Part 35, PHILADELPHIA, SECTION 1

Philadelphia was established in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamon and named in honor of his brother Attalus II whose loyalty to Eumenes II earned him the name Philadelphos. Philadelphia (Philadelphos in Greek) is defined literally as one who loves his brother. The name is a fake, a counterfeit, because, just like all the other cities in ancient Asia, it was soaked in the blood of soldiers as various conquering nations fought their wars to come to power.

Philadelphia was known as a commercial, educational, legal and cultural hub in its area of influence. If we could we walk the mean streets of ancient Philadelphia we would see its crime rate was high because of greed, racism, religion and pride that wetted its streets with the cooling, dying blood of the innocents and the victims.

America has its own Philadelphia located in Pennsylvania that declares itself to be the city of Brotherly Love. The name is a fake, a counterfeit, because Philadelphia is soaked in the blood of Patriots, British soldiers and the innocents when America and Britain fought for who would control America.

The advertising photos in the travel brochures picture its beauty, peace and tranquility, its oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in America and Independence Hall where America’s Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. The city is a commercial, educational, legal and cultural hub. The published crime statistics of Philadelphia, PA say its crime rate is high because of greed, racism, religion and pride that wet its mean streets with the warm, dying blood of the innocents and the victims.

I’m done writing about mankind’s fake, Cain and Able, superficial, Philadelphian Brotherly Love. There is only one source of eternal love. (1John 4:8 & 16) God is love. God sent his son Jesus to us to show us how to enter into and develop a personal love relationship with him. The message of the key of David is from the Old Testament but is written to the New Testament church and it has a vital message to Christians. Remember: It’s personal.

(Rev. 3:7) “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;”

(Acts 2:22-27 esp. V.27 & 3:13-16 esp. V.14) We know Jesus is holy. (John 8:31-45 esp. V.41) We know Jesus is true. BUT: The key of David? What is the key of David? Does Jesus possess the key or does David possess the key?

Some scholars say Jesus was comparing himself to David because David had God given authority; others because David was the king of the Jews but (2Sam. 11:1-27) Jesus could not have been comparing himself to David because David was a fornicator, a liar and a murderer. AND: David is a perfect example of any of or all of God’s people at one time or another when we go into an escapade of sin.

DAVID’S SIN

Below is a situation in which David went into sin and it reveals the reality of the key of David. The situation requires the noting of several scriptures which makes it a bit confusing to read so the situation will be written first without the scripture numbers and then repeated with the scripture numbers for reference.

The story and results of David’s situation of sin are written from (2Sam. 11:1 to 18:33) and obviously that much scripture could not be written here so only the scripture numbers are given that pinpoint the pertinent facts concerning the key of David if you wish to read it.

Please be patient because it illustrates Jesus’ message to the church at Philadelphia which is (Rev. 3:13) to all the churches and is vital to every Christian’s success or failure as a Christian.

David’s journey into and out of sin: #1) David’s sin. #2) David’s cover-up of his sin. #3) God’s condemnation of David’s supposedly hidden sins of fornication, lying and murder. #4) God’s judgment. #5) God’s grace/mercy toward David. #6) David’s hope. #7) David’s restoration. Seven, the Biblical number of completion.

Repeat: (2Sam. 11:1 thru 12:31) David’s journey into and out of sin: #1) (11:1-5) David’s sin. #2) (11:6-27) David’s cover-up of his sin. #3) (12:1-9) God’s condemnation of David’s sins of fornication, lying and murder. #4) (12:10-12 & 14) God’s judgment. #5) (12:13) God’s grace/mercy toward David. #6) (12:15-17) David’s hope. #7) (12:24-31) David’s restoration. Seven, the Biblical number of completion.

David’s own passions (self) and an accomplice, Bathsheba, (representing the world) had brought on the sin and thus the judgment. “the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” God’s early judgment is fulfilled AND “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.” AND God’s latter judgment is fulfilled.

Repeat: David’s own passions (self) and an accomplice, Bathsheba, (representing the world) had brought on the sin and thus the judgment. (12:14) “the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” (12:18-21) God’s early judgment is fulfilled AND (12:10-12) “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.”

AND (13:1 thru 18:33) God’s latter judgment is fulfilled. HERE we have seen how self and the world influence us to sin. (1Chron 21:1-30) Later David would learn how Satan influences us to sin but we won’t apply that to this writing.

Where is the key of David in the above situation? Remember that Jesus was addressing the New Testament Christian Church at Philadelphia so the message is to the church (all of us) even though Jesus is using an Old Testament example.

(Rev. 3:7)These things sayeth he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David,” Key is the anglicized Greek word kleio and is defined as; to close as shutting a lock. The mystery explained is: There are actually 2 keys in action here. David holds 1 key and Jesus holds 1 key. Something is locked, and 1 key cannot work without the other so for spiritual effect the two are 1 key.

