The Messenger & The Messiah

You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Malachi 2:17–3:4

Malachi was last of the postexilic prophets, and the last prophet in Judah for over 450 years until John the Baptist begins to preach—and when the angel announces John’s coming birth to Zacharias, he will quote from the very last verse in Malachi:

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
Malachi 4:5

Angel Appears to ZachariasThis will be John’s purpose and calling:

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:13–17

Jesus Himself identified John as the messenger of Malachi 3:1:

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Matthew 11:7–14

Do you know what the name Malachi means? Gleason Archer writes:

The most reasonable explanation for the meaning of Malachi (Mal’ ākī, Hebrew) is that it is hypocoristic [an endearing diminutive] for the full form Mal’ ak-Yah, or Messenger of Jehovah.1

So Malachi, Messenger of Jehovah, prophesies of John, the messenger who will prepare the way— ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’, Jesus the Christ, Messiah.

Архангел Гавриил поражает Захарию немотой The Angel Appears to Zacharias, Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov 1824.
1Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Postexilic Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi,” A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Moody Press, Chicago IL: 1966, 1974) 430.

Copyright ©2010-2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Sweete And Gentle Showers

A few years ago I came across an article by Dr. John S. Uebersax, National Days of Prayer: A Historical Comparison, in which he makes this significant observation:

Since 1952, the President of the United States has, by law, annually issued a proclamation recommending a National Day of Prayer. This seeks to revive a similar practice that emerged in Revolutionary times, and again in the Civil War. The modern proclamations, however, differ in important ways from the earlier ones. The main difference is evident in the change of titles — from the earlier ‘Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer’ to the modern ‘National Day of Prayer.’ The earlier proclamations emphasized humiliation — understood as including a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.

The first thanksgiving of the Pilgrim Fathers followed a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Both days were appointed and set, not by the church, but by their governor. Our holiday is modeled after their harvest celebration of 1621. But the year of 1622 brought a poor harvest followed by a wretched winter during which people died of starvation and cold, William Bradford recorded these events of the summer of 1623.

I may not here omite how, notwithstand all their great paines and industrie, and the great hops of a large cropp, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. weeke in May, till about the midle of July, without any raine, and with great heat (for the most parte), insomuch as the come begane to wither away, though it was set with fishe, the moysture wherof helped it much.

Yet at length it begane to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were partched like withered hay, part wherof was never recovered. Upon which they sett a parte a solemne day of humilliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervente prayer, in this great distrese.

Think about the context of that day—the privation and death they had recently suffered—their utter dependence upon God for help and deliverance.

And he was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to thier owne and the Indeans admiration, that lived amongest them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hotte, and not a cloud or any signe of raine I to be seen, yet toward evening it begane to over- cast, and shortly after to raine, with shuch sweete and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoyceing, and blesing God.

It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degreese in that abundance, as that the earth was thorowly wete and soked therwith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed come and other fruits, as was wonderfull to see, and made the Indeans astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them shuch seasonable showers, with enterchange of faire warme weather, as, through his blessing, caused a fruitfull and liberall harvest, to their no small comforte and rejoycing. For which mercie (in time conveniente) they also sett aparte a day of thanksgiveing.

Edward Winslow gave this account:

These and the like considerations moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estate between God and his conscience and so to humiliation before him but also more solemnly to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer. To that end a day was appointed by public authority and set apart from all other employments hoping that the same God which had stirred us up hereunto would be moved hereby in mercy to look down upon us and grant the request of our dejected souls if our continuance there might any way stand with his glory and our good.

But O the mercy of our God who was as ready to hear as we to ask for though in the morning when we assembled together the heavens were as clear and the drought as like to continue as ever it was yet our exercise continuing some eight or nine hours before our departure the weather was overcast the clouds gathered together on all sides and on the next morning distilled such soft sweet and moderate showers of rain continuing some fourteen days and mixed with such seasonable weather as it was hard to say whether our withered corn or drooping affections were most quickened or revived such was the bounty and goodness of God.

