God tried to teach them in the Exodus: If they are going to be His people, fulfilling His purpose for them, they NEEDED TO RELY SOLELY ON THE LORD TO DO IT FOR THEM! All God wanted them to do is to rely on the Grace Resident In His Jehovah Name by holding up the Rod Of God Of Faith. If they just did that, He would do everything else for them (Ex. 14:13-25). But they didn't learn the lesson. Instead, at Sinai, they decided to do everything themselves through the power of the flesh, and they failed miserably (Ex. 19:8), spending the next 1500 years under the Curses of the Law in the Courses of Punishment (Lev. 26:16-34).

Which brings us to Jesus's encounter with Nicodemus. What Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews (Jn. 3:1) and the hoped for master teacher of Israel (Jn. 3:10) needed to know was that for Israel to be God's “peculiar treasure and holy nation” (Ex. 19:5-6), the nation as a whole needed to be “born again.” They needed a 2nd birth, a 2nd Exodus that would teach them again about the need to rely solely on God's Jehovah Name. This will ultimately take place at Christ's 2nd Coming when they will all do what they should have done at the 1st Exodus: They will fall on the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name (Hos. 14:2), and He will then make them the head of the nations rather than the tail, establishing them in Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom (Deut. 28:13) as a reborn Nation of Israel that honors and sanctifies the Name of the Lord among the Gentiles. This is Israel's National Restoration, Israel's National Salvation.

In John 3, Jesus takes Nicodemus step-by-step through how the Nation of Israel will be “born again” :

  1. Jn. 3:3: In order for someone to “see” (spiritually perceive) the Kingdom (which at that time was embodied in the presence of the King, Jesus Christ), he or she must be “born again.” This gives them the spiritual eyes to “see” the King/Kingdom.
  2. Jn. 3:5: Then, once they “see” the Kingdom, they could “enter” the Kingdom by being brought forth (born) of water and the Spirit by going through Israel's national cleansing program (Jn. 3:5; Ezek. 36:25-27), typified in a foretaste manner with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism in the Gospel Accounts and Peter and the 12's water baptism and Christ's Spirit baptism in early Acts (Jn. 1:25-26, 31-34; 3:22-34; Acts 2-3). These types will ultimately be fulfilled by the LORD Himself at Christ's return when He regathers believing Israel and restores them to the land, sprinkling them with water and giving them the Spirit (Ezek. 36:24-28).
  3. Jn. 3:8: Then God will blow a wind (Spirit) over this “born again” people, raising them up from their Gentile graves, and through a 2nd greater Exodus, bringing them forth out of the Gentile nations. He will gather them together and usher them into the Promised Land, enlivening them with His Spirit thereby giving birth to the “born again” Nation of Israel, God's Own Nation, His conduit of blessing and salvation to the rest of the world (Jn. 3:8; Ezek.37).

That gets us through Jn. 3:10 but there is still one pivotal, all-important piece of information that Jesus needs to give to Nicodemus. HOW is someone “born again” so that they can “see” and “enter” the Kingdom and participate in Israel's national salvation and restoration in the Kingdom? HOW?? Jesus explains that the beginning point of everything is BELIEVING IN GOD AND HIS WORD, WHICH HERE IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (Jn. 3:18). Believing in His Name, trusting in Him, relying on the grace resident in His Jehovah Name now embodied in Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:14; 2:23; 20:31). Faith in God and His Word was the essential ingredient.

This is the very opposite of what the Vain Religious System of Israel was doing. They thought they would “see” and “enter” the Kingdom just because they were the natural progeny of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh (Jn. 8:37-58; Mat. 3:9-12). Jesus, however, says that is not enough. The King (Jesus) was present in Israel, but they didn't “see” Him. John the Baptist came calling the people into Israel's national repentance and cleansing program, but they didn't think they needed it. They thought that as the natural children of Abraham they were automatically qualified to participate in Israel's National Salvation, but Jesus shows Nicodemus that they are not qualified at all. They are excluded. Without believing, they would not participate in Israel's “new birth,” and without the “new birth” they could not participate in Israel's cleansing program. Not only could they not “enter” the Kingdom, they could not even “see” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:36; 9:39; 12:40). By rebelling in unbelief, the only thing they were automatically qualified for was darkness and condemnation, wrath and perishing (Jn. 3:18-21).

