No Excuses

Every Mouth Stopped

Romans 3:9-20

Nature loudly proclaims that there is a Maker of all this creation. The very fact of the order of our universe declares an intelligence must have designed it all. It could not work with such precision otherwise. I write this to say that because of this no one who is has an excuse before God. If man has only the law of nature, and a conscience that teaches him right from wrong – a law in his heart – and that we, as human beings are to worship God we are responsible, and unless we believe God we shall perish.

There is, however, a greater responsibility upon those who have the written revelation of God. The Law, the Scriptures, the Word of God tells us what nature and conscience do, but also much more. We have previously seen that those without law (the written revelation) shall perish without law, and those with the law shall be judged [or perish] in the law (2:12). There are none who are guiltless. The only hope for any in repentance from sin to God for His righteousness.

IN READING THE SCRIPTURES; GOD LEAVES US NO DOUBT THAT SIN IS UNIVERSAL. (v. 9). “…Both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…”

Is the Jew better than the pagan Gentile? Is the religious better than the Non-religious? Is the moral individual better than the immoral individual? NO! Not as far as sin and its condemnation is concerned.

In the previous chapters we have seen every level of humanity, and that we are all without excuse before God. Contrary to what any legalist may say, the Law offers no hope; it only shows us death.

WITHOUT THE REDEMPTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE WHOLE INNER BEING OF MAN IS CONTROLLED BY SIN (vv. 10-12). The mind, the heart and the will of unredeemed mankind are all under the control of sin. It is the inner being that affects the way we live our lives.

With the unredeemed mind we have no “Understanding” of God”, “…There is none that understandeth.” With the unredeemed heart, “There is none that seeketh after God”. With the unredeemed will of man, there is “None that doeth good”.

Are we to understand by the phrase “None that doeth good” that no lost, unredeemed person ever does anything good? No! It means that he/she does no good that glorifies the Lord. Nothing good that is done by an unredeemed person will affect God’s judgment of them for their good.

No one seeks God, except God seeks them first. No one has “understanding” of God until God gives them that understanding. It is all by grace, and none of you or I. God Himself, receives the glory.

The word “Righteous” means God’s standard. That is the standard we must meet if we are to gain God’s approval. That righteousness is not obtainable in ourselves. It is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The words “No, not one” is mentioned twice in three verses – ten and twelve. God says, that there is absolutely “No one” who meets His standard for righteousness. In order for us to please God we must see as He sees. We must see that sin is a stench in His nostrils. It offends His sense of holiness and purity. We most certainly must see that it separates us from Him. If we have trouble seeing the devastation sin causes in human relations and in the creation, then, there is no fellowship with God.

THESE VERSES SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL CONDEMNED FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEAD TO OUR TIPS OF OUR TOES (vv. 13-18). The mouth as all know is part of the head. The throat is the area that provides air for the ability to make sounds, and swallow food (I could not forget that part on food). Paul says that the throat of depraved man “Is an open sepulchre”, “an open tomb”. The sepulchre or tomb was a place for the buried dead. Unredeemed man is incapable of speaking words of life.

There is deceit from their tongues. Lying is a common practice of people who do not know God. Sad to say it is of some professing Christians too. If your heart is indulged in your own way, then, your words will show your own way. These will be the main mode of communication. No words will glorify the Lord. Your mouth will speaks words of life or words of death.

Christians must maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, and on a daily basis. We are to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. No Christian can walk in the Spirit if they do not maintain a daily fellowship with God in prayer, Bible reading and study, walking with God His way.

Speaking of the feet Paul says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”. This is because of an unredeemed heart, mind and will. Paul has a positive thing to say of the feet of those who preach the gospel (Rom. 10:25).

The real reason “…feet are swift to shed blood” is because, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When nations, kings, rulers, citizens, and believers in Christ no longer fear God there will be no more respect for life, and Human life in particular. The love of God has been abused, misused, and misunderstood. “God is love”, but He also hates sin and will judge it. Because, God is love, He judges sin. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

ALL “WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW”, EVERY MOUTH STOPPED, AND “ALL THE WORLD… GUILTY” (vv. 19-20). Every man, woman, boy and girl is responsible to God for their sin. The Gentile people of the world (all who are not Hebrew” are responsible and worthy of death because they have the law of conscience and of nature. Both of these are a law declaring a holy, righteous, and all powerful God who is worthy of worship and praise. The conscience and nature condemns us.

The written law given to the Jews, was and is a clear revelation of God to man; to show man’s need for God. This written law also condemns us. It has no life of its own to save or deliver us from sin.

Let’s say your family physician tell you one day, and some of you have experienced this, “You have cancer”, and then, he tells you, “I am only your family physician, I am not a specialist, nor a surgeon”. This doctor is performing the work of the law. He cannot help you, but he will point you toward the one who can – the surgeon or specialist.

Doctor Law says, “You have sin in your life. I can’t help you, but Doctor Grace can.”

This law; written, nature, or conscience declares the righteousness of God. Because of sin we are cut off from God. Because of law we are made knowledgeable of this eternal separation.

No one has an excuse for sin. There is no amount of good deeds, religious ritual, or moral behavior that can gain God’s favor. We have God’s favor by His grace through faith. No work, but God’s work is sufficient to deliver us.

The law stops every mouth from saying, ‘I am good enough. Look at what I have done. I have been faithful in church attendance, and Sunday School. I never beat my wife or cheated my neighbor. My good deeds will out weigh my bad ones.” Jesus, Himself will say to you in that day, “I never knew you; depart from me ye worker of iniquity”.

You and I have absolutely nothing which God wants, except faith in Him. He gives us that too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Seven Things God Hates # 5

This is the fifth in the series on the SEVEN ABOMINATIONS GOD HATES

Swift Feet

Proverbs 6:16-19 (v. 18b)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,   An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,   A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

OUTLINE –
I. SWIFT FEET – QUICK AND DECISIVE.
II. HASTY FEET – MOVE WITHOUT THOUGHT OF CONSEQUENCES.
III. MISCHIEVOUS FEET – MOVE TOWARD EVIL.
IV. GODLY FEET – MOVE TOWARD THE RIGHT, THE HOLY, AND THE GODLY.

Contrary to what some may believe the Bible speaks quite a bit of the “Feet”. We will look at some of these. One of the good ones which most of us have heard is, “How beautiful are the FEET of them that preach the gospel of peace…” (Rom. 10:15).
There are warnings of mischievous, hasty, godless feet. We will be looking at both of these; maybe I should say, all four of these.
Do our feet do our thinking? Do our emotions do our thinking for us? If we follow the path of God and His wisdom and grace, and mercy we must answer “No!” to these two questions. No one who is using the good, godly sense God has given us goes running to jump without knowing what is on the other side, or down below. If you follow the direction of your emotions, or feelings you will be led astray.
Let’s look at these feet.

I. SWIFT FEET -QUICK AND DECISIVE.
We need to realize that “Swift feet” can be for evil or for good. There are some people who are swift to decide to do ungodly deeds. There are others who are quick to do godly deeds.
If our hearts have been changed by the power of the salvation of Jesus Christ, then, we will be thinking godly, and doing godly things. On the other hand; if things are not right with you and God then, you will most likely do the ungodly thing, and be a curse to yourself, your family, your community, and your neighbor.
The godless SWIFT FEET will walk only in the way that is best for him/her. If they can get the praise for a good deed and reap benefits from a good deed, then, they will be quick and decisive to do that act.

II. HASTY FEET – MOVE WITHOUT THOUGHT OF CONSEQUENCES.
Now, this may, in some ways be similar to the SWIFT FEET, but I pray to show a difference in “swift” and “hasty”.

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established” (Prov. 4:26). And, “…He that hasteth with his feet sinneth” (Prov. 19:2).

Haste which runs  without thought can be costly. “Ponder” – chew for awhile; Think, Think, Think, and then Think some more, before being hasty in a decision of doing something which may be wrong, even ungodly.
Someone has said, “Haste makes waste”, and that especially goes with life and living. How many marriages have been troubled due to a Christian marrying a non-Christian individual? How many even have led to divorce? How many business deals have gone sour because of different views of the world and God? The message of God’s Word is to Think before you wink.

III. MISCHIEVOUS FEET – MOVE TOWARD EVIL.
These are usually very selfish feet that do only for self, which we have addressed earlier; and for selfish ambition. These are always looking for something to cause or make trouble.
Because of the message of God’s Word, which Jeremiah and other prophets proclaimed, the people (some) wanted to kill them. They were SWIFT in running to mischief. These are those who refuse God’s message of grace and choose to endeavor, by good works, to please God.

“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths” (Isaiah 59:7)

And last, but not least; for sure we have –
IV. GODLY FEET – MOVE TOWARD WHAT IS GODLY.

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15).

As God’s people we are admonished and encouraged to guard our feet – that is the path which we walk.

“I thought on my ways and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59).

“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word” (Ps. 119:101).

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).

The way of godly feet are in the path of Jesus Christ. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross – the way of suffering. The way of Jesus is the way of joy and peace. The way of Jesus is the way of New Life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Certainty of GOD’S Word

“For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.” 1 Kings 13:32 (KJB)

To get a better understanding of these events I would recommend reading chapters 11 – 13 of 1 Kings. Especially pay attention to the thirteenth chapter.

Because of King Solomon’s departure from the worship of GOD alone, and his love for his wives, and women, the kingdom is taken from him when his son Rehoboam is crowned king.  A man by the name of Jereboam is God’s chosen king for the Northern kingdom of Israel, which is also called Samaria, Ephraim, and Israel.  Samaria is made up of ten tribes, and Judah is of the tribe of Judah mostly, and Judah is faithful to the dynasty of David.

Jereboam rebels against God’s word, and sets up idols at Dan and Bethel, golden calves actually, which is actually an affront to GOD [Jehovah/YHWH].

An unnamed prophet comes on the scene while Jereboam is worshiping at Bethel, and speaks the word of the LORD. As a sign he has said that the altar will split in  half, and the ashes be spilled on the ground, and it happens, seemingly under the very nose of Jereboam.  He is angry at the prophet, and while pointing to the prophet to have him seized, his arm turns to mush (dries up), then the sign was fulfilled.

What is so special about this story?  It is truly one of the unique stories of the Bible; and it teaches us a great lesson of faith, and hearing the word of the LORD ourselves, and testing all who claim to speak the word of the LORD.

In the above text of 1 Kings 13:32 we find the old lying prophet certain that the words of the prophet from Judah will be fulfilled.  Just as that altar was split, the ashes spilled onto the ground, they were fulfilled just as the prophet said by the word of the LORD.

There are many people today looking for something sure, solid, and strong.  Many are looking at other things other than to GOD and His word, and His Son.  Look no further than the word of God.  It is certain, sure, solid, and strong.  God is faithful.  He will not leave anything undone which He has spoken.

He has sent us His Son to die for us.  His name if Jesus.  He died on that old rugged cross, was buried, and He rose from the grave and forever lives.  Because He lives those who call on His name in repentance will live eternally with Him.  Call on His name.

The Battles Within

“…The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” 2 Samuel 3:39 b  (KJB)

There are battles within kingdoms of men. There are battles which occur within each individual man and woman.

King Saul had died in the battle with the Philistines by falling on his own sword, for fear that the enemy would mistreat him if he were taken alive.  David had been chosen as King of Judah, but the other tribes were still being led by the General of Saul’s army, and he had appointed the young son of Saul, Ishbosheth, as king.  That is an inside battle.  A nation at war against itself.

