ARE WE LISTENING

Jeremiah 37:17

PURPOSE – God speaks to us today if we will only listen.Jeremiah had already faithfully delivered the Word to Zedekiah, and the people of Judah, that, Egypt would depart and the Chaldeans would come and take the city and burn it with fire (v.8). Zedekiah asked a very important question not only for his day, but for ours as well. “Is there a word from the LORD?’ Jeremiah said,’There is…”

In a day when we should have all kinds of time to hear God we have less time. I guess we feel we always have to be doing something; something other than listening to God. There are many voices to hear – the psychiatrist, the psychologist, stock brokers, advice columnist, medical doctors, senators, congressmen, governors, and you could go on. People listen to all these voices, and fail to hear what God says. We fail to hear because our hearts are not tuned in to God, but are tuned in to the things and goings on of our own ways. Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”, and, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9, 23). He also said, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21). A lot of people may ask, “Is there a word  from God?”, and may have just heard God’s voice the night before through a man of God proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. What do they do with it? They sense a presence, but put it off as just emotions, or their mind playing tricks on them. They hear God’s word, but will not do it.

We are not part of the body of Christ unless we have begun to do the Word, and not just hear it. Zedekiah heard, but did not do. If you will read Jeremiah 38 and 39 you will see the result of his not doing. God’s desire for us is that we hear His Word and do it. If God has at one time spoken to us and we have not did it; He will not speak to us something new until we carry out that Word which has not been done.

God desires for us to live or abide in His Word, but when we get out of His Word we begin to doubt, and fear begins to control our lives. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). God always has our best at heart. When we are out of His word we are out of His will, and therefore often we reap what we have sown.

Often people do not understand a message and it is partly because they do not hear. They hear words, but they are not tuned in to what is being said. Jesus said, “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word”, and in another verse He says, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:43, 47). It is evident that when Jesus used the word “Hear” in these verses He meant to hear was to put into action what He had said.

Is God still speaking today? Do we need to ask? There are people being saved. There are backsliden Christians rededicating their lives to Christ. YES! God is still speaking. We can look in our nation, and the gross immorality, and in it God is saying, “Repent and come back to Me”. We can look at natures pollution and God says, “I left man to care for this planet, but the sin of lust, greed, and godlessness has destroyed her created beauty”. On a more individual level God says, “Do you know why I am not blessing you? Because you did not ‘Go’ as I commissioned you”. “Do you know why you are suffering financially? Because you have not been a good steward with what I have entrusted to your care”. He speaks to all of us through His Spirit whom He sent to be our Comforter, Guide, by His Word. Jesus said of Him, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak ; and He will show you things to come” (John 16:13). God’s Word is truth. The Holy Spirit guides us, and teaches us God’s Word. He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment (See v.8).

In the book of the Revelation our Savior speaks seven times of the Holy Spirit speaking. He said, “He that hath and ear to hear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” The Spirit guiding into truth, and glorifying Jesus Christ.

“Is there a word from the LORD? There is…”. His Word is not bad. It is always for the well being of His children. We may not always understand, but God’s Word never fails. God never breaks a promise. How is God speaking in our day? He speaks first of all through the written Word guiding by His Spirit; secondly, He speaks by the Spirit impressing upon our hearts something we ought to do; thirdly He speaks through circumstances; and finally He speaks through other people, a friend, relative, or even an enemy or stranger. God does have a word for us today. Do you have an ear to hear? WELL LISTEN!

READ PSALM 81:8-14

PROMISES AND PROPHECIES 3

III. PROPHECIES CONCERNING JERUSALEM.

A. Luke 21:24 – “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” NOTE: June 1967 was the first time Jerusalem has been in the hands of an independent Israel since 597 B.C., and it has been 2000 years since it was even occupied by Jews.

B. Zechariah 2:4 – “And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:” NOTE: The modern cities do not have walls.

C. Jeremiah 31:35-40 – “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. 38 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. 39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” READ Zechariah chapters 2 and 14 and NOTE: Present boundaries of the city’s new section to the Northwest touch every detailed landmark prophecied by Jeremiah.

D. Destruction of Jerusalem.

1. Ezekiel 7:23-24 – “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. 24 Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.”

2. Luke 19:41-44 – “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

E. Eastern Gate Closed. NOTE: In Arabic these gates are called Elabwab Addahriyat… meaning, “Everlasting doors” and mentioned once in Scripture in Psalm 24; “Be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors”.