Nicodemus should have known all of this, but he didn't. But HE KNOWS IT NOW! Now Nicodemus the Pharisee is equipped with Jesus's teaching needed to go and convert his Pharisee co-workers; who then needed to go and convert the rest of the religious leaders; who then needed to go and convert all Jerusalem; who then needed to go and convert all Judea and Galilee; who then needed to go and convert all Samaria. And then, once all Israel was saved, they needed to take God's salvation out to the whole world. Come on Nicodemus! Get with the program!! THE WHOLE WORLD IS WAITING for you (Jn. 3:16)!!!

Highlights in John


Apr 27, 2023

In His discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus was telling Nicodemus to follow in the footsteps of Abraham.

  1. First, Israel needed to recognize that following in Abraham's footsteps wasn't just being born of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh. A spiritual birth, a spiritual bringing forth was also required.
  2. Second, to follow in the spiritual footsteps of Abraham required them to believe in God and His Word. God gave Abraham Good News. Abraham believed God and God counted his faith for righteousness. Likewise, in the Gospel of John, God was giving the Israelites Good News through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat. 4:23), and upon believing, God would likewise count their faith for righteousness. This is Justification before God and His Tribunal by faith WITHOUT works unto eternal life with all personal and individual sins forgiven--Gen. 15:6. This is what gave Abraham in his day the spiritual eyes to “see” the King and the Kingdom (Jn. 8:56; Heb. 11:10). And this is what will give the Israelites in Jesus's day the spiritual eyes to “see” the King and the Kingdom (Jn. 9:39).
  3. Third, in His Prophetic Program, God then places those He justified by faith without works into the Believing Remnant of Israel, where He gives them opportunities to serve Him. For instance, He gave Abraham the opportunity to participate in a picture of what He would do with His Son on Calvary 2,000 years later by sacrificing his own son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah. Later He gave believing Israel an opportunity to participate in a picture of what Christ would do for them on the Cross 1,500 years later in the Passover ritual. And in Christ's earthly ministry, God gave members of believing Israel an opportunity to participate in a picture of what the Lord Himself is going to do to them when He restores the Nation of Israel. He is going to sprinkle them with water and give them the Spirit, making them into a reborn nation (Ezek. 36:24-29)-. By participating in Israel's national cleansing and repentance program--beginning with John's water baptism and leading to Christ's Spirit baptism--they gave an advance picture of this during Christ's earthly ministry (the Gospel Accounts), the ministry of the 12 (early Acts) and especially during the Tribulation Period, which would enable them to “enter” into the Kingdom. This is Justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming by faith PLUS works whereby, they would participate in Israel's national forgiveness of sins and enjoy a privileged position in the Kingdom.
  4. Finally, once God has transformed His “born again” People (the Believing Remnant) into His “born again” Nation (the Nation of Israel), God's Own “peculiar treasure” and “holy nation,” He will use them as the conduit of His blessings to the whole world, saving it (Jn. 3:16).

Nicodemus should have known all of this, but he didn't. But HE KNOWS IT NOW! Now Nicodemus the Pharisee is equipped with Jesus's teaching needed to go and convert his Pharisee co-workers; who then needed to go and convert the rest of the religious leaders; who then needed to go and convert all Jerusalem; who then needed to go and convert all Judea and Galilee; who then needed to go and convert all Samaria. And then, once all Israel was saved, they needed to take God's salvation out to the whole world. Come on Nicodemus! Get with the program!! THE WHOLE WORLD IS WAITING for you (Jn. 3:16)!!!