Abner had been murdered by Joab, David’s General, because Joab because in a battle between the two factions Abner had killed Asahel Joab’s brother.  Joab killed Abner in hatred, revenge, and at a time David had made peace with Abner.  It was not the act of King David.  It was the act of a vengeful Joab.

Joab’s act was a wicked act against God and King David.  The words of David in the Scripture of 2 Samuel 3:39 are words that are just and right.

Again the reader is reminded that there are consequences to our actions.  Good from good.  Evil from evil.  We all reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  We need; all of us who take a breath of air; need to flee to the cross of  Jesus Christ where, there alone, our sin debt is paid in full.

“The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

Our hope; mine and yours; lies in the death, the burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

When the Preacher Goes Home

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 14 – 16…

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 16:13 (KJB)

Saul had proven himself to be a disobedient, arrogant king.  He rejected the word of the LORD and more. A king who would be god himself; so GOD chooses another.  Saul’s kingdom would end with him: there would be no dynasty.

The Scripture text for today is on the day of the anointing of a young shepherd as the next king of Israel – David.  Saul would not have a dynasty.  His son Jonathan, nor any other would carry it onward. David’s descendants would reign in Israel forever on the throne of Israel.  God sought out a man “After My own heart”…

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When There is no Rule of Law

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 17 – 19 for today…

“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.”  Judges 19:26-27 (KJB)

It is stated at least three times in Judges that there was no king in Israel.  Chapters 19:1 and 21:25 are two of those references.  Since there was no king there was no direct human guidance for any law.  We must remember the people of Israel did have God’s law, and they had strayed in horrible fashion.

When there is no rule of law people become a a…

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Love the LORD Your God

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.”  Joshua 23:11 (KJB)

God desires that we love Him.  We show that love by hiding the word in our hearts that we not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and it becomes a part of our everyday lives.

The thought is often presented, or the question is asked about the Word of God whether it is applicable for Christian life and living in 2018.  For any of us the answer is, Yes!  Are we to live by Old Testament Law in 2018.  The answer to that is –  The people given the law could not  live and obey it completely.  Who are we to think that we can?  We are to hear, and live with love for God, and His word, and His laws will be dear to us.

We must understand that the law of God was…

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You, O LORD, Are My Rock and My Fortress

In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness. Bow down Thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”  Psalm 31:1-3 (KJB)

Are you feeling down, dirty, discouraged, and in despair today? There is One in whom you can place your trust.  David found that trust in the LORD our God.

The Psalmist calls on the LORD to listen to him.  He request that the LORD be “My strong rock, for a house of defence…”  I am pretty certain that David faced those times like we have too.  Lonely, afraid, desperate, and in despair; and in those times he cried out to God;  and God hear him and answered his prayer.

Though David was looking for a hasty reprieve from his dilemma, he quickly realized that the LORD was his Rock and his fortress, and simply requested that God would lead and guide him.

In the not too distant past our Vice President was mocked and criticized by a lessor known individual who called him a mental case because he claims that Jesus speaks with him.  I was thrilled to hear our VP say that.  David spoke with our Lord, and the Lord spoke back, and because of this we have the Psalms which we can read and through them the Lord speaks with us too.  That is if we have a heart for Him.

He hears the cries of His people.  The question really is today; Do His people hear Him?

Hear the Lord GOD today through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus God Son, the God Man, in whom you can give your life – heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Raised Up

I will extol You, O LORD; for You have lifted me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto You, and You have healed me. O LORD, You have brought up my soul from the grave: You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit”  Psalm 30:1-3 (KJB)

David was a man; a King who knew where to go when he was troubled, oppressed, and in dire straights.  He went to God, the LORD of hosts.  He feels in this Psalm like he has been dead, or nearly so.  His life has been threatened in the past, and he is giving the LORD the praise and worship He deserves for delivering David.

In dedicating our homes, our families to the LORD we need to recognize from whence the LORD has brought us, and David did.  He was a shepherd boy who had faced a lion and a bear.  He was still that shepherd boy when he face Goliath the giant of the Philistines, and slew him with a stone and a sling.  David said that it was the LORD who delivered Him.

If we are faithful to the LORD we cannot hold our lives to be more dear to us than the LORD is.  Life is good, but it is not cheap.  We must not fear anything but the LORD our God, and do so through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s holy Son.

The Lord Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised again can raise you up from whatever dilemma you face; and through your life to the end of your life give you eternal peace.

This song came to my mind as I was writing…  MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE

My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lam of Calvary, Savior divine!

Now hear me while I pray, Take all my guilt away,

O let me from this day Be wholly Thine!

and the final verse of the song…

When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream Shall o’er me roll,

Blest Savior, then, in love Fear and distrust remove;

O bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!

May our hearts and lives be always remembering the grace, love, mercy, and will of God each day we live.  Give your life to Jesus Christ and truly live.

Beauty and Holiness

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  Psalm 29:1-2 (KJB)

For some folks they have a problem reconciling beauty and holiness.  We probably have the idea of “Beauty” mostly wrong.  Most of us marvel at the beauty of creation, all that God has made in the outdoors.  I fear that some see more beauty in the things which Adamkind (mankind) has made.  Some see beauty in city lights, and horizons of cities lit up in the night sky.

I see much more of beauty as I look at the stars above at night.  The lights of cities I see as “Light pollution”, polluting the sky with man made conveniences. Now, please do not get me wrong; I do appreciate those conveniences just as much as others do.

What is beauty?  There is an old saying which state, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  That is probably true with some things, but not God things.  If God states that something is beautiful, then we need to see it as beautiful as well.  The heart right with God will see holiness as something of great beauty.

It anything is holy to the LORD, then, it is beautiful as well.

With God human life is holy.  The blood that flows through our veins and most living creatures, is sacred and holy to the LORD.  The LORD has stated in the book of Leviticus 17:11…

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

For one individual to haphazardly take the life of another individual that is that beauty, neither is it glory to the LORD.  It grieves His heart.  That is why He authorized human government the right of corporal punishment, or the death penalty. My life is no more important that another life.  To intentionally kill for one’s own personal gain, or pleasure is plainly murder, and deserves to die equally.

God created Adamkind in His likeness and after His image.  That has been tainted, and ruined by our sin.  It is restored through the redemptive work of Jesus God’s Son by His death on  the cross.  That is holiness in its beauty.  The Holy dying for the unholy, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Beauty and Holiness in Christ Jesus.

When GOD Seems to be Silent

Unto You will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if You be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy oracle.”  Psalm 28:1-2 (KJB)

This Psalm of David is the prayer of a man who is crying out to God; maybe even yelling out, shouting out to God for a hearing of his requests, or “supplications”, as he states it, which is his earnest prayer.  An individual who has a real need which they see, feel, or fear; one who knows the Almighty will go to Him with that need just as David, and plead, yearn, beg for an answer to their prayer.

In the New Testament we are told…

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16

Now, let us get something straight.  We do have someone to pray to.  It is not prayer that is the power.  It is the One who gives the power to whom we direct our prayers.  If our hearts are not of Him, His word, His way, His will, His heart and mind, then, we will not get an answer.

I have made a commitment to the Lord which may seem empty to some, maybe brave and bold and dangerous to others.  A few years ago I was praying, and said to Him, “If you never again answer a prayer of mine, I will still trust in You.”  I can still say that.  I know that He never fails to accomplish, to finish His word. He does what He says He will do.

What do you do when God is silent?  Keep on praying and keep on trusting in Him.

 

The ONE Who Inhabits Praises

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:1-3 (KJV)

This is named as another Psalm of David.  Now, whatever David was experiencing I do not think he realized this was going to be a song the Messiah would sing; but it was, and it is His Song.  You can see the words of this first verse as Jesus was coming out of the darkness of the crucifixion, and they are words even David could not express except the LORD had given them. Yet, how could David know the intensity, the suffering, the agony both on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemane?

Both David and the Messiah understood the fact that praises only belong to the One who inhabits those praises.  That is God.

Jesus as He willingly laid down His life on the cross knew the agony, the pain, and the suffering that was coming, yet He laid it down.  The pain worse than death by the tormenting beatings, the nails in His hands and feet, and even the spear in His side was the pain He felt when in that darkness He experienced what life and death was like without God, His Father.

For the very first time in His life Jesus experienced being apart from His Father and this is the first prayer He prays where He refers to His Father as “My God, My God…”.  Even in the prayer He still hangs on to the truth of resurrection, faith in the One who will raise Him is faith in the the One who inhabits the praises of Israel; the praises of His people.

No matter what you are going through today you can believe, and know that the One who knows you loves you best, and He has already suffered in what you are suffering.  He knows your pain.  He knows your sin and has paid the price to redeem you from all your sin.

Righteousness and Truth

He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”  Psalm 15:1-2 (KJV)

Righteousness is a godly thing. As a matter of fact it is a GOD thing.  There is no righteousness apart from God; neither is there any truth apart from God.

People cry out for justice in our world, and for truth.  Many people do not like the pure and unvarnished truth is quite powerful, and often puts Adamkind in our rightful place – condemned, separated and apart from Holy God.  We are unrighteous, unjust, unholy, vile, evil, condemned, and headed to the eternal fires of Hell.  That is unless God in His grace has truly done something which is beyond our wildest imaginations.

A friend of mine shared something by email which I will share here with you…

“Justice is getting what we deserve.  Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what  we don’t deserve.

But wait a minute; grace is more than that! It is grace that gives at great cost to the giver. It is not cheap. Grace cost the life of God’s Son. Jesus gave freely of Himself in agony and blood.”

Pastor James McCullen  See his web site

Truth is what the good doctor comes and tells you when he discovers you have a cancer in your body, you need emergency surgery to remove it or you will die in a month.  Truth is the death rate is 100 percent.  Not pleasant to hear, but we need reminded of that from time to time.

Who shall abide in the LORD’S tabernacle?  Who will abide in the presence of the LORD?  The answers are given in the verses above.  No one of us can live a righteous, holy, and upright life and speak the truth in our hearts; except the LORD Himself give it to us.  He has done that in the cross – the death of His Son Jesus, His burial, and resurrection.  There is no righteousness or truth apart from Him.

Out of the Mouths of Children

“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings have You ordained strength because of Your enemies, that You might still the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:1-2 (KJV)

The “innocence” of children is at stake in 2018.  Contrary, however, to popular opinion children are not perfect little angels.  Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden all children are born sinners.  They are, however, a good example of faith and putting one’s faith in the one who cares for them.

The Psalmist begins Psalm 8 by praise and adoration to the One who is excellent in all the heavens.  In verse two, which is our focus verse for today, we see that the LORD is also excellent in the earth.  The cry of a sucking, new born child is a description of the excellent name of the LORD.  Every time a newly born baby cries it shows us the excellence of the name of our Creator.  That child is made in His image, and after His likeness; yet now marred by the evil of sin.

As that child grows they will be faced with trials, troubles, and torments.  Many of those will come from other people.  Some who are espousing their friendship to them.

One Baby was born into this world as the Son of God, and the Son of Man. His name is Jesus and Immanuel – meaning “God with us”.   Through this Child the enemy of all Adamkind was squashed and shown his proper place.

Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16 after His children laid palm leaves on the streets recognizing Him as the Messiah…

“And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Matthew 21:16 (KJV)

Where the devil who is Satan is working to avenge the work of the cross by destroying yours and my testimony for Christ; he is already defeated.  We just have a problem of not living in victory of him.

The next time you hear a baby cry remember the Creator.  Remember that it is through Jesus Christ that He has made all things.  Remember that He is excellent and glorious in all His ways.

