Woman Wise; Woman Folly

The Woman Wise, and the Woman Folly – Proverbs 9:1-18

In this chapter we have already spent one study on verse 10.  We continue in this chapter by looking at the comparisons, again, of Wisdom and Folly or foolishness, and seeing both as personified in a feminine personality.

Verses 1 – 6 –  Wisdom’s Divine Invitation.
The house wisdom builds is a complete, perfect, holy, unified, house of blessing; represented by the number seven [7].

Jesus Christ has prepared Himself the Church (Ephesians 5:23-27).  She is wise, beautiful, and complete in Him.  As individuals within that body called the church; we are to be wise; through reading and spiritual understanding of the word of God

The table of Wisdom and the table of the LORD are filled with delicious delacacies of food and drink.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life”.

Verses 7 – 12 –  Warnings of Wisdom to the Wise.  (Matthew 7:6).

John Gill writes of verse 7;

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

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

Verses 13 – 18 –  Folly’s Invitation to Death.
The woman known as folly may be beautiful in appearance, yet, vain, deceitful, malicious, hating God and all that is holy.  Revelation 17:3-5.

Her destination is Hell, and she will lead others in that same direction, to that same eternal destination.

The Earth Dwellers will Worship

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:1-10 (KJV)

The devil is a showman and desires the attention of mankind, and in this chapter, we will be able to see his mode of entertainment, and his seeming attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God and His Son, and no matter how vicious it may be, he will come up short.

Some translations of the Bible read, “And he stood” referring to the dragon. It really does no harm to the text to read it either way. If this is a reference to John then he is referring to what he is seeing in the revelation; while, if to the dragon, standing so would place him among the people of earth; them that dwell upon the earth”.

The description given of the beast would imply a great empire. It would be the Roman Empire revived and empowered by the dragon (Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Daniel speaks of these same beasts (Daniel 7:1-8) only he refers to seeing four – the fourth being indescribable. Daniel mentions a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth beast being “Dreadful and terrible”. John sees the leopard, the bear, and the lion; and the fourth must be the dragon.

Let’s look at these as Daniel has them interpreted to him (7:17):

  1. The lion would be Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar the king;
  2. The bear would be Medo-Persia – Darius the king;
  3. The leopard would be the Alexandrian empire – Alexander the Great being the king.

Each of these kingdoms were “Swallowed up” by the one following it. All three of these are swallowed up by the “Indescribable beast” or the Roman empire.

Why are these likened to these beasts? Babylon had majesty and power likened to the lion. The Medo-Persian empire had strength and tenacity like the bear. The Alexandrian empire moved swiftly like the leopard (Daniel 8:5 “…touched not the ground”).

If you will note John sees and writes of these in reverse to Daniel. Daniel is seeing these in the future tense. John is seeing them in the past tense.

The seven heads and ten horns probably refer to the remnants of the Confederacy that formed the Roman empire in the beginning. In Scripture, the horn is symbolic of power. Ten nations of which three were overthrown by the “…little horn” of Daniel 7:8. The ten crowns referring to the symbols of governmental authority. The kings of these confederacies exalted themselves as gods, thus having the “name of blasphemy”.

If we look at this in the light of the other Scriptures the head “…wounded to death” would be one of the Confederacy, probably the Roman empire itself. Since the empire fell many of the confederate nations have risen and fallen silent, but the Roman empire is dead. Of course, the empire is represented by an emperor. For a period of time, the dragon [Satan] will be given the power to deceive. It seems he may even give the appearance of raising an individual from death. It would be so much like him to counterfeit what God has done.

Because of this “resurrection” “…all the world” will follow him. Worship will be directed to the dragon. The dragon giving power to this resurrected beast could be Satan himself possessing this one who has yielded himself to Satan’s will (11:7; 17:8). This individual would probably be the ruler of the revived Roman empire, promising peace to Jerusalem and the world.

It is quite possible that the resurrected beast is a form of government represented by an emperor. The renewed life is the “resurrected” nation able by satanic influence to deceive people and nations.

Here we even see Satan’s counterfeiting the Holy Trinity. The dragon, and he within the anti-christ. The third being the second beast “…out of earth” a messenger of the anti-christ. Antichrist not only means “Against Christ”, but also, “In place of”, or “Instead of”.

This ruler is probably only over the Roman empire until the last three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. He makes peace with Israel, only to be slain in the midst of the week, raised up in Satan’s power of deceit, then, breaks the covenant with Israel, and becomes the world ruler.

His mouth to speak, is against God and His saints (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), calling himself god, blasphemes the name of God Most High. In this state of satanic power, he is given 42 months to rule (1260 days or 3.5 years).

The dragon’s purpose instilled in the antichrist will be to attack all that is holy and of God (Daniel 7:21). All those on earth “…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship the beast. Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus will not worship this beast. These are those who have been won to Christ by the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses of Revelation 7. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12. They are not exempt from worshiping the beast. They will give their lives (6:11). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This is where this verse fits into the interpretation of Scripture.

An appeal, maybe even an invitation or warning is given us in verse nine. Listen up! John appeals for us to hear and heed the awfulness that is about to come upon the earth. Verse 8 is quite clear in showing a great ecumenical peace will come at last. A world religion where all give up their beliefs to join one religion. The worship of Satan.  Some today promote peace at any price.  There can only be peace through the Prince of peace, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice this plea is similar to the ending statements of the letters to the seven churches. The only difference being, this one does not end with “Unto the churches”. This tends to give support to the teaching of the absence of the Church because it has been raptured out at this time.  It is also a word to those who profess Christ as their Savior today, but their lives bear no evidence, no fruit of the Spirit, and no Holy Spirit within (Romans 8:9).  If you are without Christ you could find yourself at this time worshiping the Beast.

Divine retribution is the topic of verse 10. Those who persecute these saints will be tormented likewise. The faith and patience of the saints, of all ages, is in the fact that that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”.

Trust the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

Jesus Through the Bible – The LORD is Peace

“And there came an Angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto Him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” Judges 6:11-14 (KJV)

There are many times throughout the Old Testament the Angel of the LORD is mentioned.  For the conclusion, my own, as well as many scholars of Scripture this individual is not an angel, of the LORD’S  creation, but He is in fact a physical manifestation of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate form.

In the Judges the Israelites were under constant torment from surrounding enemies.  One phrase which is used, and is the last verse of this book is;  “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”  Judges 21:25.  There was no king, and so God appointed to them judges to rule and protect them.  Gideon was to be one of these Judges.

How can we know that the Angel of the LORD was in fact deity?  How can we know that this Angel of the LORD is a manifestation of Jesus Christ before He is physically born?  First look at the sacrifice of Gideon.  He offers it to the LORD (vv. 19-21), and the Angel of the LORD touches it with the end of His staff, and fire rose out of the rock, and He departed.  Second, Gideon felt that since he had see the Angel of the LORD, or the LORD Himself, that he would perish (v. 22).  Third,  it is the LORD who speaks to him, and assures Gideon that he will not die, and declares, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” (v. 23).

In worship Gideon builds and altar and calls it “The LORD is peace”.  The only peace that can be found in this world is through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Searched and Known

“O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me.” Psalm 139:1 (KJV)

Sometimes it is sad to realize that we are living in a world where we can be seen by people, particularly governments or government bureaus wherever we are and in whatever we do.  There are cameras at many traffic lights, that can see us as we go through intersections.  There are cameras at more and more corners on the streets.  There are satellites that can zoom in on us and see our license plates on our automobiles.

In some ways that troubles me.  In other ways it does not.  I have been watched all my life; and even before I was born, and yet in my mothers womb, I was seen and known.  So it is with each of us.

The LORD has had His eye on us from conception, and keeps them there to the grave.  He searches, He examines every motive, every action that we make, and He knows our hearts, and why we do what we do.  He is Omniscient or All-Knowing, and He knows you, even better than you know yourself.

There is nothing about you or myself that is a secret to Him.  Nothing about our lives surprises GOD.

He knows your need for Him; for salvation from your sin and its condemnation.  He has provided that through sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He rose bodily from the grave.  One day He is returning.  Be ready for that by trusting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour today.

My Help

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)

The New King James Bible and newer versions place verse one as a question, and it could be meant that way.  “From whence cometh my help?”  Where does our help come from?

For the Hebrew when they were away from Jerusalem to look to the “Hills” where Jerusalem was was to look to the LORD because that is where the ark of the covenant was, after David began to reign as their king.

The hills were seen also by many in the era of time as a source of safety, and strength.  However, true safety and strength, and help comes from the LORD.

The LORD made the heaven and the earth, and everything within it.  All creation is made by Him.  Why should the people He has made seek anywhere else but unto Him?

Are you fear and afraid today?  Go to the LORD.  Our you feeling sickly and weak?  God to the One who has made all things, and holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17).

My help comes from the Lord Jesus Christ who bled and died on the cross for my sins, and the sins of all the world; who was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave; and He is returning to set things right in this world ridding it of all that is evil, unjust and unrighteous.  That is the One from whom my help comes.

Boasting

“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” Psalm 111:1 (KJV)

Boasting seems to be a trait of all humanity.  Men and women do it quite frequently.  I do it.  My friends and family does it.  Boasting about our achievements, our children, our work, our recreation, our homes, our cars; well, you get the picture.