THE KEY IN DAVID’S SIN IS REVEALED

#1) (2Sam. 12:13) David immediately acknowledged his sin.

#2) (2Sam. 12:16-19) David prayed and fasted in the hope God would reverse his judgment. The next 3 things happened on the 7th day.

#3) (2Sam. 12:20-22) God did not reverse his judgment, the baby died, with humility David cleaned himself up from his “prayer struggle”, came into the house of the Lord, worshipped (do reverence- to praise) and continued with his day. AND:

#4) (2Sam. 12:23) “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” In these words David praised God and spoke his absolute confidence that God was just and by that (2Sam. 13:14) David admitted he had been punished no more than what he deserved because he had given the enemies of the Lord great occasion to blaspheme AND that David’s unnamed son would be waiting for him with God.

#5) (2Sam. 12:24 keyword: comforted) David recognized Bathsheba’s loss was as great as his, he had compassion on her and comforted her. Five, the Biblical number of grace.

David’s key was: His immediate admission of his sin when God’s word found him guilty. He prayed and trusted God. He was humble and did not blame or complain and took his judgment like a man. He worshipped God with praise. David acknowledged God was merciful (grace) and David became merciful to Bathsheba. Five, the Biblical number of grace.

The meaning of David’s key is that his sin had locked him away from his fellowship with God and to unlock that lock David had to follow the correct steps to get back into fellowship with God.

David recognized his sin had violated God’s character of holiness and justice and God’s expectation that his people follow the law he had given them. David’s sin had locked God out of the situation and only David’s key could unlock God so God could use His own key that only God had the power to use. David’s key was his desire to get back into fellowship with God, acceptance of God’s will, humility, repentance, prayer, worship and change of attitude. Seven, the Biblical number of perfection.

God’s key was: love, grace and mercy. Three, the Biblical number of completion.

David had exhibited: Courage, understanding, trust in God.

David had learned 7 things: #1) (Heb. 10:3-4) Sin can never be undone, it can only be forgiven. #2) (Prov. 15:3) The Lord sees us, hears us, smells us and reads our thoughts when we sin because nothing is hidden from the Lord’s eyes AND (Num. 32:23) the sins of God’s people will always be addressed one way or the other. #3) (Matt. 5:7 & 2Sam. 9:1-13) The grace to be merciful and show kindness to others. #4) (Psa. 22:3 & 2Sam. 12:20) That God inhabitest (occupies) the praise of his people.

#5) (2Sam. 12:16-22 esp. V.18 keywords: the child died and V.22 keywords: who can tell whether God will be gracious to me) To trust God even when his prayer request was refused. #6) (Rom. 6:23 keywords: the wages of sin is death & 1Chron. 21:14) That God will not allow his enemies to blaspheme his name by appearing to let his people escape the painful consequences of their sin. #7) (Acts 13:22) David had learned how to touch God’s own heart (thoughts, feeling, mind).

SO: Philadelphia and US: (Rev. 3:7 keywords: I have the key of David)

Jesus said; (John 5:22) “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” Jesus is our Judge. YET: (1John 2:1 and the first 8 words of V.2) “And if any man sin we have an advocate (intercessor, a counselor) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins.” How can Jesus be our judge, advocate (counselor, a lawyer) with God and also be the atonement for our sins?

(Heb. 7:22 thru 8:1) Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us because he offered up himself as our sacrifice one time and sits on the right hand (position of power) of the Majesty (divinity, God himself) as our great high priest (1John 1:7) and his already shed blood spiritually cleanseth us from all sin.

Just like David’s O.T. example: When (1John 1:8-10) a Christian sins and he/she must ask for forgiveness the proper way just like David did (the Christian key)! Because Jesus loves us and is full of grace and mercy (Jesus’ key) it is Jesus’ N.T. decision (1John 1:7-9 & 2:1) to apply his blood to a Christian’s sin (atonement), Jesus presents his blood cleansing act to the Father (advocate, lawyer) and states the Christian is sin clean (Jesus’ judgment) then the Father (God) announces Jesus’ judgment.

See: The Holy Spirit and You commentary, the segment Who is the Holy Spirit to understand how God uses “3 offices” or “presentations of himself” in his relationship with mankind then see Part 33, Thyatira, section 3, about 1/3 of the way down the text to view how The High Court of Heaven spiritually operates.

SO: Christians (those who accept Jesus and his words) have met their judgment in this life, been forgiven, spiritually reborn as a child of God and when done properly they face a “mini grace judgment” for their sins they commit as a Christian thus they can go on to heaven when their life is finished here.

(Rev. 3:7 cont.) he that openeth and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;” In earlier parts we have already proved by scripture and discussed the fact no person can take away a Christian’s relationship with God (openeth and no man shutteth) but a Christian can backslide to the point he is cut off from God and there is no way to get back (shutteth and no man openeth).

