Judas betraying Jesus

Judas has gone down in the history of mankind as the most infamous villain of all time.  He was the disciple of Jesus Christ who betrayed his master and savior.  No doubt he was initially drawn to the teaching of the new teacher from Nazareth and His gracious words of truth like the other disciples.  The germs of the evil, in all likelihood unfolded themselves gradually. As the 12 disciples travelled hither and thither with their Master receiving money and other offerings for redistributing to the poor, it became necessary that someone should act as the steward to organize the money, and this fell to Judas.  John 12:6, John 13:29.  Judas found him self being entrusted with larger and larger sums of money and with this came covetousness, unfaithfulness and embezzlement.

The scriptures warn us that, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil: which while some coveted after, they have been led astray from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  1 Timothy 6:10.  Such was Judas’s love of money that he plotted with the enemies of Jesus and agreed to betray him for thirty pieces of silver.  Matthew 26:14-16. Judas led the enemies of Jesus to him and betrayed him with a kiss, for he had said to them, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he: take him.”  Matthew 26:48.

As an apostle, Judas had a special relationship with Jesus.  Unfortunately, he abandoned that relationship due to worldliness.  (Acts 1:15-17, 24-25) We, too, can have a special relationship with Christ.  We can be considered his brethren. Hebrews 2:11, Matthew 12:48-50 We can be in fellowship with Christ, 1 John 1:3 Unfortunately, many people fail to enter into that relationship with Christ through obedience to the Gospel – because they love the world too much. Some like Judas, after having a relationship with Jesus then forfeit it due to the ways of the world. Let’s learn from Judas: Have you remained faithful?  Have you put spiritual things first?  Or, have you allowed worldliness to interfere with your relationship with Christ? Colossians 3:1-10.

Paul Ridgway

 

God’s purpose with Israel

With the recent push for a Palestinian state at recent UN meetings we see the words of Bible prophecy slowly being fulfilled.

With middle east peace talks becoming the headlines of world news over the last few weeks the world’s focus on the state of Israel is renewed. With the recent push for a Palestinian state at recent UN meetings we see the words of Bible prophecy slowly being fulfilled.

A year ago world leaders condemned Israel for their attack on a Turkish “aid” Flotilla headed for Gaza, which left 12 people dead. This looked to be an obvious first step in the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies yet to be fulfilled in the bible. This prophecy is found in Ezekiel 38 – a prophecy that documents the events prior to the return of Christ. Ezekiel 38 speaks of a confederacy of nations let by a leader named Gog, who is of the land of Magog. While these names sound odd and almost fictional, ancient maps and historians such as Josephus position the places listed in Ezekiel 38 as the inhabitants north of the black sea. Maps dating back to the 1600’s mark Magog in the area above Mongolia. The Christadelphians have always viewed this land of Magog as Russia and some of the joining territory.

The prophecy begins:

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

We see from these few verses that Gog and his allies are unified in battle. These allies are “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya” along with Gomer which forms the area of Turkey and Togarmah refers to the area above the black sea (modern Russia). But who are they attacking?

 8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

There can be no mistaking that the ‘Gogian’ confederacy is invading modern Israel in this prophecy. The statement “gathered out of many nations” is one that can only be used of modern Israel, as it’s jewish inhabitants were scattered throughout the entire world for 2000 years before returning to the land after the second world war.

But what is very interesting is the reference to the nation dwelling in peace and safety. This idea “peace and safety” occurs in verses 8 as well as verse 11 which says “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates”. Israel is of course a land of bars and gates. It remains to be seen how these will be removed for this prophecy to be fulfilled.

The title for this article is “God’s purpose with Israel” and so often God’s plan eludes mans thought. As the UN tries to put together their idea of what the land of Israel should look like, and debate over who owns it they oblivious to the words of scripture which indicate that the land of Israel is God’s land. However they are without excuse because outside of the UN offices in New York there is a statute of a man beating a sword to form it into a plow. The caption under the statute says, “We shall beat our swords into plowshares”, meaning that one day man will have no use for weaponry and will instead convert the implements of war into tools suitable for agriculture. This phrase that sits below the sculpture is taken from the book of Isaiah, chapter 2. However few who attend the UN conferences are aware of the context of this phrase. The context to this phrase is God’s plan with Israel, it reads:

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’ house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

While we realize that mankind is working to solve the “Israel problem” and bring peace to the middle east, they are but pawns in the hand of God as he works out his purpose with his people Israel. While they have more hardships to face (as seen in our brief look of Ezekiel 38), God has an eternal plan with this special place – which we see unfolding in the news each day.

Andrew Hynes

 

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