Keys to Happiness

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law does he meditate day and night.”  Psalm 1:2 (KJV)

It has been a bit over 3 years since I did some post on the first verses of the Psalms, beginning with Psalm 1. Today I am beginning a new study on the verse 2 of each Psalm or plus in some cases.  I do not think I have ever kept it a secret that I love the Hymn book of the Bible called the Psalms.  The whole of the word of God is blessed, sacred, and holy; and I love it all; even when it hurts.

I want us to consider verse one.  The link above will take you to that study.  “Blessed is the man…”  The word blessed means “Happy”.  The happiness of Adamkind is really fleeting in most cases.  We can be happy in one instant, and downtrodden, discouraged, and in despair the next.  When I speak of “Happiness” I am speaking of Godly happiness which comes from the fruit of the Spirit of God called “Joy” (Galatians 5:22).

The first key to “Happiness” is to “Delight in the law of the LORD…”  You make the word of the LORD an integral part of your thinking.  You awake every day, every morning with the desire to open the pages of the sacred book to hear what the LORD has for you to hear today, and you pick up the word to hear God speak.

The second key is that you do not just read His word, but it does become part of your decision making during the day.  You meditate on Him and His word gives you direction, conviction; both of sins committed and conviction to stand on your Biblical principles and beliefs; comforts, encourages, and strengthens you in your walk with God.

It has been one of my goals in ministry and life to get the people I pastor and lead; to get them into the reading, study, and meditation, and application of God’s word in our daily lives.

It begins with knowing Jesus Christ.  When you have Him in your heart, soul, and life you will love His word.

When The One Thousand Years are Complete

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 29:7-10 (KJV)

Satan is loosed from the abyss “to deceive the nations”, but only for “a little season” (v.3b).

Some have wondered why God would do such a thing. One thing it does is show us that God is in complete control and that the devil can do nothing but what God permits him to. Read Job 1 – 2, and you will see that Satan had to get permission to afflict Job.

Robert Govett, as quoted from the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John Walvoord gives us four reasons why God looses Satan at the end of the millennium:

1. “To demonstrate that man even in the best environment will fall into sin if left to his own choice’;
2 ‘to demonstrate the foreknowledge of God who foretells the acts of men as well as His own acts’;
3. ‘to demonstrate the incurable wickedness of Satan’;
4. ‘to justify eternal punishment, that is to show the unchanged character of wicked people even under divine jurisdiction for a long period of time.”

The Gog and Magog seem to be likened to that of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. This definitely shows us that it is not our circumstances that cause us to be righteous or evil, but it is the attitude of the heart. We see mankind has rejected the Most High and Holy during a long period of grace to the end of the tribulation period, and at the end of a long earthly reign of bliss.

How could children who have lived under the awesome rule of Christ turn from Him? We might ask Adam and Eve someday. The children born during the reign of Christ will be given a choice through the deceit of the devil. Those who choose the vices of Satan will rise up against our Lord only to be defeated.

Those who rise up against Christ, inspired by Satan, will surround the holy city only to fall in defeat in an instant.

Satan is judged. He is cast alive into the lake of fire. Notice the mention of the beast and false prophet (SEE also 19:20). After one thousand years they still exist in the lake of fire. Does this sound like annihilation? Not hardly.

There is an onslaught against the teaching and truth of an eternal judgment from professing Christians, as well as eager unbelievers to justify themselves and their lives.  Hell is just as real, and just as eternal as Heaven.  It is said that Jesus said more about Hell than He did of Heaven.  Now I have not checked that out, but if Jesus mentioned that often, then, He did it in warning to those who heard Him.

There is eternal judgment for those who do not believe and receive the precious Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  He died on Calvary’s cross, was buried, and He rose again.  You can spend eternity with Him or you can stay in your sin and condemnation, and spend eternity in Hell.  Christ Jesus died for us.  Call on His name.  He will hear you.

Judgment Coming on the Evil World Government

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Revelation 18:1-8

In this study, we will see that the judgment of God will be upon the evil political-economic government of the world empire, God’s grace in warning His people to flee from her and that we are to rejoice in the judgment of God upon evil.  NOTE: The woman on the “scarlet colored beast” of chapter 17 is referred to as “the great whore” which implies religious apostasy and spiritual adultery, thus chapter 17 is dealing with religious Babylon shown by the use of symbolism.

Chapter 18 is more literal and seems to be dealing with a literal city, probably Rome since that is what Christians of John’s day would have seen as being Babylon.

Please note the differences in the two. In chapter 17 the kings rejoice in her death by causing it. In chapter 18 the kings and merchants mourn the destruction of the city.

Religious Babylon is established, by the world ruler, of all the world religions, only to be thrown down by him to establish himself as god (2 Thes. 2:4; Daniel 11:37), thus, making it illegal for the people to worship any god but him.

Chapter 18 is political-economic Babylon, described by the trading in verses 11-13.

“Another angel”, a different angel from 17:1 is identified as “having great power” and being very brilliant in appearance.

Great power in which to exact punishment upon the wicked city.

“Glory” which exposes all that is hid in the darkness.

This angel declares the same cry of another angel (or is it?) in 14:8. It seems as though there are Old Testament prophecies which would forbid the idea of the rebuilding of literal Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50), so we must, to a certain extent, believe this to be Rome. Rome is probably what the Christians of John’s day would have understood Babylon to be. Babylon is symbolic of apostasy, evil powers, and greed.

Since the Babylonian system will fall it becomes the habitation of every kind of unclean and evil thing (v. 2). See Daniel 4:4-27 and compare Matthew 13:31-33…

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV).

The city has been a source of great wealth, because of her commerce. Others around the world flock to her to become wealthy as well. Selling their souls to obtain wealth that the moth and rust can corrupt.

There is “another voice from heaven” crying out in mercy, “Come out…” The invitation is to those who are God’s to flee from the great city.

The call to flee has a twofold purpose:

  1. By separation from her they will not partake of her sin;
  2. They, also, will not be inflicted with the plagues of judgment.

There is an allusion to the Genesis 11 account of Babylon. Her sins are stacking up like brick and mortar; building a tower of self-righteousness. In the piling up of her righteousness, which is “filthy rags”, she only heaps up judgment on herself.

For every stone of self-righteousness, they are exalting themselves over God’s righteousness and He remembers every such sin.

The reward of the city of Babylon will be double what she did unto the saints of God. The same cup she used to seduce the nations to commit fornication with her, is the cup from which she herself will drink damnation.

She is seen as self-satisfied. She says she has no need. She is so full of pride she takes no thought of God or His judgment.

She is rich. Notice the similarities between the church of Laodicea and the city of Babylon (see 3:17). How can she repent when she has no need.
Therefore, her judgment comes quickly, “in one day”. The day before she is prosperous and proud. The day after she is dead and despairing.

“When it is time for God’s judgment it descends with unwavering directness”. JOHN WALVOORD from the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Look at some other times of God’s quick and direct judgment upon the frivolous and self-righteous:

  1. Daniel 5:24-30 — Belshazzar is judged the same night that he defiled the cups of God’s temple;
  2. Luke 12:16-20 — The foolish man’s soul is required “that same night” that he decided he was in charge of his life.

We can be sure when God’s judgment comes it comes quickly. The Lord God He is strong and mighty. No one; no government, religious institution, or power can stand against Him or avert His wrath. He will bring to pass what He has proclaimed. The word of God stands true for all time and eternity.

Remember Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  He forever lives.

The One Who Holds All Judgment

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” Revelation 14:14-20  (KJV)

If you were to read Acts 1:9-11 you would find how Jesus ascended up from this earth… “A cloud received Him out of their sight”. Verse eleven ends by saying, “…This same Jesus… shall so come in like manner…”

The “Sickle” – In verse 14 Jesus holds all judgment in His hands (John 5:22). This verse refers to Him as “Like unto the Son of Man” – this was a title Jesus used to refer to Himself. The “Golden crown” on His head should leave no doubt in our minds that this is Jesus.

In verse 15 we have the fourth angel. He comes out of the temple (heavenly) and speaks unto the “Son of man” the judge of men. He is worthy to judge men.
The ripe harvest has to do with over ripeness – drying, rotting, decaying fruit. The time of judgment upon the wickedness of the world.

When Jesus comes for the Church He will come “With a shout, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16), not with a sickle.

Here Jesus comes with a sickle of judgment and wrath upon the tares of the field [world] (Matthew 13:40-43).

In verse 17 we find the fifth angel and in verse 18 the sixth angel of chapter fourteen.

These verses certainly deal with the fulness of God’s wrath. The men of earth are likened to overripe grapes cast into a winepress under the feet of the husbandman [owner]. This event is given in fuller detail in Revelation 19:11-21.

Be saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, or your blood will be on Him in judgment and wrath. Get ready to meet Jesus as Savior, or you will certainly meet Him at the final Judgment as the One who holds all Judgment in His hands.

The Earth Dwellers will Worship

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:1-10 (KJV)

The devil is a showman and desires the attention of mankind, and in this chapter, we will be able to see his mode of entertainment, and his seeming attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God and His Son, and no matter how vicious it may be, he will come up short.

Some translations of the Bible read, “And he stood” referring to the dragon. It really does no harm to the text to read it either way. If this is a reference to John then he is referring to what he is seeing in the revelation; while, if to the dragon, standing so would place him among the people of earth; them that dwell upon the earth”.

The description given of the beast would imply a great empire. It would be the Roman Empire revived and empowered by the dragon (Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Daniel speaks of these same beasts (Daniel 7:1-8) only he refers to seeing four – the fourth being indescribable. Daniel mentions a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth beast being “Dreadful and terrible”. John sees the leopard, the bear, and the lion; and the fourth must be the dragon.

Let’s look at these as Daniel has them interpreted to him (7:17):

  1. The lion would be Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar the king;
  2. The bear would be Medo-Persia – Darius the king;
  3. The leopard would be the Alexandrian empire – Alexander the Great being the king.

Each of these kingdoms were “Swallowed up” by the one following it. All three of these are swallowed up by the “Indescribable beast” or the Roman empire.

Why are these likened to these beasts? Babylon had majesty and power likened to the lion. The Medo-Persian empire had strength and tenacity like the bear. The Alexandrian empire moved swiftly like the leopard (Daniel 8:5 “…touched not the ground”).

If you will note John sees and writes of these in reverse to Daniel. Daniel is seeing these in the future tense. John is seeing them in the past tense.

The seven heads and ten horns probably refer to the remnants of the Confederacy that formed the Roman empire in the beginning. In Scripture, the horn is symbolic of power. Ten nations of which three were overthrown by the “…little horn” of Daniel 7:8. The ten crowns referring to the symbols of governmental authority. The kings of these confederacies exalted themselves as gods, thus having the “name of blasphemy”.

If we look at this in the light of the other Scriptures the head “…wounded to death” would be one of the Confederacy, probably the Roman empire itself. Since the empire fell many of the confederate nations have risen and fallen silent, but the Roman empire is dead. Of course, the empire is represented by an emperor. For a period of time, the dragon [Satan] will be given the power to deceive. It seems he may even give the appearance of raising an individual from death. It would be so much like him to counterfeit what God has done.

Because of this “resurrection” “…all the world” will follow him. Worship will be directed to the dragon. The dragon giving power to this resurrected beast could be Satan himself possessing this one who has yielded himself to Satan’s will (11:7; 17:8). This individual would probably be the ruler of the revived Roman empire, promising peace to Jerusalem and the world.

It is quite possible that the resurrected beast is a form of government represented by an emperor. The renewed life is the “resurrected” nation able by satanic influence to deceive people and nations.

