Your Church Discipline

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened of sincerity and truth.  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”  1 Corinthians 5:6-13  (KJB)

References:  1 Corinthians 3:21;  2 Timothy 2:17;  Exodus 12:15;  John 17:15;  1 John 5:19;  Deuteronomy 13:5

…For I Believe God…

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.’ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”  Acts 27:22-25 (KJB)

God Answers Prayer

“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, ‘Lord, Thou God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, ‘Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 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, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy Child Jesus.’
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:23-31  (KJB)

Show Us the Father

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.’
Philip saith unto Him, ‘Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, ‘Shew us the Father?’  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.’” John 14:6-11  (KJB)

Jesus is the only way to God, His presence, and His throne. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for mercy and grace will find help in the time of need; at the throne of grace.

Philip has said to Jesus, “Show us the Father…” and Jesus said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.”  When a believer sees Jesus for who He is we see the Father.  We stand before the very presence of GOD.  In Christ Jesus we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:1-5).

Through Christ Jesus we can know God the Father. Hear the words of the Master.  “I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30).

Without Observation

“And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or, ‘Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’”  Luke 17:20-21  (KJB)

The coming kingdom of God is more than an event that is celebrated with pomp and circumstance.  For many years the religious leaders of Israel had been pronouncing the coming of Messiah as an event where He would show up in power and glory and give the land of Israel back to the people of Israel.

The Person of the kingdom of God was standing in front of them.  He had done many mighty deeds; giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, healing lepers, raising the dead, calming storms, walking on water; and yet they could not see.

Jesus tells the disciples in the following verses how it will be.  Even that He will be killed.

The coming of the kingdom of God was without much notice at all.  If they would not believe Moses and the Prophets they would not believe even though One would rise from the dead.

The kingdom of God shows up in the soul that is redeemed.  Do we notice? He is present within us.

I realize that this is so much deeper than I can know.  The whole thought is that Jesus can be missed if those who desire Him are looking for signs rather than Jesus Himself.

He Looked Around

“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11  (KJB)

This was during the week of His presentation, and the giving of His gift from God to Adam kind; the gift of His life.  His public presentation as King was received by many, as He came in on the donkey; with people singing and saying

“Hosanna: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark 11:9-10

We are told in verse 11 that He came to Jerusalem, and entered the temple. He looked around.  Of these words John Gill wrote…

and when he had looked round about upon all things; that is, in the temple, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and made a thorough visitation of it, and search into it, and corrected what was amiss in it:” John Gill

Jesus is Lord and Proprietor of the temple.  Today the temple of the Lord is each individual who has been redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and secured by the resurrection of Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19).

He is in you.  He is in me.  He is in us who confess Him as our Lord and Savior. He has every right and authority to look around in His temple.  He will lead us in the paths of righteousness as we yield to His word and Holy Spirit.

Believe Him

The Cost of Wealth

To many who have great wealth it is their life.  The wealthy without God, are always grasping for more.

“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto Him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.’
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:16-26  (KJB)

What was the cost to this young rich man?  It cost him his soul and eternity.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy…

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10

The verse from 1 Timothy is not saying that money is evil, but rather the “love of money”.  Money over God.  Wealth over peace with God.  Prosperity rather than love for God.

What will your wealth cost you?

The King Rejected

“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.”  John 19:13-16  (KJB)

This is a very sad event.  It would seem that even Pilate recognized Jesus as the Sovereign that He was and is; yet he was more devoted to Caesar, and fear of the accusation of not being a friend of Caesar, than he was to freeing an innocent Man.  Pilate goes on and declares Jesus, “King of the Jews”, but condemns Him to crucifixions death.

As I read these verses I thought of and think of the following verses from the first chapter of John…

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not.” John 1:10-11

Jesus Christ will one day, and possibly soon, rule as the King of all the earth.  O, in His precious Holy name, do not be found rejecting the King.

When Things are Tough and You Sit Down With the Crowd

“And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, ‘This man was also with Him.’ And he denied Him, saying, ‘Woman, I know Him not.’ And after a little while another saw him, and said, ‘Thou art also of them.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’ And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, ‘Of a truth this fellow also was with Him: for he is a Galilaean.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I know not what thou sayest.’ And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.’ And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”  Luke 22:55-62 (KJB)

Peter had said to the Lord, “I will not deny You.”  Jesus had confirmed that Peter would; Peter did (Matthew 26:31-35).  Is there any way Peter could have avoided this tragedy of denying the Lord?

The first thing Peter did wrong was doubt the Lord’s words when He spoke it concerning his denial.  The second thing is at Jesus’s trial at the house of the high priest; he sits with the crowd who is wanting Him crucified.

If we desire to walk with the Lord and to be faithful to Him when we sit with the crowd in times of trial, and trouble we will cave to the pressure of the crowd.

O, Lord, give me strength to always stand and to be faithful to  You.  Amen.

Access to Heaven Gained

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he calleth Elias.’ And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, ‘Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.’ And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  Mark 15:33-39 (KJB)

For three hours Jesus experienced the darkest time of His life as a Man.  He spent it separated from His Father. Up to this point when He spoke to the Father He always called Him “Father”; in this prayer, an exact quotation from Psalm 22, Jesus calls Him “My God”, asking why He has been forsaken.

Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and had just been judged for the sins of the world.

When Jesus cried and gave up His spirit to the Father we are told that “…the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom”.  That tells us no man tore the veil which separated the Holy place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where the ark of the covenant would be placed had it been present.  The tearing of the veil by God shows that through the death of Jesus all of Adam kind now has access to God and Heaven.

Access to God is only gained through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son.

Beware of the Hypocrite Authorities

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’
” Matthew 23:1-12  (KJB)

The “Seat of Moses'” was the authority given to the teachers of the Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  These teachers had the responsibility to teach it.  They were responsible for being able to quote it without reading it.  They need to be applauded for the work of memory required to do that. However, they laid a load of condemnation on their people, and did little of nothing for their own holiness, and sanctification.

Most of the good works they did was for popularity with the people; to be seen of them. They sought the higher places to be seen of men.

Jesus tells His disciples, the multitude, and us, “Do what they teach according to the Law of Moses; but do not as the Pharisees do.”  Instead of exalting God; they exalted themselves.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we exalt Him we exalt the Father.

Believe Him

The Coming and Fulfillment of Righteousness

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, ‘O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’, for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?’ And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Matthew 3:7-17  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Isaiah (2)

All Nations Will Flow Unto It

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  Isaiah 2:1-5  (KJB)

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (7)

The Separation

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

 

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” Genesis 11:1-9 (KJV).

The Right Way; and the Way of Death

The Right Way; The Way of Death – Proverbs 16:25-33

Verses 25 – 26 –  There are many times men think what they do or are doing is the “right thing”; however the “right thing” in man’s vision can often be the wrong thing with God.  These ways are the ways that lead to death.  Proverbs 14:12; 24:20.  The “way” is a course of life, or mode of action; the “conversation” mentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 1:12;  Galations 1:13;  Ephesians 2:3; 4:22;  Philippians 1:27; 3:20;  1 Timothy 4:12;  Hebrews 13:5, 7)

In most cases the laborers labor for their own benefit.  We hunger for things, particularly sustenance; these three main things, survival, security, and success.

Verses 27 – 30 –  These verses are connected to those who seek to do what they have deemed to be right.  Those who always keep trouble stirred, or “dug up”; seeking to cause strife among others.

16:27–30 These proverbs address people who cause problems. People who are worthless (v. 27), dishonest (vv. 28; 16:30), or violent (v. 29) negatively affect those around them. They bring evil by tempting and dividing those who associate with them.  From FAITHLIFE Study Bible online

We are warned about some of these things in the New Testament as well. The qualifications for the pastor includes “No striker”, and “Not a brawler” (1 Timothy 3:3); and we are warned of the “works of the flesh” in Galations 5:19-21.

Verses 31 – The gray haired individual is considered by some to be weak; however, the one who is in the way of righteousness, and his hair is a “crown of glory”.  Gray hair is often associated with age, and wisdom.  Proverbs 17:6; 20:29.  Also see Proverbs 3:1, 2.
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:32

We are told by history that the young men were to rise from their seated position when an older man passed within a distance of four cubits (From John Gills commentary of Lev. 19:32)

Verse 32 –  Mighty men can take a city by force; but a man, slow to anger, has conquered himself, and can lead a city in the way of righteousness.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,…. Than a mighty warrior or conqueror; as Alexander who conquered his enemies, and even all the world, and yet in his wrath slew his best friends: a man that is slow to anger is esteemed by the Lord, respected by men, and is happy in himself; and is preferable to the strongest man that is not master of himself and of his passions;

and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city; one that has the command of his temper, that can govern himself, and not suffer his passions to exceed due bounds, is superior in strength to him that can storm a castle or take a fortified city; it is easier to do the one than the other; courage of mind joined with wisdom, and assisted by a proper number of persons, may do the one; but it requires the grace of God, and the assistance of his spirit, thoroughly to do the other. Cicero says (t), in all ages

“fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.”
From John Gill e-Sword

Verse 33 –  “Casting lots” was the toss sometimes of multi colored stones, and the lay of the stones determined the outcome of the decision to be made.  It could be similar to a vote, the toss of a coin, or the roll of the dice.  We must realize that this be done with prayer and trust that the LORD will show His direction.  It is in no way associated with gambling, games of chance.