Of this the Indians by means of Hobbamock took notice who being then in the town and this exercise in the midst of the week said. It was but three days since Sunday and therefore demanded of a boy what was the reason thereof which when he knew and saw what effects followed thereupon he and all of them admired the goodness of our God towards us that wrought so great a change in so short a time showing the difference between their conjuration and our invocation on the name of God for rain theirs being mixed with such storms and tempests as sometimes instead of doing them good it layeth the corn flat on the ground to their prejudice but ours in so gentle and seasonable a manner as they never observed the like.

Having these many signs of God’s favor and acceptation we thought it would be great ingratitude if secretly we should smother up the same or content ourselves with private thanksgiving for that which by private prayer could not be obtained. And therefore another solemn day was set apart and appointed for that end wherein we returned glory honor and praise with all thankfulness to our good God which dealt so graciously with us whose name for these and all other his mercies towards his church and chosen ones by them be blessed and praised now and evermore. Amen.

After this day of thanksgiving on the very next day the ship Anne came in, bringing many of those from Leyden who had been left behind when the Mayflower sailed in 1620. What joy and excitement they must have known for this added blessing, and what gratitude for God’s providential timing! After analyzing the accounts of that time William Love believes July 16, 1623 would have been the day of fasting and prayer, and July 30, 1623 the day of thanksgiving.

It is also noticed that these days were appointed by public authority that is by an order from the governor as the civil magistrate. We believe they were the first so ordered in New England certainly we have no record of any earlier.

Dr. Uebersax opened his article with Jonah 3:5.

Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast.

In our days of need may we remember their example and turn to God in humiliation, fasting, and prayer. In His mercy and grace may He hear our cry and send us sweete and gentle showers.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
He changes a wilderness into a pool of water
And a dry land into springs of water;
And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish an inhabited city,
And sow fields and plant vineyards,
And gather a fruitful harvest.
Psalm 107:1, 35–37

Of Plymouth Plantation, An Electronic Edition, William Bradford 1590-1657 (232). Original Source: Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646. Ed. William T. Davis. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908. Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.
Edward Winslow and William Love references via Wikipedia from The fast and thanksgiving days of New England” By William DeLoss Love, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Cambridge, 1895. Jan 28, 2009. Retrieved 11-20-2012. I’ve added paragraph breaks in all quotes for easier reading.
Rain on grass, adrian.benko: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Copyright ©2012-2014 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Compassion, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, God, Grace, History, Love, Mercy, Perilous Times, Personal Distress, Prayer, Repentance, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


Several days after Thanksgiving of 2010 I wrote the post, Gratitude. I’ve edited it and reposted it several times as Giving Thanks, Grateful Hearts, and Thanksgiving. Here it is again.

November 28, 2010 ◊ Gratitude

Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving, and for some of you giving thanks to God will be easy because of the abundance of His blessings you’ve known this past year. For others gratitude that is not just lip service, but a real expression of your heart, is difficult because of grievous calamities or grinding stress.

Giving thanks frequently receives short shrift when we talk about it, because we tend to discuss it either superficially when we are at ease in our circumstances or else in denial of the pain of our difficulties. We give moralizing lectures about being grateful, or we sometimes present the idea of giving thanks to God as a sort of magic charm (how many times have you been told about the “power of praise”?). In our shallow treatment, we skate over the reality of life in a fallen world and fail to acknowledge that sometimes in our giving of thanks to God, we hold on to God in faith in His character and care for us in the midst of our griefs. Gratitude gives us insight into our understanding of life, of other people, of ourselves and of God. Even Cicero of pagan Rome recognized its importance and stated, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”1

Giving thanks is the antithesis of Romans 1:21. It’s intriguing to me that the long litany of sins in that chapter finds its root in these words:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Romans 1:21

In True Spirituality Francis Schaeffer gives a penetrating discussion of giving thanks as he connects ingratitude with the downward spiral of sin. Schaeffer begins with Romans 7:7-9, the verses in which Paul tells us he knew he was a sinner through the command not to covet. Schaeffer’s thoughts hinge on these verses:

Coveting is the negative side of positive commands, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind….[And] thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37.39).