Highlights in John


May 04, 2023

Thursday night we are in the familiar passage of Jn. 3. The biggest mistake we can make in this passage is to assume that “seeing” and “entering” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3, 5) is the same thing as saying “getting saved” in the Dispensation of Grace. Rather it refers to how an Israelite in the Nation of Israel can not only “see” the King and the Kingdom with spiritually empowered eyes, but can also “enter” the Kingdom through faithfully being brought forth (born) through Israel's National repentance and cleansing program, beginning with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism in the Gospel Accounts, Peter's water baptism and Christ baptism of the Believing Remnant of Israel in early Acts, continued in the Tribulation Period and fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ at His 2nd Coming. At that time He will gather the scattered Believing Remnant, sprinkling them with clean water that cleanses them from their association with Israel's National debt of sin and giving them the Spirit, who will cause them to obey the Law so that they can receive its blessings rather than its curses, whereby they can be brought into their long-prophesied earthly Kingdom with no chance of failure: A “born again” Nation of Israel, God's Own holy Nation and Kingdom of Priests. The classic example of what Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about is Moses. Moses was allowed to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom but was not allowed to “enter” into it (Num. 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-6).

Israel: Seeing and Entering the Promised Land/Kingdom. (Jn. 3:1‑5)

After the 1st Exodus and after 40 years wondering in the wilderness Israel could be broken down into the following categories:

  1. The bulk of the nation did not “believe on His (Jehovah) Name. Therefore, they did not have spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom and were not allowed to “enter” into the Promised Land/Kingdom. The whole first generation (except Caleb and Joshua) died in the wilderness.
  2. Some of Israel did “believe on His (Jehovah) Name.” Therefore, they were empowered with spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land, but because of lapses in faithfulness were not allowed to “enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom. The classic example of this is Moses, who had the spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom but was not allowed to “enter” it (Deut. 34:1-6).
  3. Two additional Israelites from the first generation, Caleb and Joshua “believed in His Jehovah Name.” Therefore, they not only had the spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 13:2, 18; 14:6-9), they could also “enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 14:21-24, 30).
  4. This failure for the Nation of Israel at their first Exodus/Birth was because they entered into the Law at Sinai relying on the power of their own flesh rather than on the power of the Grace resident in the LORD's Jehovah Name, resulting in falling under the curses of the Law. When Israel is “born again” at Christ's 2nd Coming, they will believe on His Name and will be given the Spirit, who will cause them to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments and do them (Ezek. 36:27), the reverse will be true. They will receive the blessings of the Law rather than the curses, and the Courses of Punishment will be over. At that time, the bulk of the Nation will enter the Kingdom and only a very small number will be excluded.

See a summary chart below:

Exodus/New Birth Motif Israel's 1st Exodus/Birth in Exodus and Numbers 2nd Exodus/Birth in “End Time” Prophecy (Is. 66; Psalms; Ezek.)
Signs and Wonders to believe/trust/rely on His Jehovah Name (Ex. 3-4; Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23) Most of the nation did not believe in His Name, wanted to return to Egypt and decided to do it on their own according to the flesh under the Law, and they died in the wilderness. Most of the nation will not believe in His Name and stay with the VRS according to the flesh and will die outside the Kingdom.
Seeing” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-4a; Jn. 3:3) Those who do believe in His Name are empowered to “see” the Promised Land. Those who do believe in His Name are empowered to “see” the Kingdom.
Entering” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 13:2, 18, 14:6-9; 27:14; Deut. 34:1-6 Jn. 3:5) Those who at certain points faithfully obeyed could “enter” the Promised Land—only Joshua and Caleb of the 1st generation. Everyone else of that generation, including Moses, could not enter the land and died in the wilderness. Only Caleb and Joshua. Those who obey by being brought through (born) Israel's cleansing and repentance program can “enter” the Kingdom. This time, while a few might be excluded but most will “enter” to become the 2nd born again Nation of Israel.
Empowered by the Flesh/Empowered by the Spirit Contrast (Ex. 19; Num. 27:18; Jn. 3:6, 8) They failed for 1500 years, falling under the curses of the Law and the COPs because they entered the Law according to the flesh rather than falling on the grace in His Jeh. Name. The bulk of the Believing Remnant will enter because this time they will fall on the grace in His Name and He will give them the Spirit who will cause them to obey the Law, falling under its blessings rather than curses

Highlights in John

Jesus and Nicodemus: (Pt. 6):
Putting It All Together Pt. 2 (Jn. 3:1‑16)

May 11, 2023

Thursday night we finished looking at Jn. 1:1-16, a well-known passage but unfortunately not a well-understood passage.

