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.

I Will Come Unto You Quickly

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: nd hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:1-7 (KJV)

The day in which we live needs the Church to be the Church, and not living to be like the world to win the world. The sheep do not need to put on the wolves clothing. The true Church needs admonishment and encouragement to keep doing the good and the right, with the right motive of loving the One who is our first love, and the One who holds the “Angel/Messengers” in His hand.
This is the beginning letter to the seven churches. These are important letters to the Church of all ages, and especially, I feel for the Church of today.

In the study of the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians Paul commends them for their faith and teaches them who they are in Jesus Christ. They are a vibrant and faithful people and growing in faith and knowledge of Jesus.

Jesus says that something is wrong with the church at Ephesus. They have abandoned their “First love”. If they do not repent their “Candlestick” – the light of His glory – “will be removed”. He gave the light. He can also remove it and give it to another.

He commends them and encourages them to be overcomers to eat of the Tree of Life which can be seen in the “Lampstand” of the tabernacle in the wilderness, of Israel’s wanderings.

Beginning the letter to the church of Ephesus, our Lord reminds the church of who holds the seven stars and walks among the “seven golden lampstands”. Of course, it is the One who is speaking. The One who is the Light Giver.

We are looking at each “angel” as being the messenger, ie. pastor of each local congregation. It would not make sense for an “Angel of Heaven” come and deliver a letter from Jesus. Jesus used John to pen down the letters, John sent them to each of the churches, and the leader, ie. pastor read it to the congregation. That would be so exciting to have an actual letter from Jesus read to us. Wait a minute!!!! WE DO. WOW!!!

Ephesus was a port city. It was the greatest of these seven cities. It was the seat of “Artemis” worship, also known as “Diana” in Acts chapter 19. Paul preached the gospel here for about three years. He built this church and encouraged them in their faith through the letter of Ephesians. It is said that John was in Ephesus for about 30 years.

In this first verse, Jesus gives greeting as He does to the others. He also identifies Himself as the One “That holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”. This is one of the descriptions given in chapter one. The very fact of His walking “In the midst” shows Jesus’ love for the local church, and that His people are to be found in the local church.

The seven golden candlesticks are an Old Testament picture given in Exodus 25:31-37. The priests were to keep the light in the tabernacle burning. There were no means for the natural light of the sun to enter, so there was the need for the “Candlestick” or “Lampstand” for the priests to do the rest of their daily duties. Jesus being our Great High Priest keeps the flames burning the light shining in order that the world might see Him in His Church.

We now enter the “I know” portion of the letter. He is the “All-Knowing” One.
The people of Ephesus Church were a busy people. They were working and laboring to the point of exhaustion. For this devotion Jesus commends them. These were also a people who were sound in doctrine, they hated evil, and they were a discerning people. They could tell the true from the false. The reason they were able to discern so well is, that, they had learned the truth so well.

Jesus commends them for their perseverance (v. 3) in continuing to deal with the false apostles and persevering in faith despite the persecution they had faced.

By all appearances, Ephesus was a good church. They were serving the Lord well. Not many churches today could be so commended.

It seems, according to verse four, however, that the church was laboring with the wrong motives. Jesus commends them for their work but suddenly gives them condemning statements. It was only one thing. It was no small thing.

“Thou hast left thy first love” is one of the most tragic, and probably is the most tragic condemnation Jesus could lay on a church. It is the abandonment of the “first love” that causes all kinds of iniquities, and sin. It may have been that the church had been lured away from loving Jesus by the fulfillment received from performing their duties, or by the allurements of the city and their ways of worship.

The “First love” of every Believer is Jesus. If there is no time for Jesus, for hearing His words, sharing your hearts needs with Him, and practicing His ways, then, you have “Left” or “Abandoned” your “First love”.

This is the only one of the seven churches of which is warned of the removing of the “Candlestick”. Ephesus has no Christian witness to this day. Why? Because they had forsaken their love for Jesus. They were diligent in their work and task, but without a passion for Christ. I just recently heard a television preacher say, “Passion is more important than doctrine”. I do not agree with that. Passion without doctrine will end in emotionalism, an anything goes way of worship, and immorality; and doctrine without Passion will be legalistic and cold. So what is the answer? There is need and room for both, and a correct doctrine with the passion for Christ. It seems the church had good works, good doctrine, but no heart for Christ. The light of Christ has been removed.
Jesus’ condemning statement is followed by a statement of hope and warning (v. 5).

He says, “Remember”. Remember from where you have fallen. They had once been Gentiles without hope and Jesus redeemed them (Ephesians 2:11-13). It always helps to go back and remember what you were before Jesus saved you from the bondage of sin. If there has been no change, no difference then, it will do no good to ‘Remember’. You need a time where change begins. It can be now through faith in Jesus.

He then says, “Repent”. Begin to stir the coals. Put some fuel on them. Fan the flames. Ignite the flames of passion for Jesus that you once had. If there are no coals there, but only ashes…….., then what? Turn away from the pride of your work and your labors – love Jesus. We love Him least when we trust ourselves most; we love Him most when we trust Him most.

One of the first works of one with that “First love” mentality is telling others about His love; His death, burial, and resurrection.

The warning is that He will judge quickly if there is no turning. The judgment would be removing the candlestick. The light of their witness, their testimony, as a body, would be gone. Today Ephesus is an archaeologist’s fantasy land. The church no longer exists, nor does the city. Ichabod has certainly been written on the church of Ephesus. “Ichabod” meaning THE GLORY IS DEPARTED.

Jesus commends them in verse six for their hating the “Deeds of the Nicolaitans”. There is some dispute over who these were. Some take the name to mean “Conquerors of the people” meaning this group was the beginning of the separation of “Clergy” and “Laity”. The placing of a “Priesthood” lording over the people. Others relate the name to a man whose name was Nicolaus who taught that once you were saved you could live in sin and return for forgiveness anytime. NOTE – I wrote “Live in sin” which is continual action. This belief is called “Antinomianism”. I personally see no conflict between these two understandings. The separation of the “Priesthood” from the people lends leniency to immoral living and takes away personal responsibility, for one’s self and others. Though God has set an order for His local church, there is no one person of more importance than another. The pastor is to be the leader but is no more important than the janitor. Each has their God given duty, and each duty is important in God’s church. Jesus is Superior to all. The very fact that there is no description of these “Nicolaitans”, other than these views, seem to add credibility to this.

In the final verse of this important letter, we find an exhortation to hear. It is an exhortation to each individual to hear. The individual is responsible for his/her love for Jesus. Responsible for discerning right from wrong. For repentance when sin is committed. Individuals make up the local church.

The Spirit speaks expressly to the church and the individuals to hear.

To the individual who overcomes he will eat the fruit of the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden to keep them from the Tree. There is a symbol of the Tree of Life in the “Lampstand” of Exodus 25:31-37. It is likened to an almond tree. Jesus is the Caretaker, the Priest. Jesus is the only means for man to partake of the Tree of Life. He is in the midst.

Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). In Ephesus, there was a remnant who departed and went elsewhere. When the “Candlestick” is removed there is no more light, no more witness. As long as there is a remnant there is light and hope.

Maintaining and feeding your love and passion for Jesus assures you of eating from the Tree of Life.

Precious Faith

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)

Simon Peter a very close friend of the Lord Jesus Christ as He walked, worked, and lived and died on the cross is the Spirit-inspired writer of both First and Second Peter.  He is one of the apostles of Christ.  At one time he was influenced by the devil when he told Jesus that He would not die (Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33).

Peter writes of the Precious Faith that we receive “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”; so then we must know that “Faith” also is the “Gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  The work of faith and salvation are the gift of God.  They are in fact the same.  When you have faith in Him then you are saved.  When you are saved, then you have faith in Him.  It is the gift of God.

Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 3 that “…All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23), but in Christ Jesus, we have been called into that glory and the virtue of it.  We are no longer separated from God, and even more, because we are in Christ we are recipients of the “exceeding great and precious promises… that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.”  Having the “divine nature” means that we have been given the heart and mind of Christ. The will to think, to act, to live like Christ.  That means we no longer have the heart of sin, but we hate sin just as Jesus does, and we love righteousness, holiness, and righteousness.

We are delivered from the corruption that is in the world, and our desires are what God desires for us.

If you are still desiring to live in your sinful passions and lust, you enjoy living in sin, then you have not been delivered from the corruption of this wicked world.  You are still bound in sin and death, and you are on the road to eternal destruction and hell.  You need to call on the name of Jesus who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He will come again just as He said He would (John 14:1-3).  Call on Him today, even now.

Living a Quiet and Peaceable Life

Since we are living in a world where there is much chaos and turmoil; it seems no matter where you turn in society; then, we need to know how to live a quiet and peaceable life in this world.  We hear the words of Paul the apostle to the young pastor Timothy…

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV)

Timothy was in Ephesus at this time, in a new church, and dealing with a lot of immorality, and sin in the Church.  When we look at the Scriptures concerning the early Church they too had to deal with the sin issues of their day.  So how does Paul tell Timothy to deal with the many issues?

The first thing he mentions is prayer, and matters which go with prayer – supplication, intercessions, giving thanks to God.  The second thing is that we pray for all people who are in places of authority – pastors, presidents, kings, and for the quiet and peaceable life of others.

It is summed up to be so for a life of godliness, and honesty.

The final sentence of the verses tells us that praying for leaders in authority is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”.  It also tells us that He desires to have all men saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  He has made it possible for even the most wicked and vile individual to come to Him in faith.  He has paid the price for all sin; no matter how bad, how vile or how wicked; Christ Jesus died on the cross for our sin, was buried and He rose again the third day, and forever live; not just a spirit, but the Man Christ Jesus is alive in heaven, seated with the Father at His right hand.  He is the Mediator between God and men.  He is the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

Unequal Yokes

Yokes are a farming tool from years past where the farmer or wagoneer even would place two animals; for a yoke it would most generally have been oxen.  The cart, wagon, or plow was usually teamed with an equally powered pair of the animal.  Consider this as we look at the following passage of Scripture.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was writing to Christians in the city of Corinth.  Professing Christians were joining together with non-believers, and were having complications due to their inabilities to get along, and do what was right.

We are living in an era of time where many Christians are saying things and doing things that align themselves more with the lost world – the unbelievers – and pulling away from God, and His word.  In order to get along with the world that is usually what happens.  It is the same as thinking you can take a clean bucket of water, and a bucket of mud, then thinking you can pour that water into the mud and make it come out clean.  That cannot happen.  What you end up with is muddy water.

We are dealing with Christian life and living.  When it comes to building a business and teaming up with someone to enter enterprise all parties should have the same moral standards, and like heart for what they do.  In marriage, the man and woman entering that lifetime commitment to one another should have a like passion and love for Christ; realizing Jesus Christ is central to their individual, and couple’s life together.  There are going to be enough difficulties in partnerships in business, and in marriages without adding the spiritual aspect to the situation.

If we will follow the Lord’s direction spoken through the apostle, then there will be fewer problems, and more love and peace.

When you team an ox with a donkey you will have problems.  The ox will be more consistent in pulling while the donkey may not be as reliable, and balk more often.

God has told us, “Come out from among them (the unbelievers), and be ye separate.”  He has also said, “Touch not the unclean thing.”  We are all unclean until we come to Christ.  If you are outside of Christ, then come to Him today.

The Burden of the Sermon

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)

Many a man and woman have said something like this, “I live by the Sermon on the mount”.  My thought when I hear that, though I usually say nothing is, “O really.”  Do we think about what Jesus says in the sermon?  It is stronger than the law.  The law says, “Do not commit adultery”.  Jesus says, “If a man looks at a woman with lust he is guilty of adultery”.  Now tell me that you live by the Sermon on the Mount.

In the words of Jesus above Jesus is declaring that He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.  He did not destroy them, or lay them aside, He is their fulfillment.  Jesus is what they spoke of and what they speak of.

When reading the Scriptures from Genesis through the Revelation we can see Jesus.  He is creating in Genesis 1, and He is finishing His great salvation in Revelation 22.

From the comma to the final period of the law, all will be fulfilled, and it will take place while there is a heaven and an earth.  All through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Righteousness is a good thing.  True righteousness comes through the faith of Jesus Christ.  All the righteousnesses of sinful men is as filthy rags before holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  Our righteousness must come through the cross of Jesus.  It must be given us by God Himself.  Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we enter the kingdom of heaven.

Preacher for the People

Let me say this up front, then, you can and will decide if you want to finish reading this or not.  The preacher who preaches to please the people, the largest groups, does not please God.  The Preacher of God; the prophet of God preaches what God says, not what men say.  Having said that hear the prophet Micah…

“Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame. O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the LORD straitened? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly? Even of late My people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. The women of My people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away My glory for ever. Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” Micah 2:6-11 (KJV)

Micah lived during some of, if not most of the time of Isaiah (See Isaiah 1:1 and Micah 1:1); they were in the era of the same kings.  Isaiah had told the people…

Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceit… Isaiah 30:10

I have always heard that you can catch more flies with honey. I have always wondered why you would want to ruin good honey by catching flies in it.  Besides I am offended at the thought that a human being is thought of as a fly.  People with a mind, who can think.  People can see the peril they are headed toward if they are warned of it; and that is what a prophet/preacher of God actually does.  Remember this; God’s warnings are also God’s promises.  He does fulfill every word He speaks – the negative and the positive.

