Where the authority of the throne resides

Overcoming sin requires sacrifice.

Revelation 3:21 – “To the one who conquers I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

The Kingdom of God is all about authority, and this authority is captured in the imagery of a throne. A throne is the source of power and the residing place of one who wields that power.

When we read of kingdoms and thrones in the Bible, we tend to immediately think of them as literal thrones and literal, physical kingdoms that exist someplace and sometime. From a historical, earthly perspective, there are many kingdoms and thrones listed in the Bible that have to do with the physical nation of Israel and those surrounding nations and empires within which the Bible story is told. However, when it comes to the Kingdom of God, we move away from physical locations and enter in to a representation of authority; specifically, the authority of God within his Creation.

Since the beginning of the physical Creation, God has desired that mankind “rule” over his Creation.

Genesis 1:27-28 – “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Being created in the image of God, it is man’s role to represent Him in all things in this world, and to overcome and conquer all rebellious activity known as sin.

Genesis 4:6-7 – Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

This idea of ruling over sin only comes from having a sense of authority over it. The Bible makes it clear that no matter how much we understand “about” sin and doing what’s right (illustrated by the law provided through Moses) unless we demonstrate authority over it, we cannot conquer it; instead, it tends to conquer us. That is a picture of the human condition outside of the spiritual Kingdom of God.

However, when Yeshua arrived at the culmination of Israel’s history, he taught that the Kingdom of God was the very thing that believers should pursue at all costs, and in doing so, they would be fulfilling the very will of God.

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Since the time of Yeshua, those who are believers in Messiah (as the fulfillment of all that God had promised to Israel) have been tasked with carrying the light of God’s word and authority to the world. We are not born into a physical kingdom, but must be born again or born from above to recognize and experience the authority of this Kingdom. Yeshua taught that the key to overcoming this tendency to sin is to die to oneself and one’s own selfish desires and live instead for God, serving others in his authority, not in our own.

Those who conquer sin can only do so through the authority, the throne, of the Kingdom. The caveat is that the throne of that Kingdom is not in a stately palace with precious metals and gems, it is instead an altar of sacrifice, where we lay down our lives for the will of God.

Romans 12:1 – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

Yeshua set the example for us and will be recognized for all eternity for this demonstration of abiding within the will of God through sacrifice.

Revelation 5:5-6 – Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders….”

This is why he has the authority of the throne and the ability to overcome; and he urges believers to do the same, to rule and reign with him through sacrificially living for the will of God for all time.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Set apart for obedience to God’s will

The culmination of the biblical imagery is fulfilled in Messiah.

Hebrews 10:4-10 – For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Therefore when he comes into the world, he says, ‘You didn’t desire sacrifice and offering, but you prepared a body for me. You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.’ Previously saying, ‘Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them’ (those which are offered according to the law), then he has said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

While most believers look to the book of Romans as the most theologically dense writing of the New Testament, in actuality, I believe the book of Hebrews provides the most depth of theology, and also provides us the perspective of how the early believers, who were all Jewish, viewed the work and ministry of Yeshua.

The book never names its author; many think it is Paul, some think it may have been Timothy. The individual carries many of the same long phrases and characteristic nuances of Paul. Regardless, throughout the book, a well-planned and graduated argument is laid out for the meaning and purpose of what Messiah came to do.

By chapter ten, the book is reaching a crescendo of thought and focuses on the work of Messiah contrasted with the sacrifices of the priests according to the law of Moses. Almost all commentators focus on Yeshua’s blood sacrifice against the animal sacrifices of the priests. But is that the true comparison or contrast being laid out here? I don’t believe so, and here is why.

First, it is established that animal sacrifices don’t take away sin. This was not a new concept to biblical thought, since Psalm 40 is then quoted to demonstrate this. The problem begins with the representation of Psalm 40 in this passage of Hebrews and it being mis-quoted (in our modern Bibles) in this passage where it says “you prepared a body for me.” If we actually go back to the text in the Psalms, we see that it reads:

Psalm 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and offering you didn’t desire. You have opened my ears. You have not required burnt offering and sin offering. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come. It is written about me in the book in the scroll. I delight to do your will, my God. Yes, your law is within my heart.’”