What does this verse have to do with “Boasting”?  The first “Praise” is for the part of the word we use “Halleujah” which means “Praise the LORD” or to boast of Him.  What more can we boast of than the greatness of our God, our Saviour, our King, and our LORD.

The  second “Praise” has to do with our reverence and worship to the One who is worthy.  When you feel like boasting of your greatness; think again of the Greatness of the only One who is worthy of our boasting.

Our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength should be given to boasting of the greatness of the Lord.  Let it be seen in your life.

Lord, let it be seen in my life.

See 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 for further study.

Giving God Praise

“O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.” Psalm 108:1 (KJV)

Giving the fulness of God glory was a matter of an established heart for David.  Even when he had received the adulation of his people he directed praise to God with his own tongue.

No wonder God refers to David as “a man after Mine own heart”.

When those who believe God, the fulness of the Godhead, then we direct all praise to Him.  When we are lauded, then we give it to Him; for He alone is worthy.  With our hearts we praise Him.  With our lives we praise Him.  With our property we praise Him.  With our tongue we praise Him.

When we start to speak derogatorily of another; speak a word of praise to God instead.  A tongue that is praising God cannot speak ill of another.  This is not speaking of confrontation of sin with an individual.

Praise God through the Lord Jesus Christ who is God’s payment for our sins.

Observations From John – 040111

Looking at the final three chapters of John we see much about our Lord and Savior and His first coming.  He has come to the final day of His life as man among men.  It is not a pleasant day for Him, nor would it be for you or me.  He stands before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem and Israel.

He is being tried for blasphemy against GOD.  Those who claimed to know the word of God know not the Word of GOD.  If they would have known Him they would not have Him on trial; rather they would be worshipping Him who alone is worthy of all human worship, and that of all creation.

In chapter nineteen Jesus says to Pilate,

“Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.”  John 19:11 (KJV)

The one who delivered Jesus to Pilate was Judas, and He is the betrayer.  Pilate may have thought that his power and authority came from Rome, but Rome and all governments of men receive their authority from GOD who gives it, and places men in positions as it pleases Him.  Jesus, of course, knows this because He is the Creator of all that is (John 1:1-3;  Colossians 1:16).

We see that Pilate seeks to release Jesus (19:12), the religious leaders and the mob will not hear of it, and want Jesus crucified.  Pilate even refers to Jesus as king, saying “Shall I crucify your King?”  The religious leaders response was, “We have no king but Caesar.”  In saying this they betrayed and denied not only Jesus but the very heart of Scripture, and its promises to the Jews.

The Scriptures were fulfilled in the death of Jesus.  The Scriptures tell us that not a bone would be broken (Exodus 12:46;  Numbers 9:12) when they found Him to have already died.  Upon the declaration of His death Joseph of Arimathaea comes and request the body of Jesus for burial in his own prepared tomb.  We find that tomb in a garden.  It was in a garden where man first sinned.  It was in a garden where Jesus prayed.  It was in a garden where Jesus was buried.  It will be in a garden where we will see the Tree of Life one day.

Upon the death of Jesus His followers are weeping, sorrowful, and confused; not knowing what to do.  They go to the tomb on Sunday morning, and find it empty with the stone rolled away (20:1-2).  Mary sees Him, and thinks Him the gardener until He calls her by name, “Mary” (20:16), then she calls Him “Master”

Jesus appears to the disciples and speaks, “Peace be unto you.”  He shows them His hands and His side revealing that it is truly the risen Lord.  Thomas doubts when he hears the Lord is risen; however, when he sees Jesus he says, “My Lord and my God.”

Thomas believes because he has seen the resurrected Jesus.  Jesus gives a wonderful blessing to those who believe though they have not seen Him, when He declares,

“Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  John 20:29

Since that day, there is only one recorded account of one seeing the resurrected Christ, and that was Paul the apostle, who was Saul the persecutor at the time of the revelation of Christ to Him.  No one who believes in Christ today has seen the physical, bodily raised person of Christ.  Not seeing we have believed, therefore Jesus says that we are blessed.

Peter is asked three times, by Jesus, “Do you love Me?”  each time in a different sense.  It could be that Jesus is confirming his faith, because he had denied Jesus three times.  Peter is given responsibility for shepherding the sheep of Christ which is a responsibility given to every Christian who will love Jesus and grow in Him.

When we recognize Jesus for who He is, and not what others say He is or what others prefer Him to be, then we too will say “Jesus is the Christ; Son of the Living God”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Luke – 032111

When I was a boy I spent many days and hours digging for treasure.  I had all kinds of holes dug in the ground around our house, in the pastures, the cedar glades, or wherever there was a place I thought that there could be treasure.  I did this probably when I was 8 – 10 years of age.

All the time I had a treasure I didn’t see, and that was my family, my parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Later on I received a treasure that I have to this day, and will have it through all eternity, and that treasure is the treasure of Jesus Christ in my heart, my life, my inner most being; eternal life with God and Him who died for me.  That is the greatest treasure.

Jesus said in Luke 12:34;

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Now there is not a thing wrong with desiring treasure.  You will notice though that the verse does not say “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”, and that is what many of us probably think.  That is not what Jesus says though.

We already have a treasure.  Defining our treasure is a key to being at peace; recognizing our treasure.

I knew a couple several years ago who built a new house; they gave a great testimony of loving Jesus Christ, being great givers, and being church people.  For a while after building their house they  became somewhat frightened or nervous about leaving their home at night.  They were worried that someone might break into their house, and either steal some of their new things or vandalize the house.  In their hearts, at least for awhile their treasure was in that new house; and they were not at all at peace.

Where is your treasure?  If it is truly in Christ Jesus, then you will be at peace, and fear nothing.

“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032011

There are a lot of comments of Jesus’s coming as a babe in a manger, living as a man without sin, and that He came to be an example to us of how we should live.  Some say he came to perform many and mighty miracles.  He did do those things, but they were not why He came.

Looking at what Luke writes in chapter nine,

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51-53 (KJV)

We can know why Jesus came by what He says in the gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  He came because He loved us and was willing to go to Jerusalem, and die on a cruel, rugged, Roman cross for the sins of mankind, as the Lamb of God.

As we look at the above Scripture we see stated that, “When the time was come that He should be received up…”  He had a determination to go to Jerusalem.  From very early in His ministry He knew He must be about what He came to do, and that was His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).  Jerusalem and the cross was the Father’s business.

Would to God we would obey the Father’s will, and did His business as Jesus our Lord has done.  He now sits honored and glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Follow Jesus, believe Him and be delivered from sin, its condemnation and death; and live eternally in the presence of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031711

The gospel of Mark is and interesting, inspirational, and instructional read.  I preached a sermon from Mark 15 many years ago in a revival meeting on the North side of the Missouri River, and in a Missouri Baptist church.  A lady in the church the following night brought me a copy of a poem she had written based upon the text I used from Mark, and gave it to me in a picture frame.  Now, to let you know, I was truly honored by her gift.  I still have both, and read the poem occasionally.

This account of the gospel of Jesus Christ is much shorter than the other three, though there are many scholars who believe that the other three were probably written using Mark as a source.  I don’t know about that, nor if it can even be proven yea or nay.  It makes little or no difference if we believe that they are all inspired by the Spirit of God and are the truth; which I do.

The final three chapters of Mark give us the message of the crucifixion; which every time I read the message of the cross tears begin to flow as I think of my blessed Lord and Savior dying for me.

In chapter 14 we read of the beginning of the “Lord’s Supper” or communion; and Jesus going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray.  Mark does something really special in Jesus’s prayer.  Jesus calls God “Abba, Father” (14:36), Abba being a much more personal term than “Father”.  It is Jesus’s word for “Daddy”.  Only a son or daughter can call their father “Daddy”.  None of the other gospels give such a personal accounting of the Son to the Father; though it is certainly implied.

When the soldiers came and took Jesus, after being betrayed by Judas, the other disciples fled for their lives; and “Peter followed Him afar off”  (14:54).  Jesus is tried before the hierarchy of religion, found guilty and sent to Pilate (15:1-2).  Pilate, after practically pleading for Jesus’s life, finally succumbs to the whims and wishes of the priest of Israel and the misled people’s desire for his crucifixion.  They cry out “Crucify Him”, and Pilate does.  Jew and Gentile alike are the culprits of the crucifixion of the innocent, spotless, without blemish Lamb of God.  He is blasphemed, He is cursed, He is brutalized; He is mocked; and no one comes to His aid.

There were events on that day which defy description.  Darkness, earthquakes which cannot be explained by mere human faculties.  The events described took place because there was a grievance between the holy and the holy.  One holy person, Jesus the Son of God, had taken on Him the unholiness of men; and received the wrath of God that was due to us.

Chapter 16 shows that death could not hold the Son of the Living God.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb which had been carved from rock.  When Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices they found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance.  As I write this I am realizing that there is no way for me to express the excitement of the moment they must have experienced the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  The stone was rolled away, Jesus was gone, His body was gone, and “a young man” says to them,

“Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.  But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee:  there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.” (16:6)

It seems to me that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out of the tomb, but, rather to let witnesses in to see that He was risen.  He is alive.