Let me give you a study note from the MacArthur Study Bible then I will close this lesson…

2:6-11  False prophets, commanding Micah to cease prophesying, would certainly not prophesy against the people’s evil doings; they would not confront them with the divine standard of holiness.  Rather their false message (v. 7) had stopped the mouths of the true prophets and had permitted the rulers to engage  in social atrocities (vv. 8,9), leading the people to destruction (v. 10).  They didn’t want true prophecies; therefore, they got what they wanted (cf. Is. 30:10). It is best to understand that Micah speaks in v. 6 and God in vv. 7-11.

Who will you listen to?

If you truly love Jesus the one who died for your sins, was buried and rose again; then you will listen to His words.  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15

Hard Hearted and Hard Headed

I must admit; I have been accused of being “Hard headed”.  I may have even been accused a few times of being “Hard hearted”, and at times I would probably agree that I can be both.  But I do pray that never toward God and His Word.

I have personal Christian convictions; not preferences which I will stand on til death if I must.  If that is hard headed, then so be it.  I can also be hard hearted; at least seemingly to others; in my actions and words toward people. I really do not intend to be.  If I am not hard at times I will weep, and seem weak.  I have said these things to point you toward some verses in Ezekiel, and God’s word to him concerning his message to the captives in Babylon.  Hear the word of the LORD…

‘And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”  Ezekiel 3:4-11 (KJV)

I have meant in no way to put myself along side this man of God, the prophet Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon along with the others of Judah.  He was a prophet in captivity with his people, and was to preach to them; to call them back to God while being held by the enemy.  His purpose was to call them to repentance and to GOD.

The Lord GOD was telling him that this was a hard hearted, hard headed people, and He was going to make the prophet so as well; only to stand against the ungodliness of the people.  In the people they were refusing to hear the word of God, even after seeing the word of the LORD fulfilled by their city being overthrown, their king taken captive, his sons killed before his eyes, and them dragged against their will to Babylon.  Now, Ezekiel was to prepare them for the years ahead.  Captives in a foreign land; and they were not going to listen to God “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”

When Christians are captive in an evil society we must hear the word of God over the words of men.  When we refuse to hear the words of judgment, and only listen to the words of promise we refuse it all.  The words of judgment are also words of promise.  If God said it; it will come to pass.

Let us; those of us who call ourselves “Christian” or “Born again” be hard hearted toward those who reject the word of God; and be hard headed for the word of God, loving God more than we do things or people.  If we care more for what people say or think of us, than we do God; then we are loving people more than we love God, and His Son Jesus.  Do you love Jesus Christ and His word more than you do the thoughts of humankind?

You better change your heart and mind.

Forsaken for a Moment; Honored with Glory

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You: they trusted, and You did deliver them. They cried unto You, and were delivered: they trusted in You, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him. But You are He that took Me out of the womb: You did make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from the womb: You are My God from My mother’s belly.” Psalm 22:1-10 (KJV)  Please read all of Psalm 22.

I can remember the first time I read this with my eyes open by the Spirit of God.  It was a moment of awakening, and I remembered when Jesus spoke these words of the first verse as He was hanging and dying accursed on the cross of Calvary.  See Matthew 27:46, and  Mark 15:33-34.

Though these words were penned down by David, the “Sweet Psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1) they were spoken by God from the ages past when he determined from the foundation of the world to send His Son Jesus to bleed and die to pay for the redemption of mankind.

Every time I read the gospels and especially of the trial, judgment, beating, humiliation, and nailing of Jesus to that cross I find myself weeping.  To know that the Almighty God; the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present and Immutable GOD could love me.  For many years following my salvation, coming to Jesus as my Lord and Savior I questioned His love for me.  I even doubted it at times; but in the not too distant past I came to realize His love so deep, so marvelous, so powerful, so consuming, that I no longer question, neither do I doubt God’s love for me or anyone else.

How much does God love the world?  How much does God love you?  So much that He gave the best He had to save, to redeem  us, to call us to Himself.  He gave us His Son, His only begotten Son.  His holy Son.  His Son Jesus was without sin–without spot or blemish; and He willingly laid down His life for our sin.

Now the question is;  What will you do with Jesus?

The Approaching Enemy

Are you fearful?  Does it seem as though the enemy is coming in around you? Do you feel surrounded by your troubles, trials, and fears?

Sometimes we all have them, and we deal with them the best way we know how, but often, the last thing we do is seek the Lord.  We need to remember, always, that He is not a spare tire, which we only use when we need it.

There was a prophet in the land of Israel who was in touch with God.  He even told the king of Israel where the Syrian [enemy] camp was located, and they would defeat the Syrians.  The Syrian king gave orders to find Elisha, but the prophet was not fearful; however the young servant of Elisha was afraid.  Hear the words of Elisha to the young man…

“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.’ 2 Kings 6:16-17

Fear is an often mentioned topic in Scripture. I have heard said, that the phrase “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” or other similar ones are used 365 times from Genesis through the Revelation.  If so that would be one for each day of the year.

The story of Elisha and his servant is a marvelous one.  It is an encouraging event in Biblical history which has fascinated me, and others for many centuries, and millennial.   In the servants fear God opened the man’s eyes so that he could see that God was with them.

The child of God need never wonder in doubt about the presence of God.  God sent His Son Jesus.  He is called Emmanuel meaning “God with us”, and this One went to the cross as the atonement for the sins of mankind; so that we might always be in the presence of God.

Are you fearful today?  Look into God’s word.  Believe God and His word.  Trust His Son Jesus for salvation.  Turn from your sin to Him.  He is with you.

In looking at this event I thought of the Proverb which says…

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7

Please the LORD by coming to His Son Jesus.  He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Great and Awesome GOD

What happens when we do not fear God?  Do we really want an answer?  I will answer it.  We will fear everything else, and be crippled by that fear even though there is only a perceived notion, or a shadow in the darkness ahead.  BOO!

This is something the LORD has been revealing to me for the past few years.  If I fear God, there is absolutely nothing I need to fear.  If I do not fear God, then I will fear every thing, every dark shadow around me.  I have noticed the “Fear not” passages and the “Do not be afraid” ones too.  The Almighty does not desire that we be fearful, and when we are walking with Him there is nothing to fear.

Hear what the LORD says to the children of Israel when they were near to crossing into the Promised Land…

“If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a Mighty God and Terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.” Deuteronomy 7:17-22 (KJV)

If you will notice verse 21 (you will need your Bible to figure that out) says, “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”  The phrases “Mighty God and terrible” are translated “Great and awesome” in the NKJV.  I have always love the word “Awesome”.  I think it is greatly overused.  There is no one individual I know that is “Awesome” – except Jesus my Lord and Savior.

God’s instruction to the people was not to fear the people of the Land they were about to enter.  He is the Great and Awesome GOD.  There is none like Him.  There is none beside Him.  Anything man has made and declared a deity is set for destruction.  GOD is set forever.

The Psalmist has written…

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” and  “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:3, 11

Yes there are fears that will come our way, but the Christ honoring, God fearing believer will turn that fear to faith, will trust and believe the LORD is with us; and not fear what lies ahead; neither what is behind us.