Here we even see Satan’s counterfeiting the Holy Trinity. The dragon, and he within the anti-christ. The third being the second beast “…out of earth” a messenger of the anti-christ. Antichrist not only means “Against Christ”, but also, “In place of”, or “Instead of”.

This ruler is probably only over the Roman empire until the last three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. He makes peace with Israel, only to be slain in the midst of the week, raised up in Satan’s power of deceit, then, breaks the covenant with Israel, and becomes the world ruler.

His mouth to speak, is against God and His saints (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), calling himself god, blasphemes the name of God Most High. In this state of satanic power, he is given 42 months to rule (1260 days or 3.5 years).

The dragon’s purpose instilled in the antichrist will be to attack all that is holy and of God (Daniel 7:21). All those on earth “…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship the beast. Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus will not worship this beast. These are those who have been won to Christ by the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses of Revelation 7. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12. They are not exempt from worshiping the beast. They will give their lives (6:11). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This is where this verse fits into the interpretation of Scripture.

An appeal, maybe even an invitation or warning is given us in verse nine. Listen up! John appeals for us to hear and heed the awfulness that is about to come upon the earth. Verse 8 is quite clear in showing a great ecumenical peace will come at last. A world religion where all give up their beliefs to join one religion. The worship of Satan.  Some today promote peace at any price.  There can only be peace through the Prince of peace, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice this plea is similar to the ending statements of the letters to the seven churches. The only difference being, this one does not end with “Unto the churches”. This tends to give support to the teaching of the absence of the Church because it has been raptured out at this time.  It is also a word to those who profess Christ as their Savior today, but their lives bear no evidence, no fruit of the Spirit, and no Holy Spirit within (Romans 8:9).  If you are without Christ you could find yourself at this time worshiping the Beast.

Divine retribution is the topic of verse 10. Those who persecute these saints will be tormented likewise. The faith and patience of the saints, of all ages, is in the fact that that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”.

Trust the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

Two Witnesses of God in the Chaos

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”  Revelation 11:1-6 (KJV)

God who is rich in mercy provides man with every opportunity to repent and believe on Christ by sending His empowered witnesses to tell of His atoning love, and warn of His coming wrath to deal with sin unrepented of. In the day in which we now live we are witnesses to a people ever increasing in darkness, and away from God and His light.

This beginning in the chapter continues the interlude between the end of the sixth trumpet and the sounding of the seventh.

Previously in chapter 10, John is told, “Thou must prophesy…”. In verse one of our present chapter that seems to be exactly what John does. There is no reason to spiritualize the text here. To do so would only add confusion, and confusion breeds doubt.

“Measure the temple of God” does imply God’s ownership.

The “Reed” was used as a measuring rod. It measured about ten feet in length. This as we note is God’s standard of measure. Since the earthly temple was designed in Heaven it still must meet God’s expectations. All things must be measured by God’s standard, lest we get a false measurement. The temple, the altar, and the worshipper are measured as God’s evaluation of what is His.

As previously mentioned in chapter ten the “Little book” is possibly the Bible, the Word of God. The Scriptures when taught by God’s Spirit measure earthly things and people. The ten-foot rod when stood against any man shows by man’s stature how short he falls from God’s standard (Romans 3:23). We cannot attain God’s standard by fleshly works.

God practically ignores what is called “The court of the Gentiles”. The simple reason being that this “Court which is without [outside] the temple…” was not in the heavenly plan. What was the court of the Gentiles, had become a place for all kinds of idol worship.

This temple is not Solomon’s temple or Herod’s temple. It is the temple of the “Seventieth week” of which Daniel writes, or what is called the seven years of tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27).

These measurements are certain to affirm that we fall “short of the glory of God” – we fail to meet His required standard for holiness. The only way to meet that standard is by trusting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Then, His holiness and righteousness are put to our account, because our filth of sin was put to His account upon the cross.

There is some disagreement to the time of these “Two witnesses” ministry. Some relate it to the first 1260 days (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), and others to the latter.

It would appear – at least to me – that the two prophets ministry is in the latter. I draw that conclusion by looking at the close of verse 2. Because the “Antichrist” leader allows the Hebrews to worship and then breaks his covenant with them in the midst of the week (Daniel 9:27); this happening the prophets would have been free to speak during the first half.

The message these men are given is preached near the end of the “second woe” (v. 14). While the vile and rebellious men of earth are enjoying their sin and having their way, God chooses not to destroy them without opportunity for repentance. God owes; lost, unredeemed, unrepentant humankind, nothing, except to fulfill His every word. These two witnesses are tormentors to evil hearts. It is still that way in the present. People do not want to be confronted with their evil ways.

The length of their ministry is 1260 days. Their days being listed last seems to imply the latter half of the “Seventieth week”. The seventh trumpet would bring in the “Day of the LORD”.

The power of God is the unction of their preaching. They are “Clothed in sackcloth”. This implies that their message is one of repentance and salvation. God’s mercy is astounding.

John the apostle is given the message that these are the “Two olive trees” and the “Two candlesticks”. The olive tree was the source of oil for the lamps – a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and candlesticks were instruments of light. Certainly, the two witnesses are Spirit-empowered and giving light in the darkness. This takes us back to Zechariah 4:2-3, 6, and 14.

Since they are standing before “The God of the earth…” they stand fearlessly. Verse five even tells us that if anyone could harm them, or even try, they have power to devour their enemies.

The powers they are given are from God. Elijah was one who prayed and shut up the heavens – it did not rain for three and one-half years. Moses is the one who turned the Egyptian waters to blood with the rod of God in his hand, and Egypt was smitten with plagues by his hand. Some have said these are Moses and Elijah. It would do us much good to remember that it was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus on the Mount we call “Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-8).  Others have said Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24), and Elijah because these two never died, but were translated and would be in keeping with Hebrews 9:27. Jesus likened John the Baptist to Elijah (Matthew 17:11-13), but John Baptist said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). What did Jesus mean and what did John the Baptist mean? The same Spirit and fire of Elijah was on John, but he was not a physical “reincarnation” of Elijah. The same is true of these latter-day “Witnesses”. Our concern should not be on who they are, but upon the message, they preach. I see Hebrews 9:27 only stating the fact that death is a certain thing, except in rare circumstances. With the exception of a “Snatching away,” we will all certainly die.

Evil Unbound

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”  Revelation 9:1-6 (KJV)

In this chapter, I will endeavor to show that after man has made a mockery of Satan, hell, sin, and death, God will unleash all the forces that had been seen as unreal and fictional, sources for jokes and humor. That man has trifled with evil at the expense of their eternal souls, and that the very evil they mocked and practiced will be judgment upon them.

We have come to the fifth trumpet, which is also the first “Woe” of chapter eight verse 13, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth…”. The word “Woe” is related to great calamity. Jesus Himself as He walked among men pronounced “Woe” on Chorazin and Bethsaida in Matthew 11:21.

The star mentioned is different from the stars previously mentioned in verse 12 of chapter eight. This star is a personality. The implication is that the star has fallen. “To him” shows this as a person. So, in this case, it is not a literal star. It can be likened to the “stars” of chapter 1 verse 20 and to 2:1.

This star is one who has fallen from Heaven. He will no longer be allowed to come into God’s presence to accuse “The brethren”.

Where the judgment of the first four trumpets dealt with things man can see, hear, touch, taste and/or smell, this fifth trumpet judgment appears to deal with the demon horde. We know the chief of demons to be Satan. To him is given a key to unleash the demon swarm, held captive, upon the earth.

Because these unbelievers have mocked the spiritual and believed no connection to life or living the unholy spiritual beings will be set free from their abode and attack those on the earth.
The smoke out of the pit goes up like out of a furnace. It will be like hell was unleashed upon lost mankind.

What came out of the “Abyss” is likened unto locusts. We cannot say these are literal locusts. God used a plague of locusts against Egypt (EXODUS 10:1-20), and in Deuteronomy 28:38, 42 we find that God used locusts as judgment against Israel in times of their unfaithfulness. We also see judgment upon Israel with locusts in Joel 2. These in Egypt and Israel were literal crop-eating locusts.
What makes these something other than literal locusts is their description. The first being, they have a scorpions tail [“…power, as the scorpions on the earth have power”]. The literal locust has no such tail.

These were also given a commandment. They could do no harm to the grass, nor any green thing, nor to any tree. They could do no harm to the people who had “The seal of God in their foreheads”. God knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19).

The genuine locust eats any green thing in its path and is a great cause of famine throughout the world. The locust here, though, attack and torment men. They are to torment, but not to kill. This is to go on for a period of five months, which, I have heard, is the lifespan of locusts.

The torment will be so great and fierce that men will seek to die, but “Death shall flee from them”. These could be some of the same ones who seek eternal life by searching for a “Fountain of Youth” use of “Cryogenics”, or even searching for the supposed “Holy grail”. Now they are seeking death and cannot find it.

“What the scriptures here convey is that in addition to the natural plagues of the first four trumpets, now wicked men are afflicted by torment of demons” JOHN WALVOORD The Revelation Of Jesus Christ pg. 161.

O, friend, this is not a time we must go through.  Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we are delivered from this judgment.  Only through Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Call on Him and He will deliver you.

Payment Due Upon the Earth and Inhabitants

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:1-8 (KJV)

In chapter six begins a series of judgment upon the earth. A judgment, unlike anything anyone has ever seen. We have all seen some of the movies of the destruction of the earth. We are constantly being warned of the destruction of the earth, if we do not stop using gasoline vehicles, etc. People living in fear of what is called “The greenhouse effect” caused by the earth warming. People living in fear of nuclear war, and destruction of the earth. Let me just say here; We need not fear these things. What we need is a good, old fashioned fear of a Holy God. The end of sin is going to come by Him and no other hand. We can be assured of that. We can either go on in fear of these former things mentioned or rest in peace with God as our Savior, our Lord, and Redeemer.

In the near past, there have been books written about the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. We see them here in the first four seals which are opened by the Lamb. In the opening of these seals, we see the judgment of the Great Tribulation beginning upon earth. (Keep in mind, that there is no more mention of the Church – the twenty-four elders, and the wife of the Lamb – until we get to chapter nineteen.) There is a “White horse and rider”, a “Red horse and rider”, a “Black horse and rider”, and a “Pale horse and rider”. The horse is a symbol of strength, and the rider is the one in control of the horse.

The Lamb, the only one found worthy to open the seals of the book (5:5), opens one of the seals. One of the “Living ones” (4:6) invites John “Come and see”. If these “Living ones” give John the invitation in the order they are listed in chapter four, there may be a connection with each of the first four seals. The first “Living one” was “like a lion”, the “King of beast”, and here we find a ruler ruling completely the opposite of godliness. This “Living one” would be grieved by this, but indicating to John it is (the rider on the white horse’s) short-lived deceptive rule. Could this be a possibility?

The sound of “Thunder” is warning of an approaching storm. The storm coming is one of judgment and gloom upon the face of the earth.

These first four seals are introduced by the “Four living ones”. It appears that the first four are done by man after God Almighty removes His messenger of restraint [the Holy Spirit] in order that sin might work its course. The end of sin is death. The fifth seal has to do with martyred souls, during the reign of the evil one, because of their faith in God (See 12:11 and 20:4). I will try and deal with this in more detail later. The sixth seal then is clearly of divine origin. The seventh seal is not mentioned until chapter eight, and it is opened to begin the judgment of the “Seven trumpets”.