(Rev. 3:8) These Philadelphia Christians had the spiritual strength to keep Jesus’ word and they had not denied his name. (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12 & 21 then 21:7 keyword to every church, to all Christians: OVERCOMETH) Don’t give up, don’t quit, keep trying and use the key of David! As long as any Christian does that Jesus will keep the door to heaven open for you.

Please answer these three questions based on (Matt. 15:8). #1) How do you identify yourself? So many Christians include in their introduction; “I’m Joe or Jane Whoever. I work at, I’m affiliated with, I am a, I’m married to, I belong to, I am the, I’m a fan of, my Dad was or is, my Mom was or is, my grandpa, my uncle, my aunt, brother of, sister of, blah, blah, blah. #2) How many times have you said or heard someone else say I’m Joe or Jane Whoever and I’m a Christian? #3) Who or what is on the throne of your heart?

THE JEWS

Wherever they were the Jews longed for the glory days of Israel when King David, (1Sam 16:13) with his anointing from God, his sword and his valiant men, (Gen. 15:18) had conquered the Promised Land from the River of Egypt (2Sam. 8:3) to the Euphrates River. But it was not to be!

Their downfall had been sin. After King Solomon’s reign Israel had split because of rebellion against Solomon’s son who had become a cruel, greedy king. Ten rebellious tribes in Northern Israel had split away and named themselves Israel with Samaria as their capital. Two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and some Hebrew refugees had formed the southern kingdom they named Judah with Jerusalem as their capital. NOTE: Judah is a Hebrew word and when the Romans came to power they named Judah Judaea on their maps which is Latin for Judah.

Because of their sin God had removed His strong, protective hand from Israel and the population of Israel had been overrun, slaughtered and dispersed (diaspora) by the Assyrians and the 10 northern tribes became what is commonly called the 10 “Lost Tribes of Israel” because they were scattered and assimilated into several nations in Western Asia and Southern Europe.

(Dan. 1:1-4) The Babylonians (named after Babylon the capital city of the Chaldeans) would defeat Assyria, become a “world power”, overrun Judah, rob the temple and take a group of Jewish (Hebrew) captives to Babylon. Judah was no longer a military nation, they were subjugated and just a piece of chattel, a personal possession, of whatever nation was in power. (Dan. 5:30-31 thru 6:28) Persia “inherited” Judah from the Babylonians when they defeated Babylon (the Chaldeans).

(Ezra 1:1-11) The Jews who had been exiled in Babylon were returned to Judah by the Persians. (Dan. 7:6) The leopard (Greece under Alexander the Great) also “inherited” Judah when they defeated the Persians. Then Rome “inherited” Judah when they defeated Greece. Judah was but a remnant, a shadow, of what once had been the mighty nation of Israel in their far past history.

NOTE: The Jewish Library states Malachi was the last prophetic book to be written and is the epilogue book to the works of the 12 “minor prophets”. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Sources state the Book of Malachi was written between 430 and 400 BC. This fits perfectly (Gen. 15:13) with God’s Abrahamic Covenant process when God told Abram that Abram’s seed (Israel) would be in bondage 400 years and it also fits with (Ex. 1:8) the time of peace Israel enjoyed in Goshen until Joseph’s “friend” Pharaoh died.

When the new Pharaoh assumed the throne Joseph meant nothing to him because it was a new dynasty and he started tightening the noose of bondage on Israel. (Ex. 3:1 thru 5:1) God was silent during those 400 years of bondage, he said nothing to Israel until God sent Moses to bring his message of deliverance. Just remember it always takes time for things to happen. How fleeting is fame.

The above is God’s prophesy to Abram of what would happen to Israel and their 400 years of bondage might very well be a living prophesy of the coming time when Israel was again in the bondage of their sin that had caused God’s silence. It was a time of waiting. SO: As always paganism and the occult and now also even Judaism had left a spiritual scorched earth in men’s souls. BECAUSE:

There had been no “official” word from God in 400 years, no inspired writings, no prophesy, no revelation, nothing, God was silent. Satan was jubilant, everything was going his way! Satan didn’t yet know (Deut. 18:15-18 esp. V.15 keyword: Prophet & Heb. 3:1-19 esp. V.3 keyword: worthy) a Prophet named Jesus was coming who was worthy of more glory than Moses because he would break the bondage of the whole world (Jews and Gentiles) if they would follow him out of their individual bondage of sin wherever they were in their Egypt.

At the ending of the 400 years of God’s silence, even in their bondage to Rome, the Jews knew they, and only they, possessed the true word of God in their ancient scrolls. Generation after generation from the time they were children they had studied, breathed and lived the knowledge of Abraham’s covenant and the Law of Moses until the day they died. Their belief ran so strong it had become part of them like their blood, brain and bones.

The words of their last commandment 400 years earlier and the prophesy of it burned into their souls; (Mal. 4:4-5) “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Rev.19:11-21) The Book of Revelation had not yet been written and in their wildest dreams the Jews could not realize the great and dreadful day of the Lord would be more than 2,000 years into the future. (Dan. 9:25-26) “Messiah will soon rescue us.” was the watchword.

Wherever they were the Jews waited for Elijah. They knew he would be the prophet who would usher in the time when the Lord, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Deliverer, the King of the Jews, would come and deliver them. (Gen. 49:9-10 esp. V.10 keyword: lion) They waited for their warrior King the lion of the tribe of Judah who would slaughter their Gentile (non-Jew) oppressor nations in a well-deserved bloodbath in the great and dreadful day of the Lord, he would restore Israel’s honor and raise Israel to a feared leader of nations like they had been under King David.

(Heb. 3:8-19 esp. V.19 keyword: unbelief) Come hell or high water they would believe nothing else! (Isa. 52:14 thru 53:12 esp. V.7 keywords: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter) In their wildest imaginings they could not comprehend their deliverer King might be a sacrificial lamb!

In spite of all their misfortune the fact Israel still existed as a nation named Judah proved God was still on their side. (Hosea 10:1-10 esp. V.10 keywords: two furrows) The fact some of the survivors of the 10 Lost Tribes (one furrow) taken into bondage still existed in pockets of Judaism in countries scattered all over Western Asia and Southern Europe proved God was still on their side.

One furrow: Wherever they were in their far scattered diaspora settlements throughout the nations of the known world in the bondage of their various diaspora or in Judah (the other furrow) the Jews had their beautiful Abrahamic COVENANT with God, their synagogues, the Law of Moses, the records of their judges, their kings, their prophets, and that proved the God of their fathers was still on their side.

For 725 years the Jews in the diaspora had clung to their covenant, their law, their tradition and their God with an astonishingly stubborn tenacity. (Acts 2:5-11 keywords: Jews, devout men, out of every nation and V.11 in our own tongues) The diaspora Jews were forced to learn the language of whatever nation they resided in just to survive. As generations passed the Hebrew language was forgotten but they were devout Jews and they worshipped the God of their fathers with their new language but in the Hebrew way of their Covenant, their Law and their Traditions.

They didn’t know the God of their fathers had protected them in their diaspora and they were waiting for a Grace Church planter called the Apostle Paul. As a matter of fact they didn’t know what Grace was, they didn’t know what a Grace Church was but (Matt.13:24-30) they did know you did plant wheat and sometimes tares (an injurious weed resembling wheat) came up among the wheat. They didn’t know some of them would be spiritual wheat and some of them would be spiritual tares.

You could torture them to death and they would die with the name of their God on their lips. They were a talented, hard-working people and it was better to leave them alone with their foolishness of worshipping one invisible God because their talent and ability to work added much to whatever society they were in even though many of them were still slaves.

The other furrow: (Matt. 23:37 thru 24:2) The Jews in Judah didn’t know the Roman fury would be unleashed upon them because of their rebellion and in 70 CE, their temple would be destroyed, the stones hauled away, the grounds plowed and salted and in various later waves of assault and destruction the Romans would kill more than a million Jews and in 135 CE their third and final great diaspora would come by the sword of the Romans.

Nor did they know the Romans would erase Judaea (Judah) from their Roman maps and write in the name Palestinia in place of Judaea and that name would be the title of their national land for 1,948 years after the time of Messiah. But here, in their present time, the only thing that mattered was; “We are waiting for Messiah to deliver us!”

Due to the convenience of the Roman Road system and Roman mail system the diaspora Jews and the Jews in Judah were free to mail personal letters back and forth among themselves through the Roman mail system if they paid the proper postage. The Jewish slaves with their owner’s permission and the free Jews, with the correct identity papers, were free to travel throughout the Roman Empire and it was every disbursed Jew’s dream to somehow accumulate the money and find the time to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts of Passover and Pentecost at least 1 time before they died. “We are waiting for Messiah to deliver us!”

PERSONAL LETTERS

(Matt. 2:1-18) A flood of personal letters had come from Jerusalem to Jews in various Jewish settlements in the diaspora that a group of wise men from the east had come to Jerusalem. They said they had seen a star in the east that told them the King of the Jews had been born. Jerusalem was the capital of Judaea (Latin for Judah) and the wise men said they had come to worship the one who had been born to be the King of the Jews; “Where is He?”

The letters said that news had upset Herod the non-Jew, Roman political appointee to the throne of subjugated Judaea “you know how jealous he is of his position, as if a politician could have the right to rule God’s chosen people!” The letters also said when the news of the wise men’s quest got out it had troubled all of Jerusalem.

