Forgiving Most

“And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.’ And he saith, ‘Master, say on.’
‘There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’
Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.’ And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast rightly judged.’”  Luke 7:40-43  (KJB)

To get a better look at the story I pray you have read Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, a very religious Jewish leader in the Law, has invited Jesus into his home, and has shown him no hospitality as was the expected thing of the day – washing the feet of their guest, etc.

Comes in a woman off the street who breaks a very expensive alabaster box of fragrant anointing oil, and this cause a ruckus with Simon.

This woman knows who Jesus is.  Her very act puts her in the category of the “one forgiven most” that is concerning the parable Jesus speaks.  Simon has not demonstrated the respect to Jesus that would be given to any other guest, but this woman brings a perfume that would, by some accounts, be as costly as a years wages.

This woman demonstrates her faith, and shows she needs forgiveness.

Simon NO!  The woman Much forgiveness.

Let us demonstrate our need for forgiveness by loving Jesus with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength.

In a Solitary Place; There He Prayed

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, ‘All men seek for Thee.’ And He said unto them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.’ And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Mark 1:35-39  (KJB)

O, how Jesus longed to fulfill His Father’s will.  Jesus knew it involved much committed time with Him in prayer.  My how I fall so short on committed time to prayer.  I do try to stay in touch with God through my day, but I lack power with Him; at least it seems so with me.  Lord help me with my praying.  I need You in my life in power and glory.  I am weak, but you are Mighty.

The following is from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 35 of Mark 1…

And in the morning — that is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first day of the week. His choosing this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted by the reader.
rising up a great while before day — “while it was yet night,” or long before daybreak.
he went out — all unperceived from Peter’s house, where He slept.
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed — or, “continued in prayer.” He was about to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Luk_5:16; Luk_6:12; Luk_9:18, Luk_9:28, Luk_9:29; Mar_6:46), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it. What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, within hearing – not of His “strong crying and tears,” for He had scarce arrived at the stage for that – but of His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and the outpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him! He had doubtless enjoyed some uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father ere His friends from Capernaum arrived in search of Him. As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day of miracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loath to break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usual hour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, he finds it – like the sepulchre afterwards – empty! Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him, Peter naturally leading the way.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

The Power of God in Christ Jesus; Yet Unwanted

“And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?’
And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought Him, saying, ‘If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ And He said unto them, ‘Go.’ And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.” Matthew 8:28-34 (KJB)

“The demon spirit seems still to tenant the lives of human beings. To what else can we attribute the paroxysms of passion, the awful cruelties and inhumanities of men? There is only one devil, but many demons; only one prince of the power of darkness, but many emissaries. Take heed, lest you open the door of your nature to the spirit of evil and he possess you. Watch and pray, and trust the keeping of your soul to the hands of Christ. He is stronger than the strong man.
Notice that the demon is set upon destruction. If he may not destroy the souls of men, he will destroy swine. This is the mark of evil. It is always destructive; whereas the Spirit of God is constructive and builds up from the ruins of Satan’s work a new heaven and a new earth, both in the soul and in the universe.
All the city besought Jesus to depart, because men count their gains more valuable than His presence. The same spirit rules in the commercial world of today. Let us beware. What shall it profit to gain the world, if we lose our souls?” From F. B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Day by Day on Mat. 8:28-34

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (4)

Come Up Out Of Your Graves

 

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.’
Again He said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.’
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said He unto me, ‘Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Then He said unto me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.’ Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it,’ saith the LORD.”  Ezekiel 37:1-14  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (4)

The Tragic Results of Sin

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” Genesis 4:1-12 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (3)

The Wickedness of Mankind

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV).

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

The Treasure of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Gold,  and a Honeycomb – Proverbs 16:16-24

Verse 16 –  The worth of wisdom and understanding compared to gold and/or silver.  What, if anything, is lost by having one without the other?  Prov. 3:13

Verse 17 – 19 —   Life is sometimes compared to a road.  Is that a good comparison?  Why?  How would you describe the “Highway of the upright?”  Think about what it means to stay on (“Keepeth his way”) that highway.
In what way does pride lead to destruction?  Is “Pride” some of the time, or all the time related to refusing to see and acknowledge there is a problem?  Jeremiah 49:16
The “Humble spirit” needs no spoils.  For verse 19 reference see Psalm 84:10.

Verse 20 – 24 —

“Prov. 16:20–24  These verses commend the speech characteristic of the wise of heart (vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24);  they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a).  Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).”  Note from the ESV Study Bible

Pleasant and precious words are sweet and comes from hearts of wisdom of understanding (verses 16 and 24).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah (2)

When Messiah Comes Again

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

And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.  And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:  But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

Zechariah 14:1-7 (KJV)

Some Thoughts from Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1-28

Verses 1-4 –  There is a need for instruction.  “Instruction” is speaking of the need for correction or chastisement “Instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
To be “brutish” is a sign of stupidity; and foolishness.

Verses 5-7 –  The thoughts, purposes or devices of the righteous are right.  The advice of the wicked are deceitful.  This compares the counsel of the righteous with the wicked.
The wicked and the righteous are again compared in verses 6 and 7.

Verses 8-11 –  Acting and/or speaking with wisdom gains the respect of others.

“Prov. 12:9–11 These are sayings about ordinary workers that illustrate either the “good sense” or the “twisted mind” of v. 8. Lack bread (end of v. 9) is paralleled by lacks sense (end of v. 11), and both verses speak of the importance of prudent labor in order to provide enough to eat. The point of the whole is that the righteous person cares even for his animals (v. 10a) and provides for his household by a sensible perspective on life (v. 9a) and sensible labors (v. 11a). By contrast, he who follows worthless pursuits (v. 11; such as get-rich-quick schemes, gambling, or lotteries, in a modern context) lacks sense and, by contrast with the first half of the verse, will probably live in poverty as well (cf. 28:19).”  ESV Study Bible notes

Verses 12-14 –  Sensible labor and worthless pursuits are in contrast in these verses.  Those who practice sensible labors have a yield of fruit.  Those who go in worthless pursuits find themselves ensnared.

Verses 15-23 –  The foolish person has the perspective of being right in his/her own eyes, and can rarely if ever be taught anything contrary to what they see of themselves.

With verse 15 see the following verses: 3:7;  16:2;  21:2;  26:12; 14:12.

Note the contrast in the prudent and the foolish.  Their words and their actions are the product of the heart.

Verses 24-28 –  A contrast between the diligent and the slothful.  The hard working individual is diligent about their tasks; and will see it through to completion.  The slothful will find any excust not to even begin the job.  See Proverbs 20:4.

With verse 25 see Proverbs 15:13 and Proverbs 17:22

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

The Mouth; Wisdom and Wickedness – Proverbs 11:7-14

Jesus said, “Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

In this study there is more in dealing with the mouth and the tongue.  This is a very important matter with God, or there would not be so much of Scripture dealing with it.  In chapter ten we dealt with “The Mouth of the Wise and the Righteous”.

Verses 7 – 8  –  A contrast is given of the hope of the wicked; and the hope of the righteous.  It could be highly implied within these verses that the wealth spoken of is unjustly acquired.

From the ESV study Bible notes:

“Proverbs contrasts this with the hope of the righteous (see 10:28) to warn against being fooled by the apparent security in dishonest gain and to assure those who fear the Lord that their hope, manifested in seeking the path of wisdom, will not be in vain (see 23:18; 24:14).”

Verses 9 – 11 –  Notice there is still the contrasting of the wicked and the righteous.  The contrast is a matter of dealing with the mouth.  Even when the righteous are slandered they know how to conduct themselves in the right fashion.  Conducting one’s self in the right fashion does not include slandering the slanderer.

The mouth of the righteous blesses people (v. 11)

Verses 12 – 13  –  The evil intent of a talebearer is to destroy another’s life, reputation, or character.

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.”

Verse 14 –  It is good for leaders, Christians and for all to have godly counselors.  Those who would be godly counselors would also keep watch over their tongues, lips; their mouth.

The ESV Study Bible notes:

“The role of counselors is to aid a person in making wise decisions (cf. 15:22; 24:6). While this is particularly important for those who lead a people, Proverbs also stresses its broader application to people’s decision making in all sorts of situations—cf. 11:5 and the contrasting description of how the wicked falls “by his own wickedness.””

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Hosea

For Lack of Knowledge

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.  Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.  Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.  Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.  They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.  And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.  Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” Hosea 4:1-11 (KJV)

Deliverance from the Evil, and from the Strange

The notes below are taken from the BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY.