What John sees is a rider on a white horse. There are two possible reliable interpretations of who this rider is: 1) He is Jesus Christ active in His Church taking the gospel and conquering the world – this view is held by those who see the Revelation as history; 2) He is the “Man of sin” referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, 7-10. Notice this rider is said to have a bow. There is, however, no mention of arrows. “He went forth conquering and to conquer” and it could be that he is conquering through persuasive and deceitful speech which would be suitable for the “Son of perdition”.

It would not make sense for the Lamb to be the one opening the seals and also the one riding the “White horse”, nor, would it make sense for the awful tragedies following His conquering, if it was for His kingdom. For Christ to appear here as conquering by peace, or whatever reason, and then appearing again in chapter nineteen, with His sword for war, would not make much sense either.

It appears to me that this rider is none other than the man who will deceive the world with his lies. With the deceitfulness of lies and trickery, the world will follow him to their death.

The second “Living one” says, “Come and see”. This seal fits with Jesus’s words in Matthew 24:6-7…

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places”.

This will be the real thing. The second “Living one” was “like a calf” which may represent “Service”, and war would definitely be the opposite of one who is serving. One with a servant’s heart is not usually given to war and would be one to ease the pangs of famine, pestilence, earthquakes and such. He would certainly not be one to initiate them.

This horse is red, the color of blood, and that is for a reason. The peace, which the rider on the white horse promised and seemed to give, is very short lived. There is bloodshed, war. His work is to “Take peace from the earth”. Who is to say whether this rider of the red horse is not the same as the rider of the white horse and the following riders as well. The rider being the man and the horse representing a power/political agenda. It just might be a possibility. This rider on the red horse is given a “Great sword”; an instrument of killing and war.

John, then sees, with the opening of the third seal, another horse, and rider, and is called by the third “Living one”, “Come and see”. This third “Living one” has a face “like a man”. It is in the heart of man to cheat, deceive, and defraud other men. It is in the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ to deliver us from these things, but here it becomes a judgment of men upon the earth. We have heard of and seen things like this in the United States in recent political and natural disasters. People charging exorbitant fees for the removal of trees and debris from streets. Charging more than regular prices for generators and such because of excess needs. It just seems to me, that in these times there should be generosity, not greed. During this coming time of judgment, there will be excessive greed and no generosity.

This horse is black. Black represents suffering. Famine, plague, and all kinds of suffering are caused by war.

Jesus also refers to this in Matthew 24:7…

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places”.

These seals seem to fit perfectly with the apocalyptic words of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Famine does come often as a result of war. Economic hardship is there too. Notice the cost of food. The presence of the “balances” seem to indicate injustice in price. A penny was a regular days wage. This verse if written today could read, “It costs a day’s wages to purchase a loaf of bread”. Can you imagine paying 50 – 100 dollars for one loaf of bread?

The balances [scales] of verse five have to do with marketing – selling and purchasing for the purposes of business. These scales under the rule of an unscrupulous ruler would be unjust.

Imagine the stealing, killing, and chaos going on because of this rule. Anarchy would be the proper term.

We are now to the fourth seal, the fourth horse, and rider, and the invitation of the fourth “Living one” to “Come and see”. This fourth “Living one was like a flying eagle”. This “Flying Eagle” would represent the Omniscience of God and ability to see, and oversee all things.

What John sees now is a pale horse, a pale grey, ghastly color symbolizing sickness and death. Sickness and death would certainly follow a famine. Notice, though, the power given unto the rider. He has the power to kill one-fourth of the earth. If the population of the earth is around seven billion that means he would be destroying 1.75 billion people.

The sword, hunger, torturous death, and the use of wild beasts to kill are his instruments of death.

Keep in mind Christian, that God does not have wrath in mind for those who have trusted Jesus.

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thess 5:9-10 (KJV).

We are reminded, as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

Those who have been born again in Christ Jesus have no need to fear the judgment coming on the earth or earth’s inhabitants.  Yes, we are currently inhabitants of earth, but this earth is not our home.  We are awaiting our new home in the presence of Jesus.  See and read John 14:1-6.

Hold Fast, and Repent

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:1-6 (KJV)

In chapter 3:1-6 we will endeavor to show that Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to His Church, that local churches, because they are made up of a “Mixed multitude” (a term from the Exodus), often grieve His Spirit, what happens to the church when He is grieved, and the hope of life which only comes by His Spirit.

It appears that complacency is a problem. We get in a place where the temperature is just right, the seats are soft and comfortable, there is no trouble to speak of, and we fall asleep. Suddenly, we awake and we find ourselves plagued with problems, or we may not awake because the enemy has crept in on us while we were unaware and kills us. If a friend does not wake us up, then, death is inevitable.

That friend, of course, is Jesus. In this Scripture text, He reveals Himself through another one of His characteristics. He had to go away, in the ascension, before the Spirit came. Now the Spirit of God in all His fullness can dwell and habitat in the life of every believer.

Jesus’s message to Sardis is one to “WAKE UP!” to your true situation. There was still hope for Sardis, but it was by the resurrection power of the Spirit. They could have life and power with God in no other way.

Jesus is the One who gives the Spirit, who is the giver of life and power to live a clean, holy and endless life.

In verse 1 we have Jesus revealing Himself to the church of Sardis as the One who has the “Seven Spirits” – indicating the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the “Seven Stars”. See chapter 1:4, 16.
The Holy Spirit is the source of life for the Church. Without the Spirit, there is no life. We notice that Jesus reveals each part of His character as needed by each church. The church of Sardis certainly needed to see Jesus as the One who gives the Holy Spirit. In chapter 4:5 we have “Seven burning lamps, which are the seven Spirits of God”. In chapter 5:6 we see “Seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God…”. We have a fullness of light, power, and spiritual enlightenment, which come from the Spirit of God.

The “Seven stars” are the pastors. Jesus places pastors in each of His local bodies as it pleases Him. If the pastor is the source of the church’s problem, then, Jesus will remove him and put in a replacement. It could be the people of Sardis was blaming their pastor. Accusing him of not doing his job, or the church’s lack of growth, its complacency, its dying or death. They could have been saying, “These sermons you have been preaching are irrelevant to our need. There is no threat from without. We are not near dying”. The pastor, on the other hand, may have just blended in, became one of the neighborhood. “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.

Sardis was a city on a hill. it was protected by cliffs. It was virtually impregnable. However, it was overthrown at least twice by enemies while the guards slept at their post; thinking, “We are impregnable, there is no danger”.

Jesus says that this church has a name of being alive – they still have a name over the door, they are still keeping their programs going, but there is little difference in the practice of the church and the practice of the city – “But you are dead”, says Jesus. It really does not matter what the people in the community say about the church. What really counts is what Jesus says.

In verse two, it would almost seem fitting to say, that, the phrase “Be watchful” could also read “WAKE UP!”.

Consider Paul’s writing to the Romans in chapter 13:11-14. It is time for the Church to “Wake up”. Revival is needed.

Sardis could very well represent the time of the “Reformation” if we were looking at that dispensationally. During the “Dark ages” the professing church had become villainous. Killing, enslaving and conquering of land was the work of a majority of the “church” of this time. The true Church had fallen asleep. The doctrine of the church was to earn your salvation or pay for it with money. You could even pay the “Priests” to pray some poor soul into Heaven. If you could do that, why not pay them to pray an enemy into hell. The church, then, used the name of Jesus, but few within it really knew Him.

Jesus saw the need and He called out brave, and bold men like Martin Luther, Ulrich, Zwingli, John Knox, John Calvin, William Tyndale, and others to raise a mighty voice, to put the Word of God back into the hands of the people. To preach the true gospel of grace. The people began to wake up. The Church began to identify more with Jesus now, and less with the world.

Jesus’s words sound as though there is still hope.

“Strengthen the things that remain” is probably a reference to the small minority who were loving the Lord Jesus. Every time they tried to work for Jesus, the majority would stop it. The works were not perfect or complete in His eyes. Those who loved Jesus were the only possessors of the Spirit. A complacent spirit grieves the Spirit of God. The Spirit keeps us alert and aware. When we pay no attention to Him we grieve Him, and our source of power and strength erodes until ‘rigor mortis’ sets in. The Spirit never leaves the individual true believer, but He does and will leave from empowering a local church.

The only hope (v. 3) for a church in such as the aforementioned condition, is to get back to the basics. “Remember” salvation by grace through faith, hold on to it as though your life depended on it (it does), and repent. Confess your deadness, your complacent spirit, your grieving of the Holy Spirit.

If there is no awakening Jesus warns, that He will come as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:4). This would, of course, be only upon those who are not “Overcomers” as the next two verses deal with.  A living organism has … growth, repair, reproduction, and power. If these are missing in a local church that church is either dying or dead. The church needs revival. If the believers at Sardis did not obey God Jesus warned He would “Come as a thief”.

In verses 4 and 5 the judgment that awaited a majority of “church members” would be avoided by the “Overcomers”. The “Overcomer” is a saved – born again – individual who is constantly growing in his/her walk with Christ, and by God’s grace is always faithful.

White is a symbol of righteousness, purity, cleanliness. Jesus mentions only a few who “Have not defiled their garments”. Jesus says, “They are worthy”. They have been made worthy because of the Holy Spirit and the One who gives the Spirit, Jesus Christ. The only way of righteousness or being worthy is in His Spirit.

The “Book of Life” is mentioned several times in the Scriptures. Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; Exodus32:32; Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3 just to list a few. Some believe this implies one can be saved and lose it. That would be contrary to God’s grace. If we do nothing to deserve God’s grace, then, how can we presume that we can do something to get out of His grace? The “Book of Life” has had written in it the names of everyone who was ever conceived. When a person died apart from Christ his/her name is “Blotted out of the book of life”. When a person believes and confesses that Jesus is Lord, and believes that God raised Him [Jesus] from the dead, then God writes that person’s name in the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27) and his/her name remains in the “Book of Life”.

Jesus says, that He will confess this individual’s name before the Father.

Some points to note about the BOOK OF LIFE:
1. Contains the names of all the living;
2. Revelation 13:8; 17:8 suggest that the names of saints are written in the book from the foundation of the world – before they have done anything good or bad;
3. Chosen in Christ before the beginning of time (Ephesians 1:4; Matthew 25:34).
4. As unbelievers die their names are removed from the BOOK OF LIFE (Psalm 69:28).

Once again, to the church of Sardis, the message of Jesus is commanding His people’s hearing (v. 6). It is an invitation to hear the Holy Spirit speak to the heart of the true believer of Jesus. It seems especially appropriate in this letter because Jesus is showing Himself as the One who gives the Spirit. Hear His words. Hear Him and believe and do them.

In conclusion, the prophet said, “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6). If the church is to be the Church it must operate in the presence of God. The Holy Spirit must be a continued welcome and wanted guest within the local church, and the total Body of Christ.

To “Grieve the Spirit” is to make Him an unwanted guest. Unwanted guests do not feel like staying very long and begin to pull away any influence and make themselves absent. God gives His people a commandment not to grieve the Spirit; “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit will never leave a born again person, but when we pay Him little or no attention; ignore His teaching, leadership, comfort, convictions, righteousness, and judgment we will certainly be without His powerful influence.

Why do churches die? Because they neglect Jesus and His gift that He has given. That is the person of the Holy Spirit, which is Christ within us.  And to think that there are some who profess to know Christ as Savior and believe that they now have the “Liberty” to live as they please.  The Spirit of Christ in you leads you to live the life that He pleases.

