Israel My Glory: In Depth: Interview w/ Bruce Scott, Immanuel Forever
One of the most comforting truths about God is that He is a present Helper in our lives. The name Immanuel, meaning “God with us,” reminds us of that fact every Christmas. But such a lovely truth should be remembered and celebrated all year long, not just in December. Our guest this week, Bruce Scott, talks about this special name of God in his Israel My Glory article, “Immanuel Forever.”
The truth of “God with us” goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. As God was with the first man and woman, He continues to be with us today but through a different means: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It’s through this fellowship with Immanuel that we enjoy such rich blessings of fellowship with the God of the universe. Be refreshed by this interview as you meditate on the fact that Jesus, who came to Earth to save us from our sins, is still with us today in our hearts!
To read Bruce’s full article, Click Here
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. We have an exciting show for you today, but before Chris comes, I'd like to remind you once again, to visit our website foiradio.org. We have over five years worth of programming on our site for you to listen to. And I also invite you when you're there to browse around, enjoy the content we offer on our main ministry webpage. There, you will find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East, and you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, the Christmas season is upon us and you know what I love about Friends of Israel and our Israel My Glory Magazine is that I know when that November, December issue comes out, it's a bi-monthly magazine, it's our Christmas issue. We love to focus on elements of the birth of Christ, the Messiah, and for this particular issue it's called, They Shall Call His Name Immanuel. So this whole episode today is about our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, our Christmas issue. And we're going to have one of the writers, Bruce Scott, our Program Ministries Director here at Friends of Israel, talking about his recent article in here called Immanuel Forever. I really think it's going to open people's minds and hearts to what God meant when He said “His name shall be called Immanuel.” So I hope people stick around to listen to that. Now, we want to say a big heartfelt thank you to those of you that responded to our Giving Tuesday campaign that we had for our Hanukkah baskets.
Now, you might be wondering what's going on, but our Giving Tuesday campaign was all about our Hanukkah basket ministry. We wrap up special baskets that are full of Israeli goods, and we take them to our Jewish friends. We knock on their doors and we say, Happy Hanukkah. They love it. It's a great way to build bridges and to bring hope to our Jewish friends, this holiday season. And you know what? You responded. Because of your kind giving, we raised nearly $22,000 this year to help continue our Hanukkah basket ministry. Thank you so much! This is a great outreach to the Jewish people, especially during this COVID season. So we want to say a big heartfelt thank you. And thank you for listening.
Steve Conover: In the news, Iran vowed revenge for the assassination of its top nuclear scientist last month, the Islamic Republic was quick to blame Israel, raising the threat of a new confrontation between Tehran and the West. Iran's parliament approved a bill suspending UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and required the government to boost its uranium enrichment, if European countries connected to the Iran nuclear deal do not provide financial relief from oil and banking sanctions.
Chris Katulka: Steve, the Iran deal from five years ago, it's just proved to be an absolute disaster. It's an absolute mess. When you see what happens here, you can see that Iran never planned to unwind their nuclear aspirations. The death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is proof actually, Israeli intelligence has kept a close eye on him for many years. In fact, Fakhrizadeh's goal was to reduce the size of Iran's nuclear warhead to actually fit them on long range cruise missiles that could actually go as far as Europe. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu about two years ago, actually called out Fakhrizadeh and noted him as a lead official on continuing Iran's nuclear aspirations. So honestly, it's a good thing that he's no longer in charge.
Chris Katulka: I'm excited to have our program ministries director of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Bruce Scott, on the line with us, we're looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, our Christmas issue, which is titled, They Shall Call His Name Immanuel. Bruce, great to have you on the program my friend.
Bruce Scott: Thank you, Chris. It's good to be with you.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, you wrote one of the articles in Israel My Glory for the Christmas issue, the article title is Immanuel Forever. Now, before we get to that, you are the Program Ministries Director, so you oversee some of the programs that go on out of our North American ministries' department. One of them is something I love that's near and dear to my heart and that's our Israeli volunteer ministry that we have. Where we take young adults and adults over to Israel to serve at a local hospital in Israel called Kaplan Medical Center. It's really a great opportunity to minister to the Israeli people. You had that up, it's called ORIGINS and Hesed, can you share with us, with the COVID season briefly, what's going on with ORIGINS and Hesed right now?
Bruce Scott: Yes, well, unfortunately for this year, the coronavirus hit us hard. We actually had our Hesed team in Israel back in March, we had to cut that short because the coronavirus was just really breaking out at that time. And then we had to cancel completely our ORIGINS 2020 trip. So everyone was disappointed with that, but we had to do that for safety. But we're looking forward to 2021, again, unfortunately we've had to cancel our Hesed 2021 trip, but we are looking forward to, Lord willing, to having our ORIGINS 2021 trip, by then, perhaps we'll have all the vaccinations and everything will be opened up. So we're looking forward to that.
Chris Katulka: I'm going to be praying to that end, Bruce. I know how important ORIGINS and Hesed are for the Friends of Israel, a great opportunity for Americans and Canadians of all ages through those two different programs to go to Israel and to serve the Israeli people. It's such an amazing ministry. Something I've been, was a part of, for nearly a decade and it's near and dear to my heart. So I'm going to be praying for you and that things will reopen soon for both the United States and Israel. But I want to focus in now on your article Immanuel Forever. And before we move into the article, can you describe or explain what is Immanuel? How did Jesus become associated with the name Immanuel?
Bruce Scott: Yes. Immanuel comes from a prophecy regarding the Messiah back in Isaiah 7:14, where the Bible says, "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a Virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." Immanuel in Hebrew literally means “with us is God” or “God with us.” And you see that prophecy being fulfilled with the Lord Jesus in Matthew 1:23, when the angel Gabriel has spoken to Joseph and saying, “take Mary as your wife, because this is the Son of God, this is the promised Messiah, the Son of David.” And Matthew has this commentary where he says, “all this took place, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled saying”, and then he quotes Isaiah 7:14, “they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means God with us.” So Jesus, as the promised Messiah, Jesus was His personal name, but as the promised Messiah, He had lots of titles. And one of those was this, Immanuel, God is with us.
Chris Katulka: And I love what you do in the article because you stretch out this concept of Immanuel. You don't just associate it, in the very beginning with Jesus, you actually go back to the fact that you say that Adam and Eve themselves experienced Immanuel. Can you explain a little further the ramifications of Adam and Eve's sin and the effect that it had on this Immanuel experience?
Bruce Scott: Well, in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God prior to their sin, prior to the fall, there was nothing hindering them from this intimate relationship with God. God always intended for human beings to have an intimate relationship with Him where God's presence would not just be for the purpose of God helping us and being on our side when we're in trouble, all those things. But God's presence was for the purpose of relationship. Even within the Godhead, there is this intimate relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And when God created human beings, God's intention from the very beginning was to have that intimate relationship by His presence being with them. So they had nothing hindering them. And then when they chose to disobey, that kinship was broken. And as you read the scriptures, you see that God cast them out of the garden.
And that was really symbolic of casting them from His presence. That's the effect of sin, it separates us from God. And so Adam, Eve and all their descendants, including us, ever since that time, we have been born in our natural state, separated from God. We don't have His presence in our lives. It's true, God is omnipresent, He's present everywhere, but I'm speaking in terms of His personal presence with us. We don't have that until we're born again. And then that relationship is restored. So the impact on what happened to Adam and Eve, obviously, has been tremendous throughout history and has been tragic throughout history. Where man and woman are initially separated from God, and that's not how He intended it to be.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, you say here “Immanuel, God with us, so much so that scripture describes God's presence with them as walking in the garden in the cool of day, Genesis 3:8. The concept of walking leisurely appears elsewhere in scripture to picture the ordinary straightforward, intimate relationship that can exist between God and individuals. When we have a relationship, the Father's presence, God with us, Immanuel, means that everything He has is ours. In His presence is fullness of joy. Adam and Eve experienced Immanuel.” I love that about what you said, Bruce, that oftentimes when we think Immanuel, we're just thinking of Jesus's birth, but Jesus's birth is a part of a continuum of God fighting to be with us. God's presence to be with us, to redeem His creation. Is that the way that you see the Immanuel story being played out throughout scripture?
Bruce Scott: Yes, of course. This is God's intent from the beginning. His intent was to always have His presence with us, God, with us to be in intimate relationship with us. And so when sin came into the world and death through sin, God in His plan from the very beginning, before time began, before the world began, His plan was to reconcile us to Himself. To redeem us, to restore that relationship, so that once again, we could forever have that God with us experience. So I like to say that eternal life, which is as Jesus defined it in John 17:3 where He said, "And this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God in Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Eternal life doesn't begin when you die, eternal life and thus the presence of God in your life, that relationship with Him, begins the moment you trust in the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.
And so you don't have to wait until you get to heaven to enjoy the presence of God. You can enjoy Him and all of His fullness right now, as we grow in Christ and as we continue to be transformed in His image.
Chris Katulka: If you're just tuning in, we are speaking with Bruce Scott. He is the Program Ministries Director here at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. Bruce has been studying the scriptures for many years. He has been teaching and preaching in churches all around the country, all around the world. One of the great joys that I've had with Bruce is to be able to lead groups of young adults to Israel, to serve on our young adult ministry trip that we have, ORIGINS. And so we're talking about Bruce's recent article that he has in our Christmas issue of Israel My Glory Immanuel Forever. Now listen, if you're listening right now and you're thinking I'd love to get my hands on this magazine, Israel My Glory, we have a great offer for you. We want to give you a one year free subscription to our award winning Christian magazine, Israel My Glory, and actually you'll get this issue, They Shall Call Him by His Name Immanuel. You'll be able to read Bruce Scott's great article that we're talking about right now, Immanuel Forever and so much more.
You'll get a year free subscription by simply going to foiradio.org. And there you can sign up, you'll get six issues of Israel My Glory, it's a bimonthly magazine. It's going to inform you on what's going on in the Middle East. What's going on in Israel right now, is that a lot of transitions are happening in the political world, especially as a lot of transitions are happening geopolitically in the Middle East. This is a great magazine to have because we don't look at it from the political perspective or the media perspective, Israel My Glory looks at what's going on around the world from a biblical perspective, from a biblical worldview. So I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org and there you can get your one year free subscription of our award-winning magazine, Israel My Glory.
Welcome back everybody. We are speaking with Bruce Scott, Program Ministries Director here at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We're talking about his most recent article, Immanuel Forever, from our Christmas issue of Israel My Glory. Bruce, we're talking about this concept of Immanuel, and I love what you say, you define your thesis here for Immanuel Forever is this, God came to be with us so that we might go to be with Him. Why should this be an encouragement to our listeners this Christmas season, your phrase there, God came to be with us so that we might go to be with Him?
Bruce Scott: I think as we look through scripture, God's intent and overall theme of scripture is to glorify Himself. And of course, the primary ways that He has done that is by redeeming mankind. His compassion, His love for the world was ultimately demonstrated by sending his Son. And his Son was not just the Messiah in the flesh and a human being, all of that is true. He was also God in the flesh and God in His amazing and almost incomprehensible love for us lowered Himself to be with us so that He might, through that act of redemption and that sacrifice and that final atonement, taking away our sins on the cross and the victory through the resurrection and His victorious and glorious ascension into heaven, where Jesus now sits at the right hand of His Father. All of that was for the purpose so that we might be with Him. So it's more than just the story of a babe in a manger. It's a story of God who intended us to always be with Him, made it possible so that we might go to be with Him both now and forever.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. We've been looking at the Immanuel in your article, and the thing that I love that you do is that you don't just focus on the manger scene, you focus on the full biblical perspective from Genesis to Revelation. And people might be thinking, what does Revelation have to do with Immanuel? What does Revelation have to do? When they think Immanuel, they think of the Christmas hymns and songs that we sing in church. But in your article, you seem to indicate that the biblical concept of Immanuel isn't over, it's not just something from the Genesis account, which we looked at in the previous segment. It's not just the manger scene of Jesus's, of the incarnation. It's not over. God with us is actually a promise for the future too. Can you explain the prophetic hope that we have in Immanuel?
Bruce Scott: Absolutely. What happened in the Garden of Eden and the intimacy that Adam and Eve had with God as they walked together in that garden, that's going to happen again for everyone who has put their faith in the promised Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth. Because in the book of Revelation, after Jesus reigns on the earth for a thousand years, He delivers the kingdom back over to the Father. It tells us in Revelation 21:3, it says, "Again, and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, behold the tabernacle of God is with men. And He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, God Himself will be with them and be their God." So God brings it full circle, what He created and intended to be He will restore it, as He's accomplished the act through the work of Christ, through the cross, through the resurrection, through His ascension and His return. And ultimately, in the eternal state, once again, full circle, all of those who trust Christ will experience Immanuel. God will be with us and together we'll be walking together in that garden once again, in the cool of the day.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. I love that because in Genesis 2, leading into Genesis 3, the fall, you see where everything unravels after Adam and Eve's disobedience, you can see the pain, you can see the tears, you experience it. And the subsequent events that happen are full of despair. It's full of anger and the opposite of the character of who God is. And that Revelation 21 passage that you read perfectly connecting this concept of God with us, that we will be with God Immanuel. I love how it undoes what happened at the curse in Genesis 3, when it says in verse four, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes." This is what it will be like when Immanuel happens, He will, in the future, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore. The former things have passed away. Immanuel isn't just a picture of the manger scene, it's a picture of God's ultimate plan to redeem His creation so that He could be with us. And He did that through the cross when His son died on the cross.
Bruce, as we close our time together, can you give us an encouraging word about Christmas and our Immanuel?
Bruce Scott: Sure. What amazes me and continues to amaze me, Chris, is just to picture that first Christmas, that manger scene, my wife and I just recently purchased a new nativity scene for our home for the Christmas season. And just the simplicity of thinking of a baby, a newborn baby, lying in a manger. And we have all sorts of nostalgia and warm feelings about that scene and associated with Christmas. But just to think that in this very vulnerable, small human being, was wrapped up all of God's purposes and promises to reconcile human beings, His creation back to Himself so that we could be with Him once again. And in that little babe, there truly was God with us. And the promises associated, wrapped up in that child that we will be with Him and He will be with us forever. It's just a wonderful, wonderful assurance in these difficult days in which we live.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, I want to thank you for joining us. If you want to read Bruce Scott's article Immanuel Forever, to get the full article of what he wrote about, which I highly encourage you to do. I want you to go to foiradio.org. There, you can sign up if you don't already receive Israel My Glory, there, you can sign up to receive your one year free subscription. And while you're there too, be sure to look around at our archives and all the wonderful things that we have for you at foiradio.org. Bruce, thank you so much for being with us, my friend.
Bruce Scott: Thank you, Chris. It's always a joy.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today, Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Everyone needs to come back next week, we're going to have three of my Jewish friends and colleagues in the studio, Steve Herzig, Mitch Triestman and Lorna Simcox. And we're going to be talking about what it was like growing up Jewish, celebrating Hanukkah, this Hanukkah season. And so I think it's going to be interesting. You know what they say when you have three rabbis in a room, you often leave with four different opinions. Well, I don't even think I'm going to get a word in Steve, so you're going to have to come back next week and take a listen.
Steve Conover: I can't wait to hear it. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong and I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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