Deliverance From the Evil and the Strange – Proverbs 2:10-22

Verses 10 – 11 –   “The reason this happens is that wisdom takes control of one’s mind or heart, and the knowledge of what is right becomes pleasant rather than distasteful. To the true believer, God’s commands are not irksome. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

2:11  Discretion, or the ability to make wise decisions, saves a person from many a “bad trip.” Sound judgment delivers us from involvement with wicked men. None of us realizes the extent to which we are daily preserved from spiritual, moral, and physical perils. The Christian enjoys a well-guarded life, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – Libronix Digital Library System

Verses 20 – 22 –  “Link verse 20 with verse 11. Wisdom preserves not only from evil men and the strange woman, but, on the positive side, it encourages companionship with those who are worthwhile and upright.

2:21, 22  Under the Law of Moses, men of integrity—the upright and the blameless—were rewarded with a secure place in the land of Canaan. When we come over to the NT, these material blessings in earthly places give way to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But the fact remains that righteousness and decency are rewarded in this life as well as in the life to come.
It is equally true that the wicked will be cut off from the land of blessing. There is no lasting inheritance there for the treacherous.”  Ibid.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Broken Branches; Grafted In

Broken Branches – Grafted In

Romans 11:15-24

Paul begins using the allegory of an olive tree. The breaking off of some of the branches represents reprobate national Israel. Note verse 20; they were broken off, because of their unbelief and the Church –Gentile believers–were grafted in. Unnaturally grafted in– “A wild olive tree” (v. 17) into a domesticated tree.

THEIR CASTING AWAY THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD (v. 15).

Is there to be a receiving of them back?

When they return it will be “Life from the dead”.

THE FIRSTFRUIT, THE LUMP, THE ROOT, AND THE BRANCHES (v.16)

The “firstfruit” was the first part that was to be given to the Lord; is the holy kingdom of Israel. It is this “firstfruit” which has been declared “holy” by God. It is from this “Firstfruit” which came the Branch, and from this Branch is given life to all who will believe.

The “Lump” is counted as the whole of the “Firstfruits”. Because the firstfruits is holy the “Lump” is holy.

The “Root” is then, those who were the Patriarchs of Israel, ie., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was upon these that the hypocritical Pharisees, based their “righteousness”. The “Root” is grounded in the eternal promises, and covenants of the Person and Word of God.

The “branches” are the descendants of the root. Those who were born through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of the greatest importance was to be born of the same faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All that have this faith have it through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had this relationship looking forward by grace through faith to the cross of Christ. Those born again today have it by looking back by grace through faith.

BROKEN BRANCHES, FROM THE ROOT AND FATNESS OF THE TREE (vv. 17-18).

Wild olive branches grafted in. Grafting is the art of joining one plant to another. The MERRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Graft”, “To insert a shoot from one plant into another so that they join and grow.” It is also done with skin for burn victims. The olive tree is Israel, and the wild olive tree.

There should be no boasting on the Gentile’s part concerning the faith we have through Jesus Christ. The root after all is our reason for believing.

BROKEN OFF TO ALLOW OTHERS TO BE GRAFTED IN (vv. 19-24).

Unbelief was the reason for them being broken off. This alone should cause us to realize that it is solely by grace that any is saved. If any forsake the Lord there is no redemption, no faith, and no hope.

Remember the goodness of God without forgetting the severity of the Lord as well. Goodness came to the Gentile due to the severity of God upon the Jew.

Should Israel come out of their unbelief they will be grafted back into the tree. The God of all creation is able to graft them in again.

Paul seems to leave no doubt as to the end result of the faith of Israel (v. 24). Will they be grafted in again? The Word of the Lord and their faith will tell. Look to the Word of the Lord.

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?

 

When People Get Right With God

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE GET RIGHT WITH GOD
Romans 5:1-11

OUTLINE –

I. THEY HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

II. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

III. THEY HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

IV. THEY HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

V. THEY HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

VI. THEY HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

VII. THEY HAVE ‘ATONEMENT’ WITH GOD (v. 11).

Warren W Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary is mostly responsible for the above outline.

Many legalist of Paul’s day may have asked the question, “If justification/salvation is by grace through faith alone, then, how can they remain saved without keeping the law?” Is it not flabbergasting how people do not understand that the law condemns? It offers us no hope at all. Yet, there are those, even professing Christians, who believe that the keeping of our salvation is by the works of the law.

Now we must understand that the person who is justified by grace through faith is now free to obey and keep the law to the honor of Jesus Christ. Where once we were bound by sin, we knew nothing else, now in Christ we can freely choose to obey and follow Jesus.

Did you know that sinful, unredeemed people are at war with God? Early in the Romans letter Paul shows us the war all sinful people have declared against the all powerful, all knowing, and all present God (Rom. 1:18-32). Continuing in that state of war brings utter disaster and destruction. It does not need to end that way.

In these first eleven verses of chapter five we will see some of the fruit of justification or “What Happens When People Get Right With God”.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).

These people are precious in God’s eyes and He is glorious in their eyes. They are no longer at war with God. They are at peace with Him.

The person who is right with God desires to please God. They are no longer seeking to rule and reign their own lives, and the lives of others, bur are rather seeking God’s rule and reign in all things.

The person who is at peace with God also seeks peace with his brothers and sisters in Christ. He does not sow seeds of discord, and if he sins he asks God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those he/she has wronged. No individual who is at peace with God can hate others – especially a brother or sister in the family of Jesus.

The people who are right with God no longer kick, bite, scream, and fuss against the direction of God or the Word of God. They recognize God has placed a man as the leader of the local church, and that he is the one who leads them to follow God’s direction. The justified individual follows God’s leadership He has called to their church. The fight against God’s leadership is sure evidence that there is no ‘peace with God’.

Those who are in this peace relationship with God love Him. They adore, admire, worship, praise, and live for Him from that love. They want others to know Him and have this peace relationship also.

Can justified people, can Christians lose this peace? YES!!! Can they lose the justification? NO!!! Christians, because of worldly influences, lack of prayer, lack of Bible study, and lack of spending personal time with God can again be at war with Him. God will not, however, let it continue without discipline and correction. If you can fight against God, and not experience His chastisement you are not His child (Heb. 12:8).

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).

In the Old Testament there are many pictures of Jesus and God’s glorious salvation. There are also pictures of man’s way to God being blocked. One of those pictures is the veil of the tabernacle and the Temple. The veil being between the holy place and the most holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed which was a picture of the abiding presence of God.

The priests were at work daily in the holy place. They placed the ‘shewbread’ on the table, and would eat it at the required time; they kept the menorah lit for light, they offered up prayers for the people at the altar of incense. They could not enter the most holy place; through the curtain, but once a year on the ‘Day of Atonement’; and then, only the high priest could do so, but not without blood.

The veil was thick and heavy. I have heard that it was as much as six inches to one foot thick. It speaks of man’s inability to approach a holy God.

On the day Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn from the very top to the bottom by the hand of God; showing that by way of His Son Jesus we can have access to God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). How important do you think this access is to God? It was important enough to God that the only means to open the way was for Him to sacrifice His only Son. How important is this access to you? Is it important enough to give up the condemnation of sin? Is it important enough for you to give your whole self to Him? Is it important enough to consider your life, but only a garbage heap without Jesus?

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).

Those who have peace with God are also people who have a hope that is established upon the promises of God. This hope is not ‘Wishful thinking’. It is substantial, and the evidence is the fulfillment of promises God has made and kept. He does not break His promises.

This is a glorious hope. God promises glory – His glory – to all those who will trust in Him, and to those who trust in Him.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).

For the person who has peace with God they are also at peace with their circumstances. When we rest in God we can ‘Glory in tribulations’. That does not mean that we enjoy our troubles and sorrows, but that we, by faith, are trusting God to do what is best for our lives.

How can a Christian be unthankful, and be at peace with God? That is why Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Only the person who is right with God can be at peace with God, even during times of sorrow and tribulation.

“Tribulation” is the mans God uses to build a patient Christian. One Christian lady who saw her son dying, in anger cried out, “God you do not know what it is like to lose a son”, but she had no sooner finished the statement when she clasped her hands over her mouth realizing it was God who saw His perfect, sinless Son die.

Jone Eareckson Tada in her book co-authored by Steven Estes wrote,

“The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God” From the book “WHEN GOD WEEPS” pg. 137.

