God Always Causes Us to Triumph in Christ

“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.  Now thanks unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.  For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”   2 Corinthians 2:12-17  (KJB)

References: 2 Corinthians 7:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 15:10; 1 Peter 2:7-8; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14

Love Does No Wrong to One’s Neighbor

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet;’ and if any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  Romans 13:8-14  (KJB)

References: Galations 3:27, 5:14; Exodus 20:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 5:14

Instruction for Pastors

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:27-35

The Prophet from Galilee…

…And much more than the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15).

“Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Of a truth this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Shall Christ come out of Galilee?’ Hath not the Scripture said, ‘That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’ So there was a division among the people because of Him.”  John 7:40-43  (KJB)

In my math I was taught 2 plus 2 equals 4.  I do not understand what people, when it comes Jesus Christ, cannot put two and two together.  All of these thoughts are correct.

Jesus was and is that Prophet.  Jesus did come from Galilee.  He is from the seed of David, and born in Bethlehem (Isaiah 11:1;  Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4).

Much of the division over Jesus Christ. even in 2019, is because many do not put it all together from Scripture.  Jesus is everything Scripture says.  He is in fact the central Character of Scripture.

Rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The Plough Man

I grew up on a farm.  A small farm by some’s reckoning; and large to others thinking.  It was mostly a Dairy farm, and we had beef cattle too for some of the time.  It still required plowing ground once in a while to sow Alfalfa hay, and certain others types of grass hay.

To plough [plow] in a straight line requires looking ahead.  If you look back, for whatever reason, you will end up with a crooked row.  Having said that let us look at our Bible text for today:

“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.’ And He said unto another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:57-62  (KJB)

For  the two men in the text, they wanted to follow Jesus, but they had other things to do.  The first would have had to wait for his father to die, then bury him. The second evidently had guests in his home, and saying their farewells would have taken much time away.

The lesson of the story, of these two men, and their desire to follow Jesus is this;  If you are going to follow Jesus, then follow Jesus, preach the kingdom of God – and that is Jesus – and do not look back.

Let me leave you with the commentary of John Gill on the “is not fit for the kingdom of God” closing of verse 62…

is not fit for the kingdom of God: that is, to preach the kingdom of God, as in Luk_9:60. He cannot serve God and mammon, his own interest, and the interest of Christ; he cannot rightly perform the work of the ministry, whilst his thoughts and time are taken up in the affairs of the world.” John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

Calming the Storm(s)

“And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, ‘Let us pass over unto the other side.’ And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, ‘Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'” Mark 4:35-41  (KJB)

Jesus calls on the disciples to go to the other side in a boat, with others with them.  He sleeps in the “hinder part” with perfect peace, and continues to sleep as a storm comes up and rages.  The Master completely at peace while the disciples rage with their own personal storm of fear.

There once was a boy, awakened by a horrendous thunderstorm.  He was very frightened by that storm, but remembered the words of Jesus, and spoke them to the storm.  Following the speaking of those words, “Peace, be still” that boy went back to sleep.

Jesus is the one who calms all the storms of life when we place them in His hands.

Let me give you a few words from F. B. Meyer on these verse…

“The stilling of the storm, Mar_4:35-41. They that bear Christ’s company must prepare for squalls. Yet, why should we fear, when the Master is on board, who can impress His commands on wind and sea-to the wind, Peace; to the sea, Be still! “The Lord on high is mightier than the waves of the sea.” A moment ago he was so weary as to sleep amid the storm, but at a word of appeal from those He loves, He shows Himself able to save to the uttermost.” from F. B. Meyer’s THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

Remember the One who was sleeping, getting the rest He needed, was also the One who would go to the cross, and face the greatest storm of His life, dying for the sins of the world; yours and mine; was buried, then three days later came out of that grave alive.  He lives forever more.  Call on His name.  Believe Him.

The Hidden Treasure

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
 Matthew 13:44-46  (KJB)

I have noticed many different conclusions concerning these two parables, and though I can see their ideas, encouragements, and strengths in them I do see something different.

First of all let us consider that Jesus, in this chapter of parables has identified the “Field” as the world (13:38).  It is also true of the seed sower, who is identified by Jesus as “The Son of Man”; and that is Jesus. So, here are my thoughts on these parables…

In the beginning the Liar [the father of lies] deceived Adam and Eve stealing from them the dominion of this world.  Jesus the Son of Man, Son of God, came to this world (the field), and “found” a treasure in the lives and souls of men; and having surrendered all that He had in glory went to the cross to redeem man unto God.

To Jesus we of earth are the treasure which He gave up His own life to purchase us unto Himself.  We are also His pearls; chosen and precious to Him.  His purchase of us makes us clean, and pure in the sight of Holy God.  We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).  The Hidden Treasure in the world, are those who have hearts to receive Him.

The Unknowing Prophet

“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we? For this Man doeth many miracles. If we let Him thus alone, all will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.’ And one of them, Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ‘Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put Him to death.
Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with His disciples.” John 11:45-54  (KJB)

I wonder sometimes how many times an unbelieving man or woman has made a prophetic statement, and not even realized that what they said was prophetic, and would come to pass?  The high priest, Caiaphas, was such a man.  His prophecy came as a hatred for Jesus and His followers, but it was fulfilled, and is still being fulfilled in every detail

Hear what F. B. Meyer says…

The friends of the family who had come to lament with them, were disposed toward Jesus and believed; but the mere spectators hastened with the news, to inflame the hatred of the Pharisees. The Romans dreaded the power acquired by permanent office, and often exchanged one high priest for another. Hence the expression, being high priest that year. By his vote Caiaphas may be said to have appointed and sacrificed his victim, who in that memorable year was to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. See Dan_9:24; Dan_9:27.
Caiaphas professed to fear that Jesus would presently gain such an ascendency over the people as to lead a revolt against Rome, which would cause a deluge of blood in which the whole nation would perish. Therefore he recommended that they should compass the death of Jesus. But, as the evangelist puts it, he spoke more widely and truly than he knew, because the death of Jesus is gathering into one the children of God who are scattered abroad-that is, the heathen who were living up to their light, as in Joh_10:16 -that of the twain He might make one new man.” F. B. Meyer THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today, and call on His name, and you will live eternally with Him.

The Kingdom of God

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’” Luke 16:14-17  (KJB)

Be blessed today reading God’s Holy Bible, His Word to us today; which shows the way to Himself, and to life eternal.

The Case of the Hypocrite Fig Tree

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’” Mark 11:20-2 (KJB)

Do you desire to accomplish great things for God?  Do you desire having power with God in prayer?  Do you desire to be able to move mountains, and cast them into the sea?  It could also be asked, “Do I desire to have power to deliver people from demon possession?”

Jesus was able to curse the fig tree, and the next day was a teaching moment for the disciples to learn; and for us too.  Why would Jesus curse the fig tree?  It was saying it had fruit when it did not.  It was a hypocrite fig tree. The leaves on the tree, even though it was not the season for figs; was declaring that it had figs.  It did not.  Thus Jesus cursed the tree, and it died.

Jesus’s words when they see the tree died away was “Have faith in God…”.  Jesus then proceeds to describe the power of faith in God for those who are forgiven, and forgiving.

Here is a thought for you.  The fruit of being forgiven is forgiving.  If you cannot forgive what someone has done to you; you have not experienced forgiveness.  Can we figure out the rest?

After Being Forgiven Much; and We Do Not Forgive

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’
” Matthew 18:21-35 (KJB)

Yes! A little bit of a lengthy parable.

As a man, and as all who will admit and confess to it we need forgiveness from our transgressions.  God has forgiven me more than I could ever repay.  How can I not forgive another who owes me very little?  Or owes me nothing?

