The King’s Disciples Going

The King’s Disciples Going

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Matthew 10:5-15 (KJV)

* THE DISCIPLES GO WHERE THEY ARE SENT (vv. 5-6).

* DISCIPLES GO PROCLAIMING THE MESSAGE GIVEN THEM (vv. 7-8).

* DISCIPLES GO WHEN THEY ARE SENT (vv. 9-10).

+ Go understanding the urgency of the task.

+ Go with diligence.

* DISCIPLES GO WITH THE UNDERSTANDING OF BEING A STABLE INFLUENCE (vv. 11-12).

* DISCIPLES GO WITH DISCERNMENT (vv. 13-15).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (3)

Why Will You Die???

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

Words of the Prophets – Isaiah

Protection Removed

“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:  And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.  And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard.  What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?  And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:  And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” Isaiah 5:1-7 (KJV)

Words of the Prophets – Ezekiel (2)

God Has No Pleasure…

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

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

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

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

Hard Hearted and Hard Headed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You better change your heart and mind.

Glory

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

The book of Exodus begins with the word “Now” (Exodus 1:1), and is a recap of what has taken place at the end of Genesis – the family of Jacob goes into Egypt, and the family increases greatly while there.

The Bible is not a book so much that tells us about ourselves, or how to live;  it does that, but that is not its purpose.  The book we call the Bible is about GOD our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, our Strength, our Sword (or Defense), and He is definitely our Song.  That is nowhere more evident than in God’s deliverance of His people from bondage and slavery.

There is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament “They shall know that I am the LORD” and sometimes it uses the words “You shall know…” and “…the LORD of hosts”.  The prophecy of Ezekiel uses it at least 63 times.  The phrase “…Shall know that I am the LORD” is used at least five times in Exodus (6:7;  7:5;  14:18:  16:12;  and 29:46).

The One who made us all desires that we know Him and that we know He is the LORD of hosts.  He desires that we have a personal relationship with Him.  He desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29-30), and in loving Him we will love others (Mark 12:31).  For no one is being honest who says, “I love God”, and then they hate their neighbor (1 John 2:9;  4:8, and 4:20).

What does the title “Glory” have to do with Exodus and all this other stuff?  God’s glory.  His glory is radiated through His temple.  Flesh of man cannot reside in the presence of God.  Even Moses even had to leave, because he could not bear it.

The glory of God rest in His tabernacle.  Ultimately the Tabernacle is in Christ Jesus.  The glory of God was and is in Jesus Christ His Son; and that glory resides in those who trust and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  The Lord is driving out the flesh in us so the glory of God is seen.

If you are still in darkness then come to the Light.  His name is Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.  The Personification of the Glory of God.

Jesus Through the Bible – What Is It?

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.” Exodus 16:15

The question above is the meaning for the word “Manna”. It means “What is it?” This was a new thing for the delivered children of Israel. This “Manna” is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the time Moses and the children of Israel experienced this wonder from heaven it was an actual substance which the LORD provided to satisfy the needs of His people. It only appeared six days of the week – Sunday through Friday – with none on the seventh day; the Sabbath for Israel. They were to gather plenty on the sixth day for the Sabbath day.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31

The name manna stuck. Even after 4000 years or so it is still called by that name. It was to supply a means of sustenance for the children all forty years of their journey through the wilderness, until they reached the Promised Land of Canaan.

Jesus Himself refers to this and calls Himself the bread come down from heaven.

“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51

For all who will follow Him there is sustenance and strength through our life’s journey until we reach heaven, the abode of our Savior and Lord.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Three

“When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.” Ezekiel 33:18-20 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas Today?

I want to live, walk, and stand in the righteousness that is found only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and to live in His power, glory, and strength; and I want you to join with me; because the righteousness of mankind is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and will keep us from GOD.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Four

“And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 29:16 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always trust in the LORD and to be a reason for others to trust in Him too; to not be distracted by blessings, but to rest confidently in the Blesser who is GOD through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Seven

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be a pleasure to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit of God; and when the body that I am living in dies I want God to be pleasured by it; so I want my life and my death to glorify Him, and I know, I trust, and I believe that God sent His only begotten Son, and that whosoever believes in Him (and that “whosoever” is you and me) shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Also see Psalm 116:15.