At any rate the ultimate decision will be God’s

Rejoicing with Music

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:1-3 (KJB)

Does music have any place in the house of God?  Does music have a place in the worship of the Most High and holy God in the Church?  I certainly believe it does.  They used music in the Old Testament in their worship, and when I say “Music” I am speaking of instruments; stringed instruments, horns, drums or cymbals.  I believe all of those are mentioned in the Psalms, and through out the Old Testament.

I know there are certain denominations that do not allow musical instruments into their places of worship.  That is okay if that is how they want to worship. I believe they are missing out on a tremendous blessing in their worship of God.

The Psalmist mentions the harp and Psaltery with ten strings. These could have been instruments David had made for the distinct purpose of singing songs unto God.

Now, let me be clear; I am not talking about just any kind of music playing; but music that calls your attention to God in worship, praise, and adoration to Him.  Let us also remember worship is not for us; you or me; it is to Him and for Him.

Singing words, the lyrics of a song are great, however, when an musical instrument or instruments are added to the worship it calls our attention to the Creator of all things.

There is nothing in the New Testament that does away with musical instruments, or forbids their use in our worship.  If Old Testament worship of God was good with these instruments why would the worship in the New Testament not be even better, considering it begins the days of grace.

Draw near to God through His Son Jesus.  Let the trumpets sound, the piano strings play, the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and the drums play out sounds of praise unto our Maker, our Creator.  He has redeemed us unto Himself – We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). May the strings be strummed, the horns blow, and the drums rumble out praises to Him who reigns supreme.  His name is Jesus.

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction – Proverbs 11:15-31

Verse 15 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

“To be surety for a stranger means to guarantee his debt or his promissory note. The person who does this will suffer for it, that is, he will pay a stinging penalty. The man who hates suretyship saves himself a lot of headaches.”

The note from chapter 6:1-5:

“The first five verses are a warning against becoming surety, that is, making oneself liable for someone else’s debt in case that other person is unable to pay. Suppose your friend wants to buy a car on the installment plan but doesn’t have much of a credit rating. The loan company demands the signature of someone who can pay in case the borrower defaults. The neighbor comes to you and asks you to cosign the note with him. This means that you will pay if he doesn’t.

The friend in this verse is your neighbor. The stranger is the loan company to which you give your guarantee.”

Verses 16 – 21 –  Study notes from the ESV Study Bible:

“Proverbs 11:16-21 There are three pairs of proverbs here (vv. 16–17, 18–19, 20–21), all relating to a common theme. The gracious woman (v. 16) and the man who is kind (v. 17) contrast with violent men (v. 16) and the cruel man (v. 17). By itself, v. 16 might suggest that there is wisdom in pursuing violence, since one can get rich by that means. But in the larger context of vv. 16–21, it is clear that their wealth brings the violent no happiness, and that it comes at a high price. The idea of striving to gain something governs vv. 18–19. Verse 18 speaks of laboring (earns and sows), whether it be for deceptive wages for the evil or for a sure reward for the good. Verse 19, similarly, speaks of pursuing righteousness or evil and of the results that follow. Verses 20 and 21 both concern divine judgment, with punishment for the evil and deliverance for the good.”

Verse 22 – Note from ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 11:22 The attractiveness of a gold ring would be nullified by its strange presence in the snout of a pig. This image turns typical notions of value on their head: the attractiveness of a beautiful woman is insignificant if there is a lack of discretion in her character (see 31:30).”

Verse 23 –  From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“This tells us what the desire and expectation of the righteous and of the wicked are and how they will prove, what they would have and what they shall have. 1. The righteous would have good, only good; all they desire is that it may go well with all about them; they wish no hurt to any, but happiness to all; as to themselves, their desire is not to gratify any evil lust, but to obtain the favour of a good God and to preserve the peace of a good conscience; and good they shall have, that good which they desire, Ps. 37:4. 2. The wicked would have wrath; they desire the woeful day, that God’s judgments may gratify their passion and revenge, may remove those that stand in their way, and that they may make an advantage to themselves by fishing in troubled waters; and wrath they shall have, so shall their doom be. They expect and desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves; as they loved cursing, they shall have enough of it.”

Verses 24 – 26 –  From The MacArthur Study Bible –

“11:24-26 scatters, yet increases.  The principle here is that generosity, by God’s blessing, secures increase, while stinginess leads to poverty instead of expected gain.  The one who gives receives far more in return (Ps. 112:9;  Eccl. 11:1;  John 12:24-25;  Acts 20:35;  2 Cor. 9:6-9).” pg. 892
Verses 27 – 31 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary for verse 27; “When a man’s motives are pure and unselfish, he wins the esteem of others. But the man who is out to cause trouble for others will get it for himself.”

The commentary of John Gill for verse 28 –

“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall,…. As leaves in autumn, which are withered and dry. To trust in riches is to trust in uncertain things; things not to be depended on, being here today and gone tomorrow; it is like leaning upon a broken staff, which giving way, the person falls: and so the fall of Babylon will be, while she is trusting in and boasting of her riches and grandeur, Rev_18:7;

but the righteous shall flourish as a branch; that abides in the tree, is alive and green, full of leaves, and laden with fruit: so the righteous are as branches in Christ, and receive life and nourishment from him, and abide in him; and bring forth fruit and flourish, like palm trees and cedars, in the house of the Lord, and grow in every grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; see Jer_17:7.

“For verse 29 and from the Adam Clarke’s Commentary;

“Shalt inherit the wind – He who dissipates his property by riotous living, shall be as unsatisfied as he who attempts to feed upon air.”
For verse 31 see also 1 Peter 4:18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (3)

Why Will You Die???

“Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.  Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;  If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.  None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.  When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.  But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.” Ezekiel 33:10-20 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (2)

God Has No Pleasure…

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,  What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?  As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.  Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,  And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,  And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in My statutes, and hath kept My judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,  And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,  Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.  Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife,  Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,  That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in My statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.  Yet say ye, Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.  The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?  When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not My ways equal? Are not your ways unequal?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:1-32 (KJV)

Faithfulness in Marriage to God

Faithfulness in Marriage – Proverbs 5:1-23

Verses 1 – 6 –  The path of adultery leads to death.  We can see by these wise words that there is a likeness in marriage of one man and one woman to the relationship between men and God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22- 33

Verses 7 – 14 –  Give diligence to keep yourself from the strange woman.  I think it would be correct to say that any man who cannot be faithful to his wife; will probably not be faithful to God; in fact; is not faithful to God by the very act of adultery.  Not only is the man, or woman committing adultery against their spouse, but against God, because they are holding something dearer to their heart than the commandment of God.

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”  Psalms 115:3-8

Verses 15 – 20 –  The wife, or husband is  to be the source of the man’s, or woman’s physical intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating.  Likewise the Lord GOD is to be the source of the man’s and womans spiritual intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating;

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18

Verses 21 – 23 –  The LORD sees and knows the ways of man.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”  2 Chronicles 16:9

Since the eyes of the LORD run to and fro througout the whole earth; it shoud be obvious that they will also see the wicked and know their hearts.
The best of human relationships can be found in the marriage of a man and woman who are happily serving the Lord together, in their lives individually, and in their faithfulness in marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Wisdom’s Voice

Wisdom’s Voice – Proverbs 1:20 – 33

Verses 20 –  The Voice of Wisdom.  Matthew Henry in the commentary has written,

“I. By whom God calls to us—by wisdom. It is wisdom that crieth without. The word is plural—wisdoms, for, as there is infinite wisdom in God, so there is the manifold wisdom of God, Eph. 3:10. God speaks to the children of men by all the kinds of wisdom, and, as in every will, so in every word, of God there is a counsel. 1. Human understanding is wisdom, the light and law of nature, the powers and faculties of reason, and the office of conscience, Job 38:36. By these God speaks to the children of men, and reasons with them. The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord; and, wherever men go, they may hear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way; and the voice of conscience is the voice of God, and not always a still small voice, but sometimes it cries. 2. Civil government is wisdom; it is God’s ordinance; magistrates are his vicegerents [viceregents?]. God by David had said to the fools, Deal not foolishly, Ps. 75:4. In the opening of the gates, and in the places of concourse, where courts were kept, the judges, the wisdom of the nation, called to wicked people, in God’s name, to repent and reform. 3. Divine revelation is wisdom; all its dictates, all its laws, are wise as wisdom itself. God does, by the written word, by the law of Moses, which sets before us the blessing and the curse, by the priests’ lips which keep knowledge, by his servants the prophets, and all the ministers of this word, declare his mind to sinners, and give them warning as plainly as that which is proclaimed in the streets or courts of judicature by the criers. God, in his word, not only opens the case, but argues it with the children of men. Come, now, and let us reason together, Isa. 1:18. 4. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he is the centre of all divine revelation, not only the essential Wisdom, but the eternal Word, by whom God speaks to us and to whom he has committed all judgment; he it is therefore who here both pleads with sinners and passes sentence on them. He calls himself Wisdom, Lu. 7:35.”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY (From the Libronix Digital Library System)

Verses 21-23 –  The Places Wisdom speaks.  Alexander MacLaren wrote many years ago,

“The call of Wisdom in this passage begins with remonstrance and plain speech, giving their right names to men who neglect her voice. The first step in delivering men from evil-that is, from foolish-courses is to put very clearly before them the true character of their acts, and still more of their inclinations. Gracious offers and rich promises come after; but the initial message of Wisdom to such men as we are must be the accusation of folly. ‘When she is come, she will convict the world of sin.’