So the original text does not include a body being prepared for Messiah, but that his ears were opened. Opened to what? “Your law is within my heart.” Yes, the Messiah exemplified receptiveness to the law which is equated with the obedience of “delighting to do God’s will.”

The writer of Hebrews then states the crux of his argument: “He takes away the first (i.e., the animal sacrifices) that he may establish the second (the doing of God’s will in obedience from the heart). That is the contrast of thought in this passage, NOT the animal sacrifices vs. the sacrifice of Yeshua. The thought is concluded by saying “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua once for all.”

You see, Yeshua offered his body in obedience to God’s will, and THAT is the characteristic that sets believers apart: when we, in like fashion as our Lord and Messiah, are obedient to God’s will from the heart. THAT is the “second” (the doing of God’s will from the heart) that is being contrasted with the “first” (animal sacrifices).

This is what sanctifies or sets believers apart from the rest of the world. We have received God’s eternal torah or instruction written in our heart, and we are willing to obey it to the death, if needed. That is how Yeshua’s death “sanctifies” believers; he provided the ultimate example for us to follow.

The blood of the new covenant is not the physical sacrifice of a man in Judea two thousand years ago for some spiritual “blood debt,” because the writer tells us plainly that physical blood cannot take away any sins, and this was known throughout biblical history. But what the blood represents is what is important: this blood is the life of an individual who was willing to pay the ultimate price in obedience to his God. The “first” has been fulfilled with the “second.”

The Bible plainly teaches that the blood carries the life of the individual, which is why it is forbidden to eat or drink blood.

Leviticus 17:11 – ” For the life of the flesh is in the blood. I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life.”

The blood makes atonement by reason of the life not the death. This was the symbolic significance that God was attempting to teach his people to understand with every animal sacrifice. It was not the death of the animal that was the point, but the representative life that was being forfeited on behalf of another.

This passage in Hebrews is the culmination of all of those spiritual lessons that had led up this point; the law is the “schoolmaster that leads to Messiah,” (Galatians 3:24). This is the contrast that illustrates what the whole New Testament points to. This man Yeshua is who believers are called to follow; this is who we are called to imitate. This is the new covenant of having our “ears opened” to the instruction of God, and being willing to follow him wherever he leads, even to the ultimate act of giving our life on behalf of others, if needed.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Faith in the greater purpose of God

We must always be faithful in sowing the seeds of truth.

Many times today, I have heard people say that if God would only give them a sign, then they would believe in him. But what kind of sign would be a true indication? They haven’t defined what that sign would be, just that they won’t believe until they see some sort of evidence.

Well, we can tell from the book of Deuteronomy that signs are not the answer to people believing in God or not. Time after time, Moses is upbraiding the people for their lack of faith, regardless of the signs they have personally witnessed.

Deuteronomy 6:22-23 – “Before our eyes Yahweh inflicted great and devastating signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his household, “but he brought us from there in order to lead us in and give us the land that he swore to our fathers.

Deuteronomy 11:2-3, 7 – “Understand today that it is not your children who experienced or saw the discipline of Yahweh your God: His greatness, strong hand, and outstretched arm; “his signs and the works he did in Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and all his land; … “Your own eyes have seen every great work Yahweh has done.

Deuteronomy 1:30-33 – “Yahweh your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw him do for you in Egypt. “And you saw in the wilderness how Yahweh your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. “But in spite of this you did not trust Yahweh your God, who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.

In spite of the signs they had seen, they refused to believe. Yet even as he is concluding his narrative, Moses provides us a glimpse into why they had rejected the signs:

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything Yahweh did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to his entire land. “You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders. “Yet to this day Yahweh has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.

Now we get to the meat of it; regardless of the amount of signs they experienced, Yahweh had not provided them “a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.” Why would he do that? Doesn’t he want everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)?

We can understand this a little better as we find Yeshua, quoting the prophet Isaiah, saying the same thing to the religious leaders of his day:

Matthew 13:10-17 – Then the disciples came up and asked him, “Why are you speaking to them in parables? ” He answered, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. “For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. “That is why I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. “Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, but never understand; you will look and look, but never perceive. “For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back — and I would heal them. “Blessed are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. “For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see but didn’t see them, to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.

