Matt 1:23                   A New Beginning: God With Us                         7/22/2007      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       A New Beginning for Joseph and Mary (Matt 1:18-25, Luke 2:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       A New Beginning for the Lord Jesus (John 5:30, 10:30, Matt 1:21, Heb 3:11, Mark 14:21, John 8:44, Matt 7:13-14)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       A New Beginning for the People of God (Matt 1:22-23)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4,       A New Beginning for Us (Matt 1:21,23, Rev 19:11-13)

 

                                                            

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 12:2 (2X). After 16 sermons on Gen chapters 4 through 11, last week we arrived at the beginning of God’s ministry to Abram, whom God called out of Ur of the Chaldees. And there in Gen 12 we saw that God introduced the third division of time in history. The first division lasted about 6000 years from Adam to Noah. The second division lasted about 3000 years from Noah till Abram. The third division of time began with Abram in Gen 12 until at the end of Genesis the family of Jacob moved into Egypt. But this was not where the third division of history ended, for this third division of about 2000 years lasted until the end of the OT time period. This entire third division of history served as the preparatory stage for God to include again all the nations of the world, like God has done in the first and in the second division of history. And now in the NT time, which is the fourth division of history, God is again reaching out into all the nations of the world. And thus, in the third division, beginning with Abram, it seems as if God was focusing only on a limited group of people: Abram and his descendants. But that is not so. Let us ask: What was:

The purpose of God was to reach out into all the world with the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But to this end Christ had to be born, and had to be crucified by a nation that had become apostate and had become hostile to Him, and that nation had to be overrun by the Romans who introduced crucifixion, and the principles of His atonement by hanging on a wooden cross had to be laid down in the Law of God, and the Law had to be given through a faithful servant Moses, and to further prepare the stage the whole world had to speak one language: Greek. And thus we see that the entire 2000 years from Gen 12 to the end of Malachi was only a preparatory stage for God’s final program to reach out to all the nations of the world with the Gospel of salvation. Actually the words from God to Abram already indicated this. God said in Gen 12:2-3,

Ge 12:2-3  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:         And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

And how was Abram going to be a blessing to all the families of the earth? We have seen that Abram would not directly be a blessing to all the families of the earth, but only indirectly through the Lord Jesus Christ, who would come forth out of the loins of Abraham. And then we saw that at least 34 times in Genesis God made promises to Abraham and his seed. But we read in Gal 3:16,

Ga 3:16  Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.

And herein we recognize that Abraham would indirectly be a blessing to all the families of the earth, for at least in 28 times in Genesis God is referring to this clarification of Gal 3:16. And thus it means that we must see Christ in all the OT Scriptures. We must look further than the plain historical view of Genesis. To begin with, we must look for the spiritual meaning in all these 28 times, and we must recognize that Christ is spoken of in many more OT Scriptures than we have been accustomed to. This new beginning for Abram and the following 2000 years of preparation lands us in:

#1.       A New Beginning for Joseph and Mary (Matt 1:18-25, Luke 2:5)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 1:18 (2X). In turning to the NT we want to see now if this truth holds that the entire NT was written to show us A New Beginning, thereby indicating a transition from the OT economy of God to the NT economy, and what we are going to see is that God’s focus in the fourth division in history is entirely on the nations, and no longer on the nation that prides itself in being the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And thus, the title for the sermon today is A New Beginning: God With Us (2X).

Mt 1:18 ¶  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Mt 1:19-24  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.              Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,         Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”    Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