Because He lives we too can have eternal life, believing in Him, surrendering our lives to Him and His word and will.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031511

Reading today from Mark 8 – 10.

There is much mention of leaven throughout scripture.  It was forbidden in the house of a Hebrew on Passover; it is a symbol of delay, and God commanded them to make haste concerning their departure from Egypt.  Leaven also symbolizes the spread of pride and evil; it is puffed up with self and selfish ambition; with no time or room for God.

In my observations of scripture there is no time when leaven is used as a symbol or type of anything good.  For today’s observation we will look at the lesson Jesus gives concerning the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod;

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.’  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’  And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?  When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ They say unto him, Twelve.  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, Seven.  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?'”  Mark 8:14-21 (KJV)

These verses begin by telling the reader that the disciples had gotten into the boat with only one loaf of bread, and no more.  This gives us a clue as to the disciples thoughts on bread, and their misunderstanding.  Jesus says, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.”  Now His disciples begin thinking that Jesus is concerned about the lack of bread.

Jesus reminds them of the miracles of the fish and the loaves in the feeding of 5,000 men, not counting women and children; and of the miracle of the loaves to 4,000 men, not counting women and children; and their worried about bread? They are not understanding.

Jesus is speaking of an arrogant, pride filled heart; a puffed up attitude of one’s self and leadership.  With an attitude similar to the Pharisees and of Herod there is nothing but destruction awaiting that type of person.  Have you ever noticed with the use of leaven that it never adds anything to taste, or even to its content.  Leaven/Yeast merely puffs up a loaf of bread, makes it appear to be more than what it is; when all it really is is simply air.

The thing the disciples needed to understand, and that many professing believers of our day need to understand is who Jesus really is.  It had not quite clicked in their hearts just yet.  They had witnessed the miracles of the loaves and fishes, the opening of the eyes of the blind; and the healing of the deaf ears; but yet they were not fully seeing who Jesus is, nor hearing all that He said.

In just a bit Peter makes his confession of who Jesus is, “Thou art the Christ.” and in Matthew (16:16) the words, “Son of the living God” are spoken.

Sin and pride; its leaven; blinds eyes, and closes hearts to the understanding of who Jesus is.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031011

Our reading today is from Matthew 20 – 22.

The matter of “faith” is one of great discussion.  The subject has been abused, misused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.  I pray that I do none of those things with this observation today.

Faith, in some circles, has been and is seen as some what like a “genie in a bottle”.  Some tell us, “If you have faith you can live without sin’, ‘drive the finest cars’, ‘never be sick’, and ‘have a large bank account.”  Now they may not say it quite like that, but I believe that is clearly a misuse and abuse of the following verses,

“Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungered.  And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.’ And presently the fig tree withered away.  And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, ‘How soon is the fig tree withered away!’ Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:18-22

Now, to be honest with you, as I read these verses my thoughts are, “Man!  I would love to have faith like that.”  Then it occurs to me, “Just what is faith?”  Is faith the object of power or is our faith to be in something or Someone?  The answer is the latter.  My faith is to be in the Someone who is Jesus Christ.

I must also ask the question, “What is my motive for wanting this power?”  The answer comes back, “So I can use it for myself.”  What must this gift of grace and faith be “used”?  For the glory of our Lord, and no other.

It seems to me in this observation, that I already have this faith.  It is a gift from God.  It is not to be misused, abused; but rather to bring glory to the LORD of all creation.

Faith in Jesus Christ gives us the gifts that Jesus Christ Himself possesses.  We are “joint heirs” with Him (Romans 8:17).  Through Jesus Christ, and His authority we can move mountains.  Not only that we can move the world.  The only problem is we aren’t doing it.  We aren’t believing.

There is a story of two farmers who prayed for rain.  One was always going out to his tractor, going to the field, crying, pleading for rain; but nothing happened.  The other prayed for rain, and took an umbrella with him as he climbed on the tractor and went to the field to plow.  Now, which of them actually believed God would send rain.

Let me remind you.  Faith is not the matter of belief.  Jesus Christ is.  Faith in faith will get you nothing.  Faith in Christ Jesus “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030811

Matthew 14 – 16 is our reading for today.

The text we look at today is from the 16th chapter following Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Who do men say that Jesus is?  The disciple’s answers were that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other of the Old Testament prophets; giving answer to some comments people had made as to who He was.  The all important question asked by Jesus at this point was, “Whom say ye that I am?”  That is the clincher for the actual answer.  Peter’s answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, and that is the answer by all who will have eternal life.

Following this confession of Peter, however, it seems that the devil himself confuses Peter, and is rebuked for his speech;

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.’  But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'” Matthew 16:21-23 (KJV)

From the time of the confession of Peter Jesus begins to teach them that His destiny is to go to Jerusalem and die.  This is what the disciples were hearing, and that is the reason for Peter’s words of denial in the above passage of Scripture.  Jesus didn’t leave the matter without hope; He did speak of His resurrection of being “raised the third day”, yet Peter’s response comes from the dark recesses of his being.

We must think about this for an instant.  Peter loved Jesus, and to hear him speak of His coming death was a shock to his ears and heart.  That, nevertheless, does not excuse his mind being opened for the devil’s use.  Peter has been called “The disciple with the foot shaped mouth”, slow to think, quick to speak.

Can you just see Peter taking Jesus aside and rebuking Him.  Peter, do you know what you are doing?  He is thinking from the way of men, not the way of God, God’s Word and God’s will.  Many a time I have heard said that Jesus is calling Peter “Satan” in His words.  Not so.  Jesus recognizes who the infiltrator is, though there is a two fold action here.

Jesus first directs His rebuke to Satan who has tempted Jesus before (Matthew 4:1-11); and then to Peter telling him that his heart is not on the things of God, but those of men.  It is my conviction that the devil never wanted Jesus to go to the cross and die; he tried to misdirect our Savior from His atoning work; thus the temptations of chapter 4; the temptations from the masses to be king, and so forth; and now through Peter the devil attempts it again.

We must give our hearts to God, His Word and His will for our lives.  We, like Peter, may not always be able to understand what is going on, in fact, we may never understand; we are called to trust, believe and be faithful in what God says.  Jesus was faithful unto death.  That is our calling as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 030511

Reading today from Matthew 5 – 7.

We can be a fickle people; those of us called human being.  When asked about God and the Bible or especially being Christian some have responded with “Well I observe the Ten Commandments” or “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I haven’t done it yet, but I would venture to guess, that those who say they live by the Ten Commandments do go to tell you how many commandments there are; and more seriously could not tell you what they are.  Those who say the other, “I try to live by the Sermon on the Mount” are only kidding themselves.  It is a noble endeavor to be sure, but the requirements of the Sermon spoken by Jesus are more difficult than the Ten Commandments.

Hear what our Lord says,

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

There are many who believe and think that when Jesus came he did away with the law.  What did Jesus say above?  “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Let’s look at this idea of keeping/obeying the Sermon in comparison with the law.  First of all the Ten Commandments only deal with the outer experiences of life; for example, the seventh commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) yet Jesus says in verses 27 and 28 of Matthew 5 that to look at a woman to lust after her is adultery.  Let’s look at another; the sixth commandment states, “Thou shalt not kill”  (Exodus 20:13).  Look at Matthew 5:22,

“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” v. 22

So, if you can live by the Sermon then you are doing quite well with yourself.  If you think you are you are only lying to yourself, and deceived of the devil.

Jesus did not do away with the law, He lived it, He fulfilled it by complete and faithful obedience to God the Father.

In our opening verses above Jesus says, “…Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  That would mean complete faithfulness to God and His commandments.  That would mean complete faithfulness to keeping the sermon on the mount.  Can I do that?  Can you do that?  The answer for us both is, NO!  We are condemned and dying unless we come to God by Someone else’s righteousness.

That righteousness that is given to us by God is from Jesus Christ.  When He died on the cross He gave those who believe Him His own righteousness, and took our own unrighteousness upon Himself.  The law and the prophets are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.  He lives in those who are His, enabling and empowering His own to live lives that honor and glorify GOD; when we trust Him by faith alone.

Matthew 5 – 7 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Valley Of Vision

Since the thirteenth chapter Isaiah has been proclaiming messages called “burdens” in the KJV; they are particularly messages of warning and judgment coming on those nations mentioned.  Babylon, Egypt, Moab, Damascus to name a few.

The “burden” in this chapter is directed to Jerusalem or Israel as a whole.  While the other “burdens” were named against nations and peoples who were unfriendly and cruel to Israel this one is directed straight at the city and people of Jerusalem.

Why called “Valley of vision”?  It could be possibly because they have been a lofty city.  Geographically, Jerusalem is an upwards climb from most locations of Israel.  Most of the time when it is mentioned, it is always “Up to Jerusalem” from someone headed there.  When you are going to a valley the motion is always downward.  That is the state Jerusalem and Israel are in as we read this chapter.

Read verses 1 – 7,

“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?  Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.  All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.   Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.  For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.  And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.  And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.” Isaiah 22:1-7 (KJV)

It seems in reading these verses that they have been surrounded by enemy forces,  and with peril around them they are partying without any regard or though toward God their Creator and Sustainer.  When they should have been weeping, mourning and praying with repentance they were playing.  Sounds like another nation I know about, and live within.  God forgive us.

