By John Larkins
God created us and intends for us to spend eternity with Him in His home. This is still His revealed intention, even after our ancestors offended Him by disobedience.
Last week, we discussed what we know of His plan to save our eternal souls. The Old Testament details the formation of a new nation of people to be indoctrinated as what we would call a church. That new nation was called the Israelites, and after 2,000 years of experience, they were ready for the promised savior who would lead them to their heavenly salvation. At this time salvation was not promised except by A Way that was to be revealed. At the close of the writings called the Old Testament, the Israelites are rather tattered and battered.
You may have noticed a time gap in the King James Version of the New Testament, just before the Gospel of Matthew begins the testament. In time, you will get a more complete look at the period beginning about 323 Before Christ (B.C.). If you have never heard the story of Greek domination of the Jews that resulted from Alexander the Great’s death and passing his conquered nations to his general officers in his army, you have not been told how terrible this invasion was for the Jews.
The Jews essentially were told to destroy every custom, belief, practice, building or sign of their religion or law. The Jews either obeyed without question or they were murdered. For example, God commanded circumcision as a symbol of obedience to God. The Greeks ordered a halt to this symbolic baptism and allegiance to God. This ghastly trial went on for about 150 years.
So, when the savior was born, the Jews had been recovering from the Greeks but were now dominated by the Romans. While both Greeks and Romans were pagans, the Greeks were far worse in demanding the Jews convert to their belief system and eliminate Moses’ teaching.
It is important to continue to focus on why God is working this plan to save humanity with an opportunity for eternal salvation. Up until Jesus was born, there was no way to heaven. It is important to understand Jesus as He revealed Himself. “I am the alpha and the omega,” He said. Recall what you remember about the events when Jesus was about 12 years old and traveled with Mary and Joseph, along with others, to Jerusalem. When His parents found Him teaching in the Temple, He was a little surprised and said, “Do you not know I must be about My Father’s business?” What was His Father’s business? In the immediate sense, He was to convert the Jews to become Christians.
Logically, His Father’s business was to recruit the core group of His new Church, instruct them (much more thoroughly than we are told in the Gospels), use His supernatural powers to enhance the Church’s new teachings, train his Apostles in the leadership practices they would need, pray to His Father that Satan would be kept away from His pope and bishops until after Pentecost, provide the fantastic store of saving grace given to Jesus upon His death on the cross to His new Church for dispensation to us forevermore and judge all the waiting souls for their eternal destination. That list provides the high points, but we know of much more. Still, at the end of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, we see Jesus giving the Change of Command to the remaining 11 Apostles: “I am sending you, as My Father sent me” to save the souls of all who wished to be saved. This power is given by Jesus to the sacraments. Jesus is the alpha and the omega!
John Larkins’ formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management.
For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.