Only those in the local church who heed the warnings of the Spirit and repent of their foolish deeds will overcome. Jesus’s promises to the “Overcomers” are for all those who are repentant.
The church must stop grieving the Holy Spirit; the church must depend on the Spirit, not the promises and promotions of the flesh and man; the church of the 21st century must wake up out of its comfort, and lethargy, and live for God. The church must experience revival.  Every believer must Hold Fast to the words of Jesus and to Him, and Repent of all our sins; disobedience, rebellion, and unbelief.

Blessed is the Reader

For a while, I am going to repost and revamp some of my previous posts.  They will begin with the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:1-3 (KJV)

It seems that the history of man has begun to reach its climax, and because of this, it is of the utmost importance for all people to realize the greatness of Jesus Christ, His present and future power to redeem, judge and bring to fruition the completeness of His redemption.

It is the purpose of this study to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as being alive, seated at the right hand of the Father; as the “Chief Subject”; the exalted Priest-King in chapters 1 – 3; as the glorified Lamb in chapters 4 – 5 and reigning on the throne; the Judge of all the earth in chapters 6 – 18, and in chapter 19 He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings; finally, closing the book ushering His Bride (the Church) into the glorious heavenly city; thus Unveiling His Glory.

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has been viewed by many, even professing Christians, as a book of “Doom and Gloom”, as has also been the other apocalyptic book of Daniel. They are not. These are books of hope and fulfillment of our final joy – eternal joy. Let me insert this information concerning the title of the book. Some refer to the book as “Revelations”. Not to be “Know it allish”, but there are no plural revelations, it is a single Revelation. It seems to me that there is one proper title of the book, and it is given in the first sentence of the text, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…”

The book is for our understanding. It is written where you must be familiar with the rest of Scripture, especially the Old Testament. It is filled with symbolism, which is open to interpretation, but by the work of the Holy Spirit, a committed Christian can understand. I know that I will fall far short of excellence, but these will be my thoughts and understanding in my study, hopefully, and prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit.

This book was written to encourage the Christians, who were being persecuted by Rome, of the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ. He would conquer every kingdom of man that would exalt itself against Him.

This book was written while the Roman persecution was going on under Domitian who hated Christianity. He had exiled John to “The isle that is called Patmos”. This is where John received the Revelation. It was sent to and read by the seven churches mentioned in verse 11. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is a book for the Church of all ages until the redemption of mankind is complete.

We will see in the Revelation that it is truly of Jesus and His power to redeem and that until its completion we, who are Christians, are to keep the faith of Jesus Christ. He will be faithful to fulfill the Father’s will in us.

Let me explain something before I continue. I believe the Bible teaches the rapture of the Church before a period of Tribulation comes on the earth. That that period of Tribulation will be a total of 7 years in length, and that at the end of that 7 years Jesus will come down to earth, set up an earthly kingdom for a period of 1000 years. At the end of that thousand years will come the Great White Throne judgment where all the haters of God, “…Inhabiters of earth” will be judged by their works. I believe these things can be seen in The Revelation, as well as other Scriptures. I also know that there are a many good Christian people who do not believe that form of eschatology. That is their belief, and they will go be with Christ in the rapture whether they believe it or not. I will be happy to meet them there.

Let us look now at the Revelation. If we think about the time that has passed since the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, it could have been as much as 6o years. The Domitian reign of Rome is nearing an end, and John probably needs some encouragement, as well as those to whom he will send this writing. The “Unveiling” is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His glory. It will show things which must “Shortly take place”. There are some who argue against the imminent [ready to take place] appearing of Jesus Christ. This is one statement for it. Jesus reveals the suffering and rejection He has endured. He will reveal His power and His glory which all shall see. It is a revelation given by the Father to Jesus to reveal what “Must shortly come to pass”. It is a message which is delivered by an angel to His servants for all the servants of Christ. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). This apocalyptic message is to be revealed (Rev. 22:10), while the message for Daniel, in his time was to be concealed (Daniel 12:4). There is only one thing that John is told not to write and reveal, and that was the message of the seven thunders (Rev. 10:4). What was said there we may never know, nor should we even speculate.

There is a faithful witness in this Revelation. John’s gospel and epistles point out Jesus Christ as the Living Word (John 1:1), the Lamb, come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and that He is God in flesh (John 1:14). John shows us Jesus very clearly as the Word become flesh, for the purpose of dying for our sins, buried, and rising again. He is getting a look at Jesus much unlike anything He has ever seen. The only thing that may have come near it would have been on the mount as Jesus was “Transfigured” in their sight. John faithful in his testimony and witness of Jesus Christ.

We come now to the first of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. It is a promise of blessing, of happiness – that is what the meaning of “Blessed” is. What many churches and pastors are getting away from in worship services is the reading of God’s Word. There is a special blessing for those who will read the Revelation in worship to God. This blessing would apply, I believe in any situation. In our own private reading, in a Bible study group, corporate worship, or parents with children, and spouses reading it together. There is also a blessing for the hearer of these words. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). To “Hear” means with understanding putting it to action, which leads us to the third blessing. The keeping of this is to “hear” it putting it to work for encouraging others in the faith, and for our own stability of faith. It is something to hang on to because the times are tough. “Do not doubt in the dark, what you have learned in the light.” One thing is certain and that is that “time is short”, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thes. 5:2). This is a book of hope for the Christian. It is a book of encouragement. These seven beautitudes are placed in the book to show us the light in the darkness of troubled times. Seeing that there are seven of the “Beatitudes” it means that our joy will be full, and gives us strength in the face of opposition.

We see that Jesus is central to this final book of the Bible. Were the Bible to close with any other book we would not have a completed picture.

The Bible begins with the book of “Beginnings” – Genesis and closes with the triumph of Jesus Christ, the redemption of mankind. A-MEN.

The Way of the Wayward

“Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 (KJV)

Verse 8 of Jude explains who the “Them” are of verse 11.  “Filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” The study continues…

It is a very important time for Christian leaders to stand up and teach the truth of God’s word and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is important in every day, every era of time, but as the time of the coming of Christ draws nearer we ought to give very earnest heed to the truth.  It does make a difference what you believe.  What you believe is how you will live.

The apostate, heretics of which Jude has been warning us are going to be held to the ultimate judgment. “Woe” is the warning of such judgment being held for them. It is a sad thing for Christians of today, when they will more readily accept the teachings of the “Name it and claim it” bunch, than they will the plain and clear teaching of the Word of the Lord where the cross of Jesus Christ, His deity, His shedding of His own blood, His burial carrying our sins away, and the plain and clear teaching of His bodily resurrection fulfilling the Word which He spoke.

These apostates follow the way of Cain (the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother Abel); in that, they deny the power of the blood of the cross of Christ by their teaching that it is for material gain, applying their own works to the work of Christ. They follow the “error of Balaam” by seeking gain for themselves. Balaam was a false prophet who sought profit by serving God. He deemed that the Israelites were not worthy of God’s blessing and so cursed them by showing the enemy their weakness (Numbers 25:1-17; 31:16), bringing a plague into the camp, stayed only by the quick hand of Phineas, who was the grandson of Aaron. Balaam eventually was killed by the children of Israel before they entered the promised land. Then, there is Korah (Core of Jude 11), the rebellious one who led Dathan and Abiram in a rebellious act against Moses. They spoke ill of Moses, thus were speaking against God. We put our lives on a very thin layer when we speak ill of our leaders, especially the spiritual leaders. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up by the ground opening and taking them, and those who stood with them, alive into the belly of the earth. Read Numbers 16.

We are given ample warning in Scripture of following false teachers and leaders. The ones who expose heresy are not the ones who are causing the problem. The problem lies in those who teach error and seek to lead people astray. If you know God and know His Word you know who the false teachers and their false teachings are. If you don’t know the God of the Bible nor His Word you will be deceived and led astray becoming just like your leader. Finding your own way, always for gain and profit, and no true spiritual leader will ever be right, but you are. At least in your own mind.

Guard your spiritual life. Know the God of the Bible by turning to His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross that you might live. He was buried carrying your sins away, and He rose bodily from that grave, and He ever lives to make intercession for you. Read His Word – the Bible – learn Him, know Him, trust Him with all of your life.  To walk in the Way of the Wayward will lead to death.  The way of God and His Son Jesus leads to life everlasting.

Greater Voice, Greater Name

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4 (KJV)

The greatest theme throughout all of Scripture is the person and name of Jesus.  He is the central character and person of the whole of the Bible including the Old Testament.  The first few verses of Hebrews tells us about the One who is the reason, and cause for all good things, including the creation of all that is.

When the Lord GOD spoke in the ages previous to the New Testament He spoke through the law and the prophets.  The people would not hear them in many cases.  They would persecute, and even kill those men who opposed the people’s own lawless agendas; and spoke God’s word concerning their hearts, souls, and minds.

To redeem mankind God sent His only Son – the One whom He sent who “in these last days” has spoken to us through.  To answer a question that one might ask; “When did the last days begin?”:  the answer to that question is; when Jesus came the first time as a baby in the manger.  I would have no argument with someone who would say that “The last days began on the day of our Lord’s crucifixion or resurrection”.  At either rate, it is closely tied to the appearance of the Incarnate God Jesus Christ.

These verses are a great strengthening to the teaching of the divinity of Christ.  He is the brightness of the glory of God.  He is the express image, or exact representation of the person of God.  God is a person, not a power; though He certainly is a power to be reckoned with.  He is God.  Our Creator.  Our Sustenance.  Our Strength.  Our Sword.  Our Shield.  Our Hope.

If anyone refuses the words of Jesus they refuse their last and final chance for life with Him through all eternity.  Believe Him today.  Receive Him.  Follow Him.

Reconciliation and the Son

O how the race of Adam needs to be reconciled to God.  My how lost can a race of people get, and by lost I mean astray from God, His word, His Son, and His Spirit.  He did say, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3).  God is the one who stepped out of eternity, and limited Himself to the confines of human flesh, to pay the redemption price for our reconciliation.  Hear the words of the apostle Paul…

“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister…” Colossians 1:19-23 (KJV)

There was never a time the Son of God who is God become flesh (John 1:14) was not with God the Father in heaven.  Father, Son [the Word] and the Holy Spirit were working as One in Creation, walking in the garden with Adam and Eve.  There was never a time when Jesus was not “…the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

By Him; through Him mankind, Adam kind has been reconciled to God.  We were alienated, unable on our own to reach God; but He has reached us through the cross – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  It is the work, the gift, the grace of God by which you can believe, and receive this wonderful gift.

You can be at peace with God by the reconciling work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  It pleased the Father to strike Him on our behalf (Isaiah 53:10), and to put away the condemnation of sin and death. By His crucifixion, we are presented to the Father holy and without blame.  He through faith is working in us to ground us, and keep us unto Himself.

Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the Son by His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection (Romans 5:1), by which we have peace with God – Reconciliation.

Passion and Love for Christ

“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:22-24 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was bound by his own spirit to go to Jerusalem to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to his people of Israel.  He had been chosen by God as the apostle to the Gentiles, but he still had a heart for Israel

My question is to myself.  Am I willing to go to my people willing to lose my life, for the sake of the gospel?  For the sake of Jesus Christ?  They are people who are perishing in their sins.  They too need Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  I cannot save them, but I can tell them the glorious news of God’s love through the cross of Jesus, His burial, and resurrection.

The passion of Jesus was the cross.  He had His eyes set on Jerusalem; and that means to go to the cross and die for the sins of the world, that those who will believe might have everlasting life.  He was willing to die that we might have a personal relationship with God.

Lord God, may my passion be to tell all I meet of the glorious Christ Jesus who died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  May I also tell them that same resurrected Jesus is coming again.

