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JESUS AND ETERNAL LIFE

I came as a Jew to believe in Jesus in June, 1974, after a long struggle not to believe or have anything to do with him or any religion. He completely changed my life, continues to change my life and has given me eternal life. It's a story in itself, which will have to be told elsewhere. What I know now is that he is everything he and the gospel writers said he was, "the son of David," "the Son of God", "the Messiah", the king of Israel and of all the nations, and the savior of all who believe in him. (Old Test: Isaiah 9:6,7; Micah 5:2 and New Test: John 8:52-59; Rev 1:4-8)

Gospel: 1. The proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus and the Apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.
Messianic: 1. Of or relating to a messiah: messianic hopes.
Messiah: 1. The anticipated deliverer and king of the Jews.

Excerpted from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation; further reproduction and distribution in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.
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Who is Jesus?
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Jesus was a Jew (Mat. 1, 2, 27, etc).and he is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5-9). He said he came to Israel to give eternal life and joyful "abundant life" to the Jew first, and to the gentile also (Rom. 1:16) -- to everyone who repents (turns to God) and believes in him.

He was born approximately 4 B.C in Bethlehem, Israel, called Judea at that time. According to the gospel writers he was born of a virgin named Miriam (or Mary), of the lineage of David. According to their record, an angel appeared to her where she lived in Nazareth of Galilee telling her that God's Holy Spirit would come upon her, that she would conceive and bear a son (though, as she said, she had never known a man) and that she was to call his name Y'shua, or Jesus, meaning Savior.

At that time, Mary was betrothed to be married. (Betrothal is more serious than engagement -- considered as good as married.) Soon after the angel's appearance and message, she was found to be pregnant, though still unmarried. In that culture this was unacceptable. She was betrothed to Joseph, a "righteous man," who decided to "put her away" (divorce her) quietly, to avoid humiliating her. But an angel came to him in a dream and said to him "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Joseph then took her as his wife, but did not have relations with her until after the birth of the child.

Jesus' mother and Joseph had come to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be counted by Roman decree for a tax census. There was no room for them to stay in the village inn. Mary's time to give birth came, so they went into an animal shed.

There she gave birth to the son spoken of by the angel as foretold in Micah. She wrapped him in swadling cloths, laid him in a feeding trough for animals, and named him Jesus ("Savior") as the angel had commanded her. This began the life (though he said years later that he had existed from before the beginning) of one who would redeem the world and rule the nations, and who would, as he said, save all who would believe in him. (See Old Test: Isaiah 9:6,7; Micah 5:2 and New Test: Mat 1:18-2:6; John 8:51-59) For the entire story see Luke 1,2.

He grew up in Nazareth of Galilee, in Northern Israel. After nearly 30 years, the Spirit of God came upon him, and he was "driven into the wilderness [of Judea] to be tempted by the devil". After 40 days in the wilderness, he returned in the power of the Holy Spirit and began preaching to Israel a message of repentance and the way into the kingdom of heaven, salvation, and eternal life, which he said was now at hand. He had come to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," "to seek and to save those who are lost." There were three years of intensive teaching to his disciples and to Israel about God the Father and himself, the coming kingdom, and eternal life. He taught huge crowds all over Israel with signs and miracles never seen before. He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised some from the dead, warned and comforted multitudes, and rebuked the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and their cold hearts toward God and his people. He spoke in great detail of things to come, about his coming "with the clouds in great power and glory," and the ultimate reign of his kingdom on earth.

He spoke a lot about and demonstrated God's love for us and the way to eternal life; that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." To his followers, "I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you." "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you...," and "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?" "This is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (See Luke 16:19-31, Mark 8:34-38, John 6:27-40, John 16:19-28.)

He repeatedly referred to himself as the Son of Man, the Son of God, and as Jehovah (Adonai) God. The religious leaders often attempted to put him to death on the basis of these claims "... for blasphemy, because you being a man, make yourself God." Many worshiped him, beginning with certain shepherds at his birth and later "king-maker" nobles (wise men) from Parthia to the East.

John begins his gospel by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made [created] by him, and without him was nothing made that was made." "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.... And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." After his crucifixion and resurrection, Thomas would not believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he could put his fingers in his wounds and see him with his own eyes. When Thomas saw him, he fell at his feet and cried out, "My Lord and my God!"

In the words of the religious leaders (who hated him), "Look, the world has gone after him." (John 12:19) He entered Jerusalem on a donkey among the crowds of the Israelites and Diaspora streaming in for the Passover, who were praising and worshiping him, laying palm branches in his path. A few days later, he was betrayed to the religious leaders by one of his disciples, Judas, for "thirty shekels of silver". The disciple led them to where Jesus could be found at night away from the crowds. Joined by some of the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Judas identified him in the dim torch light by giving them the agreed sign, kissing Jesus on the cheek. Jesus had known from the beginning of his coming betrayal and who would betray him. "Judas, are you betraying the son of man with a kiss?"

They immediately arrested him. Brought before the Sanhedrin (the highest Jewish court), they accused him of and tried him for blasphemy, and sentenced him to death, all according to what was foretold in the writings of the Old Testament prophets over 500 years earlier. Judas threw the money in the Temple, as foretold by Zechariah, and hanged himself. Jesus was scourged and beaten beyond recognition, stripped naked, and crucified outside of the city for six hours. He then "cried out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" and then "gave up the spirit." He was buried in a cave made into a tomb that belonged to a wealthy follower, also as foretold by the Old Testament prophets, David, Isaiah, Zechariah, and others. (See Luke 22-23 for the story.)

After three days, two of the women returned to the tomb which was sealed with a two-ton cover-stone. They stood there wondering how they would finish the burial anointing.

"And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."
Mat. 28:1-10

He then appeared to the other disciples (who were terrified when they saw him) in the house where they were in hiding. He ate and drank with them, taught them, and rebuked some of them for their unbelief, telling Thomas to put his hands in his still visible wounds, and "be not unbelieving, but believing." (See Mat 28:61-66; Luke 24)

After forty days of communing with and teaching his disciples, at one time appearing to over 500 of them at once, he met with them, told them that they would soon receive "power from on high", and that he was going to "ascend to my Father and your Father," from where he would send them "the baptism of the Holy Spirit."

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

Luke, a physician who interviewed the disciples and other eye witnesses of Jesus' life and resurrection wrote to Theophilus about 63 AD,

"The former treatise [the gospel of Luke] have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, 'ye have heard of me.'
'For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.'
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, 'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?'
And he said unto them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.'
'But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.'
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, 'Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
'" (Acts 1:1-11)

The disciples along with about 120 others gathered at a house in Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had commanded them. Ten days later, the sound of a powerful wind came as Jesus Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on them from heaven. Flames appeared over them and they began speaking and preaching about the glory of God which could be heard clearly in all languages as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Crowds gathered from all over Jerusalem to find out what was happening and were astounded to see and hear this.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Acts 2

You can read the entire story and message in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.

Jesus now reigns from heaven over the whole earth and all the nations in glory and light that no one in human flesh can look upon and live.

I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,
saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;
and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.
His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.....
Rev. 1

He said he would come again a second time, this time with tremendous power and glory to consumate his rule.

"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
"Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
"Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ [Messiah],' or 'There He is,' do not believe him.
"For false Christs [messiahs] and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
"Behold, I have told you in advance.
"So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
"
For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
"Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

"But 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 the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
"
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
NASB [Note that the words "sky" and "heaven" are the same word in the Greek text.]

(See Old Test: Zech 12;14:1-11 and New Test: Matthew 24)

And from Luke (Acts of the Apostles),

And when [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, 'Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven
.
'" (Acts 1:1-11)

When he returns, he will descend from heaven in his glory with his "holy ones" -- angels and those who belong to Jesus -- "as lightning flashes from East to West," in the midst of the most terrible war and destruction the world has ever seen or will ever see again. He will destroy his enemies, take his place in Jerusalem as King and Ruler of the nations, and bring peace on earth. There will be peace between the Arab and Jew and a highway between Egypt, Assyria (Syria and Jordan) and Israel, and people from all nations will come to worship him. (Is. 19:16-25 and Zech 12,14 & Mat. 24)

How to Come to Him

He is able to give you eternal life. Your complete atonement (God's cleansing and washing away of all your sins by means of the blood of his son shed on your behalf), salvation and peace with God begins the day that you truly believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior -- God's son crucified for you, buried for three days and raised from the dead. "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Rom. 10:9,10) You continue to grow and deepen in your new life as you read his word, obey and follow him, and learn to triumphantly overcome the many tests and trials. It culminates when he takes you home to be with him until he returns here in great power and glory as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (very different from his first coming) with all his holy ones who have believed in and followed him.

To begin, you have to recognize that you have broken God's Law in your deeds, your thoughts and in your heart and that God's wrath is on all law-breakers. This means now and for eternity, which is what is called in Revelation "the lake of fire".

To be saved, you come to God an unworthy sinner whom God has chosen to save because of his covenant love for you. You can't change anything about yourself or become acceptable to God in any way. It's your sinful, corrupted heart that God is dealing with. Only he can change that. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways..."

It is completely by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8,9).

No one can save you or give you the gift of eternal life. No church or religion can give it to you. No prophet, priest, rabbi, or psychologist can save you or give you eternal life. But God, the father chose to love you. He gave his own son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for you, purchasing and making atonement for you with his blood and raising him from the dead. He did this to save you from this perverse generation (most of whom hate him) and from his wrath, to give you a new life in his kingdom of heaven, to reconcile you to himself, heal you, and give you the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See Ps 2:12; Prv 30:1-4; Is 9:6,7; Is 53:1-5; Is. 64:6,7 Matthew 11:28-30;Jn 3:14-16;11:25,26.) You receive all of this by the gift of faith alone in Jesus Christ and in what he has done for you on the cross and his resurrection.

Go to him and ask him to save you. "For whoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved." (See Joel 2:27-32; Acts 2; Rom 10:9-13)

Here are some steps and teaching you can follow to gain assurance of eternal life and begin growing in the faith of Jesus:

You Can Have A Miracle

How to be saved

Who is Jesus?

Who is God and Who are You?

What About Eternal Life?

What Jesus Said About Eternal Life

A Prayer of Salvation: A sample prayer to God you can follow to receive Jesus and eternal life.

Memory's Gate: The testimony of a little girl who was murdered at age 14, regarding her faith and assurance of heaven. Her mother wrote the poem... Remembering Barbie Feighner

What do you think of Jesus?
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Copyright © 1999 k.ellis

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