The three designations of men in Pro_1:22 are probably arranged so as to make a climax. First come ‘the simple,’ or, as the word means, ‘open.’ There is a sancta simplicitas, a holy ignorance of evil, which is sister to the highest wisdom. It is well to be ignorant as well as ‘innocent of much transgression’; and there is no more mistaken and usually insincere excuse for going into foul places than the plea that it is best to know the evil and so choose the good. That knowledge comes surely and soon enough without our seeking it. But there is a fatal simplicity, open-eared, like Eve, to the Tempter’s whisper, which believes the false promises of sin, and as Bunyan has taught us, is companion of sloth and presumption.”  (e-Sword edition)

Verses 24-33 –  The cries to which Wisdom listens.  John Gill, an associate of Charles H. Spurgeon wrote,

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them,…. Or be the cause of their being slain; even their turning away from Christ, their aversion to him; their turning their backs on him, and a deaf ear to him; their turning away from his Gospel, and putting it from them, thereby judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life: in all which they showed themselves to be the “simple” and “foolish” persons they were; and for which wrath and ruin came upon them, and they were slain with the sword and famine, and by one another. Some render it, as Aben Ezra, “the rest” or “quietness of the simple” (k), &c. taking up their rest in themselves, and in their observance of ceremonies and traditions; and crying Peace, peace, when sudden destruction was at hand: or a stubborn hardened rest in sin, a seared conscience; having no sense of guilt, nor fear of punishment; living in carnal security till death should seize upon them;

and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; that is, the abuse of it; leading them to commit sins, which bring destruction upon them; or, seeing sinners live with impunity, and prosper in the world, take encouragement from thence to indulge themselves in sin, which is their ruin; or, being in prosperity, think it will always be well with them, and therefore put away the evil day far from them, which comes upon them at an unawares; which was the case of the Jews.” (e-Sword edition)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Pastors and Preaching the Word

The Bible says, or ‘Thus saith the LORD’,

“Preach the Word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teaches, having itching ears.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3

Paul said,

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:27

Having read these passages of Scripture, the ‘Thus saith the Lord’ how, in the name of God and His Son Jesus, can a pastor dare stand in the pulpit every Sunday, and preach nothing but words which comfort and encourage people.  We definitely are to preach Jesus, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.  There was a reason for His death, burial and resurrection, and that was that we are sinners, God in His love and grace desired to save us, in order that we might glorify His name.

A pastor/preacher who never confronts the sins of his people, or the sins of our society or culture is no man of God at all.  He is either a puppet of the people he professes to serve, or he is a man after the devil’s heart.  A few years ago I was told of a pastor, whom I  knew, who was asked about the stem cell issue by one of the members of his congregation, and his answer was, as it was told to me, “There are two sides to this issue…”  The all around implication was “I am not going take a stand on this issue”.  Is that the attitude of a pastor or a coward who is posing as a preacher?  I will say that he did later come to a change of mind.

There are other issues in 2018 we need to speak of, and the Biblical declaration for and against a thing.  God’s word never changes.  If it was declared sin by God; it is still sin.

Our churches, our people, the States we live in and serve, and our Country needs men of God who will without fear or favor to men, stand in the pulpit with God’s Word in their hand and on their heart, speak the Word as clearly, distinctly, with conviction, boldness and courage that the people will know they have heard the Word of God.

The man of God will preach the Word of God to get conviction in the hearts of the people.  There must be a conviction of sin in God’s people.  If God’s people will not be convicted of sin, how do we expect to ever see anyone be saved.  Why would we even pray for anyone to be saved since we have no conviction of sin, thus no need for salvation.

Wake up pastors, Preach the Word.  It is not a time for slacking in the Word.  It is time to preach for conviction.  It is time to preach holiness, righteousness, and judgment.  Let the people see the plight of sin, and the blight of sin.

Preachers and pastors – PREACH THE WORD, not comfort.  Now is the time to be uncomfortable.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Gifted Believer

Every Believer Gifted

Romans 12:3-8

God has placed each believer in the church to serve Him and other believers. He has not done so, and left us without desires and gifts which enable us to serve.

These gifts are not given for any to boast superiority over another, as has so often been the case with the mystical gifts; such as healing, tongues, miracles; which were reserved for the apostles, as an evidence of their call and appointment by God. These gifts of the Spirit to which we are speaking of in this study are given for the Church to have balanced ministry. No one spiritual gift is of any greater importance than the other.

Since God is the Giver of these “Grace gifts”, there is really no way any one believer has the right to think more “Highly [of himself], than he ought to thing” (v. 3). We are each responsible for the use of the gift(s) God has given us. They are, however, to be used in conjunction with other’s gifts; not separate from them. When believers use their gifts without the balance of the other gifts you have unbalanced churches.

Churches cannot operate properly if everyone is a “Lone Ranger”. Where there is unity of purpose, yet understanding of diversity; with the proper use of spiritual gifts God gives a balanced healthy, growing church.

The gifts Paul mentions in Romans and the ones which are practical for everyday Christian living for today –

1.  Prophecy – This is the “Speaking forth” of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is its greatest meaning. In the Old Testament even, the prophet was a “Forth-teller” more than a forteller of the future. This gift is abused by taking on oneself more than God has spoken.

2.  Ministry or Serving – This is a ministry given most of the time for deacons, for the deacons of the early church were servants and serving the widows of the church; but it includes being a servant where ever the servant sees the need. One with the servants heart is usually always looking for an opportunity to serve others. Often can become selfish and not letting others help out.

3.  Teaching – This is teaching which goes beyond just a Sunday School teacher, but does include it. The one with this gift enjoys the study of God’s Word just as much or even more than presenting it to others, and is able to present it clearly and understandably to others. Can become full of his/her own knowledge, and become distant from others.

4.  Exhortation – This gift is the gift that is able to show others in a step by step approach ways of correcting wrongs done, or encouragement in right things done, and to do right things. If not cautious can become a “Know it all” even correcting when others don’t want to hear it, nor need to hear it.

5.  Giving – Most of the time people with this gift are usually gifted in making money too, and strongly desires to use their wealth for the glory of the Lord, and the growth of His kingdom. They are also concerned greatly with how God’s money is used or spent. If the heart is not right can become selfish with the wealth, begin to hoard it and not share it with others or give it to the Lord’s work.

6.  Ruler or Leader – The ones with this gift is able to give direction for a group of people and set an example for others to follow. If not controlled by the Spirit of the Lord can become like a dictator rather than a leader pushing.

7.  Mercy – The people with this gift are very kind, non-judgmental, always willing to accept others on their word and testimony, and they can be very gullible, and weak in the discipline department concerning sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Forsaken; Not Forgotten

Set Aside; But Not Forgotten

Romans 11:1-6

Paul has now pointed out clearly Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Israel is a very religious people, but lost as a nation. Is this not enough evidence to prove to us that the rejection of Jesus is also rejecting God and His righteousness. It should be enough.

In this portion of this study of chapter eleven we learn that God has not forsaken, or cast away Israel. Paul, an Israelite, is evidence of that, along with Peter, James, John, Matthew… They are part of the remnant to which Paul is referring.

CAN GOD BE TRUSTED TO FULFILL HIS WORD TO HIS PEOPLE (v. 1)?

“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.“ Romans 11:1 (KJV).

‘Cast away’ – the meaning is to be cast out to never be blessed with God’s presence again. The idea is presented by some that God is finished with Israel for all time. That the only hope for Israel is to come into the Church, and of course that would be ideal. That is the purpose of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection; however, the house of Israel rejected Jesus, but they will, one day look on Him whom they pierced.

‘I also am an Israelite’ – The fact of Paul’s presence in salvation through faith in Christ is promise to the Jewish people, that a remnant of them will be saved. Paul’s conversion is evidence that Israel is not forsaken. God still desires the whole Nation of Israel to trust His Son Jesus.

WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF ELIJAH (v. 2).

“ God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,…” Romans 11:2 (KJV).

Elijah was praying against the nation of Israel. He was grieved by their rejection of God and how they had turned to Baal (Read 1 Kings 19:10-18). Elijah following the victory on Mount Carmel ran for his life from the queen [Jezebel], and believed himself to be the only true follower of Jehovah. Even prophets can allow the flesh to intervene and ruin their lives, but God will set them straight; just as He did Elijah.