1. Ezekiel 44:1-3 – “Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. 2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. 3 It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.”

F. Capital of the Messianic Kingdom.

1. Jeremiah 3:13-17 – “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. 14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.”

G. Wars.

1. Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

2. Zechariah 14:1-3 – “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

H. Peace. NOTE: Jerusalem means, “City of Peace”, yet it has been seiged 46 times since David’s time and utterly destroyed and leveled to the ground 17 times; (These are listed for further study on pages 158-160 in “ISRAELI-ARAB CONFLICT OF THE BIBLE” booklet).

1. Ezekiel 34:25 – “And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.”

a. Ezekiel 37:26 – “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.”

2. Isaiah 66:10-12 – “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.”

3. Isaiah 32:17-18 – “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;”

a. Isaiah 33:20 – “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.”

4. Haggai 2:9 – “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”

5. Zechariah 9:10 – “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

6. Micah 4:2 – “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Edited for placing tags, and categories, no text change 03/12/10 by t.a.

PROMISES AND PROPHECIES 2

II. PROPHECIES PREDICTING FINAL RETURN OF THE JEWS TO PALESTINE.

A. Deuteronomy 4:27-30 – “And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’ hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;”

B. Isaiah 11:11-12 – “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

C. Jeremiah 24:6 – “For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up”.

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

D. Jeremiah 32:37-41 – “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”

E. Ezekiel 37:21-28 – “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’ children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”

F. These verses say, “I will gather you in my anger”.

1. Ezekiel 22:17-19 – “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.”

2. Ezekiel 36:24-28 – “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

3. Ezekiel 39:25-29 – “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”

Edited by T.A. 03/12/10

PROMISES AND PROPHECIES

The next few articles were compiled by a good friend of mine who is now in Heaven with the Lord Jesus, whom he loved.  Wayne Stephens was a Pastor, an Evangelist, and a soul winner.  My work on this was only in putting the actual verses in place.

I. PROMISES AND PASSAGES OF THE LAND.

A. THE LORD’S LAND. Hosea 9:3 “They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.”

B. THE LAND OF PROMISE. Hebrews 11:9 ” By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise”.

C. “MY LAND”. 2 Chronicles 7:20; Jeremiah 2:7; 16:18; 2 Chronicles 7:20 – “Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.”

Jeremiah 2:7 – “And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.”

Jeremiah 16:18 – “And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.”.

D. “Zion of the Holy One of Israel…”

Isaiah 60:14 – “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”

E. Genesis 13:15 – “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever”.

Genesis 17:8 – “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God”.

Deuteronomy 4:40 – “Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever”

Isaiah 60:21 – “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified”.

All refer to this land as being given by God to Israel, and some say, “Forever”.

Edited by T.A. on 03/12/10

WHAT WE ARE TO DO WITH GOD’S WORD

WHAT WE ARE TO DO WITH THE WORD
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18As Christians we must continue to pray for the freedom of the proclamation of God’s Word, to keep order in the Church, and to recognize or discern what the Word of the Lord is; especially as the ‘day of the Lord’ draws nearer.

“Living As Christians In Our Modern World”. Is there not an example of truth in that title. We would think by looking around our world that God has already removed all restraints. He has not. It is yet, to get even worse.

If you are a believer – one who has yielded your life completely to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you are trusting Him and only Him for salvation, then you need not worry about the time without restraint. We must be diligent about the work of the ministry of our church.

This final chapter begins with, “Finally”. Even in these final days we must heed the request of Paul. Especially in the final days does the Word of the Lord need to have a “Free course”. In the past two decades or so we have seen amazing answers to the type of praying that God answers. East Germany, the Soviet Union, and others have opened their lands to be exposed to the Word of God – the gospel, and thousands are being saved. What a wonderful grace God shows for mankind.

There is also a great need for the churches of our Lord to get things straightened out. There is such rebellion in the Church toward the Word. The rebellion goes beyond this, this is what Paul mentioned here: the unwillingness to work, such laziness is against the commandment of Scripture. There are some so lazy they depend entirely on the generosity of the church, or government in our case, to live. These are always meddling in other peoples affairs. Just plain ole disobedience to God’s Word. These are beggars. If the Word is not obeyed, then action must be taken, whether it be physical or spiritual laziness.

In the last three verses Paul makes it clear that this epistle [letter] is from him. We must be sure to use discernment in interpretation, the speaking and the hearing of the Word of God.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” 2 Thess 3:1-2 (KJV).
We must constantly be in prayer. One of the most important aspects of prayer is for the Word of God to work the work God intends for it. This often means the tearing down of walls – sometimes literal physical walls, sometimes political walls, and sometimes spiritual. In order for theWord to have “Free course” the old religions, the old fleshly ways must be torn down and destroyed. Of course, prayer, and the proclamation of the Word accomplishes this.

There are many who are wicked who attempt to stop the gospel from being preached. They are liars, cheats, thieves, and deceivers caring for nothing but their own positions in their work, town or church. These are those who have no faith.

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 2 Thess 3:3-4 (KJV).
When we are not faithful we can be assured that our Lord is. It is He who will cause us to stand for right, and keep us, guard us from satan’s deceptive attempt to lead us astray.

Notice where the confidence is – who the confidence is in. It is in the Lord. Knowing that God is faithful we can be confident that He will enable all those who are His to do those thingss which are commanded.

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 2 Thess 3:5 (KJV).
The guidance of the Lord is into His love, and into the “Patient waiting for Christ”. Patience for the return of Christ, yet fully expectant, longing, and looking for with joy His coming in the clouds for His bride.

It does not matter how long the wait is. It matters most that we be hungering for that day.

In summing up verse one through five Warren Wiersbe said, “Here, then, are four great responsibilities for us to fulfill: believe the truth, guard the truth, practice the truth, and share the truth”.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thess 3:6-10 (KJV).
Verse six begins a command from the apostle. Coming from Paul we can rest assured it is from the Lord through Paul, to him and us.

The word “tradition” used here is like verse fifteen of chapter two which again is not speaking of religious traditions of men, but the Word of God which we are commanded to pass on from generation to generation.

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is part of that tradition. His sinless life, His glory and power are a part. The promise of His return is as much a part as the crucifixion. Also these commandments that have to do with work.

Paul had no desire to be associated with the socially elite of his day in the city of Thessalonica. They despised work; had slaves who did their work for them. There were also those who had quit their job or business because of the false teaching that had gone on among them, and now were totally dependent upon the church for support. Paul has made it much better for the church of today by his sacrifice. There are many pastors, evangelist and others who do work in the gospel ministry who are supported by their church, because the Word of God teaches it should be that way. It should be that way in order for the Word to be preached and understood.

Verse ten is a strong statement that many need to be reminded of. This is a commandment, not a request.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thess 3:11-15 (KJV).
Those who do not work are some of the disorderly. This is, of course, speaking of able bodied people who will not work. They are meddlesome, mischievous rascals who need to be dealt with for the good of the church, and for their own well being.

If any will not hear the Word, we are told, “Have no company with him”, so that, they will be ashamed. He is speaking of saved people, because he says, “Count him not as an enemy, but…as a brother”.

Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. 17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 2 Thess 3:16-18 (KJV).
The salutation of this letter is apowerful one for discerning the Word of God from the words of men. This was signed in Paul’s own hand. They couold recognize Paul’s handwriting. So, Paul’s signature confirmed it was from him, as he had received it from the Lord.

We must be careful in the study, the teaching, the preaching, and the hearing of God’s Word. Is God’s signature on it: It is, if it is in agreement with what He has formerly said. God never contradicts what He has said. He, His Son Jesus, and the Spirit are in agreement. That is God’s signature.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THE WORD? We are to read it, study it, hear it, obey its Author, believe it. Especially in this day in which we live. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is near. BE READY.

THE HAND OF RESTRAINT

THE REMOVING OF THE HAND OF RESTRAINT

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

The Day of the LORD is coming. That is a promise and warning of Scripture. It is a day of darkness not of light. It is a time of judgment. For the Christian there is also promise of deliverance from it. Chapter two will give assurance of deliverance from this day of destruction; and tells us not to be troubled by the trials which will come our way, and that we will go through.

Just how are we to know when the “Great Tribulation” or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” begins? There are some distinguishing signs which show us. There are some who teach that the Church will go through the Tribulation. If so, why did Paul write verses one and two of this chapter? There were teachers [false teachers] teaching that the Church would go through this time of trouble, even then, and were even saying they were already in it. That same teaching is still being taught in our day in 2006 A.D. (The year of our Lord). Not only was their teaching bad enough, but they were signing (forging) Paul’s name to the letters, and accusing Paul of writing them.

In this chapter Paul tells how we can know, and if the lost would pay attention, even how they can recognize the ‘Day of the LORD’. There mus tbe something that sets the timeof the beginning of the ‘time of sorrow’. Paul says there will first of all be a great apostasy [falling away or departure]. This will happen among many who profess Christ as Savior, but have only joined a club [‘church membership’]. There has never been any relationship with Christ, no joy of salvation, no hope for life, and no exciting expectation of the return of Jesus Christ. Most who do not know Christ are not longing for His return, but rather fear it. The falling away will occur – I believe – because the Church will endure a time of purification [persecution] and the reprobate church members will flee from the fire. Of course, in some parts of the world Christians are being persecuted for their faith, and only those who know Him will suffer for Him.

There is not much need for the Church to know; when the Day of the LORD comes; because the day Jesus calls out from the clouds, “Come up here” is the day the Church goes to be with the Lord, and the time of desolation begins. When you truly know the Lord Jesus you need not fear the ‘Day of the LORD’.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 2 Thess 2:1-2 (KJV).
There will be a gathering of the Church. It is stated quite clearly in verse one, “…By our gathering together unto Him…”

The church was clearly troubled. They had been troubled by false teachers and false letters from those teachers, by forging Paul’s name. In doing so they were confusing the Thessalonican church and hoping to gain some thing for themselves. These teachers and letters were telling people that the ‘day of the LORD’ had already come, and they were living in it. As mentioned in the introduction that same teaching is going on today (2006), and leading many sincere Christians astray from the truth. Yes! You read me right, “Astray from the truth”. The day of the Lord has not come. The Revelation of Jesus Christ has not been fulfilled. There is much of the prophecies of the Old Testament and of the Revelation yet unfulfilled. The rapture has not ocurred, Jesus has not returned as He promised, we are not living in the Millennial reign of Christ (Isn’t that a relief to know), nor has the wicked been judged; nor the righteous received their crowns.

The false message contradicted what Paul was teaching. Paul’s clear teaching, and the Bible’s teaching is that the ‘Day of the LORD’ is a time of great trouble, sorrow on earth. The day is marked by sudden disappearance of a certain group of people – namely the Church. those fundamental, Bible believing, Jesus worshipping, “Blessed Hope” watching, born again people will be taken out of the way in order for lawlessness to have its way.

The words, “…day of Christ is at hand…” in verse two is literally the “Day of the LORD”.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2 Thess 2:3-4 (KJV).
This letter was written in part to warn the church, that there are deceivers. Deceivers have a way of robbing people of their hope, joy and peace. Do not let anyone deceive you.

The ‘Day of the LORD’ is not the rapture of the Church. “The day of the LORD” will not begin until after the ‘rapture’, or ‘catching away of the Church’; the falling away [apostasy]; and the revealing of the ‘man of sin’ (though many will not recognize him as the man of sin because of his deceiving power).

The apostasy is a rebellion against all that is godly. It will even involve professing christians who do not know Jesus. They see Him as any other religious leader. This christianity to them is only a religion of choice just like the others. It is, in fact, a personal relationship which one is called into – chosen by God; the living God, and it is the only way to eternal life in heaven.

There are some prophecy teachers who see this word “apostasia” a little differently in this text. It can also mean – a departure – thus it could possibly mean the rapture of the Church where many depart from the earth. I have to admit it would fit in the text. And if this is true, then, it is deffinitely clear that there will come a rapture in the order that is listed here. I myself, do not need this verse to prove the point. I will stick with my afore mentioned assessment until I am shown to be wrong. It just seems that the word ‘apostasia’ would imply a departure from the good and holy, and righteous and just.

The apostasy is in effect a militant uprising against all that is pure and against God, Jesus and the Church. There is, even today, an attempt to silence the Church, and the Word of God.

There is also, ‘the man of sin’, also called the ‘son of perdition’ who will be revealed, probably very near either side of the Rapture. Jesus mentions the ‘son of perdition’ in John 17:12. He was in the person of Judas Iscariot the betrayer. This man who will come on the scene will exalt himself, call himself God, and will sit in the temple of God – this will be in Jerusalem. This man will be revealed just before ‘the day of the LORD’. His introduction will be as a man of peace and seeming ability to end world economic, religious, and environmental problems (See Revelation 6:1-2). he will be a world ruler.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2 Thess 2:5 (KJV).
These were things Paul had spoken to them about when he was with them. This is only a gentle nudge to call to remembrance what they had heard.

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2 Thess 2:6-7 (KJV).
These two verses seem to be much clearer on ‘a taking away’ or ‘a departure’. It is not yet time for the ‘son of perdition’ to be revealed. Really, only God knows when that time is. When God removes the restraints, then, and only then, can this deceiver who is also called ‘Antichrist’ have a free hand.

That raises a question. Who or what is the restraint? Whoever or whatever it is must be the greatest power of all the universe. He is like the wind – unseen, but you can hear Him at work; you can feel Him touch the cheeks of your soul; you hear His still, small, sweet voice; and you can see His effects upon the lives of people. It is a person who is restraining. Yes, it is the person of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. He lives, abides in the Church.

There is already, has been since the garden of Eden; the working of iniquity. When the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is gone iniquity will have a free hand for awhile. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful in the Church. If Jesus said, “I will not leave you Comfortless” (John 14:18) He will not leave the Church on earth. The restraining of the Holy Spirit will continue until the Church is stolen away, “as a thief in the night”.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2 Thess 2:8 (KJV).
After the removal of the Spirit the ‘son of perdition’ the ‘antichrist’ who is the devil incarnate (counterfeiting what Jesus did) will be revealed.

Notice, though Paul’s encouraging words, “Whom the Lord will consume…” (See Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). This, of course, will take place after he deceives the world.

Out of the Lord’s mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. The two-edged sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). The “Breath of His mouth” referring to the work of the Spirit of the Word – which is the Holy Spirit. The glory of the lord is His brightness at His coming.

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thess 2:9-10 (KJV).
The ‘son of perdition’ will come in the power of satan. He will use signs, and miracles to deceive the nations (Revelation 13:13-14). These miracles will deceive only those who are perishing. These are people sho will have heard the gospel, but had/have no use for God. They are people who are independent of God and depend solely on self.

The time of deception seems ripe as fruit ready to pick. There are even professing christians who cry out for a sign, or may not be will not make a cognitive decision unless they have some “sign” or something happen to convince them it is right to do. We have the Scriptures. We who live by faith in Christ need nothing else. Jesus Himself said signs are the seeking of a wicked generation (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:12; Luke 11:29). Notice that Jesus mentions this twice in the gospel of Matthew. That is how the antichrist will deceive the world. If our heart/emotions, head, and feet are not established upon the truths of the Word of God, we too can be deceived.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:11-12 (KJV).
This seems – in its context – to apply to those who have rejected ‘the truth’ after receiving the required mark (See Revelation 13 and vv. 16-18 in particular). Only those receiving the mark, ie. rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive the ‘strong delusion’ sent by God; believing ‘the Lie’.

Because they refuse to love the truth; God will cause them to believe the Lie. When someone hears the message of the gospel, and rejects it one time his heart grows a little harder toward it. Each time he hears and rejects the chances of her/his being saved grows weaker.

God can, at any point in the Christ rejecter’s life, harden the heart. When God hardens the heart it is late, very late for saving grace, and very near to judgment. Do not harden your heart. Believe and receive Jesus before it is too late.

These are also those who, ‘had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (See Romans 1:18-32). They worshipped and served the creature [self], rather than the Creator.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 2:13-14 (KJV).
We should all be thankful for God choosing us for salvation- if indeed we have been chosen. How we are chosen, just as all believers are: 1.) Set apart by the work of the Holy Spirit called unto the Lord God; 2.) Believing the truth, and calling on His name.

It is done by the gospel, and for the purpose of ascribing to the Lord the glory due unto Him.

These messages to the Thessalonicans are as much a part of the gospel, as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Receive, and believe the whole gospel or perish.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. 2 Thess 2:15-17 (KJV).
“Stand fast”, or do not be shaken from – do not be moved from your stand of faith.
“Hold the traditions” is not speaking of religious man made ideas, but the truths of God’s Word. Paul is here saying, pass on what I have written to you, as being from God – it is Scripture. Pass it on from your generation to the next.

Man made tradition, most often, goes against Scripture, and we are to shun those that do. Many times though, we want to hold to these and forsake the Scriptural tradition. God forbid.

There is comfort in heeding the word of God. We find comfort in His grace, knowing in Him we have everlasting life.

Our lives are to be established in good words and works; established in God and His grace

Are your works done to glorify Jesus, and to reflect His image to a lost world? Does the lost world look at you and see comfort and peace, or fear and torment?

The ‘day of the Lord’ is not for the believer, but the unbelieving. In this is comfort. BELIEVE.

Some have equated the “Restrainer” to the gospel. I have no problem with that. At any rate the text says, ‘ye know what restrains until he is taken out of the way’, so there is a point in time the message of the Church – the gospel – will cease. The power of the gospel is the Holy Spirit. He is THE HAND OF RESTRAINT.

NO REST FOR THE WICKED

NO REST FOR THE WICKED

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

The suffering we may endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe, judgment awaits all who reject God and His gospel.

When your hopes have been dashed and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter any more. God forbid that we feel this way and worse practyice these feelings.

The church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, hope, and love. Why did Paul not admire them for their hope? They had lost hope. They had quit their jobs saying, ‘ What’s the use?’ Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the ‘Tribulation’. Kind of sounds like some today who tell us, “The Lord has already come and all prophecy has been fulfilled”. What a terrible thought that would be. There is certainly no hope in that. Of the faith and love of the Thessalonian church they had plenty, but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of false teaching. When you hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.

Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil, wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment.

We need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end.

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1:1-2 (KJV).

This introduction is very similar as the first letter, if not identical, therefore, not too much need for commentary, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. he depended on it. His life, our lives must depend on God’s grace for eternity.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 2 Thess 1:3-4 (KJV).

Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work. Those who owned a business were being shunned because of their faith [we would call it a boycott].

It does seem somewhat odd that Paul is encouraged by their ‘growing faith’, yet they seem to be without hope. Maybe Paul sees their faith growing because of their lack of hope. It seems that that may be possible. It is in times of hopelessness that our faith can grow, and since these people were bearing much persecution due to their faith, that they just might be losing hope yet growing in their faith in God; learning to trust Him more; without seeing any way of an out. The apostle to the Gentiles is thankful for them, and that word has gotten out to the other churches of their growing faith.

In this time of trial in their lives they were clinging together in the love of Christ. What joy this must have brought to Paul and the other churches hearing of these things.

They needed hope. Hope is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish about anything. The only hope for mankind is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.

People who are without hope – especially a church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope. If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed Hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Heb. 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. It is settled whether I believe it or not. Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said.

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 2 Thess 1:5 (KJV).
God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith and to root out those without faith. Those who endure the persecutions because of their faith show the ‘righteous judgment of God’, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly know those who are His.

Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running tell his legs ache, lifting weights until his arms hurt. If a mountain climber doe not hurt he probably has not climber a mountain for a while. We can think, ‘Well these people voluntarily do that’. Amen! Do we as the people of God not choose to suffer for our faith as well? We chose Jesus. We are called to suffer with Him. Suffering with Him we are raised with Him. If we are to be strong in faith let’s face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, Savior, Lord and Righteousness.

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 2 Thess 1:6 (KJV).
Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain fiathful to the church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the church like everyone else. They are trouble to the church, in the church whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act of God to cause them trouble. Sometimes even to the point of causing them to leave a church in order that He may cleanse her.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 2 Thess 1:7 (KJV).
While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest.During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a phrase which is used throughout John’s writing. It is the phrase, “…That dwell upon the earth”. It is used three times in the Revelation – 3:10; 11:10; and 13:8, and every time it is dealing especially of those who are not the people of God. They are rather, mockers, liars, and haters of God and His righteousness, and haters of God’s people.

Where will you be when He comes?

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 2 Thess 1:8-9 (KJV).
In Hebrews 10:31 it is written, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 12:29 also says, “For our God is a consuming fire”.

Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomp His blood under foot and say, “I don’t need that, God is love, he won’t cast me into Hell”. If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then, His Word is not trustworthy, there is no salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all. PERIOD.

Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting Destruction, Separation from the Presence , and Glory of His Power.

I am so thankful for the death, burial, resurrection and promise of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the only hope for mankind. It is your only hope.

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 2 Thess 1:10 (KJV).
What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe. Others believe because we share our testimony of faith in Christ, and because to this they will be saved. Because of this Christ will be glorified, in all the earth. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1:11-12 (KJV).
Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying for them.

How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus’s name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a necessity that we pray. It is a part of our calling to pray for one another and to pray for God’s glory. He will be glorified.

We can rest in the grace of God, that He will deliver us from the wrath to come on all the earth, if we are in Christ. We have that hope in Christ. If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes it is over.