Something we all need to think hard about if we ever want to be unforgiving toward another.

The Heart of the Righteous King

The Heart of the Righteous King –  Proverbs 16:10-15

In the United States of America we have no Monarchy.  We live in a Republic which is governed of the people, by the people and for the people.  I do believe, however, that seeing our leaders as under the same rules as a king would be sufficient to show us how a ruler should govern the people.
This surely is reference to the King of kings, and all are to pattern themselves after Him.

Verse 10 –  The godly ruler is one who represents God to the people; and should speak the “Divine sentences” “Oracles” of God.  Solomon’s wisdom was known and respected (1 Kings 3:28).  See Proverbs 20:28; and 28:15-16.

Verse 11 –  Though a monarch or any ruler is not mentioned in the verse it is certainly a decree that leaders/rulers are to operate function in business with the proper scales and weights.  Proverbs 11:1.

Verse 12 –  It is a moral tragedy for leaders to place their leadership; whether it be king or President; over the throne and sovereign power of God.  The throne of David, and every king of Israel was established due to the righteousness of the king.  Proverbs 25:5; 29:14; Isaiah 16:5.

Verse 13 –  Righteous words and lips should be the desire of kings and all leadership who lead people.  Proverbs 14:35;  22:11.  We must remember that what is in the heart will be manisfested through the lips and the life (Matthew 15:10-20).

Verse 14 –  John Gill from e-Sword:

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death,…. Or, “angels of death”, as the Targum. As the wrath of Ahasuerus was to Haman; when it is either discovered in the countenance of a king, or expressed by his words, or signified by a messenger; it sometimes has been immediate death to a person, and often as terrible as if a messenger brought the sentence of death; yea, it is as if one messenger after another was sent on such an errand, and therefore the word is in the plural number. How terrible is the wrath of the King of kings; and even to kings themselves, who are represented as flying to rocks and mountains to hide them from it! Rev_6:15;

but a wise man will pacify it; by a proper acknowledgment of the offence committed; or by a prudent representation of his case, or the case of his friends; by soft answers and strong arguments, as Jonathan pacified the wrath of King Saul his father against David. He is a wise man that believes in Christ, and pleads his propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of his sin, at the same time frankly acknowledging it.”

Verse 15 –  Just as the “wrath of the king” is as “Messengers of death” so is the “Light of the king’s countenance”… “Life”.

The “Latter rain” was the final rain fall before the harvest of the crops; and was the necessary rain for nourishing the harvest.  So the king’s favor would be like that rain.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Since God Be For Us

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Since God Is For Us

Romans 8:31-39

When you get to thinking about the goodness, grace and mercy of God, and you see things taught us in Scripture as, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8); and, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (5:10); would it not be perfectly fitting of God to do even more wondrous things for those who are no longer His enemies.

Things we can see which God has done for us, and gives us, and continues to do in and through us:

1.  Christ was given as our Substitute for sin; to freely give us all things; that is basically forgiveness. That is the most wondrous thing, along with the fellowship which we can have with the Father. We no longer have guilt, excusing us to flee from God’s presence, and we now have the presence of God within us who calls us to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness (vv. 31-32);
2.  There is no charge that can be brought against us. The only Ones who can bring any legitimate charge against us will not, because we have been cleansed and forgiven by them. When you forgive someone a debt owed to you by them; you are the one who paid the debt. That is actually what forgiveness is. Until a debt is paid; it is owed. God could charge us with sin, but instead He has justified us; Jesus could also, but He died for us, rising again, is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (vv. 33-34);
3.  There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Sin has been the source of all our separation from God; now sin has been dealt with in a death blow that is for all eternity; It is the love of Jesus Christ which is being spoke of in verse thirty five – in all these things mentioned they are rather sources of strength building rather than sources of separation and they are building blocks of our faith. We are at our Lord’s mercy, and for His glory (vv. 35-36);
4.  The term, “More than conquerors” is one that is sometimes heard in other places other than church and Christian atmosphere. It is heard on school campuses. It is heard in youth discussions; Come what may, let the devil beware we will stand. We must understand that we cannot overcome, we cannot be “Conquerors” in our strength – it is in the power, Spirit and glory of Jesus Christ that we conquer (v. 37);
5.  There are many things which Paul uses here to show us that there is nothing that can separate us from the “love of God…in Christ Jesus”; Notice if you will the first two – “Death nor life”; now death is separation of life from the body; but what is this doing here – especially ‘Life’? There are times we can let life get between us and God; however, if we are God’s that is not the end; “…angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (even yourself), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O, what a wonder and glory it is; this thing called grace, this privilege called grace; this merciful eternal act of God. None deserve it. Few receive it. All who receive it will glorify Jesus. “Since God be for us, who can be against us”? No not one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled

The Fulfilling Of The Law

Romans 3:21-31

OUTLINE –

I. ALL WHO BELIEVE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH (vv. 21-26).

II. THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN ONE IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

III. THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

IV. THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31)

There are a few words in these eleven verses that are very important Biblical terms. Righteousness, faith, justified, redemption, grace, propitiation, remission. They are all favorable toward the sinner.

These are more than just words. They are a description of God and His love for humankind. Righteousness describes God and His requirements of pure worship. Faith is the only thing a person can do to be declared righteous by God; and God gives the faith too (Eph 2:8-9). Justification [justified] is God’s declaration to the repentant believing sinner that he is righteous. God declares the believer righteous because of faith: he believes God. Justification; the word justified may be easily remembered as God making me “Just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. Redemption is a term related to slave auctions where the purchaser pays the agreed price to set the slave free. The only adequate price to be paid for the slave of sin was/is the death of Jesus on the cross; because the law commands death for sin. Grace of course is God’s unmerited favor toward sinners. Sinners are undeserving of grace. God in His love grants it to all who believe. Propitiation is a word sometimes hared to pronounce, but it is a beautiful word. It describes the work [sacrifice] of Jesus on the cross. It describes the hatred of God for sin, yet the depths He is willing to reach to redeem fallen man. Jesus was our propitiate. He lovingly, and willingly went to the cross to be the sacrifice for our sin. Not only was Jesus the sacrifice, but He was “Made…to be sin for us…” (2 Cor. 5:21). All God’s hatred for sin was poured out upon the sinless Son of God who was now ‘made to be sin for us’.

“In this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note on 2:25; page 1698.

In pagan worship it is the worshipper who must appease the wrath of their offended deity. The only way sinful man can appease the wrath of God is by spending eternity in Hell. The final word is Remission which means forgiveness. God accepted, for the forgiveness of sin; the sacrifices of blood that were offered in faith until the true sacrifice for sin would die for sin. The sacrifice for all sin is paid in full. There is no more sacrifice for sin. God’s forgiveness is available for all who will repent and believe in Jesus.

ALL WHO BELIEVE ARE DECLARED BY GOD TO BE RIGHTEOUS (vv. 21-26).

The ‘righteousness’ unobtainable by the law is revealed by the faith in Jesus Christ. This same righteousness of God is witnessed to by the written revelation of God in the law and the messages of the prophets.

This righteousness is for all who will believe and trust only Jesus for it. The previous verses of chapter 1:18 – 3:20 plainly tell us who is righteous. NONE!!! Now we see that God’s righteousness is available for all – that is the pagan, the moral pagan, the immoral pagan, the moral religious, the immoral religious, the religious; the Jew, moral and immoral. All are included in God’s invitation to His righteousness.

“There is no difference” in the Gentile and the Jew – “For all have sinned and come short” – miss the mark – “of the glory of God”. The glory of God is the place where God desires for us to be . A man just as well try to pick up an automobile and throw it to China from the east coast of the United States of America, as to try to gain God’s favor by keeping the law. We fall short; we miss God’s ‘bull’s eye’.

“Being justified” means being declared righteous by God. It is far superior to be declared righteous by God Himself, than for me to declare myself righteous. God’s declaration is true. Mine only a vain attempt. We might make note of the word “freely”. This wonderful justification is free to us. But that is because God already paid the price. His ‘grace’ – the undeserved favor of God – is the reason it is free. The ‘redemption’ price for our freedom from sin, and its penalty and bondage was paid by God’s Son, Jesus Christ as He willingly laid His life down for our sins.

In truth Jesus became the very object of God’s wrath. On the cross Jesus became sin; my sin and yours. We could not endure God’s wrath because we would only die and spend eternity in Hell. The law commands death for sin. Jesus had no sin, but took the wrath that was ours. Since He had no sin, but bore our sins God struck Him (“…stricken, smitten of God…” Isaiah 53:4), He died – sin was condemned (Rom 8:3), by the flesh of a sinless. The law did require death for sin – He died. YES! He died, but rose again conquering the power of sin and as evidence of who He is (Rom 1:4).

Through the sacrifice [propitiation] of Jesus God declares us righteous; He forgives our sin; and justifies all who believe in Jesus.

THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN SINNERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

Human beings love to boast of their accomplishments and things which they achieve.

There are many things in which the human ego can be boosted. There is one area however in which there is no room to boast. That is our worship. We fall far short. We have everyone, turned from the true way to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). When we try to worship God in our own way it is evident we have turned from God.

Since true righteousness is a gift from God we have nothing in which to boast; except in the grace of God. We ought to boast loudly and clearly of the goodness, mercy and grace of God who loved His enemies so much He would sacrifice His holy Son to reconcile us to Himself. That is someone in whom to boast.

If anyone could obey the law he would have much to boast about, and would deserve the praise of God; but only God deserves the praise of God (Ps. 110:1), thus God became flesh – “the Word became flesh”. By faith in the work of Jesus Christ – the Word (John 1:1-5, 14) – on the cross we are saved (delivered from the penalty of the demands of God’s law). There is therefore no room for boasting because someone else paid our debt of sin. That Person has the praise of God – He kept; He fulfilled the whole law – and gives to all who believe eternal life.

Reading the book of Romans was the thing that pointed Martin Luther to Christ. He was a catholic priest in Germany, and felt something was missing in his religion. The liturgies, rosary, indulgences, confession, etc.; the whole ritual scheme left him empty. While reading Romans he read 1:17, “The just shall live by faith”. He read 3:28, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”. In his translation he wrote, “by faith alone…” which is a proper interpretation. To add anything to faith is to nullify faith.

Remember ‘justification’ is the act of God by which He declares the believing sinner righteous. It is the act and declaration of God; not of any man. It is received by faith and God alone is the giver of faith.

THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

Just as all mankind is condemned in the law by sin, so too, all who are justified (declared righteous by God) are so by faith.

Te color of one’s skin, their culture, their morality (Moral or immoral), their religion, etc. does not negate the fact of one God who justifies all who believe.

God is not only the God of the Jews, but the God of all – believing and unbelieving – people. He is the God of the Jew and the Gentile whether He is recognized by them or not.

Faith in Jesus Christ and His death for the atoning of sin; His burial for the carrying away of sins dominion; the resurrection of His body from the grave as the evidence of the conquering of sins power, and proof of His deity and Son-ship; and His return [a promise of God yet to be] to totally redeem all who have believed Him and to put an end to sin, and to reign in the hearts and lives of men on earth for all eternity: is the only way of salvation for all mankind. Any who add anything to faith or take away from faith teach a false gospel.

THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31).

Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.

In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ.

In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation

Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law to me.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Always, Up to Date

“For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:6 (KJB)

Old, outdated, and antiquated are words we might hear from some older people about the Bible.  We would probably hear it more from the mouths of the young, liberally “educated” college student.

The kings of Judah and Israel before Hezekiah were probably thinking they needed to be more “Up to date”, and trying to fit in with nations around them.  After all the Law of Moses, and the commandments were hundreds of years old.  They were written for the wilderness wanderers.  What does that word have to do with me today; or the people I lead?

Israel had fallen. They had been taken captive into Assyria.  It was because they had forsaken GOD, and His commandments (18:11-12).  So how does this coincide with people of 2018, and days and years to come?

My answer to that is this:  If it was good enough for Moses, Joshua, and Hezekiah; Hezekiah after hundreds of year; then it is good enough for me.  Let me get one thing straight though.  It is certain that not one of us can be saved by keeping of the Law of God.  The Law was given to show us our weaknesses.  It is solely by the grace of God that we can be in the presence of God, approaching His throne, and truly worshiping Him.

The word of God, the Law of God is as up to date as next weeks Newspaper, television News broadcast, and it is as up to date as next years Person of the Year publication of Time Magazine. The word of God is still like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

For Hezekiah, king of Judah loving GOD, and keeping His commandments was not a duty.  He loved GOD, he loved GOD’S word, and he lived accordingly.  Was Hezekiah perfect?  No!  He too was dependent upon the grace of GOD.

The full grace of GOD was displayed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross hundreds of years later (over 600 years), and Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave.  It may have been around 2000 plus years ago; but He is still the only One who can save.

Old, Outdated, Antiquated?  Maybe we are the ones who have been outdated…  Something to think about.

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.

A Tall Order

Shiloah Baptist Church

The Scripture reading for today is 1 Kings 4 – 6…

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, ‘Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.'” 1 Kings 6:11-13 (KJB)

In our text Solomon and the people were in a large building campaign of building the Temple which had been in King David’s heart to build.  It was not a commandment from God. You see nowhere where David or Solomon are given the design of it from God.  It was David’s design.  God allows its building because it was in David’s heart to always honor the LORD in…

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Blessed By The Presence

“And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.” 2 Samuel 6:11 (KJB)

When God is present in an individual’s life that individual is blessed by God.  When that person is blessed by God their whole family is also blessed by Him.

The ark of the covenant was the presence of God as Israel journeyed through the wilderness for forty years.  Is still, during David’s reign, as David conquers Jerusalem, and calls it the “City of David”.

I do not know about you but I enjoy, appreciated, and I am thankful everyday for the blessings of God.  What we must love though is not the blessings, but the Blesser.

Kind David, in a hurry, decided to move the ark to Jerusalem, and did not seek out the proper mode of transportation.  He chose rather to move it the same way it was moved the last time it was moved; and that was the Philistine way – on a cart pulled by cows (1 Samuel 6:4-12).  God’s people must always seek to do things in God’s prescribed order.  Because of David’s grave error Uzzah died.

Until David discovered the God-way of moving the ark Obed-Edom and his family were greatly blessed by God’s presence.

The ark is a material object made of wood and gold, with the mercy seat resting atop it made of solid gold.  The wood represents the perfect, sinless, guiltless man, and the gold is a picture of His Deity.  It is an Old Testament picture or type of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And HIs presence among His people.

When Jesus came and gave Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world, paying our sin debt to God, He has made it possible for Adamkind to be in the very presence of God, and He with us.  Every moment of every day He is present with us.

Be blessed by the presence of God in your life through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is God the Son.

That all the Earth May Know

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading for this Resurrection Sunday is 1 Samuel 17 – 19…

“…That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:46 (KJB)

This is the story of David and his defeat  of the Philistine giant Goliath who was defying the army of God – Israel – thus defying God Himself.  David loved God.  God especially loved David.

David was determined that Goliath was as good as dead, with no head.  He was especially determined that “All the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”  David’s faith is inspiring, and gives us courage to face whatever lies ahead.  Unlike King Saul who sat in his tent shaking in his sandals.

Something everyone needs to understand about faith is is that faith is not believing something so strongly  that we make it so; it is believing that what God says and directs us…

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The Chastening of the LORD

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 1 – 3…

“And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”  Judges 3:4  (KJB)

How the enemy gets his foot in our door, and into the house is evident from the reading of the morning.

It begins in an unbelieving heart; not believing what God has said, not practicing what He says, and teaching of the children is neglected (Judges 2:10); for they did not know the LORD.

These [children] not only neglected to rid the land and cities they had conquered of their evil inhabitants, but began practicing their evil religion and worshiped the false gods of the land.  It is a good thing to know that God will work in and with His children in disciplining them to get them where He desires…

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The Shepherd, His Sheep, and His Leadership

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:1-2 (KJV)

I have never had any thing to do with sheep.  I am so ignorant of sheep, that I must rely upon what I have read by written by others and what I can see in fields that I pass occasionally. Sheep need a shepherd to care for them.  People are likened to sheep in Scripture at times. In this first verse of the best known Psalm David says, “The LORD is my shepherd…” so he is likening himself to a sheep.

By the second verse we can see two different things.  They need a shepherd to lead them to pasture to eat.  It has been said that sheep will eat grass down to the dirt, and practically kill it off, if they are not moved to green pasture.  If you will read the gospel account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men, not counting women and children (Matthew 14:15-21) you will read in verse 19 that the narrative reads, “And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass…”; the gospel of Mark even says “upon the green grass” (Mark 6:39) and John simply says, “Now there was much grass in the place” (John 6:10). You talk of a shepherd leading the sheep to green pastures; Jesus is the Shepherd.  He gives His sheep plenty to eat, and then He gives us plenty of good clean water to drink.

The sustenance of the Lord is bountiful.  It is said that sheep are afraid of moving water, so the shepherd leads them to smooth, still water; not stagnant, that would make them sick, but still, smooth, fresh, and clean water. For refreshment, and the nourishment their bodies need.  If a sheep needs to cross the water the shepherd will lead them to still water for crossing as well, where it is shallow enough as to not soak up in their fleece as to load them down and drown them.

The LORD is the Lamb of God laid down His life for me.  He is my Shepherd too; who leads me to green pastures and I can lie down in them comfortably, and have food for the day; then, He leads me to the right place for a refreshing drink and for the purpose of life.

The Shepherd is the Lamb.  He is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the world.  Jesus Christ is the Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. He gave His life for His sheep on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  You can trust the Shepherd to provide what you need.

What Have You Said to the LORD Today?

Preserve me, O God: for in You do I put my trust. O my soul, you have said unto the LORD, You are my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to You; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.”  Psalm 16:1-3 (KJV)

Of this sixteenth Psalm and its title – “Michtam of David” the Matthew Henry Commentary states…

“This psalm is entitled Michtam, which some translate a golden psalm, a very precious one, more to be valued by us than gold, yea, than much fine gold, because it speaks so plainly of Christ and his resurrection, who is the true treasure hidden in the field of the Old Testament.”

The Psalms, to me, are all golden and worthy to be called precious, and more valuable than gold.  So, also, the whole of the Bible.

One of the things the Psalmist is stating is that if we has Adamkind have any goodness it is nothing near the goodness of the LORD who is God.  His goodness is worthy of our note.  There is no goodness equal to the goodness of the Almighty.

None of even all the saints of God in the earth is equal to His goodness.  God the Lord Adonay is worthy of worship,  honor, glory, and praise.  It all belongs to Him.

To know God you can come to Him through His Son Jesus who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose from the grave, and because He lives we have eternal life through Him.

Glad and Rejoicing in GOD

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Your marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You: I will sing praise to Your name, O You Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2 (KJV)

When one praises the LORD with the whole heart; with the life, in words, actions, devotion, commitment, and love; then, there will also be gladness and rejoicing.

When we praise Him, we see Him for who He says He is, and we recognize Him to be.  He is our Creator, He is our Sustainer, He is our Great Physician, He is our Advocate with the Father, He is our very bestest Friend, He is our Savior, King, and Lord;  just to give a few.  The next time you approach the LORD in prayer begin with words of praise, then Thanksgiving, then request, and end the prayer by again recognizing who He is.  This is very much the same way Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:8-13.

Let the people of God everywhere praise the LORD.  He is worthy of praise.  And when we praise Him with a sincere heart of  we will sing praises to His name.  To the name of the Most High GOD.

Be glad and rejoice in the LORD who is the Most High.

What the Kings of the Earth Say

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2:2-3 (KJV)

I have been sharing these posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google.  My prayer is that you will read them.  You are also welcome to leave a comment or question or even a kind critique of my writing or need for improvement.  I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will educate you in His word, and convict you of your sins and your need for a Savior, that Jesus Christ is the only Savior for Adamkind [mankind].

Some of you received this without any exposition of the text, and I fully intended to come back to it and complete it.  I also pray that you have come back to it to check it out further.

Who are these “Kings of the earth”? They are the rulers who were alive at the time of this writing of the Psalms, and all the kings of the earth that have existed since time began, and exist in 2018.  It does not take much discernment, at least for a Christian, to see that the earth and the leadership of nations are against the teachings of Christ, His being the Son of God, and God the Son in particular, to realize that they, and without realizing it are the enemy of the Son of God, Christ followers, and Biblical Christianity; they are against God.  They are in rebellion against God and godliness because they are of their father, the devil who is Satan.

Many a world leader would rather be at peace with the rebellious Philistines than to be at peace with God and His word, and His people.

To be against His Anointed is to be against God’s Christ who is Jesus Christ. To be against Christ is to be against those who are His, and that is the Body of Christ the Church.  There is still much rebellion against God in our world.

Stop being against Him.  He has died to redeem all those who will call on His name in repentance of sin, and turning to Him in faith.

One Day it Will be Said, “Your Judgment Has Come”

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)

I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular.  I do not share them to draw a crowd.  I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word.  As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.

As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.

The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.

Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.

The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).

It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.

There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  See Daniel 2:44-45.  Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom.  His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross.  Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.

A Great and Marvelous Sign

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)

There is a phrase used several times throughout the Revelation which becomes quite obvious after a while. It is the phrase “Inhabitants of earth”. The fullness of God’s wrath is in view upon this group, therefore it is fitting for all who will call upon the Lord, to do so before that day comes, do so by trusting exclusively in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, believing that He died, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave, that He ascended unto the Father, and that He is coming again.

Since we have been in an interlude, the Scriptures have three different times which  take us to the brink of the destruction of wickedness in chapters 11, 14, and will again in 16 only to stop and fill in some details until chapter 19 where it happens.

John is shown seven angels, probably different from the others, “Having seven last plagues”. “Last plagues” seem to certainly indicate these events will precede the coming of Jesus in power and glory. In these plagues is the bringing to completion of God’s wrath upon wickedness on the earth.

These “That had gotten victory over the beast…” are probably those who refused the mark, and all the things of the beast, and died by his hand. They are alive.

The “Sea of glass mingled with fire” certainly implies a persecuted people by the trials and fires of the Great Tribulation. There is another “Sea of glass”, but without fire in 4:6.

These, like the 144,000, sing a song. This song is clearly called “the song of Moses”. I mentioned in the previous chapter the possibility that the 144,000 sing the song of Moses from Exodus 15. These in this chapter, most likely, would fit in singing the “Song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32. The 144,000 being delivered physically would fit Exodus 15, while these of our present chapter of Revelation, being delivered by death would be in accord with Deuteronomy 32 because it is a song of God’s vengeance on the wicked persecutors. The “Song of the Lamb” is a song of grace, apart from which no one can be saved. As the Lamb, it speaks of His blood sacrifice; “Without shedding of [His] blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).

The Lamb of God is worthy of our worship and one day every tribe, and tongue and nation will worship Him. All shall see that He is holy in His judgments, He is righteous in all His assessments. All the earth shall bow at His feet and call Him “Lord”.

I am going to let John Walvoord describe this scene…

“Another vision now introduced by John as a later development constitutes the immediate introduction of the judgments represented in the vials. Our attention is arrested by the phrase ‘I looked and, behold.” This expression always introduces something dramatically new. As John observes, the Holy of Holies in the heavenly Tabernacle is opened. The expression ‘the temple’ (Gr., naos) refers to the inner holy place of the Tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The expression ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ is a reference to the whole tentlike structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. It is described as ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ because of the presence of the tables of stone containing the ten commandments which were placed in the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies (cf. Exodus 32:15; Acts 7:44) and is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pg. 229 (1966).

It seems quite obvious that this “Temple” is not the Church. It is actually the temple from which God gave the design to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness.

John describes these angels as coming out of the temple. It almost seems to be a quiet, hushed, reverent procession.

These angels are clothed in white. These are angels of God. The white represents the righteous character of Holy God, and the justness of His wrath which is about to proceed from the heavenly throne. The golden girdle speaks of justice and righteousness of His wrath. The truth is bound in this golden girdle.

Each of the seven angels holds in their hands one vial of judgment, which seems to be given to them after they proceed out of the temple. God in His holiness will be glorified.

There is never a wrong time to praise and worship the Lord and to thank Him for His mercy and grace.  Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb always have a song in the heart. Fill your heart and life with Christ Jesus.  Receive His gift of grace paid on the cross for the redemption of the world.

The Faces No One Wants to See

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. Revelation 9:7-12 (KJV)

Now we are given a more complete description of these locusts creatures. A demon horde; the most vile and hideous of creatures; whose main purpose is to steal, kill, and to destroy all of humanity.

When this “Woe” takes place on the earth it may be possible that wicked men will not even see their tormentors.

John’s description of them is horrendous. Sometimes demons can manifest themselves as beautiful beings, but when we see them in the light of God’s Word and eternity they are the most hideous and deceitful of beings.

As also stated in verses 5 and 10 they are only given a period of five months in which to inflict their agony. There is no reason to try and make something more of the months than is indicated. It is probably a literal five-month period.

“Five months is the ordinary time in the year during which locusts commit their ravages” (HENRY ALFORD as copied from The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Walvoord pg. 161).

These demon creatures have a king of sorts. This is probably the one to whom “Was given the key of the bottomless pit” or the other name is “Abyss”. A demon while speaking to Jesus mentioned this place (Luke 8:31).

The name of this king is given in Hebrew and Greek. “Abaddon” is the Hebrew, and “Apollyon” the Greek. Both names mean “Destroyer” and Satan is known as the destroyer. SEE John 10:10. So the one who was given the key to the pit and the king of the demon realm is probably one and the same, Satan, the Destroyer.

Verse 12 announces the end of the first woe. The enemy of all mankind is given a free hand with some limitations that clearly show us that the God of Heaven and all creation is in complete control. Remember “Woe” is great calamity, and what a calamity it will be when the demons of hell are unleashed on a God-hating people.

There are some people who have trouble believing a loving God could allow such to take place. It is because of His love, mixed with His holiness and righteousness that this does happen. In His love, He has chosen a people by His grace. In His holiness and righteousness, He judges the unrepentant to declare and manifest that there is a holy race of people. All those are redeemed through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross, for the atonement of man’s sins.

Inhabitants of the Earth, and Two Seals

And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:9-17 (KJV)

The Lamb opens the fifth seal to reveal “Souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held”.

There have been Christian martyrs ever since the near beginning of the Church. These are a different set of martyrs unless of course, you see this as merely historical, and that, in my opinion, does not fit with the rest of scripture. Who, then, are these martyrs mentioned in verses 9-11?

The Church is in Heaven praising and worshipping God around the throne as seen in the twenty-four elders. Whereas, man has been allowed (after the translation of the Church), by the coming of the rider on the white horse, to have his way on the earth to the point of destroying the human race; these martyrs are those who opposed him and died for the faith believing God’s Word and bearing testimony to that affect.. These martyrs are people who believe God and reject the rule of the “man of sin”, or “son of perdition”.

The cry of those who were slain is their cry for justice upon the unrighteous. These, are at this time without resurrection bodies. Yet, it is said, “White robes were given unto every one of them” (v. 10). It is not known how a spirit can support a robe, but they do seem to have some type of body. They are waiting to receive their resurrection bodies at the last part of “The first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-6). (EXPLANATION: The first resurrection began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and those who came out of their graves (Matthew 27:52-53); it continues with the translation [rapture] of the believers, dead and living (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), before the time of judgment begins in Revelation six. The first resurrection ends when all those who died because of faith during the judgment will be raptured and given resurrection bodies.) These martyrs are told they must wait until all who will die for the faith have died.

The sixth and final seal of chapter six is opened by the Lamb and now begins the intervention of the divine judgment. The Lamb of God “Slain from the foundation of the world” is now wreaking judgment upon a God-hating, Christ rejecting world. As far as a time frame on this there is no certainty, but let me lay out a small outline of a proposed time. The first four horses and horsemen would represent the first three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:24-27). The fifth horse and horseman would be at the end of this three and one-half years, partly due to the “prince” of Daniel breaking the covenant, and causing the death of all who believe in Jesus Christ. The sixth seal would then begin the latter half of the three and one-half years, with the seventh seal continuing the judgment upon the earth, and the “Inhabiters of the earth” (8:13 & 12:12). The “Inhabiters of the earth” are those whose heart is on the things of earth, rather than God and His Christ.

Earthquakes are not in the power of man, nor are the other celestial bodies in the realm of human control. The earthquake is probably one so violent the whole world shakes. Every living thing feels the shaking, heaving and volcanic eruptions which take place.

The sun is darkened. There appears to be no reason to see these as symbols of something else. It is simply divine judgment upon mankind. The moon turns as red as blood. Stars fall to the earth. We have meteor showers all the time, but this will be a spectacle of catastrophic proportions, such as never seen before, nor, will be again. Not only is the earth shaken, but it seems the entire solar system is shaken. Only the divine could accomplish that. Hebrews 12:25-29 could be a reminder and warning to God’s people of what is truly important. The Almighty God is doing this in order to build an unshakable kingdom.

When faced with this divine judgment the people of earth flee from God. Notice there is no economic, social or religious group which receives special favor among the unrighteous. Each is equal before the judgment of God. Many times today, when we face divine judgment we flee to God – at least that is the heart of a child of God. Because of the hardness of heart by sin, these flee from God and cry out for death rather than to face holiness. They cannot hide. Even in death, they will face their Creator and His eternal judgment.

From whom are they fleeing? From the Lamb and His wrath. The gentle, meek, bloodless (because He shed His for us), Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.

For those of you who believe that God is only love, and would never consign anyone to eternal judgment, you have never read the Revelation or either have chosen not to believe it. The Revelation makes it quite clear that the One who died for our sins will also severely judge those who reject His gift of eternal life.

Who shall stand in the great day of His wrath? Only the redeemed of the Lord.

BEHOLD. The wrath of the Lamb on the inhabitants of the earth.

Know That I Have Loved You

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:7-13 (KJV)

In verses 7 – 13 I want us to see Jesus revealed in His glory as sovereign, and ruling in His Church, determining when and where His Church and people are to minister and preach the gospel of grace, and the whole counsel of God.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;”

The city of Philadelphia is approximately 28 miles Southeast of Sardis. The name means “Love of the brethren” or “Brotherly love”.

The main religion of Philadelphia was the worship of Dyonisus. To a certain extent the city was known as “The keeper of the gateway to the plateau” W. M. Ramsay THE LETTERS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA, pp. 404-405. This city was also earthquake prone and destroyed and rebuilt.

Now, we see how Jesus identified Himself to this local assembly. Holy is the first. To declare Himself as that which is holy He declares Himself as God – He is. He is holy in His character. He is holy in His judgment. He is holy in His actions, words, and purposes.

He also is identified as “He that is true”. He is not a copy, but the original. Because He is true He can be trusted with history, the present, the future of our lives. He can be trusted to bring about that which we have entrusted to His care (2 Timothy 1:12).

There is little reference back to His characteristics revealed in chapter one. In verse eighteen of chapter one Jesus describes Himself as having the “Keys of hell and of death”. The “Key of David” is a reference to Isaiah 22:22. Surely Jesus is saying that great missionary efforts can only come about because He opens the door. They cease when He closes the door, thus, He is the One who holds the key [has the authority]. From around 1700 A.D. even to the present we as the Church have enjoyed an open door of evangelism. It appears that this door will remain open for mission work until Jesus comes to take His Bride home. No man can open or shut these doors, only Jesus does. While the doors are open we must take advantage of it. Jesus could come at any moment for His Church.

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

The “I know” is nowhere near one of condemnation.

This church was weak, but possibly only in number, finances, or of little power to influence society because of sin and so called “Openmindedness” toward all religions. This weakness mentioned is not mentioned as a rebuke. It is mentioned more as a reminder of their need [our need] of His strength.

What is good about this church? They have an “Open door” for evangelism and missions. They have kept the Word – obediently. They have been faithful to His name despite the persecution they have gone through. “Open door” may also be a reference to readiness to receive the Word of God. Could be both evangelism and the Word.

It is a great blessing to have God open the doors in order that we might tell many who are condemned in and by sin of the wonderfu, marvelous grace of God.

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”

The “Synagogue of Satan” can refer back to the letter to Smyrna chapter two verse nine.

Satan often uses religious people to try and stop the work of our Lord. The Jews have long worked against Christianity and the ministry of Jesus. Ever since Jesus ministry began they have sought to destroy Him. They have done so unwittingly and are the “Synagogue of Satan”. This is not an anti-semitic statement. They, as a nation, are a reprobate nation, lost and condemned until they receive Jesus as their Messiah. God is still working to bring the Jew to Himself. This work is in the person of Jesus Christ.

There are times when those who oppose the Church most vehemently will be the ones who trust the Lord best. Take, for example, the apostle Paul, who was Saul, who set out to destroy these Christ followers, and ended up one when he met the Christ face to face.

There will come a time when even the whole nation of Israel will know Jesus (Romans 11:25-26). They will recognize God’s institution of the Church as the instrument used in reaching the world for Jesus with the gospel and of glorifying God.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

In their faithfulness to Christ and His Word they receive a promise of deliverance “From the hour of temptation…” This may very well be speaking of a specific time which has yet to take place. Of course, it had some significance for the church of Philadelphia, a promise for them to be kept from a certain “Temptation”. Keep in mind that these seven churches represent the whole Church throughout the Church age, but we could also see that each church represents separate times during this age. I have not made, nor did I intend to make, a case for each church representing a period of time during the Church age. This church of Philadelphia could be seen as the church which would see the rapture of the church.

This “Temptation” mentioned in the paragraph above could be what Jeremiah the prophet called “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). A time of judgment on the Jewish nation, because of their rejection of Jesus. It would be their final judgment when the nation is brought to faith in Messiah Jesus.

There would be no purpose for the Church which has kept His Word and been faithful to go through the sorrow of trial that is meant for the purification of Israel and the judgment of unbelievers. In order for chaos to have the “Upper hand” the people who are possessed by God’s Spirit will be delivered. The Scripture says, ” God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Something needs saying here; Paul is speaking to Christians who have already been saved from their sin. The verse would, at least to me, be quite clearly speaking of a future wrath of judgment on the world, from which the Christian Church is to be delivered.

It is fairly clear that the “Open door” age and the “Lukewarm” age overlap one another. We, today, are living in the greatest age of human history. The Lord has opened doors for gospel preaching in places all over the world, but for how long? While some are hot in evangelism and loving Jesus others are wrapped up in comfortable, dead formalism, more concerned with “Artificial unity” than true unity, pushing social programs, and political proponents, and moral laws, rather than the gospel which has the power to change hearts from immorality to moral living without a law demanding it.

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

There are a lot of Christians who are questioning the imminent return of Christ. He says here, “Behold, I come quickly…” He is not speaking of minutes or seconds. He is speaking more of suddenness. “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40). He is coming suddenly to take His Bride home with Him. That is called the “Rapture”. NO! The word is not mentioned in Scripture, but the principle is, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:16-17). This is certainly speaking of a “Catching away”.

Jesus speaks also of a crown. These crowns have nothing to do with salvation. They are rewards for a life of faithfulness to our Lord. There are five crowns mentioned in God’s Word. The Crown of Life (James 1:12); The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); The Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20); The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:5-8); and the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Jesus says, “Hold on to these rewards, don’t let anyone take them from you”. Envy or jealousy can rob us of these rewards. It is called yielding to “Peer pressure”. “Hold fast” means make them your own – protect them at all cost. No material blessing is worth your life. Eternal blessings are…

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

Sometimes in this city of earthquakes, the only thing left standing was marble pillars of the temples which had been built for varied purposes.

Since all of Heaven is the temple of God every overcomer will be identified as one who stood when everything around them fell, cracked and was destroyed.

“Go no more out” is speaking of seeking shelter outside the city when it was falling. In God’s city, the New Jerusalem, none will ever have to flee.

In this new city, the overcomers will also have a new name. In ancient cities, they often put the names of important people upon the pillars which supported a building. These overcomers will stand forever with the new name which has been given them by Jesus Himself.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Once again a call for every individual to hear the Spirit, and what He says to the churches. Hear the call of the Holy Spirit and you hear the call of God.

In conclusion, He gives the Church an “Open Door” which He alone can open, and He alone can shut. He is the One who through the Holy Spirit makes Himself known (v. 9) in and through His Church

He is Unchanging and Glorious

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:4-8

In this article, we see words of encouragement through the reminder that God is immutable – unchanging. The whole of the Revelation is for the encouragement of believers of all ages. To the Christians who are enduring trial, and persecutions in our day it is truly encouraging to know that God is unchanging, and is the true source of courage, hope, and ultimate fulfillment of His promises.

Is there anything in life which we can count on? Clothing fashions change from day to day. The economy flourishes or we suffer depression, or somewhere in between. People’s attitudes change, about situations and other people. Even the planet earth on which we live is unstable. Think of the hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes – you get the picture.

We can trust in the immutability of God. He never changes. Since He never changes His laws are still the same, His expections of His people are still the same as they have always been, and His character is flawless, so He is fully trustworthy. We may not be able to trust kings and leaders of our state and community, and even of our churches, at times, but we can have the utmost confidence and trust in the One who never changes. The Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace has always been abundant. His peace one of the greatest of experiences. Apart from His unchangingness these would be flippant and He would be just as untrustworthy as the word of a liar.

According to verse 4, the Revelation is written “To the seven churches which are in Asia.” This does not mean that there were only seven churches in Asia. It is probably symbolic and representative of the total Church. Not only for John’s age, but for all ages to come. That is not to take away from the Revelation’s immediate message and intent.

John’s salutation is similar to that of the apostle Paul’s. Both of these men realized the importance of “Grace” and “Peace”. “Grace” being the ‘unmerited’ or ‘undeserved’ favor of God, and without which, we would all be eternally condemned. “Peace” being made clean before God, without guilt or condemnation. Grace is our standing or position before God. Peace is our experience with God.
“Which is,… which was, and which is to come” reveals to us the eternalness of God. These words are written again in verse eight, chapter 4; 11:17; and in 16:5. There could be no grace or peace if God is not eternal or unchanging [immutable]. If God changed with every generation, fad, or grievance of people He would be even less dependable than our fellowman.

It is because of His immutability that He is able to save us (Hebrews 7:24-25). In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses to tell the people, “I Am hath sent me unto you”. This name means, “Self-Existent One”. If He is Self-Existent He needs nothing to sustain Him, therefore, He is unchanging. He is, He was, and He always will be God.

“Seven Spirits” has been a troubling statement to some. When we think of the number seven (7) in the symbolic way which John meant, we can only come to the conclusion of fulness, completion. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is certainly in the giving of this Revelation of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit before the throne. If He is before the throne, and He abides in us, then, where are we who are in Christ Jesus?

In verses five and six we find Jesus revealed as a Prophet [“Faithful witness”], Priest [“First begotten of the dead”], and King [“The prince of the kings of the earth”].

As the Prophet He called people to the Father by His words and by His life. The prophet is hated while he lives and calls people to righteousness, thus, Jesus was crucified. He became Priest by His death, burial and resurrection. He became Priest, “After the power of an endless life ” (Hebrews 7:16). “The first begotten of the dead” has more to do with His power and position than His being the first to rise from death. However, He was the first to have “…the power of an endless life”. By His death and resurrection He became our High Priest. This High Priest is truly a priest. He has been “Touched with the fellings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). A priest is one who approaches God on behalf of men and communicates to man on God’s behalf. Certainly, this is Jesus. He is King by His power over kings and Nations. He rules supremely. Here the word is “Prince”. The prince is one who will be king. but has not began his position of rule and authority. With Jesus this is by choice of His Father, until His set time.

This is the One who loved us, and loves us, washed us and loosed us from the slavery of sin by shedding His own blood. He gave His life. He took the condemnation that was mine and yours. By doing this for us He has made us “…a kingdom of priests unto God”, or “Kings and priests”. The Scriptures are full of doxologies unto God. Is it any wonder? When we truly begin to see God in His glory how can we be silent any longer. He is glory. He is worthy of blessing, power and dominion forever. SO BE IT.

Verse seven has Him coming in power and great glory. This event takes place chronologically in Revelation 19:11-21. This event follows the Rapture of the Church by at least seven years.
When Jesus comes for the Church no one will see Him. He is coming then as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4). People will be snatched from their homes, cars, places of employment and chaos will prevail upon the earth.

In this verse “Every eye shall see Him” and they will mourn and weep over His appearance. They will even cry out to the rocks and hills to fall on them (6:16; Hosea 10:8). “They also which pierced him: “, then, would refer to the people who condemned Jesus to die. That, of course, being the Jewish nation, and they will believe in Him; “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27 (KJV).

John’s response to this may seem; to some anyway;  cold and heartless, but he says “A-MEN” out of anticipation and exhilaration, and faith that the Lord Jesus will be ultimately victorious. So, it is more a cry of victory than of vengeance.

Finally in this study we get to verse eight. “Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is interesting when you think of Jesus as the “Word of God”. Words are made of letters. If He is the First and Last, the Beginning [Genesis] and the end [The Revelation], then, He is also everything in between.

He is, He was, and He forever shall be. He is unchanging [Immutable]. Because of that He is our A to Z. From beginning to end the Immutable One. A-Men.

In conclusion, let me readdress the fact that He is unchanging. There is not much, if anything, in this world that does not change.

It should cause us to be bold and brave to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knowing He never changes. He is “…The same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Because He is unchanging He is a worthy, Prophet, Priest, and King. Worship Him. He is revealing Himself to a changing world.

Alpha and Omega: Who is He?

There are some sects of Christianity which do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate – God in flesh. Yet much of what Jesus says confirms to us that He is exactly that.  The works that He performed in miracles and signs confirm who He is as well.  I am not going to take up a lot of time defending this but even Jesus said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:11.  We also hear Him speak in the Revelation…

“I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending,’ saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8 (KJV)

“Saying, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.'” Revelation 1:17b-18

Now let us compare those Scriptures with Scripture found in the prophecy of Isaiah…

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the First, and I am the Last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

“Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last.” Isaiah 48:12

If the words of God from Isaiah is God speaking, and Jesus speaks these same words in the Revelation, then let us answer the question honestly.  Jesus the Christ, the Son of God is God the Son.

The Working Faith

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:14-19 (KJV)

A thought: “You can believe without doing, but you will not, or cannot do without believing.”  What do you think?  I got that thought while thinking of the above verses.

There is much thought about “Faith”.  Much of what I hear concerning faith is that you must believe, and there is no stipulation as to what you believe or have faith in.  My thought I gave is based on the saving faith that comes through Christ Jesus and His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.

According to James if we have faith we will do something with it.  In this case, the doing is for others we might see in need.  If we are the true believer, then we will act on our faith and help a brother and/or sister in Christ who is in need of food, clothing, shelter; not just a kind word when we have the means to help.

There are many who claim to believe in Jesus, God and even the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but have not given themselves totally to the life of living for Christ.  I can practically guarantee that the devil and his demons believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again.  They know it first hand, but they are not redeemed, neither will they ever be a part of the redeemed of God.  That is why James says, “…The devils also believe, and tremble”.

If you have not surrendered your life to Christ Jesus you can believe all you want to, but if you do not act, then you will perish in your sins.  Christian, your true faith will lead you to act when you see needs, as God gives you the means to do so.  When we have the means we had better act on those needs, and glorify our God and a Savior Jesus Christ.

Our Walk With God

Those of us who follow Christ Jesus have been set apart unto Him that He might be glorified.  Being set apart is what is meant by the word “Sanctified” or “Sanctification”.  At salvation we are sanctified; but throughout our lives we are being sanctified unto Him, until we are finally, and completely sanctified eternally.  Hear the words of Paul…

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (KJV)

The prophet Amos in chapter three of the prophet’s prophecy asked the question,  “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)  Well, the answer to that is – “Not in peace and harmony.”

I heard someone say, fairly recently, “The Christians greatest battle is not with Satan, but with God.”  That would be because we still battle those old temptations to rule our own lives.  The continuing work of sanctification deals with this in our lives.

We must continually deal with sin and its ugly face. Sin separates us from God.  Sin will lead us on a detour away from God.  Walking with God means walking His path, His way. It means obedience to His word.  It is hating sin, and loving the Lord, and they cannot dwell together.

Reading the passage of Scripture you will notice that last sentence, “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.”  If you can turn away from that truth and say something so foolish as “I will live my life my way, and nobody can tell me how to live”, then, God has a word for you;  “You fool”.

Cry out to God in repentance.  Come to Him through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and was raised from death and the grave.

Slaves

“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” Romans 6:15-20 (KJV)

We are all born into sin.  Separated from God, totally depraved, and without hope apart from God’s intervention.  We are bound to sin, death, and the grave.  We were slaves to sin.  That sounds bleak and dark does it not?  That is our condition when we human beings are born into this world.

We cannot help but sin, because we are born into the slavery of sin.  Someone has said, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”  That is why there is evil in this old world.  Jeremiah the prophet said it right,,,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

When we are away from God, outside of His grace and mercy there is no help to keep us from evil, and doing evil.  God the Creator, the Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Present GOD knows our plight, our sin situation, our condemnation, and He has intervened to deliver us.

He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ as our sacrifice for sin.  He was our sin-bearer.  The Perfect One for the sinful, imperfect ones.  He was smitten for our sins.  Through faith in the Christ and His finished work on the cross we are set free from sin, its slavery, its condemnation, and its death; and we will live forever.

Now, having been set free from sin, we are now the slaves, the servants of righteousness.  We have the freedom to do good, to do right, and to shun all that is evil – all that is against God, against His word, against His Son and against His Spirit.

Hear the Spirit of God as He shows you the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of God, God the Son, and the Immutable [Unchanging] One.

The Day of Small Things

“Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent Me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”  Zechariah 4:7-10 (KJV)

There are a few things in these verses that call for our attention.  One,  it is the word of the LORD.  Two, there is one phrase which goes through all of Scripture, which we do need to remember, and it is this…  “…Thou shalt know…”.  Three, that, small things should not be despised. Four, “…the eyes of the LORD…” (See 2 Chronicles 16:9).

The temple had been rebuilt.  It was smaller, and the people; especially those who were discouraged by its size; needed to realize God’s blessing on them because they were renewing their place of worship with the LORD of all things.

The phrase mentioned above in its total reads… “…Thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent Me unto you” and is a reference to the “Angel of the LORD” who is the pre-incarnate  Christ who will one day come and build a more glorious temple than even that of Solomon.

Let me leave  you with a study note from the Jeremiah Study Bible on verses 7-10,

4:7-10 The first statement to the great mountain issues a challenge to whatever opposes God’s might.  The latter statement opposes anyone who disdains small things (Neh. 4:2-4).  In both cases, divine truth and perspective are what ultimately matter.  Grace, grace to it! simultaneously extols God’s freely given blessing on the work now completer and implores Him to continue to look with favor on the temple and all that it represented.

Even the small things are things which God works through and uses.

The death of the God Man Jesus Christ on the cross is nothing we like to remember.  It is not a pleasant thing to think about, but for our salvation it was and is the greatest event that has happened on earth, and that is due to the fact of His bodily resurrection.  He went through the pain, agony, rejection and death of the cross, and was buried, and rose again that lost, condemned and dying people might receive eternal life before the face of GOD.

Deliverance for Mount Zion

“But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.”  Obadiah 1:17-18 (KJV)

The shortest book of the Old Testament with a very blunt message for a arrogant a prideful people of Edom.  Edom was a nation who had Esau as its father, its founder.  Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, and there was a sibling rivalry from birth… Jacob had grabbed hold of the heel of Esau at birth (Genesis 25:24-28).  It turned out that Edom always hated the people of Jacob/Israel.  Take note of what God says through the prophet Obadiah above.

  1.  Mount Zion shall be delivered; they will be holy, and the people will possess their possessions – living in their land, in their own homes, growing their own crops, having their own government; and not ruled over any other.
  2.  The people of Jacob – will be a fire and Joseph a flame.  They will be a people to fear, to follow, and to dread the offending of their God, YHWH.
  3.  There will be an end to the house of Esau.  In their pride and arrogance they assumed they were safe in their mountainous homes, and the land they inhabited; yet God sent the Babylonians against them; and by the time of the New Testament they are no more.

Lesson for people today.  God never forsakes His people forever.  He will always get His people where He wants them to be.  You become His people through the new birth of coming to Jesus Christ as the Savior who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose the third day.  There is salvation for all who will call on His name.

Corrected in Measure

The people of God. Jacob and his descendants are never without the discipline [correction] of God.  That correction shows, in fact, that they are the children of God.  The same is true of those who are genuine Christians; those who have been regenerated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

That correction is not for destruction, but a guided, blessed comfort, rest, peace which is indescribable by mere words.  Let us hear from the prophet Jeremiah…

But fear not thou, O My servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob My servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. Jeremiah 46:27-28 (KJV)

After giving a declaration from God of the demise of Egypt for their treatment of Jacob/Israel the LORD God gives a word of comfort to His people.  Here we see that promise “Fear not…” once again.  This fear not is for the people of God who are descendants of Jacob; yet we as Christians can rest in this promise as well, because we can get assurance from it that God does know how to deliver His people in all days and all ages.

Hear what Peter, the New Testament apostle of Jesus Christ wrote…

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished… 2 Peter 2:9

He is speaking of the deliverance of Lot from the destruction of Sodom, yet the word holds true for us all.  We can trust God with our future.  We can trust Him with our health.  We can trust Him with our finances – but that does not give us license for frivolous spending or waste.  Frivolousness in anything will be judged.  Be wise.

For the child of God; He does not correct for destruction, but for deliverance, freedom, rest, comfort and peace.  Find rest, forgiveness and peace with God through  Jesus Christ His Son who died on the cross as the atonement for our sin, was buried, and bodily arose from that grave; and is forever alive giving us fellowship with God.

A Loud and Bitter Cry

Esther is a book which does not even mention the name of God; the GOD of Israel; the LORD God of hosts.  Yet when you have eyes to see, and ears to hear you will see Him fully at work in the lives of His people and the nations.

There are protests/riots in our nation.  This is a cry for help, but it has the appearance of a cry for help to the wrong place, for the wrong reason, and the wrong way.  These riots of late are signs of anarchy, not freedom, and can become very violent, and destructive.  I want us to look at a man, and an event in the book of Esther which; even though He is not mentioned by name; talks with God through his faith,  and courage…

“When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; and came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” Esther 4:1-3 (KJV)

The king Ahasuerus of Persia had appointed a Hebrew hating man, Haman, to the second seat of authority.  Had given him the authority to destroy the Hebrew people.  Haman was a man who had a long hate relationship with Jewish people; even sense Samuel killed Agag (1 Samuel 15).

There is the very mistaken thought being promoted in this wicked world that “Hate is a learned behavior”.  Let me tell you that genuine love is a learned behavior.  Have you ever watched a newborn baby.  They are solely about themselves.  They want fed.  They want changed.  They want what they want and they want it now.  You will not like that thought, but it is the truth.  A child must be taught to love; it is not natural.  Lust is natural.  Love is supernatural and comes solely from God.  That one is free of cost; but may cost you much.

There is a way of getting things done for good and God’s glory.  Mordecai did what any God loving Jew would do.  It is what any God and Christ loving Christian must do to in order to affect change in a wicked society, culture and world.  We must tear our hearts; make loud and bitter cries of help to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and plead with God to intervene in His power and glory.  When you read through the book of Esther you will find that God does protect the Hebrew people, fulfills His word.  Because He loves His people.

Pray for God to move.  First in your own heart and life.  Confess your sins.  Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The change will begin in you and me.

The Consequences

“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? Thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” 2 Samuel 12:7-12 (KJV)

David was a shepherd boy when God revealed to him that He had chosen him to be the next king of Israel.  Anointed by the prophet Samuel and by God he had a heart for God, and he loved the word of God, and His way.

David was a man, however, with many of the temptations that plague the rest of us.  He was now the king, was still at home when he probably should have been with his men on the battle field, and he had an unguarded moment.  “Unguarded” in his mind.  Distracted by his authority, his power, his kingdom.  It happens even to the best of men when they drop their guard.

Nathan the prophet confronted David with a sheep story (2 Samuel 12:1-6), and David was furious about a man stealing a poor man’s sheep.  Nathan being God’s messenger says, “You are the man.”  He had taken another man’s wife; killed the man, and now David the king was going to pay a price.

Here  is food for thought for the rest of us:  There will be a payday someday, for all the sins we have done.

There is forgiveness for our sin through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son; but more times than not there are still consequences that come from that sin.  David’s children went bad.  A sword of death came against David’s family.  There was grave and grevious bitterness, anger in the family.

No one of us are without consequences for our sin.  Our call in those consequences, suffering in them, is to grow in the LORD and be faithful every day after, and through them all.