Love is internal, not external. There can be external manifestations, but love itself will always be an internal factor. Coveting is always internal; the external manifestation is a result. We must see that to love God with all the heart, mind, and soul is not to covet against God; and to love man, to love our neighbor as ourselves, is not to covet against man. When I do not love the Lord as I should, I am coveting against the Lord. And when I do not love my neighbor as I should, I am coveting against him.

“Thou shalt not covet” is the internal commandment that shows the man who thinks himself to be moral that he really needs a Savior….2

The command not to covet was given regarding other people, but in our coveting against one another we reveal that we are not in that moment honoring God as God or being thankful to Him for what He has given to us. Schaeffer goes on to say:

A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks at any given moment is the real test of the extent to which we love God at that moment. I would like to give some strong words to you from the Bible to remind us that this is God’s own standard for Christians.3

He then pursues Paul’s teaching through several New Testament passages as he traces the theme of giving thanks in all things: Ephesians 5:3-4, 20; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:15, 17, 4:2; and 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19.

These words about thanksgiving are in one sense hard words. They are beautiful, but they do not give us any room to move—the all things includes all things.

…God says to us: in everything give thanks.4

Have you ever thought about the humility, dependency and trust in God necessary to truly be thankful in all things? These are hard words because giving thanks calls from us that which we do not have except by God’s mercy and grace.

Schaeffer comes to the verse I quoted above, Romans 1:21, and writes:

…The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart. They did not have proper, thankful hearts—seeing themselves as creatures before the Creator and being bowed not only in their knees, but in their stubborn hearts. The rebellion is a deliberate refusal to be the creature before the Creator, to the extent of being thankful. Love must carry with it a Thank you, not in a superficial or official way, but in being thankful and saying in the mind or with the voice, Thank you to God.5

Giving thanks is the fruit of faith in the personal God Who Is There.6 Giving thanks is a very real expression of our love for God.

God does not mock us in affliction by demanding our thanks for pain—although that is what Satan and our natural self will tell us. He calls us to trust Him when we are caught up in the inscrutability of suffering and live in gratitude for what He has given to us.

How have I seen God help me to give thanks—to believe and trust Him in gratitude when I struggle with fear and despair? Through His people—those who have been through the valley and stand on the other side and reach out a hand of help and a heart of love to encourage me to trust God. My friend Lisa did that as she came down into my valley to walk beside me.

God has helped me by enabling me to see life through His eyes as I read His Word, giving me courage to endure. There have been so many times I’ve turned back to Paul who has given me such help as he endured so much. His example of counting all things as loss for the surpassing gain of knowing Christ is an enduring one for all Christians.

Finally, through the Lord Jesus

…Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5a–11

When I wrote this post in 2010 I didn’t publish it until after Thanksgiving. It took me a long time to put it together because it was probably the hardest post of all for me to write because as I write or teach I’ve always tried to heed John Owen’s words: “to have the power of truths professed and contended for abiding upon our hearts, that we may not contend for notions, but what we have a practical acquaintance with in our souls.” Many times it remains a struggle to give thanks to God in the midst of hardship—my family had been through difficulties to the extent that we could no longer maintain our own household, and we do not yet see things beginning to turn. I continue to walk with faltering steps. I tell you this so you will know I write out of reality.

I’ve been helped immensely by reading the story of the Pilgrims during their hot and parched summer of 1623—that time when they feared their crops might fail. Sweete and Gentle Showers is the account of their day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, and of their day of thanksgiving two weeks later. When they wrote of their utter dependence on God, it wasn’t just words, it was the reality of their lives. If we can only declare truth from the shelter of a hothouse environment, then it will only be good for those who are privileged to live in hothouses. But Christ came, not to a place of shelter, but to a shattered and sinful world, and we speak His gospel to that world. Paul wrote that, “We carry this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” He closes that chapter by saying,

For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18

Paul endured affliction so that the spreading of God’s grace to more people would cause…
the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:14

May God bless you and keep you.

Waiting: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Robert A. Emmons, Thanks! (Houghton Mifflin Company, New York NY: 2007) 15.
Dr. Emmons is not a Christian, and I have my points of disagreement, however, his book contains careful research and profound thinking on gratitude.
2Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1971) 8.
3Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 9.
4Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 11.
5Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 11–12.
6This is Schaeffer’s phrase. I’ve quoted previously from his book, The God Who Is There.