The Jews knew Herod was a student of Judaism and the letters told how Herod had summoned all the priests and scribes and demanded to know where the Christ (Messiah) should be born. The priests pointed out (Micah 5:2) and told him; “Bethlehem, in Judah”.

When the far flung Jews heard how Herod had tried to trick the wise men so he could discover the identity of the Christ (Messiah) and how the wise men had outsmarted Herod they couldn’t help but laugh. (Micah 5:2-3) They rejoiced and shouted the words of the prophet when they were told a star had led the wise men from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

(Matt. 2:17-18) But they wept bitterly, wailed in sorrow and hoped God would curse Herod when the letters told them how Herod had slaughtered all the children 2 years old and under in Bethlehem. Here and there someone read (Jer. 31:15); “Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

The word of Jeremiah’s prophesy spread and then the arguments started. “Well, I guess that’s the end of God’s plan to make a true King of the Jews! Herod has killed Messiah!” (Hosea 11:1 & Matt. 2:13-15) “No it isn’t, it is prophesy and it will happen. Messiah has somehow escaped”

A few, those whose faith sprang from some deeper well waited breathlessly; “Imagine that, a child is going to destroy Herod, become King of the Jews, defeat the Roman legions, bring us all home and make Israel a world power again just like David did!” THEN THERE WAS NOTHING!

Satan seethed and smothered; “That fool Herod can’t find his nose with both hands and I’m not allowed to tell him Messiah has escaped into Egypt. (Hosea 11:1) “and called my son out of Egypt.” “Herod’s priests have forgotten their own prophesy.” And Satan sulked.

The Jews forgot about it, just another false alarm. For 30 years they worked their work, they attended synagogue, they studied at home, they raised their families, they were born, they died (Matt. 2:16 keywords: in all the coasts) and once in a while some old granny or grandpa would sadly recall the incident when Herod killed the babies in and all around Bethlehem but they couldn’t accurately recall why; “He was just a mean, cruel, selfish king.” There had been so many tragedies in Israel’s bloody history they just sort of ran together and that the coming of Messiah was just another smashed dream.

(Matt. 3:1-12) BUT: At the end of 30 years a few letters from Judaea (Latin for Judah) informed a few friends and family in the diaspora that a “different” prophet named John has risen in Israel. “He is a strange man, he came out of the desert, he said the kingdom of heaven was at hand, he quoted Isaiah (Isa 40:3) and he said to prepare the way of the LORD and make his paths straight.”

(Matt. 3:4) “He’s really a strange prophet, he dresses in hair and leather, he looks half naked, he eats bugs and raids wild bee nests for food. The bees don’t bother him either. He’s got a power about him. He is baptizing people with a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins in the Jordan River but he won’t do it unless they confess their sins and droves of our people here in Judah are coming to him! The Pharisees and Sadducees came to see what he was doing and he called them a generation of vipers!”

“I wonder if he was calling them the seed of Satan. He even said God could raise up seed to Abraham from the rocks along the shore and that implied the Pharisees and Sadducees worshipped our God wrong! He said a mightier man than him was coming who would baptize people with the Holy Ghost!

(Mal. 4:5-6 & Matt. 17:10-13) Do you think God has finally sent Elijah back? Baptism is supposed to be done through the synagogue but when John finished accusing the Pharisees and the Sadducees they didn’t say a word. He even hinted they were worthless as chaff and he said they would burn if they didn’t flee the wrath to come! They were in shock from his audacity.”

(Matt. 3:13-17) Another letter said; “You won’t believe this but a man named Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized but John said he needed to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus told John to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness and John baptized him. There is something special about Jesus, really special.”

“Jesus didn’t confess any sin and John didn’t mention repentance! Even the priests offer sin offerings and confess their sins! (Lev. 16:11-34 esp. V.17) Even the high priest has to offer a blood sacrifice for sin for himself every year before he can go behind the veil to the holiest of holies and offer the blood for the people! #1) Does this mean Jesus is a higher priest than the high priest? Our high priests, Caiaphas and Annas, are appointed by Rome. What can it mean?”

Several of the letters written by various people to those in the diaspora included; “I was there at the Jordan and after Jesus was baptized I heard a thunder voice from heaven that had to be from God and it said; “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” I know I heard it. I know I did. Something extraordinary is happening here in Judaea!”

In another personal letter a more studious Jew wrote; “When you trace the name of this Jesus (Yeshua) back into our old language it is Iesous and is essentially the same name as our warrior leader Joshua #2) (Ex. 16:1 thru 17:13) who fought to bring Israel through the wilderness of sin. (Josh. 5:2-8) Joshua who circumcised Israel when they crossed the Jordan River more than 1,200 years ago. (Josh. 5:13 thru 6:3) Joshua who led Israel in their war to take the Promised Land and #3) Iesous is also the same name as the great prophet we now call Isaiah.”