Irrevocable Promise

There are so many who are telling us that God is finished with Israel. That they are no longer God’s chosen people or nation. However, for someone to say that they are going against both the Old Testament prophecies, and the teachings of the New Testament as well.

Look at this prophecy through the prophet Ezekiel:

“Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 34:30-31 (KJV)

Reading from verse 25 of the same chapter you will notice “My servant David”, and it is a reference to the Messiah of Israel, bringing them peace, and safety. Their Messiah is Jesus. Now I realize that they rejected Jesus when He came the first time, born as a baby in a manger; but that was for our benefit; for the whole earth’s benefit (Romans 11:11-15).  “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” Romans 11:29.

One day the remnant of Israel will see Jesus, God will be with them; He will be their God, and they will be His people.

May God save the house of Israel, and all those of the earth who are perishing (2 Peter 3:9); through the sacrificial blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Messiah of Israel.

Egypt and You

The nation of Egypt was at one time a world ruler. In the days before the captivity of Israel in Egypt, and during their captivity there the nation was a world ruler; even believed to have been the ruler of the known world at that time.

What is God’s purpose for Egypt? The answer to that is found in the final portion of our verses for today:

“Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: and I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 29:13-16 (KJV)

“But they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Yes! This phrase is one of the most prominent throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel; at least 63 times. It is said of other nations; including Israel. It is said of individuals. The LORD God wants you to know that He is the LORD. One day you will. I only pray that it will not be too late for salvation.

God’s word to Egypt was that they too would go into captivity, that they would one day return to their land, but they would never be a world ruling power again. They went from a world ruling nation; basically to a world ruled nation. God still has great plans for Egypt.

No matter how far you have fallen; there is still hope for you. No matter how much evil may be in your life; Jesus Christ died for you; took your sins, your evil upon Himself, and bled and died so that you might be saved from your sin, guilt, condemnation and death. Know that He is the LORD today.

Jesus Through the Bible – What is it?

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.”  Exodus 16:15

The question above is the meaning for the word “Manna”.  It means “What is it?”  This was a new thing for the delivered children of Israel.  This “Manna” is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.  At the time Moses and the children of Israel experienced this wonder from heaven it was an actual substance which the LORD provided to satisfy the needs of His people.  It only appeared six days of the week – Sunday through Friday – with none of the seventy day; the Sabbath for Israel.  They were to gather plenty on the sixth day for the Sabbath day.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” 16:31

The name manna stuck.  Even after 4000 years or so it is still called by that name.  It was to supply a means of sustenance for the children all forty years of their journey through the wilderness, until they reached the Promised Land of Canaan.

Jesus Himself refers to this and calls Himself the bread come down from heaven.

“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  John 6:48-51

For all who will follow Him there is sustenance and strength through our life’s journey until we reach heaven, the abode of our Saviour and Lord.

Evidence of Greater Things to Come

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.’ But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, ‘Send her away; for she crieth after us.’ But He answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’ And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  ~Jesus healing a Gentile (Matthew 15:21-28)

Thus saith the LORD… 012714

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.  Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them,’ saith the LORD. ‘Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: thus saith the LORD, ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Neither said they, ‘Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?’  And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made Mine heritage an abomination.  The priests said not, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.'”  Jeremiah 2:1-8

Work in the Kingdom of Heaven

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as ye go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.  Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.  And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.  And when ye come into an house, salute it.  And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.  Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 10:5-15)

The Peril of Vain Preaching

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, ‘Hear ye the word of the LORD;  ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!  O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.  Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.  They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, ‘The LORD saith:’ and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.  Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, ‘The LORD saith it;’ albeit I have not spoken?  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.  And Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of My people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 13:1-9 (KJV)

Vain preaching is attempting to preach anything except what God says; and claim the “Thus saith the LORD” authority.  God says, “Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of My people…”  Woe to the preacher; of any  day; who does not preach the Word of God.

-T.A.

The Time is NOW

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.’  Therefore say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done,’ saith the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 12:26-28 (KJV)

There is never any time such as the present to hear the Word of God and believe what He has said, and is saying.

-T.A.