This kind of faith comes through the faith of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.  If you have not trusted Him you have much to fear; not the least of which is being outside the will and way of God.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” From Dictionary.com We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times. Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order. Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture. This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial. In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat. I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption. We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed. Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows. The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him. Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

The Fight in Spiritual Warfare

 “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.” Daniel 10:1-9 (KJV)

 Daniel 10:1-21

 There are wars in our world today. That is no profound statement I realize that, but it is none the less true. We grieve over the wars that have been fought  in Iraq, what is going on in Syria, and many other places; and the young soldiers who are dying, civilians dying, women and children included in that. No war is pleasant. It is not really pleasant to even speak of. Sometimes, as bad as it is, wars are necessary to stand against what is evil. I do not think any one in their right mind would say that, “The attack of September 11, 2001 was not an attack from evil“.

Ever since the beginning of man; Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we have come under attack from evil. The world is still under the domain of the chief of all evil and that is the devil. He still has his demons working and influencing the leaders of the world, but all his work and efforts will be to no avail. The devil and his demons are a defeated foe. They were defeated on the cross where Jesus died and conquered evil there. Proof of that is in that He rose from the dead.

There is a warfare which we as Christians are fighting today. Some will say, “You said that Jesus had conquered evil, why are we still fighting a war against it?” Jesus did conquer evil, and that is part of the glory of the matter. We need to remember that we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from the victory. “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

Paul the apostle told us…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Eph. 6:10-12 (KJV).

Paul also tells us that…

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” 2 Cor. 10:4 (KJV).

Daniel was finding out about spiritual warfare.

AS WE LOOK AT THE TIME THAT DANIEL HAD THIS EXPERIENCE (v. 1). It was approximately two years after Cyrus had made the decree that the captives of Jerusalem could return to their homeland. In the book of Ezra we read,

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3 (KJV).

This event takes place a few years following the events of chapter 9, because we see at the beginning of chapter nine that it took place during the first year of Darius of the Medes.

It could be that Daniel may have written the document that gave the Israelites permission to return to Jerusalem. Remember Daniel was in the court of the king, so this may have been his responsibility.

THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF DANIEL’S MOURNING (vv. 2-3). It is not told us what it was that caused Daniel to mourn, specifically. We do know that it had been approximately two years since the decree had gone out for the people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

News had most likely came back to Daniel of the trying circumstances of the 50,000 Hebrews who returned to the land. There were other Hebrews who had never left who were mocking those who had returned, and were hindering the work of the temple. There was a spiritual battle raging in Jerusalem.

Daniel’s heart was greatly burdened. He was so burdened – maybe for a couple of reasons; First, he may have been burdened for the people’s circumstances in Jerusalem – the work had been hindered and stopped (Ezra 4:1-6). Secondly, Daniel was probably burdened to better understand the prophecies he had received. It is quite possible the battle in Jerusalem over the building of the temple is the scene of the battle between the angelic being (vv. 13 & 20). It seems to relate to an ongoing battle (v. 13b “…I remained there with the kings of Persia”, said the angel. Daniel, in fact, had spent 21 days in mourning and fasting, because of his sorrow, and desire to get God’s direction and will. The prayer was heard on the first day, but due to the spiritual battle Daniel endured in prayer and fasting until he received answer.

Fasting seems to have been an almost forgotten practice. Private fasting, where there is no self aggrandizement, is a practice that Christians need to begin practicing in order to be overcomers in the life of faith.

Let us never forget to pray for our nation’s leaders. It could very well be that there are evil spirits directing the hearts of evil men and hindering the works of godly men. In fact the Bible is clear about that. Let us always beware to never pray to angels nor worship them – they are servants of God and servants to us as well. We are to worship and pray to God alone.

DANIEL’S PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD (vv. 4-9). The appearance of this “…Certain man” seems to be almost identical to the description given of Jesus in the Revelation…

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:“ Rev 1:12-17 (KJV).

It is because of this that many, including myself see this ‘certain man’ as a Christ phony – a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. It would be similar to His appearance in the fiery furnace with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. This revelation took place while Daniel was walking by the river Hiddekel. Sometimes when one becomes burdened a walk in a place of quietness brings the best encounters with God. What an encounter it was. This is the first time Daniel has a personal visit from our Lord, at least that is recorded.

Even though they did not see the One whom Daniel saw, the men with Daniel fled and hid, because they realized something was going on and it was too great for them to stay around (vv. 7-8). The vision was so awe-inspiring Daniel had no strength. He heard His voice. Being so weakened and overcome by His presence Daniel went into a deep sleep. We should in no way consider this “deep sleep” as bad on Daniel’s part. From the excitement he may have blacked out and lost consciousness. Sometimes it is when our minds are resting in the Lord we are renewed, refreshed, and revived. NOTE, Daniel’s position “…My face toward the ground.” Most likely this “deep sleep” was probably the same type “deep sleep” God put on Adam when He created Eve”. So it was a God induced sleep.

DANIEL IS TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL (vv. 10-21). It does not say it clearly but most likely the hand that touched Daniel was the hand of Gabriel the angel who had spoken to him previously (8:16; 9:20-23).

NOTICE: The words this angel speaks to Daniel; “…A man greatly beloved” is spoken twice in this chapter (vv. 11 & 19) and one other time in the previous chapter (9:23). He says, “Fear not” twice (vv. 12, 19). “Peace be unto thee”, and “Be strong, be strong”. A double admonition.

Why Daniel prayed for twenty one days – the Spiritual Warfare. The angel was hindered by the “prince of Persia”. This could not have been a mere man which the angel of God was battling. It had to have been a “demon angel” appointed by satan over the kingdom of Persia. If Daniel had quit praying this ‘prince of Persia’ could have won the battle. Let us never cease praying for God’s will to be accomplished in His people and in the governments of men. Because of Daniel’s unceasing, fervent prayer the angel came with an answer. Delayed prayers are FAITH TESTING and FAITH BUILDING prayers. Daniel was touched three times by the angel (vv. 10, 16, and 18).

There are some who believe that this whole encounter was with the pre-incarnate Christ. It cannot be – because Jesus would not need the help of Michael. Jesus could, but speak the word, “Be gone” and that demon would flee. There is no doubt in my mind that from verses ten through verse 21 the one who touched Daniel was an angel, and most likely Gabriel, who had spoken to him previously.

The angel came to give Daniel understanding of what the “latter days” held for the Hebrews, and Gentile nations.

The angel speaks of returning to battle the ‘prince of Persia’. He tells Daniel that the ‘prince of Greece’ is on the way. It almost seems the angel encourages Daniel to keep praying. PLEASE REREAD EPHESIANS 6:10-18.

The powers of darkness are at work in the world, its governments, plotting, scheming, deceiving, seeking to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that is godly, holy and righteous.  Let us as the Church of Jesus Christ keep praying too. Let’s pray for forgiveness of our own sin, confess them and repent. Let’s pray for those who are lost. Jesus is coming soon.