‘God has not cast away His people’ – There is not much clearer statement in all Scripture that God will fulfill His Word and save His people.

THERE ARE MANY WHOM GOD HAS RESERVED, AND KEPT AS WORSHIPPERS OF MESSIAH (vv. 3-4).

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Romans 11:3-4 (KJV).

‘Killed Thy prophets…’ – It had been the order of queen Jezebel to kill the prophets of Jehovah, God of Israel, thus many of the men of God had died. There were also many who were hiding out in some of the caves. Obadiah a servant to king Ahab was a God-fearing man, knew the treachery of Jezebel – that she had killed many prophets – thus, he hid a hundred in two different caves and fed them (See 1 Kings 18:1-4).

‘Digged down Thine Altars’ – It was Jezebel’s intent to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She loved her pleasure, power and pomp. She was the one who ruled the throne of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Everywhere there was an altar to Jehovah it was torn down, but she could not control the hearts of Elijah, nor the other prophets being hid, nor the 7,000 who had bowed their knee to Baal – Jezebel.

ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE (vv. 5-6).

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:5-6 (KJV).

‘At this present time’ – During the days of Paul. Paul and the other Jews who had been saved are evidences of the grace of God.

‘There is a remnant’ – Just as God had a remnant who believed Him in Elijah’s day He had one for the days following the resurrection of Jesus, and He has a remnant for the return of Jesus. The remnant are “Children of the seed” or of ‘the Promise’(9:6-7). God’s children became God’s children by God’s promise. It was not by their own efforts. Is a baby born by his/her own choosing? NO! Is it born by God’s choice? YES! No one, who is physically born had a choice in the matter. It was determined by an act of the mother, the father and the sovereignty of God. The Scofield Study Bible defines “Remnant” as ‘A spiritual Israel within the national Israel” (p. 1205).

‘No more of works’ – We often say that we are saved by grace alone. Sometimes we say, or at least I do, that “We are saved by grace alone, plus nothing, minus nothing”. Since we are saved by “Grace alone” there can be no works which redeem us. If we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, grow by grace, and appear before Jesus by grace.

‘No more grace’ – If we attribute any part of the saving work of Christ to our works, then, there is no more grace. Grace cancels out works, and/or works cancels out grace. The two are exclusive. You can be saved only by works alone, or by Grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. There is no other way of being right with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Word of Promise

0516-1707

The Word Of Promise

Romans 9:6-13

Remembering that we are looking at a parenthetical statement, which gives a clearer understanding of what Paul is writing about in chapter 8 and assuring the Roman Christians that the promises of God are good, and that He will not break or void any of them; we come to a passage which causes some difficulty among Christians.

Part of the problem Jesus had when He walked the city of Jerusalem, and along the shores of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee were the scribes, Pharisees, a Sadducees not recognizing Him for who He is. They were supposed to be men of the Word of God, yet they denied Him and even worse, tried to kill Him, and eventually had Him crucified; and that only because He gave Himself for that purpose. These religious rulers claimed to be ‘Children of Abraham’, but did not know the One whom Abraham knew (See John 8:37–41a).

Paul’s heart yearns for his brethren ‘according to the flesh’ to be saved. In verse six he then proceeds to write that just because one is born into a Hebrew family does not necessarily make one Hebrew – “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel“. It is not because they are the ‘seed of Abraham’ but it is in that they are born according to the promise – “Children of the promise are counted for the seed”. If you were born in a garage, that would not mean you are a car. Just because you were born into a Christian family – meaning with a saved Mom and Dad – does not mean you are a Christian. You must be born according to the promise.

Three of the worlds main religions can espouse that they are descendents of Abraham, either by physical birth or by faith. Islam claims to be descendants through Hagar; the Egyptian maiden whom Abraham took to himself to have a son, and named him Ishmael. The Jews/Hebrews claim Abraham as their “father” through Sarah, but at the present time only see a physical relationship more than a spiritual, and put more value in their being born of Abraham than in the faith of Abraham. Christianity sees faith as the link to Abraham, Isaac as the son of promise, and Jesus Christ being the actual Son of Promise fulfilling the type which Isaac was.

*v. 6 – It would almost seem that because Israel had not trusted Jesus as their Messiah that the Word of God had failed – it had not; it was only that many of those who had been into Israel were not of the heart and faith of Abraham;
*v. 7 – Isaac was the promised son – in shadow or type he was the coming Son of Promise through whom all the world could be saved;
*v. 8 – The children of the promise are the true seed of Abraham and the promise is the regenerating power of the Spirit of God;
*v. 9 – Sarah was barren and without any child, yet God’s promise would not be void; she would bear a son, and at the set time that the Lord prescribed;
*v. 10 – The commentary of Paul turns to Rebecca and her conception of Jacob and Esau;
*v. 11 – A parenthesis within a parenthesis concerning God’s promise to Rebecca, and God’s ordained plan for Jacob – before Jacob or Esau either one had ‘done any good or evil’, that God might show that His salvation is all by grace, not of works, “But of Him that calleth”;
*v. 12 – The promise of God was that the ‘Elder shall serve the younger’, and this was against the way things were supposed to be;
*v. 13 – Probably one of the most controversial verses in all of scripture – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.

We should not let the above passage trouble us, but rather rejoice in it. Remember, we are all born into this world in sin, condemned and on a path set for Hell. We should marvel and rejoice that God would be so gracious as to redeem any of us who are condemned. God is perfectly just to “hate” any of us, but He chooses to love us instead, and offered us all the Way to Himself, and His presence and glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Expectation for Redemption

Earnest Expectation For Redemption
Romans 8:18-25

In our last study of Romans 8:10-17 we looked at “A Joyful Expectation In The Father”. That Joyful Expectation is due to His promise that we are “Joint heirs” with Jesus Himself. “Joint heir” means; everything that is His is ours. I am glad to be a joint heir with Christ. We must always know that we are not joint heirs due to our behavior, our goodness, or anything else of us. It is due solely by the Grace of God.

The Father has given us the Right, the Privilege to call God Father, Abba [Daddy]. We have been adopted into the family of God and given all the rights of the elder Son.

EARNEST EXPECTATION AND THE REDEMPTION OF CREATION – INCLUDING OUR PHYSICAL BODIES.

Looking at these memorable verses (18-25) we see and learn some wonderful things. First of all in verse 18 we see that there is going to be “Glory” for those who have believed on Jesus. He has written in verse 17, “… That we may be also glorified together.” and he is speaking, of course of Jesus. There is no glory apart from Jesus.

Paul is making a bold declaration. Notice he says, “For I reckon…” He is declaring something to be so, because the Spirit of Christ has already declared it to be so. We need this mindset, which actually begins in the heart of the believer.

The statement Paul makes in this sentence is a strong statement concerning our glory we share with Christ. The glory we will have in heaven is far beyond any suffering we have received while here on this earth. Stop and think about the suffering you have endured, whether for Christ or because of illness, or even some things of suffering you may have brought on yourself. Those will all be forgotten when we see Jesus in His glory, and receive His glory; the glory we have with Him.

In verse 19 we find that the “creation” all created things, are personalized by Paul making it almost human. It is as though the creation is waiting – waiting expectantly – for the ‘Sons of God to be revealed’. This is the revelation to all of creation who are the children of God. They will receive the glory, then, they shall know. “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory”: How then, can we receive glory? By way of Jesus and His cross – His death, burial and resurrection.

On verses 20 thru 22 the MacArthur Study Bible note states,

“futility’ (NKJV). This refers to the inability to achieve a goal or purpose. Because of man’s sin, God cursed the physical universe (Gen. 3:17-19), and now, no part of creation entirely fulfills God’s original purpose”.

I am going to have to agree with this comment. I have stated in sermons and other things, that, “Man is the only part of God’s creation that does not fulfill God’s original purpose”. In thinking about what the study note says from the MacArthur Study Bible I believe that statement is correct, because when Adam and Eve sinned the earth was cursed. The lamb and the lion no longer lie down together; the calf and the wolf no longer eat together; the child can no longer play on the serpent’s den. And they could before the earth was cursed by the sin of mankind. Through no fault of the creature, ie., creation with the exception of man, thus, the futility, the ‘subjection’ ‘to vanity’. The creation had not sinned, but because of grace, God provides for Adam and Eve and all mankind; who is made after His image and likeness. For the redemption of man, the whole universe is cursed; and because of Jesus Christ, not only is man redeemed but also all of creation. Now isn’t that great or what? In the personification of the creation you can almost see the expectation. Listen as she cries. There was an earthquake at the crucifixion, and the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). There was darkness over the whole earth from noon to three in the afternoon when Jesus was suffering for the sins of the world (Matthew 27:45). She is still groaning today. Listen as the storms rage. In some parts of the earth she is disturbed and we can feel her torment. Mount Saint Helens blew her top in 1980, and people died. Just last week Tsunami hit leaving 50,000 plus people without a home. On December 26, 2004 over 300,000 people were killed by a Tsunami as it ravaged Thailand and areas around it. You get the picture. Creation when personified is looking for that day when all things will be set right and made brand new.

