Faithfulness and Truth

“O LORD, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1 (KJB)

The prophet Isaiah has warned the Judah and Israel of the coming Babylonian invasion, and the judgment God will not only bring on His own people, but that which will come on Babylon as well.

Isaiah knows that the word of the Lord GOD is being spoken.  He exalts the LORD in these words, and the following as well.

May we, the followers of Christ Jesus, in 2019 rejoice in God our Savior who does judge all sin; rejoicing in His faithfulness and His Truth.  His counsels of old, His plans and purposes planned long ago are faithful and true.  Since that be so.  Since that be true; then so it is for today as well.

Remember, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). Call on the name of the One who bled and died on the cross for our redemption, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ – Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).

Have a Blessed Lord’s Day.

Justice for All that Were Slain Upon the Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judgment Coming on the Evil World Government

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Revelation 18:1-8

In this study, we will see that the judgment of God will be upon the evil political-economic government of the world empire, God’s grace in warning His people to flee from her and that we are to rejoice in the judgment of God upon evil.  NOTE: The woman on the “scarlet colored beast” of chapter 17 is referred to as “the great whore” which implies religious apostasy and spiritual adultery, thus chapter 17 is dealing with religious Babylon shown by the use of symbolism.

Chapter 18 is more literal and seems to be dealing with a literal city, probably Rome since that is what Christians of John’s day would have seen as being Babylon.

Please note the differences in the two. In chapter 17 the kings rejoice in her death by causing it. In chapter 18 the kings and merchants mourn the destruction of the city.

Religious Babylon is established, by the world ruler, of all the world religions, only to be thrown down by him to establish himself as god (2 Thes. 2:4; Daniel 11:37), thus, making it illegal for the people to worship any god but him.

Chapter 18 is political-economic Babylon, described by the trading in verses 11-13.

“Another angel”, a different angel from 17:1 is identified as “having great power” and being very brilliant in appearance.

Great power in which to exact punishment upon the wicked city.

“Glory” which exposes all that is hid in the darkness.

This angel declares the same cry of another angel (or is it?) in 14:8. It seems as though there are Old Testament prophecies which would forbid the idea of the rebuilding of literal Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50), so we must, to a certain extent, believe this to be Rome. Rome is probably what the Christians of John’s day would have understood Babylon to be. Babylon is symbolic of apostasy, evil powers, and greed.

Since the Babylonian system will fall it becomes the habitation of every kind of unclean and evil thing (v. 2). See Daniel 4:4-27 and compare Matthew 13:31-33…

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV).

The city has been a source of great wealth, because of her commerce. Others around the world flock to her to become wealthy as well. Selling their souls to obtain wealth that the moth and rust can corrupt.

There is “another voice from heaven” crying out in mercy, “Come out…” The invitation is to those who are God’s to flee from the great city.

The call to flee has a twofold purpose:

  1. By separation from her they will not partake of her sin;
  2. They, also, will not be inflicted with the plagues of judgment.

There is an allusion to the Genesis 11 account of Babylon. Her sins are stacking up like brick and mortar; building a tower of self-righteousness. In the piling up of her righteousness, which is “filthy rags”, she only heaps up judgment on herself.

For every stone of self-righteousness, they are exalting themselves over God’s righteousness and He remembers every such sin.

The reward of the city of Babylon will be double what she did unto the saints of God. The same cup she used to seduce the nations to commit fornication with her, is the cup from which she herself will drink damnation.

She is seen as self-satisfied. She says she has no need. She is so full of pride she takes no thought of God or His judgment.

She is rich. Notice the similarities between the church of Laodicea and the city of Babylon (see 3:17). How can she repent when she has no need.
Therefore, her judgment comes quickly, “in one day”. The day before she is prosperous and proud. The day after she is dead and despairing.

“When it is time for God’s judgment it descends with unwavering directness”. JOHN WALVOORD from the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Look at some other times of God’s quick and direct judgment upon the frivolous and self-righteous:

  1. Daniel 5:24-30 — Belshazzar is judged the same night that he defiled the cups of God’s temple;
  2. Luke 12:16-20 — The foolish man’s soul is required “that same night” that he decided he was in charge of his life.

We can be sure when God’s judgment comes it comes quickly. The Lord God He is strong and mighty. No one; no government, religious institution, or power can stand against Him or avert His wrath. He will bring to pass what He has proclaimed. The word of God stands true for all time and eternity.

Remember Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  He forever lives.

The Abomination in the Earth

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Revelation 17:1-6 (KJV)

Bill Dudley, a Missouri Baptist Pastor, and Evangelist has written some notes on the Revelation. I am going to quote him here.

“In his book THE TWO BABYLONS, Alexander Hislop traces the development of Mystery Babylon through the centuries to the present time.
NIMROD was the founder of Babel (Gen. 10-11), and the kingdom of Babylon. His wife’s name was SEMIRAMIS. In Gen. 3:15 God had promised to deliver the race through the “seed of the woman”. Because of this promise, when NIMROD’S wife, SEMIRAMIS, gave birth to a son, she said he was miraculouly conceived by a sunbeam and she preseented him as the promised deliverer of the earth.

Continuing Dudley’s words… “The son’s name was TAMMUZ. When TAMMUZ was grown, so the story goes, a wild boar slew him; but after forty days of his mother’s weeping, he was raised from the dead. This ancient story of SEMIRAMIS and her son, TAMMUZ is the origin of the cult of mother/child worship that has spread throughout the whole world.

In ASSYRIA and NINEVEH she is called ISHTAR and her son was still known as TAMMUZ.

In PHOENICIA she was called ASTARTE or ASHTEROTH, and her son, still TAMMUZ.

In EGYPT she was called IRIS and her son is OSIRIS or HORUS.

In GREECE she was called APHRODITE, and her son was called EROS.

Among the ROMANS she was called VENUS, and her son was called CUPID.

As this mother/child worship spread through the earth, she was worshiped by the offering of a wafer (a little cake) to her as the queen of heaven. The worship always included forty days of Lent, of weeping over the destruction of TAMMUZ, before the feast of ISHTAR, at which time his resurrection was celebrated. The sign of TAMMUZ was an ISHTAR egg, a symbol of his restoration to life.

