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.

 

It is About…

…God; not you or me.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 (KJV)

Do we forget or is it simply ignorance?  Do we forget that God saves us because of His great love, not that He owes us something, or that we are worthy of His salvation?  I hear the phrase sometimes, “God owes everyone a chance for salvation?”  Remember this,  God owes us nothing.  When a soul is saved it is by God’s grace alone.

Something we need to remember too is that there is a threefold work in salvation;  the first is past, the second is present, and the third is future.  The theological terms are Justification, second Sanctification, and the third is glorification.  All a work of God’s wonderful, marvelous grace.  We do nothing to deserve it and can do nothing to earn it.  When a man, woman, boy or girl is justified by God through the cross of Christ that individual is eternally saved, and the work of God will continue in and through that person throughout their lifetime (sanctification), and when their body dies they will be glorified.

God is rich in mercy.  So rich in fact, that He raises us to life, and justifies us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; then through that same death, burial and resurrection He sanctifies us unto Himself as we daily walk through this world and that is His workmanship in us.  One day we have the eternal promise of being with Him through all eternity.

Why is He doing this?  “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches  of His grace in His kindness toward us…”  It is About God.

No One Knows the Son…

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.”  Luke 10:21-22 (KJV)

Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit because of what He had previously said.  He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven and had given the ones whom He sent out power to tread on the evil forces of hell.

Now He speaks to the Father, thanking Him for His revelation to others of who the Son is and that no one can know the Son except the Father, and no one can know the Father except the Son.  Now if I were to leave it there that would leave us all lost.

Jesus says,

“…And he to whom the Son will reveal Him”.

To Know God the Father and God the Son is not done by our choice.  To know Him is revealed by the Son through the Holy Spirit who is Christ in us until Jesus returns again (Matthew 16:13-19).

If you know the Father you will know the Son, and if you know the Son you will know the Father.  If you deny the Father you deny the Son.  If you deny the Son you deny the Father.

See these references –  1 John 2:22-23;  4:14-15;  5:12-13

Let the Earth Keep Silence

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV)

Habakkuk was a prophet like others, and other people who have asked the question “Where is God in the matter of justice?”; or “Why does God not judge wickedness?”  I have noticed in reading these questions, and having asked them myself a time or two, that God never gives a direct answer, but always takes us to Himself.

God had told this prophet that He was basically judging evil, even by using an evil king and nation to do it.  I have learned that if we want to know about evil and justice, then we first need to look inward.

With Habakkuk, the LORD was showing that this nation which He was using to chastise His own people was idol worshipers.  They would one day find out that they were going to experience justice as well; the judgment of God.

Every idol will one day be exposed for what it is.  There is idolatry in every nation on earth; yes, even the U. S. of A.  We have an idol in New York harbor, that we hold more dear than we do the word of the LORD.  We revere the words of physicians over the word of the LORD.  We hold the word of financiers as more valuable than the word of the LORD.  We value science over the word of the LORD.  These idols will one day come crashing down.

However, “…The LORD is in His holy temple…”, and that is speaking of His heavenly throne, and in this world His temple is also within those who have believed in Him through His Son Jesus, and the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, God the Son (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Let the children of God, all Christians, cast off the works of the flesh, and put on the garments of salvation (Romans 13:12, 14; Galatians 3:27), and show forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  This would be revival in the truest sense of the word.

When God’s people repent of their sins, and come out of the world, then by the grace and power of God, there will be change in the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the earth.

 

Knowledge is the Answer

The move of our society and culture which we live in is that science is the answer for all our ills, or problems, even our sicknesses.  Is science the answer?  If we are to understand things then we must learn; and learning gains us knowledge, and knowledge is science.  If I am wrong tell me.  Does the word “Science” not mean “Knowledge” or “Know”?

What we need to know, however, is not the intricate workings of the universe, our world; but God; the One who created the universe and all that is in it.

Today we will look at the word of God spoken to and through Hosea, a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  His ministry was during the ministry of Isaiah (Read Isaiah 1:1 and Hosea 1:1).  The Jereboam mentioned is the second Jereboam, not the first king of the Northern Kingdom.  Hear the word of the LORD…

“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.” Hosea 4:1-6 (KJV)

Who among you have a time with God, where you spend time in His word (Not a devotional reading), His word, where He speaks with you, you pray for understanding and knowledge, and you reach an understanding with Him concerning what He says?  It appears to me sometimes that people professing to know God are ignorant of His word.  There are many who profess Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and some who do not, who believe phrases such as “The Lord helps those who help themselves” is a Biblical reference.  It is not.  What about the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”?  It is not found in Scripture either.

When we hear things such as this it is no wonder that professing Christians, due to ignorance, are relishing a life of sin, just like the rest of the world.

This ignorance is what Hosea is speaking of, and what the LORD is warning us about in His word through the events of the Northern tribes, and that of Judah in Isaiah.  The phrase “Ignorance is bliss” comes to mind as I write.  Ignorance is not bliss.  It is doom for any people who choose to remain ignorant about God, His word, His ways, His Son, and His redemption available because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus His only begotten Son (John 3:16).

Truth, mercy and the knowledge of God are necessities for the child of God. Ignorance is why there “Swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood” in any land; including the United States of America.

