May 20, 2021

Yet now be strong, alert, and courageous. In this place will I give peace and prosperity


This came to the watchman today as the Bible opens and continues to reveal the truth that sets free the current captive. The requirement is be strong. The reward is peace and prosperity. All in terms of the rebuilding and refocusing of the eyes and hearts of the people on God and His plan.

“In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, in the second year of Darius the king (of Persia, including the Chaldeans), came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying,”

I have received words about Haggai several strategic times during the past decade and posted some blogs. Here is a list of links and my brief summary of the relevant blogs with revelation for today, concerning chapter two.

Prophet Haggai’s message to the ruler, high pries, and the people of the land

December 18, 520 BC. Haggai 2:18 (revelation received on Nov 22,2020)

2020-11-22 Today’s revelation received by the watchman (Nov 22, 2020) December 18, 520 BC. Haggai 2:18 Message to the priests about holiness, not getting themselves defiled by association with those defiled by sin,  and rebuilding the Temple of God 2:10 On December 18 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message …Continue reading

Revelation received on God promised a bright future to His people (including leaders who obeyed Him and rebuilt the spiritual life according to God’s plan):

Three conditions for restoration of prosperity:

  1. Holiness of the priests/leaders required.
  2. People to repent from their sin of defilement of their offerings.
  3. Acknowledge their economic failure and return to God’s way.

Three promises/assurances:

  1. Economic boom
  2. Anointed leader appointed by God to lead the rebuilding and restoration of God’s temple and the people’s spiritual life.
  3. The faithful anointed leader/ruler will be honored by God.

Daily Word: think carefully and focus on promise of good in rebuilding (Haggai 1818)

2017-02-21 God always speaks before a thing happens. What He has spoken always comes to pass. God makes it come to pass to show that the message is from God. What shall the hearers do? Just believe and go forward. All the great men of God in history accomplished great exploits following this simple key. Today we …Continue reading

God spoke twice in just one verse: 2:18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully.” NLT

Haggai 2 : the faithfulness , power and glory of God

2014-10-12 Today’s 3 am class continues on to read Haggai 2. What Does God say about the rebuilding of our temple? We continue to see the faithfulness and power of God being displayed in the words of God. Summary notes: Background: the people had delayed for 17 years before this round of rebuilding!: God shows the …Continue reading

Summary notes:

Background: the people had delayed for 17 years before this round of rebuilding!:

  1. God shows the urgency of the matter
  2. God has fulfilled His promise through the prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy.
  3. Now is the time for the people of God to rise up and rebuild.

What does God say about Himself in the rebuilding? Read the following with what Jesus has accomplished for us in mind.

  1. Look at the rebuilding through His heavenly perspective.
  2. God says He will fill the place with glory, a greater glory. (Jesus Himself)
  3. God wants holiness and undefiled worship and sacrifice according to His holy nature.
  4. Yet, God speaks of His mercy and the undeserved favor He will give to the builders: “from this day onward I will bless you.” (from the day the foundation is laid).
  5. Lastly, God speaks of the prophecy about His Son, Jesus Christ who will come. He is the pure and undefiled Temple. Each individual now enters into the presence of God through the blood and body of Jesus Christ, and gives account for his own personal relationship with the holy and righteous God. Each individual believer is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Key words for 2021-05-20BE STRONG, ALER, AND COURAGEOUS

Haggai 2:4-5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Yet now be strong, alert, and courageous, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; be strong, alert, and courageous, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, alert, and courageous, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts.

According to the promise that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit stands and abides in the midst of you; fear not.

ALL ABOUT JESUS

Zerubbabel is a royal descendant of David. In a way he was performing a type restoring the temple worship and sacrifice, signifying the coming of Jesus, the living Temple, the perfect Sacrifice and Atonement for sin, the Mediator between God and men, the King, the only Name by which anyone can be saved.

Hebrews 10:18-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

A Call to Persevere

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death,[b] Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Footnotes: a.10:19 Greek brothers. b. 10:20 Greek Through his flesh.

KAINOTES, 2021-05-20

May 15, 2021

seeing through the Spirit: two witnesses, one attitude


Both witnesses were in the darkest possible moments, being held in captive in the enemy’s stronghold, and yet both saw God appearing in glory. Why?