Being Reminded of Purpose

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6 (KJV)

The people had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon for the distinct purpose of rebuilding the temple (Ezra 1:1-5).  When we look into the prophecy of Haggai we read that they had become more concerned with building comfortable homes for themselves, more than the house of the LORD.

Now the prophet was not finding fault with them for building their homes, but they were neglecting the temple and its rebuilding.  That was the issue.  They were taking their goods and applying it to their own livelihood rather than to the work of the Lord.

In looking at this prophecy of Haggai there is a word for the people of God in 2017.  What may that be?  We have forgotten our purpose, our calling, and from whence we have been blessed.  I stand guilty.  We live in a nation that spends billions of dollars in the game of golf.  Many more millions are spent on movies; either attending their showing at the theater or buying them for home use.  Understand, I do not condemn these things, lest I condemn myself; but I must ask the question:  Where does God come into these actions?  How much do we give to Him for things that bring honor and glory to His name?

If we are spending more on our entertainment and pleasure and comfort than we return to the Lord, then we have forgotten our purpose.  I am speaking to those who call themselves “Christian”.  We are responsible to God for what we have left over after we give to Him; if we are returning anything to Him what He has blessed us with.

Let us consider our ways.  Let us be faithful with the blessings God has given us.  Give to your local place of worship, your Church, and watch what God can do.  Of course, the first thing you need to give is yourself to attending your local Church.  Be faithful, and remember your purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Surely the Lord GOD…

“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:6-8 (KJV)

Amos was a contemporary prophet with Isaiah, Hosea, and others.  It is not known if they all knew one another or not, but I would not be surprised if they did.  They were burdened for their people.  I want us to think about these words written by Amos.  Like most of the prophets of God no one wanted to hear what they had to say, but a prophet of God has a mandate from God to speak the word of God, whether anyone will listen and hear or not.

Trumpets were used in Jerusalem for various reasons.  Warning for which the prophet speaks above.  Calling assemblies.  Calling the tribes together, and they would give a distinguishing sound for each purpose; and the people recognized and knew which sound was for what.

Warning was what the prophet Amos was giving.  He was the sound of the trumpet.  There is a time to be afraid.  The time for the people of God to fear is when we get away from God, because we no longer love Him, His Son, and no longer hear and do His commandments; in that order.  Hear what Jesus the Son of God, God the Son; our Savior says about this…

If ye love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. John 15:10

It is not good for the child of God to fear; but when we get away from God, loving Him and His commandments, then we had better fear, be afraid, and get on our knees in repentance; then we can get up and face the wicked world without fear.  We can know that God has it all in hand.  We will know that the evil, and calamity, afflictions, injustices, lack of peace, are all in His hands, and that He will work it all out for His glory and our good.

We can know too, that everything that God will do, or is doing His prophets will will be speaking forward to His people.  Besides that; most of what God; if not all of what God is doing in the world is revealed to us through the written book called the Bible.  There is no new word from God.

People of God… It is best that we fear God, or we will fear everything else.  When we fear God, we will fear nothing else.

God has made a way for us to enter His holy, righteous presence; and that is through the death of Jesus His Son on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.  You have sinned against holy God.  Receive His gift of salvation, and come into His presence.

Heart or Lip?

It is a sad thing when the heart of God’s people grow cold toward Him, His word, His ways, His Son Jesus, and His Spirit.  That was a very prominent thing in the land of Israel and Judah.  They had grown away from God.  Still maintaining their worship ritual, without  heart for God; giving Him only “Lip service”, but their hearts were far from Him.  It would do Christians of 2017 and beyond to hear the prophets of the Old Testament, because these words apply to all God’s people when it comes to our worship, and devotion to Him.  Now, hear the prophet Isaiah…

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Isaiah 29:13-16 (KJV)

For Christians one of  the easiest things to do is stray.  Stray away from time with God, and you will begin straying away from fellowship with His people, and worshiping together.  You will stray away from prayer. When that happens you will get into sin, that you thought you would never be part of.  Then, the Lord does a work in your life; you might call it a trouble, trial, even a sorrow so deep it causes grief and pain of heart; God is getting your attention; asking the question, “Whom or what do you trust?”  Sometimes these trials may come when you are walking with God.  Maybe to check your faith.  Remember Job.

Those who pay “Lip service” with out any heart for God are those to whom Jesus spoke of…

Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

I fear that there are far too many people who are boasting of a relationship with God that they do not have. You may be one.  You claim to be Christian, but you only pick up your Bible on the way out the door for worship or Bible study.  The rest of the week you give no thought to God, His Son or His word.  You live your life, your way, and stomp on all who get in your way.

By the work and grace of God, when you are God’s He will always bring you back to Himself.  To love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself. None of us can love God except through the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  He is the one who spoke those words in red above, and though not in red, He spoke through the prophet Isaiah the words of Isaiah.

If you call yourself “Christian”, then stop just giving Him “Lip service” and give Him your heart.  Jesus also said,,,

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

What is in your heart?

 

Open the Book

In order to know the words, the acts, and purpose of a book one must open that book.  It does not matter if the book is historical, study, a novel of fiction, historical fiction, etc., educational that book must be opened.  Even an e-book must be opened to know its contents.

The Bible, the word of God, is no different in that way.  A lot of Christians say they believe the Bible, yet they rarely if ever open it.  In their homes it is a decoration on a bookshelf or on a table, but is never picked up and opened, except maybe on Sunday as the pastor opens it to read, and they might follow along.  How can a Christian grow without opening Scripture?  Growth would be a non-event in such case.

Hear from the book of Nehemiah…

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6 (KJV)

This event for Nehemiah took place following the return of God’s people; after seventy years, from Babylonian captivity, and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall.  The people’s only access to Scripture was through the scrolls, and usually read by the priests and prophets of their day.  That is no excuse today.  Not too many people have or can legitimately say, “I do not have a Bible, neither do I have access to one.”  There are millions of copies of God’s word throughout the world.  Most people; if they want a copy they can get one.

At any rate look at what happened when Nehemiah opened the book.  Out of respect for the Word, the people stood up. It does not say they were asked to do so.  It does not say that anyone motioned for them to do so.  It simply says, “…All the people stood up”.  Then we are told they heard Nehemiah bless the LORD, and they answered “Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, bowing their heads, and worshiping with their faces to the ground”.

O for the respect, reverence for the word of God from God’s people today.

I have attended many worship services where the preacher asked people to stand in reverence to the word of God.  Nothing wrong in that.  I do believe, however, if we the people had a real reverence for the word of God, when anyone in a meeting opens the word of God in our midst we ought to stand without a prompter.  The prompter should be the opening of the Book.

Most of all: be sure you open, read, and study the Book for yourself.  And notice how through the Spirit of God He will read you too.

What We Want

Many times we people – all who were made by God in His image and likeness want what we want, and we want it now.  Nothing has changed since the Garden of Eden, and the fall of Adam and Eve; at least in the matter of our wants.

When it comes to leadership of kings, presidents, or despots we all have our own idea of who or what we want to lead us.  The same was true in the day of the Judges, and God raised up a judge and a prophet by the name of Samuel.  He was a man who had the heart of God, and was jealous for God; and by that I mean he did not want the people to trust anyone else but God; neither did he want anything else for himself.

The verses we look at today are of when the people decided they wanted a king… “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” was their cry (1 Samuel 8:5).  “Like all the nations” is the key phrase which should cause us to see the ire or Samuel.  They wanted a king so they could be like the surrounding nations.  Hear the word of the LORD…

“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:6-9 (KJV)

Sometimes God gives us what we want, even when He knows what it will do to us.  Sometimes God gives His children a million dollars, and they end up losing it all because they did not have the wisdom to know what to do with it; but they wanted it.  Sometimes God saves the life of a child gravely injured in an accident, but the child is alive only not living on his/her own strength; they got what they wanted.

In the case above the king that was chosen was to show them the manner of king that would reign over them, and that would be Saul.  Saul turned his back on God.  He eventually hated even David a shepherd boy who would be God’s appointed king, and of whom Jesus Christ would be an heir to the throne.

My heart and mind has determined that I want what God wants for me; and I will be perfectly content and at peace with that.  What about you?  It can start by calling on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for salvation.  Do so today.

Glory

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

The book of Exodus begins with the word “Now” (Exodus 1:1), and is a recap of what has taken place at the end of Genesis – the family of Jacob goes into Egypt, and the family increases greatly while there.

The Bible is not a book so much that tells us about ourselves, or how to live;  it does that, but that is not its purpose.  The book we call the Bible is about GOD our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, our Strength, our Sword (or Defense), and He is definitely our Song.  That is nowhere more evident than in God’s deliverance of His people from bondage and slavery.

There is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament “They shall know that I am the LORD” and sometimes it uses the words “You shall know…” and “…the LORD of hosts”.  The prophecy of Ezekiel uses it at least 63 times.  The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used at least five times in Exodus (6:7;  7:5;  14:18:  16:12;  and 29:46).

The One who made us all desires that we know Him and that we know He is the LORD of hosts.  He desires that we have a personal relationship with Him.  He desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29-30), and in loving Him we will love others (Mark 12:31).  For no one is being honest who says, “I love God”, and then they hate their neighbor (1 John 2:9;  4:8, and 4:20).

What does the title “Glory” have to do with Exodus and all this other stuff?  God’s glory.  His glory is radiated through His temple.  Flesh of man cannot reside in the presence of God.  Even Moses even had to leave, because he could not bear it.

The glory of God rest in His tabernacle.  Ultimately the Tabernacle is in Christ Jesus.  The glory of God was and is in Jesus Christ His Son; and that glory resides in those who trust and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  The Lord is driving out the flesh in us so the glory of God is seen.

If you are still in darkness then come to the Light.  His name is Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.  The Personification of the Glory of God.

Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac’s Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

From Feb. 3, 2014

The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy (2)

 “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the Pleasant Land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:9-14 (KJV)

Please read Daniel 8:9-27

In the first installment we looked at Daniel, Cyrus and Alexander – the first of three of the personages of Daniel 8.  In this final installment we look at Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Antichrist who will come during the final week of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES (vv. 9-14). One ‘great leader’ comes from out of the four heads. Antiochus (Epiphanes being a name he gave himself who ruled from 175 B.C. to 165 B.C.. Known as a very cruel tyrant. He called himself ‘Epiphanes’ because he believed himself to be god. Epiphanes means, “Manifestation of Light”.

The cruelty of Antiochus was he would not allow worship to any god but to himself – not even the Jews could escape giving him worship. He prohibited the Jews from honoring the Sabbath, practicing circumcision, and from obeying the Levitical dietary laws. Any Jew found with a copy of the Mosaic law would be slaughtered.

Antiochus helps us to better understand the text of Daniel’s prophecy. He attacked the Jews in their ‘Pleasant land’. He stopped their religious practices. He declared himself to be god. He desolated the temple by offering a pig on an altar of Zeus – THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. He foreshadows the fearsome, last Gentile leader of the earth [Antichrist].

Judas Maccabeus and his followers defeated Antiochus in 165 B.C.. Because of Antiochus’s words and actions he was afflicted with a dreadful disease which ate away at his body, causing him to have a stench he himself could not tolerate. The cleansing of the temple took place as it was predicted. The twenty three hundred days is most likely numbered from the time Antiochus replaced the legitimate priest of the temple until the temple was cleansed. With the cleansing of the holy place began the “Feasts of Lights” what is known today as “Hanukkah”, and takes place around the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Antiochus is most definitely an antichrist of his time. He was not the Antichrist. The evil one to come will make Antiochus (Make Believe Epiphanes) look like a Sunday School teacher.