Mt 1:25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

What historical events do we see here? What does it mean that Mary was espoused to Joseph? It means that she was promised to be married to Joseph. But before Joseph had any sexual intercourse with her, she was found to be pregnant. He could see the evidence of adultery, which was punishable by death according to the Law of Moses. Joseph was a kind man who did not want to cause the death of Mary. But since Joseph was also a just man he could not let this act of adultery pass by without condemnation. And so he planned to quietly divorce his espoused wife. But the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained to him that this child was conceived by God the Holy Spirit. That was a relief for Joseph. But Mary had trusted in her heart that God would set everything right. She did not know how God would work things out, but Mary was relieved. We read in verse 20 that the Angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife”. Then we read in verse 24, “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife”. In other words, they got married immediately. What does that mean? It means that they performed whatever ceremony was necessary to make them married in the eyes of the law of the land in Nazareth. However, since he “knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son”, their marriage was not consummated until after the birth of Jesus. That is why we read in Luke 2:5 that Joseph went to Bethlehem, “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife”. Were they still only betrothed to one another? No! For we believe what God said in Matt 1:24 that he “took unto him his wife”. And so, it was a new beginning for Joseph and Mary. They got married and had their first baby. But did you notice? Another person entered the scene:

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 3:1 (2X). Right after Genesis follows Exodus. When we search the Bible we find that there are 62 verses containing the words “The Angel of the Lord”. Which archangel could be the Angel of the Lord? Actually the Angel of the Lord is not an angel but is a theophany: He is an appearance of God in some form. For example, we read in Ex 3:1,

Ex 3:1 ¶  Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

Ex 3:2  And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Ex 3:3  And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

Ex 3:4-5  And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses”. And he said, Here am I.           And he said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”.

Ex 3:6  Moreover he said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Who was this talking to Moses? Verse 2 says it was the Angel of the Lord. But verse 4 says it was God who “called unto him out of the midst of the bush”. And thus the Angel of the Lord is God. And why does verse 5 say that “the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”? It was because God was there in the appearance of the burning bush. Moreover in verse 6 the voice from the burning bush says, “I am the God of thy father”. And why was Moses afraid? The end of verse 6 says, “he was afraid to look upon God”. We see clearly that “the Angel of the Lord” is none other than God. And from other verses containing “the Angel of the Lord” we can see that He is a theophany of Christ.

Why did God appear to Moses? Clearly, God appeared to Moses because Moses has found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose Moses to be His servant. The time of this event was 40 years after Moses killed an Egyptian and then fled into the wilderness. By this time the mistaken zeal that Moses had 40 years earlier was as good as dead. Moses had no other aspirations than to be a shepherd of sheep. In fact, he tried to wiggle himself out of the assignment that God gave him here at the burning bush. And so we see clearly God’s program of Unconditional Election. We also see that God does not choose good people, for Moses was a murderer. And thus, we see that this was a new beginning in the life of Moses. This was God’s program for immortalizing His Law in what we know as the Bible. This was the beginning of bringing the Word of God to a congregation of ungrateful people, who for the most part would die unsaved in the wilderness. In Heb 3 we read that most of them died in the wilderness because of unbelief. Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matt, Matt 1:21.

#2.       A New Beginning for the Lord Jesus (John 5:30, 10:30, Matt 1:21, Heb 3:11, Mark 14:21, John 8:44, Matt 7:13-14)

We have come to a verse that has been badly misunderstood by many. It refers to the Incarnation which means God the Son, the second Person of the Triune God, has taken on a human body, and thereby has created a God-man in one person. He was fully God and fully man. When the Bible says that Christ existed from eternity past, it refers to the Deity of Christ as God the Son. When the Lord Jesus said in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me”, He spoke of His humanity, and that on the human side of His nature He was the obedient Servant of the Father, and that He had to learn obedience. But on the Divine side of His nature He said, “I and My Father are One” (John 10:30). From the Divine side of His nature He did not have to learn anything, for He was omniscient, and the Lord Jesus Christ never ceased to be God. This God-man is spoken of here in:

Mt 1:21  And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Most of the time people refer to this verse at Christmas, referring to the cute little baby Jesus in a manger. But God places His emphasis on the name JESUS, which means “Savior”, or “Jehovah Is Salvation”. And how would the Lord Jesus carry out this task of being the Savior? He was going to suffer and die in their place on the cruel cross of Calvary. That is how He was going to save His people from going to Hell. And what does it mean that “He shall save His people from their sins”? It means that He will loose them from the power of Satan and from their enslavement to sin. “Sin shall no more have dominion over them”. They shall no longer be addicted to sin. If anyone is still addicted to a sin, it is an indication that this person has never been saved. Therefore the work that the Lord Jesus came to do was to give His people “freedom from the Law of sin and death” in this life, and to give His people freedom from the penalty of Hell in the life hereafter. And so, when we read this verse we should not think of a cute little baby in a manger, but we should think of what this Person, who was born of Mary, was going to do on the cross of Calvary, for “His people”.

But who are “His people”? And here is where most people go astray. They say that “His people” refers to the nation of the Jews, all the children of Jacob. But the Bible clearly declares that this is not so! The Lord Jesus did not suffer and die for the sins of many who came out of Egypt and who died in the wilderness in unbelief, for we read in Heb 3:11, “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest”. The Lord Jesus did not suffer and die for the sins of Judas Iscariot, for the Lord Jesus said of him in Mark 14:21, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born”. The Lord Jesus did not suffer and die for the sins of the unbelieving Jews around Him whose intend it was to kill Him, for the Lord Jesus said in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning”. No, the Lord Jesus did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for all those who themselves are going to Hell. If we say that Jesus suffered and died for the sins of all those who are going to Hell, we would be belittling the omniscience of God who knows not only those whom He is going to save, but who also knows all those whom He is not going to save. And then we would also be insulting the righteousness of God, for the righteousness of God demands the payment for any sin only once, not twice. Therefore, if Christ would have suffered and died for every human being on this planet, then every human being on this planet would go to heaven. But the Lord Jesus stated very plainly in Matt 7:13-14 that “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”. Therefore the Lord Jesus suffered and died for the few that find the way to eternal life, which are all those whom God chose to be saved. And this means that Christ died not only for the elect from the nation of the Jews, but also for all the elect from the nations of the Gentiles. If “His people” in Matt 1:21 refers to the Jews only, then that would leave me outside of God’s plan of salvation, and this would leave many of you out as well, since most of you are not descendants of Jacob. God does not have two plans of salvation, one for the descendants of Jacob and another one for the Gentiles. Therefore, the important conclusion of this matter is: We see here that the Lord is reaching out to all the nations of the world. In these words, “He shall save His people from their sins”, God is indicating a drastic change in His dealings with the sons of man. From Gen 12 down to the last chapter of Malachi it seems as if God was dealing only with the nation descending from Jacob. But now in the 1st chapter of the NT God shows us a New Beginning in His dealings with mankind. God is including again all the nations of the world, and this point in history coincides with the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was a New Beginning for the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us now take a closer look at:

Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle of John, 1John 2:1 (2X). This is not the Gospel according to John. You find the 1st and 2nd and 3rd Epistle of John near the end of your Bibles, near Revelation. When we believe that Christ suffered and died only for the sins of His elect, and not for the sins of everyone in the world, we believe in “Limited Atonement”. We are not limiting the power of God, but we believe that God limits the Atonement of Christ to only the elect of God, those whom the Father chose before the foundation of the world to become the Bride of Christ. Some people say that Christ’s Atonement was sufficient to atone for all he sins of the world. But that is not found in the Bible. That is skirting the issue. The issue is that many people find in the Bible that the Lord Jesus suffered and died for the sins of everyone in the world. This is the issue that we must face head on.

Where in the Bible do people find that Christ atoned for the sins of everyone in the world? There are only a few verses that seem to say this. The main base from which they start is 1John 2:2. We rd.

1Jo 2:1-2, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:                        And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The first error that people make is this: Does this not clearly say, “but also for the sins of the whole world”? And the answer is NO! This is not at all what the Greek text says. This is a mistranslation by the KJ translators. We must always be on our guard for this, for many cults have sprung up who base their support on one or more mistranslations in the KJ Bible. The words “the sins of” have been inserted by the KJ translators, and this fact is clearly indicated, for these words are printed in italics.

The second error that people make lies in the little word “for”, which they understand to refer to a substitution. But that is not true! Three times in this verse the little word “for” is from the Greek word “peri”, which means “around”, or “concerning”, or “with regard to”, but it does not refer to substitution. If we say that Tylenol is a good remedy for headache, we are not saying that Tylenol is a substitution for headache, but we are saying that Tylenol is good remedy “concerning” headache, or “with regard to” headache. In other words, a more correct translation of 1John 2:2 reads as follows, “And He is the propitiation concerning our sins: and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the whole world”. In other words, this verse is not saying that Christ died substitutionally as a sacrifice for us, or in the place of us, which is true in other parts of the Bible. But this verse is saying that: He is a redemption exactly as we had need of “concerning” our sins, or “with regard to” our sins. People can be deceived with the translated version of the Greek text, but it will not work with the original text.

The third error that people make is that they understand the word “propitiation” to mean “sacrifice for sin”, as if this word is the same as the word “propitiation that is used in Rom 3:25, where it means, “the instrument of redemption”. But here in 1John 2:2 it is a different Greek word that does not mean the sacrifice, or the instrument through which redemption was accomplished, but it indicates “the contents” of the redemption itself; in other words, it is the “amount of the payment”, or in today’s materialistic language it is “the amount of money”. And thus paraphrased 1John 2:2 tells us that, “The totality of redemption from sin lies only in Christ, not only for us but for the whole world”.

The fourth error that people make is that they understand “the whole world” means “all individuals in this world”, and that is a ridiculous substitution. When we search the Bible we find “the world”, or “all the world”, or “the whole world” in many places in the Bible, but almost nowhere does it mean “all individuals in this world”. For example, when we read in Matt 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”. What is the meaning of “all the world” in this verse? Of course, we realize that it cannot mean that this Gospel must be preached to every individual in this world. In fact, this verse itself specifies that this Gospel shall be preached so that it will be a witness to all nations. But not every person in every nation shall be under the hearing of this Gospel. How is it then possible that those from the free-will persuasion want 1John 2:2 to refer to every individual in this world? It is only possible because their mind has been blinded by the prince of darkness, and because they prefer to retain their freedom to self-determination, rather than be controlled by what God says in the Bible. They will say, “I believe what I believe, and do not confuse me with your Bible verses”; which reflects that they do not fear God.

Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 1:22 (2X). Let us now look at:

#3.       A New Beginning for the People of God (Matt 1:22-23)

In here God turns our attention to the writings of the prophet Isaiah. We read here in Matt 1:22,

Mt 1:22-23  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,                  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

God tells us here that the entire scenario of choosing a virgin, Mary, and betrothing her to a kind and just husband, Joseph, and choosing this couple in the insignificant town of Nazareth in Galilee, and appearing to Joseph in a dream, was done to fulfill that “which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet” Isaiah about 700 years earlier. What took place 700 years earlier? We can read in Isa 7:2 that it was a time when the nation of Israel and the Gentiles were ganging up against the house of David. It was at that time that God promised to give a sign that a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son. And what do we see about 700 years later? Indeed the nation of Israel working as a servant for the Gentiles, the Romans, and having a Gentile king over them, Herod the great, was ganging up against Joseph and Mary, representing the house of David. We know this, for Joseph and Mary were the only ones that are listed in the NT as descendants of David. By the decree of Caesar Augustus Joseph and Mary were forced to travel to Bethlehem, even though she was 9 months pregnant, and then they were not allowed to get a room in the inn, and a short time later they had to flee into Egypt. These are just a few signs of the opposition they received from their own nation Israel and from the Gentiles that ruled over them. And God tells us here that this marks a new beginning for the people of God. What was this new beginning? This child Jesus shall grow up to become the Savior of all the people of God. No longer would God shower His blessings upon just the people of Israel; now God would make Jesus the Savior of all the people of God, which means all the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. In fact now we see that the nation of Egypt, who formerly represented the house of bondage, was now going to be a place of refuge for Joseph, and Mary, and for the little child Jesus. And thus we see that the Bible is not a book about the history of the tribes that came out of Jacob, but it is a Book about the Lord Jesus Christ and about the nation that God chose to become the Bride of Christ. And when we see this in the Bible, it gives us a new beginning, for we are no longer servants of the Jews, but we are servants of Christ.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 7:14 (2X). You find the Prophecy of Isaiah in the middle of your Bibles after the Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

When God repeats an OT verse, like He did in Matt 1:23, we can be sure that it is important. We rd in:

Isa 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Joseph and Mary named the child Jesus, because the Angel of the Lord told them so, but he is identified by God as Immanuel. And God indicated in Matt 1:23 that Immanuel means, “God With Us”. Does this then mean that Jesus is God? That is indeed what it means. There are many today who will admit that Jesus is the Son of God, and they are offended when you declare that Jesus is God. But the Bible clearly says in many places that Jesus is God. For example, please turn a couple pages to your right to Isa chapter 9, Isa 9:6 (2X). And there we read in Isa 9:6-7,

Isa 9:6-7  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The Lord Jesus Christ is here called, “The mighty God”. Can there be any doubt that Christ is also God? Furthermore He is also called, “Counsellor”, which is a title usually given to God the Holy Spirit. And He is also called, “The everlasting Father”, which is a title usually given to God the Father. But from the NT we know that the Lord Jesus said of Himself, “I and the Father are One”. And thus we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God. Our God has revealed Himself to us in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and yet there is only One God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, John 1:14 (2X). In this first chapter of John God gave us a summary of what we are going to find in this Gospel account. First God introduces us God the Son as “The Word”, indicating that God spoke and the world came into being. And in verse 3 God said who spoke the words that created the World. It was God the Son who created all things. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made”. And then we read in John 1:14,

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)full of grace and truth.

God the Son was made flesh, indicating that God the Son had taken on a human body. Also we read in Heb 10:5 the words of God the Son to God the Father, “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me”. And so, we see here the Incarnation: the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to Timothy, 1Tim 3:16 (2X). In this chapter God speaks about how to behave ourselves in the church, which is the House of God.

And then God lists the qualifications of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says in 1Tim 3:16,

1Ti 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

God was manifest in the flesh”. It was a new beginning for the people of God. Never before had God been in the flesh. Never before had God so identified Himself with humankind that He made Himself fully man. But now that He was fully man, He was able to impute man’s sins unto Himself, and be their substitute before the Judgment Throne of God. And now that He was also fully God, He was able to be with us, among us, and also make His abode within us. Emmanuel.

#4,       A New Beginning for Us (Matt 1:21,23, Rev 19:11-13)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 19:11 (2X). When we look into the manger, whom do we see? Do we see a baby, or do we see a Judge? Between the lines God says in Matt 1:21 and in verse 23 that we must see a Judge. Since Christ was judged for the sins of all His people, He earned the right to judge all those who claim they can stand before God without Christ as their Advocate. And so, whom does He judge? All the heathen who worship other gods of their own making will most certainly be judged. But then there are many in churches all over the world who claim that they worship Christ, but they are actually worshipping gods of their own making. They are in worse shape than the heathen, for the heathen do not claim to have an association with the only true God. But those in the churches, following false gospels, are bearing the name of the Lord in vain. And the God of the Bible says that He is a jealous God. We read in Rev 19:11-13,

Re 19:11 ¶  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Re 19:12-13  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.        And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

His name is called The Word of God”. Without question, this person is the Lord Jesus Christ. But the whole Bible is also called The Word of God. Does Christ identify Himself with the Bible? Let us be clear on this: the Bible is not God. But the Bible is the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every word in the Bible contributes to the image of Christ. Therefore if we take away some of the words, and we still call that The Word of God we are perpetrating a lie, for it no longer is the image of Christ. Likewise, when we  add words to the Bible without indicating that we have added them, we have no longer a Bible that is the image of Christ. This is why we read in Rev 22:18-19 that we may not add, nor take away from the words of the Bible. And so, when the Word of God was closed at the end of Rev 22, it meant that a new era had begun. It was a new beginning for us, for now we have received a new discernment of who is for us and who is against us. Let us use this new discernment for our benefit.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.