God’s presence being revealed to Ezekiel in Babylon also demonstrates that holiness has nothing to do with geographical location, but rather the condition of people’s hearts. God is moved by the faithfulness of men like Ezekiel, who became His priest not because of status but because of his faith in God in a dark land, no matter the circumstances. His example is a model for believers everywhere. Another example is the apostle John. He was a captive and exiled on the Island Patmos. There he saw the risen Lord Jesus and the rest is history. Both the two witnesses recorded the Holy Spirit at least 22 times in each of their books (the book of Ezekiel and the Revelation)

Ezekiel

Ezekiel, a young priest, was among the captives to Babylon. Daily he and other exiles gathered beside the Kebar River in Babylon to pray, and there, the heavens opened to him one day and he saw the visions of God. And he recorded down faithfully what he saw and heard from the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel 2:2 Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.

Ezekiel 3:12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: “Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His place!” (also refer to Ezekiel 3:14,24;8:3; 11:1,5,19.24;36:26-27;37:1,14;39:29;43:5)

Ezekiel 40:4 And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears, and [a]fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare to the house of Israel everything you see.” (a) Ezekiel 40:4 Lit. set your heart

Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, andbehold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

Ezekiel 44:4 Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and I fell upon my face.

the Apostle John

The apostle John sees visions of things that have been, things that are, and things that are yet to come. John is an exile on the isle of Patmos. His crime: bearing witness of Jesus (Revelation 1:9). He saw the risen Jesus on a Lord’s day while worshipping in the Spirit, and was commissioned to write down what he saw and heard.

Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,

Revelation 4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

Revelation 17:3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Revelation 1:12-16 12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.[a] He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. [Footnotes: (a.) 1:13 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.]

Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last.

Revelation 14:1 And I lookedand, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

Revelation 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watchman’s notes

These two witnesses have one thing in common: their hearts were focused on the matters of God and were determined to witness for God, bringing the nation(s) to God.

kainotes, 2021-05-13

May 2, 2021

Nehemiah’s pre-cautionary rebuilding —a lifestyle: Building and Guarding Materials and Weapons (expanded 2021-05-02)


On January 6, 2010 after a Sunday experience with the Holy Spirit, the watchman decided to spend time in morning worship and Bible reading on his own. The Book of Nehemiah came to his mind and he read the verses aloud. The reading was different from his previous reading of the same Book. The whole Book brought to him a clear message about re-building a church.

He saw how Nehemiah processed the monumental task, all in 52 days, to rebuild the Jerusalem walls. Nehemiah started the project alone. With God. God was the Master Builder. Nehemiah merely listened and obeyed. He prayed every step of the way. He prayed and received his answers immediately. He did not take things for granted. In fact, Nehemiah had followed the Holy Spirit all the way.

Nehemiah was a watchman on the walls. He observed and investigated each situation carefully and prayed. God answered and gave him the best solutions. He obeyed: followed and carried out. His problems were thus solved at the right time using the right tools through the right people, for the purpose of God.

The watchman noted in Nehemiah the following spiritual truth applicable in the present re-building efforts:

1. Recognize that the war is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual principalities, rulers and wicked forces in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 6)

2. Acknowledge the key role of the Holy Spirit (the power behind all re-building efforts) and the words of God (the Sword of the Spirit).

3. Admit the importance of regular crucial strategic prayers as led by the Holy Spirit.

4. Organize and apply the rightful functions of the gates and the walls. The gates are to open and welcome the entrance of the King of kings, Lord of lords. The walls are for the defense of God’s people against the enemies.

The strategy of Nehemiah is to: watch, pray, defend and build until the whole city is secured and well guarded against present and future invasions and pollutions.

Nehemiah deployed half his men to build and half to be equipped with weapons and posted behind the workers/builders. Even the builders wore swords. The materials carriers worked with one hand and held a weapon in the other. Such caution and defense!

In conclusion in a similar task all rebuilding of the churches and God’s cities are to be like what Nehemiah was assigned to do, and it is pertinent that the new group of leaders and builders need to pray more and read the Bible more, much much more than during the time of inertia, while carrying out the rebuilding, restoring and reining. One hand with the building materials, another hand holding a weapon.

The rebuilding and guarding never stop, even though Nehemiah had finished his task in 52 days. The rebuilding and guarding is a lifestyle, a way of normal Christian living, and it should never stop. Jesus and the apostles have amply cautioned us about the time of perils.

James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction.[b] He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

Luke 17:26-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Luke 21:34-36 New Living Translation (NLT)

34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”

Originally drafted on January 6, 2010; revised and expanded on 2021-05-02, Kainotes.

May 1, 2021

Unboxed: Where are the prophets today? Watchman, what of the night?


Yes, where indeed are the prophets today? Are there any more prophets in this highly digital technological age full of once futuristic prophecies fulfilled? No Christian would deny the importance of prophecies for two reasons: They are part and parcel of the Bible. They have come true in human history —some are yet to come true and many Christians are waiting for that to happen. My question today is since the Bible has been written, do we need any new prophecy? If so, why and where are the prophets? What are prophecies?

Here are some Bible verses about prophecies and visions (divine communication in a vision, oracle, prophecy), from both the Old Testament and the New Testament:

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 NKJV) For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.. (Habakkuk 2:3 AMPC)

Ezekiel 37:1-14 describes an interaction between the prophet Ezekiel and the Lord (the Holy Spirit). He was led by the Spirit to see a valley of scattered dry bones (in a vision), prophesy (speaking) life and see his prophecy come to pass in the vision as they become a great live army of Israel.

And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 ESV)

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3 ESV)

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2 Peter 1:19)

Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” (Genesis 20:7)

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16-20)

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)

The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. (Matthew 10:41)

Let them bring them, and tell us
    what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
    that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
    or declare to us the things to come. (Isaiah 41:22)

Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9)

“The former things I declared of old;
    they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
    then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. (Isaiah 48:3)

Isaiah 21:11-12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

11 The mournful, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Dumah (Edom): One calls to me from Seir (Edom), Watchman, what of the night? [How far is it spent? How long till morning?] Guardian, what of the night?

12 The watchman said, The morning comes, but also the night. [Another time, if Edom earnestly wishes to know] if you will inquire [of me], inquire; return, come again.

(The above was Originally drafted on February 4, 2021)

Indeed, what of the night? This is relevant now as the nights are longer and darker. Sadly, the watchman does not have any answer that can be vocalized. Yet, never lose heart, because the Proverbs says, It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them. (Proverbs 25:2)

Romans 11:33
O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.

Isaiah 21:10 10 O my people, threshed and winnowed,
    I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said,
    everything the God of Israel has told me.

kainotes, 2021-04-30

April 29, 2021

an incredible yet most credible witness for the accused Lord. Who is this brave good man?


You guess rightly. Peter the defense witness. One look at his resume before the resurrection you would not normally elect him to be the spokesman for the accused, Jesus. And yet Jesus deliberately chose him to be His spokesman. Did Jesus choose wrongly?

Peter’s credential and defense (narrated as Peter himself)

I am Peter. I was the first to call Jesus the Son of the Living God – the Messiah (Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20, Matt. 16:16-17).   When Jesus called me to follow Him, I knew that He was of God and felt unworthy to be in His presence (Luke 5:6-8).  

As required to stand as His witness, I shall be honest about my credential good and bad. Here is what others (especially the prosecution) would have said of me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peter is a well known fisherman boss and displays all the qualities of a leader: bold, brave, upfront, strong, self-confident, knows his trade very well, wants to be player in the winning game, but does not take failure easily. He is not a follower. Jesus manages to convince him to join Jesus’ team, by a massive unprecedented display of power and the depth of knowledge of the natural elements and creatures beyond what Peter can ever fathom, giving him and his team of fishermen the catch of the year! From Peter’s perspective, being a team mate to such a master is a far better investment than his fishery industry.

Peter believes that whatever Jesus can do so can he. Jesus walks on water. So can Peter. Jesus heals the sick, casts out demons, makes the lame walk, and raises the dead, so can Peter. Peter trusts Jesus’ strength. He sees Jesus’ display of strength and not weakness. And Peter respects strength.

Jesus knows what Peter is made of and his potential as a post-resurrection witness. The Bible has recorded that Peter has more interaction with Jesus than the other disciples. He walks on water. He testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and he is among the three (with James and John) whom Jesus has selected to walk with Him and experienced more of Jesus’ revelation of His true status, power and authority.