Copyright ©2012–2015 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Believe, Christian Life, Encouragement, Faith, God, Grace, Jesus Christ, Mercy, Personal Distress, Romans, Schaeffer, Francis, Suffering | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy Mother’s Day!

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Titus 2:3–5

God entrusts mothers with the stewardship of our children’s lives. We are called by God to love our children and to rear them to know and love the Lord.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well….

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:5, 3:14–15

Children learn the most from the one who spends the most time with them. That’s an undeniable fact. What children learn of love and trust and relationships, and how they grow in comprehension and understanding of the world will primarily come from whoever is spending time with them. For children there is no such thing as quality time, there is only time.

Being home with children is a very necessary, worthwhile, and, in our society, courageous thing to do. Scripture enjoins women to love our children and to be workers at home. The church has lost sight of the importance of motherhood and home and family and has bought into the cultural notion that a woman must have a career. Meanwhile our children are suffering.

I know families can take a financial hit when mom is home with the children. The pressure of materialism and hearing things such as you’re wasting your time and education from family members can be difficult to handle. Yet I’ve seen the consequences of a mother’s working career, and I know that easy finances don’t keep heartbreak and estrangement from the door.

Motherhood can be draining, exhausting, tiresome, and frustrating, but times of bonding and mothering are precious blessings. Smiles, laughter; first words, first steps; there are so many things that you will want to be the one to experience. Watching your child grow and learn are moments that can never be regained. Children are not only a stewardship given to us from God—children are also a gift from God. Enjoy the blessings that your children are, and the blessings that your children give to you.

May God bless you as you are a mother to your children.

May God comfort those of you who have lost children.

May God strengthen those of you who have children in turmoil.

May those of you without children be blessed by those whom you have mothered in their time of need.

And for those of you who have been forsaken by your own mother:

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
And the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.”

God bless you!

Other posts to read today:

An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day)

Unconditional Love in the Messiness of Mother’s Day
Interieur mit Mutter und Kind, August Müller: Public Domain.
Forget me nots, cropped photo. Original:

Original content: Copyright ©2014-2015 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Children, Christian Life, Comfort, Compassion, Family, God, Hope, Love, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal Distress, Suffering | Tagged | Leave a comment

Journey of Sight

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke 24:13–35 ESV

Zünd Gang nach Emmaus, Gemälde von Robert Zünd: Public Domain.
Die Jünger von Emmäus, Bernhard Rode: Cropped, Public Domain.
ESV: English Standard Version.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Race of Hope

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together…
John 20:1–4a

Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre
James Gurney posted The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by the Swiss artist Eugène Burnand on his Facebook page last year, along with these enlargements of the faces of Peter and John. He pointed out the complexity of emotions that Burnand caught on each man. You can literally see their thoughts chasing across their faces—the anxiety and hope against hope on John’s face, and the hope against hope tempered with sorrow and regret on Peter’s face. In disbelieving shock, they run. Not knowing what they will find, they run. In hope against hope they run. They run.

John's Face

Peter's Face

and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
John 20:4b–8

Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection. Click on the painting for an enlarged view.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:
ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Dawn of Joy

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3–4

Into the devastation of our world came the God-man Jesus Christ. A man who outrageously said He was God and performed miracles to authenticate His claims. A man who confronted those who lived in self-righteous piety and spoke with compassion and forgiveness to those who knew they were dead from the ravages of sin. A man who was nailed to the cross because of the debt of record of our sin that stood against us. A man who took upon Himself our punishment and the just wrath of God we deserved for our rebellion and who died in our place.

Christians know that our belief is in Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly man. He was born into this world, He died and He rose again. Because of Him we know what it is to be brand-new, forgiven and clean. Because of Him we know that death will not hold us, for through Him the hold death had on us because of our sin is forever gone.

In the glimmering dawn of the first Easter, the women who came to minister to a dead man found instead an empty tomb.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead ….”
Matthew 28:5–7a

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55–57
…who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Romans 1:4

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter!

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson. Artist perspective at the link.
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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