If you are a Christian we need to realize that the words of John MacArthur, “God will do whatever it takes to make us holy” is true. You can yield yourself to God and be at peace in every trial, or you can continue the warfare with God and lose.

Patience is a characteristic we all need. God is certainly patient. He is patient to let sin run its course (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9; Rom. 11:25). The Scriptures of the last sentence show two examples of God’s patience and the other words of His patience. Jesus was patient as He walked among us on earth. It was a quality, a characteristic of His Father. It must be a character trait of those who believe Him also.

The character we have shows our experiences and how we have responded to them. If during trials and tribulations you grow cold hard, and bitter; you will be cold, hard and bitter toward those who are joyful; especially toward those who are trusting and serving the Lord. If, on the other hand, you yielded to God, and was thankful during those troubled times you will be patient and kind to others, and will love those who are trusting and serving the Lord.

There is a vast difference between the former and latter person in the above paragraph. The former has no hope, but is resting in his own strength, doomed to failure. The latter has every hope in God, His Word, and is certain of eternity with God.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).

With our hope in God there is no reason to be ashamed. Having peace with God we are unashamed to tell others of His grace. We are unashamed to let others see the love of God in us.

The love of God is seen as sacrificial. God was willing to give the very best in order to redeem us. If we have that type of love we too will do, and give our very best to see others justified by faith. Only the love of God could send His Son to die for His enemies.

God does not desire man to remain His enemy. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die. “While we were yet sinners [God’s enemies], Christ died for us.”

The person who is at peace with God will express that love toward others in the likeness of Christ.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).

The justified person who is in right fellowship with God need not fear the wrath of God. If a justified person is not in a right fellowship with God they probably will fear the future wrath. That ought to be a warning signal to them of their broken fellowship.

The future wrath of God is withheld from all who believe as in the example of Abraham. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for our justification. In God’s eyes, because of faith in Christ, He sees only the righteousness of His Son.

The wrath of God awaits all who are unbelieving; all those who reject God’s grace and trust their own morality, goodness and sense of decency. The enemy of God is one who aserts his own efforts over the goodness of God and thumbs his/her nose and says, “If God cannot accept me on my terms then, phooey on Him.” There is no bargaining with God. The unbeliever comes out the loser.

Unredeemed people hate God, or they would believe Him.

God, in His love, reconciles us to Himself. It is the “Goodness of God” that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4b). We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus on the cross. Our sins kept us from the presence of God. We were deserving of eternal judgment. God must judge sin. He judged sin while Jesus was dying on that cruel, old wooden cross. Because sin is judged God can now accept us on the merit of the work of Jesus Christ.

If we are reconciled by the death of Jesus, then, certainly we are kept through all eternity because Jesus lives. He lives never to die again. If Jesus cannot keep us, then, His death and living is powerless and vain.

JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ATONEMENT WITH GOD (v. 11).

Christians should be the most joyous people on earth. We have reason to rejoice. That reason is Jesus died to save us. That salvation means we have been brought to a place where we can know God personally.

“Atonement” is also reconciliation. To reconcile is to bring two opposing parties together. God did this for us, because He is the only One who was able to do so. He was the offended party, and He is the One who opens the way for reconciliation.

That ‘atonement’ was not without price. Because God is holy, righteous, and just He could not simply declare us righteous, and be righteous Himself. Sin’s debt had to be paid, and be paid in full. The only wages for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In order to pay that debt in full and defeat the power of sin was for a sinless person to die. That sinless man was Jesus. He died as our sin, received our judgment, was buried, and rose again, thus defeating sin’s power to hold anyone again.

The only way of salvation is God’s way. Agree with God and eternity will agree with you.

AT – ONE – MENT = By the grace of God we are at peace with God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The peace of God is peace with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Religion Without Jesus

Religion Without Faith

Romans 2:17-29

In our previous studies of chapter one and the first sixteen verses of chapter two it has been made abundantly clear that the pagan Gentile is vile, wicked, and evil.  In the last study we saw that even the religious Jews were wicked, vile, and evil. In our study of the rest of chapter two we see that there is no hope for the religious person who is wrapped up in their religion.

Let me say at the start here that religion is man’s attempt to gain God’s favor.  What religion actually does is exalt the religious, and steals the glory that belongs solely to the Maker of those who are religious.

Here is an outline of our study –

I. RELIGION HAS A FAULTY CONFIDENCE OF POSITION (vv. 17-20).

1. The Jews had their position in Abraham, loving the position, but despising the responsibility.
2. We all must understand that the law was given to ‘drive’ humankind to God’s grace. See Galations 3:24-25.
3. Overconfidence in the flesh is seen from the prophet Jeremiah’s words to a confident people who were about to go into captivity, “Trust ye not in lying words saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.” (Jeremiah 7:4).
4. They believed themselves to be secure because they were in the presence of the temple of God, and God would not destroy His temple – so they thought.
5. Just because one does good things, lives a good life, and possesses religious objects does not mean they are right with God.

II.  THE CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW (vv. 21-24).

1. The Hebrew religious leaders saw the importance of teaching the law, but did not live it themselves.  They were quick to condemn their people, but would not see their own sin.
2. They developed loopholes for themselves.  With these loopholes – they condemned the people who failed to keep them. You can see one loophole they had for themselves in Mark 7:10-11.
3. These teachers were “proud possessors of the law”.  They were not “doers of the law” (James 1:22-25).  They taught to “Abhor” (hate, despise) idols, but saw no problem with raiding pagan temples, taking the idols within and selling them at a profit, thus, committing sacrilege.  How do we as Christians do some thing which we may despise, yet make profit doing it?

III. RELIGION IS OF THE FLESH; GODLINESS IS OF THE HEART (vv. 25-29).

1. Jewish circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant people.  A mark of being God’s possession. The Jews were to worship and adore God alone, no other.
2. A Gentile who keeps the law has better standing before God – if indeed they could keep the law – than does the Jew who does not keep it.
3. This was a sign of sin which God was dealing with.  There is no salvation in circumcision.  There is, likewise, no salvation in baptism.  Any confidence in these to save is purely religion, and will condemn rather than save.
4. We become the people of God when our stony heart becomes soft and supple before Holy God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Judge Not

Romans 2:1-16

In thinking back about chapter one we see that the heathen, pagan, ungodly are condemned by sin. Those who are moralist will say, “Yes! They deserve the judgment they get, and they will get it.”

Then we come to chapter two. The first verse says, “Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

In these first three chapters Paul the apostle is laying out the thought of the guilty. Who are the guilty when it comes to sin? The pagan, heathen, and godless deffinitely. So many today think that because of their morality they will be okay with God.

Let me give an outline for this study.

I. THOSE WHO JUDGE OTHERS ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE (vv. 1-4).

These are without excuse because they are able to make judgments of others. Why does the religious, moralist think they shall escape the judgment of God? (v.3). They will not. There are three things mentioned in these verses about our gracious God.

1. His goodness;
2. His forbearance; which is His tolerance of us;
3. His longsuffering.

His longsuffering is patience. Patience = the duration which God demonstrates His goodness and forbearance for long periods of time. He deliberately shows us patience even when we think we are so moral that He has nothing to judge us for.

II. JUDGMENT WILL BE MADE ACCORDING TO MAN’S WORKS – DEEDS (vv. 5-6).

One thing we need to remember is that God does not have a set of scales to weigh our good versus bad moral deeds. If we beg to be judged for the deeds we have done, then God will certainly honor that request.

Those who are trusting in their own good works and nothing more; that is what they will be judged by. You will come up short. The dependence by you of your works throws what Jesus did on the cross out the window, and declares to God my deeds are good enough. God will say to you in the day of judgment, “I never knew you; depart me ye workers of iniquity”.

III. JUDGE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL (vv. 7-11).

If you want to be saved or judged on the merits of keeping the law, then, there is one thing required. You must obey every tenet of the law. There must be no slacking in it. It must be obeyed to the letter. You cannot, nor are you able to do so. If you attempt it you will perish.

One thing about it. There is no one that will be special by the keeping of it. According to verse 11, “For there is no respect of persons with God”. All who choose to live by the law will be judged by it.

IV. THE JUDGMENT OF THE LAW FOR JEW AND GENTILE (vv. 12-15).

Those who have the law (the Jew) will be judged by the law on which they so depend. They will give an account to God, and will fail miserably. Any religious person who depends on the keeping of the law for their salvation will also fail miserably. Those who do not have the law, “Having not the law, are a law unto themselves…” will be without excuse also.