Get out of your ignorance and get into God and His word.  Knowledge is the Answer through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Consider the Work of God

Days of prosperity often cause us to be joyful.  Prosperity is not always dealing with gold, silver, precious jewels, fine homes and fine cars.  Prosperity can just as well mean, a place to live, protected from the elements; food on the table, clothes on your back, and a wonderful family who loves you; and realizing every day that God in heaven loves, and keeps you.  That is the best of prosperity.

Adversity – troubles, sorrows, pains, family troubles, health troubles, financial hardships, all of these come to us all at some point in life.  I want us to see what the wisest of men; and one the most prosperous (in material wealth) had to say about both prosperity and adversity…

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (KJV)

We out always see, to look at; to inspect the work of God.  In order to do so one must see the work of God.  Do you see the work of God?  First consider yourself as a work of God.  Look in the mirror.  That image you see is in the image of God.  Your body is made up of a very intricate system that works keeping these tents, moving, seeing, working, breathing, heart beating, legs moving, arms and  hands busy.  Consider.  No one can make straight what God has made crooked.  We must consider that what has been made crooked can be straightened by God Himself.

In these verses we can see that both prosperity and adversity have a place in God’s plan for humanity.  Both are a work of God.  They are opposite of one another, and so that we might not be able to know what lies ahead in our lives.  We plan, we can save money, but no one knows what is coming tomorrow.  Not even the wealthiest of us.  The wealthiest man or woman in the world could pass into eternity before the sun sets this evening.  Their wealth cannot prevent it.  The same is true with the poorest of men and women.

“Consider the work of God….”

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. John 6:29

The One whom God sent is Jesus Christ His Son, God the Son, and He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for you and me that we might have fellowship with God, the Creator of all things.

Trusting the LORD

“And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a king who was pleasing to the LORD and walked in His ways.  When the Assyrian army taunted, and spouted hateful rhetoric at them the king of Judah called all the captains over the people to gather at the gate of the city, and spoke to them with courageous and encouraging words, because of his trust in the LORD God of Israel.

For all of us there are fearful situations.  That is where faith in Christ comes in.  When we trust Him for our salvation what is there to fear.  Are you aware that to perish in this life without God is the greatest tragedy that can happen to you?

The LORD God has made a way of salvation.  That is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  When you trust Him there is no enemy, or weapon that comes against us that we need fear.  We can say with the apostle Paul…

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20

No matter what you are facing in this life today God will deliver you.

When GOD’S Children Go Astray

There is too much false teaching going around.  Teaching which says to us everyday… Live the way you want to, do your own thing, do not worry about it…  God is a loving God.   He does not judge.  He loves.

If a confessor of Jesus Christ can live in sin, and live without shame, guilt, or condemnation; or the judgment of God; then that being is not a child of God.  God works in His children; correcting, instructing, convicting when we sin.  And if we sin, and refuse to repent; that is, change our minds toward Him; then there will be judgment in accordance with that sin.

Hear what the Spirit of God says in the book of Judges…

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”  Judges 2:11-13 (KJV)

Every Christian today loves the positive promises of the Old Testament; but very often forget about the warnings, and the judgments on the people of God.  If you will genuinely read the Scriptures and hear what God says you will be able to see and hear what God expects from us… To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  Israel; in the verses above turned their backs on God to foreign gods, which were no gods; just wood, and stone.  And we think we live in a civilized and god-fearing culture and society.

Many professing Christians have turned to the worship of Baal, by accepting other religious gods and believes; trusting more in our technology, medicine, finances, and global unity.  Then they begin following the godesses of Canaan [Ashtaroth], in immoral, filthy behavior; acting more like animal beings, than the One who created them.  The writer of Psalm 115 and 135 says, “They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusts in them”  115:8, and 135:18.  Become like what you worship if you will, but I pray you choose Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.

If you are in sin, and are convicted of its wrong Jesus is waiting to receive you back; to cleanse you, and restore you to fellowship with Him.  If you feel no remorse or guilt for your sin; maybe until now, then call on the name of Jesus, He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again; He will hear you and forgive you, and cleanse you; and give you the new birth that is only through faith in Him.

Something from the New Testament to remember…

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8

Turn to the Lord, believe His word, and live by it.  Cleanse your heart.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Jesus Through the Bible

In February 2014 I started a study of “Jesus Through the Bible”, and I never finished it. So I will begin again by reblogging those previous ones, and add new as we get to the end of the old. I pray the Lord encourages, strengthens, corrects and comforts as we go through this study.

Broken Pieces

From February 01, 2014 through December 31 we will take a journey through the Bible, and looking at pictures of Jesus and the very fulfillment of Jesus when we get to the New Testament.  These will be a short portion of verse or verses, and light commentary on the portrait, type, and how we are to respond to Him.

For February 01 –

 ‘And the LORD said unto Noah, ‘Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.”  Genesis 7:1 (KJV)

It is awesome the way God has preserved, and inspired His Word to proclaim His Son and His glorious salvation.  Looking at the verse above we see the means of Noah’s, his family’s and many other creature’s salvation from the devastating flood.

In this historical account of the worldwide flood of Noah’s day we have a wonderful picture…

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Read the Handwriting On The Wall

Daniel 5:25-31

“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:25-31 (KJV)

THE MESSAGE OF THE HANDWRITING AND ITS INTERPRETATION (vv. 25-28). The message of the handwriting was in Aramaic which the people could read, but did not understand. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. ‘Mene’, being mentioned twice means you better pay attention – Daniel said, “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” The double “Mene” means the judgment is stacked up on you and is doubled. “Tekel”, was ‘You have come up short’. No one even had taken heed to the message from years before when Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of the statue with the golden head. They were pompous, proud, sanctimonious and secure, and God said, “You are done”. “Upharsin” or “Peres”, the kingdom is given to others – in particular to the Medes and Persians. Daniel knew this partially due to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which he told him and interpreted.

The city of Babylon is about to fall and it is as though Belshazzar does not hear, and awards Daniel all these things of wealth. How foolish the heart of a king, or any leader who takes the Word of God so carelessly, haphazardly, and does not fall on his face before Holy God. The very act of awarding these to Daniel was an act of arrogance, and a lack of repentance.

It is not kings who set up kingdoms, or rule. It is the Almighty God. That is visually apparent, and easily seen when one has a heart for God, His Word, and His rule. Daniel would receive awards, but not from the hand of a fallen evil king.

 PROMISES ARE CARRIED OUT JUST AS THEY WERE SPOKEN (vv. 29-31). That same night that Belshazzar awarded the one who interpreted the writing, Belshazzar was also given what God had promised. He was killed. God’s judgment is sure, and sometimes without delay.

Darius the Mede took the kingdom, to rule, and he was a man of 62 years of age. God would use Darius to give to Daniel what Belshazzar had given, and even more. Darius loved Daniel, which becomes apparent in the next chapter.

Where do you fit into God’s plan? Are you living for yourself, gaining all you can in this life? Do you believe your life to be all one big party? Are you flaunting yourself against the truths of God Almighty? Do you believe yourself to have your life fully in hand? Let me urge you to rethink those thoughts. You do not. Just as the kingdom can be taken from a king in one night, so can your life be taken in one night, then; what is your destiny?

When you see THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL it just may be too late.

There is only one hope for all mankind; and that is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  Calling on His name, believing in Him (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13), is the only way of escaping eternal damnation.  That is today’s “Handwriting on the wall”.

Delivered; Pure and Bold

“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:26-30 (KJV)

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S SECOND TESTIMONY TOWARD GOD.

 Please Note : Just because someone has seen God’s mighty works, and can testify to God’s power does not necessarily mean they know God on a personal basis. At this point in the kings life, he did not know God.

 God’s grace is so amazing toward Nebuchadnezzar and toward us all. This is the second mighty deed the king witnesses of the Almighty. The first, remember, was God revealing the dream through Daniel with its interpretation, and this is second; and at the scene of false worship.

When the king commanded them to come out of the fire – they obeyed. They could not obey when it came to worshipping an idol. They could, however, obey their king in other matters. This shows us that there is a time and place for civil disobedience.

When they came out of the fire there was not one single singed hair, nor a piece of clothing touched by the flame. They did not even have the scent of smoke on them or their clothing. When they came from the flames of that fire they were cleaner than ever before.

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony has all appearances of genuine faith with one exception. You cannot legislate genuine faith. When you have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ you are secure enough in that faith to let the gospel do its work and the people trust God for themselves.

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, alias Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego were promoted even higher in Babylon. I wonder how the snitch felt now?

NOTE: They were cast down into the fire and God lifted them out of it. In times of our fiery trials God is closer than at any other time.

By the fire they were cleansed, they were strengthened in faith, and they were exalted, and God was exalted.

GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Father of Jesus Christ, and our Father because of the cross (the death) of Christ, His burial and bodily resurrection will not leave His own in the fire alone.  He purifies through the fire, making us like His Son Jesus.

World History Revealed to a Captor King

This is one of the more lengthy chapters of Daniel, but it is also a very important one. Though this chapter deals with the dream of the king Nebuchadnezzar, it is one of historical proportions. This chapter sets the “stage” for the events which follow. The kings ego, which is most likely behind the building of the great image we will see later, the dreams which Daniel would see, and the events of the nations which would follow Babylon in world domination.

“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.“ Daniel 2:1 (KJV)

The distress the king is having is caused by the dreams he has had. Notice, it says, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” which seems to imply his dream was recurring; maybe having it on a nightly basis or may have been over and over on a singular night. This was only in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. This was an arrogant and proud king. He was ruthless. Of course, most kings of the Gentile nations were cruel and vicious tyrants.

We are about to see how the Sovereign God of the universe was in control of the dreams of men/kings, the interpretation of the dream, and its fulfillment. Whether God still speaks through dreams in this study is not an issue this study will endeavor to answer. It is important for us to realize and believe that God did speak through the dreams mentioned in the book of Daniel.

“Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Daniel 2:2-13.

After having this dream in a recurring fashion the kings command went forth for all the “wise men”, astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans speaking of Chaldeans as “astrologers”.

Now, the king ordered them to appear before him for the distinct purpose of interpreting this troubling dream. It was troubling to him. It was an encouragement and blessing to Daniel and his friends. We will see why as we come to the close of this chapter.

In times past kings, and this particular king had always told the dream and accepted the interpretation from these “wise men”. That would not be so in this case.

Not only did the king ask for the interpretation, but he asked these men to tell him the dream. There is some question as to whether the king had actually forgotten the dream or that God had put it in his heart to test the ‘wise men’. Whoever could tell him the dream he had would also be able to interpret the dream – surely. “No man can tell another what he dreamed”. That was the basic response of these ‘counselors’ (v. 10). “Only the gods could do that, and they probably won’t” was there response in verse 11. You can tell anyone your dream, and they can give their interpretation of it. It may not be accurate, but it is an interpretation.