In verse 23 we are told that those who have received the gifts of the Spirit; or, the “First fruits of the Spirit” are also longing or groaning for that day when the redemption will be complete. Now, know that, if you have been saved, you are no more saved than you ever will be, nor are you any less saved than you are right now. The point is there is coming a day when our redemption will be completed when we see Jesus face to face, then, we will be home. We are waiting for that ‘adoption’ when we receive our inheritance, and the redemption of our bodies. When Jesus comes for His Bride; the Church; all those who have died will be resurrected from their graves, and it does not matter where that grave may be. Those will be raised in their redeemed bodies, then, those who are alive and remain will be changed, and receive their redeemed bodies. Now I am groaning even more. I have had some people ask me, “Don’t you dread getting old?” to which I have replied, “Not at all. The older I get the closer I get to home”. That is the day I am living for.

Verses 24 & 25 speak of the “Hope” we have now. “Hope that is seen is not hope” seems like a bold statement of sorts. It is quite sensible. If we have the new car of our dreams, we do not hope to get one. We have it in our possession. The hope Paul speaks of, of course is much different than is ‘wishful thinking’, or even thinking that has merit to back up the hope. This hope; of which Paul speaks, is based on the trustworthiness of God and His Word. It is based on the worth of God. Therefore, we can know quite assuredly that though what we have now is hope for that day when He comes; it is as good as accomplished, because God has said it. He has promised it. Because He has promised it, “We eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (NKJV), or “We with patience wait for it”. God did not, does not, nor will not make idle or empty promises. His Word will come to pass, therefore, it is worth looking for and well worth the wait.

Empowering Confidence

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).

One thing every Christian needs is confidence in God’s gospel. Believe it is the only means by which you are saved for all eternity from sin, its darkness, damnation, and death; and saved to Christ Jesus. Being completely unashamed to share it with others. Being ashamed is like saying we are not exactly sure of its power. When you are confident in the gospel you are willing to risk everything for the Christ of the gospel.

The gospel is the only power which transforms people from unrighteousness to righteousness – the unjust to just.

An adulterer becomes pure and his/her life becomes pure and becomes a loving adoring husband/wife – he/she seeks purity because they have a heart for Christ.

A gossip becomes a person who seeks to control her/his tongue and to speak good rather than evil of others.

A murderer is no longer a killer, but rather, a caring, concerned human being.

All sinners – which is all people – gain control over those old sinful passions and lust which control us.

This empowering helps us see it is for all who will believe. God does not play favorites – nor should we. If God does favor one over another it is in favor of those who are weak and humble themselves. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14).

From beginning to end righteousness is by faith. Righeousness comes only from God – for He alone is righteousness. “Just” is another term for righteousness. Believing God is faith and comes to the individual by an act of God’s grace, through the Holy Spirit. Not only are we saved by faith, but “The just shall live by faith”. Not by any works of moral goodness. Not by any liturgy and/or religion. By faith in the works of Jesus Christ alone. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5). True faith produces works that glorify God.

In conclusion, we must be confident in the power of the gospel; that it is the only means by which a wicked, sinful, fallen race, called the human race, can be delivered from the bondage of sin, its condemnation, and death. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the power which can change the heart and life of any man, woman, boy or girl into the image of Jesus Christ.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE GREATEST POWER KNOWN ON EARTH.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ready to Preach the Gospel

Romans 1:8 – 15

Praying for others is an expression of concern for them, and of trusting them to His care. It is first of all, for God’s guidance, providence, and personal spiritual growth. Secondly, that their witness [ good witness] may be seen and spoken of by all.

Prayer lets others know you are praying for them. We encourage others in the faith for the believer, and lets the lost know you are concerned for their eternal well being. It bonds the people with one another and to the one praying for them. In the Latter (above): it give strength for greater service.

In prayer we accept God’s grace toward all (v. 12). Our faith is mutual – no one is greater than the other. The faith that saves me is the faith that saves you – the faith from God.

In prayer we acquire a desire for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit characterize the Spirit-led believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23. Righteous actions. ” For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. ” Philippians 4:16-17. ” By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15. We desire to see people come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. These fruits will be seen, known and recognized by others.

We have a glorious message to proclaim (vv. 14-15). To the Greeks – these were considered the civilized and wise. To the barbarians – considered unwise because they could not speak the Greek language nor were they assimilated to Greek culture. The message of the gospel is for the “Wise” and for the “Unwise” – the culturally correct and incorrect – the rich and the poor. We ought always: by prayer, supplication, and the study of God’s Word, be ready to preach the gospel wherever God may call us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God, King,and Country

“And Uriah said unto David, ‘The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”  2 Samuel 11:11 (KJB)

Uriah was a Hittite (verse 3) who had become a faithful and loyal follower of Jehovah.  You will notice the very first thing he mentions to the King is “The ark…”  You will note also his heart for the people, the men on the battle field sleeping in tents.

He has been called by the King to aid in covering the king’s sin with his wife Bathsheba.  I am just going to point out the heart and mind of Uriah the Hittite.

Uriah is an often overlooked character in the story of King David.  He had evidently chosen to follow Jehovah or YaHWeH.  He is also named as one of the king’s top men in 2 Samuel 23:29. He was a soldier of the Lord and of the King. He was faithful to God, King and country.

Uriah’s king failed him; but his God did not.  God never fails, and he  honors those who stand with Him. David had the man murdered in an elaborate scheme to cover his own sin.

We as Christians can always stand with God and what is right according to His word and His law.  We can remain loyal to our nations leaders when they follow the law of our nation, and live by them.  We can be loyal to our nation as it follows the way and will of God.  Our first citizenship is in heaven (Ephesians 2:19;  Philippians 3:20).

Let us be faithful and true to God and country, and thus to our leaders as they follow the Lord and are faithful to Him and to the law.  The King of all kings is Jesus Christ. Let us remember the words of Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turneth whithersoever He will.”

Vulnerable Situations

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading 1 Samuel 23 – 25 for today…

“And he said unto his men, ‘The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 24:6 (KJB)

King Saul was out to kill David.  He saw David as a threat to his being king, and especially to his kingdom, what was going to end. However, God had already made the decree (1 Samuel 13:13-14), and given the kingdom to another.

In the background of the story we find the King relieving himself in a cave.  David and his men are hiding in the cave and David’s men encourage him to take Saul’s life; but he will not strike the LORD’S anointed.

David is the other whom God has chosen to have the ongoing, even eternal kingdom, and he has…

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The LORD Shall Rule

Shiloah Baptist Church

For your reading please read Judges 7 – 8…

“And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.”  Judges 8:23 (KJB)

It seems that the idea of having royalty or a monarchy is a romantic idea in many, if not most societies.  It was so in the very early days of Israel’s conquering, and divisions of Canaan.

We look at Gideon today, of whom Judges 8:23 speaks.  He was very successful because of God’s power and direction in his life, and for no other reason; as a judge – deliverer.  The people desired him to be their king, and his son, thus to establish a dynasty in the kingdom.  That, however, was not God’s will or intent for that time.

There is no need for royalty of men when men will submit to the rule…

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The LORD My Rock

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower”  Psalm 18:2. (KJV)

There is a rock called the Rock of Gibraltar located in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, near the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.  It is a massive island rock, and has been a picture of strength, power, and stability for many years; maybe even centuries and millenniums.  There is a Rock that stands for all eternity, and that Rock is Christ Jesus.

David said this of the LORD, that is YaHWeH, and He is GOD.  GOD is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is said by the apostle Paul to be the Rock that was with the children of Israel through the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4).

When we are faced with an enemy; whether the devil and his legions of Hell, or the neighbor next door; Christ Jesus is our Rock.  I can say with David,  the the LORD is my Rock.  I can stand on Him, and never fear of being without Him, because He has said I will never leave you.

He is my deliverer.  He is my strength.  Without Him I can do nothing; with Him I can do all things through Him that glorify His name.  One of the things about Christ being our Rock is He is everything we need.  As the high tower we need not fear what may be in our future.  The future is not mine to know, but to know Christ is to leave it in His hands because He can see all things and has control over it.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress…”  because He made a way for me.  He made a way for us to know Him, and that is through the cross upon which He bled and died.

Glory into Shame

“O you sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” Psalm 4:2 (KJV)

The following is from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon…

“In this second division of the Psalm, we are led from the closet of prayer into the field of conflict. Remark the undaunted courage of the man of God. He allows that his enemies are great men (for such is the import of the Hebrew words translated – sons of men), but still he believes them to be foolish men, and therefore chides them, as though they were but children. He tells them that they love vanity, and seek after leasing, that is, lying, empty fancies, vain conceits, wicked fabrications. He asks them how long they mean to make his honour a jest, and his fame a mockery? A little of such mirth is too much, why need they continue to indulge in it? Had they not been long enough upon the watch for his halting? Had not repeated disappointments convinced them that the Lord’s anointed was not to be overcome by all their calumnies? Did they mean to jest their souls into hell, and go on with their laughter until swift vengeance should turn their merriment into howling? In the contemplation of their perverse continuance in their vain and lying pursuits, the Psalmist solemnly pauses and inserts a Selah. Surely we too may stop awhile, and meditate upon the deep-seated folly of the wicked, their continuance in evil, and their sure destruction; and we may learn to admire that grace which has made us to differ, and taught us to love truth, and seek after righteousness.”

Something for us to keep in mind as we look at two of Psalm 4 is that the “sons of men” of whom David refers are sons of the enemy of David and of God.  It is these sons who turn the glory of David into shame.  We must also remember that David is the character of Scripture of whom God said, “The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” 1 Samuel 13:4, and Acts 13:22.

These sons of men seek their own welfare and glory, not the King’s neither the King of kings.  When I get to the word “Selah” of the Psalms or anywhere in Scripture, I see it as a chance to pause and meditate on what has just been said.

Jesus Christ is the King of kings. He came unto men through King David.  Let us rejoice in our King Jesus who came to earth to die on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He is returning as the Sovereign that He is promised to be.  O will you be ready for Him?

The Temple and the Light of that City

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:10-27 (KJV)

The description of the abiding place of the Bride. The place Jesus speaks of in John 14:1-3.

The description John gives is only as splendid and glorious as he could give in human terms. Whenever you try to communicate the holy to the unholy all you will do is come up far short of actuality. For instance, “the lake of fire” – the fire may indeed be a human description by symbol, however, the reality or the substance is greater than the symbol.

It is like a nuclear physicist who writes down all he knows and hands it to a kindergarten student. That student will have no idea of what he is looking at. God was showing John some wonderful things and inspired him to write the way he has so we could have a little understanding of the glory which awaits us.

In verse 10 the angel takes John, “In the Spirit”, to a mountain where he sees the holy Jerusalem descending “out of heaven from God”. Warren Wiersbe writes…

“The eternal city is not only the home of the bride; it is the bride! A city is not buildings; it is people” (from the BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY by Warren Wiersbe, Vol. 2, pg. 623).

The city is described as having foundations, walls, and gates.

FOUNDATIONS speak of permanence. The houses we build, though they do have foundations, are only temporary when marked by eternity. They are only the tents of “pilgrims and strangers” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

WALLS speak of protection. This wall of the city is eternal. Nothing wicked and vile can enter this city for the only entrance is by way of the blood of Jesus.

GATES speak of a way in – an entrance. God used Israel as an entrance for Christ to become flesh. Christ is the door through which man can come to God.

The bride of Christ would then seem to be made up of those of Israel who believe and the Church whom Jesus Christ “…hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 3:14).

Each gate of the city is named for one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of the twelve foundations is named for one of the apostles.

In chapter 11 John is commanded to measure the temple (a symbolic gesture of ownership). Here, he witnesses as the angel measure the heavenly city. The dimensions of the city are staggering. FOURSQUARE means the city is equal on all sides. The shape could be either a cube or pyramid. The length, height, and breadth equal “twelve thousand furlongs” – a furlong is equal to 220 yards today – if we say a furlong is equal to 600 feet we would come up with a city fo 1,500 miles long, it would have a breadth of 1,500 miles and a height of 1,500 miles. To help us understand this – to place this city in perspective to the United States, it would cover over half of the contiguous states land mass. It is a large city, showing that God has provided plenty of room for all who will come to Him through His Son Jesus.

Now we come to the wall. It measured 144 cubits. If a cubit equals 18 inches, then the wall would be 72 yards high or 216 feet.

The construction of the city is astounding; walls of Jasper, streets of pure gold, foundations decorated with precious stones (Jasper, 2. sapphire, 3. Chalcedony, 4. emerald, 5. sardonyx, 6. sardius, 7. chrysolite, 8. Beryl, 9. topaz, 10. chrysoprasus, 11. jacinth, 12. amethyst). We can tell by this description that the bride of the Lamb is certainly arrayed in glory and beauty (Eph. 5:27a), the gates are twelve pearls, the street of pure gold. What a place to walk. The thing for which men crave most on earth will be under our feet in the new Jerusalem.

There is no temple (v. 22), “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”. Notice the plurality and the singularity of this verse concerning the temple, God, and the Lamb. We will forever be in Christ Jesus and He in us (John 17:21-22).

There is no need of the sun or the moon. Verse 23 does not say a sun or moon does not exist. It appears to be saying that the glory of God and of the Lamb is the light of the new Jerusalem – the holy city come out of heaven from God. The glory of God will be so bright that the sun and moon will fade into the background – similar to how the other stars are unseen during the daylight hours, due to the “glory” of the sun.

Then, “nations” are probably those who dwell on the “new earth”. These have access to the city, but evidently do not live there. These walk in the light of the glorious city. These may be those who chose to remain faithful to the Lamb of God during the thousand years of His reign and during the last attempt by Satan to lead them astray. The very fact of their faith is the glory they bring into the city each time.

They are free to come and go as they please – the gates are always opened.

Only those whose names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life” can enter there.

What construction! What beauty! What a Savior! The Temple of that City and the Light of that City is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb

Justice for All that Were Slain Upon the Earth

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Revelation 18:20-24 (KJV)

Remember what I said in previous posts, about the world’s rejoicing and God’s rejoicing.

He is speaking here to all the saints of God (“holy apostles and prophets”). Rejoice because God’s righteousness is being vindicated. We rejoice not over the condemnation of a lost soul, but for justice, and that God is glorified.

Babylon – religious, economic, and political – is utterly destroyed, to rise no more.

She will sink like the “great millstone” never to rise again. There is a similar story in Jeremiah 51:61-64. Jeremiah wrote against Babylon and had a young man read it to Babylon, and when finished reading the “book” to “bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates”. Jeremiah’s faith in God and His Word was sure. Babylon will fall. The Word of God continues.

The pronouncement of the angel, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is in the past tense. Just as surely as God said it, it shall be done.

The merchants will buy “no more at all” (v. 14); the city “shall be found no more at all” (v. 21); music “shall be heard no more at all in thee”; “no craftsman… shall be found any more in thee”; the work of the mill “shall be heard no more at all… (v. 22); “the candle… no more at all…”; wedding ceremonies “…no more at all…” (v. 23). Seven times is complete and final. God’s Word is true.

In looking at these verses we could have a very convincing description of our own nation. Capitalism, when not restrained by God’s Spirit, can breed greed, selfishness, and lust for power, yet, I believe it is the best economic system mankind has going for it when kept in check by the Spirit of God, not government. Babylon, very well, could be capitalism run amuck because of the absence of God’s restraining influence.

Because some chose to stand for Christ, the world of Babylon slew them. O, what a bloody city.

Here is a parallel to the Babylons of Scripture: The first is historical and found in Genesis 11 prepared to maintain the union of the world – overthrown by God through confusion of language and scattering of people. The second is ecclesiastical, symbolized by the woman of Revelation 17 proposes common worship and religion uniting all religions into one world church, and much advocated in our day by some of those in the reprobate church which will be destroyed by the beast in Revelation 17:16, thus fulfilling the will of God. The third is political, symbolized by the “great city” of Revelation 18, attempts domination of the world, by common market and world government. These are destroyed at Jesus’s second coming in power and great glory. EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS.

BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN – Justice will come to those who have given their lives for the cause of God, His word, and His work. Stop trusting in the “Babylonish garment” (Joshua 7:21); the material things of this world, like gold, silver, garments, houses, and land, and trust the One who has already won the victory.

Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the One who died on the cross for us, was buried, and rose again.  He is the One who is now preparing to return and make all things right.

Blessing In Judgment

Today we continue the study of the seven vials [bowls], and within these judgments, we find a blessing in verse 15.  It is a word of hope for the Church, the believer, the follower of Jesus Christ throughout all ages. Let us continue…

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. Revelation 16:8-21 (KJV)

4. (VV. 8-9) With the fourth trumpet the sun was darkened (8:12-13), but here the heat of the sun is intensified and is destructive (see Isaiah 30:26);
5. (VV. 10-11) This vial is poured out upon the throne of the “Beast”; even with this great wrath these wicked men refuse to repent;
6. (VV. 12-16) With this vial two important events take place; 1) the drying of the Euphrates River, and 2) the gathering of the armies of the world.

Within this, note the Beatitude (v. 16). It is God’s reminder to us of His provision for those who prepare by receiving His grace.

“Behold I come as a thief”. The Church can be assured that Jesus will come as a thief for His bride and take her out of the world. Who will He take out of this world before the Tribulation? 1) Those who are watching and alert; 2) Those who are living lives that please the Lord. “Blessed” or “Happy” will be those who are with Jesus during this horrible time of God’s wrath.

Also, see “THE HAPPY WATCHER”.

Verse 16 clearly shows the very sovereignty of God. When the world peace is not working and the armies of the world gather for battle against one another – remember it is God who brought them to this battle. While they are battling with one another the King of kings will descend from Heaven, and the armies of the earth will join forces against Heaven’s army and do battle. All He must do is speak a word, and it is over. What a mighty God we serve.

The final wrath of God is poured out. Sin is totally put away and evil destroyed. “It is done”, the voice from the temple says. It almost sounds like Jesus as He hung on the cross and cried out, “It is finished”. The work Jesus came to do was finished on the cross. The work God began in mankind with Adam will be finished when He completely destroys sin. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

What happens with the final or seventh vial being poured out?

  1. Voices, thunderings, and lightnings;
  2. Great earthquake – unlike any known by man;
  3. The destruction of Babylon – the political, economical, and ecclesiastical rule of man will crumble, probably recognized through a city;
  4. Because of the earthquake the face of the earth is changed (v. 20);
  5. Hailstones about the weight of 100 pounds will fall;
  6. Rather than repenting men still living will blaspheme God.

It is great to know we are still in a day of salvation. If people harden their hearts to God, it is certain to be that God will harden their hearts toward Him, and if that happens – there is no hope.

Repent when God calls (2 Corinthians 6:2). When God calls do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-8). You may not have another day (Proverbs 27:1). Do not wait to experience the glory of His wrath. Experience His glory in His grace through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Purpose Driven Holiness and Awe

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”  Revelation 11:15-19 (KJV)

This seventh and final trumpet ushers in the seven vials of wrath. Although they are not mentioned until chapter fifteen there is a break in the judgments to reveal some things that will happen during the latter half of what is often called “The tribulation period” – the latter half is referred to as “Great tribulation” (2:22).

There were voices saying that the Lord is King and “He shall reign forever and ever”. This only means God has allowed sin to run its course, and “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4). It seems that this would fit chronologically with chapters 19 and 20.

The Lord Jesus will take possession of the property which He died to redeem. At the last trump, the Lord takes what is His. Praise Him.

The same “twenty-four elders” of chapter four are in Heaven worshipping the Lord of glory.

They are awed by His awe-inspiring power over sin and evil and the vanquishing of all wickedness from the earth.

How do they worship Him?

  1. They recognize His power – Almighty;
  2. They praise His eternalness and immutability [Unchangingness];
  3. They recognize Him as Judge – both to reward His servants and punishment upon the wicked. Worship to God is simply given by recognizing Him for who He is.

“The nations were angry” takes us back to Psalm 2:1-3. The wrath of the nations is powerless and vain – for man’s own selfish revenge. God’s wrath is not for revenge, but to dispell sin, and His wrath is powerful and purposeful.  When we think of God and His love we must always remember that God is holy and no sin can stand in His presence; therefore because He is holy He does judge sin; our sin.  We must also remember the cross, for it was there that all our sin was laid on Him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is a great need for the fear of God in our day. It does not matter what the false prophets are saying about “God is love” – a half-truth is a lie. God is love, but He is also hating sin and judges it. He is wrathful. That is the truth. He is to be feared – held in awe.  A few years ago I stood upon a portion of the Rocky Mountains and I said, “This is awesome”.  A few years later I stood on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and wept with tears and said, “This is so awesome”; however, when I look into the Word of God, and I see Him in His Son Jesus I weep and rejoice at His Awesomeness, because there is no awe, such as His AWE.  He made the mountains,  the Grand Canyon, and all that there is.  He is holy and AWESOME.

The original temple. The one in Heaven. The one used to model the “Wilderness tabernacle” after. The one where God in His glory dwells. It is opened. The way to God is open today. The way into the holiest of all is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This reminds us not to take for granted God’s open door.

Within the temple, there was seen the “Ark of the testament”. The ark of God. This was the “Ark of the covenant” behind the veil, in the “Holy of Holies”. It contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded.  It is, in fact, the testimony of God dwelling among men; and that is Christ Jesus

Those who know God have received Jesus – the Bread of Life; Jesus – the fulfillment of the law written in the heart, and Jesus – the resurrection to new life. Talk about the temple being open, access to God, we have it. At least for now.  The day of the closing door, however, is drawing close.

Because many refuse God’s open door to Himself judgment upon the Christ-haters and sin lovers is certain. The lightnings, voices, thunderings are mentioned in 4:5. “Earthquake and great hail” is added to this sentence.

It seems that the very source of our salvation is also the source of judgment upon the wicked. We have the choice to be saved now or be judged through eternity. Bless the Lord.

The two witnesses of verses 1-14 who are yet to come will be empowered by God. So are all of those who know Jesus today, by the presence, glory, and power of God’s Spirit who lives within. The door is open. We too are the witnesses of God.  Let us never forget that His holiness and awe is with purpose.

The Peril of the Unrepentant in the Face of Holy

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”  Revelation 9:13-21

The sixth trumpet sounds and John hears a voice from the “Golden Altar”. This altar is the same altar as in chapter 8:3-6. The horns of the altar are mentioned in the Old Testament. There are times when men fled to the altar and “Caught hold on the horns of the altar” (1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28). It was a place for pleading. Evidently pleading for one’s life as other men sought them. From this place of former mercy proceeds a voice of woe. The second woe. The first has passed.

The voice heard tells the sixth angel to “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates”. These four angels are not the same four of chapter 7:1. There is nothing said about the chapter 7 angels being bound.

Since these four are bound it would lead us to conclude that these are evil angels or otherwise known as demons (Jude 6).

Today there is demonic activity, but not as the like of which when God removes His restraints.

The release of the four evil angels comes at God’s appointed time. “Were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year” has nothing to do with duration, but with God’s timing. The dastardly work of the four is to kill one-third of all people on the earth. Remember, one-fourth part of mankind has already been killed at the opening of the fourth seal (6:7-8). This means more than one half of the world’s population will be killed by the time this “Woe” is carried out. The judgment of the flood will pale in the comparison of these judgments.

The released angels kill by means of a two hundred million man army. China boasts to have such an army, and it is to the East of Jerusalem and the Euphrates river.

This also could be another demonic attack upon mankind, but it could be this in the form of an actual army of men. And, of course, the way things are in the world today there are probably women in this army as well. It seems that the horses are the sources of destroying power, “Out of their mouths issued fire and smoke, and brimstone” (vv. 17b-18). This almost sounds like a nuclear war.
Where the demonic mass of verses 3-11 was only allowed to torment and not to kill this army, vast in number, is allowed to kill.

Have there ever been events such as these on the earth? We have never read of them in history. This is clearly prophetic and not historical.

There is further mention of the Euphrates in 16:12 in connection with the “Sixth vial of wrath”.

The move of this army could be a move during the middle of the tribulation when the “Peacemaker” breaks the treaty with Israel and then havoc rules.

Isn’t it amazing how people can continue in sin and rebellion against God when they can see His mighty and judging hand at work. Rather than turning to the true and living God during this time of His wrath upon wickedness they lift up their idols of stone, gold, silver, brass, and wood. They cry out to gods who are no gods, becoming like them (Psalm 115).

Morris Ashcraft in the Broadman Bible Commentary wrote, “One cannot overlook John’s conviction, though voiced as a lament, that idolatry has a hold on man so great that he will go on worshiping the works of his own hands even while the infinite power of the true God is displayed all about him” BROADMAN COMMENTARY vol. 12 pg. 297.

It is a sad day when men turn to things made of their own hands and imaginations rather than to the God who displayed His love and wrath on a cross of wood judging our sin on the account of His Son.

Every kind of evil is mentioned in these verses. John is lamenting. It is nothing but outright, willful rebellion against the God of Heaven. There is no reason for rejoicing here, other than the fact, that God will destroy and put away all sin. All of sin, darkness of evil, and evil will be brought to an end.  Amen.

Thousands of Witnesses

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.”  Revelation 7:4-8

In these verses, we find that God names a specific group of people and a specific number of them. This is referring specifically to the nation of Israel. Some would like to spiritualize this and come to the conclusion that these and the “Numberless multitude” mentioned later represents all redeemed people of all the ages. There is nothing said about these being the Church, however. If we keep in mind that the Scriptures deal with three distinct people groups we will not spiritualize the text. The three groups are the Hebrews, the Gentile, and the Church of Jesus Christ.

It is quite evident that both groups mentioned here are groups who will be in the “great tribulation”. This group of Hebrews who number 144,000 are identified by their tribes. It seems two tribes are omitted and two added in their place. The two tribes omitted are Dan and Ephraim. In the book of Hosea “Ephraim” is another name given to the Northern Kingdom, and Dan was located within that kingdom. Jeroboam set up two golden calves; one in Bethel and the other in Dan. Ephraim never had a godly king who trusted the Lord God. This could be the reason, at least, a partial reason for their apparent absence. SEE Deuteronomy 29:18-21.

Most likely, there is no Hebrew living who knows to which tribe they belong. Some would ask, “If that is the case, how will they be brought together for this purpose?” That is a good question. The answer is rather simple. Although the genealogical records have been lost, God knows the genealogy of every living being. He will bring it to pass.

Who are these 12,000 times 12 tribes which equal 144,000 Hebrew men? “Watchtower” people say they are. Seventh Day Adventists say they are. Mormons say they are. Herbert W. Armstrong used to say that the people of the Worldwide Church of God were. They are all wrong. None of them are unless there is a Hebrew male among them who will not leave in the rapture, and they are appointed and called by God as such. These are people chosen from the nation of Israel whom Jesus refers to as the “Elect” in Matthew 24 -25. In “The Olivet Discourse” of Matthew 24 and 25, it could be, that, Jesus is speaking of the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” we know as the “great tribulation”. The “Elect” He mentions is possibly the 144,000 and possibly others who will believe at that time.

What is this seal in these messenger’s foreheads? These 144,000 are sealed with the name of God “In their forehead” (14:1).

There would appear to be a problem with this interpretation. The Holy Spirit removed with the Church at the rapture seems to be invalid if people are going to be saved during the tribulation. Keep this in mind. People were saved before the coming of the Holy Spirit taking up residence in the Church. People will be saved in the same way after the removal of the Holy Spirit present in the Church. Even in the time of great sorrow God has a people, the 144,000, who will preach the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom is the Kingdom of Jesus’s rule and reign on earth. It is the long-awaited and promised kingdom of David.

We end up with confusion when we spiritualize Scripture and try to make the Church Israel, or Israel the Church; except where Scripture does so. Romans 9 – 11 deals specifically with the nation, the people called Jews, and Paul writes there that, “…all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). Verses 4-8 are the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise.

We are presently in the period of grace, and the Church Age.  No one who is born again in Christ Jesus today is part of the 144,000.  We will be gone with Christ into His presence and stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Thank the Lord for His mercy, grace, and love in every age; and for the redemption of mankind by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

The One on the Throne

In this chapter (Revelation 4:11) we see the One who died for us is also our Creator and worthy of worship. He has opened the door of Heaven for man to worship him, as does the rest of creation, in that it is obedient to its Creator’s design, and we will always be in His presence.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1 (KJV).

After receiving the letters to the seven churches John sees a door “Opened in heaven”. If you will remember, the open door was set before the Philadelphia church. The church which had kept His word and had not denied His name.

The Laodicean church had closed their door and locked Jesus out.

The voice John hears sounded as a trumpet. It was a voice that called for attention. It was a voice he recognized. it was the voice of the Savior. This voice called, “Come up hither and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.”

In chapter one verse nineteen Jesus gave John the outline of the Revelation. Chapter one is the “Things which thou hast seen” [PAST]; chapters two through three, “The things which are” [PRESENT]; and chapters four through 22:5, “The things which shall be hereafter” [FUTURE]. Keep in mind, that the Church is not mentioned again until chapter nineteen.

John being caught up in the Spirit (v. 2) is shown what is to come. Everything from this point on is future. It seems that John’s being called to “Come up hither” is to show him the events following the Church age.

“And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”  Revelation 4:2 (KJV).

TAKE NOTE OF WHO IS ON THE THRONE. The throne is symbolic of sovereignty, authority, and power. All through the Revelation “Throne” is mentioned forty-six times making it a key word. This is to assure us that although a period of terrible tribulation is coming upon the earth, to let Satan kill, maim and destroy, He (God) is still in control, and will continue to maintain control.

John was amazed to find himself before the very throne of God. That is the place where all God’s children will one day find themselves. The ungodly, evil will also find themselves before His throne of judgment and will be cast into a lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

“And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:3 (KJV).

We can begin to have an understanding of the Revelation if we keep in mind the rest of Scripture – the Old Testament in particular. This book is penned down by a Jew and the symbolism used is Hebrew in nature. The words of John Walvoord…

“Significantly, the jasper and the sardine stone are the first and last of these twelve stones (cf. Exodus 28:17-21). The jasper represented Reuben, the first of the tribes, since Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob. The sardine stone represented Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. In other words the two stones represented the first and the last and therefore may be regarded as including all the other stones in between, that is, the whole of the covenanted people.’

‘Furthermore, the names Reuben and Benjamin have significance. The word ‘Reuben’ means ‘behold a son.’ The word Benjamin means ‘son of my right hand.’ In both cases these terms seem to have a double meaning: first, the fact that though Christ is the representative of Israel, He is also the Son of God. Like Reuben, Christ is the first begotten son. Second, like Benjamin, Christ is also the ‘son of my right hand’ in relation to God the Father. The person whom John sees on the throne looking like a jasper and sardine stone is, therefore God in relation to the nation of Israel.” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pp. 104 & 105.

This must have been one of the most brilliant and colorful experiences John ever had. He saw a rainbow. This rainbow was complete, in that it was a complete circle “around the throne”. Its color was like an emerald. A very colorful place around the throne of God.

“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”  Revelation 4:4 (KJV).

These “Twenty four seats” and the “Elders” who sat upon the seats seem to represent the redeemed of the Lord. It would not be Israel since they have not yet come as the nation to Christ, but the Church. Notice how they are clothed….

White represents righteousness and holiness. Some have supposed these twenty-four to be angelic beings. However, there is no mention in Scripture of angels receiving rewards [crowns] or a group of angels “clothed in white raiment”. The “Crowns of gold” seem to be the crowns of reward, mentioned in Scripture for believers. The Crown of Life (James 1:12); the Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); the Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20); the Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:50-8); and the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:2-4).

It seems, then, that these “Elders” would represent the redeemed from the time before the cross and resurrection to the time of the closing of the Church age. The Church age ending with the rapture of the saints.

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”  Revelation 4:5 (KJV).

As a reminder to mankind God gives us ample proof that He is a loving, yet wrathful God, judging sin, and those who reject Him. For those of you who think that God is only love, does not judge, or find fault, you will probably make your own interpretation and deny all this truth given us in God’s Word. “For our God is a consuming fire,” wrote the writer of Hebrews in chapter twelve verse twenty-nine. He also wrote, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

The “lightnings”, “thunderings” and “voices” are warnings of wrath. A reminder that sin will be forever judged. Whether we like to admit it or not, our worship of God involves our confession, repentance of sin. There is no worshiping Him unless we repent.

Once again the fullness of the Spirit of God is revealed. It is by the power of God’s Holy Spirit that sin is revealed and we are led to repentance, and into the rightful worship of God. He is the Light that exposes sin and evil and reveals the way to God.

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7 (KJV).

Keep in mind the place, “Before the throne”, in God’s presence.

In these verses we have further evidence of the “Jewishness” of this Revelation. “A sea of glass” takes us back to the Old Testament. The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were designed in Heaven. “Sea of glass” is a reference to the “Bronze laver” (Exodus 35:16; 38:8; 40:7) of the wilderness tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple. The bronze laver was made from the “Looking glasses” of the women of Israel (Exodus 38:8). These looking glasses were of polished brass to make them reflect images similar to a mirror. It would not have been as clear as the mirrors we know now.

John’s focus is more upon the “Beasts”, possibly better understood as “Living ones”. Who are these “Living ones”? They are, possibly, angelic beings. They are representative of the attributes of God, in general. Let me quote John F. Walvoord,

“The fact that the creatures are full of eyes is taken as significant of the omniscience and omnipresence of God who sees all and knows all.’
‘In a similar way the four beasts as respectively a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle are considered different aspects of divine majesty. All of these are supreme in their respective categories. The lion is the king of beasts and represents majesty and omnipotence. The calf or ox, representing the most important of domestic animals, signifies patience and continuous labor. man is the greatest of all God’s creatures, especially in intelligence and rational power; whereas the eagle is greatest among birds and is symbolic of sovereignty and supremacy” THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pp. 109 & 110.

Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet had a similar vision. You can read that in Ezekiel 1:4-10.

“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,”  Revelation 4:8-9 (KJV).

These “Living ones” are worshiping and announcing the holiness of God, and declaring His omnipresence in time.

A similar announcement of God’s holiness is declared by the seraphim in Isaiah 6:1-3. They [Seraphim] are also identified as having six wings, representing humility, service, and mission.

These proclaim to God the glory and honor He so richly deserves. The One “Who lives for ever and ever.” When we worship God we are to do so in holiness, with humility, service, and mission; knowing and showing that the God of all creation is worthy of all worship and praise.

“The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4:10-11 (KJV).

Further evidence that the “Twenty four elders” are the redeemed, is that they “Cast their crowns before the throne” and worship.

These recognize the work of salvation God has done and give the crowns to the One who is truly deserving. These “Elders” represent priesthood.

“There were twenty four courses of priests in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 24:3-5, 18; also see Luke 1:5-9). God’s people are ‘Kings and priests’ (Revelation 1:6).” From BIBLE EXPOSITION Commentary pg. 582 by Warren Wiersbe.

If we will keep in mind that this book is Hebrew in its symbolism and trust the Holy Spirit we will not be led astray. Remember the time following the Church age is called, “…The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

The Holy One of Israel is worthy to receive all that He is worth. Too many times we people get the idea that this world and all that is in it is just about us. It is not. It is about God. All glory, honor, and power belong to the One who made all that is. We were made for His pleasure, His purpose, His desire, and He can do with us as He pleases. He is completely just and righteous, and we can trust Him to do what is good and right. We are to be worshiping THE ONE ON THE THRONE.