The Sweetness of His Word, and His Presence

And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.  Moreover He said unto me, ‘Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.’  So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll.  And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.’  Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”  Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:3 (KJV)

How important is the Word of God?  For the Christian it is the very sustenance of life and faith.  For the world it is just as important as is the Creator.

-T.A.

Day 61 – Vision of the Glory of God

In the reading of the Bible one thing that stands out to me is that God is about His own glory.  Now for a man or woman to be about themselves we call that arrogance, pride, no good even.  Yet, for the Creator who has made all things, and seeing how He also loves the people He has made; and also seeing Him as holy, righteous, and just; we can see that He has every right, even right or power, to promote Himself.  There is no other like Him.

In my reading this morning I only read 11 chapters rather than the usual 14.  I finished the prophecy of Ezekiel.  The judgment which God brought upon Israel/Judah is due to their rebellion, worshipping false gods, erecting idols along side the only God, and the  people being downright unholy, unjust, and unrighteous with God and other people; even their own people.

In chapters 38 – 39 we read five more times, and a sixth which is not worded quite the same;

“Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:23 (KJV)

“And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.   So will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let them pollute My holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”  39:6-7

“So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.”  39:22

“Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”  39:28

“And thou shalt come up against My people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the heathen may know Me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” 38:16

Ezekiel is taken by the LORD in a vision to the city of Jerusalem and to the temple.  There he meets a man with measuring rod, and measures the city and the temple.  One of the things we can see about this is that in the worship of the LORD our worship is to be patterned after His design not of our own making.  It is measured out to give God glory, honor, power and blessing.  He will receive no worship which is not after His fashion, in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

In the vision the LORD also gives Ezekiel the land allotments for the twelve tribes, for the city, and for the temple.

The final verse of Ezekiel tells us –

“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” 48:35

“The LORD is there”.  What a wonderful name for the place where people of all tribes, tongues and nations will be able to gather to worship the Creator of all that is; both the seen and the unseen.  He has made a way for you to be there by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Christ will you be able to attend and receive blessing, and rest in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 59 – GOD and the False Prophets

Someone might say, “There are no false prophets today.”  My action toward that remark would be to tell that individual to remove the blindfold.  In reading the prophets of God we find the example of false prophets, and they are quite plentiful today as well.

The true prophet of God seeks first, to glorify God and His message; and second to warn God’s people of their sins; and third to call them to repentance; at whatever the price – even his own life.  The false prophet seeks to ease the hearts of the people through encouragement in their trials and pains that are actually for their chastisement.  I agree that there are times the preacher of God needs to encourage the people; the encouragement we give needs to be according to the Word of the LORD, not fanciful, psychological, mumbo-jumbo seeking to the ease of pain and trial.  The encouragement from God will be to get people to love the Word of God; and loving Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

In my reading this morning – Ezekiel 10 – 23 – I noticed several instances of God’s rebuke of the false prophets and teachers, and this is what I believe needs addressing.

One of the things I read in Ezekiel is the continued use of a phrase, “[they, you,] shall know that I am the LORD”.  Throughout the prophecy, beginning in chapter six, that phrase is used over sixty times.  The reason, Ezekiel stresses, for Israel’s captivity and judgment is so that they will know that God is the LORD.

God says to the prophet Ezekiel,

“Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.  Therefore say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done,’ saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:26-28 (KJV)

Also hear what the LORD says of the prophet who is deceived, and deceives the people,

“And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of My people Israel.  And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; that the house of Israel may go no more astray from Me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be My people, and I may be their God,’ saith the Lord GOD.” 14:9-11

If you will notice the people who went seeking the false prophet and his prophecy would be held to the same end as the prophet himself.

At least twice God tells the elders who come to Ezekiel to inquire of him, “I will not be inquired of by you.” (20:3, 31)

Also notice what God says to the priests and the prophets in chapter 22.  I will let you get out the Scriptures and read that for yourself.  Notice the “daubing… with untempered mortar”.  Have you ever seen whitewash.  Can you imagine laying brick, or even patching brickwork with whitewash, yet that is what the false prophets do.

The LORD will not long tolerate the wickedness of the false prophet/preacher.  He will not hold him guiltless who leads people astray, making the evil believe they will live, and making the righteous feel they will die.  The false preacher calls evil good, and good evil.

Turn to the Lord Jesus Christ today.  Repent of your sins, believe and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship