Since Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, do we have any role in this?

Verses will be quoted and afterward my comments with original words and other English translations:

A. Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the (author and finisher) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

COMMENT: Being the author (archegos/chief leader, predecessor) and finisher (teleiotes/consummated, perfecter, set before us the highest example of faith)… means that he started or originated this faith, and he consummated or “perfected” it. As important as our individual faiths in God are, it’s the faith (of) Jesus, the only faith that counts and makes any difference. Notice the following verses:

Romans 3:22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith (of) Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe”. His faith is imputed to us all.

Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith (of) Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Notice, “even we have believed in” JC).

Galatians 3:22 “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith (of) Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Notice, because of faith of JC that the promise of the Holy Spirit was given).

Philippians 3:9 “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith (of) Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”

B. Phil..1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform/ (epiteleo,complete) it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

COMMENT: Paul was expressing his v-20 “… earnest expectation..” God’s work in this period of time will be completed (Jesus the finisher) by the time (until) Jesus returns. In this period of time, prior to Jesus’ second coming, God is working in us, having started this work through the Spirit given to us. This work will be completed for the “firstfruits” or “first harvest”, but not for all, in this period of time. At the second coming, there will be “work” that continues for a Millenium, for the “latter fruits or “second harvest”.

The assumption that God, being most powerful, will be the sole deciding factor in our faith, smacks down and takes away our free will. No one will be coerced into submission. The Father does not want “robots”. Such an enormous and magnificent “gift” will not be forced onto us. Proof of the matter comes with what happened to the “first begotten Son of God”, Jesus. At the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42), he was not forced to “drink the cup”, even when he himself acknowledged that as far as he was concerned, he would “Let this cup pass”. But, the action he took was his free will, and humbly asked God the Father, “Let it be your will and not mine”.

As Jesus (not just the Father) was also a deciding factor, similarly our role cannot be negated; but voluntarily we should “all” say, “Let it be God’s will”. That is why, as Jesus has faith in the Father, we also have to have faith, even when the only faith that counts is the faith (of) Jesus, that faith being the original, the start and the complete one. Remember, “from faith-to-faith”.

“The publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you?”

What did Jesus mean when He said, “The publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you?”Matthew 21:31

ESV – 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

The context in Matt 21 is about their “nature” and Jesus can see through their “hearts”. The key difference between them and the chief priests and Pharisees are found in the examples and comments Jesus gave:
1. Repentance= Matt:21:29 “He answered… I will not: but afterward he repented, and went”. See also v-32.
2. Belief = Matt.21:32 “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him:” 
3. Fruits= Matt:21:43 “..,the fruits thereof.”
They “will go before them” because Jesus knew that it will be “easier” for publicans and harlots to believe, repent and express good “fruits” than the chief priests and Pharisees who even “sought to lay hands on him” (Matt 21:45-46).
It is about “timetable” for salvation. Each one at their own time already known to God.

Crucifixion/Resurrection?

Controversy continues as to the day of crucifixion and resurrection. That these happened is generally believed by many. But, does it matter when? Respectfully, I think it does.

Fundamental issues to resolve are:
1. Three days and three nights, Jesus was dead as Jonah was in the belly of the fish.
As written, ““For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”(Jonah 1:17).

“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:1-10)

The preceding narrative suggests that Jonas cried (Jo.2:2 ) as Jesus “cried out”(Matt.27:50) before they died and both “brought up my (to) life from corruption(death)” ( Jo. 2:6; Lu.24:3) as both were resurrected “three days and three nights”.

Why is this of a seminal event? Because the Jonas event is the only proof to that “evil and adulterous generation” that Jesus is the Messiah (Matt.12:39-40;16:4). Without this proof that it happened the way he described it, will cast doubt about him being the prophesied Savior.

2. Which Sabbath was referred to, annual or weekly?

In Lu. 23:54-56 “And that day was the “preparation”, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the “sabbath day” according to the commandment.”

Since Christ is the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29) and our Passover (I Cor. 5:7), then he had to be sacrificed on Nisan 14. According to Ex. 12:3-11, Nisan 14 is the day the Passover Lamb was killed. Following that day, starting sunset to sunset, is the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15. This feast of unleavened bread has to be observed for 7 days, with the 1st and 7th day, as “annual Sabbath”.