#1 above) Is this man Jesus some type of greater high priest than what we have? #2) Is Jesus a greater leader than Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land? #3) Is Jesus a greater prophet than Isaiah? Don’t forget the man they now call John is named Yochanan in Hebrew and it means “YAHWEH is gracious”. My dear brother, do you think it is possible we might be blessed to live in the time when Messiah will come and deliver Israel?

(John 21:25) In the next few years the flood of personal letters back and forth between Israel and the diaspora increased into a veritable torrent because Jesus (Iesous) was setting all of Israel on fire with his miracles, his teaching and some even swore they had seen him raise the dead and walk on water. “He can even cast out devils, cleanse leprosy and control the weather.”

Then the letters brought the shocking news that Jesus had been tortured, crucified and murdered by the Romans on the Friday just on the edge of the feast of Passover that commemorated (Ex. 12:5-14) the blood of the lamb that had protected the Hebrews and freed them from bondage in Egypt. “Several people called Jesus the Lamb of God. (Isa. 52:14 thru 53:12 esp. V7 keyword: lamb) Isaiah wrote about a lamb. And the awful torture they did to Jesus fits Isaiah’s prophesy. What does this mean?”

“I saw him after he came back from the dead and there are witnesses everywhere, more than 500 at one time, who swear they saw the resurrected Christ, they touched him, they heard him talk, they saw him walk and he ate and drank! Jesus beat death! He came back! His inner circle of 11 disciples said they had touched him, walked with him, ate with him and had seen him lifted up into heaven! This seeing, hearing, touching and eating with Jesus went on for 40 days before Jesus was lifted up into heaven.”

Disappointment, depression, questions, anxiety, mockery, hope, ridicule, belief and unbelief, consternation and confusion ran rampant through Jewry.

There wasn’t much time but many Jews in the diaspora pulled every string they could and spent every penny they had to get to Israel for this feast of Pentecost (the 50th day after Passover). They wanted to walk where Jesus the miracle worker had walked, they wanted to see where he had performed his miracles, they wanted to talk to the witnesses, SOMETHING DREW THEM TO ISRAEL AND THEY WENT.

THE DISCIPLES (learners) BECOME APOSTLES (sent ones)

(Luke 24:49-53) Jesus’ last command to the 11 disciples had been; “And, behold, I send the promise of my father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Then they silently followed Jesus out to Bethany where Jesus lifted up his hands and blessed them and was parted from them when he was carried up into heaven.

They worshipped him (Acts 1:9-11) and while they were staring upward toward heaven 2 men in white apparel suddenly stood beside them and said; “Why are you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” And the men disappeared.

Bethany is on the west facing slope of the Mount of Olives and faces the east gate of Jerusalem. The disciples started down the dusty road toward Jerusalem as they had been commanded, their sandals puffing up tiny clouds of dust. It wasn’t far to Jerusalem and it makes one wonder what they discussed while they walked that dusty road into their tomorrows.

(Acts 1:10-11) One of the disciples surely muttered; “The angels told us Bethany is the place of Jesus’ leaving and Bethany will be the place of Jesus’ returning when he returns in his glory.” Another disciple grunted agreement and quoted from the writing of the prophet Ezekiel; (Ezek. 43:1-12 esp. V.4) “And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.”

(Zech. 14:1-9) And yet a third quoted a partial prophesy; “All the nations shall gather to fight against Jerusalem, the city shall be taken, but the Lord shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, he shall it cleave in the midst until there is a great valley while he fights those nations. Bethany is a place where the Lord shall do battle.” A thoughtful stillness came over them. (Joel 3:1-21 esp. V.2 & 12 keyword: Jehosaphat defined the Lord has judged) Then one whispered; “The prophet wrote the Lord will gather all nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat and judge the heathen there.

(Joel 3:14) Another asked; “Do you think it is here at Bethany (Joel 3:2) that the Lord shall make a valley of Jehoshaphat and he will gather all nations in his own valley of decision to judge all the heathen for how they have treated the Jews?”

The bold one made them all jump when he shouted; “Of course it is! The Brook of Kidron (to be dark, mourn) right here in front of us between the Mount of Olives and the temple mount flows east from this eastern side of Jerusalem through the Judean Desert to the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) (2Ki. 21:24 thru 23:25) Read the scriptures! Josiah was made king when he was 8 years old, when he was 18 years old he saw the holy covenant book of law and Shaphan the scribe read it to him.”

“Josiah was horrified, he tore his clothes and went wild with anger that Israel had descended into such a state of sin. He gathered all of Israel including the priests and prophets and he read to them the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Then Josiah the king “made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul.”

“Then Josiah cleansed Israel of idolatry, the sodomites, groves, child sacrifice to Moloch, idolater’s altars, the high places, the corruptions of Solomon, and the images of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom. He did it with great slaughter and filled those places with dead men’s bones. When he burned it all he poured the ashes into the Brook of Kidron. Jesus will do the same when he comes back to judge the world. I hope I’m alive to see it!”

(Acts 7:56 & 1Thess. 4:13-18 then Rev. 16:1 thru 19:21) Maybe, just maybe, yonder in his glory Jesus whispered; “You will be Simon Peter, you will be alive then.”

After Simon’s outburst they were silent for a while (John 11:1-45 esp. V.43-44) then someone spoke; “Bethany is a place of the raising of the dead because Jesus raised Lazarus from his grave here. I wonder why Jesus said Lazarus come forth?” Another snorted; “If Jesus hadn’t said Lazarus come forth all of the dead would have come forth.”

(John 11:46-48) Someone bitterly spoke; “Remember those fools who didn’t understand what their eyes had seen, they ran blabbing to the Pharisees about what Jesus had done so they could curry favor with that powerful sect? That’s when the plot to kill Jesus started!”

(Matt. 26:6-13) A few moments of silence and then; “It was here at Bethany that Jesus visited the house of Simon the leper. It was in Simon’s house (John 12:1-10) that Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with costly spikenard and dried his feet with her hair. That perfumed ointment filled the house with its pleasant odour. Bethany is a place of the Lord’s anointing. Remember the crowd that gathered to see Lazarus eat supper with Jesus after Jesus raised him from the dead?”

Another spoke harshly; “Yes, and do you remember that traitor Judas pitching a fit because the spikenard could have been sold for a lot of money, that thief.”

A third spoke; “It was good to see Simon the leper, whom Jesus healed, invite Jesus to come to take supper with him and to let Mary and Martha use his kitchen to cook. While he was leprous Simon could never have had any company because lepers are unclean and are shunned outcasts in Israel. Bethany is a place of eating supper with the resurrected and the healed.”

(Luke 19:29-48) Another said; “Remember, it was here at Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, where Jesus waited while two of us went to get the colt he knew would be waiting, we made Jesus a soft riding seat out of our garments. (Ezek. 43:1-4) Bethany is the place of Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate at the beginning of Holy Week."

"Remember how so many of our people rushed to us when we approached the Eastern Gate? (Mark 11:8) They honored Jesus by spreading their garments before Jesus (2Ki. 9:1 esp. V.13 thru 10:28 esp. V.28) just like the Hebrews spread their garments for Jehu after God anointed Jehu to be king of Israel, to kill Jezebel, to smite the house of Ahab and to destroy Baal out of Israel.”

(Matt. 21:10-17) Somebody else said; “After we entered Jerusalem Jesus went into the temple and cast out all them that bought and sold in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and he said unto them, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

"And then he healed the blind and the lame as they came into the temple. Jesus claimed the temple, God’s house, as his own" (the holy place in Jerusalem, where God used to reside before Israel’s sin caused him to leave, the temple; they’d had no word from God for 400 years- 1Tim. 2:5-6 - and then God walked among them on the human side of the veil).

In quiet excitement one of the others exclaimed; “That’s when the children cried out in the temple saying, “Hosanna (adoration, praise, joy) to the son of David” and the chief priests and scribes were sore displeased. But Jesus interpreted the (8th Psalm, Verse 2) to them; “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” then Jesus went back to lodge in Bethany. The Lord rested in Bethany and preached the whole week in Jerusalem until they took him to trial.”

It’s a shame and disgrace, (1Tim. 3:16 keywords: God was manifest in the flesh) the children recognized God had come back home to the temple but the priests did not!

“Bethany is the place of Jesus’ lodging after he cleansed the temple, received accolades from the children even though the chief priests condemned it (Matt. 21:18-27 esp. V. 15 & 18-19 keywords: children and fig tree) and the next morning he withered the fig tree when he was on his way to teach in the temple. (Matt. 18:3) I wonder if the children represent some kind of New Jerusalem and the fig tree represents old Jerusalem, is it prophesy?

The disciples didn’t realize it yet but they had solved the mystery of why there is no concrete, satisfactory definition for the word Bethany in any language nor can the scholars find a positively known source for the origin of the word Bethany.

THE APOSTLE PAUL

(Acts 1:12-26) (V.12-13) The 11 disciples of Jesus’ inner circle reached Jerusalem from Bethany and went to an upper room where they lived. (V.14-15) Several other disciples gathered there with them until there were about 120 and they were in prayer and supplication while they waited for the Feast of Pentecost to begin (Ex. 23:16 & Lev. 23:16-22 Jewish name “Shavuot” called the feast of harvest and ingathering and also the feast of weeks and the celebration is tied to God giving to Moses the 10 Commandments and the Law on Mt. Sinai among other things).