The past few weeks we had to spend some time getting up to speed on the Old Testament context for this passage. This passage has nothing to do with personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace, in spite of what most theologians, preachers and even famous sports stars may say. And there is nothing magical and mystical about the numbers 3:16 (that's just pagan superstition cloaked under the name of Christianity). Neither John nor Nicodemus nor anyone else at that time knew anything about God's Mystery Program with the Body of Christ. God and Paul tell us over and over again that what He is doing today through the distinct apostleship of Paul in the Dispensation of Grace had been kept secret since the world began, kept secret that is until the Risen Lord Jesus Christ made it known to Paul through a DIRCET revelation (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:2-4; Gal. 1:11-12).

Before Paul, no one knew about it (Eph. 3:5). In fact, you could get all the supercomputers in the world, put them all together and search for Mystery Truth in all human wisdom, worldly and angelic knowledge and even the non-Pauline Scriptures (the Old Testament, Gospel Accounts and Ministry of the 12) and the result would always be the same: NO MATCHES FOUND. But we needn't bother because God explicitly told us that it was UNSEARCHABLE until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul, who recorded it in the Scriptures (Eph. 3:4, 8; Rom. 16:25-26). And contrary to what most of historic Christianity teaches, it wasn't hid in the Old Testament; it was HID IN GOD from eternity past (Eph. 3:9). While John and Nicodemus might have known something about the Gentile nations being blessed with the Nation of Israel and through her rise in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant, they knew absolutely nothing about the riches of God's Grace being dispensed to the world today, especially to the Gentiles, apart from Israel and through her Fall (Rom. 9-11). So, if we are going to properly understand this passage we must go to the Old Testament, especially the Exodus Account (Exodus 3-19), Israel's Entrance into the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14, 27) the Psalms (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), Isaiah (Is. 66:7-9) and Ezekiel (chapters 37-38). If we do that, we will see Jesus leading Nicodemus and the whole nation, step-by-step, into Israel's national salvation program so that they can not only “see” the long-prophesied earthly Kingdom, but they can “enter” it as well (Jn. 3:3, 5).

Highlights in John

“Seeing” and “Entering” the Kingdom

May 18, 2023

While last time we looked at the Old Testament passages for the background for Jn. 3:1-16, this week we jumped into the future to see how a foretaste of what Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about plays out after the resurrection through the ministry of Peter and the 12 and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

“Seeing” and “Entering” the Kingdom

To not understand what Jesus is trying to teach Nicodemus, we must not go to Paul's Mystery Scriptures but to the non-Pauline Scriptures of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. We can get a good idea of what Jesus means by “seeing” and “entering” the Kingdom, that is, Israel's long-prophesied, literal, physical earthly Kingdom, centered in the Land of Canaan, by what it looked like at Israel's first entrance into the Promised Land (home of the Kingdom) in Numbers and Deuteronomy (Num. 13:2, 18; 14:6-9; 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-4a); then what it looked like at Pentecost after the Death and Resurrection of Christ (Acts 2-5); and finally what it will look like when Christ returns and establishes Israel's Kingdom on Earth (Ezek. 36- 48).

1. Numbers and Deuteronomy: If we just focus on Moses and the 12 spies, we discover a representative sample of the spectrum of the Israelites and their relationship to the Promised Land/Kingdom.

  • Of the 12 spies that went in to scope out the land, 10 of them could not “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom. All they saw were giants and enemies too powerful for them to defeat, danger and destruction at every turn. They did not believe on the I AM Jehovah Name that God gave to them before the Exodus (Ex. 3) and, therefore, didn't fall on the Grace resident in that Name whereby the Lord would do everything they needed for them. Therefore, because of their unbelief, they were not only excluded from “entering” the Land/Kingdom because of unfaithfulness, they couldn't even “see” it because they didn't have spiritual eyes that come from believing in His Name (Num. 13:28-29; 14:29-30).
  • On the other end of the spectrum, we have the 2 spies, Joshua and Caleb, who believed on the Name of the Lord, relying on the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name to do everything for them (Num. 14:6-9). Therefore, they not only had spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom (Num. 14:7), they could also actually “enter” the Land/Kingdom (Num. 14:29-30).
  • Then between these two extremes we find Moses. Moses believed in the Name of the LORD and relied on the Grace resident in His Name (Ex. 14:14‑25), therefore He could “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 27:12-13; Deut. 34:1-4). But because of an act of unfaithfulness (Num. 20:2-13), He was prohibited from “entering” the Promised Land/Kingdom.