THE ANTICHRIST (vv. 23-27). What Daniel learns and writes for us to read in these verses relates to the end times when Antichrist will oppose God and His people. The “king of fierce countenance” is the Antichrist, not Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus does parallel those of Antichrist;

Both begin modestly, but increase in power and influence;

Both blaspheme God;

Both persecute the Jewish people;

Both claim godhood and place images in the temple;

Both impose their own religion upon people;

Both are opposed by a believing remnant that knows God;

Both are energized by the devil and are great deceivers;

Both appear successful and seem invincible;

Both are finally defeated by the coming of a redeemer – Judas Maccabeus defeated Antiochus; and Jesus will defeat the Antichrist.

This beast; disguised as a man; will be so vile, and evil that he will try to defeat Jesus Christ as He descends to earth with His saints, but notice what the prophet says in verse 25, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand”. This beast will promote evil, witchcraft, demonism, and will demand that the world worship him.

As Jesus descends upon the earth this devil incarnate will raise his hand against the one who created hands, and no hand of man will defeat this beast. How will he be defeated? By the Word going forth from the mouth of our Savior, and this is what the apostle John sees, and describes for us, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” Revelation 19:15 (KJV). If you will remember when Jesus was beginning His ministry, being led by the Spirit into the wilderness He was tempted by the devil. How did Jesus defeat the devil? By the Word of the Lord (See Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

This “Prince of princes” (v. 25) is none other than Jesus Christ – also known as King of kings, Lord of lords, and God of gods. The Antichrist will oppose Jesus. He [the Antichrist] will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire. The fire which burns forever and forever.

These prophecies are given to show us that “…The LORD is God”, and there is no other.  He knows the beginning from the end.  He alone is Alpha and Omega, and there is no other. When you familiarize yourself with Scripture you will begin to see and realize that Jesus Christ is seen from before creation to the final sentence of the Revelation.  Do you know Him?  To you, who is Jesus Christ?

Prophecy is, also, to equip God’s people to live for the Lord as a vibrant witness for Him. To warn many that do not know of the soon coming of Jesus in judgment upon a wicked world. To call God’s people to repentance and the lost to faith in Jesus Christ.

The Man of Prayer

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:4-10 (KJV)

THE PRESIDENTS AND PRINCES CONSPIRED TO FIND FAULT WITH DANIEL; FOUND NONE; SO SET ABOUT TO ESTABLISH NEW LAWS TO TRAP HIM (vv. 4-9). Daniel could not have won in any event in this deception. If he would have not prayed these men would have accused him of turning from his God. If he prayed he would be put in the lion’s den.

These leaders were jealous of Daniel. He was a captive Jew and their leader. He had God’s blessing on his life. The people of the flesh will always work against the people serving God in the Spirit. Look at Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob; Ishmael and Isaac. The flesh always strives against the Spirit – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Gal. 5:17 (KJV).

According to the Proverbs 26:28 passage above “…a flattering mouth worketh ruin”, and this is most certainly what these men tried to do to Daniel. They were flattering the king. Flattery can sometimes cause the one who is on the receiving end of flattery to yield to all kinds of things. People love to be praised, and told they are wonderful; but LOOK OUT! What does the flatterer have in mind?

The law these men wanted the king to decree was a decree of emperor worship, and the king fell for it. He did it without thinking of Daniel or any others who might be Jehovah [YHWH] worshipers. Once this law was signed by Darius it was law. His signature was the seal of his ring in wax. There would be no annulling it. It had to be carried out. It was soon put to the test.

DANIEL DOES NOT CHANGE HIS PRAYING – EVEN KNOWING THIS LAW IS DECREED BY THE KING (v. 10). After the decree is signed by the king, Daniel goes to his regular place of prayer and he prays just as always. He prays at sunrise, noon, and again at the end of the day. This purely was not an act of defiance, but an act that had already been his practice. Daniel was not going to change his practice. Now, if Daniel had not been praying, and this law was decreed, then, he starts praying to God it would be an act of defiance, then, these others may have had a genuine charge against him.

It is my belief that if the Christians of the United States would have been praying before 1963 we would not have lost our right to pray, and study Christian materials in the public schools. Suddenly when it was lost we become defiant. That is not the answer. We must get to praying, and pray that God will place people in positions of ‘lawmaking’ who will uphold the laws of God for our country, and get us back to freedom to pray in any place, at any time; and in the name of Jesus.

Since writing this in 2006 there are many things that have happened in the U. S. of A. that make this even more needed for our time in 2017.  People running their businesses as Christians, who have the right to refuse service to anyone just as any other business does who are robbed of that right by frivolous law suits.  Some paying fines.  The right to pray on School campuses to one certain group, but Christians not even being able to wear T-shirts with a Christian theme on them without scrutiny.  It is not time to be defiant; but it is time to continue to practice our faith in Christ Jesus through our lives and living.

If you are not a Christian believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven to die for our sins on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and is forever alive.  Call on His name.  He will hear you and save you from the condemnation, shame, and guilt of your sins.  (Romans 10:9-13).

If you are a Christian and have been fearful; stop being fearful of what men do; love God, and believe His Word.  Let the world see Jesus in you.

If you are praying now no one can ever stop you from praying. They may pass laws, but there is no law against the righteous, that can stop them from righteousness.

The Great Attraction…

The following is a portion from a sermon preached by Reuben Archer Torrey titled “THE GREAT ATTRACTION: THE UPLIFTED CHRIST”.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32 (KJV)

Note, in the third place, the words, ‘Draw all men.’

Does “all men” mean all individuals or men of all races? Did Jesus mean that every man and woman who lived on this earth would be drawn to Him, or did He mean that men of all races would be drawn to Him?  The context  answers the question.  The Greeks, as we have seen, came to one of the apostles, Philip, and said, ‘We would see Jesus,’ and Philip had gone and told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip had gone and told Jesus.  Our Lord’s ministry during His earthly life was  to Jews only, and in coming of these Greeks so soon before His death, our Lord saw the presage of the coming days when by His death on the cross the barrier between Jews and Gentiles would be broken down and all nations would have their opportunity equally with the Jews, when by His atoning death on the cross men of all nations would be drawn to Him. He did not say that He would draw every individual, but that all races of men: Greeks as well as Jews, Romans, Scythians, French, English, Germans, Japanese, Americans, and mean of all nations.  He is a universal Savior, and true Christianity is a universal religion.  Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and all other religions of a restricted application. Christianity, with a crucified Christ as its center, is a universal religion that meets the needs of all mankind.  It meets the needs of the European as well as the needs of the Asiatic, the needs of the Occident as well as the needs of the Orient, the needs of the American Indian and the needs of the African Negro; and so our Lord said,

‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself.’

Revealer of Secrets

“The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these…” Daniel 2:26-28 (KJV)

Please read verses 24-45

You would have thought that Daniel’s first response after receiving the dream and its interpretation would have been to immediately run to tell the king, “I know, I know”. This is not what he did, however. Daniel praised and thanked the God of Heaven and earth. After praising God he revealed to Arioch that he knew the dream and its interpretation. By going to Arioch Daniel was probably using proper protocol in appearing before the king. Daniel is still a teenager at this point of his life.

Arioch upon appearing before the king says, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.” He lied. Daniel found him. Daniel did not much care who received credit for it, he never contradicted Arioch; he just plainly gave the king the message of the dream.

Before Daniel gave the dream and its interpretation, the king asked him, “Are you able to tell me the dream and its interpretation?”; to which Daniel responded, “No man, astrologer, sorcerer, magician, etc. is able, but there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets.” It is also quite clear that Daniel was not doing this for personal recognition, but so that the king might know the thoughts of his heart. It also would save the lives of all the ‘wise men’ and Daniel and his friends.’

The dream itself was that of an image – Daniel calls it a “great image” which seems to mean it stood out from all others – it had a head of gold; its breast and arms were of silver; belly and thighs were of brass; its legs of iron; and its feet of iron mixed with clay. NOTE; the weak foundation. The rest of the dream was of a Stone “cut out without hands” which purposely fell on the feet of iron and clay and toppled the image. Now, Daniel gives the interpretation…

  1. The head of ‘Fine gold’ – Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire;
  2. Breast and arms of silver – represent the joint kingdoms of the Medes and Persians which conquered Babylon while Belshazzar was having a party (Daniel 5);
  3. Belly and thighs of brass – represent Greece which under the leadership of Alexander the Great would take possession of ‘the world rule’;
  4. Legs of iron – represent Rome ‘the iron legions of Rome’; Whereas the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greecian empires were conquered; the Roman empire never was, thus the fifth world rule; which is yet to come;
  5. Feet of iron mixed with clay – Rome fell from within due to mixed cultures, and th inability to adjust and be tolerant – “iron mixed with clay”. This represents a future kingdom of earth which will be ruled, eventually, by the one world ruler referred to as ‘antichrist’, ‘son of perdition’, etc.

These all represent world Gentile governments. Gentile governments will rule on earth until Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, the Stone cut out without hands, shall come and overthrow them, and He shall rule and reign on earth. One day all human governments will fall, and be crushed to powder, and blown away, like chaff in the wind (SEE v. 35). The kingdom of Jesus will fill the earth. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will come to Him.

There is a great significance with prophecy – this one especially – toward the governments of men. All man made governments will crumble and fall; yes, even democracy. It is a government of man that gives the people choice of who rules, but it is not the answer to the world’s problems.

“The reason we have democracy is because we don’t have righteous-rule monarchy. We need some kind of checks and balances, which is why our government is established as it is.” Dr. David Jeremiah THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL pg. 62.

Please do not take me wrong. I believe democracy is the best and fairest government man has ever devised, but it is still man’s government – not God’s . This is a quote from Professor Alexander Tyler which he wrote concerning the fall of the Athenian republic which fell over a thousand years ago. He said,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” IBID. pg. 62.

The statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows the gradual decline of man’s form of government. A head of gold makes it top heavy and proud. Each section of the statue progressively becomes of lesser value, and weaker. Finally, we get to the feet – ‘part of iron and part of clay’ – a weak foundation to say the least. NOTE: where the Stone strakes to tumble the statue.

The kingdoms of men will be ground to dust and blown away by the winds of the Spirit of God. God will set up an eternal kingdom; ruled by His Son Jesus. His rule will be a Theocracy – ruled by God Himself; forever and forever.

(From September 29, 2006)

 

The Power of Words

Words are like bullets; once fired off they cannot be recalled.  Once spoken you cannot call a word back.  We can say, “I’m sorry”, but that word still is there in the mind of the one it was spoken to.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  That is not true.  Yes!  We can shrug them off, and go on, but the hurt is still there.

It is so much more loving, merciful, kind, and Christ like to give a word of encouragement, thanks, or praise; then a bitter, angry, or destroying word.  The question is – Do we want to build? or Do we want to destroy?

Hear the wisdom of Proverbs…

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:10-21 (KJV)

Remember Jesus’s words in the sermon on the mount…

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

When we speak unloving, unkind, hateful words we speak death; not life.  See what Jesus says above “…Shall be  in danger of hell fire.”

Further thoughts…

Verses 10 – 11 – The LORD is the source of many to trust in.  He is whom many who have called on the name of the Lord for salvation have run to.  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions. An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 – You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17. Verse 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc. Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.

In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.

There is reward; or destruction in our use of words. They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

There is much said in Scripture of words, the mouth, the lips, the tongue.  It is with great joy I can tell you of the Living Word, and that is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as the God-Man, and gave His life to redeem you and me from our sins that we might live eternally.  Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved.