DiM | “All of Creation” by MercyMe

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

Today’s song comes via reader-submission. We’ll be reviewing the song “All of Creation” by MercyMe. This is a very short song. I love this song very much. It serves as a reminder for some of the core promises of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You might be wondering, “then why is it not on the ‘Approved’ list?” It doesn’t proclaim the Gospel clearly. Only believers with sound doctrine will clearly understand the references in context. I don’t think it can be negatively misinterpreted very easily… just that if your theology is immature or heterodox, you’ll miss the beauty of the song and the encapsulation of the Gospel therein. Let’s give the song a listen and then look at the lyric and the passages of scripture it invokes.

VEVO Official Audio


Lyric (via MetroLyrics)

Separated until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

and all of creation sing with me now
lift up your voice and lay your burden down
and all of creation sing with me now
fill up the heavens let his glory resound

Time has faded and we see him face to face
every doubt erased forever we will worship the king

[repeat chorus]

ohh ah ohhh…ohh ah ohhh

the reason we breathe is to sing of his glory
and for all he has done praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one

[repeat chorus 2x]

and every knee will bow oh and every tongue praise the father praise the son and the spirit in one

Muckala, Daniel John / Millard, Bart / Bryson, Jim / Cochran, Nathan / Graul, Barry / Scheuchzer, Mike / Shaffer, Robby / Bannister, Brown

Published by
Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., MUSIC SERVICES, INC.


Okay, I find it odd that such a short song has so many writers credited. In this case, it’s neither a pro or con, just an observation.

Verse 1. Here we have a reference to the veil of separation between God and sinful man being torn in the Christ’s flesh on the cross. There are a few passages we can review for this. Let’s begin by looking at the referent, the rending of the Temple Veil that separated the Most Holy Place (The Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept) from the Holy Place within the Temple.

Matthew 27:45-54 (ESV) | The Death of Jesus

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.*

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

* John 19:30(ESV) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I added the asterisk to include my favorite three words, “It is finished” from John’s account… such a comfort to me. Now, the letter to the Hebrews spends a great deal of time expounding on the significance of the torn curtain or veil and how Christ’s finished work on the cross brought the Mosaic Covenant to an end and enacted the New Covenant of His Blood. I encourage you to read through the whole book, but for now let’s read a portion from chapter 10.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV) | The Full Assurance of Faith

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, though Israel was the chosen People of God access to the Most Holy place was strictly limited to a human High Priest as a mediator between God’s children and God and only once a year. But Christ didn’t need to be perfected or cleaned, for He is the Son of God, and He became our Perfect mediator and in Christ we have access to the Most Holy Throne of God. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, also used this reference to encourage the Gentile believers in Ephesus. You see, the Old Covenant stood also as a barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Ephesians 2 (ESV)

By Grace Through Faith
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One in Christ
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.


Verse 2. This verse, I think, refers to Paul’s description of our status as beleivers in Romans 6.

Romans 6:17-19 (ESV) But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

We are bound to righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus, not by chains of sin. Paul goes on in this letter to describe our condition in this life as simultaneously sinner and saint… for as long as we live in these fleshly bodies we will have to contend with our own passions and desires emanating from within our fleshly hearts. The ultimate resolution will come in the Last Day, when Christ returns and those who are asleep in Christ will rise and those who are alive will be transformed finally set free from our fleshly, corrupted, sinful bodies. Which leads us to our chorus.

Chorus. There is a tendency for modern evangelicalism to try to take the eternal promises out of eternity and make them apply to this temporal life. This is sometimes called the “Theology of glory” as opposed to the “Theology of the Cross”. Let’s take a look at what Paul writes in Romans 8.

Romans 8:18-30 (ESV) | Future Glory

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We, and all of creation, will sing in victory in eternity. When Christ returns and this fallen world is brought to an end, and all of creation will be freed from sin, and those who are in Christ will be ushered into the New Heavens and the New Earth, when we will see Him face to face.


For Christians who know the Scriptures, the Gospel of Jesus Christ… this is a great song of encouragement. While I feel the lyric lacks enough detail to be fully “Approved”, I love this song. In closing, I’d like to look at what the Apostle Peter wrote concerning the coming Day of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:1-13 (ESV) | The Day of the Lord Will Come

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing,following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

According to His promise… His promise. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Jude 24-25E (ESV) Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 26:30 – 27:10

bibleLet us continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew. Last week we worked through Matthew 26:1-29.

Last week’s look at the first part of Matthew 26 ended with Jesus Instituting the Lord’s Supper. Acknowledging differing doctrines regarding the Lord’s Supper, we decided to take the opportunity to focus more on the New Covenant being instituted by the Blood of Jesus on the Cross by closing out the post with Hebrews 8 & 9.

Matthew 26 (ESV)

As we continue working through Matthew 26, we see Jesus and His disciples leave the house after supper and a hymn. Jesus now looks to prepare His disciples for what is about to take place.

Matthew 26 (ESV) | Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

In last week’s post, we saw the example of the false teacher, the false prophet, the anti-christ in Judas Iscariot. We saw the strong judgement against him. Here we see something different… the weakness of the flesh of man. Though these men have faith in Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God, their hearts will fail them and they will scatter, as it is Written. Here, again, we see Jesus declare His death and also His resurrection, though they cannot fully understand what is being said. Peter, bold Peter, declares that he will never fall away. Was it pride working in Peter? Perhaps, but I don’t think that was the major factor. Take every memory you’ve ever had of when you’ve declared “I’ll never hurt you, leave you, forget you, etc.” to a friend, loved-one, or romantic interest and then consider applying that sentiment to the Son of the Living God. Peter doesn’t understand why Jesus would be leaving them, let alone arrested and put to death as a criminal. As I grow older, I see myself more and more in Peter’s failings and I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit recorded them for us. Peter loved Jesus, and was certain he’d rather die than deny Him, but he didn’t know himself like Jesus knew him. Jesus tells him, you will deny me three times before the rooster crows. Now, there are some who try to make an issue of the differing references in the Gospels to the crowing of the rooster. The important thing here is that after the third denial, a rooster does crow and Peter does notice it and remembers the LORD’s Words… and it absolutely breaks him. We will see how that plays out shortly.

Matthew 26 (ESV) | Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Is sorrow a sin? No. Does Jesus understand our sorrows? More than you could ever imagine. He knows.  To my knowledge, I don’t own any “red-letter” editions of the Bible. I’ve repented of treating the red letters as though they were “more Scripture” than the rest. However, I wanted to really highlight this prayer. It is both prayer request and humble submission to the Will of the Father. Don’t ever… EVER… allow someone to accuse you of having little faith because you pray, “not my will but Your Will Father” or “If it is Your Will…” (or something to that effect). Sorry, that’s a personal hot spot for me. Let us continue. The disciples here (Peter, James & John of Zebedee) are weak. Our flesh is weak. We don’t pray as we ought, we don’t worship as we ought, we don’t keep watch as we ought. His Grace is sufficient for us, for while we slumber in our weakness, He is faithful and He is our advocate, our propitiation, and our Redeemer.

Matthew 26 (ESV) | Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left him and fled.

It is interesting that neither Mark or Luke gives us the identity of the sword wielder nor the servant. The Gospel According to John (Ch 18) tells us it was Simon Peter who drew his sword and struck Malchus, the servant of the high priest. Notice the particular correction Jesus issued to Peter. It isn’t about the evil of the sword… it’s about faith in the Will of God the Father. The arrest of Jesus is according to the Will of the Father, as was His betrayal, death, and resurrection. Fighting now would only lead to Peter’s premature death… and God has plans for His Apostles. Those who twist this passage into a judgement against those whose vocation is in the armed services do both them and this text injustice. The point of this passage is Faith… faith in the Will of God… faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Matthew 26 (ESV) | Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him,“You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

We’ll close out this post by reviewing the prophesy of Isaiah in chapter 53, but for now I want to point out the lesson Peter taught in his Epistle.

1 Peter 2:21-25 (ESV) For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Peter was an eye-witness to what he is writing. My heart goes out to him, because this would turn out to be one of the roughest nights for him… and the next several days would be the most painful days of his life, I’m sure. Notice, however, that the Holy Spirit has clearly instructed Peter on what it was he witnessed there in that courtyard. Amen.

Regarding the trial, I’d like to point out here that Matthew records Jesus not only confessing His identity as the Christ, the Son of God, but He also proclaims to the unbelievers that they will not see His face until He returns in Judgment. They should have been rending their garments in repentance, instead they played the part of piety to justify their murderous intentions.

Matthew 26 (ESV) | Peter Denies Jesus

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Broken. Knowing that Jesus knew him better than he knew himself, and all of his blustering about how he would never deny Jesus… and his utter and complete failure to keep his promise… broken. That must have been a truly bitter cry. Though the chapter ends here, let’s keep reading to catch up to the fate of the Betrayer.

Matthew 27:1-10 (ESV) | Judas Hangs Himself

27 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Peter had faith in Christ Jesus, and loved Him, but in his flesh he tried to manage the situation somehow and wound up denying Jesus 3 times, just as Jesus had told him he wold. Peter failed and was broken by his failure. Judas lacked faith. Judas betrayed Jesus. Judas stood condemned. Judas repented, so to speak, in that he changed his mind, but rather than turn to Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, he instead turned to the chief priests and the elders… those who paid Judas to betray Christ… those who Jesus openly rebuked for their false teaching and self-righteousness. And having turned to these false teachers seeking forgiveness, they cast him out like a stray dog, to take care of it himself. So Judas was destitute, rotting in his own sin and transgressions… yet rather than seek forgiveness from the Way the Truth and the Life, he chose to hang himself.

That closes out this week’s post on quite the somber note.  We know Peter is forgiven, comforted, and restored in due time. For our closing thought, let us look to what we see written in Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53 (ESV)

53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll be working through the remainder of Chapter 27, the crucifixion and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do hope you join us for that. In the meantime, spend some time in the Word and in fellowship with the Body of Christ. Love God, Love Neighbor, repent and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 25

bibleLet us continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew. Last week we worked through Matthew 24.

Last week’s look at Matthew 24 ended with Jesus making it absolutely clear that NO ONE knows the day and the hour of Christ’s return. This is something that Luke records Jesus saying again as part of His last statements made to the disciples before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:1-11). We closed out last week’s study with a general rebuke to modern-day Christianity for giving credence or listening, even fearing, the false-prophets of this current age who are blasphemously declaring the end of the age.

Today, we continue in the same teaching of Jesus in a direct response to their question, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Let us take a look at the 2 parables and the closing comments on the final judgement.

Matthew 25 (ESV)

Matthew 25:1-13 | The Parable of the Ten Virgins

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Here, we see a reinforcement of the sudden and unexpected nature of Christ’s return for His Bride, the Church. I’d like to point out here that while half of the virgins wound up outside of the wedding feast, for the LORD did not know them… this isn’t a parable about the unbelievers versus believers. I believe Jesus is making a distinction similar to that of the different soils in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). The soil of the path, where the enemy scoops away the seed of the Kingdom isn’t represented in this parable, for they are not in any way awaiting the bridegroom or the wedding feast. What we are seeing here in the foolish virgins is a combination of the rocky soil and the soil with weeds. There is no depth in their faith, these foolish virgins were excited enough for the bridegroom, but failed to make preparations for the long-haul. As the bridegroom tarried, all of the virgins became drowsy and slept. Once the Bridegroom arrived, there was no time for the foolish virgins to obtain fresh oil, and they couldn’t rely on the provisions of others to light their own lamps. As with the explanation of the parable of the sower, the Word that once excited them now has been choked by the world, or they have grown weary and fallen away from it under trials, tribulation, or persecution.

Matthew 13:18-23 (ESV) | The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Remember what Jesus said in the last chapter. He has told us that in the great tribulation, many will fall away and hate each other, and the love of many will grow cold. Jesus is reinforcing that with this parable. Many who claim to be Christian, do so in foolishness, not preparing for the long-haul, for waiting on the return of the King. Matt 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 

Now, this next parable moves slightly ahead leading at least in-part into the Judgement that is to come when Christ returns.

Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This parable is tough… and it is so often twisted into synergism or some sort of works-based righteousness. The central problem in this parable is not the works… it is the lack of faith of the third servant. When this passage gets twisted, it usually begins by eisegeting the reason each was given their allotment of talents. Hijack that silent portion of the parable, and you can more easily manipulate the rest. Remember the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)? When the laborers hired first complained about getting the same compensation as those laborers who only worked an hour, the Master’s response is “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” Since, in today’s parable, Jesus doesn’t give the reason that each servant obtained a different number of Talents, I am inclined to leave it under the sovereignty and calling of the LORD. Sure, it could be eisegeted via Reformed or Arminian interpretive frameworks, but I’d rather not engage in such speculation. No, the point here is that though the first two were given differing amounts, they acted on faith and bore fruit. The third acted in fear rather than faith, and buried the single talent given him. His lack of faith bore only the fruit of wickedness and sloth. As we see in the Master’s rebuke, had the servant displayed even minimal faith and deposited the talent in a bank, it would have borne some fruit and the servant would have been spared his just fate.

Matthew 25:31-46 The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

I still feel like this passage is referring to the unexpectedly separated goats from the sheep. At least, it seems that is the intended focus of this passage. Clearly those who are in open rebellion against the Son of God will be counted among the goats, but I don’t think it is they who will be acting so confused about their judgement. Instead, I think the self-righteous, self-deluded, self-glorified, and self-anointed will be the most surprised at the judgement.  Jesus is addressing the disciples, among whom lies a betrayer — Judas Iscariot — who will be exposed soon enough. Whenever this passage gets applied to those of false religions, I cringe, since the rebuke of the goats in this passage do not clearly identify lack of faith in the Son of God. It leaves room for a works-based twisting of scripture into open theism, the idea that as long as we show hospitality, clothe the poor, feed the sick, and visit the imprisoned that it would be enough to enter Heaven. That is clearly not what is being taught here, which is why I am confident that the focus of this parable is on those who make empty professions of faith, lip-service, yet are without faith. I think that it is to this teaching that James is pointing his readers:

James 2:14-26 (ESV) | Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

So, just as one who mistreats the prophecy of the Judgement to suggest that doing the works will get you in, abusing what James wrote to suggest that the answer is to do more works is also to miss the point of the text. Both passages point to faith. If upon self-examination, or loving brotherly reproof, you are found lacking in good works by faith… your focus and attention should be to building up faith in Christ Jesus through the reading/hearing of the Word of Christ. Faith in Christ Jesus bears good fruit, but trying to add good works to increase faith will only reveal our fleshly inadequacy and sinfulness. That is why we who are of the Household of Faith, still desperately need to hear both Law and Gospel on a regular basis. For we are sinful flesh and are called by faith to put to death what is sinful in us so that we might live according to the Spirit.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll be working through the first half of Chapter 26. We’ll probably have to pause right after the Lord’s Supper and shift Christ’s arrest and trial for the following week. I look forward to continuing our trek through the Gospel According to Matthew. Until then, continue walking in faith and growing in knowledge of Christ through the reading of His Word.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 24

bibleLet us continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew. Last week we worked through Matthew 23.

Last week’s look at Matthew 23 ended with Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem. For the sake of our readers, we took a jump forward to Paul’s writing to the Romans regarding the mystery of the Salvation of the Jews. God still has a plan for the Jews that has played an integral part in the inclusion of us Gentiles into the Kingdom of Heaven, and we know that He will do something for the Jews once the fullness of us Gentiles has come in. I feel no need to practice any form of prophetic code-cracking.

Today we’ll move into Matthew 24. This passage is our primary text for forming our eschatology… it is Jesus specifically answering the question “What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age”? I am completely baffled that anyone would build their eschatology with any other passage as the foundation.

Matthew 24 (ESV)

Matthew 24: 1-2 (ESV) | Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Matthew 24: 3-14 (ESV) |  Signs of the End of the Age

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The disciples asked Jesus several questions, that they thought would all occur at the same time. Jesus answers the most important questions regarding His return and the signs of the end of the age. The Christian Way is to set our hearts on Heavenly things while walking as exiles and sojourners in this world, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples and baptizing them in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus glazes over the first question regarding when the temple would be destroyed in the mention of wars and nation rising against nation. That happens roughly around 70 AD. What remained of the Church in Jerusalem was finally scattered to the ends of the Earth. But that Temple was no longer the focus of the Promise to God’s people… Jesus is. The testimony and proclamation of the Gospel of Grace and of Christ’s finished work on the Cross is now the Power of God to save. That physical Temple was destroyed, but Christ had already come and the veil had already been torn apart. The Physical temple was superseded by the Body of Christ.

Matthew 24: 15-28 (ESV) |  The Abomination of Desolation

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of ManWherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

This passage is about the Tribulation that will come as the sign of the end of the age. We have indeed seen several instances of great tribulation since the Ascension of Christ, but these are all precursors to what is coming. No one will be able to say “Christ has returned, come here”… no one, because all will see. It will be the end. The mention of “false christs” can also be translated “falsely anointed ones”. In our day, there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals falsely claiming special “anointings”. Rebuke them. Do not fear them. Do not listen to them.

Matthew 24: 29-31 (ESV) | The Coming of the Son of Man

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

NO SECRET RETURN/RAPTURE. Christ will return once, and for all.

Matthew 24: 32-35 (ESV) | The Lesson of the Fig Tree

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

This passage is often plucked right out of this chapter and presented in some twisted attempt to reject the bodily return of Jesus at the end of the age and somehow dismiss this chapter as only a foretelling of the destruction the Temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes it is used to suggest that the Temple mount has to be rebuilt for Christ to return… but that doesn’t fit the narrative here. Once the Temple was built, we don’t see a return to the Tabernacle. Now that Christ has come, there is no reason to keep pushing back toward the Temple. That veil was torn by God. We, the Body of Christ, are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24: 36-51 (ESV) | No One Knows That Day and Hour

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This month, we’ve had a lot of flat-out stupid claims of prophetic insights made by self-proclaimed prophets and so-called Christian teachers/preachers. The 4 blood moons, the “mystery of the shemittah” and whatever Harold Camping-esque contrivance declared today (Oct 7, 2015) the end of the age… whatever. False christs and false prophets practicing divination and omen reading to spread fear and doubt for selfish gain… to sell books and rations for the apocalypse.

Dear Christian, you are not called to calculate the day or the hour, nor are you called to warn people of a specific date, or sign, or prognostication… you are called by the Grace of God to walk by faith in Christ. Preach the Word, both in season and out of season. You have no say in Christ’s return… none. He will return at a time of His choosing to judge the living and the dead.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll be working through chapter 25, where Jesus continues to teach concerning His return at the end of this age. We’ll work through 2 parables which are parallels to this site’s theme or tagline from Luke. I look forward to continuing our trek through the Gospel According to Matthew. Until then, continue walking in faith and growing in knowledge of Christ through the reading of His Word.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,