This is the same pattern we find in John 2:23-3:5: Step #1: Believe in the Name of the Lord and become the children (born ones) of God by faith without works (Jn. 2:23; 3:15-16). Step #2: This gave them the spiritual eyes they needed to “see” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3). Step #3: Then the Lord invited them to “enter” the Kingdom by being brought through (born of) faithfulness (faith plus works) by going through Israel's National Repentance and Cleansing Program, beginning with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism before His resurrection, and advancing afterwards with Peter's water baptism and Christ's Spirit baptism of the Believing Remnant of Israel at Pentecost in early Acts.

2. Acts 2-5: Here we find a picture of how this all works in a foretaste manner as they await the arrival of the Kingdom in their own lifetimes because according to Daniel's Time Schedule it would arrive about 7-8 years later.

  • Step #1: Peter preached to the Men of Jerusalem, Judea and Israel (Acts 2:14, 22), and they believed God's Word through Peter with regard to who Jesus is, the embodiment of the Name of the Lord, and God counted their faith for righteousness (Acts 2:37). They are justified before God unto eternal life, all personal sins forgiven and eternally secure.
  • Step #2: Those who believed in His Name and were justified before God are then given an opportunity to be justified before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into the Kingdom (Acts 2:37, 41, 44): Repent and be water baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit (2:38).
  • Step #3: Then they were brought into a foretaste of New Covenant and Kingdom Blessings, “entering” into the manifestation of the Kingdom at that time (2:42-47; 4:31-37). But two members of the Believing Remnant, who had been water baptized and participated in the reception of the Spirit, rebelled against Him and were put to physical death. This makes an interesting comparison. Whereas at the 1st Exodus the whole 1st generation of Israel died physically in the wilderness because they tried to do it through the power of the flesh and only 2 people (Joshua and Caleb) were allowed to enter the Promised Land/Kingdom, in Acts 2-5, we find the whole group of believing Israel entering the blessings of the Kingdom because the Lord did it for them through the Spirit (Acts 2:42-47; 4:31-37) and only 2 were excluded from the Kingdom.

Once again, we find the same pattern Jesus describes to Nicodemus in John: Believing in His Name leads to “seeing” the Kingdom through faith alone, which gives longing to “enter” the Kingdom by faithfulness by going through Israel's national cleansing program, which would make them into the “born again” Nation of Israel.

3. Ezek. 36-36

Ezekiel brings all of this together by explaining the end time events that will culminate in the complete fulfillment of all God's promises to Israel, making her His Own holy nation and the source of a Kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6).

  • Ezek. 33: When Israel went into captivity, they died as a nation. At Sinai, they entered the Law declaring “we will do all that you say through the power of our own flesh,” and that decision put them under the Curses of the Law that culminated in the 5th Course of Punishment, their exile from the Promised Land and their subjection to Gentile rule that continued in the days of Jesus's earthly ministry.
  • Ezek. 36:1-23: Step #1: They needed a new beginning that is better than the one in their past. They needed to be enabled this time to sanctify His Name by believing on it and falling on the Grace resident in it, so that this time He could do everything for them, guaranteeing success this time (36:11). This would give them spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom (Ezek. 36:23; 37:20; Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:3).
  • Ezek. 36:24-38: Step #2: Then the LORD will gather believing Israel and sprinkle them with clean water, cleansing them from all association with apostate Israel's national debt of sin. Then He would give them the Holy Spirit, who would cause them to walk according to God's commandments, so that they would never accrue a national debt of sin ever again.
  • Ezek. 40-48: Step #3: The establishment of Israel's Kingdom on Earth for the enjoyment of those who could “see” and “enter” it forevermore.