MARANATHA.

The Kingdom That Will Never Fall

Daniel 7:9-28

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9-14 (KJV)

THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF THE SON OF MAN (vv. 9-14). The phrase “Ancient of Days” most likely refers to God the Father. The thrones of men will be “cast down” and God will be exalted above the governments of men. Here is a scene where Daniel describes the Father. “AWESOME.” Would be a great word to use.

We see Daniel in the passage of Scripture watching, in the vision, until the ‘thrones were cast down’. It is most assuredly the thrones of those who exalt themselves against the ‘Stone cut out without hands’, and try to defeat Him. It is their thrones which are cast down. It is the throne of the Father and the Son which will be exalted.

The “rest of the beasts” of verse 12 seem to apply to governments that remain after the Great White Throne Judgment; these would not have participated in an uprising against the appearing of the Son of Man (Jesus). Dominion and glory, and a kingdom will be given unto Him that will be everlasting. It shall never pass away. COME LORD JESUS.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING; YET TROUBLED (vv. 15-28). There are a lot of things Daniel did not understand, and he was troubled by them. He is troubled that sin is going to grow and grow and become worse. Would that sin would so trouble the people of God today. It should grieve us to know that sin is progressing and getting worse and worse. It is one day going to work its way out; unto the destruction of sin. “One of them that stood by” (v. 15) is probably an angel. This one gave Daniel the meanings.

There is assurance here that the kingdoms of men will fail and God’s people will reign (v. 18). The evil one has at times prevailed against the ‘saints’ down through history. During the time that is called the Tribulation many saints will be killed for their faith. These are Tribulation saints – people who have trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Most times in these cases they will be showing their love for the Lord with their lives. One day the ‘Ancient of Days’ is going to give power of rule of earth to the saints and will possess the kingdom (v. 22).

Before the ‘Ancient of Days’ comes, though, there will be much trouble (vv.23-25). This final beast will rise up in the last days and speak against the truth of God’s Word. There will be a world wide kingdom which the evil one will rule. He will bring harmony between all the world’s religions. He will bring in a world wide economy. He will bring ‘peace’ in the land of ‘Palestine’. He will make himself god. In the last three and one half years of his rule he will become vicious; you might even say indescribable.

He shall not stand. He shall fall and at the Great White Throne of Judgment will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire which burns forever and forever.

The kingdom will be given to God’s saints. It will be an everlasting kingdom.

In these days of the twenty first century we also see troubling things. Let us simply believe that God and His Son Jesus will accomplish everything He has spoken. He will. We do not know how, or when God will bring these things to pass, but He will.

We can rest assured the Holy God of all creation will not tolerate a blasphemer who exalts himself over the throne of God. That man, beast, devil, or what ever he be will stand before the Judgment of the throne of God.

There is redemption for all, today, who will call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. He paid our sin debt by His shed blood – giving His life – was buried carrying our sin away; and He rose showing us the victory of the cross, and giving the promise, to those who trust Him, of eternal life with Him. There is a Bridegroom coming for His Bride [the Church]; and there is a Judge (His name is Jesus) coming to separate the sheep from the goats. Be part of the Bride by trusting Jesus.

A Hand, The Writing on the Wall, and A Frightened King,

Daniel 5:1 – 12

“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” Daniel 5:5-9 (KJV)

 Belshazzar was most likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and was the ruler of the city of Babylon, not the Babylonian empire. His father would have been ruler of the empire – he second in command under his father.

At this time, it has been estimated that Daniel was 82 years of age. Since Belshazzar does not know who Daniel it seems to indicate two things 1) Belshazzar’s ignorance or uncaring about the things that have happened in the past, and/or 2) Daniel had had not recent use in the kingdom.

THE PARTY THAT ENDED THE LIFE OF A KINGDOM AND A KING (vv. 1-4). There was a whole lot of riotous living going on in the palace on this night. It is said that when kings of this period had a drinking going on they left the women out of it. At this party, however, there were wives, concubines, and various kinds of women; which made this a party of debauchery .

It seemed to get so out of hand the king [Belshazzar] elevated the gods of Babylon over the God of all things. This was when he called for the vessels of God’s temple which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar many years before. Nebuchadnezzar had also proclaimed that the people of Babylon was to respect, and revere the God of Israel. “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Daniel 3:29 (KJV).

The thing that had taken place on this vital evening was blasphemy and idolatry which was the ‘last straw’ with God. God’s purpose for Babylon had reached its peak, now they would be brought to their knees, and Belshazzar would die.

Playing with the things of God which are holy will bring judgment. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). There is an terrible lot of playing around with godly things, and making what is holy vile and ugly. An example of that is the attempt to legally marry people of the same gender. Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God. It is a party of the vile, godless, and unholy seeking to make it approved by God and man. It will never be approved by God, but will bring down judgment. Do not mess around with the holy things of God.

GOD’S WARNING, A FRIGHTENED KING, AND HIS SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (vv. 5-12). Even in a kingdom such as Babylon and its chief city the LORD gives warning, but the ‘king’ is completely ignorant of the God of Israel; most likely willfully so. The prophet Amos wrote, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7), but Belshazzar knew no prophet.

A hand appears and is writing on the wall during the party – at least the party that use to be – which, of course, causes great alarm in the heart of the king. It would probably seem that there was an emergency sobering effect upon the thousand or so who were in attendance. All attention went to the wall where the hand with no body was writing; the playing, drinking, the noise all ceased. You could probably hear the proverbial pin drop. It got really quiet.

Belshazzar’s knees “smote one against the other” he was terribly frightened – he surely must have known his time was up. His rule was over. His life was over. He then calls the most spiritually inept people there were in the kingdom – the same ones his grandfather called upon many years ago before he humbled himself to the God of all gods. He receives a recommendation from his mother – she remembers the history of Nebuchadnezzar.

The handwriting on the wall is there for us to see. It is there and should strike fear into the hearts of all who make a mock at sin, and those who love the Lord and His Word. It is written in the pages of the ages, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, and that is God’s handwriting on the wall for all to see. THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL today is the pages of holy writ, the Bible, the Word of God. You can read it, accept it, believe it, and live by it trusting the Lord of the Word and His finished work on Calvary’s cross, or you can reject it and die.

The Mockery Of A King; And The Reaction Of The Faithful

“Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:13-18 (KJV)

THE KING’S MOCKERY OF GOD AND THE BOLD STAND OF THE FAITHFUL (vv. 13-18).

The decree has gone out, “Bow before this image, or burn”. Everyone has, with the exception of three Hebrew youth. The king hears that his decree has been shunned by three. He becomes angry. Did you ever think that the one who turned them in for their apparent insolence could have been one of those ‘wise men’ who could not reveal the dream, thus became jealous of these Hebrews. Nebuchadnezzar mocks the God of all creation.

Take a look now at the one’s who were bold people of faith. Their minds were made up (v. 16) – they would not bow – no compromise; no need for empty talk – they would not bow.

