In what way can you be sure that Jesus is the Messiah?

That’s a very simple and interesting question.
First we must remember that Israel were looking with a great longing for the coming of the Messiah in Christ’s day. They had discussed the matter in great detail and had come to the conclusion that when the Messiah came he would perform what they called Messianic signs. Messianic signs were miracles that were unusual. That is they could only be performed by the Messiah and nobody else. The Messianic signs were…

1. The blind who have never seen will be cured.
2. The lame who have never walked will be cured.
3. The lepers will be cleansed
4. The deaf demon possessed will be delivered
5. The dead of four days will be raised.

These are very specific miracles that no man could do even if he were empowered by the Holy Spirit.

There had never been a case of a blind man from birth healed.
There had never been a case of a man who has never walked been healed
There had never been a case of a leper of Israel healed
There had never been a case of a deaf and dumb possessed man delivered
There had never been a case of a man who had been dead four days healed.

The Rabbis has agreed that if one of these Messianic signs were seen in Israel then a delegation would be sent from the Jewish authorities and they would begin a ten day investigation. It this point they would listen only to the Messianic pretender. They would answer the question – Is this person a significant person to further investigate?

If the answer was yes then a second stage would be established in which they would ask him questions.

Now let us turn to scripture…

Luke 5v12: And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 13: And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14: And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
Now when the leper arrived at the high priest he was to present himself to Caiaphas for a sacrifice of two doves as a testimony of cleansing. At this point Caiaphas would go back to the OT and find three chapters dedicated to how to offer a sacrifice for a leper.

Then we find in the next passage that the first stage of the Messianic investigation has begun…

Luke 5v17: And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Now why was there Pharisees and doctors of the Law from every town of Galilee Judea and Jerusalem? Because they were here as representatives of the High Priest, Caiaphas to begin the first part (the ten-day) investigation in to the man who had performed a Messianic sign, the cleansing of the leper.

True to form they come only to listen…

18: And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19: And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. 20: And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21: And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22: But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

Now at this stage of their investigation they were not allowed to speak but Christ could know their blasphemous thoughts. So he challenges them regarding their assumption that he has no authority to forgive sins.

23: Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24: But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. 25: And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26: And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

So Christ proves his Messianic authority for forgive sins but doing a greater miracle the raising of a lame man.

They return to Caiaphas no doubt to say that this man is significant and should be investigated more. Later they return with their questions.

We even see the same questions of his Messianic authority asked of John the Baptist…

Luke 7v20: When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 21: And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22: Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

After Christ has displayed all his Messianic signs The Religious leaders reject Christ and attribute his power to Satan instead of to the work of the Holy Spirit in his life and so they damn themselves to the lake of fire. There will be no forgiveness to this blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.

From this time on Christ’s ministry changes very dramatically. From now on he speaks only in Parables so that those who have rejected him might not understand. Even the disciples do not understand his parables and ask him of the meaning in private. Prior to his rejection he spoke openly and healed all who came but now he heals only those who express faith in him first.

The Ministry of Christ does not stop at the Cross. His work is picked up by the Apostles. Luke describes this period as the continuation of All that Jesus began to do. And during the 37 years of the Acts the Apostles continue to Messianic signs now apostolic sign continue to be demonstrated to Israel in every city where there is a company of Jews gathered. Eventually the Jews rebel against the Romans and the legions in AD 69 move in to suppress the nation. 1,100,000 Jews die and the temple is destroyed. Jewish national and religious independent life ceases as does the apostolic ministry to the Jews.



Ten things l remember about my Dad Samuel Hugh Pugh

When my Father died last year l recalled many memories with my brothers and sisters. We had great times recalling events and stories that had surrounded our lives for many years. Recently l saw a small leaflet called ‘Ten things l remember about my Dad’ and l began to think, what would be the ten things that l remember about my dad? Here are my ten.

The first thing l remember about my dad was when he used to get me to go out into the shed and clean his shoes. I hated it, because no matter how much time l spent, the shoes never shone - as he wanted them and time stood still. My father was a man of smart appearance. He was always turned out well. Even at camp, a shirt and tie were the order of the day. (I did learn to polish his shoes and mine, they required hard brushing and elbow grease.) My father was a man who had pride in his appearance. He thought that tidiness was normal and that keeping himself, the car, the house and the garden clean and tidy was important, especially as a christian.

The second thing l remember was that he was strong. Being brought up on the family coal firm, he had developed real strength and stamina. He told me recently that he could deliver two lorry loads of coal a day - by himself. ‘And the biggest thing was filling the bags by yourself’ he said. He had always been a labouring man, working by the strength of his arm. He was a great supporter of the Labour party as most working men were. One year at camp he bet all the young men £5, that they could not climb up the marquee pole ropes, using only their hands. Nobody ever made it, but he did and he did it so quickly and effortlessly.

Thirdly, l must mention his faith. He was a man of unbreakable convictions. I don’t ever remember him giving his testimony, but l remember his preaching. It was easy to understand, down to earth and solidly fundamental. He had gone with his parents to the Presbyterian Church as a boy, but had associated himself with the Christian Brethren as a youth. There he developed a deep reverence for the Word of God and he had been encouraged to preach. In those days, he was secretary of the Shrewsbury Christian Youth, an interdenominational group of 400+ members. He was no intellectual, he was a man of practical faith. He was always preaching a ‘Christ centred Gospel’ somewhere. When the war broke out, he was a ‘conscientious objector’ (although he was exempt from action due to his occupation). He won his case and went out with the Royal Air Force as a fitter’s assistant. He met my mother at an evangelistic meeting, at a break in training. (She was singing on the platform). He was a man who knew what he believed, some would say ‘firm’, others ‘stubborn’. His children at times ‘unyielding’. His children were like him and huge ‘conflicts of will’ ensued as they grew up.

When he was posted to the western desert, he found that men trusted him because he was totally reliable. He got a job in the wages department. This is the next thing l remember about him. If he made a promise to you - he kept it. He was a man of honesty. Often he would come home with cigarettes in his pocket. Not because he smoked, he was looking after them for others. We were quite poor in those days. Feeding six children must have been difficult. We kept chickens and had a huge vegetable patch. I spent many an hour standing leaning on a fork in the garden.
The next thing that comes to mind was his laughter. We had family jokes, and when they were repeated he would howl with laughter. He had a great sense of humour, just the same as my mother. His humour was very dry and subtle. He would roar at the story of the black man who when he was being baptised and when asked what he believed he said ‘I believe - your trying to drown me’.

He was a man loyal to his wife and whose love for her was the most important thing in his life. He was proud of her ability to sing and would insist on her singing whenever he went out preaching. This didn’t mean they never had differences. They did, but they worked through them and were still together at the end, as at the beginning. For him the children were important, but his wife came first.

The seventh thing I remember about my dad was that we seldom sat down on a Sunday afternoon without visitors. He was a man of hospitality. He had learnt the value of taking in strangers when he was serving in the Middle East. On the night of the Battle of El-Alamein, he was being baptised in a pool in the backgarden of a house in Jerusalem. The war had given him a world perspective. It had made him what he was, but he could never forgive Hitler for keeping him from his mother during her closing years. When problems arose with the Christian Brethren he moved the family to the Baptists, were he saw a number of his children converted and baptised, but when problems arose there, he moved back to the Christian Brethren. He was a protestant through and through and a nonconformist at heart. He initial efforts to shield his children from Church of England influence at school eventually relaxed. However, his generosity always shone through. Even in times of shortage, speaker’s, missionaries and especially blind christians were found around the family Sunday tea table.

His greatest achievement was in the organisation of the Shropshire Assemblies Young Peoples Christian Camp and of his association with Bob Watson. The Camps were his brainchild, and his life work. Hundreds of people came to the camps over the years and they found my dad as Commandant, or ‘Comy’ as he was called. With Phil Bellingham and Edwin Hannay, they were a formidable team. On the first camp at least fifteen people were converted and as many Christians renewed their commitment to the Lord. I was converted at the first Camp. The Camp ran on the same pattern for ten years. The Shrewsbury Assembly was built up and many of his children found their sweethearts at camp.

The last thing l remember about my dad, was that no matter who loved and respected him - worldwide, he was My Dad. In the latter days, before he lost his mind and his faculties, he was a delight just to be with. I used to sit and ask him questions about his earlier life, the war and the people he knew. I remember too, years before, being so proud of him when one night unexpectedly, he said to me ‘Go and get you best clothes on were going out’. He took me to St John’s Hill Methodist Church, Shrewsbury, to listen to Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

S Pugh

How does the message of Repentance fit in with the rest of the Bible?

Malachi, 3v1: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2: But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4: Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

Let me put the passage in context…
A The Present
1v1-5 The Love of God for Israel
1v6-2v9 The Priests rebuked for profanity
2v10-17 The People rebuked for social sin
B The Future
3v1-6 The Two Messengers
3v7-18 The People rebuked - Religious sins
4v1-6 The Day of the LORD

Malachi is speaking to Israel regarding the Day of the LORD. The day of the LORD is the return of (Jesus) The Messiah of Israel to bring judgment first on the house of Israel and then on the Gentile world. (Matt 25 the Judgment of the living nations) This all occurs at the end of the Tribulation But before the day of the LORD God describes the waywardness of his people Ch1-2 and then he describes first the coming of John the Baptist. (the death and resurrection and the church age are not foretold here) and of the coming of Christ to Israel. (God promises that ever word will be confirmed by two witnesses. That’s why Gods servants are always in pairs. Moses Aaron. Paul and Barnabas etc, etc) Johns ministry is briefly described in verse 1… Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: then the Prophet immediately goes on to The ministry of Christ… and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2: But who may abide the day of his coming? (Now this cannot be Johns ministry because it says… the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come).
So how does Malachi describe Christ’s ministry…
Christ will come to this temple (to examine Israel’s worship)
His coming will be in judgment (Who shall stand, Only the righteous stand)
He will be like a refiners fire to the sons of Levi (After Levi the priests are purified then they will be able to offer sacrifice to the Lord) that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then An offering will be made unto the Lord (This is in a future day! So the idea that all sacrifices are over is incorrect! However this is not an offering of atonement, That has been offered once for all at the cross but it is an act of consecration probably for the temple or the throne of judgment which will be in Jerusalem.) However in judgment there will be mercy. Judgment for sorcerers etc but mercy in that not all Israel will be consumed.
Then we have the call for a national repentance again. Return unto me says the LORD of hosts. This is the gospel of the Kingdom. (Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand) Notice the message is legal (based on the Law) return unto me and l will return unto you! (This is never, ever said to Gentiles and it is not the Gospel we preach) How do l know this because he goes to call on Israel in that they have robbed him of the tithes that are Israel’s due – He says… for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Then comes the promise of kingdom blessing (One of the most beautiful passages in scripture…
10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The LORD then promises the binding of Satan in the Kingdom – I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, etc etc
And he promises blessing to the nations in the kingdom through Israel…all nations shall call you blessed
Then Malachi describes More of Gods dealings with Israel and the destruction of the wicked. But in destruction God will remember those who fear him (Whose names are in the book of remembrance (The thief on the cross quotes this when he said, Remember me when you come into your kingdom)
In the day of the setting up of the Kingdom these righteous are called my jewels. - in that day when I make up my jewels.
Then when God has dealt with Israel he will return to deal with the Gentiles – Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
The wicked will be judged but the righteous will be blessed - But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings
Then the prophet reminds Israel that he will send Elijah to prepare Israel. – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
And so the Old Testament ends and 400 years pass with now word from God and then in the wilderness of Judea a man stands up and says…
Matthew, 3v1: In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2: And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3: For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.