(V. 16-26) During that time in the upper room Peter stood up and convinced them they needed to elect a disciple to replace Judas and they elected Matthias. The Holy Spirit had not been given to guide them and they obviously made a mistake. Evidence: (Rev. 4:10) There are only 24 elders who have crowns, 12 for the Israelite patriarchs (Jews) who originated “physical Israel” and 12 for the apostles (Jews) who originated the “spiritual church”. (Acts 1:20) Judas lost his.

(1Cor. 12:18) God sets his servants in the church as it pleases him. (Gal. 1:1) Paul was an apostle. (Acts 22:10 & Gal. 1:15-18 keywords: three years) Paul obviously went into Arabia where Damascus was located to spend a 3 year span of time with Jesus just like the other 11 disciples had been with Jesus before his ascension into heaven to take his throne. (Gal. 1:21) Afterwards Paul started his ministry.

After the Holy Spirit came (Rom. 1:16 keywords: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: defined Gentiles) the apostles were sent specifically to the Jews first and later to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48 esp. V.45) with Simon Peter being among the first.

(Acts 9:15 & 22:21 keywords: I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles) Paul was commissioned to go to the Gentiles (Acts 21:17-25 esp. V.21) but according to scripture as he went to different towns in different nations he preached in the temples (synagogues) of the Jews in their diaspora first to form a nucleus of Jewish converts to Christianity who would lead their churches and take the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles after Paul moved on. The harvest and ingathering was underway!

WHY? Why the Jews first? (John 4:22) Because salvation is of the Jews. WHY? God chose to develop the Jewish race through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel and the 12 patriarchs (Rom. 3:1-2) and unto the Jews God chose to commit the oracles (utterance) of God. God chose to commit to the Jews the record of man, the covenant of God, the Law of Moses, the Judges, the kings and the prophesies of God.

God chose to reveal himself and his plan through the Jews. God chose that there be no other way to know him except through the Jews who was the bloodline (lineage) that produced Jesus. At that time nobody else, ever, in the whole world except the lineage of the Jews knew anything concrete about God.

(Acts 21:26 thru 23:10) Some of the Jews were the first converts to Christianity and other Jews were the first persecutors of Christians. WHY? (Gen. 17:7-8, 32:28-32 & Ex. 19:1-11) God selected Israel by building a race of people through his covenant with Abraham to introduce monotheism (worship of one God) and the reality of God’s existence to the world.

(Rom. 1:16) God was fair and He offered His eternal salvation through the blood of Jesus to the Jews first because everything about their Jewish law, prophesies, judges and kings pointed to Messiah (Jesus) coming from them and that they as a nation had been prepared to evangelize the world.

Only a relatively few Jews chose to believe and carry the message that Jesus, the Son of God, was the Messiah but Israel as a nation, (John 11:47-48) led by their priesthood and Pharisees, rejected Jesus and Christianity as a threat to their religion and nation thus many of them persecuted the Christians, (Acts 5:33-42) but many of them didn’t.

(Matt. 23:37 thru 24:2) The Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 CE and Judah was destroyed by the Romans, the name Judaea (Judah) was removed from their maps and renamed Palestine between 70 and 126 CE but Judah had lasted long enough to provide the world with the Saviour and his church. Both Christianity and Judaism survived the Roman holocaust as religions.

(Acts 2:1-4) The Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost enabling the disciples to speak with other tongues (unlearned languages) (Acts 2:5-11) and all those visiting Jews mentioned above, (V.5) from every nation, who had assimilated into the languages of the nations of the diaspora, presently temporarily living in Jerusalem (V.6) heard the apostles speak to them in their own language.

(Acts 9:1-18) Jesus would select Paul to be an apostle some time later (Acts 8:1-4 esp. V.1 & 3 keyword: Saul) after Paul persecuted and scattered the church the first apostles had planted at Jerusalem. Paul is the anglicized Greek name of the Jewish name Saul.

Paul was ideally equipped to be sent to the Gentiles. (Acts 22:3) He was highly educated (1Cor. 14:18) and when empowered by the Holy Spirit he had no problem with the languages in the various countries in which he preached. He obviously had a deep understanding of Greek culture and could relate to the culturally Hellenized Mediterranean world.

(Acts 22:25-28) He was a Roman citizen and was free to move throughout that same Roman politically and militarily controlled world under Roman protection. (Acts 23:6) Most of all he was a powerful, well-connected Pharisee (Acts 22:3) educated (Acts 5:34) by Gamaliel, a famous doctor in the Jewish law, and Paul obviously had many connections in various temples (synagogues) throughout the known world.

(Acts 9:1-18) Jesus gave Paul a choice between staying blind or obeying and having his sight returned. (Acts 9:15 & 22:21 keywords: I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles) Then just as he had said on the Damascus Road Jesus sent Paul on his missionary journeys and it was on one of those journeys that he planted the church at Philadelphia.

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