The Old Testament prophets rebuked the mother and child cult. In JEREMIAH 44:19-30 he rebukes the people for worshiping the queen of heaven and in EZEKIEL 8:5-18 the prophet sees the people, v. 14, observing the forty days of Lent during which they afflict themselves and weep for TAMMUZ, the child that was slain by the wild boar.

This ancient worship of the mother and child passed down from BABYLON to ASSYRIA, to PHOENICIA, to PERGAMOS, and finally, to ROME.
In ROME the Emperor was PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, the high priest of all the idolatrous systems of the Roman Empire. When there were no more Roman Emperors the title of high priest of the rites and mysteries of the cult of mother and child, the Babylonian mystery religion, was assumed by the BISHOP OF ROME.” pp. 55 & 56 of Bill Dudley’s notes.

In these verses, we have a description of religious Babylon.

In the book of the Revelation there are four women of four different visions who have a relationship with religion:

  1. In the letter to the church in Thyatira “Jezebel” was a false prophetess corrupting the church in the city of Thyatira (2:20);
  2. In 12:1-6 the mother of the man-child was the nation of Israel, the people of the Old Covenant;
  3. In our present chapter, Babylon is seen as a religious system centered in man rather than God – a woman riding the beast, and the beast being the government of man;
  4. And, in 21:9, the Bride of Christ represents the saints of the Church joined to Christ who redeemed them.

This false religious system is seen sitting “upon many waters”. NOTE: In most other cases water, in the Revelation, is to be taken literally, but here, the text itself gives it a symbolic meaning by its interpretation of verse 15.

This shows how false religion has covered the earth and influenced and condemned many to destruction.

Verse 2 has this “harlot” in an act of spiritual adultery. God has accused, and rightly so, Israel of being a harlot (Hosea). Spiritual adultery is the pretense of worshipping the one true God in ceremony, while at the same time honoring other gods in heart.  Other gods can be our own wishes and desires and over The one true God’s word, will, and way.

In this case, the “whore” has power in government. She has sold out every spiritual principle for political power (1 Kings 21:20). Our verses here describe her as riding a “scarlet colored beast”. This beast represents government, and by its color, an evil government – scarlet represents the devil.
This “great whore” is seen as full of wealth (v. 5). She is also seen as a “mystery”. A mystery only those to whom God gives the interpretation can understand. It is godly wisdom that causes understanding. She is proud to even call herself, “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATION IN THE EARTH” – Religious Babylon (Babel). There has always been an attempt to join all religions. The apostate religions of earth want the Church to join with them, to lay aside the truth of sin, Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, the second coming and be in unity with them. The apostate church accepts all beliefs.

In the minds of many who profess the label of Christianity, it is completely acceptable to join with those who defame, defraud, and blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ, and in the name of unity, peace, and humanity.  It is not.  There is solely one way of salvation, and that is through God’s grace displayed on Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

The “Inhabitants of the earth” of verse 2, remember, are those whose hearts and minds are tied to the earth, material things, and not to God and godly things.  These want to live for themselves, and God has no part of life.

This “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” is guilty of shedding the blood of God’s saints. John is astonished. He knows about persecution, but it has come from the government. However, what he saw was the apostate church – professing to know Christ – in the end time, drunk on the blood of the saints of God.  Religion without faith in Christ is dead and will lead to eternal death.

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.

If You want to be Encouraged, Motivated, or Strengthened in Faith; Do not read this

“They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? When they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom. What thing shall I take to witness for thee? What thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? For thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. The LORD hath done that which He had devised; He hath fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old: He hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and He hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, He hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.”  Lamentations 2:12-17 (KJV)

Now that is a rather odd title; don’t you think?  I have noticed something about many post.  Not only those I share, but others too.  When we write of the judgment of God coming on His people or the sorrows we can have because of refusing to hear God’s word there are fewer people who read it.  We all like to be “Lifted up”, “Built up”, and these kind of words do not suit us.

We are looking at Lamentations.  The title of this Bible book is rather sorrowful.  The Jeremiah Study Bible says in its introduction:

“Lamentations is often called the most sorrowful book in the Bible, written by the most sorrowful author — Jeremiah — known as the weeping prophet (Jer. 7:29; 9:1, 10, 20).

Jeremiah was sorrowful due to the waywardness of his people; the Judahites and Israel.  They had strayed from God, His word, His way, and turned to their own ways.  They rejected the warnings of the prophets of God, and accepted the lies of the positive thinkers.

This book of the Bible was written following the final deportation of the people of Jerusalem to Babylon, the destruction of the city, its wall was down, the temple destroyed, and all the pieces of the temple had been taken to Babylon.

One thing the Christian of today needs to realize is that God will always do what He says He will do.  If you do not find rest and comfort in that then, you need to know God.  He has made that possible through the death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son. When you are His child through New Birth in Christ you will be saved for all eternity; but not without sanctification.  You may have to think about that one for a while.

The LORD hath done that which He had devised; He hath fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old: He hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and He hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, He hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.

Preparing to Rebuild the Temple

These events take place following the 70 years which Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:11).  Ezra is God’s man for returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which was razed by the Babylonians and carried many captives of the land away.  Ezra had been faithful to God and His word through all the time of his life in that culture.  Hear the word of the LORD concerning these things…

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra 7:6-10 (KJV)

I want us to keep in mind that today the temple of our Lord is His people – those who have believed and received the grace of God through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  Sometimes even this temple needs a rebuilding.  We can let sin carry us away from God, His Spirit and His word; but He is never away from us.  If there is any rebuilding to do it starts with God doing the work in us, calling us to repentance, forsaking our sin, and coming back to what we believe in Christ.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s epistles…

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, to do it, and to teach it to others.  Let us as the temple of God be as committed, devoted and faithful to the LORD as was Ezra; and follow Jesus faithfully.

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.

Fiery Furnace of Deliverance

“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:19-25 (KJV)

THE FIERY FURNACE OF DELIVERANCE (vv. 19-25).