Jesus was killed on “preparation day” (Passover day) and was buried towards the end of that day, Nisan 14, as the “annual Sabbath drew on”, Nisan 15.

The women had to “rest” that “annual” Sabbath of rest, Nisan 15, “according to the commandment” and therefore has to “prepare spices and ointments” sometime Nisan 16, a non-sabbath day. Then they rested on a “weekly” Sabbath (Saturday) Nisan 17.

There were 2 Sabbaths that week and year, an annual and weekly Sabbath of rest.

3. What day did Christ resurrect and when was the crucifixion ?

Notice that Mary, Joanna, Mary Magdalene and other women were bringing the spices and ointments “very early in the morning the 1st day of the week”(Sunday, Nisan 18), and the body was “not found”, the “stone that sealed the tomb rolled down” and “Peter running towards the sepulcher” confirmed this (Lu. 24:1-12).

With the preceding facts, one can see clearly that following the “only sign of Jonas” having been buried towards the end of the day(sunset), Jesus must have resurrected after complete “3 days and 3 nights” also towards the end of the day(sunset). Since the “body was not found “very early morning of Sunday the 1st day of the week, Nisan 18, therefore the resurrection was Nisan 17, a weekly Sabbath, towards the end of that day, sunset. The crucifixion or death of Christ had to be Nisan 14 (Passover killed), Wednesday, before the “annual Sabbath, Nisan 15.

4. What is the “third day” referred to in the “Emmaus walk” narrative?
This day could not be Sunday the first day of the week as this was the 4th day from crucifixion and burial, not the 3rd day.

The narrative states that 2 disciples reached Emmaus on the 3rd day. The “third day” was the 3rd from Sunday when they started the trip from Jerusalem (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). The “day was far spent” (Tuesday towards sunset and to begin the following start of Wedneday nightime) so they invited the resurrected Jesus to eat with them. And they started to rest that Wednesday night as it was the start of the 7th day of Unleavened bread, an annual sabbath, also a “rest day”. See also, Feast of Unleavened Bread in Lev 23:5-8 proving that Nisan 15 and Nisan 21 are annual or high Sabbaths.

Therefore, the “third day” has to be after Sunday, i.e., towards the end of Tuesday, the day prior to the beginning of Wednesday, the annual Sabbath Nisan 21(last day of UB). This then makes the “Emmaus walk” 3 days long, no matter how many miles the “distance from Jerusalem to the true Emmaus village”.
(http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/emmaus.html).

5. What year and date was the crucifixion/resurrection? 
Knowing that Nisan 14 crucifixion was Wednesday and Nisan 17 was Saturday, can the calendar at that time confirm these days? The best calendar to show the years of Jesus’ ministry can be accessed in:

http://www.studiesintheword.org/chart_22-36AD.htm

http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/data-services/spring-phenom 
http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/Passover_dates.htm.

Notice that in Molad years 23, 26, 30 and 33 AD, Nisan 14 (Crucifixion) was on Wednesday. Therefore, Nisan 17 towards sunset was Saturday, weekly Sabbath , when he was resurrected. And, on Nisan 18 Sunday the first of the week, Jesus’ “body was not found”. As to which exact year, one may have to research further.

Moreover, according to Lu. 3:23, Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry after baptism at river Jordan which lasted 3 1/2 years. As E. Martin and others (1, 2,3) suggested that Jesus was born on Rosh Hashanah, Sept 11, 3BC, then his ministry was from 27 AD-31AD. Taking all things into consideration, then the year most likely was on 30 AD , month of March or April and his birthday may have to be re-evaluated.

REFERENCES:
1. Martin, Ernest: Star that Astonished the World, 2nd Ed; ISBN 0-945657-87-0, 1995
2. Retrieved from:http://cortright.org/revsign.htm
3. Retrieved from:http://cortright.org/birth.htm

Is the Emmaus walk on a Sunday, the resurrection day?

Is the “Emmaus walk” on a Sunday the resurrection day?
The shot answer is “No”. As an explanation, please follow me through on this.

In Luke 24:13-35, that “same day” (v-13) when the 2 disciples started to walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus was the day part of Sunday. “When they went” has to be after they knew “all that had happened” including the resurrection. That day had to be Sunday when it was confirmed by “Peter and the women”(Lu.24:12).They knew this “empty tomb” (v-23-24) through the women who were there early sunrise of Sunday. With Wednesday Nisan 14 crucifixion, and as “Jonas was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish”(Matt.12:39-40), Jesus already resurrected towards the end of Saturday going towards the beginning night part of Sunday. According to the biblical account, Emmaus is “three score furlongs”, which can be 7 miles walk (www.metric-conversions.org/length/furlongs-to-miles.htm)) or 19 miles from Jerusalem (http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/emmaus.html). Whatever many miles it took to travel “60 furlongs” during that time, the key is that it must have taken “days”.

However, the narrative states that they reached Emmaus on the 3rd day. The “third day” was the 3rd from Sunday when they started the trip from Jerusalem ( Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). The “day was far spent” (v-29,Tuesday towards sunset and to begin the following start of Wedneday nightime) so they invited the resurrected Jesus to eat (v-30) with them. And they started to rest that Wednesday night as it was the start of the 7th day of Unleavened bread, an annual sabbath, also a “rest day”. See also, Feast of Unleavened Bread in Lev 23:5-8 proving that Nisan 15 and Nisan 21 are annual or high Sabbaths

Different God in Old and New Testament?

Indeed they are different as they are distinct and separate although “one”. But, before answering “why” they are, we need to know “who” the God referred to by the writers of the O.T and the N.T.

Remember, that the God of the Old Testament is the Creator God, as in “In the beginning Elohim(God) created the heavens and the earth.”(Gen. 1:1).

The Hebrew word “Elohim” translated in English as “God” is a generic name. And, according to Moses, the writer of the Pentateuch, this particular Creator Elohim was specifically named proprietarily as YHVH Elohim, as in “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God (YHVH Elohim) made the earth and the heavens,”(Gen 2:4).

Furthermore, YHVH Elohim introduced himself with a different name, as El Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but to Moses he was known as YHVH (Ex.6:2-3).

In the Shema doctrine(Deut.6:4; 11:13–17; Num.15:41), YHVH is the one and only Elohim to be worshipped as he is above all “gods” (Ps 95:3; 96:4;97:9;135:5; Ex. 15:11; IChr. 16:25). This means that, while there are many gods (polytheism), and unlike other nations of that time, Israel has to be monotheistic and worship only one God, this specific YHVH ELOHIM.

Fast forward to the N.T, according to the writer John, this Creator God (YHVH ELOHIM) was further named in Greek as “LOGOS” translated in English as “Word”, and further differentiated from the Father who was “THEOS” in Greek. Notice, “In the beginning was the Word(Logos), and the Word was with God (Theos), and the Word was God (Theos). The same was in the beginning with God (Theos). All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”(John 1:1-3).

From the preceding, as the word Elohim was generic, so was the word Theos. But, to further specify who the specific Elohim was in the O.T., YHVH ELOHIM was used to refer to the Creator. YHVH ELOHIM in the O.T. was the only God to be worshipped by Israel at that time until the Father was declared in the N.T., as in John 4:21-25.

But, to refer to Jesus or the Father, the generic “Theos” was further delineated as such: “And the Word ( Logos) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Furthermore, Paul differentiated the Father as Theos and Jesus as Lord, as in Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God (Theos) and Father of our Lord (kyrios)”Jesus Christ,”

Likewise, Peter differentiated the two, as in “Blessed be the God(Theos) and Father of our Lord (kyrios) Jesus Christ,”(I Pet. 1:3)

This Creator God, YHVH ELOHIM, Logos, incarnated into the man-Jesus, identified as Kyrios Theos (Lord God). As Jesus was the only one who saw God the Father, rightfully he was the only one to introduce and “declare” the Father to us, as in, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”(John 1:18). The Father God was not declared before incarnation except as “Ancient of days” (Dan.7:9-14) and even in that, it was a prophetic vision, not an official introduction as Jesus did.

But notice this, while in the O.T., YHVH ELOHIM was the only God to be worshipped, not others, this time, Jesus said in John 4:21-25 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he”. Here , Jesus confirmed he is the Messiah and that true worshippers shall worship the Father.

This corroborates the fact that the God of the Old Testament to be worshipped was YHVH ELOHIM as he was worshipped in Matthew 2:11, 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38, 20:28, being a deity. But now (“the hour comes and now is”), Jesus himself directed and commanded us to worship the one and only Father God. Even Paul wrote that the “one God” is the Father and The Lord is Jesus, as in I Cor. 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Paul said “one God, the Father” to worship, even as Jesus is also God.

On being ONE, Jesus (our Lord God) and God the Father are NOT one person, as we (being many) will be “one” with them, as well, as in: John 17:11, 22-23 “Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are. Also, I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. I in union with them and you in union with me, in order that they may be perfected into one, that the world may have the knowledge that you sent me forth and that you loved them just as you loved me.”

As to why YHVH ELOHIM in the O.T. appeared to be very strict with Israel following the laws, it was because his function as a parent/creator was to show from Adam on, that the man to follow all the commandments was the man-Jesus, not anybody else. The Ten Commandments, according to Paul, were “a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ” (Gal.3:24), i.e., for Christ to teach us that he was the “man” to fulfill all the commandments and to die so that in faith we can be justified and reconciled to God the Father. As we ourselves are adamant to our child to follow us in our “dictates” of good behavior, so was YHVH ELOHIM as we were still “spiritual-children”(I Cor. 3:2; I Pet.2:2). But, in the N.T. the role of YHVH ELOHIM was as a Messiah, Passover, and as a man to be meek and obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8-18). Moreover, his role was to “declare”(Jn.1:18) God the Father to us and his love(John 1:1).

In summary, Elohim the creator has many names, viz., El Shaddai, YHVH ELOHIM, LOGOS, MESSIAH, PASSOVER, depending upon his function. Yet, in Heb. 18:3, “He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The roles of YHVH Elohim (Lord God), were different in the O.T. and the N.T., yet consistent with the plan of salvation. This particular Elohim was the God referred to in the O.T. Whereas, the Father was the God referred to, in general, in the N.T. They are indeed different, yet “one”, as we are all different, yet “one” with our Lord God Jesus and our God the Father.

Gospel of Jesus?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the “good news” of the “coming kingdom of God” which is synonymous with the “coming salvation”.

This was prophesied and first announced after Jesus was imbued with the Holy Spirit (Mk. 1:1-25;Matt.3:2). Jesus needed this in-dwelling of the HS and the Father’s pronouncement identifying him as “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Mk.1:10-11). Jesus is the rightful “messenger” of the gospel of God the Father.

This “gospel of Christ” manifests the “power of God(Father) unto salvation to everyone that believes”(Rom. 1:16). This gospel is about “how salvation comes about”.

This power of God the Father shows us how to “enter” the Kingdom of God, meaning how to be saved. “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19, 20). The “righteousness of God” is the “righteousness of faith”, by faith “of” Jesus (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-31; 5:1), who started it; He is the “author and finisher of our faith”(Heb. 12:2). And, this faith of Jesus continues “from faith to faith”(Rom.1:17). Meaning, we have to have faith in Jesus and by extension, faith in the promise of God the Father

Notice that the “kingdom of God” is still future, “the kingdom of God is near” (Lu. 21:31). Similarly, salvation is still future. While we are “saved by faith”, it only means the mechanism of how we are saved and not the “actual salvation” itself. Salvation is about “being” in the “kingdom of God”. How so?

Remember that everything is about the faith “of” Jesus who started it all. But, faith in whom and in what? Faith in the Father that what was promised to Creator YHVH ELOHIM (Logos, Jesus) will be fulfilled. And what was promised?

Looking back at Genesis narrative, God the Father was the Creator of and “purposed” all (Heb.1:2; Eph. 3:9-11), although creation was done actually by the Word/Logos or YHVH ELOHIM(Almighty God; Heb. 11:3) who incarnated into man-Jesus. The original plan was “purposed” by the Father (Eph. 3:11).The Creator God knew that created human beings, Adam & Eve, and for that matter all mankind, would sin against him. Mankind therefore has to be reconciled to the Father.

The “covenant” between the Father and YHVH ELOHIM/Creator Logos was for man to be “kingdom of God”. And for this to occur the Creator Logos has to incarnate into man-Jesus, die for mankind as a “reconciliation” event. Reconciliation did not actually “save”us, but positioned us to the state of Adam before he sinned. Having been reconciled, the “dead Jesus” would be resurrected to life so that we “shall be saved by his life”(Rom. 5:10); “shall” meaning not yet and still future”.

What has this resurrection of Jesus accomplished? Being alive, he can then “go to the Father” and receive the “promise of the Holy Spirit” to be sent to us (Jn. 16:7). The Holy Spirit is a “must” as the “flesh is weak”(Mk.14:38), and needed “re-doing like a Potter to marred clay” (Jer. 18:4;Heb. 2:6; Ps.8:4).

The in-dwelling of the HS in us, will “seal, sanctify, guide, teach, and give us power” to have the “mind of Christ”(Rom. 12:2; Phil. 2:5-11;2 Tim. 1:7) and “conformed in the likeness of his Son Jesus”(Rom. 8:29). Yes, we shall be like “his Son”(I Jn 3:2-3), different from each other and unique, yet “one”(I Cor. 12:12;Rom. 12:4).

Taking the Genesis creation of man into consideration, God has initially created an “image and likeness of YHVH ELOHIM”. This “image” however was just a “temple or template” for the Holy Spirit to in-dwell after first in-dwelling in Jesus at the river Jordan. Eventually, God planned for mankind not to stay as “an image” only. Instead, we will be like him in spirit-body, “put on immortality”, “one with him” as the “future world” will not be subjected again to angels but to us (Heb. 2:5).

This is the “gospel/good news”, the plan of “salvation”, for us to be in the “God-kingdom”, not in the “plant-kingdom”, nor the “animal kingdom

Still Physical Death, Why?

Humans were created “matter-composed”(from dust, earthy), not “spirit-composed”. As matter, man is mortal and can die, unlike “spirit-body” that is immortal. We were created as an “image” (Gen. 1:27) of the immortal God, although “matter-composed” we will be “like him” (I John 3:2), in the future, spirit-body and immortal. The “image” is “earthy”, meaning from dust or earth and unlike man-Jesus “from above” (I Cor. 15:46-48), who came from heaven and not formed on earth nor of ” dust of the ground”. But, at resurrection Paul states that we will change into immortality (I Cor. 15:51-57), “spirit-composed body”, like Jesus’ body post resurrection.

Sin did not need to be committed for us to die. Genesis 2:17 does not refer to 1st death that is “physical” and has resurrection, but to “eternal death”, wherein there is no more resurrection. All humans will die as man-Jesus died but resurrected “spirit-bodily”. Anyone who got resurrected to physical body (as Lazarus and others” John 11:14; Lu.7:15; 8:51-56;Acts 9:40-41;20:9-12) and died again, will again experience resurrection, whether to life or judgment. There is a first and second (or 3rd) resurrection as there is first and eternal death. See Rev. 20:4-6, v-14).

Meanwhile, the Spirit of God (Jn 16:7-8) that was promised by the Father after Jesus’ death and resurrection, will “in-dwell” to humans as it did to the apostles and others at Pentecost for the purpose of (v-6) “will reprove (elencho/rebuke) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. The spirit will also help us discern spiritual things (I Cor.2:14-16 ), as eyeglasses help poor vision and hearing aids for poor hearing ( Matt. 13:9-17; Mk. 4:9; Rev. 3:22), “empower” us “to heal the sick, raise the dead, etc.” and express the “fruits of the Spirit”( Gal. 5:22-23).

This is the “spirit” guiding us to follow the Law, “written” by this Spirit (2 Cor. 3:3) in the “fleshly tables of our heart(mind)”, not in “tables of stone” and as promised, the “new covenant” (Heb. 8:7-13). This Spirit is giving us the “mind of Christ” ( Phil. 2:5-11), so we will be “one” with him as he is “one” with the Father ( John 17:21).