WHY DID JOHN MEASURE THE TEMPLE?

PMW 2019-051 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The measuring of the temple in Rev. 11:1–2 is an important episode in Revelation. Here we clearly see Revelation’s focus on Israel: this “holy city” with a “temple” must be Jerusalem (Neh. 11:1; Isa. 48:2; 52:1; 64:10; Matt. 4:5; 27:53). In verse 8 John unmasks this “holy city” for what she becomes: an Egypt, a Sodom, the slayer of Christ: “Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” Indeed, second century Christians call Jews “Christ-killers” and “murderers of the Lord” (e.g., Ignatius, Magnesians 11; Justin Martyr, First Apology 35; Irenaeus, i 3:12:2)

Significantly this passage strongly reflects Jesus’s prophecy in the Olivet Discourse (compare the italicized words):

Luke 21:24b: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Revelation 11:2: “But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.”

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JESUS’ VICTORY AND FALSE PROPHETS

PMW 2019-050 by Chris Hume (The Reformed Hope)

We may be surprised by many things when we reach heaven. I dare not contend with J.C. Ryle who said that the thing which will surprise us most is how much more we ought to have loved Christ while on earth. But I think there is another reality which will also greatly surprise us when we reach heaven. And that is this: the depths of the spiritual battle that was waged for the souls of men and women during our lifetime. Take any saint—whether in the first century under the persecution of Nero, or suffering under Rome during the Inquisition in the 13th century, or faced with oppression by the secular government in China today—and behind the scenes in his life, the spiritual battle is of the intensest kind. Continue reading

IMPRISONED GANGS CONVERTED TO CHRIST

PMW 2019-049 Caleb Parke (Fox News)

A Texas megachurch has seen incredible things happen since planting a church inside the state’s largest maximum-security prison six months ago.

But what happened last week was a first in the history of the prison.

The warden at Coffield Unit in Anderson County, which is located about 90 minutes outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and houses roughly 4,200 criminal offenders, invited Gateway Church to baptize a handful of inmates in administrative segregation, or solitary confinement, where they spend 23 hours of their day behind solid, steel doors with air holes in them because of how dangerous they are. Continue reading

IRANIAN CHURCH IS THE FASTEST GROWING

It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the Iran church has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ.

Everyone loves a good story. As Christians, we especially love stories that tell us how, when all seems lost, God makes a way.

One such story is about the church in Iran—and it’s one of the greatest stories in the world today.

As simple as it is, such an amazing story is worth examining deeper. Continue reading

MATTHEW 24:3 AND OLIVET’S STRUCTURE

PMW 2019-047 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse is significantly different from Mark’s. It does not differ, however, through contradiction, but by supplementation. Thus, it does not conflict with Mark’s version, but augments it.

This is not unusual in the Gospels. For we know that in the Gospels, recorded sermons do not appear verbatim in word-for-word fullness, but are summaries. Otherwise, Jesus would be traveling from place-to-place delivering one-minute messages, as in Matt. 11:20–24; Matt. 11:25–30; and 13:1–9. And sometimes after crowds were with him for three days (Matt. 15:32)! Furthermore, John the Baptist would have people coming from all over Judea (Matt. 3:5) to hear a sermon that lasted for only two sentences (Matt. 3:2–3). Continue reading

THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTION

PMW 2019-046 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Scripture teaches that Christ arises from the dead in the same body in which he dies, though with certain super-added spiritual powers.1 His resurrection does not merely revivify a lifeless cadaver; but neither is it the creation of a new body. Just as he prophesies, the very body which dies also comes forth from the tomb (Jn 2:19, 22). As such, it miraculously attests the truth of his divine mission on earth (Jn 2:18–21; cp. Mt 12:39–41; 16:1–4; Lk 11:29.

This is why the tomb and burial clothing are empty: his physical body departs from them (Mt 28:6; Jn 20:4–11, 15). After the resurrection the Gospels show Christ in a material body that people can touch and handle (Lk 24:39), and which still has the wounds of the cross (Jn 20:27; cf. Rev 5:6). On other occasions he bids Mary Magdalene to quit clinging (haptomai) to him (Jn 20:17). Continue reading

CHRISTIANITY’S GROWTH IN IRAN

PMW 2019-045 by Afshin Ziafat (Desiring God)

Robert Bruce, a Scottish missionary to Iranian Muslims in the late nineteenth century, wrote home to his supporters, “I am not reaping the harvest; I scarcely claim to be sowing the seed; I am hardly ploughing the soil; but I am gathering out the stones. That, too, is missionary work; let it be supported by loving sympathy and fervent prayer.”

For many years, Iran was one of the most difficult regions of the world to reach with the gospel. A significant development occurred in 1979, however, with the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The ruling monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown, and in his place an Islamic Republic was birthed, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Sharia law became the law of the land, and Muslim clerics became the heads of state. Continue reading