The kings mind was set. He would only except the interpretation of the dream from only the one who could tell him his dream. It was not ‘Business as usual’. It seems that he really did not trust his ‘wise men’; especially, with this very important dream.

These men began to stall, trying to obtain more time. The king recognized what they were doing and became angry with them. He commanded that all the ‘wise men’ be killed. By this decree he also condemned Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They, evidently, had not been called upon to interpret the dream.

“The thing” of verse 5 is for ‘a word, command, discourse or subject. “The thing is gone from me”.

This could be saying, “I have given the command; it is firm”. He was speaking of the decree, that if they could not tell him the dream and its interpretation they would all die.

If this is a correct interpretation, then, the king knew the dream; he just did not want some flippant charlatans interpretation to the dream, and neither did the LORD God. This was wisdom given the king by God to weed out the false interpreters, and bring Daniel before the king – ultimately glorifying the Lord Most High.

The kings decree to kill was a satanic edict. “A man who determines not to compromise his life usually gets Satan’s attention.” (DAVID JEREMIAH from “The Handwriting On The Wall” pg. 51). Daniel certainly got his attention, and the devil wanted to kill him.

“Oh, the sin and folly of pretension. The emphasis is not to be put on Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath and cruelty, but on that which occasioned it. These sons of the colleges were trained and paid to interpret mysteries, and it is a reasonable to assume that the means whereby they could know the interpretation of a dream might also be employed to discover the dream itself. The fact is, they were frauds. The four Hebrews studied astrology to understand it, but not to believe it. Daniel 2:10 shows in one single sentence that all of the astrology and necromancy and oracles and dreams and mantic revelations of the whole pagan world for six thousand years are nothing but imbecilities and lies, and it proves that all the religions and arts and sciences and philosophies and attainments and powers of men apart from God-inspired prophets and an all-glorious Christ are nothing but emptiness and vanity as regards any true and adequate knowledge of the purpose and will of God.” (A quote by Graham Scroggie as printed in “The Handwriting On the Wall” by David Jeremiah pg. 51).

The death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, and will forever stand sure.

Agur’s Wisdom

“There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” Proverbs 30:11-14 (KJV)

There is much for our generation; this generation to learn from all the Proverbs Solomon as put together for us in this wonderful instruction book.  When we are young words of wisdom, neither instruction seem to quite be what we want to hear.  They are necessary, and as we get older we will appreciate them more.  Some will even begin applying them and all of Scripture to their daily living.

We will begin doing so when the Lord Jesus has become Lord of our lives, and He changes our desires into His desires; when He gives us His heart.

Some thoughts from Proverbs 30…

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of things which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

Be wise today and turn to the One who loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for you that you might have everlasting life (John 3:15-18).

The Human Heart

Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.”  You can; if you have eyes to see; look around and see that there is a heart problem in the human race.  I am not speaking of the blood pumping heart, but the heart of feeling, that fears, that grieves, that loves and hates.

The prophet Jeremiah said…

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

The answer to the prophets question is – Only God knows.

The verses in Proverbs for today…

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:1-9 (KJV)

Some words and thoughts to consider.

– “Preparations of the heart in man” and “The answer of the tongue” are both “from the LORD”. V. 2 – “Ways of man…” but “The LORD weigheth the spirits”.

All the plans of men (James 4:13-15) are only successful through the directions of the LORD. Good plans are from the LORD, and will be successful. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).

There are many times we think we are doing good and clean things; but our hearts may yet be doing an evil deed. God alone, and maybe, the individual knows the heart and motives.

– “Commit”, “Works”, “Thoughts”, “Shall be established”. Some words to think on in verse 3.

“Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,” YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Verses 4-6 – “The LORD has made all things for Himself”, “The wicked”, “Proud in heart”, “Abomination to the LORD”; “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged”, and “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

On a certain day in time all that have refused God’s Christ will glorify God in their judgment. Departing from evil because one sees it as offensive to the holiness and righteousness of GOD. It [Evil] is seen, by one who fears the LORD; as being a sour and bitter thing.

Verse 7 – See Revelation 3:9; Isaac and Abimelech, Genesis 26; Jacob and Esau, Genesis 33. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Hebrews 11:6

Verse 8 – The attitude of the heart of man with “Little” of material things, righteous in the LORD; contrasted to “Great revenues” without righteousness.

Verse 9 – “The word rendered “deviseth” implies, by its spectra, intensity of thought and care. Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour. (comp. Gen_24:12, etc.)” From the Pulpit Commentary note.

“Deviseth” can mean scheming, to fabricate, to weave. It can also mean to carefully plan out “His way”. The wise man knows that “The LORD directeth his steps”.

When we believe God’s Word concerning His Son Jesus, trusting His finished work on the cross, then we receive brand new desires – a new heart.  Our thoughts, our feelings, our love and our hate will be directed by God’s Spirit who lives within us.  That is right even “our hate”, because we will begin loving what He loves and hating what He hates.

He loved us so much He gave His only Son.

Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding

I long to be a wise individual, a man of wisdom.  I want my wife to be a woman of wisdom, and my children to be sons and daughters of wisdom.  The wisdom I speak of of course is godly wisdom.  I have enough of the world’s wisdom in my head which is devilish.

As we have  previously seen “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”, and we begin fearing the LORD, by believing what He says, and putting it to work.  That starts with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Do you believe? To not believe in the life, ministry and the works of Jesus Christ, Christ Himself is to condemn yourself to a live of foolishness.

Hear what the writer of Proverbs says…

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.” Proverbs 9:7-12

Now I leave you with the writing of a man from the past.  Warnings of Wisdom to the Wise. (Matthew 7:6). John Gill writes of verse 7;

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame,…. Intimating, that though the simple, and such as want understanding, and of whom there is hope of doing them good, are to be invited into Wisdom’s house; yet not the haughty scorner, the abandoned sinner, the scoffer at all religion, who walks after his own lusts, and is quite irreclaimable; it is but casting pearls before swine, and giving that which is holy to dogs, to reprove and exhort such persons; though the Gospel is to be preached to every creature, yet when men despise it, and make a mock at it, they are to be turned from, and no more is to be said to them; as the Jews of old, they were the first invited to the Gospel feast, the same that is described in the context; they made light of it, contradicted and blasphemed the word, and so judged themselves unworthy of it; wherefore Wisdom’s maidens, or Christ’s ministers, were bid to turn from them, and go to the Gentiles, and preach it to them; for it is to no purpose to address such persons; “shame” is the sure consequence of it, because a man is disappointed of the end he has in view, which is doing good;

and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot; this shows who is meant by a scorner, a very profligate man, bent on his wicked ways, and quite incorrigible; to rebuke such an one is not only labour lost, and in vain, but the rebuker getteth himself an ill name, and is sure to have the dirt of reproach and scandal cast upon him; though this a man might patiently bear, if there was any hope of doing good.”

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.

 

Receiving Wisdom

As I study the book of Proverbs I realize just how short of wisdom I really am.  That is why I so trust the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the real Giver and Teacher of wisdom.  If wisdom could be Personified it would be in Jesus the Christ Son of God, God the Son.

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of His saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.” Proverbs 2:1-9 (KJV)

At least three times the word “If” is used.  Meaning that wisdom is dependent upon us receiving it from the giver.  It is dependent upon our desire for it. Or do we just want to live meaningless, ungodly, unenlightened, dark, doubting, fearful lives?

A father giving instruction to his son.  That is so needed in every family.  The first “If” is calling for the son to hear, and hide the father’s commandments in the life.  Does the son have a burning desire for wisdom?  “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding…”  is an earnest desire, strong passion to have what the father is endeavoring to teach his son.

Then, there will be understanding of the “Fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God”.

For us to have wisdom begins with a great desire to have it.  To have Godly wisdom begins with the desire to know God, and doing what God says, believing what He has said.

God sent His only begotten Son because of His great love for us, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:15-18).  Believe this and that will be the beginning of wisdom.

The Prisoner of the Lord

During Paul’s life as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ he was beaten, and left for dead; he was whipped; he was shipwrecked; he suffered at the words of false brethren, and he endured it all for Christ sake.

My heart’s desire is that I could have that said of me.  Someone could say it, but would it be true?  It is true of Paul.  Everything that happened should be seen as the closing or opening of a door by the Lord as He directs our paths.  That is the way  Paul viewed things. He was truly a PRISONER OF THE LORD.

“And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Acts 23:10-11 (KJV)

The prisoner of the Lord often encounters problems with the religious crowd.  The Sadducees, and the Pharisees were united against the apostle at first.  Then Paul realized their differences, he used that to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Christ (Acts 23:6).  At issue was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If Jesus is alive then the religion that crucified Him is greatly in error.  One group did not believe in resurrection, or anything spiritual.  These religions who are stuck on religion, but not the truth completely miss out on Christ Jesus and the salvation that is available to all who will believe.

In verse 11 where the Lord speaks to Paul giving him assurance that he will go to Rome and be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus.  He receives a message for the Lord that he might be courageous.  It is also a message of commendation for ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit within him and upon him.  Can you imagine what this did for Paul’s confidence?  Wonders.

When people do not like the truth being spoken they will more often than not attack the one speaking it (vv. 12-22).  Get this in your heads:  The messenger is not the one making you the way you are.  The truth often hurts, and if the truth makes you angry then you are the problem.

These are some who hate the truth; no matter where it comes from.  They are blind to the providence, and sovereignty of God.  Enraged mobs are thoughtless and heartless.

Some things we can learn from chapter 23 of Acts:

  1. Most times God uses what some would call “Unapparent means”;
  2. God uses time, that seems wasted, as a time for ministry to others;
  3. God uses people to accomplish His ways.

The following are the persons He uses:

  • The government;
  • The rebellious;
  • Satan;
  • Willing servants.

Let us be willing to trust the Lord.  Trust Him in such a way that He will work in our lives changing us, then work through us to change the lives of others.  Every open door should be viewed as an opportunity provided by God unless by going through it you would be violating His Word, His Spirit, or your conscience.

The Saving of Sinners

“And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” Acts 16:5 (KJV)

The early Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is reaching further and further into the then known world.  People are coming to faith in Jesus in notable numbers.  Lives are being changed wonderfully, powerfully, and God is being glorified.

They are being “Established in the faith”,  they are also “Increasing in number daily”.  If we stop to think about it the Church of 2017 is being established in the faith more and more, and increasing in number as well.  We are just not so aware of it; maybe as we ought to be.

In chapter sixteen we have the witness of three individuals being delivered from the power of evil and sin;

  1.   There is Lydia (vv. 14-15) who has been called “A Cultured Sinner”;
  2.   Then, we have the sorceress (vv. 16-24) who has been called “A Captive Sinner”;
  3.   Finally, there is the Philippian Jailer (vv. 25-34) who has been called “A Calloused Sinner”.

As the Christians of that day went about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ many people came to Jesus believing that He alone paid their sin debt.

The Philippian Jailer came asking, “What must I do to be saved?” (v.30).  That is an appropriate answer for all to ask.  You may need to ask that today; and the answer is… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house.” (v. 31).  When the jailer believed, then his whole household believed too.

God is still saving souls through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house”.

Reverence, Rest and Results

“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” Acts 9:31 (KJV)

Chapter nine begins by telling us of Saul.  He is known as Saul of Tarsus a Pharisee, passionate about the Hebrew religion, and the death of any who spoke of the Christ as the Lord Jesus.

In his endeavors of religious lust he set out to kill, and destroy the Christian faith, and was very aggressive in doing so.  This chapter deals mostly with his glorious conversion to faith in Christ Jesus, believing in His death, burial and resurrection.

The early Church was fearful of Saul.  They fled from Jerusalem because of him; not knowing it was the will of God to scatter the Gospel of Christ into the world.  It is amazing and wonderful and marvelous how the Spirit of the Lord moves and works in our lives.

I have, for many years, found verse 31 of chapter 9 fascinating, and enlightening.  After Saul’s conversion the churches of Judea and Galilee and Samaria experienced “Rest” – the persecution had lightened up.

I want you to notice what happened, and this is a lesson for the Church of all ages;

  1.  They were walking (the Church was walking) in the fear of the Lord;
  2.   They were experiencing the comfort of the Holy Spirit;
  3.   The Church was multiplying in number – people were coming to faith in Jesus.

What does that mean for the Christian Church today?  We must walk in the Spirit of God; that means with reverence, fear of God, His Spirit and His Word; believing His Word, loving His Word, and applying it to our lives, in daily living.

If we are to experience the “Comfort of the Holy Spirit” that comes also loving God, and His Word.  How can a child of God through Jesus Christ grow in faith in Him without a daily diet of God’s Word?  We cannot.  Neither will their be any comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, the Christian Church today can only rightly increase in number as people come to Christ, not necessarily “To Church”, but to Christ Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.

When the Church; which is the Body of Christ – has Reverence and Rest, then there will be Results.

The Power of the Spirit of God

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)

As we enter the book of Acts via chapter one, and looking at Luke’s Gospel, we find the disciples hiding away,  uncertain of what to do.  Nothing is going on in their lives.  At least that is the way it appears.  Forty days after His resurrection Jesus ascends into heaven in their sight, and for their witness of it.

On the day of Pentecost, about 10 days later, an amazing thing happens.  We must remember Jesus’s own promise “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.” (John 14:18).

What takes place on the day of Pentecost was a day of the fulfillment of that promise, and power; the power of God descending upon all who were following Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

Many have made a big to do, about the tongues, but it is not about “tongues” it is about Christ Jesus and His promises.  He keeps His word.  The tongues is more in the hearing – when you read the verses following those above.

“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” verse 6

Peter who had been quiet for these fifty days was suddenly given the power, authority of the Spirit of God, and his discourse is heard, and people are changed by that same Spirit of God.  It is that same Spirit of God that dwelt in Jesus Christ, and raised Him to life, and brought Him forth from the grave.

On this day there were three thousand souls added to the Kingdom of Christ (v. 41), and their lives were changed forever.

The real “Miracle” is not the tongues but the thousands of changed lives.  Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son is still changing lives today; because He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.  That same Jesus is getting ready to return and that could happen any moment now.

Christian live for Christ in the power of that Spirit of Christ.

Jesus in Genesis (7)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” REV. 19:10c (KJV)

There are many more pictures, types, likenesses, etc. in the book of Genesis. I chose to do only seven, because that is a number which John the apostle liked and used quite often. You can see his use of the number in the gospel according to John and then, especially in the Revelation. It is a number for fulness, completion, and certainly in Jesus there is fulness and completion.

Our final study in LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS will be of Joseph. In looking at Gleanings In Genesis by A. W. Pink he had 101 examples of Joseph’s pictures of Jesus. I am going to only look at fourteen of them. I went through them and picked what I could consider the favorites, and the most clear. The study covers chapters 37 – 41.

In the first picture we find Joseph as a shepherd. Look at chapter 37 verses 1 – 2a,

“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren;”

Joseph, “Was feeding the flock with his brethren”. He certainly had a heart for the sheep and that should remind us of the Great Shepherd, and the twenty third Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”. What does the shepherd do? He feeds, tends, protects, directs, and leads the sheep. Joseph is a picture of Jesus as the Shepherd.

The second type is where we see the father’s love for the son.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age” (37:3a).

Many people look at this verse and immediately think and/or say, “Well, this just isn’t right. Anytime a parent loves one child more than another it is going to cause problems.” It does in this case. This was different. Joseph was a special son, a unique one. He was the child of Rachel, the wife whom Jacob had chosen, but was tricked and deceived out of. So, of course, Joseph is going to be loved in a very special way. In such a way is Jesus loved by our Heavenly Father. There is a very special relationship and fellowship between the Father and His Son Jesus. That relationship and fellowship caused problems with those who believed they were the “sons of God” – the people of Israel. This led to His crucifixion.

In another picture we find Jacob/Israel having made Joseph ” a coat of many colours.” (v. 3b). This was a very special coat. The word “colors” is translated as being, “a long and sleeved tunic”. The specialty of this is that it is a garment of royalty. The garment of one who is ruler over others. The common worker would have worn a sleevless garment for ease in doing manual labor, but not the one who is the ruling leader. Because of this garment the statement was being made this is the one who is ruling over the family. Jacob, in making the garment, most likely did not realize the full import or impact this message would have upon himself or the rest of the family. Jesus, the favored Son has been appointed as the One who will rule over all, and does.

“Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6-9).

In the fourth picture we find that the brothers hated Joseph’s words.

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” (vv. 5-8).

When Jesus spoke the Sadducees and Pharisees hated the words Jesus spoke. It was because of the words Jesus spoke that they sought to put Him to death. You can read Matthew 22 and 23 and see their hatred for Him. They were condemned by the truth which He spoke. Joseph was hated because of his dreams, and they were dreams which would come to pass. Just as surely as Joseph’s words would come to pass even more so did the words Jesus spoke.

The fifth picture is how he was envied by his brothers. You can see that in verses four and five of chapter 37 [above]. They “hated” Joseph. Surely we can see the envy of Jesus’ brethren, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11). He was rejected and despised according to the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53:3.

Sixthly, we see Joseph being sent by the father.

“And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” (vv. 12-13).

Jesus was sent by the Father to a world of wickedness to die for the godless and unbelieving. As Joseph went willingly in saying “Here am I”; so too did Jesus go, in full agreement with the Father to His brethren, and there Jesus would die for the sins of the world.

Seventh, there is a conspiracy by the brothers to kill Joseph.

“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” (v. 18).

If you will read the New Testament accounts of the anger, envy, hatred by the religious leaders for Jesus, and the arrest and trial of Jesus you will see a conspiracy. The Jewish religious leaders even brought their hated enemy Rome into the picture to get Jesus arrested, tried and convicted to death.

In another picture we see the unbelief of the brothers to Joseph’s words.

“Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (vv. 19-20).

Their “Unbelief” showed that they actually hated what he had to say. By the arrest, trial, conviction, and crucifixion of Jesus the religious leaders were showing their unbelief, and said,

“Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).

They too were in unbelief.

Joseph was cast into a pit by his brothers (v. 24). Some might say in looking at this, “Now how does that picture Jesus?” It could very well picture His death and burial. The brothers of Joseph had actually conspired to kill him, but decided to cast him into the pit. From the moment of Jesus’ ministry the Pharisees plotted to kill Him. Let me quote here what A. W. Pink has written, “We quote now from Dr. Haldeman: ‘The pit wherein is no water, is another name for Hades, the underworld, the abode of the disembodied dead: of all the dead before the resurrection of Christ. ‘The pit wherein is no water’ (Zech. 9:11). ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12:40). It is here our Lord, as to His Soul, abode between death and resurrection.” (GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink).

In the tenth picture we find Joseph facing temptation, yet without sinning.

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” (39:7-12).

Those who are familiar with the life of Jesus know the Scripture concerning His sinlessness (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). Was Joseph perfect? No! Was he without sin? The answer again is NO. However, you will not find one accusation against him in the texts which mention him. That alone must be evidence that the Spirit of God intended for Joseph to be a picture of the sinless Son of God.

The eleventh image of Christ we see in Joseph is that he suffered at the hands of Gentiles.

“And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” (39:20).

Jesus suffered at the hands of Roman guards, and the governor:

“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,” (Acts 4:26-27).

Twelfth, the picture is of Joseph’s “Predictions come to pass”. The dreams which Joseph dreamed of his father and brothers bowing to him were fulfilled, and also the interpretation of the dreams of the butler and the baker;

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.” (40:20-22).

The Lord Jesus never spoke a word that did not come to pass, or it will one day. He is the Truth. There was no lie that ever came from His lips. Jesus said,

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Jesus spoke of His death, and He spoke of rising from the dead, and He did. Just to keep us aware, He also spoke that He would come back again. He will.

In the thirteenth picture we will look at we see Joseph exalted at the throne of Egypt.

“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.” (41:39-45).

In the New Testament following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we find that Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the throne of God (Acts 7:55-56). According to A. W. Pink the Egyptian meaning for Joseph’s new name, Zaphnathpaaneah is “Savior of the world”. Jesus has been exalted to the throne (REV. 5).

The final picture we see is that Joseph is given a wife. We see in verse 45 above that he is given a wife. If you have a copy of GLEANINGS IN GENESIS by A. W. Pink you would find it interesting to read his explanation of Joseph’s being given a wife. It is in chapter 44 titled “Joseph The Savior Of The World” and it is the first item in the chapter. One thing I know and that is that this pictures Jesus Christ and His Bride. I believe that His Bride will consist of Israel and the Gentile believer. Jesus came to call the Jew first and then the Gentile. In Jesus “…There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile]…” (Gal. 3:28). We will one day see Jesus face to face, and that will be one GLORIOUS DAY.

In closing this study of LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS let me stress this. When we see a photograph of something, say, the Grand Canyon, we may marvel in the picture, but it really does no justice to actually seeing it, actually seeing it; being there. So, too, these pictures, types or shadows, beautiful they may be, really do no justice to what it will really be like seeing Jesus, our Lord and Savior, face to face.

Keep LOOKING FOR JESUS in the Scriptures, in everyday life, and in the air.

Jesus in Genesis (2)

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (2)

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10c).

Can Jesus and the gospel be found in the Old Testament? It is my declaration that He can and that the gospel is there as well.

Look in Genesis 3. This is the chapter of the fall of man and sin entering into the world. After the sin of Adam and Eve we find God’s declarations to the serpent, to Eve and last of all to Adam. Within this chapter there is a prophecy of a Savior who would come, and a type (picture, shadow) of what would take place by that Savior who would come. This is what we will look at in this post.

In God’s Word to the serpent He said (v. 15),

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

We can see the enmity (fear, strife) between the serpent and the children of Eve. It is even present to this day. When I see a snake it causes fear in me. That is one of God’s creatures which I want absolutely nothing to do with. In my mind they are a symbol of all that is vile and wicked and evil. If you want to handle the things, you go right ahead. If it bites you you cannot blame anyone but yourself. The same thing is true of sin. When you play with sin, it will bite you, and it already has.

The seed of the woman, the one who would bruise the head of the serpent is the promised Redeemer who would come. When Eve had Cain it seems as though she expected him to be the one. There was such expectancy. It is seen in what she named him

“Cain…I have gotten a man from the Lord” (4:1).

It was not to be Cain, because he was not a man who had a heart for the things of God. This prophecy would not be fulfilled for about four thousand years. It is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. On the cross, upon which Jesus died Satan (that old serpent) “Bruised the heel” of the Seed of the woman. Upon that same cross the head of the serpent was not only “bruised” but the power of Satan was crushed, and his authority over men taken away. After the cross Jesus rose from death showing that He was indeed the Son of the living God, and God the Living Son (Romans 1:4). By that same resurrection we have the promise of eternal life.

There is also a shadow/type of the cross seen in this chapter of Genesis. In Verse 21 it says,

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Now in the minds of some, this verse may seem very insignificant, but I do not think it will be to many who are reading this. Remember Adam and Eve had been warned by God that they would die if they ate fruit from the forbidden tree. Now they had eaten fruit from the tree, and God provided redemption for them. It was a covering for their sin. It was in the form of animal skins, and I personally believe the skins to be lamb skins. Life was taken; blood was shed. This was the first time death had come into the world, and it was God who did the killing. In this shadow of the cross there were animals put to death for the sins of these two sinners. God in his holy and righteous way provided a means of salvation which would bring salvation to the human race. To think that God in His wisdom, power, love and grace was showing us the wonderful life of Jesus Christ in providing covering for Adam and Eve. They had tried to cover themselves in fig leaves, but it was not good enough for God. The “Fig leaves” of religion, self-righteousness, good works, or ceremonial laws will never satisfy the righteousness of God. The blood or the righteous Lamb of God alone has done that.

Isn’t the love, grace and mercy of God something wonderful. It is the most wonderful knowledge that we could have. It is, in fact the most wonderful thing we could have in our lives.

Christmas Day 4 (3, 2, Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to renew friendships with people I have considered friends, and endeavor to be the friend to them that I have not been; and I want to be a friend to any who are friendless, or feel that way.

I read the first two chapters of Job this morning, and saw how Job’s friends had responded to his tragedies.  They came and sat with him for 7 days and nights.  I only pray that I never stay too long as they did.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13 (KJV)

Christmas Day Ten and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the Light of Jesus Christ to shine brightly, so that children, their parents, grandparents; the whole families may see the baby born in a manger two thousand years ago, grew into the Man who lived without sin, became sin for us, was judged by God the Father on our behalf on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose and came out of the grave; and that He is one day soon returning to put an end to evil in the world over which He will reign supremely.

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (KJV)

Christmas Day Ten and Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to grasp and hold more firmly to the faith that is in Christ Jesus; knowing more fully that faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; that faith is not a leap at all, but trusting in what is Truth; that what is truth will always be truth; and what is truth for one is truth for all.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

“Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.” John 18:37

Christmas Day Twenty and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want all School Bus drivers to drive wisely, safely; to get their students to School on time, but safely; and I want other drivers on the road to be aware when they are approaching a School Bus with lights flashing to stop; for the safety of the children: let us do these things the rest of 2016; and then throughout the School years ahead.

Christmas Day Fifty and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to grow and abound in love for my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus; and to love all others as God does; especially as the coming of the Lord Jesus is getting closer.

“Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (KJV)

Christmas Day 60

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be wise to see, and recognize all evil when I see it, and to hide myself from it; and to expose evil wherever it raises it ugly head.

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 27:12 (KJV)

Sense and Non-Sense

Christmas Day Sixty Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live my life with the leadership of the Lord, speaking wholesome words which encourage, motivate, and draw others to the Lord Jesus; to speak the word of God in the power, and wisdom of God.

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4 (KJV)

Christmas Day Seventy and Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you and the world to know that without Christ Jesus, the Son of God, God the Son; was all things made, and that by Him all things are held together; that this One who holds all things together will also keep you and hold your life together when you call on His name.

“…Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him…” Colossians 1:15-16 (KJV)