They knew God could deliver them, but even if not – they still would not bow. They had rather burn for God, and let the light of their burning shine throughout eternity, than bow to an idol. And, God still has the flame that could not harm them burning as an example today. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name. Amen. Do Christians have that kind of faith today. We know there are some, especially, if we are familiar with The Voice of the Martyrs ministry located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They share stories each month in their Newsletter/magazine “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS” of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are suffering for their faith. Facing persecution from their governments, if they refuse to give up preaching Christ or holding worship services. In the face of that kind of opposition they continue. God bless them. May we have that kind of faith.

The so called, “FAITH MOVEMENT” says God wants to bless you with material things, and if you are not it is due to sin in your life. What happens when things are gone? God will bless you with Good health, if you rid sin (negative thoughts and influences) from your life. What happens when health is gone? Are we only trusting God when we are blessed? That is the height of idolatry, not faith in the One true and living God. May God forgive those who teach such heresy.

When you are called on to stand for your faith will you bow under the butcher’s axe or before the idol of comfort and love for life?

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had determined before hand, that they would not worship this image. How could they make that pre-determined decision and stick with it. There is one thing for sure, and that is, that they had prayed, and were continuing to pray. I do not think the Scriptures need tell us that; it is just simply evident, by their previous examples.

How can Christians today stand in the face of such trial? Only by maintaining a continuing fellowship with God in prayer, in His Word, and by being faithful in everyday living.  In a land and/or culture where everything is viewed as good, and right, except the truth; those who know Jesus, trust Him, and live by it need to continue to believe, trust and live by the truth.  Even when the kings, tyrants, despots, and rulers make new laws against us.  We must stand on the laws of God, and His word.  Just because something is “Legal” does not mean it is right.

The three Hebrews would not bow – even though it meant being cast “alive” into a hot fiery furnace. There are many professing Christians today who will not give up their comfort to be faithful to Christ by living right or giving up ten percent of their income as a tithe of their income, because they “Can’t afford it”. They can afford to get a new car, new house, or go on vacation to a new place. They just simply do not love God, and in the day of their trial by fire; they will not be faithful, because they have not pre-determined, by faith, to stand.

A GOD Sized Challenge

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.“ Daniel 1:8-16 (KJV).

The question has recently been asked, “What is the big deal about character?” The person who has character [good character] is a person who can be trusted. Daniel and his comrades could very easily have thought, “Well! Mom and Dad are not here. Who is going to know?” Character is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. You do your work when the boss is watching, and when he is not. You are faithful to your wife at home and away from home – when you are with her and when you are without her. You are faithful to God while at home, and you are faithful to God when you are on vacation.

These young men were of faithful character. They, Daniel speaking for all four, refused to eat the defiled, rich food of the king. They were not obstinate, nor rebellious about it. Showing wisdom they presented an alternative. They requested that their menu be tested against the menu of the other 66 chosen youth; and were given a period of ten days.

Their food would be water to drink, and “PULSE – a KJV word for vegetables, or edible seeds – a simple diet that Daniel and his friends requested instead of the rich dishes offered by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:12, 16; vegetables, NKJV)” NELSON’S NEW ILLUSTRATED BIBLE DICTIONARY. “Pulse (seeds) usually means peas, beans, and the seeds that grow in pods. In the Authorized Version it occurs only in Daniel 1:12, 16, as the translation of words the literal meaning of which is ‘seeds’ of any kind. Probably the term denotes uncooked grain of any kind, as barley, wheat, millet, vetches, etc.” SMITH’S BIBLE DICTIONARY. This could be any vegetable or grains. These items are nourishing and filling. Water is the best substance you can drink – in its pure form.

What Daniel and the other three had done took courage, and much faith. They were willing to die for their faith; but only because they were willing to live for their God. It is easy to note that Daniel’s purpose in this was to glorify The LORD. There is no way possible he could actually known the outcome, except by faith.

At the end of the ten days Melzar saw that the countenance of the four men was superior to that of the other sixty six, and began feeding them the ‘pulse’ always. They did not defy their faith; they did not cause harm to Melzar or others; and God was glorified.

We as Christians must be sure to stand for our faith. If there is a way to do it without causing harm to others, then, we must take that route; if there is no other way; yet, we must stand. In any case we must seek the glory of God above all else.

In this world we must endeavor to live solely for Christ, while we at the same time are to be a witness of the power of God in our lives. Christians should be the best in their jobs, in education, in medicine, in science, in technology, etc. God gives knowledge and wisdom to those who do His will.

Though this was written in September of 2006 it is still needed today.

In a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:1-6 (KJV)

Far too often we notice there are not too many “Just Societies”.  Even in the United States of America more often than not, there is injustice.  Money is needed to get a good lawyer to defend oneself from a false charge; or even to be sure one can get a fair trial.  I do believe in our Justice system, but I also see the injustice in it.

A man or woman charged with a crime is supposed to be seen as “Innocent until proven guilty”; but that does not always happen either.  We all too often begin condemning the indicted individual with a guilty verdict long before the trial; even on the streets, and highways and byways of the areas around the case.

The following are thoughts for Proverbs 28:1-28…

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 – A look at the wicked. The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor. 1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee. 2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws. 3.) When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide. 4.) Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4; Prov. 19:12; 1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 – A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers. 1.) Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation. 2.) True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exhorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc.. 3.) The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment. 4.) Greed, partiality, will ultimatley bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 – The wicked poor. 1.) You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life. 2.) Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16). 3.) It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 – The way of righteousness. 1.) The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world. 2.) The poor upright are better off, and wise in God. 3.) The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses. 4.) There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14). 5.) Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous. 6.) A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27).

The only way to a just society is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has told us…

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We can only receive that “Justness” that righteousness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Believe Him, trust Him: call on His name (Romans 10:13).

Directions of the Heart and Life

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.
The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.” Proverbs 21:1-8 (KJV)

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king; any ruler in the world; and turn it the direction He chooses. Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom, God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes. That the world may know that He is the LORD.

Verses 1 – 4 – Streams of water are often changed in their courses due flood waters. In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake. Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.

Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31; Daniel 4; 5; 6; 10; Ezra 1, 4; Esther 9-10).

The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).

The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod. The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galations 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 – There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty. There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God:
is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.” From John Gill Commentary, e-Sword

MacArthur Study Bible note “21:5-7  These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain. They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20); 2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).

Verse 7 – NKJV “The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”
ESV “The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 – People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives. The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him. Since God can change the hearts of kings, princes, and presidents just think what He can do in your heart and life when we yield to His will.

Fear of the LORD

It is evident as I look over the world, and look into each culture on the earth; and not that I have done a thorough examination of any or all; but just an short observation.  My observation leads me to reach the conclusion that we as a race of people; the human race; do not have a fear of GOD.

In every culture, and nation, we make god in our own image, and after our own likeness; thus we can approve of anything, and everything, that suits “Me”.