This sound of the valley of vision is similar to Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 37, the words of Jeremiah 21:13 and Joel 3:12, 14.  Maybe this speaks of the depths to which the people have sank.  Something to consider any how.

There are two men who are named within Jerusalem; Shebna who is possibly a scribe and holding a seat of honor; then, there is Eliakim who is referred to as “My Servant” (v. 20).  Shebna loses his place of honor due to his disobedience to God and failure to do his duty; and the place is given to Eliakim because of his faithfulness.

We are told of Eliakim,

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”  vv. 20-22

Keys are symbols of authority.  If you possess a key, whether it is to your property or another’s it shows you have the right to enter or to the use of that property.  Any one forcing entry or use is an illegal user; with the exception of permission by the authority of one with the key.  Jesus used these words describing Himself,

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.”  Revelation 3:7-8

Eliakim was to make decisions, and they would be sure and fast decisions, until the time of his fall.

Jesus’s kingdom and reign will never fall and never fail.  His kingdom is sure and stedfast.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew 030411

Beginning today reading Matthew 1 – 4.

We have been reading the books of Moses, and now we turn to the first four Gospels of the New Testament.  In doing this we will keep a better focus on Whom the whole of the Bible is about.

Matthew is one of four of the gospel presentations and written by Matthew who was at the time of Jesus’s calling a tax collector (9:9).  He was doing his work, Jesus comes along and calls him to follow, and he leaves all and follows Jesus.

When we look at Matthew this gospel is related to the King of israel, and His Kingdom.  In chapter one is the geneaology of the King; in chapters 5 – 7 we have what could be called His Kingdom Manifesto; chapter 13 are parables – stories which all relate to His Kingdom on earth;  chapter eighteen deals with those who would enter His Kingdom having the heart of a child; and chapters 24 – 25 deal with when He sets up His Kingdom on the new earth.

For today let’s look at the following verses,

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.  And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)

Jesus has been to John the Baptist, been baptized by him; and the gospel of John at this point says that the Baptist saw Him coming and says, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John was no stranger to Jesus; after all they were cousins according in order of family births.  In the beginning of chapter 4 following His baptism Jesus has been “Led of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested by the devil.  Jesus passes the test with power and authority of the Spirit and the Word of God.

The Word of God was the means by which Jesus rebuked and rejected the lies of the devil.  The Word of God is important to Matthew as he writes this gospel account of Jesus.  In the first two chapters alone there are at least 17 Old Testament prophecies of  the Christ or Messiah, and Matthew relates them to Jesus alone.

Following His temptation in the wilderness Jesus sets out to fulfill His task.  His ultimate task as we look at the gospels will be set toward Jerusalem and the cross.  While walking by the sea of Galilee on this particular day Jesus sees Peter and Andrew fishing with nets, and calls them to follow Him.  They follow.  Now this was their way of living, it was Peter’s and Andrew’s business; they caught fish and sold them at the fish market.  It wasn’t a lucrative job, but it was an income.  Leaving these nets required an act of faith in the One they were going to follow.

Jesus’ s promise was to make them fishers of men.  To be a fisher of men is to call others to follow Jesus.

There were two others who were also called “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) and their names were James and John.  These four would become close to Jesus, particularly Peter, James and John.

Jesus is still calling people; men, women, boys and girls to follow Him.  Have heard that call?  Follow Him, and begin a wonderful journey of life, living and eternal life with Him.

We will be in the New Testament through the gospel of John, then return to the Old Testament.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022811

Reading today from Deuteronomy chapters 23 – 25.

In the reading today we find many different laws.  Some dealing with those who cannot enter the congregation; and matters of holiness concerning possessing of material things which are considered unclean.  We also find laws concerning divorce and remarriage of women.  Matters of usury [interest] from members of the tribes, and family are include; and laws of gleaning crops.  Laws concerning payment of hired servants are to be made at the end of the day, because of the poor and their great need.  Laws concerning  judgment that is to be fair and just for the stranger, orphan and widow.  There is also the law of levirate marriage where a brother was to take his belated brothers wife, if that brother had gone childless, and raise up a child in that brother’s name.

I want us to look at one verse,

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

Most people in the world of today would agree with this law.  Why should the parents of a disobedient, rebellious, murdering, raping child be “put to death” for them?  There are many parents who would lie for their murderous, child; and even go to prison for them; and possibly even die for them.  God says that each one is guilty for his/her own sin.  There are not many children who would be willing to die for a parent.

Truth be told this is just and right for all people.

This is further stated in the book of Ezekiel,

“Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  v. 20

For some reason there are many cruel, and unreasoning people who believe God is only out to get; out to punish; out to be a vicious and cruel lord over all who are against Him; however, if we continue in Ezekiel we read this,

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  v. 32

The LORD does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they might turn to Him and live.  He has made it all possible through the death of His Son Jesus Christ; His burial and resurrection.  The Just for the unjust.

God’s wonderful gift of grace.

Read Deuteronomy 23 – 25 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022711

Reading today from Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

The people of the day in which we live often think of hanging as a rope around the neck.  That is my thinking as well, however, I do know that Scripture speaks of hanging on a tree in a much different light.

We are told in the following verses of hanging,

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

As I read these verses the first thought I had was of the death of Jesus Christ.

In this Old Testament law when a man was judged worthy of death by hanging on a tree it was because of some grievous sin he had committed against God and man.  If he were hanged he was “accursed of God”.

Jesus Christ had done no evil to GOD or man.  His life was without sin.  He had no blemish or mark on His life, yet He was found guilty by guilty men who were jealous of His power, and influence with people; and there were many  who called out for Him

The text above says, “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death…”  All those who accused Jesus, plucking the hair from His face, beating His face, whipping His back and finding Him “guilty” of blasphemy were the ones guilty of sin against GOD and man.  They were the ones worthy of death and hanging on a tree.

The Accused never spoke a word for His defense.  Heaven never said a word for His defense.  However, when He died the earth groaned and shook with great intensity.  While He was hanging there all the earth turned black as dark night in the middle of the day.

What do other Scriptures say?

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.   And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”  Isaiah 53:4-10

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”  John 19:31-37

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree’: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galations 3:13

The salvation provided to us by God is truly gracious.  We can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  He has done it all; even to the point of having Jesus His holy and righteous Son become our curse; that He might redeem us from the curse of sin.

Believe God today, and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022611

Reading today from Deuteronomy 17 – 19.

People of our world today are searching for answers.  They want answers concerning their future.  Who will be my spouse?  How will this investment I am about to make turn out?  Will it make me wealthy, or will it leave  me in bankruptcy?  We all have this inkling to know what tomorrow holds.  Some turn to horoscopes, also known as astrology, reading of signs, and forms of witchcraft and sorcery.

God forbids His people to have part in these things.  The LORD even tells us that He is driving out the Canaanites because of this very thing.  Their abominations/evil practices.

Yet, there are professing Christians who dabble in these “dark arts”.  They say things like, “What does it hurt?” or “I just do it for fun” or “It doesn’t affect my fellowship with God or other Christians”.  In this study today we will make some observations which will show  us that even the early church shows us that these were evil things, and are not for the dabbling of those who love Jesus Christ.  Today we look at…

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”  Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (KJV)

There are nine practices which are named in the above text.  The first of which is the offering of one’s child in the fire.  The Canaanite worship had involved the worship of  at least three deities which were Baal, Moloch, and Ashtoroth.  I am not going to get into their worship practices because they are vile, immoral and not worthy of any recognition.  All we need to see is that first one listed involved the offering of children to the fires, and this was to Moloch.  It is amazing how we can make laws or gods convenient for out beliefs.  I heard it said, “Man makes god after his own image”; and there is a small element of truth to that.

Those who worship false deities have made these gods to suit their own hearts.  They fashion the gods to find their pleasure, comfort, and convenience.  Isn’t it amazing that in the Canaanite forms of worship they had a god like Baal who offered them all the sexual immorality in worshipping this deity and that of Ashtoreth; and children were born as a result of all this immoral conduct; then, they didn’t want the children and offered them to Moloch.  How convenient.

The GOD of heaven; who created all things created mankind in His own image.  That image has fallen into sin and no longer glorifies Him.  He called out the people we know as Jews or Hebrews, and through them has sent a Savior into this world as an offering for our sins.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes for these verses tells us,

18:9-12 the abominations of those nations. Moses gave a strict injunction not to copy, imitate, or do what the polytheistic Canaanites did.  Nine detestable practices of the Canaanites were delineated in vv. 10, 11, namely: 1) sacrificing children in the fire; 2) witchcraft, seeking to determine the will of the gods by examining and interpreting omens; 3) soothsaying, attempting to control the future through power given by evil spirits; 4) interpreting omens, telling the future based on signs; 5) sorcery, inducing magical effects by drugs or some other sort of potion; 6) conjuring spells binding other people by magical muttering; 7) being a medium, one who supposedly communicates with the dead, but actually communicates with demons; 8 ) being a spiritist, one who has an intimate acquaintance with the demonic, spiritual world; and 9) calling up the dead, investigating and seeking information from the dead.  These evil practices were the reason the Lord was going to drive the Canaanites out of the land.”