This furnace was made seven times hotter than what it was. This shows that the king was angry at Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were trusted men in his court, but now they had failed him, so he thought.

Nebuchadnezzar chose the most ‘mighty men’ to cast them into the furnace. The Hebrews were bound and cast into the fire. These men’s faith never wavers. As they approach the fire the men who are to cast them in perish from the blazing heat. As the men enter the fire they have a very welcome visitor with them, and O such a Visitor He is. After looking at the two words in the old Webster dictionary (visitor, guest) it seems the word visitor would be best to describe Jesus’s appearance. This is from Websters Dictionary on “e-Sword”,

VIS’ITOR, n.1. One who comes or goes to see another, as in civility or friendship.

2. A superior or person authorized to visit a corporation or any institution, for the purpose of seeing that the laws and regulations are observed, or that the duties and conditions prescribed by the founder or by law, are duly performed and executed.

The king is the visitor of all lay corporations.

 The ropes burned from their hands, they were loose and walking around in the fire. You could say it was the fire which set them free, but only the One in the fire with them preserved them from the very same flames which set them free. Free in the midst of the fire walking around. There is no better freedom than that.

The king and others looking into the flame saw them walking around with no harm coming on them. They also see four, rather than three men in the flame. What sweet fellowship the men must have been having with Jesus. Yes, I said with Jesus. That is who that fourth man was.

Nebuchadnezzar probably would not have recognized the Son of God, but that is who the fourth man in the fire was/is – Jesus Christ the pre-incarnate Son of God.  No matter what the faithful child of God has been through, is going through, or will go through the Lord Jesus Christ will go with you through it.

Jesus died for you, was buried and He arose from that grave three days later; and He is alive today and those who trust Him will forever be with Him in glory.  He will get us through the fires of affliction

To Whom Will You Bow???

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 1-12).

When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said…

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV).

Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.

It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137).

“The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150).

Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says…

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV).

God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.

Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not yet a believer.

It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.

There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).

 Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.

Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.

Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.

Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.

Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.

GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.

Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death

 Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:

  • Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;

  • Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;

  • Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)

When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.

No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.  Bow before Him now.  You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.

World History Revealed to a Captor King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH

Sharing these studies in Daniel. Pray they will be a blessing to you.

Broken Pieces

DANIEL AND FRIENDS

Daniel 1:1 – 2

Isaiah the prophet had prophesied over one hundred years before of the impending doom of the country of Israel, the captivity of the people, and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah the prophet warned of the imminent capture of the city of Jerusalem, and capture of the people. The kings would not repent, nor would the people call for repentance.

It is most probable that at the time of captivity around 605 B.C. that Daniel and His friends – Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were only in their teenage years. Maybe as young as fifteen years. We learn much from them in the very first chapter. They were strong in their faith and convictions and what was holy, pure, and right for the children of God.

Just recently we did a study of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. That is truly an unveiling of the…

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Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Thirty and Six

“…Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before Him; ‘If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent Me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.” Jeremiah 42:9-12 (KJV)

The people who were the poor of the land, left by Nebuchadnezzar, were afraid, yet were being less than honest about their prayer requests.  It seems they had already determined they were going to go to Egypt.

What do I want for Christmas today?

When I have my thoughts, and they do not coincide with God’s thoughts, I want to agree with God, and do His Word, and go His way; because He knows what is best for me.

Jesus is the only Savior of the world.  He makes that plain. Hear Him…

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

God Given Knowledge and Skill in Learning and Wisdom

Whether we Christians would like to admit it or not we are strangers in a foreign land. That does not matter what part of the world we live in. We are both citizens and captives in our respective countries, and lands.

We are citizens of nations, because we are in the world. We are captives because we are in the world, but not of the world (1 John 2:15-16; 4:4). How is the Christian to live in a world of sin and darkness? As servants of Christ Jesus; as the light of Christ.

Please note these verses from Daniel:

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:17-20 (KJV)

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were young people who had been taken captive from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. How were young men to live in a foreign land, and how were they to behave in a land that despised everything they had stood for before?

In the previous verses Daniel and his friends had challenged the drinking and eating of the young captives. They had shown that they were brighter, more intelligent, and wise in their youth because they were of God.

What is said of them in the verses above is due to the fact that they were a work of God. Nothing that Babylon or the world had contributed to them.

Christian, you are a captive in a foreign land. You are also useful to God in the land as the Light of Jesus Christ. Stand for Him. Stand on His promises, and the whole counsel of His Word.

The Flaming Flame

No! This is not dealing with the devastating, and catastrophic wildfires out West. This is not dealing with any fires of our day. The fire of the forests of our text have to do with God’s judgment upon Judah; and I do believe this nation called the United States of America needs to wake up to the very real possibility that God’s judgment is upon us.

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; and say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?” Ezekiel 20:45-49 (KJV)

People do not want to listen to the word of God. You can note the final verse of chapter 20 ends with, “Doth he not speak parables?” That is the elders way of rejecting God’s word, saying that it is not understandable.

That fire that was to come was from Babylon coming from the north, and they would burn the dry tree and the green tree. It is said that there were many trees and forest in Palestine before these things came to pass.

Will we hear the word of the LORD? Will we just pass it off as a thousands of year old book that no longer has any meaning, and does not fit our culture, society or our time? That is up to you and me. I, for one, accept it as the word of God. What God has spoken, has been spoken, and it is true; and will come to pass.

His word tells us that He loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Believe that and live. Reject it and die.

The City Shall Be Built to the LORD

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” Jeremiah 31:38-40 (KJV)

The Lord of all the earth has made a new covenant with Israel. Jeremiah has spoken it in the previous verses. If we apply these verses to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, then we spiritualize the text, and rob God of the promise He made; and make the promise of no affect to Israel, or the Church.

Of course the city was rebuilt following the return; after 70 total years in Babylon; and the city was destroyed again about 70 A.D. This does not mean that God broke the covenant. This is speaking of a day when all the previous things Jeremiah has spoken in this chapter have come to pass; and that is when Jesus returns in power and great glory and basically rebuilds it Himself.