When he spoke in parables, it was with the idea of sharing the truth of the kingdom with them but also providing them opportunity to reject it. The ones who were sincere in seeking God would understand the parables for what they were, while those who were not sincere in seeking God would reject them.

This was how the apostle Paul also understood the principle of receiving spiritual truths:

1 Corinthians 1:19-23 – For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Messiah crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the nations.

For Moses, Yeshua, and Paul, those who would not understand their message have been kept from understanding something, not necessarily because of some direct intervention of God, but by the condition of their own hearts.

The idolatry of ancient Israel hardened them to the signs they received. The pride of the religious leaders in Yeshua’s day prevented them from hearing the truth of his words. The philosophy of the elite that Paul preached to prevented them from accepting his message. Yet through all of these rebellions, the larger purpose of God was ultimately served.

When we share the clear measure of the word of God with those around us and they don’t receive it, it could be that God has not yet prepared their hearts for understanding at that moment for some other greater purpose he has. This requires a great measure of faith on our part. However, we can be sure that as Paul told Timothy, God desires that we intercede on behalf of others that they would receive the truth:

1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 – … I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, … This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We are not to determine how the seed may grow or what kind of soil it lands on, only that we are faithful in the sowing of it.

Acts 13:46-47 – Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you [Jews] first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the nations. “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the nations to bring salvation to the end of the earth.”

We should remember that through the discipline of unbelief in the wilderness, God hardened and prepared a people to have the strength to take the land he had promised them. That was the larger purpose. And through the discipline of unbelief in New Testament Judea, God’s largest purpose was then realized: his word was spread throughout the world, and even down through the millennia, to us.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.


Lawbreakers cannot inherit the kingdom

To say that one is a believer is simple; doing God’s will is the real indication of belief.

Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name? ‘ “
Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ‘

Many believers who meditate on their purpose will be challenged with discerning what the will of God is for their life. We sometimes tend to think of things in big chunks of ideals like: should I get married? Should I take that job? Where should I live?

Well, the Bible is neither a magic 8-ball nor some sort of fortune cookie for personal prophecy about the future. The will of God is much less abstract and much more attainable, if we will only take the Word of God at face value.

We get a very strong indication of the approved lifestyle of the inhabitants of the kingdom in the verses above. Yeshua is saying that those who are in the kingdom will be demonstrating they are doing God’s will. Those who are not in the kingdom would be those who are “lawbreakers.” Some other versions might translate the Greek word anomia as “those who practice lawlessness.” The word literally means “against the law.” As it relates to the context of this overall passage of the Sermon on the Mount, those who are outside the kingdom of God are those who disobey the law of God.

This is a callback to the beginning of the Sermon where Yeshua pronounces the following:

Matthew 5:17-19 – Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Those who “break the least of the commands” are lawbreakers, and, hence, outside the kingdom of God. You see, the will of God is the law, the torah, of God. It’s his instruction that has been provided to mankind for the purpose of, well, instructing us on what is proper and right. It is not up for debate, as it is permanent and everlasting.

Psalm 119:89 – Your word is forever, Yahweh; it is firmly established in heaven.

The will of God is his Word; God does not say anything that is not his will. Therefore, if we are abiding by the everlasting Word of God, we are doing his will and are set apart within the kingdom of God.

Look at some of these wonderful verses that illustrate this principle:

Mark 3:35 – “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Romans 8:27 – And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

The Spirit of God will only intercede according to God’s Word (his law, his torah) because it is his will.

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Paul encourages believers to have their minds renewed as something that is opposite of being conformed to the age. The Word of God is always opposed to the morality and reasoning of the age apart from him.

1 John 2:17 – And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.

Again, John contrasts the will of God with the world and its lusts. Once again, the Word of God which is forever is contrasted with the lusts of the world which pass away with every generation.

To say that one is a believer in the Lord Yeshua is simple enough to do, but Yeshua says it takes more than that to inherit the kingdom of God. One must not only claim Yeshua is Lord, but must do the law, the torah, the instruction of God; the principles of the kingdom. It is the doing of his Word that allows God to be magnified in each generation, as his ways are demonstrated as righteous.

Matthew 5:19 – “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands [i.e., is a lawbreaker] and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Steps to maintain clarity on the path of righteousness

We can have the assurance from multiple sources that we are on the right path.

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.

The proverbs of Solomon contain a wealth of practical advice for the believer. This verse challenges believers to continually examine their ways to ensure they are on the correct path. The right way is not always abundantly clear, and if we simply trust our own wisdom and thinking, we may end up on the wrong road entirely.

Fortunately, Solomon has also provided some additional insights to help us determine which way we should be going.

Proverbs 12:15 – A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

For the believer, the primary source of wisdom and counsel is Torah, or God’s Word. When faced with indecision, it is wise to prayerfully scour the Scriptures to allow God to provide needed direction.

When a possible course of action presents itself, it is then helpful to receive advice or counsel from a trusted friend or mentor. God, in his boundless intelligence, has granted that the repository of wisdom is not limited to one individual or one source. Most times, confirmation from a trusted acquaintance is the motivator needed to form solid course of action.

Wisdom is available from many different resources at any given time, especially in our current day and age of information. Besides trusted personal family, friends, and contacts, there are many online resources and teachings to guide and strengthen a believer’s faith.

Conversely, there is also a plethora of false teachings that can, and do, lead many astray with their hollow ethics and prideful focus. Yeshua cautioned that these teachings can be evaluated by understanding what kind of results the teacher or organization produces.

Matthew 7:15, 19-20 – “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. … “Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

Some diligent and common-sense investigation of an individual or ministry can many times provide the perspective needed to know if they can be trusted or not.

Solomon continues his practical advice:

Proverbs 3:7 – Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear Yahweh and turn away from evil.

If we are not relying on our wisdom, and we are fearing Yahweh by trusting in his Word and resources he has provided, it’s still up to us to actually turn away from evil. This is something that only we can choose to do, albeit with the strength God provides us.

Ephesians 6:10-11 – Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God…

1 Peter 4:10-11 – Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Messiah Yeshua in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Finally, Solomon also encourages the believer to be sure the actions are coming from the right place within us.

Proverbs 16:2 – All a person’s ways seem right to him, but Yahweh weighs motives.

Another reading of “motives” reads “spirit.” Yahweh weighs or judges the spirit in which we do things, or the unseen motivation that guides what we do. Are we truly seeking the right way according to his Word and counsel, or merely trying to make ourselves look better in front of others?

1 Peter 2:1 – Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.

In our quest to stay on the right path, then, we should be sure that we are vigilantly staying true to God’s Word, confiding with trusted advisors, taking measured steps to avoid evil and ensuring that we are operating from the correct motives. By doing so, we can have the assurance from multiple sources that we are on the right path. These confirmations provide the confidence and strength necessary to discern God’s will and keep us moving on the narrow path in the way of righteousness.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Are you holy?

God’s kingdom grows only through those who speak and do what is right no matter the cost.

Holiness is life that is set apart; it is unique and separate from those around it. But not just unique and set apart. Many people today feel that they are special and unique due to some unusual trend they participate in, or some obscure passion they pursue that is far removed from the normal life experience of others. It may be that they are special and unique in that respect, but that does not make what they do “holy.”

Holiness is a life that is set apart for the purpose of God; it is a life that is yielded to his will in such a way that it is uncharacteristic in its divergence from normal societal trends and habits. According to Yeshua in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), the life that is unique in the right way, the holy way, has certain characteristics.

It is a life that is humble, not vaunting itself over others. It is a life spent in deep introspection, grieving over personal and societal unrighteousness while remaining desperate for righteousness and doing what’s right according to God’s will. A holy person is merciful towards others, always acting out of a pure heart, one that does not have ulterior motives or hidden agendas. As much as can be possible with them, they seek peace with all others.

What is the reward for all of this noble aspiration? Is it to be praised and loved by others for being so thoughtful and caring, always watching for and acting in the best of spiritual intentions for all others? Sadly, no. According to Yeshua, most of the time, in this life God’s holy ones will be insulted, ridiculed, and in fear for their lives for being diligent in these things. However, he does provide reassurance of a great reward in heaven.

This is the life of those who are holy. This is the type of individual God is calling us to be: someone who speaks and does what is right no matter the cost, because this is how God’s kingdom expands and grows. If we do not do these things, and instead choose to remain safe and secure in our bubbles of contentment and like-mindedness with our brothers and sisters, we will not be impacting the world for God and for his Messiah.

A holy person is not just holy for the sake of being different from the rest of the world. No, a holy person is different for the sake of being an example to the rest of the world, to show the world what it means to be truly obedient to the God of the universe in ways that make a difference in the lives around them; in their homes, in their work, and in their communities.

Becoming salt (a preservative of all that is right and good) and light (declaring the truth in dark places) is the life of a true believer of the Messiah and the God of the Bible.

Are you holy?


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The resourcefulness and confidence of integrity

Working diligently within the will of God allows us to shine brightly in a world of darkness.

Proverbs 31:10, 29-31 Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels. … Many women have done noble deeds, but you surpass them all! ” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

One would be hard pressed to find fault with the woman represented in Proverbs 31. This paramount of virtue and industry has been a standard revered for ages, since these words were originally penned. If such a woman were to exist, she would be worthy of high praise, indeed.

She is typically known as the woman of noble character, but if we dig a little into the language, we find another aspect of character at work: strength. The word that is typically translated as noble or virtuous is a Hebrew word meaning strength, resources, or ability. Going further into the root language, we arrive at the word for twisting or whirling about, as perhaps in a dance. Taken together, these meanings convey that this woman is not just noble, but a resilient and resourceful individual who is poetically active and engaged at all times. Everything she does is worthy of praise and honor. She takes care of her husband and her family; she reaches out to those in need; she is constantly doing something that brings honor to her family name and to God. Her activities are known and recognized by others, and God is honored by her determination and character.

Using a slightly different word picture, Yeshua encourages his believers to be of a similar mindset.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

When we see how these themes intertwine, we can arrive at the conclusion that Proverbs 31 isn’t speaking about a specific woman at all, but is a personification of the collective people of God who are to be continually active in the works and will of God. As the bride, we honor our husband when we are diligent and faithful in our duties, dancing joyfully about within his perfect will for us. As we do, our light shines out in meaningful ways to others; it cannot be hidden.

I have learned that the woman’s confidence and resourcefulness allows her to laugh at tomorrow (v. 25). There is nothing outside of ourselves that can dampen our integrity or our efforts when we are busily engaged within the perfect will of God and his purpose for the kingdom.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The nature of God’s kingdom and discovering God’s will.

How do we participate in God’s kingdom and discover God’s will?

Core of the Bible Podcast, Episode 9 – The Kingdom and the Will of God

In this episode we will be exploring the nature of the kingdom of God, and what we are able to discover about God’s will. We will be looking at how Yeshua explains those who participate in the kingdom, and also what the biblical writers have to say about accomplishing God’s will in the kingdom.

Now, you may be aware I have a previous episode where some of these kingdom ideas are discussed, looking at the kingdom of God thematically through the Bible. If you haven’t yet listened to that, it’s the second Core of the Bible episode titled simply The Kingdom, so be sure to check that out if you would like some further background on the topic today.

The kingdom of God is a topic that is debated among various groups regarding what it is, who it belongs to, and how will it be manifested over time.

Our  highlighted verse this week contains some vital instruction from Yeshua that can help to settle some of those questions. More importantly, he provides clarity as to who would be, and who wouldn’t be, participating in this kingdom:

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” 

You see, just claiming to be a disciple doesn’t make you a member of God’s kingdom. Anybody can claim to be something, but how are they truly determined to be what it is they are claiming to be?

Yeshua instructs us that it is the doing of the will of God that reveals who the real disciples are. This is the same principle he has expressed in other places such as Luke 6:

Luke 6:43-44 No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. 

While this admonition is contextually based in how to spot a false teacher, it still bears weight as a general maxim. It is our actions which show what we really believe, not just what we think or say.

To corroborate this general teaching, here are a few other verses that speak of the same principle:

Romans 2:13
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous.

Matthew 19:17
And he said to him, 'Why do you call me good? no one 'is' good except One -- God; but if you desire to enter into the life, keep the commands.'

1 John 2:4
He who professes to know Him, and yet does not obey His commands, is a liar, and the truth has no place in his heart.

Entering into the kingdom of heaven is possible only by consistently doing the will of the Father in heaven, not by merely claiming to be a disciple. This is how we demonstrate what we believe.

I happen to be a fan of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies starring Christian Bale as Batman. The writing and dialogue is challenging and can be morally confrontational in many different areas. In one pivotal and climactic scene, when the Batman character in full costume has helped save some individuals from harm, the female lead, wanting to know who to thank for their rescue asks him, “At least tell me your name.” He responds with a line she had previously chastised him with: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

Christopher Nolan here is not inventing some new philosophy; he is simply tapping into a moral and philosophical truth that is timeless in its simplicity and plainness. People can say they believe anything, but the truth of what they actually believe as a practical outworking of that professed faith is demonstrated by what they actually do. We know this simply as “actions speak louder than words.”

This is the principle expressed most clearly in a very famous passage from the book of James, which speaks about our actions revealing our faith:

James 2:14-18 What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that? So too, faith by itself, if it does not result in action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

The Psalmist was also a proponent of the active nature of our believing faith, imploring God that his actions would match the righteous principles of God.

Teach me Your way, O LORD, that I may walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. Ps 86:11

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Ps 143:10

Through passages like these, I hope it is becoming apparent that the kingdom doesn’t have an entrance gate, or a ceremony that one must pass through in order to participate in it. Being attentive to, practicing, and obeying God’s instruction IS the kingdom.

To illustrate this further, this can also be shown by looking at examples of who is depicted as NOT participating in the kingdom: those who are sinful, disobedient and willfully defiant.

In the book of Revelation, the writer expresses many truths symbolically and with reference to many other poetic and apocalyptic writings in the Hebrew scriptures. One of those symbols is a reference to Zion or the New Jerusalem. In his depiction he illustrates who is “in” the city and who is “outside of” the city:

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. But outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Rev 22:14-15

The tree of life, the new Jerusalem, the kingdom: these are all symbols of doing God’s will, being obedient to his instruction, his torah. Those who are not obedient to the will of God (i.e., the sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, etc.) are not participants in the tree of life, the new Jerusalem, and the kingdom.

Alphonsus de Ligouri was a spiritual writer and theologian living in the 1700’s in Catholic Italy. He has been quoted as writing:

The man who follows his own will independently of God's, is guilty of a kind of idolatry. Instead of adoring God's will, he, in a certain sense, adores his own.

And isn’t this true? If we are not accomplishing God’s will, then we are seeking to accomplish our own, which can place us with the idolaters outside of God’s kingdom.

The kingdom is not defined by where you are (Jerusalem) or who you are (which denomination or descent you belong to), but WHAT YOU DO. This is why it is NEAR at all times; we always have a choice to obey God.

You see, the kingdom is being defined throughout the Bible as any place where God’s will is done. It is metaphorically idealized as a tree of life, or a city with open gates, but these are just metaphors for the reality of the actualization of God’s will in our life. God desires we accomplish his will from the heart, and if we are truly living out his will, then that’s where God’s kingdom really resides: in our hearts, and in our actions.

This is why Yeshua can say:

Matt. 7:21 ...he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter [the kingdom].” 

The very definition by Yeshua of the kingdom IS the doing of God’s will on earth

may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10

That’s the kingdom.

So now, you might be thinking, “If participating in the kingdom involves actively knowing and doing God’s will, the question then becomes, what is the will of God?” Let’s take a closer look at understanding what God’s will is.

Now that we have established that the kingdom is the doing of God’s will, that naturally leads us to ask, “What is God’s will?”

The short answer is the will of God is his word. As we live and conform our lives more and more to his word, we are accomplishing his will for us.

The longer answer is that we can actually make a practical list of characteristics from biblical writers who were describing what living according to God’s will looks like:

1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7-12- God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. ... God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. But we don't need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then outsiders will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

In this passage we are taught that God’s will is to avoid sexual sins, to live a life that is set apart from the sinful lives of others. We are to love each other, mind our own business, keep busy by working hard to support ourselves. In so doing, we can also gain respect of others and independence. This sounds very familiar from our former discussion, as we are demonstrating our faith to others through what we do.

1 Peter 3:17 - Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is God's will, than to suffer for doing wrong!

1 Peter 4:19 - So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

Sometimes, it might be God’s will that we suffer, even if we are doing good things. This is one of the reasons we need to maintain a close relationship with him through his word and prayer at all times, so that we can endure when needed and to be encouraged through these times. This allows us to persevere and to continue to do what is right in all aspects of our lives.

1 Peter 4:2-3 ESV - so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Nations want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

Again, we can learn what God’s will is by learning what it ISN’T: sensuality, fleshly passions, drunkenness, idolatry, etc. As our lives conform more and more to the ideal that God expects, these aberrations become less and less prevalent in our lives.

1 Peter 2:15 - 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

It is God’s will that we do good. Doing good means our actions should back up what we say and believe. In so doing, we will be silencing our detractors who would only capitalize on our hypocrisy if we lived in an inconsistent fashion.

Micah 6:8 - 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

We are encouraged to be just, merciful, and humble in all of our dealings with others. This requires careful attention and wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-20 - 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here we are encouraged to live wisely, and to make the most of every opportunity presented to us. We are not get drunk on wine, but instead to be filled with the Spirit of God. Singing and making music from the heart are lyrical ways of expressing thanks to God for everything he has provided us.

Closely linked to this admonition is Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This famous passage teaches us that God’s will is for us to be thankful, to be demonstrating thankfulness in all aspects of our lives.

One of my favorite examples of what God’s will is, or the “works” that God expects we should be doing is:

John 6:28-29 KJV - Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent.

Luke 9:23 23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

To be a follower of Yeshua, which is the work that God would have us do, is to deny ourselves, and to take up our own cross, that is, to bear that symbol of continual self-sacrifice before him in all things.

Hebrews 13:21 - May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing for his will. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

God’s will is us doing what is pleasing to him. How do we know what is pleasing to him? By remaining in his word on a regular basis, and allowing his word and his Spirit through his word, to transform us:

Romans 12:1-2 1And so, dear brothers and sisters,a I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.b 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Hebrews 10:36 - 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

And what has God promised? Yeshua states it plainly:

Matthew 12:50
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

To be an obedient believer is to be a brother or sister to Yeshua; a true child of God who is exhibiting the characteristics our Father here on earth.

John 1:12 However, he gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in him. 13 These people didn't become God's children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband's desire [to have a child]. They were born from God.

I John 3:1 See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God's children--and so, in fact, we are.

It is the doing of God’s will that provides entrance to this kingdom of obedience, where we are living in obedience to God among other brothers and sisters with the same goals and objectives. It is not the hope of entering some mystical realm at some future point in an incomprehensible future. God’s kingdom is here and now.

All of these verses simply show us that, if we’re honest with ourselves and we know our Bible, we already know what God’s will is for us. We just need to overcome any reluctance that may be inhibiting us from carrying it out.

When we are being faithful to God’s word, and doing his work in this world, we have entered his kingdom and are demonstrating ourselves to be his children. Additionally, we are lighting the way for others to join, also. As we faithfully serve him now, the evidence of God’s kingdom continues to touch and transform the lives of others. By choosing to live in the kingdom through our righteous actions and faithful example, we are expanding the reach and influence of heaven on earth.


Well, as always, I hope I’ve been able to provide you some ideas and concepts to meditate on further. The kingdom of God is the active doing of God’s will, and his will is expressed all throughout the Bible.

We need to keep in mind that the Kingdom of God is the overarching concept that is integral within the teachings of Yeshua. Within the kingdom are exhibited the core of the Bible qualities of integrity, vigilance, holiness, trust, forgiveness, and compassion. It is my hope you will continue to review with me these aspects of human expression that, I believe, God expects of all people.

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