From page 276 NKJV edition.

Christians, listen to the Lord here.  It was forbidden by God for the Israelites to take part in this evil.  It was at least part of the reason God drove the Canaanites from the land, and gave it to Israel.  If Israel participated in the evil they then would be chastised, sent into captivity, and suffer much until they returned to the Lord.

There is a portion of Scripture in the book of Acts which tells us what some new believers in Christ did with books concerning sorcery and such;

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  Acts 19:17-20

I am not advocating the burning of books.  I am, however, asking Christians to forsake these dark arts; and trust only in the LORD.  He alone knows our tomorrow.  It does make a difference what you believe.  Your beliefs will have a part affecting your morality and life.  I am advocating for a fire of passion for our Christ, our Lord and Savior.  One of the verse of Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God”.  Jesus even said,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

The only way of “perfection” with God is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  He is perfect and by His death, burial and resurrection we are made perfect before the LORD God.  Obedience is not optional.

Please read Deuteronomy 17 – 19

-Tim A. Blankenship

And There shall Come Forth a Rod…

This and future articles on Isaiah will be posted here at Fire and Hammer.    On Sunday evenings at Carr Lane Baptist Church I am preaching through the book of Isaiah, only in a “survey” type fashion.  I pray the Lord’s Spirit will guide you in the study of His Word.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…”  Isaiah 11:1-2 (KJV)

If we take a moment and consider the title of this post we might take a thought toward created things; and that would not be wrong to do.  It is however necessary that we see the Creator becomes a created being in the “stem of Jesse”, “a Branch” and later on in the chapter (v. 10) “root of Jesse”
What we see of this one who will come from “the stem of Jesse” is that He is “a rod”, and “a Branch” shall grow out of His roots.  This is a deep rooted prophecy of the coming of the Messiah of Israel.  It speaks of His humanity.  It speaks of His humility, and from whence He comes.
His life is lived in the “Spirit of the LORD” and that Spirit rest upon Him and I don’t believe it to be wrong to say, here, even within Him.  Holy wisdom, spiritual understanding, and divine counsel and power comes only from the Spirit of God.  When we have a good and healthy relationship and fellowship with the LORD, then there will also be a right reverent fear of the LORD as well.
In verse 4 we find that this Individual will, “with righteousness” judge the poor.  Could this be the “Poor in spirit to which Jesus refers in Matthew 5:3?  He will destroy the wicked with “the breath of His lips” (Revelation 1:16; 19:15).
In the future kingdom of this King there will be peace throughout the whole earth; even within the animal kingdom (vv. 6-9), and such knowledge increasing unlike anything we have ever known (v. 9).
This “root of Jesse” is an ensign or banner to the nations that are on earth.  They will seek Him and find Him, and all His people [Israel] will come to Him from the ends of the earth (vv. 10-12).  The return of Israel to the LORD will be even greater, more spectacular than was the first exodus from Egypt.
Be ready for our LORDs return.  Jesus is coming soon.
-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022411

Reading for today Deuteronomy 11 – 13.

It is shocking sometimes how quickly God’s people can be led astray.  Led away from the true worship of God unto the worship of the man made, or earthly creatures.  Some years ago I read some articles in Midnight Call magazine concerning finances in the last days.  He named three gods or idols which citizens of the USA worship;  MOFI, GLOBO, AND SCITE.  To give you an understanding of what these are they are related to Money/Finance; Global Organization and union; and Science and technology. I personally think we could add another idol to that; and that is our children.  Have you ever seen a parent who believed their child could do no wrong?  Every ounce of time goes into children.  We hear about our children’s health, our children’s education, our children’s well being, and we ought to be for those things; but they are carried to an extreme; at least in my opinion.

There is a domonic move which has been present since the beginning of mankind to keep mankind from God.  There are teachers, preachers, dreamers and prophets who are demon inspired who direct hearts of men and women; boys and girls away from truth and God unto lies, deception and destruction.  Now who in their right mind is going to go plunging into destruction?  It is not done in the light.  Satan and his legions use deception; deception is one of those cases where a “fridge” is sold to an Eskimo living at the North Pole.  Or, ocean front property in Arizona is sold to some poor soul.  That is the line of work Satan and his minions are in; and he has people in that line of work to lead people away from God and His Son Jesus.

Hear what God says in His Word;

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

There might come into our midst some great worker of miracles who with those wonders call people to worship some being from outer space.  He/She claims they have found the answer that will change there lives, because they have found that “we are all gods” or some silly thing like that.

There is a growing tendency within our own nation [USA] that “If it works, then it must be good and right”.  NOT!  If it works it could be from the devil if it falls short of our LORD’s expectations and calling.

Since the United States of America is now a multi-cultural society being made of of many ethnic groups and religions and such; then we are being told to guard our speech.  We are being told we can no longer refer to Christianity as the only way to heaven and God; that there are really many ways to God.  There are many roads to the Post Office, but the one that gets you there is the one that leads to the front door.  The front door to heaven is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even tell us, Himself, that He is the door.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

It doesn’t matter what you dream, or what wonders you may do; or that preacher, prophet, dreamer, or teacher made do; if they lead you away from God and His Word, they are a deceptive leader to your death, and destruction.  The Old Testament law calls for their death; most likely by stoning.

Hear God through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Fear Him.  Keep His commandments.  Turn away from every false way.  Jesus is the way to life and eternal life.  Hear Him and live.

Read Deuteronomy 11 – 13

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022311

Reading today from chapters 7 – 10 of Deuteronomy.

Why did the LORD choose Israel as a people?  Were they at all strong, numerous, or for what reason would He choose such a people?

Why  has He chosen me?  Is it because I am some wonderful personality, wonderful to look at, wise or obedient?  My answer to those questions are “none of those things”.  Why would the holy God of Heaven choose anyone of the human race? I think those are some wonderful questions, and they are invited by the Scriptures.

“The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

These verses tell us that GOD did not set His love upon them because they were more numerous; because they were but few.  The answer He gives us through Moses and Deuteronomy is “…Because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…” meaning of course Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Doesn’t this beg another question?  How can a holy God love that which is unholy? and another, Just whom does God love?  We are told in the New Testament,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

In my opinion John 3:16 answers those two very important questions.  God came down to man in the Person of His Son, lived without sin, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our atonement.  “Our sin” atonement because we were sinful, worthy of death, unholy, unrighteous, unjust.  When Jesus came He became our sin, took the wrath of God for us on the cross of calvary, had the Father turn His back on Him, the darkest day in the life of our Savior.  It did not end there, however, Jesus carried our sins away in His burial, and rose bodily from the grave on the third day.  It doesn’t end there.  Jesus; when that sinner turns to Jesus as His Lord and Savior; gives to us His righteousness.  Now, isn’t that the greatest love you ever heard about?  YEAH!  It is.  You cannot deny it.  Or deny it all you will and it still doesn’t negate that truth.

There is a second reason we are told God chose Israel.  “Because He wold keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…”  I will never cease to be amazed that our GOD is a covenant keeping GOD.  He is love.  He is trustworthy and faithful.  If God says it, you can be 100 percent sure that God will keep every word He has spoken.  When He has said, “I have called you, and redeemed you unto Myself” You can be assured you are His for all time and eternity.

Jesus said again,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

You can be assured today that because God loved Israel, He still loves Israel, and He loves you too.  He loves us all so very much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world.  That includes me and you.  Call on the name of Jesus today and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 7 – 10 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022211

Reading Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

In reading these chapters it seems quite apparent to me that GOD desires to speak with and to His people.  The people of God should count it an awesome and glorious thing that GOD would desire to speak with a people who are sinful.

In chapter four GOD gives us decree not to “add unto” or “diminish aught from it” (4:2)speaking of His commands – His word.  It is holy, separate, set apart, different, peculiar.  That is the way His people are as well.

When Israel heard the voice of God speaking from the darkness of the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, they were so overwhelmed that they were fearful.  They had heard God speak once, but if they heard Him again they might die.

“And ye said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.  Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.”  5:24-25

GOD has called on His people to hear His voice.  He is holy.  We are unholy.  The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews wrote,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

The best place to be is in the hands of the living God.  We can only be in His hands of grace through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, His holy Son Jesus Christ.  When we are in His hands; no man, no peril, no sword, no trial or fire, no spiritual entity can snatch us from His hands (John 10:29;  Romans 8:37-39), that comes by hearing His voice.

Adam and Eve having sinned against God in the garden of Eden, heard the voice of GOD walking in the garden, hid themselves; and GOD called unto Adam, “Where art thou?”.  GOD knew Adam’s whereabouts, but Adam didn’t.  He was afraid of the voice of God.  When you are fearful of the voice of GOD it is due to a lack of fellowship with GOD.

To the credit of the Israelites they did promise to do what ever the LORD commanded them, through the leadership of Moses (5:27).

The voice of the LORD is personified in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We can come into the throne of God and petition Him, worship Him, be silent before Him (Hebrews 4:16); because of the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary’s cross.

Hear the voice of God today.  He is calling you to come to Him through His Son.  There is no other way.

Please read Deuteronomy 4 – 6.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022111

Reading Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

As I was reading this morning I noticed that the phrase “Fear not” or something similar was used at least four times.

Chapter 1 verse 21 says,

“Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”  (1:21)

Fear is a thing that greatly handicaps many of us.  When we allow fear to have a hold in our lives it will rule, and cause us to live in defeat.  That is not something that is needed by God’s people; neither is it necessary.  When we consider all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross we have much to be bold, brave and courageous for and about.

Another one says,

“Then I said unto you, ‘Dread not, neither be afraid of them.'” (1:29)

The word “dread” above means to fear with trembling, affrighted, afraid, or terrified; and the other “fear” or “afraid” could be a form of reverence.  Certainly we need neither fear of the enemy of God when we have God’s promise of victory. His victory.

Chapter 3 has two more verses with the phrase,

“And the LORD said unto me, ‘Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.'” (3:2)

Deuteronomy is a reminder to the children of Israel of God’s mighty power and acts for the forty years they have wandered in the wilderness (1:1-3).  The Bible is not only a historical account of all that God has done for His people down through the history of mankind; but it is also a living word from God which gives life, encouragement, and strength for the journey through God’s Spirit.  The person of Jesus Christ is the central being of the Scriptures.

When we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior by believing He came, lived a sinless life, and died for our sins, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose bodily from the grave; then we can live in Him without fear.  When there is fear in our heart it is a sign that we are not right with Him.

The final verse for today;

“Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you.” (3:22)

We, as God’s people are assured that the battle is the LORD’s.  How can we fear, when we have God with us.  Moses was assuring Israel and her people that just as the LORD had led them through the wilderness, and fought the battles; then He would even do so in the Promised Land which they were about to enter.

Child of God neither fear, nor be afraid, nor dread what lies ahead.  Trust the LORD.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 022011

Reading today from Numbers 34 – 36.

These chapters deal with the borders of the land for the nine tribes and the half tribe on the West side of the Jordan River when they pass over;  the cities of refuge where one who accidentally kills may flee, and stay until the death of the high priest; with intentional murder; and the final chapter of Numbers deals with a land issue for the daughters of Zelophehad.

I want to look at the issue of murder according to chapter 35 and verses 30-34,

“Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.  Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.  And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.  So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”  Numbers 35:30-34 (KJV)

The murder of an individual shall be dealt with by the putting to death of the killer.  One is not to be put to death for the crime only by the witness of one.  There is to be no ransom paid for the murderer.  He is to be sentenced to death.  The blood that he has shed defiles the land; and God dwells in the land; “…For I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”.

In the society of today there are many who argue against what we call capital punishment, or the death penalty.  Supposedly it is because of the value of every man’s or woman’s life.  After all the question is, “What good does it do the one who was murdered? or his/her family?”  Certainly the family grieves over the loss of the loved one.  To plead for the life of the murderer and in the end give him his life is to place greater value on the murderer’s life than the murdered individual.  It leaves pollution upon the land; and God cannot dwell there.

The only redemption for the murderer is his own blood.

What should the Christian’s response be for murder?  To obey God’s will and His law.  We rejoice not in the death of the murderer, but we should rejoice in God’s dwelling among us in the person of His Son and His shed blood for us.

Remember to read Numbers 34 – 36 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021911

Reading today from Numbers chapters 31 – 33.

The observations today will come from chapter 33 verses 50-56.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.  And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.   But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.  Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.'”  Numbers 33:50-56 (KJV)

At this point the children of Israel are nearing the time of their entrance into the Promised Land.  GOD is preparing them for their entry.  As you read the above chapters you will see that there are two tribes plus a half tribe who have requested to stay on the East side of the Jordan River and inherit that land rather than the land on the West of Jordan.  Those tribes are Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.  They were to send their fighting men across Jordan to fight for the land; or lose their inheritance on the East side.  Their preparations were made, the agreement was reached; and then the preparations for the West side were to be made.

In reading the above Scripture text we don’t find the word “If you pass over the Jordan into the land…”  It is “When”.  So with the LORD this was a sure thing that Israel was to do.  When they entered the land they were to drive out the inhabitants; destroy their pictures, images, high  places [places of their demon worship], and take the land for their own.  Once they possessed the land they were to make it their home.

Once they had driven out the inhabitants they were to divide the land between the tribes and each tribes people.  The more people there was in a tribe the more land they would receive.  The less people there was in a tribe the less land they were to receive.  It was a fair way of dividing the land.

It was by the command of the LORD to drive out the inhabitants, even destroy them, putting an end to the evil of their immorality, and demon worship.  Now, some reading this are going to think and say, “This shows how mean and cruel this god of yours is.”  Rather, it shows how holy, just and gracious He is.  Our LORD has given these people over 400 years to repent and change their ways (Genesis 15:12-16).  Now God is cleansing the land and His people in the process.

We must realize that sin is a grievous thing in the eyes of GOD.  It is a dreadful thing, and until we see sin as GOD does there is no hope for us.

How do these passages relate to the Christian?  Paul the apostle spoke of these things being “ensamples” for the Christian,

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)

These also apply to the Christian as an example of how the Christian life is a battle against sin, and the devil who desires to destroy anything which belongs to Christ; he desires to destroy our walk with Christ, therefore we must put on the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:10 ff.  We must drive out the evil desires of the flesh.  We must hate what is evil as GOD does and love what is good and holy.  Anyone who would tell us, “The Christian life is a breeze; it’s easy” is a bald faces liar; or just doesn’t know what they are talking about.  It is a battle.  The inheritance is in Christ Jesus.  We are “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).

Remember to read Numbers 31 – 33 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.”  Mark 14:53-72 (KJV)

It was very early in the morning and the “High priest, all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes” were all assembled together and for the distinct purpose of putting Jesus on trial.  It was not the time of week they preferred, but it was the time ordained by God.  It was illegal to hold a trial this early, but there was nothing legal about the arrest of Jesus either.  He was arrested out of pure envy, because of sin in the hearts of wicked men.
We are told by the writer that “Peter followed Him afar off…”.  Peter followed all the way to the home “Palace” of the high priest.  It was there that he sat with the “Servants” and warmed himself at their fire.

These religious leaders sought for testimony against Jesus, and did not find any (v. 55).  There were many who bore “False witness” against Him, but it was not in agreement.  They kept searching until they found two who would agree as to the destroying and rebuilding of the temple.  These “Leaders” were desparate.  This testimony was on Jesus’s statement where He had said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His own body], and in three days I will raise it again.”  (John 2:19).   There was no accusation against Jesus which would stand in a real court of law where a judge was fair and just.  But, then, all men are liars when compared to the justice of God.

Jesus is asked if He is the Messiah/Christ, and He answers, “I Am…”  He goes on telling of seeing His coming glory (v. 62).  That really upset the high priest to the point of hypocritically ripping his garment.  This was an outward show of grief, despair, even at times repentance – which he certainly needed right now, but even more later.   The sound is more and more the echo of Psalm 2,

“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.”

At the trial before the religious leaders they began to spit on Him and strike him with their hands.  It is a grievous thing to read and think that the God of the universe placed Himself in the hands of sinners; He Himself being sinless, to give His life as the  payment for sin, and giving to those who believe in Him His righteousness.  My what  a Savior.
Peter, the disciple, John MacArthur calls “The disciple with the foot-shaped mouth”.  He has previously said that he would never be offended because of Jesus (vv. 27-30), now denies Him.  In these seven verses (66-72) we have three accounts where he does just that.

At one point he even goes into a “Fit” of cursing; denying that he knows Jesus.  He went out not believing the word of Jesus about “All being offended in Him”, and finds himself doing exactly what Jesus said.  We need not fear that the Word of God and His Son Jesus will be performed.

Peter’s weeping was not the weeping of one who silently sheds tears, but one who “Wailed” loudly where it could have been heard by people around him.  When that rooster crowed the second time Peter saw the eyes of Jesus looking at him (Luke 22:61), and it grieved his heart.

Have I denied Jesus?  Have I betrayed Him?  Do I need to ask?  Yes!  To all three questions.  I must ask for His forgiveness, and He forgives, cleanses and sets me free.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021811

Reading for today Numbers 28-30

Much of the reading today is a repeat from Exodus on the sacrifices, however, we will take a short look at chapter 28 verses 1-8.

These verses deal with a daily offering,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto Me, shall ye observe to offer unto Me in their due season.’   And thou shalt say unto them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.  The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; and a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.  It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.  And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.  And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.'”  Numbers 28:1-8

This offering was an offering of two lambs; two spotless, without blemish lambs.  This, of course represents sinlessness; of which our Savior Jesus Christ Son of the Living GOD was and is sinless.  Yet, He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), receiving in our behalf the judgment for sin which we deserved.  The just for the unjust.  Most important of all is that sacrifice was offered once, and fulfilled the law.

Of these verses the ESV Study Bible note says,

Num. 28:1–8 The Daily Offering. A lamb was offered in the morning and another in the evening at twilight (v. 4). This pattern of prayer in the morning and in the evening has carried on in Jewish and Christian practice throughout the centuries. Pleasing (or “soothing”) aroma is a phrase that regularly describes the effect of sacrifice on God: it soothes his anger at sin (see Gen. 8:21). (p. 311)

There is also a picture for the Christian to offer daily our prayers, daily reading of Scripture, and ourselves to the Lord’s work and ministry.

Writing of the daily offerings the apostle wrote,

“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”  Hebrews 7:25-28

Of course the apostle is speaking of Jesus Christ.

Then again in Hebrews it is written,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

We are assured that the work of sacrifice for the forgiveness and cleansing of sin is completed in Christ Jesus.

Read Numbers 28 – 30.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021711

Today’s reading from Numbers 25 – 27.

Chapter 25 deals with Israel’s sin at Peor or Baalpeor; chapter 26 tells us the numbers of the men age twenty and over; and chapter 27 tells us of Moses view into the Promised Land, because he was not going to be allowed to enter the land due to his rebellion in the striking of the rock; rather than speaking to it, as GOD has said.

Since we looked at Balaam in yesterday’s study let’s finish up with Balaam today.

In chapter 25 we have the people of Israel sinning grievously against GOD.  They were joining themselves with the people of Moab.  Moab hated Israel and wanted them cursed well now they brought a curse upon them.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.   And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” 25:1-3

Where does Balaam fit into this picture?  We need to look ahead in the book of Numbers.

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” 31:16

It has every appearance of telling us that Balaam saw he could not curse Israel, but he sees a weakness in them, and counsels Balak to send and invitation to, at least some of the people, to allow them into Israel’s camp.  Bringing their demon worship with them, they lead many into adulterous worship against the Creator of the universe.

We see also in chapter 31 and verse 8 that Balaam was slain by the sword.  He was a wicked prophet for hire.

The great thing about chapter 25 that we need to see is the zeal for GOD shown by Phineas (vv. 7-8).  Because of this sin 24,000 people died as a result of a plague.  Because of the zeal for GOD and His righteousness; the work of Phineas, the grandson of Aaron, the plague was stopped.  Far more people could have died were it not for Phineas.

In a time when there are businesses for the promotion of adultery, online  and otherwise, there needs to be many more with the zeal of Phineas; rushing in where angels fear to tread; not taking lives, but with the message of God’s Word, warning of the destruction that is coming into lives due to so much immoral behavior.

In this time as Christians we have a responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ; yet loving enough to confront; especially any brethren who call themselves Christian who are dabbling in immoral behavior; participating in things that destroy families, marriages, and lives of children; and calling them to turn back to GOD.

Please read Numbers 25 – 27.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021611

Reading from Numbers 22-24.

The reading today deals with the prophetic work of one of the prophets of the Old Testament.  This is a prophet who was in the “ministry” for a profit.  He was in it to make all he could.

The Moabite people were fearful of this massive group of people who were traveling across their part of the wilderness.  The king of Moab, Balak, calls for Balaam the prophet of whom we speak.  The comment of Scripture says,

“And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.” 22:3

Let’s first examine who the people called the Moabites are; just to keep it in mind.  Moab was one of the sons of Lot by the eldest daughter (Genesis 19:37).  So by this we can see a kinship between these two people – Moab and Israel.  Of course, many years have passed, more than four hundred at least.

Balak calls for the prophet Balaam, and seeks him so that he may curse Israel.  Israel is a nation blessed by GOD.  Called out of Egypt by GOD.  Led by GOD.  A questions should enter our minds upon reading this, “How can a prophet of GOD even consider taking Moab up on this thought.  They have promised him great reward.

The prophet is blind to the ways of God.  God tells Balaam, after he has already turned down Balak’s first request to come, and he sends a second group of messengers,

“And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, ‘If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.'” 22:20

Here is Balaam’s fault.  If you will note what God says; Balaam is to not go with the men unless they come to call him; yet Balaam arises and goes to them.  He is eager to go and curse Israel, yet says, “All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do.” 23:26.

In the process of all this we find that his eyes are not open as he says in 24:3, but that they are set on deception, and the receiving of blessing for himself and funds for his pocket.  His ride has more spiritual perception than Balaam does (22:22-35).

By the end of chapter 24 we see Balaam speaking prophetic words of blessing upon Israel.  Yet, be warned Balaam is still a prophet of the worst sort.  We are warned of his work and “ministry” in the New Testament:

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”  2 Peter 2:15-16″Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”  Jude v. 11

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Revelation 2:14

Later on in the daily readings we will see that the prophet finally succeeded in gaining what he wanted, yet failed GOD and His people greatly.

Remember to read Numbers 22 – 24 for today’s reading.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Numbers – 021511

Today reading from Numbers 19 – 21.

There are several great points for us to consider from these three chapters.  The hearts of the surrounding people to Israel as they journey, and most of it due to fear and disrespect.  Moses told, by GOD, to speak to the rock, and then, he strikes it instead.  Finally the placement of the “serpent on a pole” for their healing from snake bite, because of their sinning in complaints.

We will take a moment and focus these observations on the Rock.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.’  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:7-11 (KJV)

In Exodus 17 we find the first time the people are thirsty in the wilderness and their experience with the rock.  In that chapter of the Exodus Moses is commanded to strike the rock, and Moses obeys; then, comes forth cool refreshing water for the multitude of people.

In this case above the people are complaining about not having water; and remember this is after seeing God provide water previous to this.  Verse four says, “Why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”  My how short their memories are.  My, how short our memories are as well.  We can be surrounded by God’s grace, mercy, sustenance, and every need being met and still complain.

The apostle Paul tells us that this rock was following them in the wilderness…

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

“For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them…”  Can it be anymore clear than that?  Paul continues, “…that Rock was Christ”.  Who was with Israel in the wilderness?  Jesus the Christ of God.

It does not seem that we should even try and understand why Moses struck the rock; but we must remember the consequences of his disobedience.  Because he did this rebellious deed, now Moses will not enter the Promised Land.

It may have been anger that caused him to strike it.  He was disobedient.  It could have been he didn’t fully hear God’s statement.  He was disobedient.  It could have even been because he was “only human”.  He was disobedient.  Moses could not go into the Promised Land, and he did not.

That Rock was Christ.

Remember to read Numbers 19 – 21.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021411

Reading Numbers 16 – 18 for today.

As we begin the reading today we find in chapter sixteen three men of the Levites (v. 8), Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who bring an uprising against God.  They claim that it is against Moses and Aaron, but in the truth of it; it is against God and His leadership.  They have called on 250 princes of Israel to join them.

Moses’s first response was to fall on his face.  My first thought for this is that it is an act of petitioning God in humility for these men and their rebellion against Him.  My how people of God need to fall on their faces before Him.

There are many times those who are following a leader often think they can do a better job or service than is being given.  After all; who did Moses think he was assuming all of this authority for himself? They were questioning.  Are we not just as holy as Moses and Aaron?  They were in fact showing unholy characteristics.  They were not following God; but their own devices, and thinking.

God judges these men and those who followed them by opening the ground to “swallow” them up; and then, closing the ground up.  Now, many will say, “God had no cause for this judgment”.  He most certainly did.  The text does not say it, but it seems an almost certainty that Korah’s, Dathan’s and Abiram’s intent was to take over leadership and lead the Israelites back to Egypt.  They certainly didn’t have God’s plan in their hearts; or they would have not had a problem with the leadership of Moses; a wise and meek man (12:3)

Following the judgment upon this rabble of men and families, the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron (v. 41), and then they witnessed and saw the glory of the LORD appear upon the tabernacle.

“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.’  And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.  And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.  Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.  And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.”  Numbers 16:46-50 (KJV)

They are in quite the rebellious mood.  It is not of God.  Because of their rebellion God says, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” v. 45  And a plague begins upon the people, and before Moses and Aaron could act for the atonement of the people 14,700 people have died (v. 49).

One of the things about a good leader is that they love the people whom they lead.  Even when they mess up he still pleads for them.  Sacrifices for them. Will give his/her life for them.  This was Moses.  Sin was in the camp.  Atonement must be made to deliver the people from this plague of death.

The wrath of God is swift; and so too  is His grace.

How ought God’s people, Christians, of today respond to those whom God has placed in leadership?  We have a few Scriptural references:

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”  Hebrews 13:7″Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  Hebrews 13:17

And about leadership God says,

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”  Acts 20:28

In all things follow the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Believe Him, obey Him, love Him with all your heart, mind and soul.

Remember to read Numbers 16 – 18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers 021311

Reading today from Numbers chapters 13 – 15.

The observations today will focus on verses 35 – 39 of chapter 14.

“I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’  And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.  But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.  And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.”  Numbers 14:35-39 (KJV)

It does not immediately say it in this text or context, but the reason for the sending of the twelve “spies” into the land of Canaan was that the people wanted it.  You can read it in Deuteronomy chapter 1; particularly verses 19-33.  Some will look at this and say that contradicts the other statement by God in Numbers 13:1-2; however, what we have is a clearer understanding.  Interpreting the Bible is not simply the understanding of taking a single verse and coming up with a theology, or an understanding.  Scripture must be interpreted in light of other Scripture.

On to the verses above.  The people had refused to go into Canaan without first sending some “spies” into the land.  I can understand their apprehension and fear, but that doesn’t make it right.  They needed to simply believe God, and take Him at His Word.  When twelve men were chosen to go and scout out the land; to see its beauty, its bounty, and its enemies God was allowing them to do so; telling Moses to go ahead and send them.  They were about to find out that they still weren’t trusting the LORD.

When these men came back from their expedition ten of them were very negative about what they saw with hearts of unbelief.  There only words were filled with “but” or as the KJV says “Nevertheless” (13:26-30).  They saw the land and its beauty and bounty, but they saw the people were large and powerful.

Joshua [Oshea] and Caleb saw the land and its beauty and determined that God had promised the land; so let’s go take it as God has said.  Evidently democracy won out, and God determined to make them wander in the wilderness for forty years.  It is often the case when men rebel against God, and try to rule, that God overrules.  The spies died on the spot due to their unbelief, except for Joshua and Caleb.

Something I thought of as I read this morning was that Joshua and Caleb were given an assurance they would enter the Promised Land.  They would not see death.  Who do you know that has a forty year guarantee of living?  Living to see the Promised Land kept them on the direction of seeing God’s plan carried out.

I know a people today who not only have a promise of life, but eternal life.  Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  John 11:25, 26

Let’s believe and follow the promises of God through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins; was buried, carrying away the condemnation of sin; and rose bodily from the grave justifying us forever in the sight of God the Father.

Remember to read Numbers 13 – 15.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Numbers – 021211

Our daily reading is Numbers 10 – 12.

We will look today at Numbers 10:1-10; dealing with the silver trumpets.

Here Moses is leading, possibly 2 million people or more, through the wilderness.  Leading them to a “land of milk and honey”; a prosperous, bountiful land.  There would be total chaos without some form of getting the people to gather at the right place and time.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.  And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.  When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.  When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.  But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.  And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.   And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. ‘”  Numbers 10:1-10 (KJV)

Two million people would cover a lot of ground; especially with their tents/booths, possessions, the tabernacle and other things.  They were to camp in an orderly fashion as has been described in chapter two.  The tabernacle was to be in the midst of the camp.  A picture in itself of God/YHWH dwelling in the midst of His people – “God with us”  Immanuel.

Of verses 1 – 10 in our observations for today the ESV Study Bible notes say…

“Num. 10:1–10 The Silver Trumpets. How was Israel to move in step with the cloud of God’s presence? A large group of people needed to be marshaled, or else any movement was bound to be chaotic. So the primary purpose of the trumpets was to signal when the different tribes were to set out (see vv. 5–7). But they are also to be used to summon the congregation (v. 3) or the chiefs (v. 4). Their use in war and on the festival days is also prescribed (vv. 9–10). But blowing the trumpets was more than just a way of summoning the people to come to the tabernacle or to follow the cloud; it was a kind of prayer, a plea to God to remember his people and their needs, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God (v. 9; cf. v. 10). Two silver trumpets (v. 2), according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 3.291), were just over a foot in length and flared. They are pictured on Titus’s arch among the plunder he brought to Rome from Jerusalem. Two ways of blowing the trumpets are mentioned here: simply blowing (Num. 10:3–4, 7), and sounding an alarm (vv. 6–7). The difference is that blowing involves long notes, whereas sounding an alarm is done with staccato blasts. On the day of your gladness (v. 10) would include such occasions as festivals or victory celebrations after battle.”

We can see in the Scripture text that there are certain reasons for blowing the trumpets.  1) To call an assembly; 2) For the journeys, each tribe being called out by the sound of the trumpets in their order; 3) calling the princes of each tribe to meet; 4) For an alarm; 5) for when they offer their sacrifices and offerings; 6) For their solemn days; 7) For the beginning of each month; and 8 ) For a memorial unto the LORD.  He tells us, “I am the LORD your God”

There is a reference to these trumpets in the New Testament…

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”  1 Corinthians 14:8

There are at least six other references to trumpet in the New Testament – Matthew 6:2; 24:31;  1 Corinthians 15:52;  Hebrews 12:19;  Revelation 1:10; 4:1 – for differing and similar occasions.

The silver trumpet was a reminder of the wondrous grace of the Living God and His promise of the Messiah who was to come and die for the sins of the world.  What better reasons are there for assembling, worshipping and being diligent in our battle for truth.

Remember to read Numbers 10 – 12

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021111

Reading today from Numbers 7 – 9.

Will focus today on chapter 8:1-4 dealing with what is called the menorah; the light of the tabernacle.

It has been said that darkness is only the absence of light, and that cold is the absence of heat.  I can see that from a spiritual point of view; God’s point of view.  Especially for the human race.  We can be assured, however, that whether in darkness or cold God is present, and is speaking whether we hear or not.

The lamp or Menorah was the only source of light for the tabernacle.  It would have been the first thing to tend upon entering the actual “tent”, filling the bowls with olive oil for the burning for light.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.’  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.”  Numbers 8:1-4 (KJV)

This lampstand/menorah was positioned on the South side of the tabernacle, and the table of Shewbread was on the North side.  The menorah was to be positioned to focus the light on the bread of the table.  There were to be twelve loaves of bread on the table, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As we can also see in these verses we are told once again that the candlestick is made of pure beaten gold.  It is made by taking a piece of gold and forming it with a hammer, I suppose, or some other like tool; to shape it into this beautiful object known as a menorah.  In its original form it had three lamps on one side, and three on the other side with one in the middle.  A total of seven lights burning.  Seven for complete light.  We might think that would not be much light.  Seven lamps burning in such a small room, however, would illuminate the room quite well.  Have you ever been in a cave, in total darkness, without your flashlight turned on or without any light burning?  It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.  One person lighting a single match can light up a room of a cavern.  Darkness is dispelled.  Darkness flees in the presence of a sign of light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  He has also told those who follow Him,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 4:14-16

As I read the Scriptures it becomes even more clear, every time I read through the Bible, that the overwhelming evidence is that both Old and New Testaments point to Jesus Christ as the central character of Scripture.  Even the last book of the Bible tells us,

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

He is the light of a dark heart.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light.  He is the light that shows men where to find bread; for He also said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48).

Come out of the darkness of sin and death; into the light of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.

Please read Numbers 7 – 9

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021011

Reading today from Numbers 4 – 6.

My comments today will deal only with the following verses –

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.   And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.'” Numbers 6:22-27 (KJV)

We can see reading from Scripture that it is God’s desire to bless His people.  He desired to bless His people Israel and to give them peace.  The verses of blessing are familiar to both Jews and Christians, and are often spoken; probably not as often as they could or should be among some Christians.

This blessing was given to Moses to give unto Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel.  Moses followed the LORD’s command and delivered it just as God had said.  It follows the law given concerning the Nazarite vow for consecrating one’s self to the LORD.  There was blessing to one who consecrated himself to the LORD and would basically for a life time or for only a month follow the life of a priestly pattern.  We have this blessing given to show us that God wants to bless all His people who will obey His commandments through loving Him.

It is a wonderful thing when God’s face is toward us, looking upon us.  It is a dreadful thing when we think of His back being toward us.  In the Blessed Son we are assured that His face is toward us; and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must remember that the greatest blessing is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ Son of God.  In Him we have the “Peace of God that passes understanding”.  All these others are given for types, figures of the true.

Remember to read Numbes 4 – 6 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020911

Reading Numbers 1 – 3 today.

Today I want to consider verses 11 – 13 of chapter 3,

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine;  because all the firstborn are Mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD.'”  Numbers 3:11-13 (KJV)

In beginning the book of Numbers we find that it is named correctly for they are numbering or counting the people.  In particular they are counting the males of each of the twelve tribes from the age of twenty up.  The total number comes up to 603 thousand plus.  That is only males 20 years of age and above.  By looking at these numbers we get an idea of the multitude of people who were being led through the wilderness following their deliverance from Egypt.  If we were to just think of each male having a wife that would equal 1.2 million people.  If we add only one child, then, we are nearing 2 million people.  Moses and Aaron had a large task and work to do.

Now, let’s get to the above verses.

Back in Egypt on the day of deliverance the Passover had begun with the shedding of the blood of many lambs; their blood put on the door posts and lintels of each Jewish home as commanded by the LORD.  The Word of the LORD was that every firstborn in the land of Egypt would die.  Israel would not be untouched by this, unless, they obeyed God and applied the blood in God’s prescribed manner.  In doing so the firstborn of Israel were saved from this angel of death.

God redeemed the firstborn of Israel.  They are His.  In order not to take every firstborn for Himself; He took the Levites as the tribe which would serve Him as priests and servants to the people in the tabernacle.  This was an honor and a burden for the Levites.  They were consecrated to the LORD for the task.  They were assigned their duties in raising the tabernacle, and in taking it down; and transporting it when they moved by God’s leadership through the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.

One thing that stands out clearly in the above text is that God states, “The Levites shall be Mine”.  Of the firstborn the LORD says, “All the firstborn are Mine”.  As we read the Scriptures; especially the Old Testament; we will find and emphasis placed on the firstborn son.

Jesus Christ is not just the firstborn Son of God, but His only born Son.  It is through this only born Son that we have a High Priest, eternal in Heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding for His own.

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”  Hebrews 8:1-2

Remember to read Numbers 1 – 3 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship