Starting the New Year out right… with God!


In Rembrandt’s rendition of the Prodigal Son, the son returns home and receives forgiveness and reconciliation back into his father’s family.


What is being alluded to in the above picture illustrates exactly what is in the heart of God towards this lost world, who are the offspring of God, whom He loves with an everlasting love; which includes all of us who are created in God’s image and after His likeness, and who are also of the seed of Adam.

What I am about to explain here (according to what the Bible says), is without a doubt the most important message that we will ever hear, in our lifetime; and the decision we each make based on our understanding of this message, will in fact determine where we spend eternity.

The choice (according to the account of the Bible), is either we follow God’s road map and plan for reconciliation, offered through the message of the Gospel and our faith in Yeshua (Jesus), or we are destined to continue this estrangement and separation from God for all eternity!

What we find in the Tanakh (the Old Testament, but also including the New Testament) is but a love letter where God tells the long history behind the story of ALL He has had to do, from the beginning, since the advent of original sin, in order to reconcile His lost family back unto Himself.

Here is where it all started:

As you saw in the above video, God gave a commandment to Adam (and mind you this was before Eve was created), which was in fact a test of Adam’s faithfulness and his willingness to have faith in (meaning to trust) God, with all his heart, soul and strength, to obey and follow God, by following God’s instructions.

Genesis 2:8-17

Life in God’s Garden
8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.

The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel;[a] it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

It is my belief that the reason why God did this in this way, was because He did not want His children to be like little mechanical tomattons (robots), who had no choice, and that’s why He gave man free will; because He wanted a people who would of their own volition and free will choose to follow their Creator—God by faith, out of love, and not out of compulsion.

It was Saint Augustine, I believe, who once said that It was impossible to know God and not love Him, and it was equally impossible for one to love God and not want to serve Him.”

The problem started when our original parents (Adam and Eve) were led astray, and disobeyed God’s command.

As it happened, the Serpent (the Devil) approached Eve, and then tempted her to disobeyed God’s command to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This was the beginning of man’s separation and estrangement from God, that has continued until the present day; but as we read further in the Bible we also learn that God in His foreknowledge already knew that this would happen, and had already made provision for our sin of disobedience, and had established a way home, that we can be reconciled back into relationship and back into His family; and that would happen through the Seed of the Woman, as the Bible puts it:

Genesis 3:4-15

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent:
” Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.

15
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;

He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

But as you know, women don’t have seeds, they have eggs, and the word “Seed” is given in the singular, and not the plural; so we can know from this that God is talking about a specific Seed.

What Seed is God talking about and what is the importance of that Seed?

This Seed of which God is speaking of here, that He said would be born of a virgin is obviously something unusual, that would be a sign to all, that would happen sometime in the future; and this sign would be God’s remedy for man’s estrangement from heaven, in that a virgin would give birth to the Messiah, and as promised in Genesis that Seed of the woman (the Messiah) would crush Satan’s head.

Our entire calendar is established around the advent of this glorious event, of Messiah coming into the world, with B.C. meaning “Before Christ,” and A.D. (Anno Domini) meaning “in the year of the Lord.”

However owed to a misunderstanding and mistake in the Gregorian calender, it was first believed that Christ was born in 4 B.C.; but later it was determined that He was born in 2 B.C.

What year was Yeshua born?

The year of Jesus’ birth is broadly accepted as 4 BC, primarily from erroneous conclusions derived from Josephus’ recording of an eclipse, assumed to be on March 13, 4 BC, “shortly before Herod died.”

There are a number of problems with this in addition to the fact that it was more likely the eclipse occurred on December 29, 1 B.C.

Considerable time elapsed between Jesus’ birth and Herod’s death since the family fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s edict and they didn’t return until after Herod’s death.

Furthermore, Herod died on January 14, 1 BC. Tertullian (born about 160 AD) stated that Augustus began to rule 41 years before the birth of Jesus and died 15 years after that event.

Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD, placing Jesus’ birth at 2 BC.

Tertullian also notes that Jesus was born 28 years after the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, which is consistent with a date of 2 BC.

Irenaeus, born about a century after Jesus, also notes that the Lord was born in the 41st year of the reign of Augustus. Since Augustus began his reign in the autumn of 43 BC, this also appears to substantiate the birth in 2 BC.

Eusebius (264-340 AD), the “Father of Church History,” ascribes it to the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus and the 28th from the subjection of Egypt on the death of Anthony and Cleopatra.

The 42nd year of Augustus ran from the autumn of 2 BC to the autumn of 1 BC. The subjugation of Egypt into the Roman Empire occurred in the autumn of 30 BC.

The 28th year extended from the autumn of 3 BC to the autumn of 2 BC. The only date that would meet both of these constraints would be the autumn of 2 BC.

Another approach in determining the date of Jesus’ birth is from information about John the Baptist.

Elisabeth, John’s mother, was a cousin of Mary and the wife of a priest named Zacharias who was of the “course” of Abijah (Priests were divided into 24 courses and each course officiated in the Temple for one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath).

When the Temple was destroyed by Titus on August 5, 70 AD, the first course of priests had just taken office. Since the course of Abijah was the eighth course, we can track backwards and determine that Zacharias would have ended his duties on July 13, 3 BC.

If the birth of John took place 280 days later, it would have been on April 19-20, 2 BC (precisely on Passover of that year).

John began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. The minimum age for the ministry was 30. As Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD, that was the accession year for Tiberius.

If John was born on April 19-20, 2 BC, his 30th birthday would have been April 19-20, 29 AD, or the 15th year of Tiberius.

This seems to confirm the 2 BC date and, since John was five months older, this also confirms the autumn birth date for Jesus.

http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2005/1008/print/

Also it is the view of many Bible scholars, as I pointed out on a previous blog, that Yeshua was most certainly not born on December 25th; and for an explanation of why that view is taken, as well as a history behind the December 25th date, I am including the following video:

Well back to my original subject, what I am attempting to do here is explain from the Bible, from the beginning (as we read in the book of Genesis), first how the separation between God and man began; and then show God’s only remedy for this problem, which is through faith in Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus—Saviour, the Christ—Messiah or Anointed One).

Upon study of the Scriptures, it becomes apparent that God has given to Adam and to his descendants what amounts to a six thousand year lease in the earth, starting with the creation of Adam and concluding just before Christ returns to set up His Kingdom in the earth (in Jerusalem) and there to rein for a thousand years (a period called in the Bible the millennium); and it is the period just before this millennial rein of Christ in the earth begins that concludes Adam’s lease, where he and his descendants were to rule and exercise dominion in the earth.

We also learn from Scripture that the Serpent (the Devil, who is Satan) usurped that dominion for himself, in the earth for a time, when he tempted Eve in the garden, and subsequently through Eve Adam was also lead in this rebellion against God’s authority, when they both partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

On a side note we are told in the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:14) that Adam was not deceived in what happened; and as I have already pointed out (above) when the command was given by God not to eat of that one certain fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Eve wasn’t even created yet.

So obviously Eve’s misunderstanding of what the commandment said, in that she had added to it and said they were not allowed to eat from it or touch it (which was not in the commandment) was most likely owed to the fact that Adam had not properly instructed her.

The reason I believe for Adam’s acquiescence in partaking of the forbidden fruit, along with his wife, was because of his great love for Eve, and him not wanting to face a future without her.

Likewise, in contrast, that is also Messiah’s motivation (and also the Father’s) for redeeming us and providing a path of reconciliation for all who would accept, by faith, Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

Just as is pointed out in John 3:16:

The Bible makes it clear that what sends people to an eternity without God is NOT their sins, for ALL of us have sinned and have missed God’s standards and have broken His laws; and the Bible even says if we have broken the least of them, we have broken them all.

There is only one SIN (singular) that sends men and women to an eternity without God, and it’s not our sins (plural); but it is only one SIN that does this, and it is the sin of unbelief, in refusing to accept by faith the forgiveness offered to us for all our trespasses and sins through Yeshua’s death and sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.

In a nutshell this is the Gospel’s message and it is our ONLY road home:

Romans 5

1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Adam and Christ Contrasted

12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.

14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did.

Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.

16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the message of the Gospel, and what we do with it, what we do with Yeshua, who is the Christ—Messiah, will determine where we each will spend eternity?

By receiving Yeshua’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross by faith, for our sins, the penalty that God promised of death (meaning spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God) was paid in full; because He (Yeshua) who knew no sin became sin in our place, in order that His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross would fulfill the requirement of the law, setting all free who put their faith in Him… and the Gospel message is as simple as that!

The Bible tell us that by our placing our trust and faith in the propitious work of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus, the Christ — meaning Messiah) on Calvary’s cross, His righteousness is then imputed to us, and our debt to God is marked paid in full.

Just the same as the High Priest, all throughout the Tanakh, and particularly in the Books of Moses, offered up the blood of animal sacrifices, which only provided a temporary coverning for the High Priest’s sins, and also for the people for only a year; and so it had to be repeated every year, on Yon Kipper (the Day of Atonement).

All of that was to lead the covenant children of God, who followed under the Abrahamic Covenant, to their Messiah; whose sacrifice would end the need for animal sacrifices forever.

For more information on how to be included in God’s reconciled family, please see the following video:


I want to make it clear that as the Bible says it NOT God’s will that any man or woman go out into eternity unsaved, without a Saviour!

The Bible says that the wages of sin (which is unbelief and refusal of salvation offered through the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, offered ONLY through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Bible also says that there is ONLY one name under heaven whereby man can be saved, and that is through Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ); and it is my hope and prayer for everyone who is reading this, that if you haven’t already done so, that you too will make Jesus Lord and Saviour of your life, because I want to see you heaven!!!

Shalom,

Skip Barland

Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

One thought on “Starting the New Year out right… with God!”

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