The people of Israel will see their Messiah Jesus and will believe; and their hearts and minds will be changed by His grace, power and glory. God will not allow one single word He has spoken to fall to the ground void or empty.

Christian this is the evidence we can trust God with our salvation through the cross of Jesus. If He will not keep His covenant with Israel there can be no assurance of our salvation. Look unto Jesus Christ and live forever.

God’s Truth, and Preachers of Lies

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for My people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:30-32 (KJV)

Through the prophet Jeremiah God had spoken to the false prophet Hananiah (chapter 28), and he had died just as Jeremiah had said. Now there is another; one named Shemaiah who was one of the captives in Babylon writing from Babylon telling the people not to listen to Jeremiah. In telling them that, he was telling them “Do not listen to the word of the LORD”.

Now, I can somewhat understand why some of these people did not want to believe Jeremiah as prophet of God. They were bound to the temple, they were patriotic toward their nation. They had a hard time believing that the temple was going to fall, and that the nation was going into captivity. I can get that. Yet, who are they to love, and adore? Who is the One to whom they owe allegiance, and obedience? There is only one answer to those questions; and that is the LORD God.

Shemaiah was probably one of those who were adulterers, and dreamers of lies. He was for sure one that would not accept the prophecy of the 70 years in Babylon. Probably like Hananiah said, it would only be two years.

How was an individual supposed to discern the truth between the two, the true and the false? Which ever prophecy came to pass just as it had been spoken; that was the word of God, and was the truth. Jeremiah’s words were proven true. Hananiah died that same year; as foretold. Shemaiah missed out on the blessings of God for His people.

O my friend do not deny the power of the word of God. Believe Him through His Living Word; the Lord Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the word of God; and was obedient to the Father all the way to the cross, dying for our sins, being buried, and bodily arose from the grave. One day He is returning for His people, and will make things right in this world. Believe Him today, and live eternally with Him. Otherwise you are perishing.

Give Place to Weeping, and to Praising

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.” Ezra 3:11-13

The people of the captivity in Babylon had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

Now the foundation was laid, and there was praising and shouting for joy; however, the ones who had seen the original temple (the “ancient men”); saw the new foundation and wept because they remembered the beauty of the old one.

There can be rejoicing, singing, and praising when there is a return to the land of Promise. It should be that way.

There should also be weeping because of the peril of sin. It was the people’s sins and their forsaking of God and the Sabbaths (2 Chronicles 36:19-21; Jeremiah 25:1-11) that brought them to this point in their lives. It could be that that was part of the reason for the “ancient men” weeping.

It does us good to remember our past; lest we be doomed to repeat it. It does us good as well to rejoice in today, and God’s good blessings, and to love Him every moment; to rejoice with singing, praising and giving of thanks for His wonder mercy and grace.

Weep for your sins. Rejoice in God’s forgiveness, and praise Him.

The Archers Arrow of Accuracy

“And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons’ sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.” 1 Chronicles 8:40 (KJV)

The names of this genealogy are of the lineage of Benjamin. This genealogy from chapter one through ten is of the returning remnant from the Babylonian captivity; that they might remember who goes where, and proof of ownership of any land in the land of Promise.

It is noted by the above verse that the “sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor, archers…” What is valor? It can be defined as bravery in the face of seeming defeat; it is courage when it seems that defeat is inevitable. That is what Christians need in the world today.

Christian men, especially need to step up and stand in the face of the enemy; whatever that enemy may be; whoever that enemy may be; and we know the enemy of us all is the devil himself. He hates Christ Jesus, he hates Christians who love Jesus more than life itself. Christian men and women need to stand in this day.

Ulam’s sons must have been excellent archers, being recognized for it in Scriptures. May God Jehovah direct every word to accomplish that which He pleases in the hearts of men and women.

The Surrender

“And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.” 2 Kings 25:24 (KJV)

Surrender is never a pleasant topic; especially for those with strong personalities, and stubborn hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah had told the people of Judah to surrender to Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar, because he was going to come and capture the people, take the articles from the temple, and leave it in ruins (Jeremiah 27:12ff). Now it had occurred and a governor of Judea had been appointed. Gedaliah (Jehovah is great) was speaking words of encouragement to some people who had came to him seeking advice.

Surrendering to the enemy is not easy. Surrendering to God is often not easy, because we have our own ideas; our own way; and God’s way is not always what we desire at the start. The question is: Do we want God as our enemy? That is what we make Him when we say no to His plan, His way

In the end; this is not so much surrender to Nebuchadnezzar as it is surrender to GOD.

“Fear not” God will have His way with our enemy, and He will have His way in your life and mine.

Weeping in Babylon

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1 (KJV)

A Psalm of Israel’s captivity.  This Psalm could have been penned down by the prophet Daniel as he sat on the banks of Babylon’s rivers.

Everyone reading this has been homesick at one time or another.  Home is where you want to return.  Especially when you are forcibly taken away.

Taken to Babylon due to the evil that had invaded Israel and Judah; all the people were paying the price of the sins of the nation.  Thus it is, and thus it will be.

For the Jew Zion is home.  For the Christian “Zion” is the place where Christ dwells.  He dwells within us.  He lives.  He reigns.  He ultimately lives seated at the Father’s right hand; and we long for that day when we can see Him face to face.

Do we weep for that day as we remember the joys that await us?  Are we longing for that day when will be in His bodily presence; worshipping, bowing before Him, adoring Him?  There is a crown awaiting all who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

I do not know about you but I am homesick.

Profaned

“O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” Psalm 79:1 (KJV)

This Psalm is another of Asaph’s a patriotic poet of the day.  One who had a heart for God, and God’s people.  One who was grieved at seeing the land of Israel defiled; profaned; by unholy feet and hands.

This Psalm seems to have been written concerning the invasion of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar’s leadership.  Of course we know this as the judgment of God on Israel for previously becoming unholy in their practices.  The prophet Jeremiah addressed this matter in his prophecy.

For those who have a heart for God and His holiness, knowing that it is God’s judgment on His own people does not ease the pain of seeing the unclean heathen nation coming in a taking it over; even removing the holy articles from the temple.

One thing we Christians can learn from this is that when a nation has been blessed by God, and turns its back on God, His word, His law, and His Spirit; then God will send invaders in judgment.

The Church has been profaned today by crossless, bloodless, Christless, unholy preaching.  Preaching that magnifies men rather than God.  It ought to grieve the hearts of men and women of God everywhere.  We ought to cry out with Asaph,

“O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” Psalm 79:1 (KJV)

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:4-5)

No Love Like God’s Love 3

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their King; and shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4-5 (KJV)

The children of Israel are still in this stage of being without a king or a prince.  From the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon Israel ahs not been given to idolatry, they have not had a king or a prince; since the destruction of the temple (70 A.D.) their sacrifices have been abolished, and they have not had a Levite or a priest.

Hosea had placed Gomer in the disciplined lifestyle:

  1. Providing circumstances for her to respond to his love;
  2. “To convey through prophetic symbolism the deprivation into which God would bring Israel.”  From the STUDY BOOK.

This would make it possible for Israel to respond to God’s unconditional love.  While there is enjoyment in sin there is no opportunity of turning to God.

God would remove the false as well as the true.  “For many days” in verses three and four, imply a long period of time.  Probably as long as would be necessary to prepare them to return to God.

There is victory in God’s redemption.  Each of these first three chapters speak of Israel returning to God for full and completer redemption and forgiveness.  This is God’s purpose and plan for Israel and for His Church.

“Afterwards” – after the days of discipline.  After days, years, centuries, even millenniums “Israel shall return.”  There are not “Ifs” or “buts” about it.  They shall return.  They will “Seek the LORD their God”, and turn to “David their King” [fulfilled in Jesus Christ].  See Luke 1:32-33.

This prophecy has yet to take place.  It will in the Lord’s appointed time come to pass just as the prophecies forth tell.  When?  “In the last days.”

Jesus is the King of kings; rules over all the earth.  He is Lord of lords and has all things in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Word Today 082112

“In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, ‘the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.  They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, ‘Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.’  My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.  All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, ‘We offend not,’ because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.  Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.” Jeremiah 50:4-8 (KJV)

For many years I have heard people talk about the “Ten lost tribes of Israel”.  That seems; with the above verses in mind; that there is no such thing.  God has the people of the Northern kingdom of Israel, and the Southern kingdom of Judah as one.  It would seem to me that they have been one since they returned from the Babylonian captivity.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081812

Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name, saith the LORD, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘The Lord GOD liveth.’  ‘Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.  Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, Mine, or theirs.  And this shall be a sign unto you,’ saith the LORD, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that My words shall surely stand against you for evil.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.” Jeremiah 44:26-30 (KJV)

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081612

When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, ‘Is there any word from the LORD?’ And Jeremiah said, ‘There is: for,’ said he, ‘thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.’  Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, ‘What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?  Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?”  Jeremiah 37:16-19

Just a short note.

The word of God is not always pleasant nor easy to receive.  It is however always the truth, and what you do with it is a determining factor concerning your future.

T.A.

God’s Word Today 081312

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; “Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.  For they prophesy falsely unto you in My name: I have not sent them,” saith the LORD.  For thus saith the LORD, “That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ saith the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you,’ saith the LORD: ‘and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you,’ saith the LORD; ‘and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”  Jeremiah 29:8-14 (KJV)

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081212

In this post today I am attempting to post daily.  My post will be from Scripture, the Word of the LORD.  These be come from my reading of God’s Word for the day it is posted.  Hear the word of the LORD.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; the which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.  And the LORD hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.  They said, ‘Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.  Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.  Jeremiah 25:1-7 (KJV)

I will be finishing up the study of Elijah when I can get my thoughts to putting it down in print form.

-T.A.

 

 

Day 66 – Consider Your Ways

Do we really stop to consider the way we live our lives?  Are we a society that is consumed with doing our own thing; out for self fulfillment?  It seems that way at times.  Whether we like to admit it or not there is evil in the world.  The only thing is who determines what is evil?

In our look at people we often see people joining in to help others.  There have been many storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, as well as fires and earthquakes; and multitudes of neighbors come and help one another recover.  That is a good thing.  Right?  I certainly see it as good.  Yet there is something wrong.

The something wrong is how people react toward God and His Word.

My reading today was from Zephaniah 1 through Zechariah 9.  There is a two chapter prophet within this reading by the name of Haggai where I got the title for this post.  Four times Haggai uses the word “Consider”.  Twice is to the returned people from Babylon to “Consider your ways”, and that is in the first chapter.

Though the words are not used in Zephaniah or Zechariah the cry is still with both of these prophets as well.

Zephaniah sees there is a departure from the LORD and calls for the people to return or suffer judgment.  The prophecy takes place during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah; and Josiah was one who did right in the eyes of the LORD.  Yet, even taking away the idols themselves does not remove the idol from the heart.  They were still practicing the evil of their hearts.

“I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.  I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.   ‘I will also stretch out Mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for Him.”  Zephaniah 1:2-6 (KJV)

The LORD defines “evil” much different than man does.  Evil in God’s view is when His people turn from Him to serve and trust other things, such as gold, silver, friends, family; comfort and pleasure.  Evil is also when the unbelieving refuse to believe in Him.  The LORD desires those who are His to seek Him, to inquire of Him.

The prophet Haggai writes during the time of the return of Israel to the land of Promise, and they need to rebuild the temple, but they are neglecting doing so.  They have their own houses built, but neglect the temple.  Meaning, that they are neglecting the worship of the Most High GOD.  Hear the word of the LORD through Haggai,

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,  ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6

The implication and clear message is that they are lacking due to their neglect of worshipping the LORD.  That was their reason for being returned to Jerusalem; that is to rebuild the temple; yet they were neglecting the very One who was fulfilling His Word to them and for them.  Notice the following word from the LORD;

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:7

Even before the temple is completed God gives the people promise and hope for days to come.  The “desire of nations” is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the Savior of the world.  The seed of David.  The Prince of peace.  Wonderful Counselor.  Mighty God.   Everlasting Father.  He is the Son of God.  His name is Jesus.  He is the desire of nations.

Zechariah speaks of this One as well;

“And speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”  Zechariah 6:12-13 (KJV)

So, you may think that you are a “righteous person”, but by God’s standard you nor myself measure up.  We fall short.  There is only one hope to be rid of the evil in our hearts and lives.  That is by believing and receiving the gift God gives in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.  That gift is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  He was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave.  He cares for you.  God cares enough to give the very best.  Consider your ways.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 62 – The Wisdom and Knowledge of Daniel

That is right.  My reading today covered all of the prophecy of Daniel, and the first two chapters of Hosea.  We will look at Hosea in the next post.  God willing of course.

Daniel was one of many Jewish nobles who were taken by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon as captives.  Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen by the hand and appointment of God.  They were four young men who were willing to risk their lives for the sake of the commandments of the LORD God.

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”  Daniel 1:17 (KJV)

These were not young people who would be given to pride with the power and authority which was given them by God.  Many might say, “It was Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon who gave them their power and authority”.   Not so.  All power and authority comes from the God of heaven and earth.

One of the first test which came to Daniel was the king wanting the “wise  men” of Babylon to tell him a dream he had dreamed and its interpretation.  Of course the Chaldeans of Babylon had no clue as to the dream he dreamed.  Daniel, however, called on Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to pray and seek God for the answer, and God gave it to them  (2:17-23).  Daniel went to Nebuchadnezzar and told him the dream and its interpretation.  It was a dream showing how the end of the earthly rule of the Gentiles would come about.

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” 2:44-45

All the prophecies of Daniel were fulfilled just as Daniel foretold them; or are yet to be fulfilled.  The earthly kingdoms of men yet stand, but they will one day fall to the rule of the One who died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying our guilt and sin away, than three days later He bodily arose and came out of the grave justifying forever, those who will believe in Him.

God tells Daniel to “seal the book, even to the time of the end” (12:4), and it seems to me that we are near the end, and the wisdom and understanding of the prophecy is becoming clear to those who will hear and believe.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God will soon return, and set up His earthly kingdom.  Know the wisdom and knowledge of Daniel.  Know the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 57 – The King, Whose Name is the LORD of Hosts

The reading of the prophecy of Jeremiah can be a difficult read; and even difficult to write about; especially if you focus on the judgment part of the prophecy.  Jeremiah lived through much of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel.  He also wrote many promises of God.

My reading today was Jeremiah 38 – 52 finishing up this portion of the prophecy of Jeremiah.  I say this portion, because we have Lamentations to read yet, which is part of his prophecy.

“As I live,’ saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.'” Jeremiah 46:18 (KJV)

One of the things I learn as I read the Bible, and that I am reminded of everyday is that God is the Supreme Ruler over the earth.  The phrase in the verse above, “…the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” is used in two other verses in today’s reading – 48:15 and 51:57.

The LORD of hosts is King of every nation, tribe and tongue, and His will will be done.  His name will be glorified.  Egypt of the above verse was prideful.  The remnant of Judah who had been left behind by Nebuchadnezzar, had asked Jeremiah to seek the LORD and they would follow His guidance about what they were to do.  They were to stay in the land of promise; yet they disobeyed the LORD, and chose to go into Egypt seeking security from Babylon.  They would, instead of finding security, find themselves a part of another captivity, because Babylon was going to come to Egypt conquering them.  He is the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

In the second verse the word is against Moab,

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” 48:15

Moab, thinking themselves strong, mighty, and secure would fall by the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts”.  Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Bozrah, Edom, and even Babylon would fall by the decree of the King; “the King whose name is the LORD of hosts”

No king or president or senator or congressman or any leader can stand long against the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  He is the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  One day every tribe, tongue and nation will bow before Him.  The One whose name is above every name.  The One to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 56 – Diminish Not a Word

The prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet to Judah and Israel was a hard word to preach.  It was especially so for a man who loved his people, and his nation; however, it was the word of the LORD, and Jeremiah was going to proclaim it, and it would be better for the people to have listened.  It is still so in the 21st century among God’s people; good to listen to the Word of the LORD.

Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”  Jeremiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

He was also to never cut short or lessen the words of promise given by the LORD.  This prophecy is full of promises from God as well as warnings.  There are so many who lessen the promises of God to Israel.  Make them only good for them as long as the nation believes like they think they ought to believe; lives as they think they ought to live.

Let us look at some of those promises.  My reading this morning took me from chapter 25 – 38.

The nation had forsaken the LORD and His Word refusing to hear the words of the prophets, including the warnings of Jeremiah; and they would suffer for it by going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being burned to the ground, the temple being destroyed, and defiled.  It happened just as Jeremiah, by the Word of the LORD, said it would.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, ‘that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.'” 31:27-28

Despite the fact that God was going to judge them, He wanted to assure them, that just as surely as He was going to tear down, He would also bring them back,and build them up again.  He goes on and says in verse 34, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Just how good, how strong, how enduring is the covenant of God with Israel/Judah?

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” 31:35-37

And the prophet by the Word of the LORD says again,

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.” 33:19-22

Just as the Word of the LORD for punishment, chastisement cannot be diminished so too is it true of His promises.  Hear again,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.'” 33:25-26

The Word of the LORD is sure, it is true, it is eternal; and not one word shall be diminished.  The LORD will accomplish every word of it.  He will be glorified, and all the world shall know that He is GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 30 – Inspirational and Encourageing

Today marks the thirtieth day for the journey through the Bible in ninety days.  I have been thoroughly blessed, inspired, and encouraged.  I have also learned things I did not know, helping me to realize even more that “The more I know; the more I realize I do not know.”  I am now one third of the way through this journey and looking forward to the next 6o days.

I was greatly inspired and encouraged by reading through Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah this morning; thus, the title for today’s post.

In yesterday’s reading, finishing 2 Chronicles we were left with Judah going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being destroyed, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and all the vessels, gold, silver, bronze, taken to the storehouses of Babylon; just as the prophet Jeremiah warned and foretold.  The prophet Isaiah had warned of this destruction, and captivity at least one hundred years before it happened.

Some may ask, “Why do you put so much stock in the Bible?”  and my answer to that is, “Because, when God speaks, it comes to pass; just like He says it.”  There is not one word God speaks that has been diminished, is being diminished, or will be diminished.  That is why I was so inspired and encouraged by Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah.

Someone has said, and I believe it was written by Charles H. Spurgeon; “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.”  Reading the Bible sure helps us see that.  God pulls no punches.  We can see clearly that God deals with sin.  We see also that He is gracious, and slow to anger and wrath.  He is also merciful in not giving us what we truly deserve.

According to Jeremiah’s prophecy the nation of Israel would be in Babylonian captivity for seventy years.  At the time of Ezra that seventy years has been fulfilled, and 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.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place helpa him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”  Ezra 1:1-4 (KJV)

Now here is a catcher for you.  The prophet Isaiah names the king that will do this probably 150 years or more before Cyrus is born.  How can this be?  The prophet, being inspired by God; God who knows all things; who knows the past, present and the future, and knows your name; and knew you before you were born; told the prophet what was going to happen, and to write it down.  Isaiah did –

“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.’ Isaiah 44:28

‘Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.”  Isaiah 45:1-4 (KJV)

In Ezra God has  put it in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to fulfill His word of promise to Israel/Judah and have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt, even to providing the precious metals and all necessary costs at Persia’s expense.

God’s purpose in the captivity was to drive Israel from her sins, and to give rest to the land for the sabbath years the people had avoided to observe (2 Chronicles 36:21), and to restore their faith in Him.  In reading Ezra we read of much opposition from people of the area, even putting the work of the temple to a standstill until the king finds that it had been ordered by Cyrus years before, then the work is continued with the approval of Persia.  Haggai, and Zechariah were two prophets  who prophesied during this time, and encouraged the people to continue building without the approval of the king of Persia, until they did receive it (chapters 5 – 6).

Ezra went to encourage and lead in the temple’s rebuilding and to teach the word and law of the LORD –

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Ezra 7:10

There are some things I read in Ezra about their divorcing the foreign wives and sending them away that poses some problems. However, the problem was their sins and disobedience to the word of God, not God’s causing.  How seriously should God’s people take the matter  of holiness?  Very seriously.

Nehemiah had a burden for the building of the walls of Jerusalem.  He is sent by the king to go and rebuild the city.  He surveys the city walls, the city (chapter 2:12-20), then he challenges the people and they comply joyously with his requests.  Now see what God has wrought in the Old Testament with Judah.

Now, think of what God can do with you if you would surrender yourself to the way of Salvation which is found only through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial where all our sin, guilt and condemnation was carried away as far as East is from West, and then He arose bodily from the grave; and is today seated by the Father’s right hand as our Great High Priest.  There is no one but Him who can deliver you from your sin.

Inspirational and Encourageing?  To me it definitely is.

– Tim A. Blankenship

Day 25 – What the LORD Does With Evil in His People

In reading through the Bible in 90 days there are passages which, to be honest, I find difficult to read; and today’s reading was no exception.  I am speaking particularly of 1 Chronicles 1 – 9 which gives us a genealogy from Adam through the Babylonian captivity of Israel.  I must admit that I cheat when I come to these and pretty much just scan the pages trying to take note of the main names.  Ever once in a while I will notice something I had not seen before.

The one main thing I noticed this morning is that there is more mention of Bathsheba than I had noticed before, in the genealogy, and that may be due to the KJV use of “Bathshua” rather than Bathsheba.  Bathsheba according to this text (1 Chronicles 3:5) is the daughter of Ammiel; who is known as Eliam in 2 Samuel 11:3.  There is also the famous Jabez in chapter 4; who prayed and God answered his prayer (vv.9-10). His name [Jabez] means that he was a pain in birth.

My reading this morning started in 2 Kings 21 and extended through 1 Chronicles 9.

The statement in the title “What the LORD Does With Evil in His People” is answered in 2 Kings 21 – 25.  The short answer to that question is – He judges it severely.  I will not just leave it there though.

The first mention in the reading is of Manasseh, son of Godly king Hezekiah who was a man pretty much after the fashion of king David.  Manasseh, however was a murdering, idol worshipping abomination to Judah.  He led the people of Judah away from the worship of Jehovah/YHWH.   He worshipped the sun, moon, stars, and all their supposed powers (21:5), he sacrificed his son to the fire (21:6), and to these things God will not turn away;

“And the LORD spake by His servants the prophets, saying,  ‘Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.  And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.  And I will forsake the remnant of Mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.’  Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.”  2 Kings 21:10-16 (KJV)

In 2 Kings we get our first introduction to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  He will be the instrument of God’s judgment upon Judah.  One of the things we should see about these things is that God is not pacified with good deeds.  We have seen a few kings of Judah who were pleasing to God David, Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah to name a few.  God does not have a set of balances weighing our good on one side and evil on the other; He judges sin, because He hates sin.  It separates us from Him.

God sent the Southern kingdom of Judah into Babylonian captivity because of their sin; but we find when we get through 2 Chronicles that He does bring them back to Jerusalem.  That is not a balancing of things; that is, however, grace.

The Son of God made it possible for all will call on His name to have eternal fellowship with the Creator of the Universe.  His name is Jesus

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Favorable Land

I believe that God has put His hand on the United States of America, and has raised her up for the glory of Himself in and through the nations of the world.  He has blessed the U. S. of A.  However, we are not that “favorable land”.  Do not think me a traitor; the land the Psalmist speaks of is the land of Jacob.  It is the land that has upon it the “City of David” – Jerusalem.  It is the land where are Lord and Savior was foretold of and where He was born, raised, grew, died on the cross, was buried and rose again.  It is the land to which He will one day return and rule the world from.

The Psalmist wrote so long ago of this land,

“LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.”  Psalm 85:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm it is said that it is “A Psalm for the sons of Korah”, and is mentioned in other Psalms as well.

There is some disagreement over the time and author of this song.  Some believe it was David writing of the captivity by the Philistines; and yet others think it is another singer writing of the Babylonian captivity.  I myself tend to go along with those who hold with the Davidic writing.

However, no matter the time of the writing of this wonderful song; it is a song for all ages, and all saints of God.  When a child of God has strayed from the presence of the Lord in their lives we can know that He is faithful to restore us.

He is faithful to bring us back to our first estate, fill us with Himself, His presence, His power, His glory.

We are in “captivity” when we have allowed our sin to separate us from the presence and the power of God.  Our prayer ought always to be sinned and strayed,  “Forgive our sin.  Restore us to our place with You LORD.  Bring back the captivity of Your people.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

The title comes from Isaiah 13:6.  Yes, I am doing some catch up work here.  On Sunday nights at Carr Lane Baptist I have been preaching through the Prophecy of Isaiah, however, I have not been prone to publish on the blog until now.  I pray you will be able to follow along and get them in order if you need to do so.

Chapter 13 begins a series of messages from the prophet to foreign nations  who have not heard the LORD God; and mistreated the people of God known as Israel or Judah, and continues through chapter 23.  From Babylon to Tyre, and includes God’s anger toward His people as well in chapter 22.

Chapter 13 and 14 deals with Babylon, which at this point in history was not considered a world power, yet it would become so, in about a hundred years.  How did Isaiah know this?  By the Word and wisdom of the LORD of hosts.

Babylon would be a proud and arrogant people; worshipping their own deities which were in signs in the stars, the stars, and idols made of human hands.

In many ways Babylon represents the world and its arrogance against God and His people.  The world, its inhabitants, its governments often have no friendly hand toward God’s people; be they Christian or Hebrew.  We see this quite often in many foreign lands today where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Where we are not free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and many brothers and sisters die for their faith.

We see it often in history concerning the Hebrew people.  One instance of great persecution against the Hebrew people is in the death camps of Hitler.  The numbers of murdered Hebrews during that time of holocaust in Germany.  It was a growing problem throughout the history of man.  No one of the surrounding nations wanted the Jewish people around.  They worshipped the one true God, and He is the only way to paradise or heaven.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”  Isaiah 13:6 (KJV)

The warning is to Babylon and their destruction should they fail to heed God’s warning.

If you will notice the very things which they admire and worship are taken from them.  “The stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light…” (v. 10), the sun darkened.  Now I don’t know how this was done; and it is most likely a prophetic word which has yet to take place and the prophecy is basically to the world itself for turning their back on the message of God, His Word and His servants and His people.  With the same judgment they have wreaked out so shall they receive like judgment.  Remember even Jesus said, “Judge not, that  you be not judged”  (Matthew 7:1) and God will carry out His judgment to the fullest extent, and will let sin run its course (SEE verses 15-16).  Babylon will fall by the power of the Medes (Daniel 5:30-31).

The kingdom of Babylon as it was known in that day has fallen, just as God has said.  It was a glorious nation of wealth, gold, jewels, many riches.  It was full of pride.  God says, “…Her days shall not be prolonged” (v. 22).

The days of pride and arrogance of the world will come to an end.  God’s glory will be seen by all, rejoiced in by all who love Him, His Word and His people. His kingdom will be prolonged for all eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Lift Up Your Head…

Jesus said, …for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28).

I don’t think I have kept it much of a secret, nor have I intended to.  The thing I have not kept secret is that – Jesus Christ is coming again, and it is soon.

Joel Rosenberg, author of “The Last Jihad” and “The Ezekiel Option” as well as other novels has a blog where he keeps his readers informed of world events; especially those concerning Israel.  In one of his latest post he writes of articles from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

The article from the New York Times tells of the work being done on ruins of ancient Babylon and info concerning the rebuilding of BabylonThe Article from the Wall Street Journal is concerning a massive gas well that has been discovered off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea”.

You may read Joel Rosenberg’s blog by clicking this link.

Hope this finds you ready for our Lord’s return; or that you get ready “today is the day of salvation”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Twelve – Thirteen through Seventeen

“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. 17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”  Mark 12:13-17 (KJV)

THEY TRY TO TRICK JESUS CONCERNING TAXES.

“Shall we pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  That is a question many still ask this day and time.

Is it lawful, is it right, is it godly to pay taxes?  Jesus said, “Render to Caesar, the things which are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s”.  What kind of society did Jesus live in?  Roman rule was the law.  Did Jesus protest taxes because the Romans were unjust, wicked, and boisterous?  No!  He said, “Pay your taxes”.

Jesus asked for a “penny”, and He looked at the image on the penny.  He asserted that since Caesar’s image was on the penny then it needed to be given to Caesar.  Whose image is on man?  God’s.  Therefore, give to God what is God’s.  That means yourself.

Jeremiah the prophet told the people how they were to live as captives in Babylon, and under Babylonian captivity.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”  Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV)

Also consider Romans chapter 13:1-7

Whether we as Christians want to admit it or not; like it or not; makes little difference if we are subjects of our Lord.  We submit to Him, and the laws of our captive land.  We are “captives” of a sort in this world until our redemption in Jesus Christ is completed at His coming.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD’s Greatness

“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, ‘The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him” Ezra 8:22 (KJV).

Ezra, a priest and scribe of Israel, was much burdened for the return of God’s people back to their homeland, and for the restoration of the worship of the LORD God.  They had been in captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and now Cyrus.

Ezra had made a big boast to the king about the greatness of God.  He would not require a band of soldiers for their protection.  He believed that in asking it would be a shame to the Lord, and show a lack of faith on his part.  The way to Jerusalem was dangerous; filled with thieves and murderous hearted culprits who hated all things good.

We can never do wrong in boasting of the greatness or our LORD God.  Boast of Him daily.  Boast of Him many times during the day, and during every hour and minute of the day.  You cannot begin to over boast of His greatness.

The LORD God is Almighty, full of grace and mercy, He holds the world in His hands, He holds the Universe in His hands, He smiles in the smile of a child and one of His saints.  There is no other god.  He is the only one.  He has made a way that all may come to Him, and that is provided only one way; that is His way through the cross of His Son Jesus Christ, the Creator of all that is.

Boast of Him today, all day long.  You will grow to love Him much more than you do right now.  Then put your boast of Him to work by faith.

-Tim A. Blankenship