Many times this is true even in Christianity.  There are many professors who proclaim that “God is so good and loving.  He would not cast anyone into a fiery place called Hell”.  Or “God is so loving, accepting, and kind that he loves same sex couples. He does not expect them to change their minds or their lives”.  Guess what?  Doing that you deny the God of the Bible, the Scriptures, and you have made god in  your own image and likeness.

Hear the Proverbs of Solomon…

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

We must understand that when we fear the LORD it is not that we go around trembling every time we mess up, or fear messing up (sinning).  To live in the “Fear of the LORD” is to live with confidence.  Confidence that when we do sin He is gracious, merciful and will forgive us.  When we live in the fear of God it is actually living in the love of God which is greater than all our sin.

John the apostle wrote in his first epistle,

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

When we fear the LORD we also will be like a “fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27).  The Word of God is like a fountain of running, flowing, fresh, refreshing, cleansing water that flows giving eternal life to all who will freely drink it.  Jesus said…

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

That is a flowing, cleansing, refreshing stream of water flowing from Christian lives that shows what it really means to walk in the love of God.

To walk in the fear of the LORD is to believe what He says, then make Him all of our life, and live as He has given us privilege to do so.  Because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection we now have the right to be called the sons and daughters of GOD (John 1:12); but you must believe and receive what He has said, and what He has done.

Designs of Deception

Deception is prevalent in all of life.  It is amazing how easily the human can be deceived.  There are some people who set out for that purpose to deceive, and defraud others of what they have.  What they have being things, money, or themselves even.

The book or Proverbs gives many warnings of these deceptive people and their practices…

“For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.” Proverbs 7:6-15 (KJV)

These verses, and on through verse 23 describes a young many for he is “Among the youths” and he is void of understanding; and the temptress presents herself to lure him into a life of detriment and pain.

These temptations do not only have to do with sexual temptations, but any other temptation as well.  Most have to do with self-control, and according to Galations 5:22-23 “Temperance” is self-control one of the fruit of the Spirit of God.

There is much hypocrisy in the statement of this woman – the temptress.  See Leviticus 7:11-18. “Peace offerings” were a part of the Hebrew worship. This is the way of evil. There is probably more evil within the churches of the USA than most of us would like to admit, or think. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something one is not. Whether it is a wolf acting as a sheep; or a sheep acting as a wolf it is hypocrisy.

“…Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour…” 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4

There is a much greater danger than the husband returning home (vv. 19-20). There is first the offense of God; there is the offense to one’s self; there is the offense of one’s future spouse; and the offense of the offended spouse. There is also possible reference to disease in verse 23.

Let us who are of the Spirit of God, born again in Christ Jesus guard our hearts and minds; hiding the word of God in our heart that we might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11).

Committed to the Gospel

The apostle Paul was greatly burdened for his people Israel.   He was burdened for Jerusalem, and was set to return there, despite continued warnings from others who were speaking for the Holy Spirit (Acts 21:4).

Paul’s response to loving people for him is a breaking heart, yet he is determined to go to Jerusalem.

“Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” Acts 21:13-14 (KJV)

The following is the commentary from the Believer’s Bible Commentary…

  • 21:12–14 When the apostle’s companions and the Christians in Caesarea heard this, they pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. But he could not sympathize with their concern. Their tears only served to break his heart. Should the fear of chains and imprisonment restrain him from doing what he considered to be God’s will? He would have them know that he was ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. All their arguments proved of no value. He was determined to go, and so they simply said, “The will of the Lord be done.”
    It is difficult to believe that Paul’s parting words were spoken by a man who was knowingly disobeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know that the disciples in Tyre told him through the Spirit that he should not go to Jerusalem (v. 4). But did Paul know they spoke through the Spirit? And did not the Lord later seem to approve his trip to Jerusalem when He said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome” (23:11)? Two things are clear: First, Paul did not think his personal safety was the main consideration in serving the Lord. Second, the Lord overruled all these events for His glory. From the BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

Paul is the one who inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote….

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

Let us live faithfully for the Lord Jesus Christ that we might die faithfully in His name.

Continuing the Work of the Resisted Cross

The world today needs the cross of Jesus Christ just as the days of the past.  ‘Today is the day of salvation” not tomorrow.  Today.  We as Christians have the most urgent message for people; men, women, children, and their families to get our of their condemnation of sin through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Today is not the day to cease.  Today is the day of salvation…

“And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22 (KJV)

Christian as we look at the above verses we see the early Christian and their leaders never ceased preaching.  They just moved on.  They moved on to other places, and sometimes they may have stayed where they were.

We read of Paul (who had been Saul who hated the gospel of Christ) being stoned, and they supposed to death, and drug out of the city (14:19-20).  Then, Paul got up and went to another city.  Why did he go to another city?  To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  O for the passion of Paul for Jesus and His love.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s love for us on display at the cross where Jesus bled and died for our sins.  He was buried in a tomb, and three days later arose from that grave alive.

Nothing real good comes without a price.  We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).  It cost me nothing.  It cost you nothing.  God paid the price for you; because we do not have the price to pay.  The price for sin is death, and if we were to pay our own sin debt through death, then there would be no eternity except Hell’s fire.

As a Christian today we are called to live the gospel, spread the gospel, share the gospel, preach the gospel.  Where?  Wherever we may be.  What ever we may be doing.

Notice Luke’s words in the verses… “exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”  No one; not even Jesus ever said that the Christian life would be easy, but we are told “Through much tribulation…”  “In the world you will have tribulation”; and “Yea all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (John 16:33;  2 Timothy 3:12).

Just as with the early Church, so too in the Church today, where there is trial, persecution, or tribulation because of the cross of Jesus Christ God will be blessing and increasing the kingdom

On this Valentine’s Day start it off right by loving the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; because that is how He loves you.

The LORD and His Truth

“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

Stephen was one of the seven men chosen by the Jerusalem Church to serve the people (Acts 6:5).  He was a man full of the Holy Spirit, loving the Lord Jesus and His Word with a passion to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all.

This event in the life of Stephen begins in chapter six shortly after the Church ordains him as one of the seven.  He begins telling the religious elite, the priests and all about their origin as a nation (vv. 1-8a); he reminds them of their envy and their bondage (vv. 8b-36); he told them of Jesus of whom Moses and the Prophets proclaimed (vv. 37-53);  he told them of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Savior whom they had rejected, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father;  he taught them of the forgiveness of Christ upon the cross (vv. 57-60) by showing it himself as he died, saying, “Lay not this sin to their charge”.

Why did Stephen die?  Why was he stoned to death by an angry mob?  Because of his love for God, His Son Jesus, His faith in Him, and His love for the Word of God which is the Truth of God.

Love for God means loving His Word, His truth, and that comes through the faith of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

You do not know, nor trust, nor love God the Father or God the Son unless you love His truth.  See what Jesus said in John 14:21.

Jesus in Genesis (5)

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

We are going to look at a picture of Jesus in Genesis 22 in this study. It is surely one of the clearest pictures of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection that you will ever find in all of the Old Testament.

First of all I want you to put from your mind the old Sunday School picture of Isaac being a small child as he and his father, Abraham went on this journey of sacrifice. It is highly, more probable, that he is a man in his thirties. I will explain that a little later. Now, how do we see the Lord Jesus in the text of Genesis 22.

The command from God to Abraham is,

“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (v.2).

God the Father offered up His only Son for the sacrifice for sin upon the cross of Calvary. Which is said to be the very place where Abraham came to offer Isaac. It was a planned place, “which I will tell thee of”. Abraham rose without question, “early in the morning” maybe to avoid the questions of Sarah, but he went in faith. If you will notice how many times it is stated rather emphatically that it was a “certain place” (vv. 2,3,4,&9).

After Abraham had gathered all the necessary items, his son, a couple of servants, the wood, and the fire they journeyed for three days (v. 4) and “saw the place afar off.” In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac had been three days dead. He had been committed to obey God believing according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that God was able to raise Isaac from death (Hebrews 11:17-19). From this point on Abraham and Isaac proceed up to the mountain top alone. What is about to transpire can only happen between the father and the son. What happened on Calvary between the Father and Son was such a transaction that no one will ever be able to describe. Three hours of darkness. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about the event.SEE Matthew 27:45-46; Mark15:33-34; and Luke 23:44-45.

If you will, now, notice the wood that Abraham, “…laid it upon Isaac his son…” Notice also who took “the fire” and “a knife”. By whose hand was this judgment to fall? The father. See Isaiah 53:4-5ff.

Now, back to something I mentioned earlier. Isaac would have been a grown man, not a child as is often pictured in many Sunday School quarterlies. He could have been 37 years of age. I base that on Sarah’s age at the time of her death (Genesis 23:1) 127, and age of Isaac at the time of his marriage to Rebekkah – 40 (Genesis 25:20; also see 24:67). The reason I mention this is because as a grown man he would have been able to overthrow his father, and not be the sacrifice, but Isaac went as a willing participant in the offering. He was submissive to his father’s will. 1) He took the wood (v. 6); 2) He walked up the hill carrying the wood (v.9); 3) He allowed his hands and feet to be bound (v. 9). Does that sound familiar?

Isaac’s typology of Christ ends here at the altar. He was an unworthy sacrifice for sin. Isaac himself needed a substitute, and that would be the ram. At the point where the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from slaying Isaac, in the heart and mind of Abraham Isaac is alive again. He has been resurrected and lives. Three days dead, now living. On the way, alone with his father, Isaac had asked, “…Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”, and Abraham responded, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering… (vv. 7-8). God has provided HIMSELF as a sacrifice for sin in the person of His own only Son.

I do not think it to be an accident that it says, “…and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns…” In Scripture horns represent power and authority. The ram was held by his own power. Christ “…Stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…” (Luke 9:51).

May they who have a heart for seeing Jesus see Him clearly here. If you cannot see Him here you will miss Him elsewhere.

Christmas Day 6

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want all of those who claim to be “Christian” to love God’s Word, believe His Word and live, in the power of His Spirit, what He teaches us; remembering these things; “To love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves;” and also this “To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God”.

Christmas Day Ten and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want all the people; all the men, women and children in the world who are about to do  harm to others through a terrorist act, in a domestic dispute, or any possible family related murderous act to know that God loves you; and that He loves you so much that He gave us His only Son, that if you will believe in Him you will not perish, but have everlasting life with God; and even if you have already done these acts of violence God still loves you, and there is forgiveness and healing for you.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Christmas Day 20

Wow!  Just 20 days until Christmas – with Day 1 being Christmas Day.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to see Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son; today; and want all my family, friends, neighbors, to desire to see Him as well.

For those of you who might just think that I need help with my mind.  I have a clear mind, and it has been best when I desire to see Jesus the most.  This is not a death wish; but a life hope, and promise of God.

“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV)

Christmas Day Twenty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to choose my words so as to build, and not to destroy; to speak wisely and constructively; to speak words of life and not death; that others may be drawn to God through His word and Spirit.

“Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Thirty and Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be thankful, a thankful person to all who do a kind deed or thought expressed, and especially to be thankful to my Lord and God to whom Thanks belongs most.

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 107:1 (KJV)

Christmas Day Forty One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be sure and always listen to the wise instruction and wisdom from brothers and sisters in Christ, and heed their instruction when it is good and godly instruction.

“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” Proverbs 15:32 (KJV)

Christmas Day Forty Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I do want the candidate that I have chosen to vote for to be the next President of the United States of America; however, if that candidate is not chosen, then I want to continue being faithful to God through His Son Jesus Christ in His wisdom and grace – praying for the President of this nation, their salvation and the saving of this nation.

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.”  (Says wisdom) Proverbs 8:34 (KJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to let Christians around the world know that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He has all the problems of your life and this world in His hands, and that there is no need to fear or dread; He is still God, He is sovereign and He loves you; and I want those who do not know Him to know that He died on a cross for your sins, was buried, and He arose and came out of the grave alive, and is today alive waiting to come and set up His righteous kingdom on earth.

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (KJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live in this nation, and for this nation to be a righteous nation, and lead by righteous leaders with a President who will lead in righteousness, and his rule be established in righteousness which is only through submission to the cross of Jesus Christ, His Spirit and His Word.

“Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry. Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.” Proverbs 25:4-5 (NKJV)

Christmas Day Sixty Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be the Christian God wants me to be; to walk with Him faithfully, to be a witness of His power, glory, and life; to live in His fullness, and to glorify His name; that I might see souls come to faith in Him.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Christmas Day Eighty and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to guard my  heart, so that only words of life, and not death, proceed from my mouth.

“Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”Matthew 15:17-20

Christmas Day 90

Ninety days until December 25 – Christmas Day.  You probably do not want to be reminded of that.  Just did.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to tell someone today “Merry Christmas” to see the expression on their face, and maybe start a conversation about the real meaning of Christmas; and I want you to join me in doing that.

Tell someone “Merry Christmas”, then maybe you and I can tell them the real meaning of Christmas; that it is about the birth of our Savior; even today.

Christmas Day Ninety and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be mindful of the negatives and the positives in God’s Word; and I want Christians all over the world to realize that without the negatives the positives do not have any use; keeping in mind “The Day of the LORD”

“Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.” Zephaniah 1:7 (NKJV)

Christmas Day One Hundred Ten and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want the children returning to school today following Labor Day weekend to arrive at their Schools safely; I want those who are driving their automobiles to work, home from work to be alert and aware of School Buses with the stop arm’s out, the overhead flashing red lights mean “STOP” there are children exiting buses; I do not want to see another child hit by an un-attentive, distracted motorist;  pay attention or you could kill, maim or injure a child.