V. THE JUDGE WHO KNOWS THE MOTIVES OF OUR HEARTS (v. 16).

I personally believe that when Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, that He was speaking of judging others motives. No one knows the motives of another. We are all guilty of making judgments on others motives.

Many, like me, when Bill Gates made mention of leaving Microsoft to work in benevolent work thought, “He is only doing that to show how good of person he is”, or “Is he trying to be the President of our nation, or the world”. That is judging another’s motives.

One day the Judge of our motives will make a righteous judgment concerning our motives. They will be just and righteous. He knows the intents of our hearts.

Let me end with this. Judging others shows we have the right and ability to judge ourselves. Let’s begin at home – in our own heart.

The only hope we have for salvation and reconciliation with God is by the cross of Jesus Christ. No amount of moral living will get us into Heaven, only Jesus Christ.

When God Gives Up #3

We have been studying the first chapter of Romans, and have made it all the way through verse 27 as of the 16th of August.

In looking at these previous verses we have seen What Happens When God Gives Up?

Truth is repressed by unrighteousness (vv.18-23);

God releases them to their own decay and filth of immorality (vv. 24-25);

God releases them to shameful passions (vv. 26-27).

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27 (KJV).

These ‘vile affections’, ’shameful passions’ are the shameful acts of homosexuality. Women with women going against the God created order. Women are usually the last to fall morally.

“Men with men” against the nature created in them.

This debauchery certainly reaps what it sows. (v. 27b).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).

Physical and bodily problems. Sexually transmitted diseases one of which is AIDS, and it has no cure. Before this disease took on political overtones it was known as GRIDS “Gay Related Imunno Dificiency Syndrome”. There is certainly spiritual blindness.

God “gives them up” when they refuse Him. This abhorrent behavior does not cause God’s judgment, but is the result of God’s already judging. His judgment is already on us, when His hand or restraint is gone from such wicked behavior. This decadence will be judged in and by the hand of God. It actually shows us the levels of wickedness humankind will sink when left without God’s restraints.

-Tim A. Blankenship

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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He Trembled for the Ark of God

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 2 – 4 for today’s reading…

“And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.”  1 Samuel 4:12-13 (KJB)

The ark of God for the children of Israel was the presence of God in their midst. They had, sadly, gotten to the state of mind that it was more an object of superstition; a rabbit’s foot; than it was the presence of God.  Yet Eli’s heart trembled for the ark of God.  It had been carried onto a battlefield which was going to be lost to the Philistines, and…

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Going Home with the King

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 8 – 10 for today…

“And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, ‘How shall this man save us?’ And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” 1 Samuel 10:26-27 (KJB)

I will let the words of Alexander MacLaren speak for today devotion…

The ‘manner of the kingdom,’ which Samuel wrote and laid up before the Lord, was probably not the same as ‘the manner of the king’ (1Sa_8:9-18), but a kind of constitution, or solemn statement of the principles which were to govern the monarchy. The reading in 1Sa_10:26 should probably be ‘the men of valour,’ instead of ‘a band of men.’ They were brave men, ‘whose hearts God had touched.’ Now that Saul was chosen by God, loyalty to God…

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His Name, Wonderful

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 11 – 13…

“And the Angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret?” Judges 13:18 (KJB)

“And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (NKJB)

The Angel of the LORD had appeared to the woman who was the wife of Manoah, and he was working in the field.  They had no children, now, the Man had came and told her they were going to have a son.

This Man was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God, God the Son with all power, wisdom, and knowledge of the Godhead.  He is worshiped.  Manoah is directed, commanded to offer the sacrifice to God, and it seems that He was inferring to Manoah that He was more than a man.

What is the deal about His name? …

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The Enemy and Us

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.”  Joshua 17:12-13

God’s command for Israel when they entered the Promised Land was to deal strongly with the enemy, and destroy the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  We must understand these Canaanites were given, by God, over 400 years to repent and change their ways, yet they did not.

Now, we learn of tribes of Israel opening the door to the enemy of good and right because of their fear of iron chariots and horses; and due to their own weaknesses and lack of faith in God.  I do not mean to judge Israel.  I find in them the same weakness…

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A Bold Request

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in my integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”  Psalm 26:1-2 (KJB)

It is a bold request indeed to ask God first “Judge me”, then to request, “Examine me…”  It is a needed thing to do that.  Do I do that?  I have.  Even to pray, “Lord, whatever it takes to make me like Jesus; do it.”  That is a bold request which will definitely put you to a test.

It is GOD who knows us best, yet He loves us most, and desires to work in our lives to accomplish His will and purposes to bring us to Himself, and His glory.  He also will use us to bring others to Himself, and do the same in them.

The apostle Paul has written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

The LORD will do in our lives whatever it takes to get us where He wants us to be.  Be prepared.  Draw near to God.

He Will Help, Strengthen, and Remember You

The LORD hear you in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend you; send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant you according to your own heart, and fulfil all your counsel.”  Psalm 20:1-4 (KJV)

In this Psalm of David he writes that the LORD will hear you, defend you, send you help from the sanctuary, strengthen you, remember your offerings, and accept your costly sacrifices.

Let us as Christians today come with the expectant heart of David, and God will be rich in blessing toward us as well.

Looking at verses 2 – 4 of the text above; it is GOD who sends help from our time of worship.  You see wherever we are in the worship of the Most High, holy, and Almighty God that is the sanctuary; the one who worships Him though throughout the week – Monday – Saturday – will not forsake the gathering with other believers on the first day of the week as the early church did.  He is our help.

Looking at the “strength out of Zion” we can see Zion is Jerusalem the City of David.  It is the city on a hill.  A city of strength.  You can notice from Scripture that when every one left Jerusalem they were always going down to Jericho, or down to Bethel, and down to Capernaum, etc..  A picture of strength, and a reminder to the Hebrew people where their strength came from.

The “offerings… and burnt sacrifice” are those things which David would have offered to the LORD.  In these verses he is offering praise, and worship.  The burnt sacrifice would have been the sacrifice of a bull, lamb, ram, goat, dove etc.  We do not sacrifice animals today.  We do not need to; neither are we commanded to.  So what is the offerings and sacrifices we give?  Ourselves; our surrender to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s Son, God the Son.

When we give our all to Him He gives us a desire to live for Him.  A desire to love like He does, to love what He loves; and to hate the things He hates.  He will fulfill the desires of the heart that is given to Him (Psalm 37:4); in life, liberty, and love.

Lighten My Eyes

How long will You forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”  Psalm 13:1-4 (KJV)

Those who have a familiar relationship with GOD through His Son Jesus often find ourselves asking Him questions.  If you are doing that; good.  I find no fault in anyone with even their complaints to God knowing that He is their loving, merciful, and gracious Heavenly Father.  I have found quite often when I go to GOD with a question or complaint that I am usually satisfied with not getting an answer, except, the thought or the words “Trust” and “Believe”.  Trust and believe His word.

One thing I have noticed about taking my complaints to God is, that, I do not have any complaints for any one else; at least I am less likely to have any complaints for others.

David was feeling forgotten; by God and man. One of the things we can see about David’s words is that they reflect His faith.  First of He is talking to God.  Secondly, he is showing desire to honor and glorify God, by His working in David to prevent the enemy from rejoicing over David’s possible defeat.

David’s prayer to the LORD is; “Lighten my eyes…”  Maybe he had lost sight of his work and vision for God.  Maybe it was something that had separated him from his fellowship with God.  Whatever it was David needed the LORD to give him some light.  An eye opening experience.

We all need the light of Christ to shine in our hearts, minds, and lives.  It begins by knowing GOD through the cross of Jesus.

In Our Weakness

“Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.  My soul is also sore vexed: but You, O LORD, how long?”  Psalm 6:2-3 (KJV)

For today I will let a man who is dead, but he still speaks in his wisdom from the LORD, and his writings of days gone by…

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak.” Though I deserve destruction, yet let thy mercy pity my frailty. This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail. Urge not your goodness or your greatness, but plead your sin and your littleness. Cry, “I am weak,” therefore O Lord, give me strength and crush me not. Send not forth the fury of thy tempest against so weak a vessel. Temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Be tender and pitiful to a poor withering flower, and break it not from its stem. Surely this is the plea that a sick man would urge to move the pity of his fellow if he were striving with him, “Deal gently with me, ‘for I am weak.’” A sense of sin had so spoiled the Psalmist’s pride, so taken away his vaunted strength, that he found himself weak to obey the law, weak through the sorrow that was in him, too weak, perhaps, to lay hold on the promise. “I am weak.” The original may be read, “I am one who droops,” or withered like a blighted plant. Ah! beloved, we know what this means, for we, too, have seen our glory stained, and our beauty like a faded flower.

“O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed.” Here he prays for healing, not merely the mitigation of the ills he endured, but their entire removal, and the curing of the wounds which had arisen therefrom. His bones were “shaken,” as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. “My bones are shaken.” Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man’s hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, “My bones are shaken.” Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness – although bodily sickness might be the outward sign – the Psalmist goes on to say, “My soul is also sore vexed.” Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. “But thou, O Lord, how long?” This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries. “O Lord, how long?” The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ’s appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints.

Calvin’s favourite exclamation was “Domine usque quo” – “O Lord, how long?” Nor could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, “O Lord, how long?” And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, “Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?” Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, “O Lord, how long?”  From the Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon  (e-Sword)

 

The Unjust, the Filthy, the Righteous and the Holy

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the First and the Last.  Revelation 22:6-13 (KJV)

John receives assurance of the authenticity of the vision.

The angel says these are “faithful and true” sayings (19:9, 11; 21:5);

1) “No curse – Perfect restoration; 2) The throne – Perfect Administration; 3) His servants – Perfect Subordination; 4) They see His face – Perfect Transformation; 5) His name in their foreheads – Perfect Identification; 6) No created light – Perfect Illumination; 7) They reign forever – Perfect exultation.” A. T. Pierson as cited in THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John F. Walvoord.

To doubt John’s vision as true is equal to doubting the apostle and prophets. God speaks to His servants, before He acts, to warn of judgment and to invite peace (Amos 3:7).

God’s angel was sent to show what “…Must shortly be done”. When these things begin to happen they will happen very quickly. These things, possibly, began to happen when Israel became a nation. When the rapture of the Church takes place the speed of the events which follow will be astonishing.

Verse 7 is the sixth Beatitude in the Revelation. This is a promise of blessing [Happiness] to the faithful. The risen Lord speaks of His imminent return. He is coming for a second time, and it is quickly. Quickly does not mean time wise, but rather a certainty without any doubt. If Jesus said He would come again He will come again.

Those who hold these prophecies dear are the “Blessed” and “Happy”. The “Crown of Righteousness” awaits those who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

What an awesome time it will be gathered around the throne of God. We will be AWED into the place of worship. In surprise of the angel’s presence John falls to worship, but is quickly rebuked by the angel. The angel instructs John that he is only a fellow servant of God, and the prophets, and all who keep the sayings of the Book. John is corrected.

The angel’s correction for John is to “Worship God”. God is the only one who is worthy of worship. May we never forget that; for now and for all eternity.

In the book of Daniel, Daniel is commanded to seal the book until the time of the end –

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4 (KJV).

God tells John not to seal the book. The message is open for hearing and understanding. It seems to me that the message is, that God wants His people to know and undestand His work among people throughout all of time; maybe even more so in the latter days. There are many who claim that the teaching of the rapture of the Church is relatively new. Praise God if it is. That means, only, that God is revealing His Word in the latter days.

Because of the availability or despite it the just will remain just and the unjust will remain unjust. The just are those who will hear the Word of God and do it – they are righteous and holy by God’s decree and His grace. The unjust are those who because of unbelief refuse to hear and/or do it.

In the very end everyone will be rewarded according to their works. The righteous at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). The unrighteous at the “Great white throne” judgment (Rev. 20:11). Keep in mind whose words these are (vv. 12-13).

Jesus, “The First and the Last” “Alpha and Omega”. He began the work of redemption. He fulfilled the work of redemption (Matthew 3:15). He completes the work of redemption in the Revelation of Himself.

The Battle Against the King of kings and Lord of lords

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV)

The term “heaven opened” is used only once in the Revelation. It is, however, used three other times in the New Testament; in Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; and Acts 7:56. In each case, it is a very special and glorious event.

At heaven’s opening, here we see a great army being led by none other than the glorified, risen Jesus Christ. This is not the same horse or rider that is mentioned in 6:2-3. The first rider went out to conquer with the deceit of false peace. This second white horse rider goes out to conquer and to put an end to every evil man and deed.

He is given several names in these verses.

  1. “Faithful and True”, thus fitting with the final sentence of verse nine (v. 11);
  2. One name that “no man knew”, but He Himself (v. 12);
  3. “The Word of God” – identifying Him as the One John earlier spoke of in John 1:1-5, 14 (v. 13).
  4. “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16), for truly all kings will bow before Him and, the devil, that is, Satan, the liar will bow before Him as Lord.

The “second coming” of Jesus will be to make war, not peace. War against His enemies who have rejected, neglected, and blasphemed His every attempt for redemption. War against those who considered their way better. War against those who despised His written Word. He will put them down by the Word of His mouth (2 Thes. 2:8).

Let us look now at the description of His appearance (vv. 12-16).

  1. “Eyes…as a flame of fire”. They are piercing, looking, judging righteous judgment. Surely, He would have been righteous in His judgment even had He chosen to redeem no one;
  2. “On His head were many crowns” – Could this be the crowns awarded the saints at the ‘judgment seat of Christ’? Awards the saints received only to lay them at the feet of Jesus recognizing Him as the One worthy of the crowns;
  3. “A name, no man knew”;
  4. “A vesture [robe] dipped in blood” – This is not His blood, but the blood of those who were trampled beneath His feet. If our sins are not paid for with the blood of Christ, then our own blood will be required to pay the eternal debt.
  5. “His name the Word of God” – This identifies Him as our Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16) and as the One who gave His life for sinful man.

The “armies of Heaven” would probably include the angels of God as well as the Bride of Christ. Notice the reference back to verse 8, “fine linen, white and clean”. Verse 8 says, “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”. Certainly, then, the ‘army’ includes the saints at least.

He puts down the nations with His Word. We can find reference to verse 15 of Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. His love, mercy, and grace have been extended over millennials of time. Now His ultimate wrath is poured out. The end of the reign of man has come and Jesus Christ shall reign forever more.

Because of the carnage, vultures are called to the scene. In the Old Testament, it was a sign of divine judgment when corpses of the dead were eaten by the beasts of the field. For example, read about Jezebel’s death in 1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37. As a contrast to the above, read about the prophet in 1 Kings 13, and pay special attention to verses 23-25.

Needless to say the vultures, at man’s war with the glorified Jesus, have the feast of a lifetime.

The nations of earth could not keep their own “peace accords” and through this, God in His sovereignty calls them to “Armageddon” (16:16) where they fight one another only to suddenly be confronted by the Son of God. Confronted by Him sitting on the ‘white horse’ they unite against Him, recognizing a common enemy, only to be slain and fed to the vultures by the Lamb of God.

The Beast (13:4) and the false prophet (13:11) are cast into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. The smoke of their torment ascending day and night forever. The rest are slain by “Him that sat upon the horse”, and the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.

In conclusion, if this is the end of man’s anarchy against God, and his Word what will be your destiny? Will you be in the blessing of His presence on the glorious day of the LORD? Will you be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and riding with Him when He comes with His saints, and in wrath upon His enemies?

The wrath for our sin has already been bourne by Christ Jesus on the cross.  The curse of sin and its debt paid by the blood of Christ.

The Beast of Those Who Dwell on the Earth

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. Revelation 17:7-13 (KJV)

In verses 1-6 we have had revealed to us the mystery. In the following eight verses the angel gives the interpretation.

The Beast 1) “Was” that means, had lived prior to this day [John’s], 2) “Is not”, that is, was dead during the time of action involved, 3) “Shall ascend out of the bottomless pit”, that is, to come to life and appear on earth [at the time of God’s appointing], 4) “To go into perdition”, that is, to be appointed to death and confined to eternal torment.

The beast comes out of “the bottomless pit”. There are several references to this pit in the Revelation – 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3.

The Beasts’ destiny is to perdition. Eternal torment awaits him and all those who follow him. Remembering the “Beast” as a government; governments are represented by leaders and, of course, it would be these leaders of whom this would be speaking.

In these verses, we have the interpretation of the “seven heads”. Rome is often called, “The city of seven hills” and may be somewhat implied.

Sometimes mountain also refers to a kingdom, this seven kingdoms. Since “seven” is the number for completion,  this is quite likely a reference to world government, all Gentile governments, and most likely they have reached the end.

Prior to John’s day, five empires had fallen [five kings]: 1) Egypt, 2) Assyria, 3) Babylon, 4) Medo-Persia, and 5) Greece. One king was then present – Rome. The seventh was yet future, and an eighth comes out of the seventh.

The last world ruler could be the seventh and the eighth. When he begins at the beginning of Daniel’s “seventieth week” he is a man greatly influenced by Satan. However, in the midst of the week, he is killed, ending his rule, only to be seemingly raised from death as the incarnation of Satan, totally possessed by him, thus, making the eighth king. This is a possibility, however, there is no way to be dogmatic about it. Only God truly knows.

One thing we can learn from these prophecies of the beast is that the end will be a time of deception, drugs – to bind, blind, and control the minds of men.  I do not know about the rest of you but we can see this beginning to take place with the legalization of many mind-altering drugs, and it began with alcohol.

O, soul, will you, rather than trusting in the governments of men; will you call on the One who has come and taken on Himself all the sin of the world, and died for us, was buried and carried our sin, shame, guilt and condemnation away and left them there, and He rose from the dead?  He forever lives interceding for us.  Call on Him and He delivers you from the wrath to come unto Himself.

Redeemed From the Earth

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”  Revelation 14:1-5 (KJV)

By the promises of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, shall bring an end to sin and He will reign on the earth, and in the hearts of men.

To begin with I want to point out the seven divisions within chapter fourteen;

  1.  One hundred and forty four thousand sealed ones on Mount Zion (vv. 1-5);
  2. God’s closing testimony to earth: “The everlasting Gospel” (vv. 6-7);
  3. The angelic announcement of Babylon’s fall (v. 8);
  4. The doom of the worshipers of the beast (vv. 9-11);
  5. The second beatitude of the Revelation deals with those who die in the Lord (vv. 12-14):
  6. The harvest of the earth is reaped (vv. 14-16);
  7. The fullness of God’s wrath and vengeance poured out (vv. 17-20).

In these verses we find that the sealed 144,000 Hebrew witnesses have been protected throughout the final half of the seventieth week of Daniel. We see them standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb at His coming, at the end of the tribulation period. NOTE: Some very well known Bible teachers place this scene in Heaven.

These 144,000 are the same as those mentioned in chapter seven. These will aid Christ [not that He would need any] in setting up His millennial reign on earth.

The NIV, NAS, and the Amplified Bible read “…having His name and the name of His Father written in their foreheads” (v. 1). This does not imply it is a different group, but it does clarify and give more detail of whose seal it is – the Father’s and the Son’s.

There is music in Heaven. God surrounds Himself with heavenly sounds ringing out praises to Him. The 144,000 were given a “New song” no one else could sing. A song of deliverance and praise to God. In chapter 5:9 the “Living creatures”, and the twenty four elders sing a “New song”. There are several times in the Bibles hymnal [Psalms] where the Psalmist mentions singing a “New song” (Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1). It is a given fact that man is to praise the Lord in “New song”. The idea of a “New song” requires a changed heart and life. Certainly these remnant of Israel are changed.

Just as God led Israel out of Egypt and protected them in the wilderness for forty years He also protects and provides for this remnant, even to keeping them alive for their appointed position on earth. Only the redeemed can sin a “New song”, and theirs is one only they can sing. They could be singing the Song of Moses (EX. 15) from a whole new perspective.

These are pure before God. They have not committed immoral acts against God. They are free from spiritual and physical fornication and adultery. They follow the Lamb. They are pure, even as He is pure (v. 5). That is what it means to follow the Lamb. O, that the Church today would “Follow the Lamb”. These are “Redeemed from among men” clarifies verse three “Were redeemed from the earth”. They did not indulge in the harlotries of idolatry and worship of the beast. They stood as an open testimony to God’s goodness, grace and power to save.

“…First fruits…” to some may cause confusion by causing them to think this is referring to all the redeemed. It could be referring to their position in the earthly kingdom of Christ. It could also tie in with Revelation 20:5 where it reads, “This is the first resurrection”. Where the time of the resurrection of all who are in Christ is ended. The “First” implying a second resurrection which will follow.

As a born again child of God through faith in the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ; believing He is the Son of God and God the Son we have no need to fear these things.  We are already seated with Christ in heavenly places,  and He protects us daily.  He is God with us.  If you do not have the assurance that only Jesus can give, then, believe Him today.

Cast Out of Heaven

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:7-12 (KJV)

When we read the book of Job in the Old Testament it appears that Satan has access to appear before God (Job1:6).

It seems that in the middle of the 7 years that Satan is cast out of Heaven, no longer having access to God. Because of this, he is allowed to wreak havoc on the earth – “cast out into the earth”. The last 3.5 years are catastrophic. In Colossians, we read…

“And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist…” Colossians 1:17

It is an encouraging thing for the Christian to know that God, through His Son Jesus, holds all things, all the elements under His control during the opening of the seals, the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials of wrath; Satan (the serpent) is deceiving minds and destroying mankind as never before.

“There was war in heaven”, John says. Michael [the fourth personality in this parenthetical scene], is representative of the great angelic host. These angels, ever faithful to God, stand firm to get the devil from before the throne of God.

In Scripture there are four references to the curtailing of Satan’s activities:

  1. Somewhere around the dawn of creation satan was cast out of his exalted position as an angel of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15);
  2. Mid-way through the Great Tribulation Satan will be cast out from any access to God as accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10);
  3. At the beginning of the millennium he will be shut up in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3);
  4. At the end of the millennium, he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

We will see, that since Satan will be cast out from even appearing before God that he will indulge in an all-out attack on the seed of the woman – anti-semitic attacks against all of Israel. He has always hated God’s people, whether it be Israel or the Church. Being no more able to accuse he attacks in all his limited wrath. God protects Israel.  We can see a great attack against Israel today.  Our President of the United States of America has declared Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.  His declaration was that the U. S. of A. will have our Embassy there going along with God’s declaration that Jerusalem is the City of David.

The “Loud voice” is one of rejoicing. It is not said whose voice it is.

It could be God’s. It could be the twenty-four elders. It could be the angels. It might be all the voices of heaven blended together as one.

It will be a glorious day in heaven when Satan will be cast out from being “The accuser of the brethren”.

HOW IS THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON?

  1. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross;
  2. By the testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God;
  3. By loving Jesus with our lives [“loved not their lives unto the death”] (Mark 8:34-35; 10:31).

At this time there will be rejoicing in heaven, but great “woe” to those “Inhabiters of the earth”. Those refusing God’s grace through Jesus Christ will suffer both the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God. Satan will go all out. He will even try to destroy those who are his to lead them into eternal torment with himself. He knows his time is short. Satan is already defeated.  His head has been crushed.  All he can do is steal, kill, and destroy and wreak havoc in the world.

O will you turn your soul, heart, mind, and strength over to the Lamb of God who died to deliver you from Satan and from sin’s bondage?  Call on Him. He will hear you and save you.

Full Force of Wrath

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.”  Revelation 10:5-7

These verses are further evidence that this angel is not the Lord Jesus.

The first thing that tells me it is not, is, that he “Sware to Him that liveth for ever and ever”. The risen glorified Jesus would have no need to do that. He is the “Fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He is the One who lives “For ever and ever”.

The second reason is that, if it is Jesus He could sware by Himself (Heb. 6:13).

This is simply an angelic messenger of God’s ownership upon His creation. Afterall, all things are under His feet. He can send an angelic messenger if He so chooses.

The fact that the angel is standing on the sea and the earth seem to imply that time is up. This last phrase of verse six is indicative of that. “There will be no more delay” (NIV). “There shall be delay no longer” (NAS). “There should be delay no longer” (NKJV). The verse does not imply no more time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc.); unless it could be applied to repentance; and read, “No more time for man to repent”. The clear implication is that time is up. The full force of God’s wrath is come. Evil will be eternally put away.

Verse seven is a strong affirmation of the above. John speaks of the seventh trump. At the sound of the seventh trump, “The mystery of God should be finished”. What is this mystery? There is much said in the Bible about mystery. Some of these God reveals to His prophets and has revealed them.

1. The mystery of the Church (Eph. 5:32);
2. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thes. 2:7).

The above are only a sample of mysteries of the Bible. These two probably fit with what John is writing. With the sounding of the seventh trump; the final martyrs will be slain, the gospel ceases and judgment falls on the whole earth. The seventh trump also begins the “seven vials of wrath”. If you will remember the seven seals judgments only affected one fourth, then, the seven trumpets affect one third, but when we get to the seven vials it seems to affect the whole earth because there is no mention of the amount of earth or population affected.

The work of those who are His on earth is finished. The bondage of and control of sin on earth is finished as well. Only wrath remains. Mankind has no more time for repentance at the seventh trumpet. Because mankind has rejected God’s atonement for sin through faith in Jesus Christ, the iniquity of mankind and its judgment will be put on the God-haters. God provides the way through the cross of Jesus for man to come to Him and be saved. If we reject that way there is no other, and judgment is imminent.

God warns people through His servants He calls prophets or preachers. God reveals judgment to certain ones and as God’s servants, they warn people of judgment. This shows God’s abundant mercy (Amos 3:7). He owes man nothing, yet His mercy is astounding. One day, though, His mercy will cease. Woe be to those who heed not His warnings.

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.

In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 10:10).

And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).

The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God are revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.

Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

It is not told us why there is silence for one-half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.

The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.

There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different angel.

He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.

In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.

Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.

Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.

It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.

After the fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.

Nothing is said about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

Happy Thanksgiving to Our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Let us give Thanks to the One who created us, who cares for us, and has shown great love for us by dying on the cross for our sins, being buried – carrying our sins away, then rising from the grave alive forever more.

Let us be Thankful for all those who have been a help and an encouragement to us, but never forget to whom we owe the greatest Thanks.  Let us be a Thankful people.

I do want to Thank the ones who have frequented this site and have left their likes and continue to visit.  I also Thank the Lord Jesus for you and your visits.  God bless you all richly.  Have a wonderful, and Happy Thanksgiving Day.  Be Thankful every day.

`t.a.

…With the Sword of My Mouth

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”  Revelation 2:12-17 (KJV)

In this, we unveil Jesus Christ as One who hates compromise in His people, especially of doctrine and morality, and how He deals with it.

Pergamum was a city of compromise. There were many temples of worship there. From emperor worship, there was also Dionysus, Esculapius (the healing serpent god), and Zeus. These were worshipped as well as others. It was legal to worship anything you please as long as you bowed first to worship the Roman emperor. If you did not bow to the emperor, then, you most likely would die.

Writing of Esculapius, J. Vernon McGee wrote…

“Then the other outstanding temple was of the god Asklepios. Down from that great ancient world. It was the Mayo Clinic of that day. It was, first of all, a temple to Asklepios. If you are looking at the Greek god Asklepios, it is a man, but when you see the Anatolian or Oriental Asklepios, it is a serpent. There in Pergamum it was a serpent. I have pictures which I took of that great marble pillar which stands like an obelisk now but apparently was a pillar in the temple of Asklepios. The construction of the temple was unusual in that it was round. There they used every means of healing imaginable. They used both medicine and psychology – and about everything else.
Put yourself in this situation: you go down long tunnels, and above are holes that look like air holes for ventilation but are not. As you walk along these tunnels, sexy voices come down through the holes, saying to you, ‘You are going to get well. You are going to feel better. You are going to be healed.’ (Does that have a modern ring?) You go down to the hot baths where you are given a massage. There is a little theater there where they give plays of healing. If they haven’t healed you by now, as a last resort they put you in that temple at night and turn loose the nonpoisonous snakes which crawl over you. (That is known as the shock treatment in our day!) If they don’t heal you, they will drive you crazy, that’s for sure. They have a back door where they take out the dead. They don’t mention the ones they don’t heal; they speak only ot those who recover.” (From Thru The Bible pg. 908 by J. Vernon McGee).

Warren Wiersbe wrote of this also…

“The city aslso had a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff.” (BE Commentary vol. 2, pg. 573).

In the church at Pergamus, some Christians died because they refused to pay homage to the emperor. Some people came in dressed in “Sheep’s clothing” saying it was the patriotic and dutiful thing to do. According to this teaching, it was okay to bow to another god as long as you continued to worship “god the emperor”. “It is okay to compromise to say your life. After all, how can you be a witness for Jesus when you are dead”.

This is the religious atmosphere the church was in. How tempting it must have been for them to compromise their faith. We will see Jesus hates the sin of compromise.

Jesus once again addresses this letter to the messenger of the local congregation at Pergamos (v. 12).

Jesus is identified here as in verse sixteen of chapter one, as “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.”

The sword held a special place in Rome of which Pergamos was an active emperor worshipping city. The sword was a symbol of power and authority. Thus, by Jesus being identified this way says to the Christians in this city, “I am mightier than Rome”. Rome will fall. It did. He never will.

Once again we have Jesus’s “I know” statement in verse 13. He knows our works, our location, and our tribulations. He also knows our compromises.

Pergamos was a very pluralistic society, especially when it came to religion. Roman emperor worship being number one, the worship Esculapius, which was the serpent god of healing, Zeus, and Dionysus and others were all worshipped there.

The probable reference to “Satan’s seat” as “Satan’s throne” is to the worship of the Roman emperor. This city was probably one of the strongest advocates of emperor worship. All those other gods could be worshiped freely as long as they would bow and give allegiance to the emperor.

Jesus’s words of commendation are strong. Even though they lived in such a place they were holding fast to the name of Jesus. They were not denying the faith. Jesus then recognizes one martyr who was slain for his faithful testimony of Christ. There is not much said or known about Antipas. Tradition says he was broiled alive inside the carcass of a bull.

When there is such a multiplicity of religion with all bowing to the government: that is certainly the dwelling place of Satan.

There is a strong rebuke for them in verse fourteen. Jesus can use the “Sharp two-edged sword” to comfort and encourage. Now He is wielding it in order to warn.

The rebuke is against those who were teaching and following “The doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet for profit – a prophet of compromise. He betrayed his calling for a price. In Numbers 22-25 we find the narrative of Balaam.

Balaam was asked by Balak, who was the king of Moab and he greatly feared Israel, to curse this nation of many people. He must have known of Balaam’s tendency. However, God would not let him do it. Remember God’s promise to Abraham, “Whosoever curseth you shall be cursed”.

The “Doctrine of Balaam” is a doctrine of compromise. Just blend into your environment. Go ahead and bow to the Roman emperor, save your life, and still worship Jesus. After all, is the worship of Jesus worth your life, your possessions, your reputation?

THE WAY OF BALAAM = Ministry for pay.
THE ERROR OF BALAAM = To think God would do the opposite of what He promised.
THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM = Counseling others on how to curse God’s people.

Jesus knows that to compromise thus, is to kill the witness, to stop the work of the gospel. Compromise is one of Satan’s greatest threats to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Balaam could not curse Israel, but he found them capable of compromise. Numbers 31:16 says, “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague (Numbers 25) among the congregation of the LORD”.

It seems Balaam played “Peacemaker” and Israel compromised the Word of God. Peace at any price is not the right way. It is the way of disobedience and death. The “Stumbling block” was intermarriage with the Midianites and Moabites. The “Stumbling block” for Pergamos was the same teaching; just go along, marry the lost, worship the emperor, even if it is not sincere, do it for the sake of preserving your life.

If you would note Numbers 25 you will see the devastation that came upon Israel because of their treachery of faith. Twenty four thousand Israelites died because of the sin of compromising the Law of God.

Those who have God’s law and keep it will always be at enmity with those who do not (John 14:21). If there is no friction, it is because there is no motion.

Once again we learn of a teaching which was growing and leaching in the early church (v. 15). The teaching of the Nicolaitans fits with the “Doctrine of Balaam”. They fit like a hand in a glove. Jesus says, in verse 6 and 15, this is that “Which I hate”. “Conquer the people” teaches the people to compromise their place as priests. The man appointed priests will pray for them. When they sin come to the priests, confess to them, and they will pray for your forgiveness. You go on and live, do not worry about your sin. Just confess on confession day.

This is the thing Jesus hates. A compromising church who leaves all the work of the ministry in the pastor’s hands. We the people of Jesus Christ are the priests of God. We are individually and daily responsible for confessing our own sins to God, not to a man, unless that man/woman is someone we have offended or sinned against, and it would be proper to do so. We are all responsible for obedience to the Word of God.

If Jesus hates these doctrines we should as well. This was a problem in this church. It was hated by the church of Ephesus, for which Jesus commended them. It is something every church and Christian individual must deal with, and if we come to any conclusion other than that of Jesus, we oppose Him and choose our own way.

Jesus calls for this church’s repentance (v. 16). Remember repentance is a change of mind, change of direction, a 180 degree turn.

Jesus wants His Church to view compromise and all sin as He does. To repent is to come to full agreement with Him concerning compromise and all that He has declared to be sin.
Repentance and faith are the ingredients of salvation. Repentance is also the need of Pergamos’ church and of the Church today. If there is no repentance, He says, “I will come quickly”. This has nothing to do with His second coming. If the church refuses His word as the means of detecting evil, false doctrines, and compromise; His own Word will be used to “Fight against them”. The Word of Christ not only convicts and comforts it also condemns when He is not obeyed. “The sword of My mouth” can only have reference to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…”. Ephesians 6:17, “And take… the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God”.

Our Lord seems to make a distinction between a remnant of faithful, and those who are the compromisers. His words, “Will fight against them” indicates that if this problem of compromise is not dealt with in a quick and decisive manner, then those, the “Them(s)” will be cut by the cutting edges of the “Two-edged sword”. He will take this sword of His Word and cut away all that is unseemly, sinful and compromising, and He will come surely and quickly and do it. A-MEN.

The final verse of this letter is once again addressed to the individual.

We have to remember everyone who has their names on the role of the local church is not an “Overcomer”. The “Overcomer”, Jesus promises they will eat of the “Hidden manna”. There was a bowl of manna hidden within the “Ark of the Covenant”. This manna is revealed in the person of Jesus who is the true manna from Heaven (John 6:31-33). The “Hidden manna” can only be eaten by those for whom the “Holy Ark” is opened through the shed blood, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The only way into the presence of God (which the Ark of the Covenant represents) is through the blood of Jesus.

It is not certain what the “White stone” represents. It is possible it was one of the twelve stones worn by the Levitical priests on their robes. It is also possible it represents a symbol of security.
Your name written in God’s stone is certainly surer than written on a local church’s membership role. The question could be asked, “Is your name written on the Rock, or is it written on a roll?” God’s Ten Commandments were written in stone. They abide forever. Maybe, that is true of the ones who receive a “New name written in stone”. Jesus the One cutting the edges.

In conclusion,

Pergamos had one thing going for it. It had some who had been faithful to Christ, even in the face of death. They dared not to compromise.

Fear has a way of causing compromise, and when a smooth talking, charismatic personality comes along saying, “A compromise is alright. You do not have to give up your beliefs. Just go along. It will keep you alive.” That, when coupled with the fear, makes it all sound pretty good.

However, Jesus says He hates it. Compromise destroys our fellowship with God and Jesus. It ruins our witness, and it robs us of our peace with God.

There is great blessing for the “Overcomer”. He gets to “Partake of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) of Jesus and live eternally. They also have a “New name” written in stone. One thing is for sure Jesus, the One who is the cutting edges of that two-edged sword will do what is necessary to make His people holy.

A veterans day reflection on the revival of communism in the United States.

Christian Theology

A veterans day reflection on the revival of communism in the United States.
 
Socialism cannot be Christianized. Communism cannot be baptized. It is irredeemably pagan in its philosophy and practice. Marxism should be viewed by the church as a religious heresy as much as Pelagianism and Unitarianism.
 
In God’s system, he intergenerationally draws worldly wealth, land ownership and social stability away from the faithless and toward his people. They bless the earth through obedience to his laws, mutual support and edification, Christian kindness, charity and fair dealing in business which manifests itself in low rates of crime, psychological stability (through the avoidance of drug use, wanton sexual relationship, perversion, disease, parental neglect and pagan spiritualites) so that the entire community grows in strength and godliness through time.
 
Communism by contrast is a system created for the purpose (in the guise of scientific progress and natural evolutionary development)…

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Who is Jesus Christ?

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 1:7-9 (KJV)

It does matter how we see Jesus.  If you see Jesus as a good teacher, a prophet, or a good man, and deny His teachings – such as – “My Father and I are One” (John 10:30). Then how do you believe He was a good teacher, a prophet, or a good man?  If He lied about the things He teaches of Himself, then He was a liar.  “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  If Jesus is the Son of God as He said then He is Divine and is Incarnate God.

There is one thing that identifies the fellowship of Christ from other so called fellowships.  The love that has Jesus Christ as its basis, its standard, and foundation.

Some teachers and teachings declare that Jesus was only a spirit being – similar to the angels that appear as men.  If that was true then there was no actual body that died on the cross, and no resurrection.  The Scriptures say, “… He took not on Him the nature of angels: but He took on Him the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16).  He became flesh.  To deny Jesus became flesh [God Incarnate] is to deny the truth.

Those who teach a different Jesus are deceivers, even antichrists.  Paul writes, “…Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).  The fact must be stressed over and over again that false teaching is harmful and deadly to the individual Christian, and to the whole body of Christ [the Church] if it is allowed in our churches and lives.

There are many religions that profess to be “Christian”.  If they deny that Jesus Christ is God in flesh they are a deceiver and liars.  If they declare His deity, yet claim that it is something all mankind can attain as well (that is deity, and that we can all become gods), then that robs the glory that belongs only to Jesus, and that is reserved solely for Him; and those who teach such are “antichrist” deceivers.

“The doctrine of Christ” (v. 9) is the pure Bible doctrine [teaching] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, God become flesh (John 1:1, 14), and God the Son.  Anyone or any group denying this doctrine, or equating Godhood to any other is a liar and antichrist.  He or they are not of God.  They are not to be accepted in the fellowship of Christ or His Church.

In the following verses of 2 John 1:10-11 the apostle John warns followers of Jesus Christ not even to allow the teachers of the antichrist doctrine into their homes; neither to tell them “Goodbye”.  To tell them “Goodbye” is to tell them “Godspeed” or “God bless you”.

It really does make a difference what you believe about Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

The Grace of God

For the child of God, the grace of God is the Son of God.  God gave us, and shows us His grace through His Son Jesus Christ.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-15 (KJV)

The “grace of God” which has “appeared to all men” can be no other than the Lord Jesus.  That appearance took place on Calvary where the best and holiest God had to give gave His life as our very sufficient sacrifice for our sin.  Today I want us to hear what the Believer’s Bible Commentary says about these verses.

Titus 2:11  For the grace of God … has appeared. Here the grace of God is virtually synonymous with the Son of God. God’s grace appeared when the Lord Jesus visited our planet and especially when He gave Himself for our sins. He appeared for the salvation of all men. His substitutionary work is sufficient for the redemption of all. A bona fide offer of pardon and forgiveness is made to all. But only those who truly receive Him as Lord and Savior are saved. There is no suggestion here or elsewhere in the Bible that everyone will be saved at last. Universal salvation is a lie of the devil.
2:12 The same grace that saves us also trains us in the school of holiness. There are “No-No’s” in that school which we must learn to renounce. The first is ungodliness, which means irreligion. The second is worldly lusts—not just sexual sins, but also the lust for wealth, power, pleasure, fame, or anything else that is essentially worldly.
On the positive side, grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously toward others, and godly in the pure light of His presence. These are the virtues that should characterize us in this world, where everything about us is going to be dissolved. It is the place of our pilgrimage and not our final home.
2:13 While living as aliens in the world, we are inspired by a magnificent hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. By this are we to understand the Rapture, when Christ appears in glory to the church and conveys it to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13–18)? Or does it refer to Christ’s coming to reign, when He appears in glory to the world, puts down His foes, and sets up His kingdom (Rev. 19:11–16)? Basically we believe Paul is speaking of the first—Christ’s coming for His bride, the church. But whether it is His coming as Bridegroom or as King, the believer should be prepared and looking for His glorious arrival.
2:14 As we await His Return we never forget the purpose of His First Coming and of His self-sacrifice. He gave Himself not only to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin but to redeem us from every lawless deed. It would have been a half-way salvation if the penalty of sin had been canceled but its dominion in our lives was left unconquered.
He also gave Himself to purify for Himself His own special people.
2:15 These are things that Titus was commissioned to teach—every thing discussed in the foregoing verses, and particularly the purposes of the Savior’s passion. He was to exhort or encourage the saints to lives of practical godliness and to rebuke any who contradicted the apostolic teachings either by word or by life. And he didn’t have to be apologetic in carrying on a forceful ministry; let him do it with all authority and boldness of the Holy Spirit. Let no one despise you. Titus need have no qualms about his youth, his Gentile background, or any natural disability. He was speaking the word of God, and this made all the difference. BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

Let us in the grace of God love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds, and all of our strength.  He loved you and me enough to die on the cross.