When Jesus chose the twelve, did He give the indication that they would be ruling the new Israel with Him? It was the understanding of the apostles, of which Peter was one. With Jesus’ calibre, Peter had all the confidence that he would do well to follow Jesus. They were all prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, failures of faith, and bitter resentment toward others when it came to competing for positions and favors. Peter even reminded Jesus that they had all given up all they had to follow Him.

It was easy to follow Jesus as long He continued to show His power and strength and His fitness to be the king for His kingdom. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Jesus when Jesus told them His upcoming death and events that would lead up to that. It was tough to continue to believe and follow when Jesus allowed Himself to be weak, subdued, arrested, submitted to unjust trial and be sentenced to death like a common criminal. Peter lost heart to the point that he denied Jesus three times when he could not bear to face the failure-associated humiliation and mockery.

Peter was just like the rest. Jesus rebuked them of foolish, slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken about Him, the Messiah. “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26) Their repeated unbelief was recorded by Mark who transcribed the teachings of Peter. Even after Jesus had resurrected and shown Himself to various disciples, the women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome), two disciples who walked and went into the country (Cleopas and a companion who lived in Emmaus), Peter and others could not believe their testimonies that Jesus is alive. Jesus appeared to the eleven later and rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen from the dead. John recorded that Peter even led a few others back to their old trade, fishing at the Sea of Tiberias, and Jesus had to appear to them to speak specifically to Peter, reminded him three times about his calling, and appointed him as a shepherd for the believers.

All in all, the above illustrates an unacceptable and unreliable credential for Peter as a defense witness for Christ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is what his peers and all the converts spoke of Peter in the early churches:

Peter emerged as the earliest leader for the 120 disciples who waited with him at the upper room in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, on the day of Pentecost, and receive the power from above, as Jesus had instructed. After the Holy Spirit came upon him, Peter became a changed man, back to his leading role. He preached powerful gospel messages to the public and led many to Christ. He braved the arrest, intimidation, and punishments of the religious leaders and officials. He ministered to the multitudes with the power of the Holy Spirit, and performed healing, and many signs and wonders, including raising the dead. People laid the sick on the streets so that the shadow of Peter’s passing by might fall on them. He was walking and doing what Jesus said they could do, just as He did them, and even greater.

Peter was one of the boldest apostles of all.  He willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was worthy to suffer disgrace for the Lord‘s sake (Acts 5:41).

There is reliable evidence through church tradition and early church historians that the Gospel of Mark is actually the gospel of Peter.  Peter is said to have dictated his discipleship with Jesus to John Mark, who was a companion of his for many of the later years of his life. Peter also authored two epistles in the New Testaments, First and Second Peter, wherein we see that the formerly independent, self-willed, strong-willed, presumptuous, brash and bragging fisherman boss became a role model of a humble servant-leader, having a shepherd’s heart —self-described as a bond servant, an apostle of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1) He declared that the power he displayed did not come from his own power or godliness he had. Peter became a role model apostle evangelist and pastor.

Here is his witness for Jesus after his spectacular healing of a lame man (lame at birth) at the gate of the temple.

“God glorified Jesus, the Prince of life, the Holy One and the Just, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Jesus, has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peter continues : Well, I have lived my case before all the world to see. I am a changed man. I have given my testament before the authority and the public. If I had to live my life all over again, i would have no hesitation. As all who read my story would have known by now the reality of my Lord and Savior, the risen Son of God to me and many of my flocks. I have not lived my life in vain after all. And I shall now move on to Rome and meet my destiny without regrets. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

Last words from the second epistle of Peter to all those who have received the same faith with him, who are partakers of the divine nature given by God: what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watchman’s Notes: Peter is a changed man. The most significant change is in his being Spirit-led and spiritual minded after the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on him and the 119 others who waited with him in Jerusalem as instructed by the risen Christ Jesus. The seed of God’s word sown by Jesus in his heart finally burst forth in harvesting, hundred folds many times over, just as Jesus has said. Jesus’ words did not fall on hard ground. Peter has a heart of good soil after all.

Peter was born about 1 B.C. and died sometime around A.D. 67. Peter knew he was going to be martyred. ((John 21:18-19) A street-wise, shrewd, brash, self-confident bossy business-man became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord even to death. He rejoiced in that day of his death, knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved Savior. Peter had been sure of the reality of Jesus being who He said He is, the Son of God, because he was an eye witness.

This is what he testified as a most credible witness:

2 Peter 1:16-19 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

References: The four Gospels, The Acts of the Apostles, first and Second Epistles of Peter.

Seeing the dead Lord coming back to life: post-resurrection shock and transition


What do we normally do after a burial? How would we react when we see a dead man come back alive from the tomb after three days or more?

Jesus’ resurrection is stunning! It is only a beginning. He stayed on for forty days. What did He do? What did His disciples do? Let us start at the dawn which heralds in the beginning of a new world order for the believers of Jesus. Just as the apostle Paul has boldly declared, “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Jesus Himself has foretold this supernatural reproduction, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:24) The crucifixion and death of the Son of God had destroyed the power of sin and death. His resurrection had given birth to the new life of many believers, who must receive by faith in Jesus and nothing else. One significant truth is that we are not His clones. We are born again of the Spirit as God’s children, with the life of Jesus in us.

What did Jesus do to make sure His believers know and understand and believe? Let us read the Scriptures to see what happened in those crucial new days, His last forty days on earth prior ascension into heaven to sit at God’s right hand. Was it easy for the disciples to accept the sudden requirement to enter into the faith zone, that is, what Jesus has been telling them are all true? Or were they not all shocked to the core to see Jesus in real life, coming back from the dead?

What happened in John 20-21?

These are the scenarios after resurrection of Jesus recorded by John: the empty tomb discovered by Mary, Peter, and John. Mary saw two angels and Jesus who talked to her. Jesus also showed Himself to the other disciples and Thomas.

Mary Magdalene: She came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. (She saw the empty tomb first and went and told Peter and John)

Peter and the other disciple (John): started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. (peter and John saw the empty tomb after Mary. They noticed the way the linen wrappings and head cover were lying there and believed.) for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.

Mary11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels. (The angels talked to her) 14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. (She saw Jesus and He talked to her too. Jesus instructed her, 17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (She went and told the disciples.)

The other disciples: 19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (Jesus showed Himself. He also instructed them. He breathed on them and sent them out to witness for Him).

Thomas, the doubter24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. (And he did not believe them when they told him they saw the resurrected Jesus. In their second meetingJesus came and showed Himself again to His disciples27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” 28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.

Truly Jesus also did many other signs in the presence of His disciples. (John 20:30)

At the sea of Tiberias: Peter and other disciples returned to fishing, and that night they caught nothing. when the morning came Jesus appeared, standing on the shore and told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, and they caught 153 large fish. He also cooked and gave them breakfast and ate with them. (John 21:1-13) This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. (John 21:14)

Jesus asked and instructed Peter specifically about love: 15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He asked Peter three times the same question with a variation of the word “love” when He asked Peter the third time whether loved Him. the word love in the first two questions referred to the God’s kind of love “agape” (which implies sacrificial). And twice Peter answered Jesus using the word “phileo” (friendship kind of love). The third time Jesus came to Peter’s level and used the word “phileo” to stand for love, when Jesus reiterated His entrusting Peter to feed/tend to His flocks (the believers). Jesus also predicted what would happen to Peter. (21:18-19)

Additional information in Matthew 28

  1. Some guards went and told the leading priests who decided to give the guards a large bribe to lie that Jesus’ disciples came and stole the body.
  2. the eleven disciples left for Galilee and met Jesus, who gave them the Great Commission and promise that He would be with them always, even to the end of the age. (28:18-20)

Additional information from Mark 16

  1. Mary Magdalene saw Jesus and went and told the disciples but they did not believe her.
  2. 12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. 13 They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.
  3. 14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead
  4. Great Commission: 15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe…20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
  5. Jesus’ ascension19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

Additional information from Luke 24: Luke recorded in great details what transpired between the resurrected Jesus and the reaction of His disciples when they saw HIm. They were still full of unbelief!

  1. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women came to the tomb and did not find the body of Jesus. They saw two angels who reminded them what Jesus had told them about His resurrection on the third day.  So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 11 But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. 
  2. 12 However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.
  3. 13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus. Then Jesus (whom they did not recognize) appeared and took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Later, as they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!
  4. Peter also saw Jesus: They went back to Jerusalem and found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” 35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them. 
  5. Jesus appeared to all36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
  6. 38 Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched.
  7. Jesus had to remind them of what He had told them before that He had to fulfill the Scripture. He also gave them the great commission to be His witnesses, proclaiming His name to all nations.
  8. He promised them the Holy Spirit and instructed them not to leave Jerusalem until they received this power from above.
  9. The Ascension: 50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

(to continue)

Kainotes, 2021-04-05

a skeptical and condescending half brother of our Lord as a defense witness? a most misunderstood man


Prologue

I found it difficult to put up a case for him. So I put on hold for quite sometime and prayed about it. The answer finally came. “Heureka! Heureka!” (I have found it!) I will write about his relationship with Jesus, his half brother.

Prologue: James, the half brother of Jesus

Jesus grew up in a sizable family that included four half brothers—James, Joses, Simon and Judas (who would later write the epistle of Jude)—and sisters, at least two (Matthew 13:55-56). James did not seem involved in Jesus’ ministry and yet became a prominent figure in the early New Testament church. He is most likely the author of the Epistle of James. He appeared a somewhat indifferent and even a skeptical, condescending sibling to Jesus. So why was he chosen as another leading witness for the risen Christ Jesus? Here is his own account (as read and constructed mainly from the Scriptures, some historical references, and my own understanding).

James’ narrative account of his relationship with Jesus

One of the men, a brethren, from the Jewish counsel came last night, and told me urgently that the Jewish religious leaders have decided my death sentence secretly, and they are coming to take me for stoning soon. Strange to say, I am at ease and have peace and joy in my heart. As my last farewell, I would like to talk about my relationship on earth with Jesus.

I am James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of you already know that I am also the younger half-brother of Jesus (Yeshua). I was born after my parents returned from Egypt with Jesus, who was five years my senior. As you probably know, there is little record of me in the four gospels of Jesus Christ. And all the records therein about me (as a family members) did not show a close relationship between us (his half-siblings) and Him. As you also probably know by now, having read my letter to the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion, I am a man of few words, and am careful with my tongue.

The age gap between Jesus and the rest of us was not a barrier in our sibling relationship. But it means that Jesus had to undertake more responsibilities for the family. Our parent(s) were very pious and made sure that at five years old one was fit for the Scripture, at ten years the Mishnah (oral Torah, interpretations) at thirteen for the fulfilling of the commandments, and at fifteen the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations).

Jesus was full of the Spirit of God: full of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, might, and the reverential fear of the Lord. We always know He is special and unique. And He was gifted and anointed in teaching. As required of all Jewish boys, He learned a trade in addition to teaching the Scripture. My father Joseph has taught Him all about our family trade: stone masonry and building construction. At thirteen, He started working with my father and traveled daily to work on large building projects in the capital city of Sepphoris, about an hour’s walk from Nazareth. At twenty he decided to continue the vocation with my father, who became frail and frequently ill. My father died when Jesus was twenty-five and he handed over the legacy to Jesus.

However, when Jesus reached the official maturity age of thirty for authority (able to teach others) He handed over the family business to me and became a full time teacher. Although my desire was to be a teacher supervisor of a synagogue, I had to continue the family trade. Strictly speaking, according to my mother Mary, I am the first born of Joseph and have the right to Joseph’s legacy.

My mother told us much later about the prophecies from two godly prophets at the temple when my parents took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. A just and devout man named Simeon confirmed that Jesus would bring salvation to all peoples. And a prophetess, Anna, also confirmed that Jesus would bring redemption. My mother too, was a woman with few words, and she kept all the things about Jesus in her heart. She taught us to respect Jesus as the eldest and much older sibling in the family. And we observed that He was very different from us from young.

When Jesus taught, He showed the kind of authority that no one did. He was anointed. He even taught the religious teachers themselves (the pharisees, scribes, and teachers). I saw the miracles and divine healings He performed. I was at the Cana wedding where He turned 180 gallons of water into the choicest wine. Any sibling of such a powerful person would have expected Him to get rich quick and bring the family to a life wherein we each could choose to pursue our own desires. But, alas, He stayed aloof and away from the family.

What we could not understand and accept was that He chose to travel most of the time, followed by an ever increasing multitude of all sorts of people. He did not appear to bother about His own care, like having proper meals and rest. We were doing well in our family business and had our own house and the women could cook and clean for him. He could have led a comfortable respectable teacher’s life at home. But He seemed to forget that He even had a family. My mother was especially upset at one time when He rejected our looking for Him and offer to take Him home for food and rest. He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” We just could not understand Him.

Mary, my mother however, did not give up. She joined a few women and followed Him whenever He was nearer home. Later, she joined the group of women, and followed Him to Jerusalem and saw Him to the end. She got to know Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herold’s steward, Susanna, Mary the mother of James, and many others who provided for Jesus from their substance. Jesus indeed had many mothers and sisters and brothers. They took good care of Him. Our worldly concern for Him was proven unnecessary.

I did not follow Jesus physically. I tried to occupy myself with the family business while trying to live a normal life with normal expectation. By then I knew Jesus had not ambition to be a ruler of the Jews. I have kept updated of His teachings as many have heard and circulated them by word of mouth. I heard of all the good deeds and compassions he had shown to the multitudes. I had done a lot of thinking. Either He had lost His mind or He was just bluffing. But I knew Him from young, and I knew He was neither. Whilst I could not accept His claim that He was the Son of God, because that was against what I had learned from the Jewish religion, I could not deny that He was an honest, upright, just, moral, and righteous man of utmost integrity. His life was His proof. His teaching and His work were those above any human.

I skipped going to Jerusalem on that fateful holy week. I did not believe or expect that it would come to much despite the rumors going around about the people wanted to make Him king. Yet, the most important history for mankind was written that week by my half-brother, Jesus. He was arrested and sentenced to be crucified. And he resurrected on the third day and appeared to many people, all in all, the eleven remaining apostles, 500 disciples, those who knew Him personally and could witness for Him.

I was told later that while looking down from the cross, Jesus entrusted my mother to His apostle John, a faithful young brethren, who followed Him all the way to the crucifixion, and witnessed the empty tomb later, after the resurrection of Jesus on the third day. Why not me? Because I was not there? I was ashamed. I not only missed witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus and the earth shaking resurrection, I also missed HIs last words on the cross. Later I knew deep within Jesus did not do anything without His Father’s instruction. I accepted the Lord’s decision. I must say that John had treated her as his own mother, also named Mary. The two women became like blood sisters keeping each other company for many long years.

Jesus looked for me and called me out. Yes. After I knew of His death and burial, I sat alone in darkness, mourning for a brother I deeply missed. I no longer cared for worldly riches, status and political power. I was not disillusioned because He chose a sacrificial path instead. Why did I ever doubt Him? On one hand I wanted to believe and trust Him. On the other hand I doubted. I was like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. I kept listening to His enemies, those proud, religious hypocrites with whom I have associated myself. I have sent people to warn Him about their scheme. But He did not listen.

Jesus came to me when I was in despair. The resurrected Jesus, my Lord the Christ. He revealed to me, not as a ghost, but someone with flesh and bones I could touch and He showed me His hands and feet as well. He opened my understanding, that I could comprehend the Scriptures, and realized that all things that were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning the Messiah had been fulfilled in Him. He asked me to bring the whole family to join my mother and all the other apostles and disciples to wait in Mark’s mother’s big house in Jerusalem for the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

And I did. We all did. We obeyed and waited. The rest is history. Jesus, the Son of God, proved exactly the Scriptures about Him are all true, and He is the long waited Messiah of Israel, the Christ for all mankind.

Here ends my farewell, James, a born again man of faith, humility, and prayer.

Kainotes, 2021-04-27

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes: Not long after writing his epistle, James was martyred in Jerusalem in A.D. 62. According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, James was accused by the high priest and condemned to death by stoning (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, chap. 9, sec. 1). Eusebius, a fourth-century church historian, adds details of James’ death. He states that the scribes and Pharisees took James to a public place, the top of a wing of the temple, and “demanded that he should renounce the faith of Christ before all the people . . .” But, rather than deny Jesus, James “declared himself fully before the whole multitude, and confessed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, our Savior and Lord” (Ecclesiastical History, 1995, pp. 75-76).

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Yet now be strong, alert, and courageous. In this place will I give peace and prosperity

This came to the watchman today as the Bible opens and continues to reveal the truth that sets free the current captive. The requirement is ...